Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Meeting Holly Hobbie

On Saturday, Julia and I went to World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield – our local, friendly privately owned bookstore to a book signing with none other than Holly Hobbie. She is the author of ten illustrated Toot and Puddle books. She lives not far from here and every year we look forward to getting the next book in the T and P series signed. Julia has quite a collection. Because we have been going for so long, she now recognizes her which makes Julia feel very special.

And yes, folks – she is the real Holly Hobbie as in little girls in big bonnets from the 70’s. I was a huge fan when I was young – as were thousands of little girls. Mrs. Hobbie (I just can’t bear to refer to her as Holly because she is on such a pedestal in my book) is the nicest, most unassuming woman you could ever meet. The first time I met her about 7 years ago at a booksigning, I asked her if she was “she” and she said yes – she was one in the same. She seemed rather embarassed and shy and so I never approached the subject again. It seems that the entire world must know who she is – person after person asks her if she is the real HH and she says yes and then they fall all over themselves complimenting her and telling her what her drawings mean to them. Can you imagine the pressure of having such a following? No thanks! But she wears it well.

Her Toot and Puddle books including the new one The One and Only are totally adorable. Talk about “pig personality” – they’ve got it. Mrs. Hobbie said that there will only be one more T & P next year and then she is going to start looking for something else to illustrate. We loved talking with her - she spoke of her love of illustration and book making and how once you do, you just have to keep on doing it because it is what you do and who you are. I totally agree with her = Almost like being a knitter or stitcher – once you do it and become good at it – you can’t stop – you’re always a knitter or a stitcher for the rest of your life even if you take a break once in a while.

I also learned that the new Holly Hobbie animated stories, dolls, and illustrated cards and cartoons are not done by her but by the people at American Greetings. She said that AG wanted to bring the wholesome qualities of the original Holly Hobbie to girls today. I took a chance and bought Julia the new Holly Hobbie DVD called “Christmas Wishes" and we watched it last night. It is very cute and full of very good messages about life – very similar messages to those I grew up with. And Julia loves it. There is also going to be a new "Toot and Puddle I'll Be Home for Christmas" animated Christmas show airing this December. HH said that they had to add quite a bit to the story. I can imagine that this must be so difficult for an author to see the story changed and added to and not be in control. I’ll Be Home for Christmas was a totally sweet book so I imagine the DVD may be too.

Her two children Nathaniel and Jocelyn Hobbie also write and illustrate – they did two children’s books called Priscilla and the Pink Planet and Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise. Both have nice messages and are full of colorful endearing drawings. What a hugely talented family!

I sound like some kind of crazy Holly Hobbie commercial. But I figure many of you out there in craft blogland may have similar fond memories of all things Holly Hobbie so I have indulged. Here’s a photo of the Holly Hobbie doll I made using a sewing pattern when I was young. My mom found her in the attic a few years ago and I have her sitting on Julia’s bookshelf. She’s missing an eye and her bonnet but she still is dear.

34 comments:

Laura said...

I like your blog! Regards from Spain

velcro said...

I didn't realise she was a real person. All I knew of Holly Hobbie was a fabulous patchwork bag my aunt sent me from Texas. It had a pocket on the front with its very own little Holly Hobbie doll inside.

mathea said...

This brings back fond memories :-) I loved that little girl in her patchwork pinafore (or apron, maybe...) when I was a young girl. Come to think of it she is partly to "blame" for me taking up patchwork in the first place. I also stitched several cross-stitch pictures of Holly Hobbie and her friends, hm, where could they be? I must unearth them - another topic for my blog, I think. Thank you for reminding me about my little friend!
I loved the pot holders in your previous post, by the way!

Diane H K in Greenfield! said...

Argh! I had hoped to go to World Eye for the signing (I've never met HH, but my little sister grew up loving the patchwork girl and of course I'm familiar with Toot and Puddle) but couldn't get my act together in time. Rats. Do you think she'd sign any of the older titles? I'd love to get a small set of them for my little Pixie...

Stephanie said...

That is so neat! I didn't know there was a "real" Holly Hobbie. My mom and I made my 2 y.o. DD a very dear little Holly Hobbie outfit for Halloween this year. She was a real doll! She called herself Hobbie Hobbie. I had a Holly Hobbie lunch box that was the inspiration for her costume. Thanks for the great post!

Mama Urchin said...

Wow, I also didn't know there was a real life Holly Hobbie. I'll have to tell my mom. I LOVED HH as a child - my room was decorated that way, I had HH birthday parties and of course, a bunch of the dolls.

I just finished the aran sweater from Knitting for Baby for my son's first birthday. Thanks for a great design.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't know she was real, either. I was in love with that bonneted image when I was younger. I remember cross stitching a Hollie Hobbie that was framed for me. I'll have to tell my mom this story. She'll get a kick out of it.

Green Kitchen said...

I knew whe is real, but didn't know she's currently working. So, thanks.

Sara in WI said...

Aawwww. Holly Hobbie. I loved her. I had some dolls of HH when I was teaching kindergarten in the 70's. I think I still have some of the coloring books that I used for inspiration for decorating ideas, too. And of course I know Toot and Puddle and love those books, too. Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

She had a third child too -- Brett Hobbie. I went to college with her in Western Mass. She died of cancer, and was a really nice person who looked exactly like the original Holly Hobbie drawings.

Deb said...

What a great post.
I am also a Holly Hobbie fan! How wonderful that you have the doll you made when you were little.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be commercial . . . but in case anyone is interested, you can buy the DVD at www.shopngvideos.com (it's the National Geographic dvd store).

Alicia P. said...

WOW!

PG said...

Ah, we even had Holly Hobby over here in
the UK, I wanted to BE one of those little big-bonneted girls, standing under an apple tree with a pinny on...I'm so glad to hear their creator is still going.

mgilfoil said...

I have loved Holly Hobbie and mnade the doll for my daughters. I have lost the pattern and can't find it anywhere. Do any of you know where I can locate the pattern?
Marguerite: mgilfoil@maine.rr.com

Candlestring said...

Chiming in late here - I found this post through a Google search. I have that doll! In different colors, of course - my mom made her for me when I was small. Mine is missing her bonnet, shoes and pinafore, but I hope to fix her up for my little girl (not quite 2yrs) one day soon. Will share a picture of mine in her current condition on my blog in the near future.

Also love Toot and Puddle.
Very nice blog you have here, too.

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