About Blog Title...

As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's All About the Blanket...

It really is all about the blanket.  And, that's the way it was back in  1913 when Mary McAboy (1876-1961) from Missoula, Montana, began to make her Skookum Indian dolls which depicted different Native American tribes, and usually sold as tourists' souvenirs.  Apparently, she had, at first,  arranged to acquire remnants from Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon and/or from Hudson Bay Company.  Later on, when the dolls began to be mass produced, colorfully designed felt-like cloth was manufactured specifically for the dolls.

Skookums don't have arms but are wrapped with Indian-style folded blankets so that it looks like they have folded arms.  (My dolls do have arms, but by the time I had finished folding and refolding this little blanket, I almost wished this doll didn't, either.)  Some Skookums have bead necklaces, papooses, hair ties, headbands, kerchiefs, feathered headdresses and more.  This doll has a papoose, a kerchief, and hair ties.  Her hair is sculpted from cotton floss and the braids are secured with painted pipe cleaners.  Her moccasins are sculpted from clay.

The blanket my latest "Skookum" inspired doll is wearing is cut from an old, very worn and thread-bare blanket, which, even now, is still quite beautiful. Of course, it is a given that I would want to use the most worn part of the blanket, for I like the look of black and brown together.  Well, no matter, tattered and worn matters not, for it is still all about the blanket.


  1. I love your Skookum dolls. Each is beautifully made with loving detail work. Amazing that her hair is sculpted from cotton floss. The coloring of your dolls skin tone is beautiful.

  2. More great work!! And I like her little hands holding the blanket in place.

  3. That was interesting and so much detail to make them so authentic. The blanket is the icing on the cake. I like how Miss McAboy got her portions of blankets. I didn't know that she didn't have arms under the blanket. Your doll looks like she is trying to keep the little one warm on these cool nights.

  4. She's beautiful and the blanket is definitely the icing on the cake. Your dollies have the aura of serenity, peacefulness and wisdom, so I know she is mother of sweetness. You introduced me to the Snookum dolls and I always have an eye open when I'm out and about. I've only come across a couple, and they are very pricey, but they are truly a joy to behold. Right up your alley!

  5. She's beautiful on so many levels, Mary. Your patience was well rewarded--her little hands peeking out are a fine touch that makes her special. It may be all about the Blanket, but the faces you create are what are so endearing about your dolls.

  6. I looked on ebay for Snookum dolls and the prices are all over the place; some very pricey. I love how you have made your own Snookum style dolls. How tall are your dolls? Just curious. The detail of the dolls and their clothing are amazing.

    1. Sandra, this doll is about 15 inches tall. She ended up a little taller than the ones I had made before...not sure why? I never look at the Skookums on ebay anymore...don't want to be tempted to buy another. When I was collecting, there was a beautiful pair with real human hair that I really, really wanted, until... the bid went out of sight. If I remember correctly over $2000.

      I think you just had your first blizzard of the season. Right?

    2. Yes, we did. Tuesday was terrible. Almost everything in town shut down. White out conditions. Just cleaned up from our past snow and now we have snow drifts 5 feet tall in places. Today the wind is blowing and the temperatures just keep getting colder. Seems like it will be a frosty Christmas for us this year.

  7. This doll and her baby are beautiful. The blanket is pretty. Your dolls are always peaceful, as many other people have pointed out. all the blankets I have seen on the snookum dolls are pretty.