Paper Dolls & Memory Lane

April 11, 2012

One of the best parts of having sisters (at least my sisters), is that my childhood was full of playing dolls.

For years, every Saturday morning, all three of us would get our enormous collection of American Girl paper dolls (the ones that hadn’t had their knees bent yet and could still stand up straight were the most prized) and play for hours.

So obviously, I have no choice but to indoctrinate my small child about the wonders of paper dolls.

I got a box of these Rosie Flo paper dolls from Chronicle Books a month or two ago, and we broke them out one afternoon while Bart was home from work.  

Ella was intrigued and then enthralled.

I loved these paper dolls because they all were just the kind you pop out (instead of cutting them out) and Ella could do it herself – she managed to do them all and only rip two of them slightly in the process, which delighted me. 


Also, the little runway/fashion house? Killed me. It withstood even Ella trying to climb into it.

Here’s to a long happy childhood of paper doll playing for Ella.

Oh, and I’ve got another box, thanks to Chronicle, so if you’d like to win one for your child or grandchild (or, hey, yourself – I won’t judge), leave a comment, and I’ll select a winner at random on April 20th.

I received this box of paper dolls from Chronicle, but I was not compensated for this post, and all the text and images are my own (obviously, unless Chronicle happens to have an identical twin to Ella). 

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  • Reply Carole April 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    A lovely post. I hope Doll Church gets a post soon πŸ™‚

  • Reply Alysa April 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Those look so cute! I'm crossing my fingers!

  • Reply Saskia April 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I remember playing with paper dolls (I think we had the historical variety?) but I also remember being too neurotic – the paper would crease or rip and I would obsess about that. I'm glad Ella liked them!

  • Reply Mrs. Allen April 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Looks adorable! I loved paper dolls as a kid, and I'm hoping my two girls will as well.

  • Reply Steph April 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Kinley would love these! (Her mom would love them, too!)

  • Reply Creole Wisdom April 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    This is so sweet. You can tell she is just in heaven. I remember those AG paper dolls, too. I cherished the Samantha one!

  • Reply emandtrev April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I use to love paper dolls! The photos here of you and Ella are precious.

  • Reply Nicole April 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Aww! My mom had a set of really old encyclopedias, and one of them was "Things to Make and Do." It had a section of paper dolls, and so I would spend many afternoons carefully tracing, and then coloring the dolls in the book. I looked at it a few years ago, and it still had the indentations on the pages from where I was pressing so carefully. This would be great.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife April 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    No need to include me in the contest, but I just wanted to marvel over how beautiful your daughter is! And you made me nostalgic for my own paper-doll playing days. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lisa C April 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    So fun! We have a huge regular dollhouse, but I don't think I even knew they had such elaborate paper doll sets. I always imagined just 1 dimensional flat dolls. I hope I win πŸ™‚

  • Reply Norby Family April 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    How sweet. I have two little girls that would love these!

  • Reply Diane April 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I remember playing with paper dolls too – and there were a large selection when I was a girl. My granddaughters would enjoy playing with them too.

  • Reply Katie April 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Pick me pick me!!

  • Reply Lisa April 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Are we SURE your daughter is only a couple months older than mine? I don't think LE is anywhere near doing this yet. Probably cause you're such a rockstar at doing stuff with her and I am just old and tired. (But pick me anyway, cause by her birthday I bet she can!)

  • Reply The Liddells April 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    How fun! Harper would love these…maybe in a year?? But, hey, I can hold onto them until then!

  • Reply Lexilooo April 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    So much fun! I love paper dolls, and I often send them to the little girl I sponsor in Albania!

  • Reply The mom April 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I am expecting my third child and I am sure Sofia would love to have one of this to play with her brother while I feed the new baby this October!

  • Reply Meg April 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I love these pictures! I also had American Girl paper dolls – and possible some Aladdin ones and a Sugar Plum Fairy one. I can't wait to introduce them to my little girl (after I get to meet her myself, of course.)

  • Reply Stephanie April 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Also having grown up with lots of sisters, I have great memories of paper dolls. I have yet to try them with my girls and this would be just the thing!

  • Reply Natalie April 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I love the lack of hoops here πŸ™‚ Thx for the tweet. Paper dolls are so great! I tried them with my oldest a while back, but I think she was a little too young. Maybe she'd get the hang of them now. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Deanna April 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    My girls would love these! They have not been introduced to paper dolls yet. Thanks for the idea!

  • Reply jpetroroy April 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Ella is TOO cute. I'd love some for E in the future!

  • Reply Meridith April 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    How pretty! I've never seen paper rooms included. I can't wait until E starts playing with dolls rather than eating them. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Elizabeth April 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Oh, I forgot how much I loved paper dolls as a kid. I would love to share these with Katie sometime!

  • Reply NGS April 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Those are great pictures! I am not sure what my nieces would think of paper dolls, but I have to admit I would love to be the cool aunt who gave them some!!

  • Reply CA April 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    My daughter would LOVE this!

  • Reply Stephanie T April 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I've never played with paper dolls before and you make it seem like a lovely way to pass an afternoon with my girls. I'm crossing my fingers that we win!

  • Reply Ashley and Dave April 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    We do not own paper dolls…weird, right…with 2 3/4 little girls in my house. But these look adorable!!

  • Reply Aubrey April 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    My little girl would love these! Have you ever seen the magnetic paper dolls? They're made with thick wood and are perfect for little fingers. My three year old loves her set.

  • Reply Eos Mom April 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I am a huge paper doll fan and I have a 3 year old daughter, so I'd love to win, thanks!
    shannonhowl (at) yahoo (dot) com

  • Reply JoLee April 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I spent hours cutting out those American Girl paper dolls for my sister. I was a little too old to want to truly play with them, but with all their darling clothes and accessories what girl could resist their charms entirely?

  • Reply Sara April 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I'd love for my little girls to have some paper dolls.

  • Reply Amber April 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Oh my little girl would love this.

  • Reply Cami and Juan April 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    That close up of Ella is beautiful, she is just so sweet. And careful! Good for her not ripping any.

  • Reply Janelle April 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I have two little girls who would love this!

  • Reply Heather April 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Glad she could play so well with the dolls even though she is still so young!

  • Reply Shelly April 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Those are so cute! My almost two-year old is already into Barbies so I'm sure she would love paper dolls!

  • Reply heather April 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Cute! I've never really done paper dolls with Anna, but I bet she would love it.

  • Reply Alison K. April 11, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    April 20th is may birthday… maybe i'll get lucky? My girls, especially Eleanor, would love these.

  • Reply Packrat April 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Normally, I try to leave give-ways to others, but this is too cool. (My mom and I played with paper dolls.) The pictures of Ella are delightful. Made me smile.

  • Reply Stephanie Lee April 12, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I loved paper dolls! I played with them all the time when I was little too. Isn't so fun growing up with sisters to play with?

  • Reply Sheyenne April 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I LOVE paper dolls! I have 2 sisters and we were so into paper dolls, barbies, playing house– all the girly-girl stuff. But Gabby never really was. I think I didn't indoctrinate her soon enough. Way to start early! I want to win them for my niece who is two years old and is very girly. Crossing my fingers! X X

  • Reply Allison April 12, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Those are darling pics of you two! I would be thrilled if I won!

  • Reply KKortney44 April 12, 2012 at 2:19 am

    That last comment was supposed to be me, not Peter. HaHa.

  • Reply ShantΓ© April 12, 2012 at 3:40 am

    I know a little girl who would love this!

  • Reply Alyson April 12, 2012 at 6:24 am

    She is adorable Janssen. Any of my nieces would love this πŸ™‚

  • Reply Andrea Smith April 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Love that she was so delicate with the dolls! She's adorable! Loved playing with paper dolls

  • Reply Nicole April 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I adore nostalgic toys like paper dolls! We don't have kids yet but they would make the loveliest birthday surprise for a sweet three year old I am close to, or maybe a lovely toy for when all the little ones come over to visit! Your little one is so darling, and I am impressed that she is so into dolls already and able to punch these out!

  • Reply craftyashley April 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Oh the girls would just LOVE those. Before your post I thought paper dolls would be a bit further down the road for us. But if Ella can do it so well, my 5 year olds would probably have a complete ball! What a great idea.

  • Reply Emily April 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    She can get them out herself without ripping them to shreds? SOLD! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mad Hadder April 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I have a whole cartload of paper dolls too! I laminated all of mine and put velcro on the clothes. Good times.

  • Reply glanini April 15, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Those look so fun, I'm sure my daughter would love them just as much as Ella!

  • Reply Mrs. Doolittle April 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I loved paper dolls as a child. When I was little, McCalls magazine published Betsy McCall paper dolls monthly. I also had paper dolls of the Lennon Sisters.
    Although my daughter had many dolls, including American Girl dolls, I don't recall her ever having much interest in paper dolls.
    I loved seeing the pictures of Ella playing with them, especially the close-up where she is handing you one of them.
    So nice that all of the old-fashioned toys have not disappeared.

  • Reply Domestic Diva April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    That is so sweet and her little hands holding those dolls? Priceless! I should introduce my 3 girls to paper dolls – I bet they would have a blast!

  • Reply Corbett Family April 19, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I think my daughter would love some paper dolls and her birthday is next week!

  • Reply Emily April 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Those paper dolls are adorable! I know just the girl who'd love those!

  • Reply Hawke April 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    My kids love to see pictures of your sweet girl. It makes me excited to have another little tiny girl around.

  • Reply D&C&k Olson April 20, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I remember going to my great grandmothers house to play with paper dolls. They were dolls from the 1940s. So delicate and amazing. I spent hours playing with them. Have been looking for something like this for a while!

  • Reply Elsha April 13, 2013 at 2:51 am

    My sisters & I loved playing paper dolls! Now I'm wondering if we still have our old ones around here anywhere…

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