Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Doll, a Girl and a Grandmother

I have often spoken of my Gram Potter in the almost 2 years I have been blogging. She was my dad's mother. She lived in Sussex, NJ. She was a wonderful cook, an immaculate housekeeper, a prolific crocheter and she made all her own clothes. And sometimes she made doll clothes for my favorite dolls. I only have one doll left from my childhood and she was always my favorite.

 In the depths of my sewing closet in a box was Wendy Ann. Poor thing has probably been in  that box for over 50 years. Luckily she had a mattress and a pillow and she was in her pajamas. Wendy Ann has moved many times and only been shown or patted a few times during these years.

My friends and I would play dolls after school. We would save our allowance and go downtown to a dry goods store which sold Madame Alexander dolls and the clothes that were designed for them. I only have a few of the outfits. I have been washing them very gently in Orvus soap as was recommended by many who deal with vintage fabrics.

 The clothes above were made for the dolls and are tagged with the Alexander-kins label. But my Wendy Ann had even more things. A mattress covered in vintage pillow ticking, a satin pillow with a lace rosette and a pillow case with crocheted rickrack trim. Gram liked Wendy Ann too.

Gram made a felt dress trimmed with tiny rickrack, a petticoat with tiny red roses and a crocheted cape with a hood. The ribbon has faded on the cape but I shall not replace it.

I can see the treadle sewing machine that sat in front of the bedroom window. The window looked over the street and she could watch all the goings on in the neighborhood. The bedroom set was Cushman maple and she was very proud of it. Fresh linens with crochet trimmed pillow cases adorned the bed. It was a comforting room. Most likely the pillow ticking for Wendy Ann came from pillow covers she made for her pillows.
So Wendy Ann will stay out for a while and then be packed away when we go back to Maine for the summer. I think she may make another appearance at Christmas - perhaps in a red dress and cape.


EliFla said...

I was waiting for this post from's a great post..thanks...ciao Flavia

Rettabug said...

What wonderful memories you have to recall, Carol...I hope that someday, my sweet Caroline feels the same way about the things I'm sewing for her & her AG doll, Felicity!
Your Wendy Ann is a treasured keepsake!

You should link this post to Donna's Monday Memories party next week...its perfect for that!

Vee said...

Yes, this was worth the wait. You've honored your grandmother with this sweet post. She sounds like a lovely person. Though she loved Wendy Ann, it's very evident that she adored you. Oh how nice to allow Wendy out to enjoy life beyond the box. Have you ever read the story of Hitty? It's called Hitty: Her First Hundred Years; it's about a doll and all of her adventures. It was written by a Maine author named Rachel Field.

Anonymous said...

Already planning her Christmas outfit... now that's what I'm talking about!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Carol, I'm so glad you have these wonderful things your grandmother made for Wendy Ann. My grandmother used to make clothes for my dolls, too, and sadly, I have no idea where they are. Some even matched my outfits. That is a treasure, well worth the keeping. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

I definitely think she should debut at Christmas.


Sheila :-)

Susan said...

Very beautiful memories of a beloved grandmother. Thank you for sharing.

Jackie said...

Hi Carol

What a great post. Love hearing about the doll and clothes, I am very envious as I don't have anything from my childhood and I am sorry to say not very happy memories either.

It is lovely the memories you have of your gran at her sewing machine in the bedroom.

Thank you for sharing with me / us on blogger.


Olive Cooper said...

How sweet to have these treasures made by Gram for you Carol. Have a lovely weekend. ♥O

Bella said...

What a treasure! I used to love to play with dolls as a little girl. My grandmother made clothes for my dolls as well. :) I hope you don't mind, but I mentioned your blog in my blog post on The Pink Home today. I finally tried my hand at playing around with some of my photos, like you do so well. :)

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

How wonderful that you have Wendy and the memories of your Grandmother! I hope my GrandGal has the same memories in the years to come...she and I are much like you and your Grandmother were. Her doll's name is Yolanda and she sleeps beneath a Nana made Quilt in Nana made jammies in a Nana and Papa made doll crib. My grand is now 17 and Yolanda has a special place in her room and a special place in my heart for all the sweet memories we have shared.
Love this post...thanks for the memories!

A Garden of Threads said...

Hi Carol, She is a lovely doll and full of wonderful memories of your Gram.

The template for the postcard pictures is in the iPhoto program. Down at the bottom right there is a button 'Share', click on it and it will ask how you want to share. Click e-mail and the templates come up on the right hand side of the screen. Hope this helps.

Take care, Jen.

podso said...


This is a wonderful post. I did not have a Wendy Ann doll but I had both a Ginny and Jill doll and my grandma also made clothes. Most of your accessories and outfits look familiar or similar to what I have. I actually still have the doll trunk and many of the clothes, but sadly the doll needs a visit to the dolly hospital. I'm not sure I would have the cleverness to sew such small garments! thanks for sharing. Wendy Ann seems to be in beautiful shape for her age ! :-)


Sheila said...

I loved seeing your special doll, Wendy Ann. I had a Miss Canada doll which was very special to me but I have no idea what happened to it. I learned to sew on My mom's Featherweight singer and made doll clothes for her. I think it's a wonderful idea to bring Wendy Ann out each Christmas to celebrate with you!

KarenHarveyCox said...

This post made me cry a bit. It brought back memories of my Ginny doll and my mother making clothes and a little doll bed made from a tissue box and satin sheets. I think my Ginny had the same nightgown and duster from your first photo. OMG, remember dusters? Memories are such an amazing thing, they never get dusty do they? Always waiting for us patiently to open the door and visit a while, seeing familiar faces like you did when you found your Wendy Ann.


KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

What a wonderful memory....thank you for sharing Ms. Wendy with us!

Kathleen said...

What a treasure, the doll, and the sweet memories. My gparents were all gone by the time I was 7, so I don't have many memories of them. I hope I am creating some with my 4 gkids, other than stop running, stop jumping and don't do that! :)

Anonymous said...

This reminds of my grand father i was his Wendy Anne to every one else just Wendy. Thanks for the memories.

Maggie said...

How lovely to meet Wendy Ann, she is delightful.
I hope we see her again soon.
Bon weekend,

From the Kitchen said...

My two sisters and I had Madam Alexander dolls. They were fairly large and "dressy". I believe mine was named American Beauty. My grandmother made us each a new dress for them at Christmas. I was always torn between wanting pretty dolls and baby dolls. The baby dolls usually won out. Thanks for a lovely memory this morning.


Sally said...

My first visit, and I see you had a special relationship with your grandmother as I did with mine. She was my role model!!

You also like low country books; those are my favorite also.

The only doll I remember having was Sparkle Plenty! :)

Have a wonderful day! :)


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