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  • Lizzy Dripping and Little Lizzy Dripping Dolls

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    Lizzy Dripping is a Victorian rag doll the doll of the working classes in England and Ireland. In contrast with the bisque or porcelain doll, which richer children had and which was often brought out only on Sundays, Lizzy Dripping dolls were made of cotton for everyday play and love. Their clothes were usually cotton or muslin and were a replica of the dresses, pants, jackets and pantaloons worn by children from the mid-1800's on.

    Lizzy was a generic name for young Irish maids, girls of 14 or so years, who had left home to work in the Big House. They worked as scullery maids in the back kitchens, and were responsible for cleaning pots and pans, the kitchen floor and any other menial kitchen labor which was needed. They generally worked a six day week, unless "company" was expected to dinner on Sunday evening, in which case they stayed in the kitchen late to clean up.

    This Lizzy Dripping was first made by Mary Ann O'Callaghan for her daughters Rosemary and Florence in 1875. When Rosemary ran away from home in 1898 to marry a German violinist she took with her only three things: her mother's large, white hat, her own Lizzy Dripping, and the tea caddy which her grandmother had willed her.

    Rosemary and her husband, Carl, had nine children, six boys and three girls, each of which was born in a different city in either England or Ireland. In the early 1900's, Rosemary made three Lizzies for Tess, Florence and Dorothy, her three daughters. Tess in turn made Lizzies in the 1950's for her daughters Jane and Elizabeth. And Jane made them for her two girls, Andrea and Gillian in the 1970's. Andrea and husband Tom started a family in 1998 and now their daughter, Rosie, has a red-haired and blue-eyed Lizzy.
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    And Why the Name Lizzy Dripping?
    Lizzy the maid lived "below stairs"; being working class, poor and at the bottom of the social scale in the Big House, Lizzy could not afford butter on her bread slices like the rich people who lived upstairs. She spread dripping - which is lard - on her bread.

    A great number of Lizzies made their way to the USA in the 1800's, where they worked as maids and housekeepers. As such, they were quite successful. A number turned to pick-pocketing and small thievery and were known to the police as Molly Malones ...... but that is another story.
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    Little Lizzie $37.00
    Lizzy’s Apron $6.00
    Lizzy’s Panty $6.00
    Lizzy’s Tam O’Shanter $5.00
    Lizzy’s Nightie $14.00
    Lizzy’s Dress $14.00
    Lizzy’s Aran Cardigan $16.00
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  • Texan Alicia Dolls

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    As many of you know, I have a Texan daughter named Alice. Alice lives in doll heaven, and is partly Hispanic, partly Native American, partly…. with a wee bit of Irish. So the leap from an Irish Lizzy Dripping doll to a Texan Lizzy Dripping doll was not far:

    SO.. (drum roll here): our new doll is called ALICIA, is 18 inches tall, like Lizzy, has jet black hair, like my Alice, and comes in two shades of warm, honey-brown.
  • Golly Dolls

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    boy or girl $33.00
    Black Irish: the Gollywog

    Gollywogs, or Golly Dolls have been around for quite a while in Ireland. The Gollywog developed as a household toy after Africans started to come to Ireland from the African missions to study at universities and seminaries in Dublin and Maynooth.

    The "Gollywog" name was borrowed from the English in the 19th Century, and the story of how that name evolved is quite an interesting one. England carried out active slave trading with the Carolinas well into the middle of the 19th Century, where Gulla was one of the many African dialects/languages spoken by slaves taken from their African homelands.

    The intellectual leap from Gulla to "Golly" was not a big one and somewhere along the line the derogatory term "Wog", meaning somebody with tight, curly, black hair, which originated in India during England's establishment of its Empire there was tacked on to give the name "Gollywog". The Irish, it may also have been the Anglo-Irish class in Ireland, adopted the name for their black dolls. Incidentally, Gulla is still spoken by some inhabitants of the Carolinas today.

    A second type of Gollywog was developed by an American woman, who, stranded and destitute in London at the beginning of this century, first made Gollywogs as a copy of vaudeville black face singers. These tail-coated, male dolls were very popular children's toys until the 1960s, when the British government, prompted by subjects returning from now independent British colonies, banned their manufacture and sale, and removed all the Gollywog dolls from State-run nursery schools.

    Withstanding time, Golly Dolls retain their unique place alongside Teddy bears and dolls as companions, and remain an integral part of Irish life.
    Golly Doll Girl $33.00
    Golly Doll Boy $33.00
    Golly Girl’s Dress $10.00
    Golly Boy’s Shirt $10.00
    Golly Boy’s Work Jeans $8.00
    Golly Apron $6.00
    Mini-Golly Doll Girl $14.00
    Mini-Golly Doll Boy $14.00
  • Leprechauns

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    These are tricky little fellows. Usually no taller than 2 ft., the Leprechaun is a solitary member of The Little People, a shoemaker or tailor by trade, and a trouble maker by passion.

    He is said to own a pot or bag of gold, which he must surrender to whomsoever catches him. Many are the stories of people who have been duped by the Leprechaun in their attempts to take his gold; one such person was a certain Donal O'Donovan of County Kerry, who saw a Leprechaun burying a pot of gold in a field.

    Placing his hat on the spot where the gold was buried, Donal hurried home to get a spade. When he returned, Donal found the field to be filled with spades, each stuck upright in the ground, and each bearing a hat similar to his own. Leprechauns are also known to come into houses late at night to make mischief, and some have been known to exchange a sleeping baby for a wicked fairy, a so called changeling.

    To offset these bad habits, some leprechauns will attach themselves to a family or home, doing odd jobs around the house at night, and proving to be very pleasant companions indeed.

    And the word "leprechaun"? Its roots are given by etymologists to be a combination of "lugh" (= small), and "corpan", a diminutive of "corp" (= body).
  • PJ Dolls

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    Who Is PJ?

    The seas of the coastal Atlantic off the West of Ireland have been the working grounds for generations of fishermen, Shoals of herring, whiting and mackerel provide food and livelihood for men from the Blasket Islands in the southwest to Tory Island and Donegal County in the northwest. On many of the western isles, like the three Aran Islands off Galway Bay in the extreme west of Ireland, fish have been the main staple since time immemorial.

    The men who hunted the black and green glint of the mackerel shoals with nets and lines in the dark blue Atlantic waters or chased the lunging black masses of whales with hand harpoons in light, hand-propelled curragh boats knew enough of the perils of the sea which could end a man's life without a whisper. These are the men who were called Tomas, Paddy, Young Sean, Michael, Johnny the Rag, and P J, i.e. Patrick Joseph.
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  • Whoozit Cats

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    The "Whoozit?" cat people trace their roots to the Depression times, and were first made in this version in the early '30s in England.

    Also known as Catnip dolls, they were a fanciful version as the faithful household pets, and reflected in a way the British axiom of making it through difficult times together, - i.e. the Whoozits always appear in pairs.

    He wears a pair of so called Plus Fours; wide, knee-length trousers, worn for sporting activities. Her dress is a prim, high-necked blouse and wide, commodious skirt, reminiscent of late Victorian moral values.

    Whoozits were usually made of scraps of material found around the house, hence the brightly coloured "stockings".

    These Whoozits are made of muslin and -- in part -- old aprons, bought in Europe.

    Whoozit Cat, Pair $69.00
    Whoozit Cat, Each $39.00
  • Bears

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    Available in various colors in Jane's own original style!
    Two sizes available: 12 inches high (large) and 9 inches high (small).

    Teddy Bear, Large $21.00
    Teddy Bear, Small $18.00
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  • Topsy Turvey Dolls

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    Topsy-Turvy Dolls: A part of American history

    It has recently been suggested that topsy-turvy dolls originated in plantation nurseries. If that was so, then it is a poignant reminder of the danger inherent in the lives of slave families' children in the South. Wanting a (forbidden) white doll like the babies their mothers cared for in plantation nurseries, the children were given a two headed (topsy-turvy) doll which could be flipped to the black side when an overseer passed them at play. The dolls were generally made of plain calico or homespun linen, and had a head on each end of a single body and two sets of arms, with no legs. The heads were concealed by a long skirt.

    Early topsy-turvy dolls originated in folklore, and were known as hex dolls. The Pennsylvania hex doll, which sports both human and pig heads - now to be found in the Mary Merritt Doll Museum in Douglasville, Pa. - could have been one of those hex dolls used for curing warts and casting spells. There is a common thread linking dolls of this kind in many world cultures.

    With the progression of the Industrial Revolution, mechanical and novelty dolls became quite prevalent, and a succession of dolls often took their characters from fairy tales or special themes. Some dolls combined Little Red Riding Hood and the Grandmother or the Big Bad Wolf, others depicted different, starkly contrasting seasons. Others had themes such a rich and poor or City and Country (England, 19th Century).

    (C) Jane McDaniel 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.

    Sources: "American Folk Dolls", Wendy Lavitt, 1982 Alfred A. Knopf, New York "Designing and Making Dolls", Ilse Gray, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York.
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  • Christmas Tree Skirts

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    Medium $54.00
    Large $94.00
    Jane’s original and reversible Tree Skirts come in four diameter sizes: Large, 56 inches; Medium, 45 inches; Small, 32 inches; and Mini, 14 inches. Snowflake Tree Skirts are 51 inches in diameter. All Tree Skirts are lined with batting, bound with red, gold or emerald satin, are fully washable and have a ten-year guarantee.

    New Star Shaped Christmas Tree Skirt

    And you thought the Three Skirt could not get any better! I’ve been working on the most gorgeous tree skirt ever: it is pieced on one side in shades of red / green / gold or shades of burgundy / old rose / Williamsburg blue / gold and backing is any Christmas material of your choice….

    Because it is costing me 7 days out of my ever-shorter life, the price for this Tree Skirt will be $120, and I can assure you that there will be only a limited number of these.
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    Angel Tree Skirt, 55 ins in diameter, reversible, backing elegant or wild. Trimmed in either red or old gold satin.
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    A classical Christmas pattern in muted blues, with Santa on his sleigh; trimmed in red satin. Backing elegant or playful. Size: 55 inches in diameter.
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    Napoleonic Tree Skirt - 56 inches in diameter.
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    Example of backing. 10 different backings available. Ask me to email you samples of materials.
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    Example of backing. 10 different backings available. Ask me to email you samples of materials.
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    Example of backing. 10 different backings available. Ask me to email you samples of materials.