Friday, January 20, 2012

Petite Princess revisited

I can't resist the Princess.  I blogged about my collection a few years ago here.

But recently I joined this Facebook Group I love 1964 Ideal Petite Princess/ Princess Patti Dollhouse Furniture! and looking through the pictures made me want to play with my collection. I pulled everything out of storage today and spent the afternoon setting it all up.

First is my version of a music room.
 I have five Petite Princess room boxes - three yellow ones, one blue, and one pink.

I have every item that was sold before they changed the name to Princess Patti, and I have many duplicates. Some pieces are pristine, right-out-of- the-box, and some have been played with.

 I created a dining room with the second yellow room box. This one is more worn and the outside has yellowed with age compared to the Music room box.
 My third yellow room box came in it's original cardboard sleeve and is in pristine condition. I tried it out as a living room.
 The blue room box seemed right for the blue bedroom. I still haven't been able to find a blue bed with its original flames above the headboard.
And, surprise, surprise, I used the pink room box for the pink bedroom.

I added a couple of hard plastic dolls dressed for the French court. They don't really match the room, but they are cute, as well as being a tribute to my recent trip to Paris.

 Here, again is the living room in yellow. This time I remembered to hang one of the PP paintings and some accessories.

But before I tried the yellow room I had the living room in the blue box.
Which do you like better? The blue room is much cooler, but is it a better match?

And, before I switched the living room I had the blue bedroom in the yellow room box.

I think it looks better in the blue room. What do you think?
 With the five room boxes furnished I had run out of rooms, but I still had furniture. So I got out a couple of other Ideal room boxes.

Here is the living room box that came with Ideal's Tiny Plastic Furniture.

 The plastic furniture was the 3/4 scale molded furniture that Ideal made to compete with Renwal.

I think Petite Princess looks fantastic in this room.
 I love that this room is so much more spacious than the Petite Princess rooms and that there is room for the piano and separate sitting areas.
 The little lady on the couch is eyeing the piano apprehensively. I wonder if she is supposed to be practicing.

 The only room box I had left was the Ideal Plastic Deluxe Kitchen Furniture one.

I don't have any Petite Princess or Princess Patti kitchen furniture, so I used my second set of dining room furniture.

I thought it would look terrible in the rustic kitchen setting, but I quite like it. The colours of the room graphics complement the furniture.

 I hope you had as much fun as I did revisiting the Petite Princess.

You can learn more about this wonderful furniture here:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bleuette - The famous little "Blueberry" of France

The doll museum in Paris (Musee de la Poupee Paris), which I was lucky enough to visit a few weeks ago, has a wonderful dollhouse inhabited by a number of famous Bleuette dolls. It stands in the lobby of the museum and one can admire it even before admission to the museum is paid.

This collection of these sweet little dolls piqued my interest and I just had to know more about them.

Martha Waterman Nichols has a very informative website about the doll. Click here to see it. On the first page she tells us "Bleuette is a small French doll who was made in Paris by the SFBJ (Society of French Doll and Toy Makers) from 1905 until the company closed in 1957.  She is popular with collectors interested in French dolls and fashion history.  More than 1,000 published clothing patterns and fifty-plus years' worth of commercial clothing made just for her make Bleuette one of the most fashionable in the history of dolls with their own wardrobes."

Have a look at the rest of her website. It has much more information than I could include here and there are also many beautiful pictures.

The doll was created in 1905 as an incentive to get people to subscribe to a new weekly newspaper for girls called La Semaine de Suzette (Suzette's Week).  I was lucky enough to find a number of samples of this newspaper at a flea market in Paris last week. Below is the cover of one from March 1913. My French is quite poor, but it looks like Napoleon is making his own omlette.

The Wikipedia site for Bleuette tells us the following:

"The first Bleuette dolls are known as "Premiere Bleuette", and were given free to those who had placed an order for a year's subscription to La Semaine de Suzette before its first publication in February 1905, and were available only until one month after the first issue. 20,000 Jumeau dolls were ordered from the Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets (SFBJ) for the initial advertisement, but 60,000 subscriptions were received, and this first supply of dolls were gone before the first issue was even released."

 In the kitchen of the Bleuette house we see a doll dressed in a traditional costume of Bretagne (Brittany), an area of France.

This is the same costume worn by the cartoon character Bécassine, a young Breton housemaid who was drawn by Joseph Pinchon and who appeared in the first issue of La Semaine de Suzette on February 2, 1905. She is considered the first female protagonist in the history of comics.

Bécassine is a a good-natured, and well meaning nanny who creates all sorts of humorous situations in her comic strips. She is a well loved character in France and before I became familiar with her connection to Bleuette I saw many representations of Bécassine in the shops in the form of key chains, small figures and stuffed dolls.

La Semaine de Suzette was aimed at teaching the home arts to young girls of good families, and it was intended to teach them to be good mothers and good Christian French wives.

Most issues contained patterns for dressing Bleuette, but one could also order ready-made costumes through the publishing offices and catalogues.

As well as a wardrobe for everyday wear,  bridal dresses, festival costumes, and a Holy Communion dresses were available.

One of the dolls in the dollhouse is wearing the Communion gown that is advertised in the1949 issues of the paper.

Many more items could be purchased for Bleuettes trousseau including bed linens and delicate undergarments.

Wikipedia tells us:

"Bleuette is a doll that was produced from 1905 to 1960. She has a fully jointed composition body. She was 27 cm (10" 5/8) until 1933, then 29 cm (11 3/8) until production ended in 1960. She had a bisque head until World War II, then a composition head until 1958 when a hard plastic body and head were used for the last two years of production. More than 1,060 patterns were published over the 55 years Bleuette was available."

The three dolls in the smallest room of the Bleuette house appear to be later than the others and have may have composition heads. (It is hard to tell though the glass). Their dresses are adorable.

Click on this link to download patterns from La Semaine de Suzette

The charming cover of this issue from September 1938 begins the story of poor little Gertrude. The whole house is sad because Gertrude is sick. She has a high fever and the doctor is "inquiet". I don't know since my lack of French prohibits me from reading it, but I bet Gertrude feels better by the end of the story. The lovely color picture of Gertrude and her doll would make anyone feel better.

I hope you enjoyed my discovery of Bleuette and her world as much as I did. Below are more pages from La Semaine de Suzette  for your enjoyment.






Festival costumes from February 1925

1925 - One could choose a doll with real hair or artificial hair

Monday, January 2, 2012

Daphne loves Paris!!

I haven't had much opportunity to take pictures of Daphne out on the streets of Paris, but I had some fun creating scenes "a la maison" with some of my doll-sized souvenirs. Here they are just for fun.