Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Behind the Artistry of The Barbara Pym Doll

Profile of doll artist Debbie Ritter, Uneek Doll Designs at Etsy.com I met Debbie after finding one of her dolls featured on a blog about Lady Jane Grey. I couldn’t wait to buy the doll, and soon bought others, including the portrait of writer Barbara Pym, featured on my blog Miss Barbara Pym meets Miss Charlotte Bronte. Debbie is a transplanted Hoosier to Alabama as of summer 2013 with four grown children and one grandchild. She has been married 25 years. Besides making dolls, her interests include reading, walking, art work, and cooking (when she has time!) Debbie is a born artist, and as she says of herself; “I grew up with a pencil in hand and carried paper everywhere I went- got in trouble a few times with teachers for drawing on my homework, and art was my best subject in school.” Debbie does not collect dolls per se, but likes to create them as a favorite art form. A doll house kit first inspired her miniature creations: “I got inspired to create my art dolls when my husband was given a dollhouse kit by my mom, who despaired of my father ever putting it together. Being the tooling engineer that he was, he put it together and I decided to make some dolls to go in it out of clothespins. She loved it so I continued and I made up my own technique and developed it over time.” I can really relate to Debbie over dollhouses and the need to populate them. My dad was an electrical engineer who built one fantastic dollhouse for me from scratch, and another from a kit. He is an electrical engineer, and it seemed to take forever. He didn’t electrify my houses, and when I asked him why, Dad answered, “We’re Victorian.” Debbie’s dollhouse adventures began a chain of thinking; she decided to combine her love of classic literature, history, and the observation of ordinary people into creating her art work. Debbie finds people in general inspiring because if you study someone long enough, you will see some features that stand out. It is those features challenge her. She started selling her creations when by chance a lady waiting on her at the craft store mentioned Etsy. Debbie wrote the word down and forgot about it for 2 months, then decided to take the plunge to see what would happen. The rest is history and she has been doing well at it ever since. The artist’s work has been featured at “The Today Show” where the crew gave Susan Boyle a replica of herself that Debbie had made during a live interview between Boyle Meredith Viera. . Debbie’s work has also been featured in Vanity Fair online, The Art Doll Quarterly, Doll Collector Magazine, New York Magazine, -Show Time series on television, -Mystery Scene Magazine, New York Magazine, CI Living in Champaign Illinois, and my blogs Dr.Es’s Doll Museum, Dr. E’s Greening Tips for the Common Person, An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory, and Memoir; Writing your Life Story. She can be reached through me or her Etsy store, uneekdolldesigns.etsy.com

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Memoriam: Our Friend Actress Joan Holland, star of The Great Ziegfield

Joan Therese Holland, 83, of Moline, died Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at Unity Point Health - Trinity, Rock Island. A Mass of Christian burial will be 9:30 am Monday at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Rock Island. Visitation will be from 1-4 pm Sunday at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island, with a rosary recited at 1 pm. Burial will be private at a later date. Memorials may be made in care of Bread for the World, at www.bread.org. Born on August 28th, 1930, in Chicago, Joan was the daughter of William J. and Marion O'Neail Holland. She was a child actress in the 1930's and appeared in the academy award winning film, "The Great Ziegfeld" in 1936. She attended high school in Hamilton, ON, and graduated from Mundelein College, Chicago, with a degree in English. Joan married John Paul Ryan on August 23, 1952 in Chicago. She worked in advertising for the Rock Island Argus, and for McCabe's Department Store, eventually starting her own advertising agency which she managed for more than 25 years. Joan retired from the Daily Dispatch, where she had been instrumental in the formation and operation of the City Line and Classroom Connection programs. Joan enjoyed theater long after her time in Hollywood, and performed leading roles in several local productions in Chicago, Wisconsin, and the Quad Cities. Joan was an avid participant in Quad Cities Writers Club as a composer of both prose and poetry, and her newspaper column ran weekly in the Moline Daily Dispatch for several years. In retirement she enjoyed painting in oils and water colors, exhibiting her work in several venues around the Quad Cities. Joan had a strong social conscience and often became actively involved in human rights issues, working with several different organizations in an attempt to raise awareness. In 1986 she encountered The Great Peace March as it passed through the Quad Cities, and decided to join, walking most of the way to Washington where she joined the other marchers in a massive demonstration on behalf of world peace. Joan is survived by her 7 children; John Paul (Connie) Ryan Jr., Newark, Del., Jane (Robert) Holmquist, East Moline, Nancy (Ron) Proesel, DeKalb, Ill., Dean (Jan) Ryan, Rock Island, Dave (Terry) Ryan, Rolling Meadows, Ill., Rob (Judi) Ryan, Naperville, Ill., and Jim (Crystal) Ryan, Moline; 19 grandchildren; and 12 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Richard Holland.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Virginia Woolf Miscellany Fall 2013

For those who are interested in Woolf's writing, especially as an influence on Barbara Pym, you have a chance to sign up for this newsletter which is a product of the International Virginia Woolf Society, and published in part by Vera Neverow. The link is neverow@southernct.edu. This issue's theme was Woolf and animals. As noted in the introductory material, animals played an important role in Woolf's writing, from the infamous Moth to Kew-Gardens' snails. In this, she reminds me of Annie Dillard and Rumer Godden. Titles of some of the essays for this speical issue include "Virginia Woolf's Dance Drama: Staging the Life and Death of the Moth," "Diamond cut red eyes: Insect Perspectives in To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts," "Moments of Being and Ordinary Human-Animal Enoucnters" and a poem, "The Snail and the Transcending Time."

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Grace of Chocolate

Well, we knew it, didn't we? Monday, Monday, we can't trust it, but here is some good news from our colleague Nurse Nancy: This information is from the wonderful people at the Iowa Public Health Department. In order to put a more flavorful light on the subject of eating chocolate after Valentine’s Day, some research actually shows benefits for eating real chocolate. Nonfat cocoa solids in chocolate have high levels of “antioxidant flavonoids”, two words that even SOUND healthy. Benefits of eating chocolate may include: *Reduced heart disease *Decreased blood pressure *Increased insulin resistance *Improved arterial blood flow Just make sure it’s the good stuff. For more information, visit; www.webmd.com/diet/features/health-by-chocolate?page=2

Monday, February 17, 2014

From my Green Blog, and thoughts on Jane Cleveland

As I age, I find myself becoming more like Jane of Jane and Prudence. I wear my worn coats, albeit colorful ones, and I don't worry as much about getting wrinkled. I pull back my hair, and go, sometimes without make up. I still love fashion, but in this bitter cold, wear my mother's old SAS moccasins, even though one needs repair, and my old, beat up mary janes, still comfortable and capable of being polished, but missing parts. I clean up nicely, and probably still look more presentable than many, but I used to have everything perfect. I think I'm becoming something called "living vintage." How about you? Oh, to be Spring! We are being inundated with more snow mixed with freezing rain. It was an amuseument park ride from hell this morning just driving from point A to B, with all sorts of wonderful hills and ice-covered bridges. Thank goodness Starbucks was there! I have a mixed bag today; started as the expert guide for about.com at the Doll Collecting site. Take a look, and share ideas, especially for handmade dolls and folk dolls. Doll making is all about recycling; just read about the dolls Ma made in The Little House books. Crafts, in general, are wonderful ways to recycle and use scraps, especially in assemblage and reclaimed art. On the health front, I have beeen drinking RAAW juices this week, and I notice a definite improvement with sinusitis symptoms, which I call Sylvia Plath's disease, since she sufferred terribly from it, too. Also, it helps with the gag reflex brought on by asthma, as does coffee. So far, I have tried Cranberry Ginger, Strawberry Purple Carrot, and Very Berry Wheatgrass. I am not a spokesperson for this product; I also drink many other juices, some homemade, some concentrate, Naked, some Aldi or Save a Lot brands, nectars, etc. I still love Hi-C Cherry when I can get it, too. But, this juice is 100%, and the fusion is similar to V-8, but more organic with no persevatives. The juice in Cranberry Ginger is made from 1 1/2 c. cranberries and 1 c. ginger root. At our local health food store, Greatest Grains, the juices are .30 less than at our local supermarket. They run about 2.50-3.29 for a 12 fl. oz bottle. There is zero fat and 1% sodium, and 110 calories. I picked up some free brochures and newsletters at Greatest Grains as well, including one for Dermale products for skincare, and a first issue for Women Sense: healthy women create a healthier world. Articles in this new paper include articles about low thyroid, a study that shows women aged 25-65 are the most stressed [really?} and studies about the risk of too much sitting. Common sense, and obvious, but they get your attention about things we know but take for granted and ignore. Also, an article in "Memory Pause" and weight loss tips, and finding peace for a good night's sleep. More original 49 tips will also be posted. So far, some of my articles on About.com include "Lincoln Dolls," "Estate Dolls," "Sherman Smith Doll Maker and Whittler," "A Doll Collector's Calendar," "Hinges and Hearts: Metal Dolls," "Automata" and "A Tribute to Shirley Temple." We had a reading on our metal doll project and exhibit which went very well yesterday with members of loca writing groups joining me. Be well, deal with the climate changes, and know spring is coming. My little seeds are sprouting, some in Kleenex filled plastic cups in my office :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: An Excellent Woman, not so far from Barbara Pym's ...

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: An Excellent Woman, not so far from Barbara Pym's ...: We are about 57 viewers short of reaching 10,000. Thank you! I was pondering my other blog on Barbara Pym and Charlotte, pymbronte.blogs...

Susan Glaspell

Here is a photo of my lovely friend, PR, who is dressed as Susan Glaspell for a talk she gave about the beloved author. She did a fantastic job with impeccable research, and we congratulate her!