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permission of Carolyn Croll. ©All rights reserved Carolyn Croll

May 31, 2009

Lost In Bath

My first Roche doll

On a visit to England over 25 years ago I traveled
to Bath to see the sites including the Assembly 
Rooms which house a costume museum.

One of the things I love most about the Brits.
They never throw anything away. When they save
enough of something, they open a museum. 
Trains, antique plumbing fixtures, complete streets 
of old shops, farm life, carriages, cars, planes, jails 
and anything else one can think of and plenty 
one wouldn't. 

Closest to my heart, genuine old garments and accessories.
Many with historical associations and some represented
in portraits worn by the original owners. Then there are 
theatrical costumes. 

The Assembly Rooms, Bath

Off I went, map in hand through honey colored Bath.
Found the Pump Room and the Roman Baths.
Then off to find the Assembly Rooms. 
All the time thinking - Jane Austin. Its her town.

Walked a bit too far along Walcot St. parallel to the 
River Avon and became a little lost. On my left a tiny
shop window with doll house miniatures.
Wrong street maybe, but definitely up my alley.

Went in and was greeted by a friendly young man in 
the small front room. Near the window, a table of heart 
touchingly beautiful dolls. Porcelain heads, pretty hand 
painted faces, blond, brunette and ginger pigtails. 

Articulated arms and legs, wearing smocked Liberty of  
London print dresses and delicate hand knit cardigans.  
In the next room, a dark haired young woman sewing dolls 
clothes. (The job of my dreams.) Took a while to choose 
the right doll. Carried on my lap the entire flight back to 
Philadelphia. So went my introduction to Lynne and 
Michael Roche, Dollmakers  extraordinaire. Early days 
of their spectacular collaboration. 
Now, internationally recognized Masters of their craft.
See for yourself at

Lynne and Michael Roche (with permission)

The following year, I made a bee line back to Bath. So looking 
forward to another visit and another doll. But the shop door 
was locked! A note on the window told me they were in New 
York City at the toy fair. Aaahhhh!! Slipped a card under the 
door bearing greetings and disappointment (tears couched 
in humor).

Found some of their dolls in London at The General Trading Co. 
in Sloan St and in a Burlington Arcade Shop. Naturally, prices
had doubled. But that didn't stop me. My sister in law, Debbie
had asked for one also. 

Sent the Roches a copy of Goldie The Dollmaker, by M.B. Goffstein.
For a number of years, they sent copies of their handmade catalogue.
The book, A Celebration of Enchantment, by Barbara 
Spadaccini-Day, celebrates their 25th anniverary (2005) 
as superb Doll Makers.

My assistant, Fred E. Cat helping 
set up the shot.

May 29, 2009

Taking Cover

Working on a new cover for THE STORY OF THE 
PILGRIMS, by Katharine Ross that I illustrated for 
Random House a while back.

Remembering all the research and the help of the 
good folks at the Plimouth Plantation.

 Learned the Pilgrims dressed like other 17th century 
Europeans not in "typical" Pilgrim costumes from my 
childhood books. Invented by 19th century Victorian 
era artists. 

The Pilgrims did not call themselves Pilgrims.
There are only 2 documents recounting the harvest feast
we know as the first Thanksgiving. One, a contemporary 
letter by Edward Winslow, and the other by William 
Bradford, written 20 or so years after the event.
No pumpkin pie nor popcorn at that feast.

Every detail in my illustrations was examined and 
approved by the experts at the Plimouth Plantation.

I'd love to go there sometime and talk with the historic 
interpreters. My idea of a good time.

May 25, 2009

Tooth Fairy

OK, got a little crazy with the polymer clay.

Thought Dr. Ted, my Pediatric Dentist brother,
would appreciate a tooth fairy....

So I made some.

Then, I made a few pups........ ;-)

May 24, 2009

Kitty Pins

It all started with polymer clay intended
for bead making.
First one then the other of the cat boys
came around to watch me work.
Cutting and rolling and punching
holes in a box full of free hand beads led
to fooling around.

With a head (and apartment) full of
cats... well you can see what happened.
Cats for pins! First the solid colors.
Soon varied color parts and marbelized.

Gave some away to friends and my
brother Ted. Who shared them with
folks in his kid's dental office.

By popular request, some cat
pins are now available at
Ciao Carolina, my Etsy shop
=^..^= =^..^=

May 18, 2009

Its Birthday Week

Not sure who's birthday this was, so long ago, but wearing the party hat, I claim it.
LtoR front - brother Jock, sister Sue. Back - brother Ted, Moi

Wednesday will mark 64 trips around 
the sun, the home planet has made 
since my arrival. 

My generation's family firstborn.
A birthday present myself.  
Born on my maternal Grandfather's 
and father's birthday.

A brief reign.
Within 5 years 3 sibs and 6 cousins 
with 3 more to come.

Such is life. ;-)

May 13, 2009

Visitor From Outer Space

On the phone this morning, gazing at
the window behind me reflected on my dark
computer screen.

Suddenly a pigeon landed on the outer
windowsill. A big deal up here on the 37th floor.
Besides the occasional window washer, we
almost never get live visitors from the world

Years ago, before cats came, a young
Peregrine Falcon stopped on the same sill
to rest during soaring practice. But that's

My cat boys, have only witnessed birds on
the wing from a distance, or a quick glance
from behind the mesh of their carrier going
through the park on the way to the vet.
They see more airplanes and helicopters.

Went to get Tizzy and Fred up from
their morning snooze in the other room.

Fred realized something was afoot and
followed immediately.
But TZ beat him to the window.

Tiz is still there along with the pigeon.
The visitor from outer space being carefully
(with a modicum of frustration) observed by
the inhabitant of this inner space, high up
over center city.

PS: The Pigeon remained on the sill from shortly after 9AM
until it took off shortly after 4PM when I tried to give it a
little drink of water in a small cap.
It was a young bird as it still had traces of pinfeathers
sticking through its flight feathers like honey colored threads
in a tied quilt. And its eyes were still
brown, not yet red.

Godspeed little Pigeon.
Welcome back anytime.

May 7, 2009

For Mother's Day

The way we were.......

As her parents would put it, my Mom is "smart as 12 colleges", good looking, and has a great sense of humor. All came in handy as, despite a bad marriage, she some how got her four kids raised and college educated with no money but stubborn determination, sacrifice and so much love.

She produced (in birth order) a published children's book illustrator
and author, a top administrator at a major university, a greatly
respected pediatric dentist and another town's beloved general dentist.

All of whom get along, enjoy each other's company and look out for each other.
She could definitely write the book.

All the time she was also losing her eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa.
An inherited disorder that slowly but surely destroyed her retinas
until she was blind.

She has not been able to see anything for 20 or more years.
Not my books or the beautiful faces of her grandchildren.
I joke that she has also missed seeing her middle aged children's
silvering and in some cases, receding, hair.

Despite everything, Mom lives her life with immense grace, courage
and always, humor.

Happy Mother's Day to my dear Mom.