Sunday, February 17, 2013

Well I'm excited . . .

I'm  really excited to tell you that  I have been featured in the February 2013 issue of Art Doll Quarterly magazine.  I created six dolls in honor of my great aunts, from "downhome" as we called it.  I call them the Garden Club Gals.  In the article I write about the dolls, how each lady has a different position in the club, and what their duties are.  Every single doll has her own personality.  It's just kind of fun and silly.

 My grandma and grandad on my dad's side were southerners, coming from Kentucky and southern Illinois, Hillsboro area.  I know southern Illinois doesn't sound very southern, but believe me, when I was on the farms and in the small town visiting the relatives, the accents were definitely there and the lifestyle was southern. 
Oh, how I loved being there. I should have known right then and there that I belong in the south, probably on a farm or a very rural small town. While there, I learned to ride a horse. I also learned to drive a motorcycle.  I went fishing in a trout pond, and I played in a corn silo.   I still remember going to the barn to visit Uncle Paul while he was milking cows. He asked me if I liked milk, and nodding my head up and down I assured him I loved milk. As I got a little closer to take a better look he pointed the udders at me, squirting me with the warm milk. I squealed as loud as the nearby baby pigs as I ran away. Once I was at a safe distance, I stopped and looked back. He was perched on his little stool, bent over as he resumed his work. I could hear him softly chuckling as the streams of milk hit the bucket. What a character.  On my 15th birthday, in a cute little beauty shop in town, I had my ears pierced. Yet another memory. I wish I could remember what the name of the shop was and exactly how it looked. I'm picturing a cute little pink shop, something like I would see on the Andy Griffith show or like the beauty shop in Steel Magnolias.  

I had such wonderful visits, and absolutely loved all the aunts, my grandma's sisters.  They had such a huge influence on me. I saw first-hand the quilting and sewing and canning and baking - all the activities so common to women from that generation.   My grandma had six sisters and one brother.  Actually while researching I discovered she had another brother, Reed, who I had never heard of.  I am assuming he died young.  

My grandma was Ina.  Ina Pearl Littrell. She was born and raised in the beautiful southeastern Kentucky. I have named chickens and dolls after her and all of these women.  I'm not sure if they would have been happy about that or not!!  Her sisters were Mary, Audrey, Willa, Lillian, Myrtle Lee, and she had a brother named Paul, who married Leona.  My brother, Joseph Paul, was named after my grandad, Joseph, and Uncle Paul.  I remember Uncle Paul and his dry sense of humor.  He always had a twinkle in his blue eyes and looked like he was ready to break into a smile, which always left me wondering just what he was up to.   

I felt so at home in the small town and farms we stayed at, perhaps partly because I had family there. You see, somehow my grandparents ended up in southern Illinois, which is a stones throw from the area in Kentucky where she was born. My dad's parents moved to Wisconsin right before he and his sister were born. Times were hard and there was a huge automobile factory here offering steady employment and benefits. He and Aunt Betty were raised here.  At 17 years of age, my dad joined the navy and was stationed in San Francisco, where he met my mom. They married and started their family there, and my older brother, Joey, was born. When he was about a year old they had an earthquake, which frightened my dad to death. He told my mom to pack everything up. Off they went to Wisconsin. His sister, Aunt Betty had 5 boys, but since she married a handsome naval officer and lived out of state, we never had any relatives here except for my grandparents.  So I grew up with absolutely no relatives around, which I guess seemed normal since I didn't know any different. I guess I felt like I had roots downhome, and that was where I belonged.
I remember how Aunt Myrt and Uncle Dale had a bowling alley and antique store on the main street in the small town.  Aunt Lillian's son, Harold Dean, was the mayor.  (In the south you use two names). I felt so important being related to royalty!
My mom recalls the local newspaper printing a little article about the relatives from Wisconsin visiting one summer. Now that's what I call a small town. She also recalls the first time she met my grandmother's mom.  She was a little tiny Ma Kettle like dynamo, and within one minute of being introduced, she excused herself, picked up a shotgun and shot at some crows she had just noticed in her garden.  My mom was a bit taken aback, being a city girl.  
I created these dolls in honor of the aunts.  They are whimsical and silly.  I hope the pictures do them justice. I gave them each bloomers and a full slip.  No proper lady would be without a slip, right   You should see the bloomers. 

I added extra stuffing into the back of the bloomers to give the aunts a little extra cush for comfort.  Actually none of them were really chubby, but it was cute.  Come to think of it Aunt Myrt was a plump, sweet, lovable little thing.   
  I added a little extra stuffing in the bosoms for a more mature look.
I used vintage reproduction fabrics and linens for the coats to have a fresh, fun, yet vintage feel.  The article goes into a little more detail.  I am on pages 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.  I really hope you get a chance to pop in a Barnes and Noble or some place that carries the magazine so you can take a peek.  I am so excited about it, and am really happy to pay tribute to these wonderful women who had such an influence on me. 

One of my sons and his family are very seriously considering moving to southern Tennessee, really just south of where my grandma is from.  We are  considering trying to find a tiny little cottage or build a little log cabin near them to visit, and maybe spend some of the winter months.  How funny that I might end up so near to where it all began.  Full circle really.  Maybe I am meant to live in the south after all.  Anyone out there from Tennessee, or nearby?  Thanks so much for stopping by to visit, I am always so happy to see you!


  1. OMG, your dolls are drop-dead gorgeous! What a wonderful tribute to your great aunts. Congratulations on being show-cased in the magazine - it's well deserved! :)

  2. HI Julie! How wonderful and congratulations! I love your dolls and reading about your aunts as well. you are lucky to have such good memories of your childhood. I will be sure to pick up a copy when I see one! I always love when i find someone in a magazine that I can say "i know her!" lol
    have a great day!

  3. These are just the cutest dolls! I love their little high heels and bloomers. Sooooo cute! They must just make you giggle everytime you look at them.

  4. Congratulations Julie!! How exciting! You dolls are absolutely beautiful and so very sweet!! Such talent you have!! Wishing you a lovely week! xo Heather

  5. Your dolls are too cute!! I will look for the magazine, I'd love to read the article!! Congratulation!


  6. Hello sweet Julie! I am tickled pink you found my blog sweetie! I LOVE Your pinterest and I LOVE your sweet blog! I think it is so funny we've been pinning each others pins and did not know about our blogs! hee hee! Well, thankfully we do now and we can visit here too! Thank you so much for your kind words! We have so much in common! I am so glad pink is your favorite color too! Thank you for your kind wishes about my health and for your sweet prayers! I am praying for your health too! I am so happy to meet you dear heart!!!!

    Congratulations for having your dolls published! I am thrilled for you!!!! They are so sweet, fantastic and so beautiful!!! Your work is really incredible and the details are amazing! What a loving tribute to your aunts! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading about your dear ones and your southern roots. I am a southern girl (Louisiana) and loved all you shared! Sweetie, I hope you can get that cabin in Tennessee. That would be so much fun!

    I hope you have a beautiful week! I am so blessed to have you for my new friend! Love to you sweetie! Hugs, Paula xoxo

  7. Julie,
    What adorable gals you made! Congratulations in the magazine feature! You have inspired me to finish making my Izannah Walker doll I started over two years ago! She has been sitting patiently waiting on my hallway counter all this time. Love the bright colors of your dolls outfits too!

  8. Congratulations Julie!!! Your dolls are so sweet!!!!!!I have a couple of dolls on paper but I never made them.......I'll have to look for that issue....I love barnes and noble!I come from a big family like yours... my grandmom on my dads side had 11 kids and that makes alot of Aunts, uncles and cousins. I love your stories and they remind me of mine when I was growing up...we had alot of family get togethers and spent all summers with family relatives ...I remember canning and fishing and all of that fun stuff :)


  9. CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so PROUD of you. Girl you are one talented lady. I just love your dolls they are precious. Can I put an order in? Your story is so sweet and I just love to read your posts. What a great idea to name them after your aunts they would be so honored and proud of you my sweet friend.

  10. Your dolls are precious! Congrats on being featured! How neat!

  11. Julie,
    Congratulations! The Garden Club Gals are just adorable. You are so incredibly talented. I'll have to drive up to Barnes & Noble to find a copy of the magazine so I can read more.

    My dad was born in Southern KY, near Cumberland Falls. My sister and I took a trip to Kentucky and Northern Tennessee a couple of years ago; it is absolutely beautiful throughout the region, and the people there were just wonderful. I have often felt that I belonged in the South, or the Midwest, in a small town. That's not likely to happen for me, but I sure hope you're able to find a cottage or cabin in TN.

  12. The Garden Club Gals are so cute. I love all the personality that you've given each one. Congratulations on the feature. How exciting for you!

  13. And just in time for Spring, too....Oh, Julie! Your quaint little Auntie Dolls are adorable. Congratulations on being appreciated for your talents and being published. I remember one of your posts about the girl that was mean to you when you were young....Well...Guess What? Your rock!
    Big hugs and smiles,
    Carolynn xoxo

  14. What a great story and congrats on being published! (I enjoy knowing "famous" people!)

  15. Lucy,
    Your dolls are adorable!
    The stories that go with each one bring their personalities to life.
    I am laughing my hiney off at the bloomers and boobs...too cute :)
    I am going to B&N tomorrow to look for the magazine.
    I am so excited for you!
    Loads of Love and Hugs

  16. Julie, they are simply divine...Can we order them...I just fell in love..I love every detail about them...Please let me know. A huge congratulations to you...Great job.. Your work is amazing.!!! I love coming to visit and reading your great stories you should maybe doing some writing for a book ??? really...Let me know plz if I can order one of the The Garden Club Gals..Happy Monday with love Janice

  17. Congratulations on this wonderful honor Julie! Your dolls are all the more special in that they are based on people you loved. They would be so thrilled, I am sure. Your attention to detail is amazing! Wow! What a fun post! Elizabeth

  18. Oh my goodness, your Southern Aunt dolls are darling!! What a wonderful family you had! :-)

  19. Congratulations on your feature Julie...Your dolls are wonderful and so unique and all with their own individual personalities too!
    Hope you're having a great week,
    Susan x

  20. Just flat out adorable! My grandmother had a friends named Atrell, MayBell, Betty Lou, Thelma Lou and Francis Kay. Don't you just love the south! Loved the post and I'm soooo proud of you for getting published! Pretty soon all the publications will be knocking on your door! Way to go!xoxo-cindy

  21. Your dolls are so, so terrifically charming, whimsical, and bursting with personality. Thank you for sharing your lovely recollections and these fantastic creations with us.

    ♥ Jessica

  22. Eke! How wonderful, Julie! Your dolls are absolutely darling and I'm not surprised they were chosen for publication:) You are VERY talented!

  23. They are adorable! Congratulations, but I can't say it is a surprise everything you do is noteworthy! Great job!

  24. Hi Julie, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment . . . way back in December . . . (and I've just now discovered your comment!). Your dolls are absolutely adorable and I loved reading every single word of your story! I had a dog when I was a kid and I named her Janie . . . after my Aunt Janie . . . the aunt who talked my mom into letting me take my Janie home! I'm sure she would have preferred that I name a doll after her! Best, Barbara

  25. Que lindas as bonecas, uma perfeição.Parabéns pelo trabalho maravilhoso.
    Um beijo

  26. Oh my goodness! Your dolls are amazing and I love the story!

  27. Hi Julie.
    I just wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy Easter weekend :)

  28. Just precious dolls and their stories! Congratulations on being publish! You deserve it!