Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alpine Girl: Mandy as Heidi

Mandy as Heidi, with her goat and wardrobe.

My Friend Mandy with her original outfit.

Mandy as Heidi in her original flannel nightgown.

Heidi in her new dress and pinafore with her goat.

Heidi's embroidered dress without the pinafore.

Heidi, wearing her pinafore over the pink dress, packs her trunk to visit Klara.

For about a week now I've been working on a Mandy as Heidi set. I could have finished it sooner, but my wonderful hubby took me to the beach for the weekend without the kids, and I wasn't about to refuse in order to finish a doll!
I had to buy this Mandy set because it is the complete original set I got  as a gift from my mother when I was about 3 or 4. I can still see Mandy in her box. I think I remember it particularly because I would not normally have gotten a large gift for the occasion; I think maybe it was Valentine's Day. This is also the first "girl" doll, not baby doll, I can remember having. We were still living with my grandparents after my dad died, so this would have been 1977 or 78. My mom had gotten the doll because she was so excited to find a doll named Mandy, like me, with the same two-tone blond hair. The only difference was that I had brown eyes that later turned green-hazel like everyone else on my Mom's side of the family. It's too bad. My dad's mother had the bluest eyes, "China blue", my mom would say. I wish I'd gotten those. My mother's own eyes have lightened so much now they're sort of yellow, so I guess I know what I have to look forward to!

I eventually owned all these dolls, or shared them with my sisters. Gosh, how we played with these...but I know I've recounted that in previous posts and I don't want to bore you to death! Besides playing with dolls, I spent my childhood reading. I had certain books I would read again and again, usually at least once a year. The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and Heidi were all big favorites. I loved the beginning of Heidi best, when she lives on the mountain with her grandfather.

Crazily enough, it was somewhat similar to my own childhood. After my father died, my mother and I moved from California to Ohio to live with her parents. Her father was Norwegian, and her mother is Swiss and Norwegian. My father was nearly all Swiss, so I am half Swiss and a bit less than half Norwegian, with a slew of other nationalities mixed in. My grandfather often served what he called "cheese toastie" for breakfast, which was toasted cheese on bread. In the summer he would also give me a bowl of raspberries from the garden with milk, like cereal, only with raspberries. My grandparents' house is on a lake, and I spent a lot of time roaming the lake shore unattended. Later we moved to the countryside and I was allowed to ramble around in the cornfields as I wished. We didn't have mountains, of course. I often wished we did, and I also wished for some goats like Heidi has, or maybe a pony.

My grandmother had a Swiss pen pal when she was a pre-teen. Even though she's over 90 now, she still has all the letters and photos her friend, who lived in the Alps, sent her back in the 20s and 30s. We used to pour over them. It is just a stunning landscape. I have been to the Italian Alps, and they are also just amazingly lovely.

I really enjoyed re-visiting this book in order to make the doll. In fact, I was craving cheese so much my husband said he may have to take the book away, as it is causing dangerous cheese fantasies for me. Okay, that may be true, but I have been on a diet...I've lost 18 pounds, so I haven't been eating as much cheese and bread as I'd like! I also enjoyed taking the photos of the doll...a bit too much perhaps! It was so much fun to illustrate the story with the doll, though! I am really proud of how well the pinafore and ribbons go with the original Mandy outfit. I am also impressed with the toy goat. This is by Dakin, and I had to go to eBay to find it. There were no goats available locally, although I did see some yaks made of actual fur in the Ping Tibetan shop in Wilmington! I didn't realize until I got it that the goat actually makes a bleating goat sound when you squeeze its sides! It was a plus, but it has made it hard to keep it from being stolen by the children.

All in all, it's been a great week! I went to the beach, spent alone time with my husband, and revisited a favorite childhood story! If only they could all be so good!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this and yes, I understand about Heidi. And the cheese. When I was a kid I was convinced that drinking milk out of a bowl was better for you than drinking it out of a glass, thanks to Heidi. The doll's clothes are lovely and he face is so sweet.


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