Dovegray Dolls Coming Soon

comments: 41










Well, hello there! How are you? It is raining here this morning and I am well. It's been a busy, exciting, intense couple of weeks since school started. All is well and we are each getting used to our new routines, together and on our own. Kids are so dang brave. It's really incredible to watch, isn't it? It's beautiful. I'm constantly in awe of their abilities to do things they've never done before, go places they've never gone, walk into rooms filled with people they don't know, and basically figure it all out within days. If that. It's so inspiring.

Andy is back at work today after a few days and an entire weekend off, which was so nice. He was home for three weeks on vacation in August and I got used to that. I was antsy to clean the house while he was home. But once he had gone back to work and I had done that, I really missed him and Meems and the long, lazy days of summer, and all the summer things that I've never missed until this, the Summer of Perfect Weather. Suddenly I'm having the summer's-over emotions that most normal people have. I'm looking longingly at the sodden cushions on my front-yard chair, where I sat and read for countless hours, Mimi swinging from the branches of the tree beside me, and I will miss those afternoons. I'm usually just so ready for fall to start that I don't care what's gone. But this time it's a little different, and I am feeling all of the changes.

Thank you so much for all of the Leaves by Hundreds Came orders! They are sold out now. I am busy trying to get my dolls finished and photographed and ready to launch, probably next week. Andy has been in the office during his days off, cutting fabrics for me and generally helping out. We are hoping to have them available for pre-order next week. I first started working on these dolls a couple of years ago. They are based on the animal-doll patterns, and they all share the same body and construction. They can all wear the same clothes. There will be ten different combinations of three skin colors (dark, medium, light) and five hair colors (blond, dark brown, red, auburn, black) you can choose from. Each doll kit comes with a pattern for the doll and her muslin camisole and bloomers and many of the supplies needed to make those things (I'll share full lists of contents at the launch).

There will also be a separate kit (with pattern) available for a calico peasant dress, embroidered pinafore in solid-colored cotton, and knitted wool lace stockings. I'll show you the dress next week. All of the calico fabrics we are including in these kits are vintage calicos from the '70s and '80s, mostly Peter Pan and Joan Kessler that I've spent the last several years collecting either from eBay or estates. It's been such a labor of love and I really have no words to tell you how excited I am to be able to share all of these things with you soon. This is going to be such a cool collection. We will take pre-orders next week and are planning to ship doll kits and dress kits at the same time, by mid-November. We aren't sure how many orders we will get for what skin/hair combos, so we will order supplies on our end after we get the pre-order numbers and begin putting kits together and shipping as fast as we can.

I'm naming the collection the Dovegray Dolls. I wasn't sure what I was going to call them until earlier this summer, when I was starting to work on them a lot. And one night, Mimi and I were sitting in the front yard and we heard a mourning dove.

The sound of the mourning dove is one of the sounds (along with freight trains and thunder) that I miss so much from my childhood. We had them in River Forest (a western suburb of Chicago where I grew up) but we do not have them here in my neighborhood in Portland. (My sister regularly hears mourning doves right across the river in Lake Oswego, but we don't have them here.) If you don't know what they sound like, here is a sample. It's a pretty unmistakable sound.

When I heard it, I couldn't believe it. Mimi cocked her head and listened, too. After just a few calls, she could imitate the dove perfectly, much better than I could. We went and got Gretchen, our next-door neighbor, who also grew up in River Forest (I know, crazy right? Total awesome coincidence. We both graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School in the same year, too, though we didn't know each other. [The high school had almost four thousand people in it, and she and I had gone to different grade schools.]) We all listened. I texted Andy (at work) to tell him what we were hearing. I was excited. It had been decades since I'd heard a mourning dove. We sat out there for a long time, but eventually he stopped cooing and it got dark.

The very next day, the weirdest thing happened: We got a postcard (pictured above) from our local bird shop with a mourning dove on it! (It was a coupon for bird seed.) Andy came home from work that night and saw the post card on the table and said, "OH my gosh, you got a really good picture of the mourning dove!" I started laughing and told him I hadn't taken it, that it was a postcard that had just happened to arrive, etc. We continued to hear the mourning dove for a few days. Mimi and I took the coupon and went to the Backyard Bird Shop and got some special bird seed that mourning doves supposedly like. (She also broke a glass thing while we were there and the ladies at the shop were so incredibly kind and generally cool about it that we will be customers for life.) We put the new seed (I think it was millet?) in the flat feeder right away. Naturally, the minute we did that, we never heard the mourning dove again! Granted, he was never actually in our yard, just somewhere near. The bird shop said that sometimes they sort of find their ways over to this side of the river, but they don't often stay very long. Sad face. I'm still hopeful! I love them.

Anyway, in honor of the summer days we spent listening to the sweet cooing of our mourning dove, I named my little dolls the Dovegray Dolls. The one pictured above is Bridie.

***By the way, that picture above with all the little white dots on it? Does anyone want to take a guess what’s going on there? :)


Nicole James says: September 18, 2019 at 12:30 PM

I LOVE the song of the mourning dove. I too grew up hearing them but never knew what they looked like until someone pointed it out to me in college. I don’t hear them enough so I enjoyed listening to that clip. And yes, for the first time in my life (that I can remember), i am so sad the summer is over. It was the best one I’ve had in many years, partly because I am well after so many years with chronic health issues.

katieonwhidbey says: September 18, 2019 at 07:19 PM

Ya, like Tina, I think it's hail. We had some last week bouncing on the skylights. Quite something. The "rains of November" have come early here on the island.

Traci Barr Segal says: September 18, 2019 at 10:01 PM

I have a morning dove story, too. My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Israel. One of the places that we visited was Masada National Park. It’s the sight of one of my favorite novels of historical fiction, The Dove Keeper. Since returning last week, I realized that I’m a dove keeper, too. Living rurally in Mendocino county, California, our largest town, Ukiah, finally got a Costco. My husband likes to go (the place makes me dizzy) but he kindly brings home a 40lb bag of birdseed for me. I’ve always noticed a few doves in our area, but now they have spread the word, and on some days I have as many as 20 doves snacking outside my gate!

This morning I awoke to a text that said "Dovegray dolls!!!" Once I solved the mystery of what in the world that meant, I couldn't wait to come see a glimpse...just beautiful! I look forward to seeing the clothes too. Clothing makes the doll. ;)

We have those doves here! However, I'm embarrassed to tell you that I didn't know it was a dove. I actually thought it was an owl. I don't get out much. ;) I love to sit on my porch and listen to their cries. We also have plenty of thunder here. Just saying if you need a place to sit on a porch and listen to thunder and dove song, I'm your girl!

I look forward to purchasing a Dovegray doll kit! I have made your past dolls (rabbit and fox) for my older grandchildren. My youngest granddaughter Jane, is the real doll lover and so this one will be for her. A December project to look forward to!

Lyndia from Northern Ca. says: September 21, 2019 at 03:42 PM

Darling dolls. Can't wait. I'm a senior, have no small one's in my life, but I still love dolls. When I was a child, doll were my go to, no matter what. Funny how we don't really change inside. I'm excited to have a winter project to look forward to. Saying that is sort of a joke because I'm a quilter and always have way too many projects going on at the same time. But,the dolls are "something new". Sadly, my computer crashed and I lost your animal patterns I had purchased. Drats! Love that you share your life from beautiful Oregon.

We have plenty of Mourning Doves here in ND. In Brazil (North) they say it brings a bad vibe if they sing on top of your house. They are sweet creatures! I wonder what are those white spots are in that photo, looks pretty though! I like the way Amelia is looking at the other girl in that photo at the table! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

Nothing to do with this blog post - more about your Instagram feed and Amelia's knitted makes in general (no account there, so I'm commenting here).

I have long used acrylic as well as other yarn for both crochet or knitted work, for a variety of good reasons. I have always found it to be worthwhile and always put much time and effort into creating work I could be proud of. It is evident that you are doing the same, with the result of beautiful wearable pieces that people admire for how lovely they are. Rightfully so.

The time we spend creating is never a waste and has little to do with the money spent on materials to make them. I found it lovely that you dyed up the yarn for your latest make for Amelia. She looks so lovely in that colour doesn't she? How nice too that she now happily wears what you make for her and enjoys them. Isn't that the point?

We are all so easily led by what is best, but there is really only what is best for us. Nevertheless, I bet there will be lots of people who have been negatively impacted by yarn snobbery (which is rife) and have been made to feel bad about their choices. I think many people will feel much better now that you have 'showed the way' so to speak. You are considered such an arbiter of good taste, that I can't help but feel this will have an impact. I make nice things and sometimes they are 'just' acrylic but they have as much value to me as my things made from artisan yarn because I worked just as hard and gave as much time at creating them and they are pretty too.

The cowl looks so lovely on Amelia, and I can imagine what a useful and snuggly wearable it is to have. I think I would love one for myself. Thanks for sharing the lovely things X

Mary Ann in Vermont says: September 23, 2019 at 06:53 AM

I live in Middlebury, Vermont and love to hear the song of the mourning doves in the summertime. They bring peace to my soul. Loving all you share with us -- I can never ever get enough of your posts -- your photos and your writings. I think perhaps the dotted picture might be taken for inside behind a summery spotted window of a rainstorm outside. I hope you do share the answer with us as I know we are all waiting to hear. Love to You and Your Precious Family from one side of our country to the other. xo

It can take birdies up to a year's worth of season-cycles to "find" a feeder, so be patient -- though I will say Portland's density and general bird-loving folks means it usually takes them only a season or so. Keep the seed out consistently through winter and perhaps the doves will nest near you in spring! :3

We have some that live nearby and I hear them almost every day (Foster Powell) and I also see a bunch at a friend's house on West Tabor, so they aren't so far away as you may think!

Nicki Machin says: September 24, 2019 at 08:11 AM

I love the story behind the doll's names, so cool! I don't think i've ever heard a mourning dove before. Collared doves are the sound of my childhood, particularly Sundays! Was the photo a hailstorm?? Other than that i have no idea!

Is it pollen?

I love Mourning Doves now. I live in a Chicago suburb and hear them from time to time. But in my hometown, a city in the north side of Mexico, would hear them in the afternoon, when it was nice outside, not too hot, sometimes a little cool, my parents drinking coffee and reading something very quietly. We were doing homework or playing quietly too, this way the Mourning Doves were loud to be heard. I thought it was a sad sound. Now, as an adult, whenever I hear them the sound takes me back instantly to those peaceful afternoons and I can feel the weather, smell the scents of my house, everything.

Oh, I do love the sound of mourning doves! We have a few pairs that hang around our yard here in Colorado on the Front Range. We also have Goshawks, though, and the doves are their favorite meal. :((. It’s always hard to just let nature take it’s course and be a bystander. I do love both, though. That picture might be hail. We had a bit this Summer and glad we didn’t have too much damage. Your blog is fantastic and I marvel at all you do! Thank you.

I love the sound of mourning doves. We have loads here in NC. In fact, I think some made a nest in the maple in my front yard.
The little white dots in the photo? I'm guessing SNOW! :-)

The weather here is in the high 80s/low 90s now. I'm anxiously waiting for the heat to break so autumn weather can actually arrive.

We have the mourning doves in Milwaukie, along with eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, pheasants, ducks, geese and numerous other birds. It’s one of the best reasons to live here.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at