To me, November is always a welcome month, because, well, it is so darn welcoming. Whereas other months are too humid or cold, too boring or busy, November perfectly blends company and companionship. (I’m reminded of that gag in “Miss Congeniality” when a beauty contestant is asked to describe her perfect date. Instead of listing romantic walks or candlelight dinners, she answers, “That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25. It’s not too hot, not too cold.”) So, November is a lovely time of year because family members saunter over for Thanksgiving. That day frequently ends up being a marathon of eating turkey and then vegging out in front of the TV. It’s a feast of family, friendship, and football. November makes me feel good all over, and so do Brenda Mize’s Eyes of Texas Dolls.

Brenda Mize doll Elizabeth
Elizabeth wears an old-fashioned party dress made of gold lamé and black velveteen. She cradles her miniature panda.

For 2019, Brenda created her always-welcome lineup of innocent young maidens. Much like November, the new 10.5-inch Eyes of Texas Dolls represent family and friendship, company and companionship. They are frequently dressed in fancy holiday garb that instantly invokes memories of past visits to the grandparents. If 2019 is the year that pumpkin spice wafted everywhere, then the Eyes of Texas Dolls represent aromas of nostalgia. When I look at Brenda’s most recent creations, my mind goes back to the scent of my childhood visits to Grandma. I can immediately detect roasted turkey, warm apple pie, homemade soups, and my uncles’ overpowering aftershave! (Yep, each uncle was doused in his own heavily applied Old Spice, Hai Karate, Aqua Velva, and English Leather!)

Brenda Mize doll Brittney
Brittney is clad in a lovely gingerbread-print dress. She is evocative of childhood memories and innocence. Her companion is an angel bear.

The Eyes of Texas Dolls unapologetically harken back to the past, but in the most pleasant way. As we near the holidays, it makes sense that we all start to feel more sentimental and a tad weepy. While we all take for granted our day-to-day itineraries, we value the holidays and the get-togethers they entail. After all, we don’t know how many get-togethers we’ll get with family and friends. (Cue your playlist for either Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra crooning “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” That song definitely says it best, “Through the years we all will be together/If the Fates allow.”)

Brenda Mize doll Renee
Renee’s dress features heirloom lace embellishment. Her close companion and confidant is her little brown mohair teddy bear.

When asked about the inspiration behind the Eyes of Texas Dolls, Brenda Mize agrees that she is guided by the past. Specifically, is it her personal past or a literary, cinematic one? “I’m a fan of historical fiction,” she told me. “I really have enjoyed the ‘Victoria’ series on PBS. The dresses in that show are gorgeous — the more ornate, the better!”

Brenda Mize is inspired by portraits of the past, such as this rendering of a young girl with her beloved bear.
Brenda Mize is inspired by portraits of the past, such as this rendering of a young girl with her beloved bear.

Beyond storylines that concentrate on famous figures and opulent royal pageantry, Brenda is also influenced by special, huggable friendships. She honors the bond that exists between little girls and their bears and dolls. It is an unshakable connection that can endure for a lifetime. It certainly has in her case!

Brenda Mize doll Brooklyn
Brooklyn is a vision of purity, dressed in her handcrafted white lacy frock, holding her petite porcelain doll garbed in a floral-print dress.

“To me, the Dianna Effner doll sculpts evoke childhood memories of little girls holding their own dolls or teddy bears. It just seems like a perfect combination to me, and it adds an extra sweetness to the dolls,” she revealed. Throughout 2019, Brenda paired many of her Eyes of Texas Dolls with tiny collectible companions. The duos are absolutely irresistible.

Brenda Mize doll Rachel
Rachel won’t go anywhere without her mohair teddy bear. Her dress is rose floral design with a mulberry rose on the bodice.

“One of my favorite doll artists was the late Pauline Bjonness-Jacobsen. Dolls by Pauline produced amazing porcelain dolls. Many of them had either a little doll or teddy bear that went along with them. I guess that Pauline’s inspiration has stayed with me,” Brenda admitted.

Brenda Mize doll ingrid
Ingrid wears a handmade white-and-pink polka-dotted dress with a lace adornment. Her bodice has a mulberry rose on it. Her porcelain doll sports a floral dress.

When she grew up, Brenda Mize was not a “teddy bear type” of girl. Rather, she preferred her dolls, and she still loves them to this day. “I am a doll person,” she stated. However, she knows that a child’s connection to her plaything is intense, whether it is a baby doll or a charming critter. She acknowledges the pull that a plush pal has on its owner. “Children love their toys,” she remarked.

Antique photo of girl with doll
Antique prints and vintage postcards have long celebrated the connection between children and their special dolls and bears.

“So many old-fashioned prints, antique photos and postcards, exemplify this,” Brenda Mize noted. “I’m honored that my Eyes of Texas Dolls can be added to these classic pairings.”