Houzz Logo Print

Show me your ... doll collection!

12 years ago

OK, so it may be considered rather lowbrow decorating by some (and if you think so, please withhold the snarky comments!) - but I know that there has to be at least a few of us here who have a soft spot in our heart for dolls, and some who incorporate them into their decor. When I was a little girl, my mother started a collection of Madame Alexander dolls for me, and added to that collection each year. I still have all of my dolls, but they're packed away in boxes. Lately I've been thinking about them, and kind of missing them (strange though that may sound!). I've been toying with the idea of putting at least a few of them on display somewhere. Back in the late 80s/early 90s - when my decor was much different than it is now (I loved an over-the-top Victorian look, which is definitely not my style anymore), I had them all displayed in my china cabinet, instead of the usual dishes and glassware. That was a nice way to show them off, but I got tired of the (how to say this?) - "juvenile" vibe they gave off in my decor, especially when I started gravitating towards a simpler, less cluttered style.

I'm interested in knowing if anyone has a collection - particularly one that stems from your childhood - and if you display them en masse, or perhaps just a few here and there. Would love to see photos.

Comments (21)

  • 12 years ago

    Since you did this topic I decided to do another search on Buttons. The last one I did was about 10 years ago and found nothing! Now I've found a few websites about her.

    I believe she was made in 1948 as an advertising doll.

  • Related Discussions

    Looking For Annie's bed doll crochet Collections


    Comments (3)
    I have Annie's Glorious Gowns Old South Abigail, Annabelle, Delilah, Elizabeth, Melanie, Miranda, Old South Bride, Priscilla, and Savannah all in PDF format that I bought at a Garage Sale. Contact me at my email
    ...See More

    I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours, Thursday Nov.10th


    Comments (12)
    I never saw this picture of my parents until last night. It was during my dad's brief mustache period. I made a cropped version that I plan to frame. I thought the size was interesting--it fits today's widescreen monitors. The negative is 4.25 x 2.5".
    ...See More

    I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours Fri Nov 18


    Comments (21)
    Thank you, Alisande! I buy them as blank kits which include the head, arms and legs. Then they are painted with heat set paints in the oven. Eyes are added if they are open eyed babies, or just eyelashes if they are sleeping. Next, the hair is applied with a needle and sealed on the inside. The limbs and head are weighted with glass beads for weight. And last, a soft body is weighted with glass beads and fiberfil.That's pretty much it in a nutshell. It takes me a few weeks to finish one. There are a lot of them on eBay if you want to look. Just type in Reborn doll or Reborn baby in the search engine. There's all kinds...from really well done to not so well done. lol Here is a picture of one of the heads without paint..they're just plain one color and don't come 'alive' until they are painted.
    ...See More

    show me your epi cactutus and succulent collection


    Comments (11)
    WOW!!!! again. That’s is some palm! I‘m in San Diego and blessed with AWESOME weather. If not for that fact I’m sure I wouldn’t be half as successful as I’ve been fortunate enough to have been in keeping my collection. Even with that though I have had ZERO luck being able to grow Ponytail Palms. I keep killing them. They do ok for awhile but eventually they succumb. No idea why. Clearly I’m doing something wrong that even my awesome weather can’t compensate for. So, UNCLE! I give up on that one. No reason the poor plants need to die because I can’t figure it out. Yours is a beauty.
    ...See More
  • 12 years ago

    Oh, Oakley - Buttons is so very sweet! (I caught myself before I typed that she's "an absolute doll" - but, well - she is that too! ;-)) I love her little checked dress and those pigtails ... oh my! What a treasure, and I'm so glad you still have her. I'm glad you were able to find out some more about her online. It's obvious she's much loved, and she appears to have been well cared for over the years. Thanks for sharing her!

  • 12 years ago

    auntjen, are you talking about the character Madame Alexander or the baby dolls? I'm assuming you mean the small character dolls.

    I would definitely display them, as well as a collection of anything, which held meaning for me. I think they'd look best displayed together.

    I never had the small dolls, but bought several for my DD when she was little, as well as many Madame Alexander's baby dolls. When I went to purchase one for my little granddaughter, I found they don't say "Mama" anymore. That made me sad.

    I have one beautiful one, blond hair, long brown eyelashes, which is bigger than any I've ever seen. I remember my mother saying she was supposed to be the size of an 18 month old. I've been meaning to send her back to Madame Alexander's hospital since the elastic holding her head on broke. It's funny because I told DH that just today, before I saw this post.

    I love baby dolls, but I love all Madame Alexander. My daughter never cared for dolls a whole lot, but my nearly 6-year old granddaughter has one she received when she was a baby, who we actually have to strap into a seatbelt when we go out. She takes her everywhere.

    I'd show you her collection of McDonald's Madame Alexander dolls, but they're all piled in a basket. She loves them, too. They're unbelievably detailed and quite high quality for a free toy.

  • 12 years ago

    Dee, I think I had three of the MA dolls. Was Thumbilina a Madame Alexander?

    I had a tall doll who could stand up, and I think she wore a tutu. I called her Connie. lol.

    I also had a large baby doll similar to thumbilina where she had cloth at her joints and short white hair. She was my favorite! Does she sound like a MA doll to you?

    I know I've seen "Connie" on the Internet, so I need to do a search for the other one's.

    I bought my GD her first American Girl doll...for little one's on her birthday. Now I want to get her a MA, but I think she needs to be a bit older. She's only 15 mos. old.

    I can't wait to play with dolls again! :)

  • 12 years ago

    I don't actually collect dolls. But I do create what is known as reborn dolls..

  • 12 years ago

    Another picture of the same doll..

    I know of a lot of people who collect these kinds of dolls, have rooms made up to look like a childs nursery to display them in. Some of them are amazing!

  • 12 years ago

    My sister made me a Cabbage Patch doll many years ago. Dear sister was striken with lung cancer and passed away 2 years ago, so this doll is very precious to me. She has graced my couch or chair for many years.

    This Christmas I have made Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls for 3 of my Great Grandchildren. Even tho, they are not 'my' collection, I hope they will be for my wee ones:

    Thanks for looking. I love dolls and wish I had a real collection. I would love one of those realistic baby dolls. Maybe some day. In the meantime, once Christmas is over, I shall make me a Raggedy Ann & Andy doll.


  • 12 years ago

    Dee, I have a couple of MA baby dolls (Puddin' and Victoria) and quite a few character dolls, including the Little Women characters. They just have the sweetest little faces. I added to the collection myself when I was in my 20s and 30s, but those dolls don't have the same sentimental value to me as those that were given to me as a child. I'd really like to have some sort of medium-sized cabinet devoted exclusively to the display of my dolls, but I just don't know where I'd put it as space in my house as at a premium!

    Dianamo - are you sure that's not a real baby? Wow! She looks so very alive! I have seen some of the Reborns, and a few of them are a little bit grotesque for my taste. Your little one, however, is absolutely gorgeous! It's like you can almost see her breathing! Incredible!

    Dody, what a wonderful treasure that little homespun Cabbage Patch girl is! I am so sorry for the loss of your dear sister, and I hope the little doll is a sweet reminder of the connection you share with her. The Ann & Andy dolls you've made are just precious! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for A&A, and still have a couple pair from my childhood. I made dolls myself a number of years ago, and had such fun putting them together. After my Grannie passed earlier this year, my uncle gave me the doll that I had given to her. I now display her in a little rocking chair that was DH's, along with his childhood teddy and mine.

  • 12 years ago

    What pretty dolls. Oakleyok, Buttons is adorable. My older sister had a Thumbilina that I played with all the time. I still have her, but her hair has been cut short and I remember using hair spray on her. :-/ She has a knob in the back that you can turn and her head would move. Doesn't work anymore.

    AJ, I agree, you should display a few if not all of your dolls.

    DD1 always wanted a MA character doll, but never received one... along with a pink Barbie jeep. One year she will stop bringing that up! The girls both have Corolle dolls, or rather I have them downstairs. Ready for the grandchildren.

    I have one doll displayed that my mom got somewhere. She is handmade and has wooden legs. Her body and arms are fabric. She is wearing a floral dress and has an apron on. Red head wrap on and her head is a walnut painted black Her facial features are also painted on.

  • 12 years ago

    Such beautiful dolls! dianamo_1, how do you go about "creating" such a doll? It's so lifelike it's scary!

    I only collect ballerina dolls, even small vintage porcelains figurines with the stiff lace tutus. I have a vintage wall shelf in my bedroom where I keep them, along with my toe shoes from when I was 10, and small pictures of myself in costumes. It's a plesant memory of my childhood. ;o)

  • 12 years ago

    My grandparents traveled every summer for about 10-15 yrs. they traveled all over the world and brought me dolls as presents when I was a little girl. I had them packed away for years too, and in the last house I decided to unpack them. They went in bookcases in the study:

    In my new house, which is much smaller, they were in boxes for a few years too. Then I had the bright idea to put a china cabinet in my hallway. :) I got it at auction for about $100 and decided it would be a good home for my dolls.

  • 12 years ago

    My large collection (mostly 17") lie in their blue boxes in the upper reaches of the out of season closet. Officially, they belong to DD now, but she has no space for them in her room. I had an enormous glass case for them when I was growing up, I think it was sold when I graduated from college. I can't visualize them in the house we have now, but perhaps someday if I had a little office, and the right glass case.

  • 12 years ago

    Boop, now I want to go to a toy store! You know it's kind of funny. Candy Spelling has been made fun of by many people all over the world for her doll collection, but if a person has the money and space, why not have one, or two, or a hundred? :)

    I cannot wait to start buying nice dolls for my DGD. My DIL has a large Barbie collection put away somewhere. DGD will be thrilled!

  • 12 years ago

    I used to have a collection of the international dolls - just like the ones Boop showed. Have not seen them in years. They could be in a metal trunk that has some of my childhood things, but I haven't opened it in many years. I have a feeling that the dolls were thrown out by my mother at some point!

  • 12 years ago

    I also had a collection of the international dolls from the 60's and 70's. They were packed away for years, but several years ago I decided to put a few of them on the Christmas tree each year so at least they would be enjoyed at holiday time. I'm so happy to see them every year and now my kids look forward to them, too.

  • 12 years ago

    Aunt Jen, I proudly display my collection of dolls....always have. I'm almost 65, so that tells you the age of my dolls. AND, many of my dolls belonged to my mother, who is 87 years old.

    I have a Madame Alexander baby doll in her christening gown...She's just lovely. I was given her when I was about 7 or 8 years early - mid 1950s.

    And some "character" or "story book" dolls from the late 1940s/early 1950s.

    What's really unique about my collection is that most of my dolls are from foreign countries. Uncles serving overseas in WWII or the Korean War, brought me dolls when they came home. So these are very old dolls, made in their native countries. I have dolls from all over the world that arrived in my home from the late 1940s - mid 1970s.

    When I was growing up in Denver, I occasionally lent my dolls collection to the local library for them to put on display and it always received rave reviews because people loved seeing the native clothes of people from around the world.

    When I remodeled this home in 2005, I had the carpenter build a custom case to show my dolls...with proper over head lighting and everything. They're still crammed in the case, but are much more easily viewed than in any other cabinet. I'll take some photos and attach them here soon.

    I love my dolls, and I proudly display them....even though the rest of my house tends toward formal/traditional/Oriental decor.

    Free your dolls from their boxes and proudly display them! :)

  • 12 years ago

    I don't think anyone should collect anything that they keep in a box. Display it and be proud of it.

  • 12 years ago

    Boop - your collection is beautifully displayed!

    I collected porcelain dolls while my Grandmother was alive. Every year she would buy a new one or have one made for me as my Christmas gift. I would open my gift w/ great anticipation, gingerly open the doll box and touch her and then promptly close it up and put her in a storage bin. I have 3 large bins. It's always been my 'little secret' that I collected porcelain dolls as there isn't much that I ever did that was considered 'girl-like'. I get such a huge kick when I crack open a bin and go through them. I can't wait to show them to DD someday. Her head would probably explode. Since my grandmother died nobody has ever purchased another doll for me. Again - ot was our 'special' thing.

    I honestly can't imagine putting them on display. I feel like I would become 'desensitized' to them and the special secret that my Nana and I shared. She never did it for any of her other granddaughters.

  • 12 years ago

    Wow, I didn't intend to let this slip to page 3 before coming back to respond! Boop, I absolutely love the way you have displayed your collection! Your dolls looked wonderful in the bookcase and in the cabinet they're in now. You've inspired me to look more in earnest for a cabinet for my own dolls - although I'm still not sure where I'd put it, but perhaps I can come up with something that works.

    I'm happy to know that others still collect/love dolls. What sweet stories about how you have amassed your collections. No wonder we feel sentimental about these things!

    I finally put my Grannie's porcelain baby doll on display in my china cabinet. (I've had her in my closet since Grannie gave her to me a couple of years ago.) Since Grannie passed earlier this year, I've really been wanting to get that sweet little doll out where I could enjoy her daily, but wasn't sure where to put her to keep her out of reach of the cats. The china cabinet is probably not the ideal place to house her, but it does keep her out of harm's way and dust-free. And I can see her there, so for now, it works.

  • 2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I have a few of my “dolls” on display in my home. First picture is my German fisherman wooden doll that I purchased when stationed there ( I am a retired US Air Force Captain). Second picture is my cat china doll and I made her dress. Third picture is my vintage “Red Riding Hood” cookie jar ( sort of a doll). Fourth picture are my Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, a present from my brother when he visited Russia❣️