Apr 26

Thursday Favorite Things: Paper Dolls

When I was a little girl, growing up in a small, rural village in Michigan, one of my favorite things to do was to create my own paper dolls. I would cut out a picture of a beautiful young woman or little girl and glue it on to a piece of cardboard. Then my mom showed me how to take another, small piece of cardboard and fold it and cut it just right so that I could get my new paper doll to stand up. There! Once that was finished it was on to designing, drawing, coloring, and cutting out a brand new wardrobe for Miss Fancy Pants.

One of the reasons that I always loved creating my paper dolls and designing beautiful clothes for them was because having a beautiful wardrobe of my own was not something that was going to happen anytime soon. As I was growing up, we mostly wore hand-me-downs or thrift store bargains (I remember how much fun it was when my mom would go to the Goodwill store and buy a “grab bag” filled with various and numerous cast0ffs, all for 25 cents!), so fancy and frilly new dresses just weren’t part of my experience. But when it came to designing clothing and outfits for my paper dolls, well, that was definitely a time for creativity and imagination!

I now have a collection of vintage Betsy McCall paper dolls that I have gathered up over the years and I frequently share them in our monthly online Christian women’s magazine, Ruby for Women. Betsy McCall paper dolls were always one of my favorites because they seemed to portray a little girls whose life was what I wished my life could be . . . . safe, sweet, simple, and filled with love. So even now, as a mama and a grandma, I still love paper dolls!

There are lots of creative projects that can be made using vintage paper dolls, too. One of my current projects is an art journal book that I am making for one of our granddaughters. All kinds of fun and fanciful bits of paper, ribbons, buttons, lace, and fibers have been used to embellish a blank book that reminds my little treasured girl that “Home is Where Your Story Begins . . . ” And of course there is lots and lots of glitter! There are several pages that have decorated envelopes to hold paper dolls and a complete wardrobe for each one, along with book marks, “inchie” collages, embellished tags, alphabet letters, Scrabble numbers, Bingo cards, and anything else I can find that will be fun for an 8 year old girl to play with.

It is amazing to me that simply remembering all of the fun I had as a little girl has inspired so many creative projects . . . . can’t wait to see what the next idea will be!

I hope that you will share one of your favorite things on your blog, and then visit Katherine’s Corner to leave a link back to your post. I would love to come and visit you! Have a great Thursday, Nina





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  1. Create With Joy

    Wonderful post – I share your love for paper dolls and spent hours with my mom playing with them as a little girl! 🙂

    1. Nina

      Thank you for stopping by to visit, Ramona ;o) I try to include some of the paper dolls from my collection in each issue of Ruby for Wome, so be sure to check out some of the past issues. Hoping to post for Inspire Me Monday in the morning! Hope you had a great weekend – Hugs, Nina

  2. sewsurprising

    Paper dolls brings back so many childhood memories for me 🙂 and your blog is lovely I am about to add it to my rss feed 🙂

  3. Katherine

    xo Thank you for linking to the Thursday Favorite Things hop I hope you have a weekend filled with happy!

  4. Evelyn

    Oh you brought back such great memories for me. I always loved Betsy McCall! Just seeing her again makes me happy and wishing to cut her out:)

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