Friday, June 15, 2012

Anna’s Dolly


Living in a small western town in the late 1800’s, life was much the same day to day…at least it felt that way to little Anna…

The only girl in the family, she helped her mother each day with the many cakes to be baked, homemade crackers and cookies made to order…a family to feed with the money made doing so.  Mother was an expert baker, being educated in Europe before coming to America…


Father was far away in his homeland of Switzerland on an extended business trip…letters home were received with such joy!  Oh, they missed him so…

I can only imagine the excitement—the ripple in the chain of otherwise ordinary days—when a package arrived from Switzerland…


…a package for little Anna.

I can almost see those little fingers—perhaps with some help from Mamma—shaking just a bit with anticipation as the ties and wrappings were carefully undone…

…tissue paper and padding slowly—ever so slowly—unwrapped…and a gasp!

DSC09809_edited-1 {lovely lace remnant given to me by my mother from an old, shabby lace tablecloth}

A large, beautiful bisque dolly—exquisitely dressed in a light blue, sheer wool dress, with lace & china buttons—just for her!

Made in Germany, it had a beautiful wig, lovely glass eyes that would open and close—and the tiniest, whitest teeth--

DSC09803_edited-1 {the newest page made for my heritage storybook.  In talking to my mother after I made the page, she said the doll was sent to Anna in 1888}

The doll was kept ever so carefully by Anna all throughout the years…traveled with her to her new life up in Canada and ever on…

I don’t know if she ever named her dolly—I wish I did.  But eventually, it went to my mamma, and Anna meant it, as she wrote, to eventually belong to me, her first great-granddaughter…


The doll sits regally in my mother’s house today…but it used to sit on the dresser by my bed when I was a girl.

I’ve always loved it, but when I was trying to get to sleep when I was young—to tell the truth—her eyes used to spook me a bit.  When I felt that way, I would quickly get out of bed and lay her gently down on the dresser so that her eyes would be closed—silly me!

Being told that her teeth were “real” didn’t help the childish me, either!  But, the grown-up me adores this precious keepsake, handed down so carefully through the years…and it will just as gently be delivered one day to one of my daughters…


Her original outfit is long gone, the hair a bit rumpled,one tiny tooth is missing, but the golden earrings are still a shiny gold, and those beautiful glass eyes still look just as lovely as they did when my little girl great-grandmother first held beheld them over 120 years ago…

DSC09806_edited-1 {I searched for just the perfect button to top this bow.  As I stitched it into place, I realized that I found it in the vintage button jar I bought in a little antique shop in Anna’s old town of Richfield when I visited there this last summer…meant to be...}

See you soon with something new.


P.S.  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway in my previous post!

{the picture frame and some of the background paper prints from Crafty Secrets’ CDs; metal paper brackets from the Tim Holtz collection}


  1. She is a beautiful doll and how special that she has lived in your family for many years and will eventually be passed down to your daughter.


  2. How wonderful to have such a treasure and know the story-you are blessed indeed.

  3. Dear Julie, I alwayes love your stories about family members long gone, but this is so very adorable,to both see and read. What a treasure to still have in your family.
    Happy week-end to you.

  4. Beautiful doll, story and heritage page Julie! I so love these posts!

  5. As always, I am so taken by your post today... what a precious heirloom to have!... I am so happy your family took care of and passed on so many of the things they loved... she looks just beautiful still!.. and I don't think it was sheer coincidence that the button you chose was from Richfield... xoxo Julie Marie

  6. Gosh Julie! Your family is absolutely amazing. I don't know anyone else who has such cherished, treasured items from so long ago and the stories to go along with each and every one. So wonderful! Have a fabulous weekend. Tammy

  7. Wow...a true family of keepers. My family of course kept nothing. I have become the keeper. Hoarding photos and turning them into albums. Candlesticks that once belonged on my Grandmothers table grace my kitchen hutch. I come from a long line of cleaners perhaps...throw it out was their motto. This is gorgeous. Thank you for the journey...smiles...Renee

  8. What a beautiful keepsake. Lucky you!

  9. Sigh, another beautiful page Julie! I love how every element has meaning, such as where you found the vintage button and using your piece of heirloom lace.
    You've taught me so much about the value of infusing my own pages with meaningful, personal memorabilia and the sweetness of passing on our family stories. It's amazing how sharing memories and emotions about a treasured broach or holiday-only tablecloth or even a favorite apron that's been passed down from our grandmother can give us such a deep sense of connection to our roots!
    Thank you Julie, for showing me how.
    Grateful {{{hugs}}}

  10. WOW. Now it is a mystery to me how a BISQUE doll could withstand the stress of little rambunctious hands! My mother's dolls were ALL INTACT until she gave them to ME and vintage items were immediately destroyed!!!!!!!!! Were children more subdued back then? teeeheee......what a glorious heritage you are creating Julie. I think this is so unique what you are doing and to have the articles at hand to create with them is a treasure find in itself.

    Thank you dear heart for participating in the Paris posts and I will put your name down for the win!!!!!!BISOUS, Anita

  11. A beautiful layout, story and family treasure. That button was definitely meant to be. I am so glad to hear that you remember where you bought your treasures. I know I can tell you the storey behind most of mine. Have a great weekend.

  12. A lovely lay out and story.I did the same at night with my doll.

  13. Oh my, an ABSOLUTE treasure!!!!! How wonderful that it has been saved and preserved for future generations.
    Her teeth are real....REALLY??

  14. what a great story and I can just imagine the the excitement when the doll arrived. I also think it's incredible that the doll has survived all these years - I think I would do the same as you as a little girl - I would lay it down so the eyes were resting too!!
    Mary x