Saturday, December 7, 2013



For many years I searched for a creche that wasn't like the typical ones you see. I wanted one that was old and handmade.
 One day I was searching Ebay and happened to see what appeared to be a set of hand carved wooden figures from someplace in Europe. As I carefully looked at the pictures, I was reminded of a picture of a creche I had seen a long time ago, that was set up in a little village church. It had a wonderful cast of characters and it looked like a village scene, with a mountain background and a little town. The figures were carved from wood and really wonderful.
 This set of wooden figures were not in the best condition but it had many and I mean many pieces.
There was an elephant, camel, donkey, bull or cow, dog, horse and many sheep and lambs. The figures also included several shepherds, village people, the three kings, Mary Joseph and of course the baby Jesus. Also there were two angels.

 Of course I bid immediately and aggressively! I won!  Unfortunately, the seller sent it to the wrong buyer and by the time I got the package, it looked like it had been in a war zone.
 I carefully unpacked everything and realized that a couple of the figures needed glue and all needed some careful paint restoration. Someone long ago, it looked almost childish, had repainted the faces of the people and it was not good. I carefully restored the faces and re-glued the necessary parts.
 It was worth it and I love love love my little wooden creche! So do my little granddaughters! I realized one Christmas, that the sheep seemed to be moving around the tree. My little granddaughter had been at my house a few days earlier and I think she moved them around every time she came over!

I really couldn't blame her, since they are all very tempting. I especially love the little sheep.  The little fenced "Paradise Garden" was another lucky Ebay find. Perfect for the feather tree and creche.





          I hope you enjoy this post and seeing my creche!                                                                                                            

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


The old kitchen

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time, is to decorate the old kitchen of our 18th century house. I love princess pine roping and when I can find it, I buy it . Next a few homemade ornaments mixed with a few antique ones, feather trees, dried spiced orange balls, and a basket full of dried pomegranates.
 Did I also mention the cranberry  roping? Still have to do that .

The spice balls are something I actually made a couple years  ago and by some miracle they have managed to last through a  humid summer.
Orange spice ball and peeler

  It is a really fun thing to do and with the right tool, can be easily done.  The tool I use is called a citrus peeler. You score the  skin of the orange into a design and then press whole cloves into the white flesh . Sometimes I just go all around the orange ( you  can use lemons too) in a kind of swirl design or other times I  just go on a diagonal or striped design. When the cloves are  pressed into the white flesh, it looks amazing.

I let the oranges dry and they look so pretty arranged on the mantle with greenery or in a bowl or basket on the table. I used to make dozens of these and give them as gifts with baked goods.

Happy Holidays from Peggy's old kitchen!

Mantle decoration
Table decoration

In my next post I will show the fabulous creche I found a few years ago on ebay!

Keep tuned in....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

China dolls adrift!


These are some of my favorite things....tiny china dolls  and one tiny paper mache doll.

They are sailing in a little wooden boat, that I found at the flea market for $40 and a wonderful carved whale that probably had a stand ...long gone .

Yes, it was a lucky find.


    One day as I was cleaning up around here,
  I started moving things around and couldn't resist   the temptation to "play". After all, what is the  use of having all these little treasures if you can't have a bit of fun with them.

  My husband bought the ship model a few years ago and it sat in his office for a while collecting  dust. I happened to notice it and decided it was a  really cute ,especially since it had a little captain  with a spy glass. Perfect for my little dolls.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sneak Peek Of Carolina !

This is a new doll I am working on.
Her name is Carolina and she is a sweet and charming young girl!
She is shy and did not want to be photographed until she was completely dressed ( I am still working on her outfit!). I convinced her I could take a picture of her without showing too much.

Hopefully we can get her done soon!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More of my house

I was asked if I could how a little more of my house , meaning some interior pictures. So I am doing that.  The pictures I am going to show are in the early part of the house that was built in the 1760s. Fortunately , the house survived pretty much intact inside . I think that is because it was a simple little farm house and being owned by farmers , there wasn't money to do much alteration. Also I suspect it had been used as a rental for part of it's history. Things usually got changed when there was money !

The old kitchen
 The first picture is the front room ,which was the old kitchen . You will notice the big fireplace, which had originally had two ovens in the back . Now there is only one. This was the room where most everything took place.

front upstairs bedroom

 The next picture is our little parlor. It is the small room in back of the old kitchen and might have been originally used as a sitting room or small bedroom.

This is the upstairs front bedroom. I think this room might have been an unfinished room, used for storage and also as a bedroom. I think the panelling might have been added later on, although it is also 18th century. Sometimes in these little cottages, the upstairs rooms were not finished off. The little bedroom in the rear of this room, had a small staircase that went down to the back rooms. Not sure exactly how this was, but I can see evidence . The rear room was most definitely used for storage and also maybe had some beds for sleeping youngsters.

buttery or "sink room"
                                                                                 This is the buttery or old sink room. There was at one time a stone sink sitting where I now have a dry sink. There are marks in the floor showing where it was.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cottage at the head of the Cove

House at the head of the cove 

This is our house at the head of Lobster Cove.
It is a small Cape Ann Cottage that was built in the 1760's by a man named Oliver Griffin. He grew up in an even older house somewhere in the back of the property. Oliver was a yeoman or farmer, but probably also did some fishing since the house is so close to the water,which is just across the street. 
 I remember the first time I saw this house ,about 40 years ago ,while my husband and I were driving around Cape Ann ,exploring. I was in love! It was such a sweet little place in a perfect spot ! I never actually thought I would end up living in it. Well it took us another 20 years and three other old houses before it was ours. I had to really convince my husband that it was the place for us. The house had been in the same family since the 1920's and it needed some work. As my husband likes to say "everything was broken"! It was. Ten years later, we are still "fixing" things! But, as my Dad always likes to say, you only get one free year even with a new house. 
   The barn , next to the house is actually two barns connected  together . The smaller one in front is
where my husband has  his  studio. He is a painter in his spare time. The bigger barn in the back has a wonderful apartment in it ,which we rent . When we bought the place , the barn was filled with all kinds of things from previous owners and among them were things which were left over from the days when farmers lived here. I later found a few photos taken in the early 20th century showing pastures and fruit trees in back . So pretty. Now there is a small house and gardens where my neighbors live. Still nice.

The view down Lobster Cove


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ellie, my first doll

This is Ellie.  She was the first doll I ever made. As you can see, she is pretty straight forward. A simple small pillow shape with two tiny pillow shape arms , some yarn hair and felt for her eyes ,cheeks and mouth. Apparently , I didn't think it was necessary for Ellie to have a nose! At some point in her life , Ellie lost her left eye....oh well. I also am remembering that I slipped using the scissors and accidentally gashed her back , never to be repaired. I can see that I must have used one of my Mother's stockings for stuffing. Ellie is dressed in a simple cotton shift, which is NOT sewn on the sides. I guess that didn't seem necessary either.

My youngest daughter, Ariel was searching through some things in the attic, when she came upon Ellie. She was in love. I gave her Ellie's history and from that moment on Ellie was hers! Who can say what moves us? Ellie had won Ariel's heart.

When I went to get Ellie to take her picture, I had to call my daughter and ask where she was. My daughter made me promise to put her back where I found her , right after I was done taking the picture. I found Ellie in her jewelry box!

I should also mention that Ellie had a mother. She also is made in the same pillow shape with little pillow arms and felt features. I probably used another of my Mother's stockings for her stuffing. She is buried in another box of my childhood things in the attic. Both Ellie and her mother lived in a wonderful cardboard house that I made for them ....long gone. I had many happy hours playing with Ellie in that house, making her do all the crazy adventurous things I couldn't do . Ellie was fond of sneaking out of her bed and jumping around on the cardboard roof!  I think she survived pretty well considering those adventures.

I know all you dollmakers out there can relate to my little Ellie!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


My name is Peggy Flavin, and I live in an old house in Gloucester, Massachusetts, by the sea.

The first doll I ever made was a small, three inch, pillow shaped little thing, with a few strands of yarn for hair. I named her Ellie. She lived with her pillow shaped mother in a cardboard house I built.

I still have her, but since then, things have improved! Now I am making Izannah Walker inspired dolls and also some cloth dolls in an early style.

This is Jane, my first Izannah. She lives with me and some of my other antique dolls.

Check back soon and I will have a picture of Ellie.