Little Flower Doll Hospital
River City News Article
TUE, 04/08/2014 - 15:30 ADMIN
Dolls passed through generations of family members can become worn and weathered
throughout the years but when a head falls off, a face gets dirty, or an original dress is
ripped there is sanctuary. Nestled in a tiny upstairs office on Covington's Madison Avenue
a wife and husband team of plastic surgeons. And glass surgeons, whatever the case may be.
Sheila and Don Lubbers operate the Little Flower Doll Hospital and have restored family
treasures for the past fourteen years. After first welcoming damaged dolls to an office in
Florence, Little Flower moved to the second floor of 428 Madison Avenue in 2007.
"Covington is a really great city," Sheila Lubbers said. "We try to walk to work and keep
everything centralized." The Lubbers live in the Mutter Gottes neighborhood.
Sheila does most of the restoration work, repairing broken limbs and clothing and even
creating new ones when necessary, while Don has become an expert on eye restoration and
on restoring the mechanical boxes hidden in the guts of speaking dolls and toys
Her work as a doll surgeon of sorts arrived after a path led Sheila through careers with
some of Cincinnati's most iconic department stores such as Pogue's and Giddings where she
created window displays, while her education at the Art Academy also prepared her for the
hands-on labor of bringing nearly-lost heirlooms back to glory.
It all started when Sheila began teach doll-making and art classes at Covington's Baker
Hunt. Now Little Flower has carved a niche in a region without many options for such work
and attracts return customers, the hospital's most common patrons, from around the region,
and sometimes, the country. The Lubbers can restore dolls from the Victorian era to modern-day
Barbies. "We try to keep everything as original as possible," Sheila said. Their work extends
beyond dolls and into statues, too. One statue of the Virgin Mary laid face down in water for
nearly a hundred years before arriving at Little Flower and leaving with a new shine. Another
statue, one of Saint Joseph holding the Baby Jesus which was missing a hand, also left with
a new hand attached. "We made the hand of God," Don joked. From body parts and eyes,
the Lubbers can also restore doll wigs sometimes with real human hair "I just see the merit in
this," Sheila said. So do her many customers, some of whom have retained a child-like attachment
to dolls and toys from their past. The oldest doll to be serviced at Little Flower Doll Hospital dated
back to 1820 Recently, the pair fixed a Snoop Dogg figurine.
Little Flower Doll Hospital's name is derived from St. Therese of Lisieux, known as the Little
Flower of Jesus. The saint once wrote, "How quickly those sunny years of early childhood
passed away, and how sweet the memories they have left behind! I think with delight of the
Sunday walks when our beloved Mother always accompanied us. Indeed, I can still feel the
the vivid and poetic impressions made on my childish heart by the vision of the cornfields
studded with cornflowers, poppies, and daisies. All the beauties of nature cast their spell
upon me and raised my soul to Heaven.
For more information, visit: The Little Flower Doll Hospital.com