Never Too Old for Dolls


I was born a collector! Since I was a child, I have loved collecting this and that, and some of what I loved as a child spilled over into adulthood. I also like to keep busy in my downtime, and love doing things that require detail, even activities that others might find tedious. I also always enjoy bringing old things back to “life” – making aged and worn items beautiful again, without completely re-doing the item, keeping things as original as possible. That’s how I stumbled on a hobby that has become a passion. 


I have always loved dolls. When I was a child, if I wasn’t playing with my beloved dollhouse, I was playing with my dolls. Rag dolls, baby dolls, Barbies…I loved them all, and some of my happiest childhood memories are filled with dolls. I especially loved my baby dolls – mostly made by Madame Alexander. 


Childhood Christmas mornings were magical when I’d open a doll box. The smell of a new doll – with their pristine clothing, shiny patent shoes, and silky hair – special memories were made with each new doll.


As the baby of the family and having only a brother who was much older, when it was too hot to play outside with friends in the Texas heat, my dolls were playmates.


As an adult, I got my first taste of the joy of fixing up an antique doll when I bought two 1940’s Ideal Toni dolls, just like the one my mother had as a child. When I gave my mother the Toni I restored for her one Christmas, (read the blog post “A Very Special Christmas Gift”, here.), I thought I would burst before she opened the box! I had so much fun bringing those dolls back to “life”. The Ideal toy company was one of the first to market dolls using hard plastic, such as on the Toni doll. 

One day, I was out “junk-tiquing” when I saw a Patti Playpal doll. Before my time, she came out in 1959. Patti Playpal was made from the same hard plastic that vintage blow molds were made from, and was the same size as a real three-year-old child. Ideal marketed the lifesize doll to be a child’s playmate, or “companion”. She was a strung, “walker” doll, meaning a child could hold her hands and have the doll “walk” beside her. When I was a little girl in the 1970’s, there was a local children’s clothing store that used old Patti Playpal dolls as their mannequins. I remember wishing I could play with them whenever my mom took me clothing shopping!

I left the doll I saw that day at the shop, but couldn’t forget her. Of course, when I went back later with my husband, she was gone. We did find a 1954 “grocery store” doll, an Allied Eastern “Lady” doll.Much nicer and well-made than more modern “grocery store” dolls, I adore her! Down the rabbit hole I went!

AE “Lady”, a “Grocery Store” doll

AE “Lady”, a “Grocery Store” doll

Later, on a cold, snowy day, a big box came to the house. My husband, who was out of town at the time for a few weeks on a business trip, had searched the internet to find me an (affordably priced), vintage 1959 Patti Playpal, as a gift for Valentine’s Day. When I opened the huge box and got my first glimpse of the beautiful, blonde doll, with her long lashes, silky Saran hair, and sweet face, I was smitten. She only needed a little work (doll collectors call the process a “spa day”). I could not have been more excited than if I was a little kid. 


Patti Playpal was designed by the famous Amerian sculptor Neil Carl Estern, who is best known for his presidential sculptures of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR memorial, and of JFK in Prospect Park. He only recently passed away in 2019 at the age of 93, living at the time only an hour away from my town. 

In 1959, Estern worked for the Ideal Toy Company, known for their wonderful toys and dolls. He sculpted Patti, and his wife Anne helped with designing the doll’s details and wardrobe.

Norman, what do you REALLY think of Patti’s red checked dress?

Norman, what do you REALLY think of Patti’s red checked dress?

My blonde Patti was my first big doll transformation. I’ve dressed her up for different holidays, but my favorite outfit is a classic red and white checked dress. Named Patti Mae, she also wears my little heart locket from when I was a small child, and a ladybug ring I got from Santa when I was three, that my daughter also wore as a toddler. The red Snoopy Timex watch that still ticks was the watch I learned to tell time on in first grade. When we first had the doll standing in the upstairs hall, it often made my husband and I pause; it was like going back in time because she looks so much like my daughter did as a toddler! 

Patti came in different forms – there were curly haired dolls, straight haired dolls, walkers and non-walkers,  and a BabyFace version. The rarest of all is the “carrot top Patti”, made with green eyes and red hair, as well as a boy Playpal, Peter. I have only seen photos of those. They are all adorable! Prices run the gamut depending on where you find them, but if you are a good scout you can still find Patti Playpal dolls reasonably.

I like to find dolls that need extreme makeovers. I find joy in bringing them back to minty and beautiful. Though Patti Playpal dolls can wear (and were advertised to) real children’s clothing, dressing a Playpal doll can be tricky. Lifting their arms too high risks cracking their torsos. Dresses that button all the way down, made especially for dolls, are best, or children’s clothes that can be slit down the back to fit Patti. 

My husband brought me home a second Patti, this time a brunette. The poor thing had a dress that was from the 60’s but too big for her, residue from a giant sticker, and a head to toe greasy residue from sitting next to an oil burner in a basement for five decades.



Her hair was matted and showed evidence of a “mommy cut”. It took a lot of work to get her clean and neat, and I altered her dress to fit.


The Shirley Temple Playpal was produced only in 1960, when Shirley Temple’s movies were being enjoyed by a new generation on television. We drove to New York for my Shirley, who was in pitiful shape.



She had been stored for decades, unloved and never played with, upside down in a trash can, forgotten in a garage. Her chiffon dress was in shreds and it was only after many soakings that I realized it’s a beautiful blue, not the dingy grey I first thought it was! I carefully and tediously repaired any tears, and added a new petticoat. She has her original pin and watch, and has ‘twist wrists’ which make her easier to pose. Her hair was harder to fix – it took a while, and the help of my hairdresser daughter to get the “sausage curls” back to original. The necklace she wears is from the 1940s. It was given to me by a neighbor when I was little, an enameled basket of flowers that was hers when she was a child. Shirley Temple herself had a Shirley Temple Playpal, exactly like my doll, as part of her own collection as an adult. The 1960 Playpal looks so lifelike!


With Patti’s success, other companies tried to cash in with copies. Sayco made a few, Madame Alexander made Janie, Horseman made Princess Peggy, and many other, unmarked dolls were made during the era. These large dolls are now referred to as Playpal Clones or Companion dolls. 

Part of the fun of this hobby is “staging” dolls. This was a fun photo for the 4th of July. The doll in the far left corner is an example of another brand’s companion doll.

Part of the fun of this hobby is “staging” dolls. This was a fun photo for the 4th of July. The doll in the far left corner is an example of another brand’s “companion” or “clone” doll.

Ideal also made a Playpal “family”, other dolls in the successful line of companion dolls. Along with Patti and Peter, Ideal sold baby twins Bonnie and Johnnie, which are pretty rare and harder to find. In the 1980’s, Ideal issued a new Patti, this time without sleepy eyes, and Ashton Drake made a reissue of Patti, Shirley, and Peter Playpal dolls in the early 2000’s. (Unfortunately, many of the reissued dolls need to be rerooted or have a doll wig, since unlike the original dolls, the AD reissues often lose all of their hair. The sponge inside the doll’s head deteriorates over time).


In 1951, Ideal marketed a “Saucy Walker” doll, made of hard plastic and 22 inches tall. She had what is referred to as “flirty” eyes, which means the eyes not only open and close, but move side to side, as well. I enjoyed restoring mine, who needed her hair touched up, eyes adjusted, and her clothes and shoes cleaned and pressed. In her pink and aqua, she looks like she is ready to spin some Elvis records on the record player!

I like to add details and props to my doll displays, especially using things from around the house. Saucy’s little bear came off of a box of Russell Stover chocolates from Valentine’s Day.

I like to add details and props to my doll displays, especially using things from around the house. Saucy’s little bear came off of a box of Russell Stover chocolates from Valentine’s Day.

Ideal used the name “Saucy Walker” again in the early sixties, marketing a large toddler sized doll in the Playpal family as “Patti Playpal’s baby cousin”. Mine is the 28” size; there was also a 32” sized doll. Saucy has such a sweet expression!


I just love Ideal’s “Bye Bye Baby”, issued in 1960. Neil Estern also sculpted this sweet doll, which was only made for one year. Sized like a real six-month-old baby, my friend Linda gave me a vintage pink baby dress for her. Though she was marketed as a “girl”, Bye Bye Baby also looks cute when dressed as a boy, which many collectors do with theirs.


My husband and daughter took me to a doll show in Massachusetts. There, I was thrilled to find a “Suzy“ Playpal. She needed a good “spa” day, but was in good condition with no cracks. 

My most favorite dolls tend to be dolls manufactured by Ideal. At the doll show,  I also picked up a “Tiffani Taylor” from the 70’s. When I was given one as a hand-me-down doll from a cousin when I was little, my mother did not approve because she thought she was a bit “grown up” (a sentiment I also felt as an adult when my daughter was given a “Bratz” doll one year for her birthday).

This doll did not have clothes, and originally came in a gold lame swimsuit in the 1970s. This dress came from Etsy.

This doll did not have clothes, and originally came in a gold lame swimsuit in the 1970s. This dress came from Etsy.

As a child, I loved playing with Tiffani Taylor because she was a “fashion doll” like Barbie, but much larger at 19 inches. Her scalp turns so she can be blonde or brunette. 

“Kissy” doll, before and after. Made by Ideal, she ‘kisses’ when her arms are brought together. A tag sale find, she was dusty, dirty, her dress a mess. The shoes in the “after” photo were my daughter’s from her first Christmas.

Early 60’s “Kissy” doll, before and after. Made by Ideal, she ‘kisses’ when her arms are brought together. A tag sale find, she was dusty, dirty, her dress a mess. The shoes in the “after” photo were my daughter’s from her first Christmas.

From trial, instinct, research, and advice from fellow doll collectors, I have learned to do “doll doctor fixes” like bringing doll hair back to like-new state (no human shampoo!), clean marks, uncloud eyes, fix cracks, restring bodies, fix crazing, and adjust eyes that are sunken in or crooked. I most often use clothing and items I have on hand, such as things I saved, like special shoes and dresses from when my daughter was a baby.

Years of grime from a doll…

Years of grime from a doll…

I realized I was restoring other people’s dolls, so I decided to restore the few dolls I had from my own childhood. 


My first-ever doll was a Madame Alexander rag doll, “Muffin” that I got as an infant. I carried her around everywhere, by her hair. At some point, my mom had to put her in the washing machine, and she emerged from the dryer without a face.  As I was screaming at the top of my little kid lungs, I remember my father scrambling to go to the local five and dime for felt to try to recreate her face. After fifty years, she was dry rotting to the point that she was literally disintegrating. 


Working with a photo on Pinterest of an original doll and from my childhood photos, after I washed her original dress and undies, stabilized her rotting areas with netting, and added stuffing. I recreated her original face from felt and satin. I also matched her hair with vintage 1960’s wool yarn I had in my yarn stash.


Her little squeaker still works, and I am so happy I could rescue my precious childhood pal. 

I had my original doll dress of a favorite childhood doll, but sadly, not the doll. I was thrilled to find out that she was an Effanbee “Suzy Sunshine”. I was able to track one down, but she needed major TLC.

With Suzy Sunshine, right. I have always hated naps and bedtime.

With Suzy Sunshine, right. I have always hated naps and bedtime. Still do…

Before - clouded eyes and wild, straw like clumpy hair.

Before – clouded-over eyes and wild, straw-like clumpy hair.


After – shiny hair and eyes, in my doll’s original dress washed and repaired. New shoes and bloomers complete her transformation. Hello, old friend!


I’m thrilled how minty she looks now. My mom also saved my original Fisher Price “My Friend Mandy”, so I brought her back to minty, too.

Some dolls were gifts, others I found in various places online, at thrift shops, or at estate sales.

“Little Miss Echo”, by American Character. Before…

Little Miss Echo”, by American Character. Before..

And after. The little dress is a child’s dress I repaired from the 40’s. The skunk print cracks me up.

And after. The little dress is a child’s dress I repaired from the 40’s. The skunk print cracks me up. Not currently working, I’m still trying to get her wiring to function. When new, she would “repeat” what you said.


My 22” Betsy Wetsy, an estate sale find, is from the 1950’s. Many a child had a Betsy Wetsy!

1960’s “Talking Baby Tandy” and “Baby Carrie”, both made by Eegee, Before…

1960’s “Talking Baby Tandy” and “Baby Carrie”, both made by Eegee, Before…

After. My daughter wore the dress and shoes at three weeks old.

And a\fter. My daughter wore the dress and shoes at three weeks old, and the horse a momento from my baby shower over 20 years ago. This doll still talks when you pull her string, saying over 12 phrases. 

After. The little onesie was what my daughter wore home from the hospital, and a friend had made the bib.

After. The little onesie was what my daughter wore home from the hospital, and a friend had made the bib.

Uneeda Wispy Walker, 1970s, a “grocery store” doll before…

Uneeda Wispy Walker, 1970s, a “grocery store” doll before…

Wispy Walker after. It took a while to figure out the funky 1970’s hairdo. The dress was my daughter’s first Christmas dress, the little pendent mine as a toddler.

 And Wispy Walker after. It took a while to figure out the funky 1970’s hairdo. The dress was my daughter’s first Christmas dress, the little pendent mine as a toddler. By the 1970s the material of these “grocery store” dolls was much lighter and cheaper than those of previous generations. Wispy Walkers are still mass produced today.

My grandmother’s doll. She used this “Mitzi”, a Barbie clone, as a doll to design real clothing that she would make into outfits for herself. She could make her own patterns!

My grandmother’s doll. She used this “Babette”, a Barbie clone, as a doll to design real clothing that she would make into outfits for herself. She could make her own patterns!

And after. I redid a “modern” Barbie doll dress from my daughter’s old Barbies to look more 50’s, and made some Jewelry. Donny and Marie were mine as a kid.

And after. I redid a “modern” Barbie doll dress from my daughter’s old Barbies to look more 50’s, and made some Jewelry. Donny and Marie were mine as a kid.

The little crib is a fifties metal doll crib found at a local thrift shop. It was missing a wood bead, and had no cushion. I bought foam and fabric at Joanns to make a mattress, and repaired the crib. The whole thing cost me under $14.00. It displays my dolls and vintage teddy bears perfectly. Mittens the cat ADORES the dolls, often loving on them.


Pip snuggles with a 1970’s Madame Alexander Pussycat doll, just like the one I got on my first birthday.

Pip snuggles with a 1970’s Madame Alexander Pussycat doll, just like the one I got on my first birthday.

Of all the dolls I’ve“rescued”, I think I’m most proud of the work I did on two antique composition dolls. Composition dolls were usually made of wood sawdust and glue, before plastic and vinyl was available. If not stored correctly, the wood underneath would expand, cracking or “crazing” the surface.


The large walker doll was made in Italy in the 1930’s, from an artist. She was bound for the trash, and was so dirty, moldy, and stinky, I had to take her in the yard with a mask on to clean her out before bringing her in to the house.

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Her dress was so rotted it had fused to her wooden core in places, and her shoes had literally rotted off over time. Her hair was a hot mess! Her legs and arms were needing major repair, as well. 



I surprised myself with how good she turned out. I did a lot of research before working on her. I want to keep dolls as close to original as possible. The dress she now wears, handmade from the same era, is one that I had originally picked up for Patti Playpal, until I realized I could not get her arms in it. I had the vintage hat and little bag on hand from thrift shop junk-tiqing, and the little child shoes were too small for a playpal doll, but fit this one perfectly. Heavy, she stands almost three feet tall. I named her “Clara” after Clara Bow. 


The “Mama” baby came to me with no clothes, heavy crazing and cracking, and eyes needing repair. At first, I wasn’t sure what I would do with her. I’ve ended up crazy about her! I put her in a vintage baby’s christensing gown and cap that had come in a lot with other dolls, that did not fit the doll originally wearing it (repaired and whitened first). I alwo worked on her complexion, adjusted and unclouded her eyes, and knitted her some booties. I love how she turned out.


My sewing room is also now my doll room. I love spending time in there. Dolls aren’t for everyone; I get that. Reactions to my dolls crack me up. Some “get” it, and love them, others imagine doll restoration as being on the same level as taxidermy, and are not a fan. Still, there are many adult doll collectors and enthusiasts all over the world. I’m also looking forward to joining a local doll collectors’ club. I adore my dolls. For me, I find immense joy in bringing something, once a beloved part of childhood – played with and often forgotten, back to beautiful. 

*I hope you enjoyed the post. Let me know your thoughts, or just say hello in comments! (Remember to do the “captcha” so your comment will go through!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole


  1. Denise says:

    My big sister had a Patti PayPal like one in your first picture with the short hair. She wore a purple dress. I was never looked to touch her. I know she had her still after she was married but I don’t know where she ended up after sister passed away 8 1/2 years ago. I had a doll with molded hair and some years ago I found an identical one at an antique store. She has one eye kind cloudy or something now. It is lighter blue than the other one. If you have any ideas on how to fix that I would appreciate any help. I received all my mom’s porcelain dolls when she passed away.
    I don’t know how many doll collector’s are still around these days.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, I am so sorry to hear you lost your sister. I can help you with your doll’s eyes. I will email you so you can send me a photo, because it depends on what kind of eyes they are.

      There are actually a lot of doll collectors still. I am a member of two very large Facebook groups online, and I have sent in my application to join a local doll collectors’ club. Doll shows are also very popular and there are some very, very serious collectors out there!

      I will email you soon.
      Farmgirl Hugs,

  2. Celia says:

    What a lovely trip down memory lane. I had a walker doll in the fifties. I never knew what she was. If I was going to collect anytime would be dolls. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Celia, thank you! Collecting dolls is such a fun hobby. Let me know if you get started. Find them in thrift shops, tag sales and online. Happy hunting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Marge says:

    I loved seeing your restored dolls! I still have my dolls from 50s/60s and I have a Ginny doll with her red trunk-she needs a real make-overbut I have some of her clothes. If you would like to have her I’d be happy to send her to you.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Marge, thank you for writing! I love Ginny dolls. A dear friend just gave me her Ginny! You are so sweet to offer, but how about I help you spruce your Ginny up? I will email you so we can talk privately. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Colleen Hampton says:

    Thanks for the memories! I have a Kissy doll! I got her for Christmas when I was 5 years old (so 1962). It was the only thing I asked Santa for that year because she was in commercials on TV. My Kissy still kisses (the last I tried, anyway!), but her looks could use some TLC. She wears a dress that my sister sewed for my daughter when she was a newborn. Kissy’s original dress wasn’t in good condition anymore, but it’s around here somewhere. Like you, I still love dolls!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Colleen, How sweet that you have your Kissy Doll and that she wears your daughter’s dress. I love doing that with dolls in my collection. Kissy is such a cutie – one of my favorites! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. I only kept one doll from my childhood- “Penny Brite”. She has a crazy hairdo now (bed head). My first doll memory is my Betty. I must have been 4 or 5 and my mother made us matching dresses. Thank you for your wonderful doll story.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Roseann, I am so glad you enjoyed this post. Penny Brite is such a cute doll! I love that your mom made you matching dresses. My daughter and her American Girl doll had matching dresses when she was little. So adorable! Thank you for sharing your sweet memories! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Julie Lee says:

    How do you get the matted hair back to good condition? I would love to fix my old dolls’ hair.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, it really depends on what time of doll (different dolls have different types of hair), what kind of style they have, and how old the doll is. Do you have one or multiple dolls that have matted hair. Do you know the type and age? Let me know. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Karen Schmitt says:

    I absolutely loved this! I wish I knew how to do the restoration of dolls! Wow!! Great job.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Karen, thank you so so much! I learned through instinct, research, and from others. I enjoy the restoration and “spa day” care of dolls so much, I am wanting to be a doll hospital on the side. So many have gone away; I feel it is a lost art. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Judi says:

    I enjoyed your article. I collect vintage pictures, boxes and pitcher/creamers.
    I understand the love of items that have stood the test of time.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judi, sounds like you have a nice variety of collections! There are so many neat pitchers and creamers out there, I bet that is a fun thing to collect and display. I have a few, mostly milk glass ones. Don’t you love old things and wonder what stories they could tell? Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Terry says:

    Hi Nicole, I’m a 76 year old doll lover (baby) I also have a patty play doll which my grand daughter cut her hair so I got her wig which serves the purpose. I also have many other dolls which I change their outfits accordingly. When I was a child I always would take care of my babies pretending to feed them and get them ready for bedtime.There was a little laspe when I married and had 4 real babies but now that I’m retired I have all the time in the world lol to again take care of my dolls

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Terry, I love your comment! Oh dear – your Patti got a “Mommy Cut”, but that’s okay. The wigs look so cute on them, too. Some day I hope to be a grandma and will share my doll collection. I am imagining tea parties…! Enjoy your Patti and dolls, (and grandgirl). Thanks for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Judith says:

    I still have my lady doll I received for Christmas in 1952 and a suitcase full of clothes.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judith, I love that! That makes her extra special since you had her as a child. The lady dolls are one of my most favorites. I think mine is just so elegant. I bet as a child they were lots of fun to play with because they are a great size – not too big, not too small. Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Patti Dmytras says:

    Hi Nicole, I was so interested in your post today. I am a doll lover also, but when our family moved from Chicago, my mom gave away most of my dolls. I kept my Barbie’s and my mom’s friend had a doll room filled with dolls from all Eras. She gave me 2 dolls that are made of the celluloid plastic. I still have one. The other one fell apart when I was a girl and mom threw it out. How did you learn how to restore old dolls? I picked up a bigger celluloid doll from a resale shop, but the rubber bands are all stretched out, and I don’t know how to restring or restore except to make new clothes. I have put together kit dolls that look like German china head dolls, and I have purchased hand made Porcelain dolls from resale shops that senior citizens have made in the past at the senior citizen center. I have all my dolls propped on a daybed in my sewing room. Lately, I found an American Girl doll at a resale shop, so I plan on making a new outfit for her and adding her to my collection. I’m glad I am not the only one who still likes dolls. Thanks for all your wonderful pictures. The restoration work you do is wonderful. I wish that I would have someone like you near me to get help from. Thanks for your wonderful doll story. I learned so much about your different dolls. Patti D from Janesville, Wisconsin

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Patti, thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I hear ya, I lost most of my dolls (and my beloved doll house my daddy had made me) in a move, and my mom threw out the rest, because back then, my dolls had been all played with and loved and no one thought about preservation or restoration back then.

      I learned to restore old dolls from research, instinct, and from other doll restorers. I feel like restoration is an art. For your big celluloid doll, there are restring kits and supplies online. Your sewing room sounds like mine – part doll room, too!

      Which American Girl doll did you find? My daughter has hers from her childhood. I used to surprise her and fix them up and redress and pose them as a surprise when she would get home from school. My favorite they made is “Molly”.

      If you have any other questions, or need help with your dolls, let me know. I can email you. I love that there are other adult collectors out there! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Beth Wilson says:

    I had a Patty Playpal, Chatty Cathy, Kissie, Barbie, Ken and Skipper, but my favorite was my Thumbelina. I hope you can add one to your beautiful collection.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Beth, sounds like you had a memorable childhood! I have not yet found a Thumbelina or Chatty Cathy yet. Both adorable dolls, that would be great to add. I would also love to find the Skipper like the one I had as a child. I remember the day I got her. My daddy took me to lunch at an old fashioned luncheonette (maybe Woolworth’s), as my mom was at a Mother’s Club luncheon. It was raining cats and dogs but we were having fun, as we did not get much time together, and not much one on one time. He then took me to the five and dime, and bought me a Skipper to go with my Barbie. It was a special day. Don’t you just love the memories dolls create for us? Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Marilyn says:

    Hi Nicole , What an enjoyable post. My twin sister and I are doll collectors. We have our original Ginny dolls. We have Shirley Temple dolls and many American Girl dolls plus many other ones. Thank you for sharing your love of dolls.
    Marilyn and her twin Marion

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn and Marion! It always good to hear from you! I love that you are also doll collectors! Ginny dolls are one of my favorites; I had one as a child, too. She is one of the best dolls ever! Sounds like you all have a great collection. Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Donna says:

    Hi Nicole. I still have my Dancerina doll and talking Matty Mattel. I had a wood core doll but our Texas humidity did it in. I enjoyed seeing your dolls. Thank you for the happy memories.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, I remember both of those dolls! I did not have them, but remember playing with Dancerina at a friend’s house. She is an especially sweet doll. Do you remember the commercials on television? I do.

      This summer here has been really humid for a few weeks, and I have been worried about my dolls, as well. Have moved them and placed fans and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity at bay. It really does damage the wood and composition dolls. Thanks for reading and commmenting! Stay cool down there in my home state! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Kathy Blue says:

    Love this post, I am enjoying a second wave in my life of doll love. I am retired and active with garden, home, rural life and now dolls. I am sewing for them and enjoying every minute. I would like to re-hab a wellie wisher’s hair for a friend, but would love your advice on how to do the wild hair correctly. My granddaughter is 15 and out of doll love for right now, but I will man the ship until she comes to port with them again. Thanks for sharing, Kathy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Kathy, love your comment! Sounds like we have a lot of common interests. For your Wellie Wisher, do not immerse her head. Washing a doll’s hair risks getting water behind the eyes, which can damage them, so try not to wash the hair. I would start with a spray bottle of water with a bit of conditioner (a few drops), and starting from the tips, mist the hair and comb it out. American Girl makes a great wire brush for doll’s hair. If you do not have one, a comb is okay. You do not want to comb too hard so that you do not pull hair out of the roots. Sometimes, I do this process several times, allowing the hair to dry between comb outs. Some dolls have hair that responds well to fabric softener, but if you read that anywhere, do not do that on American Girl (and Wellie Wishers are a type of AG doll), because it can damage American Girl doll hair. If you have any other questions, please comment again and I will email you directly. 🙂

      Don’t worry – your granddaughter will come back around with dolls. My daughter is now twenty, and she loves them again, too.

      Farmgirl Hugs,

  16. Marlene Capelle says:

    I had a Betsy Wetsy doll, but I let her sit in her “pee” too long and it melted her butt.
    I had another doll as tall as me till my brothers dropped her from the top bunk bed and broke her head. I had a Jenny doll that I swore I would keep forever. She had a wardrobe and a suitcase and loved to travel. I left her somewhere. I hope whoever found her loved her as much as I did. Your post was fabulous. Thanks

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene, I always love hearing from you! Oh my goodness, your doll stories! My heart breaks for you! I had a beloved teddy bear with my dolls, that was my favorite. My mom had gotten him on a special day, and I had picked him out. He went EVERYWHERE with me. Well, we went on a family vacation and on the way, we stopped at a Burger King in Columbus, Texas. My mom told me to leave him in the car (a station wagon), because I might get him greasy or dirty. I remember strapping him into the seatbelt in the backseat to wait for me. When we came back to the car, someone had broken into the car, left our luggage and things like that, but STOLE my teddy bear! We looked everywhere, and my parents even called the restuarant later to see if it had been found, but he was long gone. I cried and cried. (I was about five or six at the time). I always hoped he was loved as much as I had loved him! Sorry you lost all your childhood pals! Still, I am glad you enjoyed the post. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  17. Jacqueline Ferri says:


    Great work on the dolls! You certainly have a talent for this hobby. The dolls look brand new! Enjoyed the photos and story!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jackie, thank you so much! You will have to come by sometime so I can show you the dolls in person and we can catch up! Glad you enjoyed the blog! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Melody Dare says:

    In the 1980’s I got the Pleasant Company catalog in my mail. I fell in love with the historical dolls and the beautiful and functional way they were made. My daughter enjoyed the book and dolls as Pleasant Roland added more dolls. In the early 2000, American girl was sold to Mattel. It didn’t take long for the historical dolls to be eliminated and the beautiful quality items once made in Germany, Italy and the US to be relegated to China. And the history of ‘American Girl’ became a plastic and cheap, yet very expensive must have ‘doll’. The Bitty Baby dolls gone, too. Have you noticed there aren’t many baby dolls for our children now? I Have. Most of my collection is passed on. But I too enjoyed my doll playing collecting well into my senior years. My favorite baby Doll was Horsemans Thirsty baby’ Thank you for sharing a beautiful joy.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Melody, I hear you! I loved American Girl Dolls and before my daughter was even born was on the mail list. She got her first AG doll from her grandma when she was seven. We were lucky to get to go to the AG store in NYC several times when she was little, and took her and a friend for a small birthday party there. We loved it, and it was a dreamy experience for all. I did notice they have changed a lot. Recently, I also was looking for shoes for a vintage doll I was restoring, and went to Michael’s. When my daughter was little, they had a whole doll aisle with accessories that fit the AG dolls. The aisle is gone! No dolls or accessories. We also were at a model train store that has been in business for decades. They recently downsized. The store always had whole “worlds” of trains going, like a museum. The salesman told us how he had recently had kids from a field trip come through. This bored little boy said, “Why do we need these? I can do it all on my phone on an app!” So sad! Kids are missing out, and I believe imaginative play is really important. I am so glad my daughter still had dolls as a child. I wouldn’t trade those years of tea parties and dress up for anything!

      I am familiar with Horseman’s Thirsty Baby. I do not have one myself, but they are very, very cute! Enjoy your dolls! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  19. Denise says:

    I loved your article! I have several of my dolls from childhood. You do beautiful work with them! Thank you for sharing, it was so fun to read about each one.

  20. Ginny Scott says:

    I have a Ginny doll. My daughters and granddaughter are not interested.
    I also had a Tiny Tears.
    Enjoyed your post!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ginny, I love Ginny dolls. I have a blonde and a brunette that a friend gave me and they are just the cutest! I remember mine from childhood – she was a “Sasson” version in the 70’s and 80’s. Vogue had given them the rights. I don’t see many of them. I am also currently working on fixing up a Ginny for a fellow farmgirl. They spanned generations. Maybe someday little girls will love them again. It seems, sadly, that dolls for children are not as popular right now as “electronics”. Hopefully that will change. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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