Tuesday, February 22, 2011

~ New dolls, new friends & when I was 18 ~

Shall start with the dolls....
This is a doll commissioned by a beauty of a woman.  Inspiration was taken from an outfit she is wearing on her very own website.  Thank you Brenda, such fun, & I finally got to use this fabulous fabric I've been saving for that 'right' doll!  :O)
My latest doll in my Bohemian collection ~ Henni.
She has her very own Ugg boots and Whimsy Pet.
I had a wonderful surprise today.. gifts made by my friend Natalie in Australia, who is so lovely and totally talented.  I am thrilled, & wish she would open up an Etsy shop, don't you agree?!
Thank you so much Natalie, you rock :O)
Now some reminiscing... 
A photo of friends & I (I'm the 18 year old in the middle!) We were all student nurses studying mental handicap, based at Aston Hall Hospital, Derby, UK in 1989. 
Aston Hall was home to people who had been removed from society due to their mental handicap status.  It wasn't the best way to support people who had disabilities, but that's the way it was in those days.  The hospital closed down several years ago, and all those who lived there, now live in mostly small, person centered homes, which I hope, accomodates their individuality, with dignity & respect.

This is a photo of the Mansion... the nurses home was just beyond it... oh what fun we had!!
During those student years, I spent much of my free time, painting the backdrop scenery for the pantomime/play we held twice a year.   I recently came across some photos of the now derelict hospital.  I'm thrilled people no longer live in such an institutionalised setting, but I was so sad to see these images...
This hall used to be beautiful, with huge arched windows and wooden parquet flooring. Now the stage, burnt and vandalised
The staff canteen/cafeteria...
A corridor in one of the houses...
The Bra shelf!
Key numbers and locations...
Unfortunately the hall, and surrounding buildings where residents lived, are being demolished, but fortunately, the Mansion was pleasingly converted into apartments.  One lucky person now owns the room we used to sit in for meetings, & exams!
(photo credits: Trousercowboy, murf2000uk)
Still awake? good, because there is just one more very important thing....
Please come and join us to raise much needed funds.  All you need to do is create an art piece which will be auctioned on line. Please go and see Rebecca to join in ~ she would love to hear from you.


  1. Those dolls are beautiful, Abi...

    So sad to see things vandalized and in dire disrepair....though, now that they are apartments....the building can house laughter and happy memories again :)

  2. Abi, your new dolls are so wonderfull- so different, and so beautifull ieach in it`s own way-
    and I love your gifts-

  3. Your dolls are gorgeous!

    It's sad to see the changes of things from our past. But, thankfully, someone has transformed them into apartments so they can be enjoyed for years to come. :)

  4. The new dolls are beautiful Abi. And your friends work is adorable, she should certainly consider a shop.
    It was really interesting to read about your life here in UK. I hope all the residents have somewhere nice to live now where they are looked after and cared for.

  5. Every time I see your dolls they leave me breathless, they are so exquisite and beautiful.
    I love the gifts you got from your friend, so cute!
    I enjoyed knowing more about your nurse student days and the Mansion story.

  6. Abi, Abi, Abi. What can I say? You are my shero. You inspire me to take my dolls to the next level. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the Ugg boots on Henni. Fabulous!

  7. Abi, I love your doll's little Uggs...saw many pairs while in Vegas this past weekend...seems, those little cheerleaders love wearing them...my blog explains why I was there...sigh...just so happy I'm back!! LOL

    The mansion looks like something out of a Gothic movie. I'm just glad to know that the patients are now in better places and the building has been refurbished...looks quite lovely.

    I'm coming up with ideas for the my shrine, but haven't decided on what yet...need to get going on that. Thank you so much for introducing Rebecca...she's got a wonderful spirit.

    Have a great week.


  8. Hi Abi,
    First, did you make those Ugg's? They're adorable. If not, Where did you get them?
    Second, I signed up to make a Shrine, Do they have to be in a cigar box? I saw something on the site that referenced this.

  9. Lucy - will email you so you get an answer directly, but I made the ugg boots out of an old pair I had!
    The auction - it doesn't have to be a cigar box, like in previous years. It can be any work of art - Rebecca made a beautiful pendant last year.

  10. Hi Abi, love the new girls, they're extremely lovely! I loved reading this post about your younger years and am saddened too about the vandalizim of such a beautiful building. It looks like it should be a heritage site but I'm glad they've converted a potrion of it into apartments.

  11. Abi, both of your dolls are beautiful! Henni was my fav, I loved her boots....so cute.

  12. hi Abi...each one of your new dolls is more beautiful...I especcially love the doll with the uggs (precious boots!)...oooh..i love her outfit...the fabrics and embellishment.....ps..the photos of the hospital were cool...sad but cool...love colleen

  13. actually...i am certain you are the beautiful doll of this collection! although you hardly appear old enough to be studying so seriously!

    thanks abi for the call out to artists...you have a heart of gold.

  14. Oh Abi!!!
    Those new girls are
    g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s...you just keep outdoing yourself!!! Love the black/pink outfit AND those uggs are to die for...lol.
    It cannot be a coincidence - I worked in Western State Hospital (criminally insane/clinically insane all mixed up together)as a Psychiatric tech (nurses' aide) back in the 70s during high school. Wow. Too bad they let the building go, but the mansion apartments must be lovely.
    Anyhoo, the gifts you got are really sweet and yes she should have a store!

  15. Great history there Abi.

    Amazing what time can do or undo.

    I love your doll for Brenda.

  16. Brenda's doll is so elegant, Abi, I love her outfit, she reminds me of a Southern Belle mixed with a Victorian fashion. and I'm really loving your little Boho girls. Henni is so cute and natural and her doggie matches her perfectly. I love how they're restored the Mansion. It's sad to see a place that has so much history become run down and then the spirit of the place is restored to just shine. You were absolutely darling, Abi! You remind me of a young princess Caroline from Monaco.

  17. Oh Abi You 2 new dolls are fabulous! I love the miniature UGG boots!!!

    And the dress on your commissioned doll is beautiful!

    Wonderful and sad photo's of where you worked.... unfortunately that is where we "housed" people back in those days.... sad sad ....

    XXX Pattee

  18. Hi Abi...I cant wait to see one of your dolls in "Boots" ! Yee-Ha! And I am loving that I am a part of inspiration...gosh...I want to make all of those cool shrugs you do! haha email me with any ??? i just copied my favorite boots and used Premo clay for the soles because its strong but has a bend to it (so you can get that pointy tip up in the air!)!!! nudge me when you do them! Love Colleen

  19. Your new dolls are so gorgeous. Brenda is going to be VERY happy. :) And I dig Henni's Uggs! LOL Actually, I noticed them before I read your description. :) I thought to myself "she's wearing Uggs!" And then lo and behold - she really was! I'm happy that they have remodeled the mansion into apartments. And yes, your friend should open up an etsy shop. Her creations are too adorable! Take care! Theresa

  20. Such beautiful dolls! I enjoyed visiting your blog Abi. And I enjoyed the pictures as well. Although it really is sad to see how they vandalized,but nice to know that they are apartments so that people can enjoy.
    Have a wonderful weekend Abi and I look forward to more of your enchanting dolls.
    Janet's Creative Pillows

  21. My goodness I have fallen in love AGAIN.

    Both girls are sooo fun , all of the details PERFECTION.

    So intrigued at your past life there at the hospital.

    Enjoyed reading your story and seeing the photos, imaging how it must feel to see them after all this time.

    I see sparkling eyes shining from a sweet girl there.

    Thanks for sharing all ~

    Loving those teeny tiny UGGS !


  22. oh YES !

    Natalie, getta ETSY Shoppe !

  23. My Mom raised me to see old houses. I think she said I was the youngest member of the Historic Preservation Committee in our little old hometown where I now live, again. I say this because I hear you about the building, the memories, the lives. It is so strange how quickly a building is nipped at when there is no sentry to keep it hallowed. Friend, you added to the fresh paint and mortar, even if just in spirit with this tribute, even if the building is already gone. I could see your spirit and memory of what it must have been and that is a special thing. Abi, I am blessed to have met you. Thanks, also for your words on my first efforts on a dolly. I am feeling fluffy from the kindness. Thanks, friend. This post was beautiful. Take care dear one.

  24. So beautifully haunting to see the old building, but always heartening to know how it was used. Echos of memories...And as always your dolls are beautiful!
    I can't believe you were 17, in the photo, You look like you were 12! Young forever!


  25. I can't tell you how cute I think the Uggs boots are on your awesome doll!
    It's so great that you'll also be participating in the Oaxaca Street Childrens' Shrine Auction this year. I can't wait to see your piece!

  26. ur dolls are really pretty :D :D Love the way you dress them up with beautiful dresses and accessories like the butterflies!

  27. What a gorgeous doll!!! Sadly many hospitals have gone the same way here. It is the sign of the times. So many cuts in the health system.

  28. Your dolls are so beautiful! I love the soft expressions on their faces :)

  29. Aww Abi, I just adore your dolls: each one has her own unique character and your 'eye' for all the fine details always 'blows me away'.... so beautiful! These two new examples really made me smile: the butterfly, ugg boots and cute 'furrie'!
    Sigh, your reminiscences of the past and the more recent photographs must have evoked such a tangle of emotions and thoughts. Its always tragic seeing vandalised buildings but how wonderful it is that these here are now being 'resurrected' into apartments.

  30. Happy pictures are my favorite! Thank you for the colorful collection of so many beautiful pictures

    Titanium Necklaces
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  31. i was so excited to see the ug boots on your new doll...such a good Aussie icon those ug boots...then i went on a rollercoater of emotions as an Interior Designer to see the destruction and decay of such a beautiful old building with such amazing architecture...such a waste never to be restored...then the restoration of the grand period home .... thank you for your memories...

  32. I enjoyed reading this post Abi. Only a very good person would choose to take care of the handicapped,(no matter how horrible the setting may be), so I applaud you on that.
    And beautiful, beautiful dolls, like always. :)

  33. Your dolls are beautiful! I've just started creating dolls and I hope some day they are as gorgeous as yours! Thank you for your blog!

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