'Dottie's Dolls' are sweethearts of craft fair circuit

NEIGHBORS

September 29, 1994|By MICHELLE HOFFMAN

They are called "Dottie's Dolls" -- little babies as individual as Cabbage Patch Kids preemies, only smaller, birthed from muslin cloth instead of the cabbage patch.

Each clutches a familiar soother, a blanket, a pacifier, or its own baby doll.

Each handmade member of the "Dottie's Dolls" collection has its own identity.

Their parents are sisters. Lorie Dungan and Dawn Hof, local artisans, created the dolls as a tribute to their departed mother, Dottie Morlock.

Dottie would have been proud.

The dolls are just the tip of the creative iceberg for these talented sisters. Using dried flowers, bread dough, painted wood and cloth, the women have created their own line of Victorian and country motif decorative items.

A partial list of their products includes painted pumpkins or life-size scarecrows on a stick, lattice fruit tart pies, Americana wreaths, cinnamon bears, double crow and sunflower welcome signs, flower wreaths, natural dried fruit wreaths, and bread dough sculptures embraced with flowers and lace.

Diversity is the spice of life for the women, who constantly try new ideas to challenge themselves.

"Sometimes I wake up at night and jot down ideas," said Mrs. Dungan. "Then I can't wait to get started on them."

The success of many of the creative projects the women undertake hinges on a third partner in their newly formed business called Picket Fence: their father, Charles Morlock Sr.

"I act as everything from chauffeur to gofer," he said with a wink. "If I quit, the business goes down the drain."

The man who couldn't be more proud of his girls' successes and accomplishments is also the wind beneath their wings.

A lover of the arts, he reared his daughters to share his appreciation of handmade items.

"The girls were raised going to craft shows with us," he said. "They learned their skills by osmosis."

He said he couldn't be happier that the women chose to make diverse handcrafts as a profession.

"Even if a project sells good, they keep looking for new ideas," he said. "They keep their ears to the phone line to see what's popular, and then they make it for the public to enjoy.

"I think their success is in their versatility. They should give themselves more credit than they do."

Hesitant to become concerned with mass production this early (they have been in business since May), the trio has decided to stick to creativity as it reflects trends.

This year, sunflowers are popular. Therefore, sunflowers are incorporated subtly into their designs. Since trends can change suddenly, the partners will continue to monitor public demand and deliver products accordingly.

A major project they would like to undertake next year -- during their second year of business -- is to offer one item, or a small sampling of their handmade items, that will have timeless appeal and can be mass produced at home, in a retail catalog.

Because their artistic medium depends on dried flowers, Mrs. Dungan would like to grow and dry her own flowers instead of buying them.

But for now, the women are content to be the sweethearts of the craft show circuit. The trio has been busy day and night trying to replenish inventory sold at previous craft and home shows so they may set up at the Colorfest celebration Oct. 8 and 9 in Thurmont.

They're looking forward to next weekend. Trying to keep with a Halloween theme, the women will dress like scarecrows. Mr. Morlock will dress as a Quaker. They will be set up at a private residence on Water Street.

And while the sisters are busy entertaining and selling to patrons, their father may step away from the display area periodically to replenish inventory, run an occasional errand, or just stand in the background to admire his girls.

"I'm proud of them," he said. "I hope they really do it big."

*

If you get a hunger for oysters this weekend, stop by the Firemen's Activity Building on Memorial Drive in Taneytown for dinner Saturday.

Grace United Church of Christ will hold a turkey, oyster and ham dinner from noon until 5 p.m. or until the food runs out.

Now is the time to get your first taste of oysters for the season. Last year, 54 gallons of oysters, 160 pounds of ham and 500 pounds of turkey were served.

This year, there may be even more food.

Adult meals are $8.50, children's meals are $4, and children under 4 eat free. Carry-outs will be available.

Top off your dinner with a sweet treat from the bake table.

Proceeds will benefit religious and social activities of the church.

*

After dinner, stop by St. Joseph's Church, right around the corner from the activities building, for bingo.

Early bird games start at 6:40 p.m. Regular games begin at 7 p.m.

Sandwiches and homemade soup will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m.

St. Joseph Church is at 44 Frederick St. in Taneytown.

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