A Doll for Dad

Last year, right after Christmas my parents hopped into their RV and headed towards Quartzsite, Arizona.  Apparently every year there is some sort of gathering of RVer and Dad was determined to strike it rich selling his Walking Poles.  Somewhere in my sorrow at being abandoned yet again by my parents (Is it weird that I actually like them?) a brilliant idea just popped into my head.  I was going to make a replica of my father to put on his display table and send it to him as a surprise.

Of course I had never before done anything like that, but I didn’t want to let a tiny little detail like that stop me.  A doll that looked just like my dad couldn’t be that hard to make…could it?

I decided that my first step would sculpt  his head out of polymer clay. I baked it as directed on the package, then promptly found out the hard way that the baked clay will crack if you drop it.  It was a good thing that I had already decided to give him a hat.  A little paint, some glued-on yarn for eyebrows and a mustache and Dad was looking pretty good. In fact,  I was rather pleased with the results.  (I wasn’t nearly as pleased with my family’s incredulous remarks that I had actually made that head by myself.)



Then I got to work on his body.  My research showed that a wire frame should be made and then wrapped with batting.  Then a “skin” could be made for the doll.  I got as far as making the skeleton as I called it.   Then no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to make the flesh for it. 


So I put my dad away in a drawer for a few months a little while.

When my parents came back in the spring, my guilt about the half finished doll started to weigh on me.  It would have been so easy just to toss it and give it up as a lost cause.  (Dad had no idea I was making it after all) but something in me wouldn’t allow that.  So I dug him out and to my amazement, his body practically made itself.  (Apparently he just like the hot weather just as much as I do!)

Right before my folks were getting ready to head East (Yes, they were abandoning me once again.  I see no reason, whatsoever,  for them to leave me to visit my stinky baby brother when I’m so obviously the favorite child) I presented my dad with his doll. 

john and little john 049

I think he liked it. Pretty much every time I talk to him, Dad gives me updates on how “Little John” is doing and how everyone just fawns over him. 

Only we don’t call him a doll…Dad’s don’t have dolls, you know…

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23 Responses to A Doll for Dad

  1. poeticscot says:

    How wonderful and creative you are – and how amazing your story is too.

    Captivating reading – well done 🙂

  2. Maureen says:

    I don’t think that it’s weird to like your parents.Be thankful that you have them mine have both died young.You have obviously got the creative talent from dad.If it’s not a doll what is it?A miniature person sculpture?

  3. gawilli says:

    Wonderful, wonderful! I love this post. I also agree with Maureen that you are so very fortunate to be able to enjoy your parents.

    The likeness to your dad is really something. Have you every thought of doing more of these?

  4. Frances says:

    What a fabulous job!

  5. Jocelyn says:

    You are talented and too fun. Seriously, I think you could start up a cottage industry making those–I mean, people at the workplace would buy them as retirement gifts for those who are retiring, etc. I would buy one for my kids!

  6. Betty says:

    I agree that you could make a living doing “portrait” dolls. It would be much better than those silly bobbleheads.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I *love* it! You did an amazing job with the face!!!

  8. Peggy says:

    You made a good job of that! I like the final photo of your dad with his “portrait”.

  9. Dorky Dad says:

    I don’t know whether to tell you how impressed I am with your sculpting job or how creeped out I am by the picture of the head. Just the picture, mind you. The whole thing looks excellent.

  10. Susan says:

    poetiscot~Thank you!

    Maureen~Mostly he just calls it his “little guy” or “Mini Me”

    Gawilli~I’m sure I’ll do some more, it’s just a matter of deciding who’s next. (and who will be least offended by being skipped for the time being)


    Jocelyn~People have been telling me this. It’s tempting…make me an offer!

    Betty~Ugh, don’t even get me started on those bobbleheads.

    Stephanie~Thanks, I’m pleased with it.

    Peggy~Hmmm, I guess it is a portrait of a sort. Thanks!

    Dorky Dad~Is it bad that I get a perverse sort of pleasure out of creeping you out???

  11. Michelle says:

    OMG. First, the un-doll is an amazing likeness of your rather handsome father. Way to go, Susan!

    Second, I went to your Dad’s website and am so inspired and awed and jazzed about the transformation your dad has made! He looks like a million bucks!

    Must get poles for the hubby and me.

  12. mjd says:

    Wonderful doll, you never cease to amaze me,. The likeness to your father is indeed amazing.

  13. tommiea says:

    that is cute….at first I thought it was one of those shrinking heads that you make with an apple!

  14. Laane says:

    This replica is great! You’ve done very well. You have talent.

  15. pastorrick says:

    You still are not going to get the house so stop trying to get on his good side.

    Love you. I cant wait to see little john in a few months

  16. Beckie says:

    That is about the coolest thing that I have seen!

  17. Mojokat says:

    You are so freaking talented! =-) The likeness is amazing. Lets just hope that your Mom doesn’t acquire a talent for voodoo…your dad could be in some pretty major pain if he ever ticked her off! =-)!!!

    I am still amazed at the likeness…wow!

  18. renate1945 says:

    That is so great. You did a wonderful job on the face. You are lucky to still have parents around and be close to them. Enjoy it!

  19. Dawn says:

    Wow, that is simply amazing and what a great likeness you created. You could go into business making likenesses for people. I do admire your ability to try something you hadn’t done and to be such a success is a tribute to your parents as well. I must say, I can relate about being the favourite child, but they must pay homage to the others so they are none the wiser.

  20. wolfbaby says:

    I love it !! so very talented that is neat!!! totally

    now as for the parents no your not weird that you actually like them LOL i actually like my dad to;)

  21. Susan says:

    Michelle~Dad would be the first to tell you that a huge part of his weight loss was because of the surgery. But all the muscle and lack of extra skin is because of the walking poles.

    MJD~I’m not sure what I can do to top that in order to amaze you! 🙂

    Tommiea~I can’t wait to tell Dad he looks like a shriveled up old apple! teehee

    Laane~ thank you.

    Ricky~I’m already on his good side…didn’t I just say I was the favorite? I just figured out by the time your girls get to be the age of my girls, I’ll most likely have grandkids to tempt them back with…so enjoy your very few years of cute little kidness! (Did you understand all that?)


    Mojokat~LOL Don’t give her any ideas, she would SO do something like that!!!

    Renate~too bad they won’t be back here for another year. They muttered something about not wanting my brother to feel left out…to heck with him!

    Dawn~Oh, I don’t care if he knows! As for trying new things, it’s so exciting to see what I can come up with. Just don’t go changing around any of my electronics.

    Wolfbaby~I can remember in hgh school that I had to pretend not to like my folks because it just wasn’t cool to do so. (not that I was cool or anything)

  22. coffespaz says:

    That is just too darn funny! You did a nice job on the “doll”…its a good image of him. PS I think its terrific that you actually like your parents!! 🙂 So says the baby of my family, and the favorite, at least according to my siblings!

  23. JennieBoo says:

    What a great likenesss!

    Well done….

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