All Dolled Up!


A mother of five daughters, 85-year-old Nancy Thompson was inspired to make her first doll more than 30 years ago. After making one for each daughter, their friends wanted them too. When daughter Chris was in nursing school, she came home one day with a tale of a patient whose parents were both farm workers and therefore gone all day.

“I made her a doll so that she would have something to hug when her parents weren’t home,” comments Nancy.

Now, more than 1,000 dolls later, Saint John’s Childcare Center is the lucky recipient of Nancy’s handmade dolls. Each doll, made from 100% cotton dish towels, is unique. Nancy customizes them with different skin tones, hair colors and textures, and each doll comes with a complete wardrobe, also designed and made by Nancy, including a coat, pajamas, a swimsuit, extra outfits and real shoes! When Saint John’s asked for a boy doll, she sent two!

“Nancy’s dolls are a huge hit at Saint John’s,” comments Abra Ruthenbeck, director of Childcare for Saint John’s. “The kids spend a lot of time practicing on the real buttons, snaps and shoe laces with the dolls in our dramatic play area. Her dolls are wonderful teaching tools, and the kids just love them!”

“I don’t like having nothing to do,” adds Nancy. “When I have nothing to do, I make another doll. When my daughter Chris comes home from Boise, she takes a bunch back with her for the kids in the hospital. It makes me so happy to know that the dolls all go to kids in need.”

Thank you Nancy! What a doll!