Summer 2012 From the Editor

I attended my five-year-old niece’s first ballet recital recently, and while I don’t remember my own first dance recital so long ago, I do remember later ones and the family gatherings that followed. Rylee had a large contingency of enthusiastic family members in attendance that day, and I was only one of her several proud aunties. As human beings we gather together in families to support and encourage each other, and the word “family” can encompass not only blood ties, but also friends and loved ones bound together through emotional ties. Such a blessing this is! In a few weeks we doll lovers will gather again and meet up with our “doll families.” We’ll greet old friends and, hopefully, make new ones at this year’s annual convention, which will be held in the great city of New Orleans.

Some of our readers will recognize an old friend in our feature article, which tells the charming tale of a special French fashion opera star named Lillian Dal Monte. “Dressing a Diva – The World of Lillian Dal Monte,” written by the ever talented and creative Michael Canadas will transport you to another realm. Michael combines his love of dolls with his love of opera and fashion as he takes us through the complexities of creating a world class DVD, and designing tiny authentic opera costumes for his fabulous cast of actors. You’re sure to fall in love with beautiful Lillian. Speaking of falling in love, we offer a group of darling animal dolls in “Dolly’s Furry Friends,” written by one of our favorite authors, Julie Blewis. We dare you not to want to find one for your own collection!

This year England’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates sixty successful years on the throne. “From Princess to Queen – Her Majesty Elizabeth II and Her Dolls” by Elizabeth K. Schmahl is a fully researched and comprehensive journey through the life of 1950s “It Girl,” Queen Elizabeth and the many beautiful dolls made in her likeness over the years. We found a lovely old-fashioned paper doll for you, which we think you’ll enjoy as a timely memento of Queen Elizabeth’s anniversary year. Ann Leis has written a charming article on the whimsical dolls of self-taught ODACA doll artist Betsey Baker and her supportive husband Ray, the Head Banana Man at our annual conventions. They haven’t missed a UFDC convention in 29 years, so when you see them in New Orleans, please say hello! “From the Heart and Hands, Dolls to Feed the Soul” is a poignant look at some of our most valuable doll treasures from another one of our favorite authors, Dorothy McGonagle. Dorothy shows us why these particular dolls often tug at our heartstrings as no others can.

We’re sure you’ll love this next article, “The Woodettes, Wartime Wonders” as much as we do. Written by doll and toy researchers, Marcie and Bob Tubbs, the story of inspirational World War II era toy maker Mary Alice Stoddard comes alive. Ms. Stoddard rose from struggling artist and illustrator to commercial success through sheer determination and imagination, and hers is a remarkable story. If you’d like to sit back in your favorite chair with a nice cup of tea, we invite you to fall into Janet Gula’s lovely article, “To Play Amongst Lovely Things, Children and Dolls Captured on Canvas.” You’ll see that the dolls we love now have been playing muse to artists throughout the centuries. I attended the fabulous Region 15 Conference in New Hampshire last fall, and I hope I’ve managed to bring it alive for you in “Cherished Childhood Dolls, Region 15 Conference.” It was in every way a sensational weekend. Well-done Granite State Doll Club!

We finish our coverage of the blue ribbon winners in the competition room of last year’s UFDC convention in Anaheim with Celebrating our “Blue Ribbon Winners, Part II.” It’s amazing to think that there will be dolls just as beautiful and rare this year in New Orleans. For our sewers and lovers of French fashion dolls we offer “The Basic Lillian Bodice and Skirt Patterns” from Michael Canadas’ Lillian Dal Monte opera costumes. We suspect you’ll want to take advantage of these original patterns and create some authentic 1860s period costumes for your own Lillians.

We hope that you are planning a trip to New Orleans this summer, for nowhere else can you see world-class exhibits, seminars, programs and workshops like you will see at a UFDC convention, not to mention the greatest salesroom in the world. It’s an experience and opportunity not to be missed! We trust you will all have a healthy and family-filled summer.

Denise