1. Shirley T.
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Lovely story….and they look fantastic.

    Life is funny sometimes. It’s when the simple things/gestures make us so happy, I spot a miracle. Here you are happy, and I am happy for you.



    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 3, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

      Sometimes I think I should be less attached to things and stuff… I should find happiness in reading philosophy and meditation. But then I get something like this and forget all about detaching from possessions and hop around with glee…


      • Shirley T.
        July 3, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

        Maybe- but don’t be to hard on yourself. I really think the entire round about way these found their way into your home adds to how much you love them. There is no foul, no harm, in feeling glee…carry on. 🙂
        ….even if you did want to steal them…lol


      • Pauline
        June 20, 2016 @ 11:41 am

        I will love you EVEN MORE had this page shown pictures of the dolls!?


  2. Garden, Home and Party
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    They are wonderful. I agree, you really needed three for them to look like a centerpiece. What is the story behind them? 1940’s Japan? I like the tray and then the sweet little girls. I’d name them, well, that’s just me! 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 3, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

      Yes!! Something about all three of them together is so appealing! Brian says the one condition of me having them is that I name them, but nothing’s come to me yet.

      The tray is from Pottery Barn. One of those things that you buy, and it sits around for a few years, you think about getting rid of it… and then it turns out it’s the most perfect thing you need! Which is why I don’t throw anything away…


  3. A city girl
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Too cute and no if you wanted one of these you would never find one. I wonder what they are called. I am also curious about them.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 3, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      There was an original doll, and mine are reproductions of that doll. Brian had a mold made and started reproducing them after seeing something similar being sold as a collectable in a Philadelphia department store. Brian doesn’t remember the exact year, but it was sometime in the 1950’s. I couldn’t find any when I googled them… and usually you can find anything with the right combination of search terms.


      • A city girl
        July 3, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

        hmmm did you try googling collectable dolls sold in xxx (the department store name)? Well no matter they are adorable. Glad you aren’t bloggin from jail…breaking and entering. LOLOLOL


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          July 4, 2012 @ 9:39 am

          I did… and while it didn’t turn up anything I actually was looking for, I did see some amazing photos of Philadelphia and Wanamaker’s… It was really a fantastic piece of architecture… almost like Grand Central Station. I also learned a lot of history—the store’s seven-story organ was originally built for the 1904 world’s fair, and it’s considered the largest organ in the world.


          • A city girl
            July 8, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

            hmmmm That must have been interesting to have went Christmas shopping and hear music from the organ. We have some interesting store buildings here also like the Kress Dept Store. They converted the building into condos and the last time I checked they were selling at $175 psf (which I think is ludicrous). Interesting how much effort they used to put into stores though, These days they just slap up some walls. Anyway makes you wonder how they used the dolls. They are the sweetest dolls.


  4. Linn @ The Home Project
    July 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    What a funny post. I get what exactly what you mean about focusing in on something and then having your brain going on overdrive obsessing about that exact thing. Well, I would say these lovely (and unique!) figurines were an appropriate thing to circle in on. And your neighbor sounds like such a sweet old man, one of those people you want to have as a neighbor, one of those who put a value on interesting things and I’m sure keeps his home in great condition, or as great as you can being in your eighties. And, asking him for one (or three!) seems like a lot less trouble than sneaking in with flashlights at night 😉 They are almost a touch creepy, wouldn’t you say, but in a good sort of way. Certainly an interesting set!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 3, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

      Linn—Brian did say that some people find them off-putting and strange. And yes, creepy. Which may be why he was so genuinely happy that I loved them. I guess I must be immune to the creep-factor.

      He really is the nicest guy. And an amazing wealth of knowledge. He can repair nearly anything. Which is going to work out just fine for me… The mirror in the background is missing a chunk of plasterwork that he knows how to duplicate. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be enlisted in the project!!


  5. Stacey
    July 3, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    Wow, I have no idea why I love these (you know my style), but I’m drawn to them as they sit there so perfectly on your table. Those bows in the back are too much! Are those little flowers they are holding? Honestly it may be the whole story… a sweet elderly neighbor seeing the joy in your face over something he’s treasured and live with for years. What a wonderful thing to pass on to someone he knows will LOVE them. Funny how something grabs us and won’t let go. I’m so happy you got them! And how ’bout that hubby…. makin’ sure his sweet girl gets her dolls. YAY, Paul!
    Ski masks and flashlights would have been fun… but I think he would have known who to call the police on. This is a much better way to go! Happy 4th… with your new girls! (let us know what you name them!)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 3, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

      I know, go Paul… although at first, I really was embarrassed that he’d asked. I need to think, rethink, and overthink everything, so his approach of just handling things immediately is always foreign to me. Now if only he would spy priceless midcentury furniture at the curb!!

      I LOVE the bows. I love that they’re as detailed in the back as the front. There’s a hole in their hand… The blue one has a paper fan, but the other two have (some pretty old!) fake flowers. Brian showed me a photo of how he and his wife (passed away) used to decorate them for holidays. Flags/sparklers in their hands, Happy Birthday hats on their heads… It looked like an instagram since the photo was old.

      Happy Fourth! A day off… to do MORE house projects. Hooray.


  6. junkyardcandy
    July 3, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

    they are just too gorgeous!! your post made me laugh because i can really relate to the pleasure found in things that cost you nothing, but are sooooo very valuable, simply because you love them. I had a similar experience with some old treasures that me Dad gave me. : )


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 4, 2012 @ 9:06 am

      It’s strange, how you can get attached to random inanimate objects… and they bring you joy for no real reason. Even better if they don’t cost you anything! I’ve gotten attached to some things that I had to love from afar, since I couldn’t afford to bring them home!!


  7. thebeatingofmyheart
    July 6, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

    This is a difficult area for me,Victoria,as my Mom passed away suddenly in March and I’ve spent the past few months clearing out her house-she was a prolific hoarder! So now I have this constant battle going on in my head about the impermanence of ‘stuff ‘ versus my longing to hold onto every single thing Mom ever so much as breathed on!
    I mean,when precious life itself can so quickly and ruthlessly be snatched away-when it has been so quickly and ruthlessly snatched away-how then can I justify valuing inanimate objects? How can I justify holding onto ‘stuff’ with no practical or even impractical use? That’s what Mom did,and where did it get her? I don’t know…maybe she got pleasure from just possessing…maybe just possessing the wonderfully odd and mad stuff she owned was enough for her…I think it was. And that makes me happy. Now I possess those things she loved,even if she loved them only for a short while…that was enough.
    Right now,on my hall table,there stands three white porcelain…cherub-like children,I guess is the best description! Next to these cherub cutelings stand three porcelain blue and white cherub-like cats. So,its a cherub kiddie,a cherub cat,a cherub kiddie,a cherub cat,a cherub kiddie, and a cherub cat. And I’m not really sure if it’s suppossed to work,but it just does. So I thoroughly agree with you Victoria-EVERYTHING is better in threes!!
    P.S. My baby girl’s first three names are Summer Sophia Shauna…just a thought!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 7, 2012 @ 8:01 am

      I’m sorry about your mom. That’s a terrible loss.
      I sometimes joke about being a “hoarder,” but it’s really only a half-hearted joke. I do see real tendencies in my personality to hold on to things in a way that’s over the top. I read a definition of hoarding that describes it as “having a feeling of responsibility towards inanimate objects.” That’s paraphrasing, but you get the idea. It explains why people who are real hoarders cannot throw away whatever the object of their fixation is—they feel a real sense of responsibility towards it. It becomes more than a newspaper or a teddy bear—it’s something they are accountable for. Which can actually be a burden… to be accountable for every newspaper and teddybear!!

      Those are good names! I’ll take them, as none at all have come to me. I think I’m seeing the dolls more as a pieces of art, rather than something child-like.


  8. Dana
    July 7, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    These are wonderful, as is the story behind them. You need all three, definitely.


  9. the home tome
    July 9, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    1.Those are adorable!
    2.I can see my husband doing something like that – very kind, very awkward, completely awesome. 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 10, 2012 @ 7:28 am

      Ha. Yes. Not the first time he’s run interference for me… I cannot imagine the luxury of being immune to the kind of over-thinking I bring to any less-than-ordinary situation.


  10. {Home} It’s the little things « Garden, Home & Party
    September 27, 2012 @ 4:57 am

    […] it finding its way into my blog-friend, Victoria’s home.  {If you’ve never visited Victoria Elizabeth Barnes blog you are in for a treat, she and her husband are renovating a 1890 Victorian home outside […]


  11. puddle
    June 29, 2013 @ 12:34 am

    Chinese rather than Japanese. (Japanese clothing crosses the opposite way.) They remind me of these: http://traditions.cultural-china.com/en/16T1760T3533.html

    And, as an “elderly” person, believe me, finding people to take what you love is a *gift*!!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 1, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

      Well… in that case, I’ll inform Brian I have MANY other gifts I’d like to give him. His dining room set, for starters.

      Thanks for setting me on the right country identification path!!


  12. dollectomy
    July 14, 2013 @ 3:29 am

    You’re not alone in your love things – have you seen this?

    (Looks similar to your Asian dolls…)



  13. Rich
    July 14, 2013 @ 9:09 am

    I love these! I love all things Asian. They are perfect sitting on your dining table, and you were correct — three was an absolute necessity. I am so happy I found you — I love you!


  14. becky up a hill
    October 28, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    One time my husband asked for something and I died a thousand deaths. He is retired, but works part time. The small business in our small town hired a(regular size;) young man who is the grandson of a famous movie star who I used to have a crush on..back in the 60’s. Yes we are older people. So my husband comes home from work one day and says, I asked (blank) to get you a photograph (8×10) of his grandpa, as he is seeing him at Thanksgiving. I screamed WHAT! I was so embarrassed and felt like a weird old lady. He said, I thought you would like that. No..now (blank) knows I had/have a crush on his grandpa and now we have to move far far away. Fortunately for me, (blank) got another job. We didn’t have to move. Oh, and yes I did get the 8×10, turns out his grandpa is really old, like older than me. ha.


  15. Karen Johnson
    October 28, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    Three dolls really makes a difference! Love the look for your dining room.


  16. AnnW
    October 28, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

    I saw these dolls in one of your old photos recently, so I am glad to find out the story behind them. I would love to own one, or three. Ask Brian to commission some more? Or ask him for the
    mold? These are great. Thanks, Ann


  17. Lisa W.
    October 28, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    The things you love fascinate me ! I am so glad you got them !


  18. Tara
    December 30, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    I just found this post…. I know you… I REALLY know you! My love offered to buy me a new dress and shoes that I really really want….. I said no, but I do really want it. It is nice to know that I am not the only crazy person on Earth. Spending the day in bed reading your blog, New Year’s Eve eve…. It is a lovely day.


  19. Patty Squirell
    January 14, 2014 @ 1:33 am

    Oh, I am surely going to hell! I’m coveting your three lovelies. Tell Brian I would gladly buy one.


  20. Tricia
    April 19, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

    Esther Hunt Chalkware Collection at 1stdibs .com .I thought of you when I came across this. 🙂


  21. Don
    July 2, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

    I was recently asked to repaint two statues that were repainted 30 years ago,
    its the girl you have and a boy they are a set


  22. Don
    July 2, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

    they are atleast 100 years old , in Louisiana


  23. DogsDontPurr
    November 16, 2014 @ 4:00 am

    I have been slowly reading through all your posts. (Found you through The Bloggess.) And OMG!, I think we were separated at birth or something. We are definitely kindred spirits!

    I’ve had an antique/vintage store for many years now…but I have a hard time parting with anything. For the most part, I don’t sell the kind of stuff you tend to look for, but I do keep those kind of giant things for myself. (You can check out some of my shop here: http://marinedriveantiques.com)

    And I totally don’t mean to use this comment for my own sales or anything. Trust me, I really have a hard time parting with anything, which is why one of my slogans is: “Never Open!”

    Anyway….I just wanted to say that I sooo love your blog and your humor. Thank you for sharing your crazy journey. Love it! I know we would be fast friends.



  24. christal
    December 15, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

    I just came across this blog & was wondering if you ever found out any more info on this statue because I have inherited 1 myself.. His name has always been Charlie & all the kids from the time my mother was little have always feed poor charlie his own boogers.. Any info would be great. Thanks


  25. Pauline
    June 20, 2016 @ 11:42 am

    I will love you EVEN MORE had this page shown the dolls?!


  26. Laura
    August 10, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

    OHMYGOD the dolls are fantastical and look great as a grouping!!! Brian is a genius! You are so lucky – my neighbors have WalMart lawn ornaments and let their dog poop in our yard. Wanna trade?


  27. Marissa smith
    August 25, 2016 @ 12:18 am

    Not sure how I stumbled across this site. I have one of these, it’s from my moms antique store. I’d love to send you a picture:


  28. Vickie H.
    January 24, 2017 @ 11:45 am

    oh wow! Since your original post is almost 5 years old I have NO IDEA if you will even SEE my comment! I am so in love with those dolls I think you might need to update your security system, just in case……..I should warn you that I own a mini-van, can afford to drive there and I have several pry/crow bars that would enable me to gain access!!! They are so dang cute! BRYAN IS THE BOMB!!!! You lucky, lucky girl! A dear friend and I have shared similar conversations about these types of dolls….I covet them like mad and he has one similar…..also, I found a photograph of one that was done by CHANEL (!) and sent it to him since he oversees the CHANEL Boutique in Beverly Hills! He said he has wanted one of the CHANEL dolls FOREVER but they are not to be had!!! I haven’t googled them, but you might try, just to see what you find. I know I can locate the picture I sent him if you are interested. Could you will yours to me?….I wouldn’t want them to fall into the wrong hands…..oh, and he named the little Asian doll that he owns “Kim”….which I love! Keep blogging…..you are on to something….


  29. Marian Dunham
    July 16, 2017 @ 10:00 pm

    I, like you, tried to find information on my acquisition. I have the male equivalent to your darling girls.
    I found mine in an antique store in Hillsboro, OR and fell in love with it and all it’s flaws. Mine has been glued back together by someone who probably loved him as much as I do. I’m going to get some spackle or something and fill in any cracks and broken parts and then painstakingly match paint only where needed. My little fellow is almost golden in skin tone. I love your geisha look but he’ll remain the color I found on him. Love, love him and he can only get better.


  30. Mary S
    January 20, 2018 @ 12:07 am

    I was so intrigued by your story for these dolls and the comments saying they are a pair that I wanted to see what the but looks like, and I found this listing with the pair on eBay:



  31. Joy
    March 6, 2018 @ 11:17 pm

    I have an original signed by Peretti however mine looks sad. Just curious if you ever gained more knowledge of her? I think it was produced in NY by Ray Peretti who started a school for ceramics. I was able to google that much.


  32. Eli
    March 28, 2018 @ 8:45 pm

    I think I might have found an original .


  33. Lisa
    May 7, 2018 @ 10:10 pm

    Hello, I have one of these chalkware dolls that belonged to my grandmother. I have searched the internet multiple times & this is the first time I have seen anything about it! Thank you for sharing. My grandmother always referred to it as her “radio doll” as it sat at the base of her radio.


  34. Ruth Clanin
    July 7, 2018 @ 4:11 pm

    I am so glad to find your site and comments. In the early 1950s my grandfather found an Asian doll in the trash in China Town, San Francisco and brought it home to me, his first grandchild. I have treasured my China doll and a few years ago had it repainted by an artist friend of mine. This is the first time I’ve seen any information on the chalk dolls.


  35. John Kilborn
    November 8, 2018 @ 6:12 pm

    Firstly, I love your writing style, deliciously funny. You are a true Maximalist and its a delight to read your quests for the grand and unusual. How I got to your blog is a story in itself. About 6 weeks ago I was in a pickers shed in Brisbane Australia and my eyes were drawn to two wistful figurines. Yep, they were a girl (like yours) and a boy. Not only their facial expressions but the fact that they seemed to be painted in 1930’s pastel colours grabbed my eye. This opens a pandoras box of worms for me, (thats where I keep my earthworms… in a pandoras box) , how did these chalk dolls end up in Australia?, they seem too heavy and bulky to carny items?, and who made them???
    I will send pictures of them shortly… although I have little problem, my wife does not know I have bought them and she is the holder of our mobile phone camera.
    So I’m forced to hide them in the garage and bring them in the house when my beloved is away at work. Once I have summoned up the courage to fess up to her (and you, Victoria will be a big part of my justification for buying them , blog and all) pictures will follow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *