Thursday, April 7, 2011

My New Baby..................

Many of you probably think I fell off the face of the earth this last couple of months, my New Years resolution to post regularly flying right out the proverbial window!

I'm still alive and well, just super busy.  I started a new job, that's kind of like an old job, but not.  I began working for the historic Whaley House museum about 11 years ago, beginning initially as a volunteer docent...since my nest was newly emptied, I needed something to keep me off the streets.

I promptly was hired as a docent, then sort of a Jill of all trades.  Worked on their historical clothing program in it's infancy, made most of the clothing they continue to use today.  I was there for several years, then pursued other interests, such as dollmaking...although I've haunted the place pretty regularly since!

Now I am back again, no longer docenting, but working on the curating aspect instead.  More fun I think!  It's left me zero time for posting, let alone dollmaking.  But I am having fun, nonetheless.

I'll be sharing some of the work I'll be doing there, as well as trying to get a doll or two out.   The museum, though it has made amazing strides in the last decade still needs some fine tuning, so I'll be working on some projects that are a bit new to me.

My first is creating a lambrequin for the parlor mantel.  After that, a smoking cap for Mr. Whaley (even though he's not allowed to smoke in the house...but he takes advantage of the fact that we can't see him), then I want to try to get really ambitious and figure out how to make berlin work slippers!  Why do I have to make these things?  I don't...but they'd be a great addition to the museum, and I'd like to learn how, because I think I can do a halfway decent job of it.  Secondly, historical textiles appropriate to the period 1856-1870 don't drop into your lap every day.  They tend to decay, and those that don't, are very very expensive. We're on a serious budget.  Like most everyone these days.

In a few days, when I get my house vacuumed of all the thread that's currently felting the carpet, I'll take some photos of the lambrequin I'm making and post my progress here.  And when it's all done, and installed, you'll get to see that too.

(I'm trying to entice you into visiting the museum...can you tell?)

  The lovely parlor....but it needs a few something somethings!  Like a lambrequin for the mantel, a footstool, a wardian case, I could go on and on!

The Tanner Troupe Theater, San Diego's first theater upstairs in the Whaley House.  Gorgeous, no?  But, it needs some sprucing up.  Those lovely drapes are disintegrating and need major help.

 The Whaley and Crosthwaite General Store, in the house at the same time as the theater.  Busy place!  Right now, we have sort of half general store, half this n' that museum room. Working on getting it into a complete 1870's general store that Mr. Whaley would be proud to allow customers to enter!
Here's a shot of the house when it was almost brand spankin' new.  It's always been near and dear to my heart, it'll always be my baby.  So I'm going to try to take very good care of it.
For more information on the Whaley House Museum, visit  


  1. What a small world years ago I was one of many volunteers in the gardens at the Whaley house.Betty Newton organized us all and I usually worked in the herb garden. I am sure you will get lots of visits if you mention that it is haunted.It is a wonderful museum and I really think that you're going to be an asset.It looks alot different with a theater upstairs wow! Cheri

  2. Oh sounds wonderful! I can't wait to see all of the many improvements and creations you are working on. I love the half general store already so a complete one is going to be awesome! My family and I have been talking about driving down to San Diego for months now (I'm in Whittier) so guess it's time we hopped in our car and actually headed south! And of course the Whaley House will be one of the first places we visit (right after Cafe Coyote!!!)
    I'm so excited for you :)

  3. That sounds pretty much like the perfect job! Congrats!

  4. It sounds like you have the perfect job. To be able to work/curate at a museum has always been a dream of mine.
    I look forward to more photos!

  5. Well you are certainly enticing me to visit!!
    Glad to hear from you Robin,,,( missing you and your dolls),,, but I see you have been quite busy with what sounds to be quite time-consuming but fulfilling as well. Your talent is a huge asset to the museum I have no doubt!
    I look forward to updates on!

  6. Wow...that sounds like a dream job. Good luck with your projects and please show us how it goes.

  7. Well welcome back. I have missed you. Thanks for stopping by also. I love the parlor where you work and it could use a lambrequin. I made one for My Old Historic House- look at a former post I did about it. Thanks for sharing. I am glad you like your job. Richard

  8. What an amazing job!! Have you seen any sightings or heard any hauntings while you were there?

  9. A baby with a long and interesting history!

  10. Are there any ghosts,yes I've been watching too many tlc shows!!! The store looks like I stepped back in time,lucky you, but only if there are no ghosts?LOL!!!

  11. happy you are back...thank you for coming by. You have quite a project on your hands here...but sounds like you are on a determined course.
    Will be anxious to see what you have accomplished when it is finished.

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your collection of "Instant Relatives"...and I belive you are right..they do look like each other in most cases.
    That must have been an "odd feeling" when you kept discovering that about these images.


  12. How did I miss this post that you were back working at Whaley House? I've been very lax in reading blogs lately and it's hit or miss. But I'm glad to see you're back. I'll definitely have to stop by and see you there, and I'll be sure to see you at the Dia de los Muertos event if you're there.
    I'm making a couple young girls Civil War dresses for my friend to sell at the upcoming Marching Through History in Chino, and I'm having a heck of a time finding inexpensive fabrics to make them from. If only those little girls were as small as your dolls, and not need 3 yds.