It was her love of dolls which has inspired 75-year-old Patsy Phillips to make dresses for the annual Doll Tea at the Salvation Army.

Phillips was given her first doll when she was just a girl in 1944.

“In my day, dolls were priceless,” Phillips said.

During the war era, toys were difficult to obtain, she said.

Her very much loved and treasured doll, “Sweetie Pie” serves as a reminder as she hopes a little girl will love one of the dolls she has created the clothing for.

The Doll Tea at the Salvation Army, located at 1950 Martin Luther King Drive,  is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. December 6. The ladies mission  of the Salvation  Army is responsible for the tea this year. For more than 25 years, the dolls have been dressed by individuals,  local civic and church organizations.

Before the guests arrive, the dolls will be judged by three judges. They will have ribbons placed on them for first, second and third place. The various categories include most outstanding doll, bridal wear, evening wear, Sunday best, school attire, sleeptime, playtime and costumes. Following the awards, light refreshments will be served.

In addition, to dolls, some people have chosen to make clothes for bears. The dolls and bears are provided by the Salvation Army. The dolls start out basically the same with the exception of hair color and skin tone. When completed, there will be hundreds of dolls and bears lined up for judging.

Since 2002, Phillips has worked on making the doll dresses with her daughter, Dee Dee Reeves, who lives across the street. The pair shops for the material and often uses recycled clothes such as wedding gowns, prom dresses and little girl’s clothes.

‘We have a good time,” Reeves said.

The pair works all year long to get ready for the Doll Tea. With all of the other work they do in the community through various organizations, they still manage to outfit more than 30 dolls annually.

“I love making them,” Phillips said. “It is a pleasure to make them.”

Phillips says her favorite outfit to make is the wedding dresses.

“I eloped so I love to make wedding dresses,” she said with a giggle.

Over the years, Phillips has won in several different categories. She proudly has won the grand prize twice, in addition to winners in the costume category and for her bridal dolls. Plus, she has won many ribbons for second and third place entries.

Following the tea, the dolls will be gently placed into a bag for distribution for some lucky, little girl on Christmas morning.

Phillips and Reeves along with the staff at the Salvation Army want to invite everyone to come and enjoy the Doll Tea where some little girl may receive the doll of her dreams.

Dee Reeves and Patsy Phillips dress some dolls and brush their hair to get them ready for the annual Doll Tea at the Salvation Army on Dec. 6. RECORD PHOTO: Debby Schamber.