Max Finds His Passion

Max was a large teddy bear. He always felt a bit self-conscious about his great size. Many of the other teddy bears who lived in the giant backyard dollhouse called “Much Ado About Nothing” were far smaller than Max. But, Max soon learned that due to his size there were things he could do that the smaller teddy bears could not.

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Max could sit at the computer desk and use the computer! The smaller teddy bears certainly couldn’t do that. They couldn’t reach the keyboard. Max’s large arms put him at just the right distance from the computer keys. While Max enjoyed being able to use the computer, he still often felt that something was missing from his life.

One afternoon, Max consulted with two of the smaller teddy bears about how he was feeling about his computer time, and what might be missing from his life. The two smaller teddy bears Max sat on the couch with that day were music bears. Mozart Bear and Strauss Bear both listened politely to Max as he talked about his time at the computer desk, and how he wished to do something more.

“Have you ever considered music?” Mozart Bear asked Max.

“I listen to music on the computer.” Max told him.

“No, no,” Strauss Bear scolded gently. “He means making music!”

“Yes! Have you ever considered making music?” Asked Mozart Bear.

Max felt confused. What were they talking about? “You think I should make music on the computer?” Max asked, doubtfully.

“Not on the computer, on the piano!” Mozart Bear said, grandly.

“Come with us.” Strauss Bear instructed to Max, so he followed the two smaller bears.

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Mozart Bear and Strauss Bear climbed up onto the back of the piano, settling themselves in comfortably next to the busts of the great composers, Mozart and Beethoven. Max sat at the piano keyboard, feeling very unsure of himself.

“Now, play.” Mozart Bear commanded. Max stared up at him.

“I don’t know how to play the piano.”

“Are you sure?” Asked Strauss Bear.

“Humans have to take lessons to learn to play piano.” Max told them.

“And, are you a human being?” Mozart asked Max.

“Well, no. I’m a teddy bear.” Max said with a sigh.

“Exactly!” Strauss Bear said. “Just play the keys as if you are typing a letter at the computer. I think you’ll find the results surprisingly pleasant.”

Max stared at Strauss Bear. Could it be that simple? Could teddy bears really play piano without needing lessons?

Max followed the instructions given to him by the two smaller music bears. To his surprise and delight, Max began making music! Max enjoyed playing the piano. He played and played, while Mozart Bear and Strauss Bear looked on, appreciatively listening to the music he made.

After that day Max did not resume his post at the computer keyboard. He stayed at the piano, playing his heart out. Max figured it was alright to not go back to the computer. Max had found what he enjoyed best.

Mozart Bear told Max one day later that perhaps another giant teddy bear would come along eventually who would best love spending time on the computer. So, Max didn’t worry about that any more. He just carried on enjoying making music at the piano. Max had found his passion at last!

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Spring TeaTime!

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Springtime is beginning to blossom. This time of year always reminds me of the time one spring when three of the dolls who used to live here at the giant backyard dollhouse called “Much Ado About Nothing” decided to have a patio tea party.

The three dolls who took it upon themselves to have a tea party were called Katie Leann, Bobbi, and Mary Caroline. I took the photo above when I happened to go outside and discovered the dolls having their tea party.

The three dolls looked very happy sitting at the patio table with their nice porcelain teddy bear tea set. I noticed right away that while they had a very nice tea set to use for their tea party, they didn’t actually have any tea to drink, nor did they have any scones, cucumber sandwiches, or other traditional teatime delicacies to enjoy with tea. I asked the three dolls if they were enjoying their tea party.

“We’re having a very nice time, thank you.” Katie Leann told me politely.

“Yes, our tea is delicious!” Agreed Mary Caroline, lifting her dainty tea cup to take a sip.

“I thought the sandwiches and little cakes were tasty too,” Bobbi added happily.

“I’m sorry,” I told the dolls. “But, I don’t see any evidence here that suggests to me that you’ve been drinking tea, or eating anything. Your tea cups and plates are spotless as though they’ve not been used at all.”

“Of course!” Bobbi said.

“Yep! Just the way they should be,” agreed Mary Caroline.

“What fun would it be to have to do dish washing after our tea party?” Katie Leann said with a giggle.

“So, did you, or didn’t you, have tea and teatime snack foods here just now?” I asked them, totally confused.

“We ate all the things we told you we had.” Mary Caroline explained.

“Yes! It was easy. Much easier than the way you have tea and snacks for a tea party,” Bobbi told me with a sweet smile.

“But, how?” I asked the dolls.

“All our teatime snacks and our tea are imaginary!” We can eat and drink anything we like, and we enjoy it all in our imaginations!” Katie Leann told me, as she took another sip of her tea.

“Aaaah!” I nodded and joined the dolls in smiling. “That does ensure that everything will always taste just right, doesn’t it?”

“Every time!” The three dolls replied in a chorus.

“Well, I won’t interrupt you further then. Enjoy the rest of your tea party!”

“Don’t go!” Mary Caroline urged me.

“Stay! Join us!” Bobbi encourage, waving to a nearby empty chair.

“You don’t mind?” I asked them.

“You’re a writer! You’ll be able to imagine even nicer tea and snacks than we did.” Katie Leann told me.

And so I did. I joined their tea party, and I had a wonderful time too. I sometimes forget how magical the imagination can be, and that spring day those dolls reminded me.

As we head into spring this year I hope everyone who reads this story remembers to use their imagination every now and then. It makes life so much sweeter!

Dolly Option Paralysis

Penny PlayPal really loves to play with dolls smaller than she is. Penny is a life size toddler doll, and she always has a great time playing with other dolls here at the giant backyard dollhouse called “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Penny likes littler dolls so much that sometimes she gets to feeling overwhelmed by how many smaller dolls she could play with, and she has a difficult time choosing a single doll to play with at one time.

Just recently I ventured out to the dollhouse to see what was going on out there, and I discovered Penny sitting in the rocking chair, looking pretty overwhelmed.

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I asked Penny to tell me what was troubling her since she clearly wasn’t having as much fun as she hoped she would have that day.

“There’s so many little dolls I could play with!” She cried in exasperation. “I don’t know who to choose!”

I sat down across from Penny and looked at her holding all those little dolls in her lap. She really was in a state.

“Penny, how did you end up with all those dolls in your lap at the same time?” I asked her, bewildered.

One of the smaller dolls answered for Penny. It was Camille, the blonde doll in the black dress with polka dots. “We all want to play with Penny because she’s so fun!” The other small dolls all happily nodded in agreement, but Penny didn’t look nearly as happy or pleased with this notion as the little dolls did. Penny just sat there, looking stressed and overwhelmed. She didn’t even know what to say.

I suggested that the smaller dolls go do something on their own for a while and I would talk to Penny. So, Camille and her friends sat down to have a book club meeting.

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Once the smaller dolls were situated reading quietly, Penny and I went into another part of the dollhouse to figure out a solution to her problem of selecting a doll to play with. Penny looked longingly around the dollhouse at all the dolls and teddy bears that were there to have fun with.

“It’s just so hard to choose!” Penny said with a long sigh. “Could you help me?” I agreed to help her. Penny did seem quite distressed and I hated to see her feeling so flustered and out of sorts.

I already knew that some human beings can occasionally get to feeling overwhelmed when we have too many things to choose from, but I hadn’t realized that dolls could experience such problems too.

Finally, Penny settled on one doll to play with, but Penny must have still been feeling flustered because when I went to snap a photo of her with the one doll she selected to play with that day – well, the photo below was the result.

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“Penny!” I said in alarm when I checked the picture. “You moved her just as I was taking the picture. Half her head isn’t in the picture at all! I can’t use this photo. We need to retake it.”

Penny looked at the photo and then shrugged. “It looks fine to me,” Penny said. “If you want a better picture then stick around and maybe you’ll get one.” Penny then wandered away to play with the regular sized dollhouse I bought for the dolls earlier this year.

Sure enough, Penny and her friend did have some fun playing that day. They played in the dollhouse with Saucy Walker and her other little doll friend.

But, I still didn’t get a single good photo of Penny’s doll friend’s face! Oh well, at least Penny had some fun, and she was able to recover from her dolly option paralysis!

 

Dollhouse Renovations Begin at Winter’s Tale!

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The group of dolls who live here in the giant backyard dollhouse known as Much Ado About Nothing are definitely up to something new this month!

Just recently the lovely dollhouse pictured above arrived here for the dolls in residence to fix up. They will all be working together to turn this lovely house into a cozy new home for the tiny porcelain Victorian dollhouse family of dolls who have been living among the larger dolls, but who have been feeling a bit sad and homeless for quite some time. The dollhouse family of dolls are among the tiniest of the all the dolls in residence here at Much Ado About Nothing, and boy are they relieved to finally be getting their own dollhouse to live in!

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Before the dollhouse family will be able to begin living in their new home there is plenty of work that will need to be completed. The renovation are going to be run by the butler and the housekeeper, pictured above standing on the balcony of the new dollhouse, who also will be living in the house with the dollhouse family. Once renovations are complete they will begin running the household, and they will make sure that everything runs smoothly for moving day.

When I interviewed them, to learn more about them so I could write this post, I learned that the butler is named John, and the housekeeper is called Carolyn. They explained to me that they took their names from the kind couple who helped this dollhouse make its way into the hands of the perfect new owner. I loved hearing this news, and I told John and Carolyn that by choosing their names in this way they were extending a lovely gesture of gratitude to the kind couple who sold us the dollhouse.  John and Carolyn agreed enthusiastically, and they told me that they are eager to begin overseeing the renovations of the dollhouse, so the house can be given some tender loving care, and so the poor homeless dollhouse family will be able to move in and begin enjoying living in their new home.

Lastly, John and Carolyn informed me that they have spoken with the dollhouse family who will be living in the new dollhouse once renovations are complete. They said the dollhouse family dolls have elected to name their new home “Winter’s Tale” because their lovely new dollhouse home was purchased for them during the the cold season of winter!

Sharing Doesn’t Always Come Easily….

When we are small, we human beings are usually taught by our parents to share with others. Many of us have siblings, and our siblings are usually the first people with whom we learn to share. When it’s first presented to us, many of us aren’t entirely happy about the prospect of learning to share with our siblings, or anyone else either, but in many cases that is where we start learning this important concept.

The dolls who live here in the giant backyard dollhouse known as “Much Ado About Nothing” also have learned to share. Some of them are very skilled at it. Others are less adept at it.

A recent example of sharing among the dolls here happened recently when a new doll came to live here. When the new doll arrived she brought along with her a couple of items which gave the other dolls the impression that she was ready to share, straight out of her shipping box! However, Fran Naomi had other ideas about the items she brought along with her form her previous home.

Compared to many of the other dolls who have joined my doll collection over the years, Fran Naomi arrived with quite a lot of luggage. Fran Naomi is pictured below on the left. She is the doll with the curls in the blue overall dress and the pink. blouse.

The first doll who Fran Naomi met when she arrived here was Portia Genie. Portia Genie is the doll on the left in the photo above, who wears her hair in braids.

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Fran Naomi arrived home accompanied by her very own traveling companion. He is the small oatmeal colored teddy bear seated in her lap in the photo below. Upon her arrival, Fran Naomi  explained to Portia Genie that her teddy bear’s name is in fact, “Oatmeal.” She said that she calls him this name because of his color, and also because the texture of his coat reminds her of oatmeal.

When Fran Naomi arrived she also brought with her an extra pair of shoes. In the photo below the extra shoes are still safely stowed away inside the zip lock baggie that they were stored in while Fran Naomi and Oatmeal were traveling here.

When Fran Naomi and Portia Genie first met, Portia Genie was busy, involved in her own imaginative play with two much smaller dolls, and a soft cuddly Classic Winnie the Pooh teddy bear. Portia Genie was wearing boys shoes when Fran Naomi first arrived and the two dolls discussed this when they met.

Fran Naomi saw that Portia Genie had two dolls she was playing with, and she also noticed that Portia Genie was wearing boys shoes. Fran Naomi though to herself that she was very glad she had two pairs of nice girl’s shoes for herself, but she wished she could have a doll to play with along with her teddy bear like Portia Genie had.

Portia Genie is a friendly and good-natured doll. She plays very well with others. And Portia Genie has always had a very generous and giving nature. When Portia Genie and Fran Naomi first met she quickly discovered that unlike herself, Fran Naomi was doll who was not accustomed to sharing with others. Portia Genie hoped this was not due to Fran Naomi being selfish. Portia Genie figured that it likely meant that Fran Naomi came to live in the giant backyard dollhouse from a household where all the dolls had many possessions that were just theirs alone.

 

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I overheard the conversation that Portia Genie and Fran Naomi had that day, and it went like this:

Fran Naomi: Those little dolls you’re playing with look like fun.

Portia Genie: Oh yes, it’s always fun to play with other dolls. We have lots of fun here.

Fran Naomi: I see you also have a teddy bear.

Portia Genie: Yes, he’s Pooh Bear. You know, from the stories?

Fran Naomi: Of course. I have a teddy too. His name is Oatmeal. You know, like the mushy cereal.

Portia Genie: I like oatmeal. Especially with cinnamon and sugar!

Fran Naomi: I prefer Fruit Loops myself, but he looks like oatmeal, so… Why are you wearing boys shoes?

Portia Genie: They’re comfortable. And we don’t have very many pairs of girls shoes for all the girl dolls who are here. I see you have two pairs of girls shoes. That’s really nice.

Fran Naomi: It is. I can wear the shoes that lace up or I can wear the Mary Jane shoes.

Portia Genie: Gosh, it must be nice to have options like that.

Fran Naomi: Yeah, it is.

Portia Genie:  Do you want to play with us? You and Oatmeal?

Fran Naomi: Sure, that would be fun.

Portia Genie: I’ll play with Pooh Bear and Britney. Do you want to play with Oatmeal and Bailey?

Fran Naomi: You’re going to let me play with your doll? Just like that?

Portia Genie: Of course! You’re new and I want you to feel at home. This is your home now too, after all.

Fran Naomi: Gosh. That’s really nice. I didn’t expect anyone here to be so nice to me.

Portia Genie: Well, Britney and Bailey like to play, but they’re both a little bit shy so they often don’t say much when we play.

Fran Naomi: I see. You really don’t have any girls shoes for you to wear?

Portia Genie: No, I don’t. I don’t mind though. These shoes are comfortable. It would be nice to have some pretty Mary Janes like yours someday though. I’m sure I’ll get to wear pretty girls shoes eventually.

Fran Naomi: You’re not going to ask to wear mine?

Portia Genie: Oh, no. Those are yours. I wouldn’t ask to wear your shoes.

Fran Naomi: But you’re going to let me play with Britney.

Portia Genie: Yes, that doesn’t mean I want something from you.

Fran Naomi: Wow. That’s not the way I think at all. You’re a lot nicer than me.

Portia Genie: You can be nice too.

Fran Naomi: You think so?

Portia Genie: Of course. Anybody can be nice if they want to be.

Fran Naomi: Huh. I hadn’t really thought of it like that before.

Portia Genie: What do you want to play together? A game? Make believe?

Fran Naomi: Well, I can’t just sit here and play with you and Britney and Bailey while you’re having to wear boys shoes. So, why don’t you try on my Mary Jane shoes. I bet they’re just as comfy as your boys shoes.

Portia Genie: Are you sure? You said you’re not really nice like that.

Fran Naomi: Well, I haven’t been before, but like you said, I can be nice if I really want to be.

Portia Genie: Wow. Okay. Thanks a lot! They’re really pretty shoes.

Then Fran Naomi and the two littler dolls, Britney and Bailey, all waited for Portia Genie to switch shoes before they began to play. They all seemed happier once I was able to catch them in this last photo. Sharing didn’t come easily to Fran Naomi, but she was happy when she finally did choose to share.

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Let’s Make Some Music!

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Guava the clown doll was feeling restless. The dolls out in the giant backyard dollhouse called Much Ado About Nothing were always having lots of fun adventures. But, Guava lived inside the house with the people,  and he thought that life in that house was altogether too quiet.

Guava looked down at the doll seated on the piano bench below. Guava called down to him, “hey, are you bored?”

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“I am bored!” Gabe Archie replied. “Isn’t there something we an do to liven things up around here?”

“We better do something.” Guava told him. “You know what that husband who lives here always says: If you don’t want to be bored, then stop being boring by doing nothing.”

“I bet the cats who live here enjoy all this quiet.” Gabe Archie said.

“Of course they like the quiet. Those cats sleep all day long!” Guava grumbled.

“Well, what are we going to do then?” Gabe Archie asked.

Guava sat up straighter in his little school desk seat. Let me see if there’s something in here we could do.” Guava lifted the lid of the little school desk. Unfortunately, it was empty. He closed the lid and shook his head. “Nothing to do in there.”

Gabe looked around where he was sitting. “Hey! I could play this piano!”

Guava was intrigued with this idea. “Do you know how to play piano?”

“Not yet, but I bet I could learn!” Gabe Archie grabbed a nearby pillow and seated himself on top of it, so that he could get himself closer to the piano keys. Guava looked down from the top of the piano with interest.

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“That’s the spirit!” A little voice called out excitedly.

“Who said that?” Gabe Archie asked.

52099138056__2C59558D-74E1-43A3-9FF7-589A592515A0    “Me! Kewpie!” A tiny little Kewpie doll had just scampered into the room from in the kitchen. Guava and Gabe Archie watched with wide eyes as the tiny Kewpie climbed up the table nearby and made her way onto the piano.

“Where did you come from?” Guava asked Kewpie when he could finally get a good look at her.

“I came home from the antique mall today.” Kewpie told him with a smile.

“Welcome, Kewpie!” Gabe Archie said.

“Thank you. Are you really going to play the piano?” Kewpie asked.

“Yeah! I want to play it.” Gabe Archie said, happily banging on the keys.

“And play it you shall,” Guava told him. “It will give us all something new to listen to other than those three cats snoring.” Kewpie and Gabe Archie giggled.

“When you play, may I sing?” Kewpie asked Gabe Archie, somewhat shyly.

“You can sing?!” Gabe Archie asked.

“I can try!” Kewpie informed him cheerfully.

“Well, this is shaping up to be a real show!” Guava said rubbing his hands together in glee.

“I bet all the dolls out in the dollhouse will wish they could come inside to hear us better once I start playing, and Kewpie starts singing.” Gabe said proudly.

“We will have to be sure to be loud enough for them to hear us from all the way in here,” Kewpie observed.

“Can a tiny doll like yourself make such a sound that big?” Guava asked Kewpie.

“I will sing from my heart, and I’m sure they will be able to hear me,” Kewpie assured Guava.

“What will you sing about?” Gabe Archie asked Kewpie, as he began to play some scales.

“I have a new home today. I’m so happy to be here with you both that I want to celebrate in song.” Kewpie smiled her biggest smile.

“That sounds like it will be fantastic!” Guava encouraged.

“Well, let’s make some music then!” Gabe Archie said as he began to play.

And with that, Gabe Archie began to play a new song, and the new Kewpie doll sang out her first song, straight from her heart.  Guava the clown doll sat back  in his school desk seat and enjoyed their music.

An in the next room, three lazy cats snored on, peacefully slumbering in the late afternoon sun.

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© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.

If You Want to Really Be Like Me…

The Shirley Temple Play Pal doll who lives here at the giant dollhouse called Much Ado About Nothing was the first life-size doll who came to live here. When she arrived, she felt a bit out of place due to being so much larger than all the other dolls. So, to boost her self-confidence she told the smaller dolls that her name was Scary Shirley. Shirley hoped this would make her seem brave when she really wasn’t.

After a while, some other Play Pal dolls joined Scary Shirley here. A couple of them were even bigger than Scary Shirley herself, so she began to feel a bit foolish about telling everyone to call her Scary Shirley when she was no longer the largest doll.

Today, Scary Shirley decided she didn’t think it was fair for her to have a grand wardrobe of clothing all to herself while the other Play Pal girls had only one dress each to wear. So, she decided to share!

Scary Shirley and her Mini-Me, Brook Leigh, laid out all of her outfits for the other girls to choose from.  Scary Shirley told the assembled Play Pal girls, “If you want to really be like me, scary like I am, then the first step I suggest is to wear my clothes.”

Brook-Leigh giggled. “Nobody is really scared of you, you know.”

Scary Shirley’s eyes widened. “Well, you don’t have to say that out loud!”

To break up the tension, Saucy Walker picked up the smart yellow hat sitting on top in one of the boxes. “May I wear this, Scary Shirley?” Saucy Walker, asked a little hesitantly. Book-Leigh let out a tiny sigh of relief that somebody had changed the subject.

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Scary Shirley turned to Saucy Walker. “Of course you can! You may wear whichever outfit you like. After all, I can’t wear them all myself..” Scary Shirley smiled, and she and Brook-Leigh both encouraged the other girls to choose what they wanted to wear.

Carrot Top and Joanie felt a little bit overwhelmed by all the choices.

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“Gosh, this is lots more dresses to choose from than I’m used to,” Carrot Top told Joanie.

Joanie nodded, her curls bobbing to the rhythm of her nods. “As a nurse’s aide, I’ve only ever worn a uniform. This is really nice to be able to choose something new.”

Eventually all three girls selected new outfits and everyone got changed. They all thanked Scary Shirley nicely for letting her share in her wardrobe of beautiful clothes.

Scary Shirley was very pleased with how they all looked, and as they posed for their new group photo, she declared happily, “We’re ALL Shirley Temple now!”

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© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.