Let’s Make Some Music!


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?”

Gabe Archie, a little boy doll who had recently been liberated from what he thought had been solitary confinement in the hall closet, squirmed in his seat on the piano bench. IMG_5271


“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.


“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.



© 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.


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.


“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!”



© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.

Basil Dill’s New Friend


Basil Dill was a lonely little doll. Basil Dill was lonely because, unlike all of the other dolls who lived here in the giant backyard dollhouse called Much Ado About Nothing, Basil Dill was only a head, still growing inside cabbage leaves, nestled inside a plastic flower pot. Basil Dill didn’t have a body, so you could say that Basil Dill was not quite born yet. Basil Dill may not have had a body, but he did know who he was. He knew with absolute certainty that he was definitely a boy doll.

When Basil Dill arrived to live in the dollhouse with the other dolls, Scary Shirley, who had the most intimidating name out of all the dolls, decided to name him Basil Dill because at that time she had recently spied new Basil and Dill plants both growing in pots inside the nearby greenhouse. Scary Shirley and the other dolls wanted Basil Dill to feel just as complete as they all did, so they found him a little baseball cap to wear. Basil Dill enjoyed wearing his baseball cap as he watched the other dolls playing and enjoying having adventures together.

Despite having other dolls to observe having fun all around him every day, Basil Dill felt very alone. Basil Dill was the only doll who could not do the Hokey Pokey when it was music time. He was the only doll who could not hold a book to read books at story time, and he was the only doll who could never go on picnics with the neighborhood teddy bears. Basil Dill so longed to attend a Teddy Bear’s Picnic with the other dolls. Basil Dill liked sitting in his flower pot by the window, where it was warm and sunny, but he wanted more. Basil Dill wanted to run and play with the other dolls. Basil Dill’s loneliness seemed like it would never end.

One day a package was delivered on the porch of the dollhouse. All the dolls gathered around to find out what was in the box. Scary Shirley opened the box. She was able to do this because her name instilled such respect for her in the other dolls that they were more than willing to go along with her assertion that she was the most adept at using full-size scissors safely.

“Is it new uniforms for us?” one of the cheerleader dolls asked Scary Shirley.

“You’ll see what it is once I’ve opened it, won’t you?” Scary Shirley replied.

“Is it a rocking horse for me to ride on while I sing my songs to all of you?” asked the Johnny Cash  cowboy doll.

“Oh no! This box isn’t nearly big enough to hold a rocking horse for you,” Scary Shirley told him with a friendly laugh. The dolls kept on asking what could be in the box, but again and again Scary Shirley’s answers revealed that not one of the assembled dolls had any idea what was in that box.

“Is it my passport, finally here so I can travel again?” asked Hitty, the tiny carved wood doll.

“Your passport won’t be delivered in a box nearly as big as this,” Scary Shirley replied.

From his place by the window Basil Dill could not see what was in the box once Scary Shirley began the process of opening it. The other dolls were all blocking Basil Dill’s view of the box contents.

Finally Scary Shirley had the box open. From inside the newspaper packed in the box, the dolls all heard a little voice calling out, “it’s dark in here!” When he heard that muffled little voice, Basil Dill figured he knew what was in the box. It was another doll. Like all the others. It was probably another doll who would be able to run and play, and have fun in all the ways that he couldn’t.

Scary Shirley opened the newspaper and she held the new doll up high, so everyone could see. Basil Dill gasped when he looked over the heads of the other dolls and saw another doll just like himself! It was a doll head wrapped in fabric green leaves.

“Scary Shirley, who is that!?” Basil Dill asked after Scary Shirley had snapped her scissors menacingly at the other dolls to quiet them down. The other dolls weren’t even a little bit scared of Scary Shirley, and she knew it, but they quieted down just the same.

“Basil Dill, I want you to meet someone very special,” Scary Shirley said with a smile. “This is Heather Fern. she was delivered here today to become your new friend.”

“A new friend, like me?” Basil Dill asked, his painted eyes wide.

“That’s right. A new friend just for you. Go on, you can say hello to her if you want,” Scary Shirley said. Scary Shirley placed a lace headband on Heather Fern’s head, and then she gently placed her inside a flower pot like the one Basil Dill was sitting in by the window. The other dolls exclaimed in an overlapping chorus about how pretty she was, and Heather Fern politely thanked them for their compliments. Basil Dill felt a little envious that he could not talk to Heather Fern right away, like all the other dolls could.

But then, Scary Shirley carried Heather Fern in her flower pot over to the window where Basil Dill sat alone. “Basil Dill, meet Heather Fern. Heather Fern, this is Basil Dill.” Scary Shirley introduced the two little dolls to each other quite formally. Heather Fern spoke first.

“Hello Basil Dill,” Heather Fern said softly. “I didn’t expect there to be another doll like me here. I am so happy that I won’t be alone.” Upon hearing those words, Basil Dill’s little leaf wrapped heart leapt with joy.

“I am happy that you are here too!” Basil Dill cried. I have wanted someone to sit here with me, and talk to me, someone who would know what it feels like to not be able to do all the things the other dolls can do.”

“Well,” Heather Fern said, “Now we have each other. And as long as we live in our flower pots I will talk to you whenever you like, and about anything you want.”

After a moment of consideration, Basil Dill cautiously asked, “Can we talk about what we would do if we ever got to grow bodies? The other dolls never want to talk to me about that, for some reason.”

“Of course we can!” Heather Fern exclaimed to Basil Dill. Scary Shirley agreed that the two of them would certainly find many things to talk about sitting together in their flower pots.

Basil Dill and Heather Fern quickly became very close friends. They would sing little songs together for the other dolls. they made up a song about flowers and other plants and the other dolls all loved to hear their song.

One day, when it was quiet and a lot of the other dolls were either reading or napping, Scary Shirley and the Johnny Cash cowboy doll  came over to the window. “We owe you an apology, Basil Dill,” Scary Shirley stated solemnly.

“Yeah,” the Johnny Cash cowboy doll agreed. “We didn’t realize how lonely you were sitting here alone all that time.”

“Now that Heather Fern is here you seem much happier now. Are you happier, Basil Dill?” Scary Shirley asked somewhat hesitantly.

“Oh, yes!” Basil Dill exclaimed. “I have never been happier. Now I know what it’s like to have a friend just like me, the way the rest of you dolls do.”

“And I’m happy to,” Heather Fern chimed in. “I didn’t expect to find a friend here who would be just like me. When I was traveling here I worried all along the way that I would feel lonely in my new home. But, I’m not lonely at all.”

Scary Shirley and the Johnny Cash cowboy doll smiled at the two little flower pot dolls. “I’m glad that you’re both happy,” Scary Shirley said.

“I’m happy too,” the Johnny Cash cowboy doll said, smiling. “It’s nice to have a friend just like you, isn’t it? In my last home I was the only musician doll. I’ve been here so long now with Elvis, Debbie Reynolds, and the Fabric Four Beatles dolls,  that I’d forgotten how out of place I felt in my other home.  I can’t imagine how lonely you must have felt, all alone by the window all that long time by yourself, Basil Dill.”

“It’s alright,” Basil Dill said happily. “I’m glad to be a flower pot doll now! Having someone who understands me is the best feeling I have ever had.”

“And I will never leave your side,” Heather Fern assured Basil Dill. They smiled at each other, their leafy fabric green leaves, quivering with delight.

“Will you two sing a song for us again today?” Scary Shirley asked the two happy dolls.

“Oh let them spend time together on their own,” the Johnny Cash cowboy doll suggested to Scary Shirley. “I’m sure they still have plenty to talk about being the only two dolls in flower pots. “Besides, I think I remember you said you were finally going to join all of us musicians today to do some singing for the rest of the dolls. Isn’t that right?”

“That’s right! We did plan that for today,” Scary Shirley said. “I hope you’re all ready for me to sing with you. Because I’m always ready to sing.”

“Well now,” said the Johnny Cash cowboy doll, “I guess that’s something we have in common with Heather Fern and Basil Dill, isn’t it?”

“It sure is!” Basil Dill and Heather Fern called out together. And together is how they did everything from then on. They sang together. They daydreamed together of what it would be like to be more like the other dolls. But most importantly, they talked together about how special it was to be dolls just like themselves.


© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.



Skating the Doxies!


There was once a doll here in my collection who I named for my own self. She was my mini-me. When she was here she had lots of grand adventures. Her name, like mine, is Iris-Petra. Just recently, Iris Petra has moved away to become my Doll Play Ambassador to Wyoming. (Scary Shirley, my Shirley Temple PlayPal doll is the only individual here now who has her own mini-me. She prefers it that way.) Though she is now off having adventures in the midwest, I am pleased to be able to share some of Iris-Petra’s past adventures with you all here.

When she lived here, Iris-Petra had two great loves. One was teddy bears, a love which we shared. Her other love was dogs. I personally am NOT a dog person, at all. Iris-Petra however loved dogs. She made a couple of trips to the Build-a-Bear  Workshop when she was here, which I will share one of in a future photo story. The other trip she made to the Build-a-Bear Workshop was to create herself a pair of dogs. Iris-Petra named her Doxies, pictured above, Oscar Meyer (the boy) and Honey Dijon (the girl.) When we went to the Build-a-Bear Workshop to acquire Iris-Petra’s dogs she declared that since Doxies have short little legs she thought they would need help getting around with her since her legs are so much longer than theirs. We remedied this problem by getting roller skates for the pair of dogs.

Once she brought her new pets home, Iris-Petra wanted to share them with her teddy bear friends. So, here you see Iris-Petra taking Oscar Meyer and Honey Dijon out for their very first skate with a pair of her teddy bear friends. They all had a lovely time together that day, and the Doxies weren’t at all tired out. In Iris-Petra’s new home in Wyoming she gets to play whenever she likes with a very real dog called Ginger, so I feel certain that she’s loving her new vocation as Doll Play Ambassador to Wyoming!


© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.

Off the shelves!


In my chosen life role as a doll photo storyteller I am sometimes asked by curious people how I came up with my idea to create and share photo stories which are inspired and populated by my doll collection as the characters in my stories. It’s a fair question. I haven’t heard of too many other folks choosing to do this particular sort of storytelling as their life’s vocation. To answer those who are curious about this, I can tell you it all began, quite simply, with the photo you see on this page.

A couple of years ago, when I was just becoming newly acquainted with a brand new friend who happens to live next door to my house, she asked me about my doll collection. At the time the few of my dolls that I had out on display mostly sat on shelves. They needed dusting far more regularly than I actually did any dusting. Many of the other dolls in my collection were packed away in storage.

My doll collection wasn’t really getting much attention of any kind back then. This was largely due to the fact that at that time I had recently moved into my  home. So, to be fair to me, I choose to believe that my dolls, if they’d been people instead of dolls, they would have been quite understanding of my need to get settled and moved into my new home, instead of spending much time with them. Dolls, unlike some humans, are amazingly patient that way.

In a series of text messages, my new friend asked me a few questions about the dolls. She asked questions like,  “Where did they come from?” “How long had I maintained these same dolls in my collection?” To answer her queries I brought down the doll pictured above from a shelf. I sent my new friend the photo you see here, and with it, I shared that doll’s story. This bright eyed little doll wearing her smart Panama hat was one of my very first dolls. You can read more about her origin in my life here.

In that text message conversation, I shared the story that I just linked you to above with my new friend, and her comment about that particular doll went something like this:

I think that little doll has such a lively look about her! I bet she’s had adventures she could tell you about. Her face reminds me of the old Kewpie dolls. Wouldn’t it be something if you were to someday use your writing talent to tell her stories?

When she said made that suggestion I thoroughly agreed. I agreed with her when she said it, but I didn’t really think much more about the idea once I put that little doll back on her shelf. I can’t even tell you for sure if I actually dusted her before returning her to her regular spot on the shelf. Dusting is not one of my favorite ways to pass my time in this life.

I have been telling photo stories with dolls for many years. I usually tell stories about one of the other types of dolls in my collection, and ordinarily I share those photo stories exclusively in collector groups for that doll type. Just recently, I decided that since I love to write, and since I so delight in taking whimsical and creative photos of my Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, why not expand the enterprise? Why not take photos of other dolls and tell stories about them too? Why not indeed! No reason not to!

I have been taking photos and making up stories about my Cabbage Patch Kid dolls since I adopted my very first one back in 1983. In 1983 I was ten years old. While I have nearly always wanted to spend my life engaged in creative writing, this is the one type of creative writing which I have never grown tired of and quit doing. I firmly believe this is a very real  accomplishment for me because over the years I have gradually tried my hand at, and grown tired of all of the following:  Short story writing, playwriting, writing memoir, and also novella, and novel writing. While all those other types of creative writing were but passing phases for me, my interest and enthusiasm for creating doll photo stories has never waned in the slightest.

So, thanks to that idea planted in my head by my dear friend next door when I first shared that photo with her, I am now happily creating doll photo stories about all the dolls in my collection, instead of excluding all the others to only tell Cabbage Patch Kid doll stories. I’m feeling very pleased to have made this decision, and I’m also happy that since I have begun taking more photos to share in stories with you lovely readers here that my dolls have not needed dusting nearly as often as they did before. At long last, now the members of my doll collection are able to spend a good lot of time off the shelves!


© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.

Tall Tales to Tell!

17273563_1908875939399498_1588221827_oDespite what the name of their house may suggest, the dolls who live in the giant backyard dollhouse known as “Much Ado About Nothing” are always up to something!

This blog aims to chronicle the adventures of my unique family of highly imaginative dolls in an ongoing series of photo stories. The dolls and, I, their photo storyteller, sincerely hope that you enjoy reading their stories here – whether you are very young, or young at heart.

Thank you so much for visiting! Please do come visit our dollhouse again soon. We’ll be sure to keep a lookout for you!


© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.