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Charlotte Amalie
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@Work: House of Dolls

May 26, 2005 – Esther Frett creates exquisite dolls. Some on display at her House of Dolls wear traditional madras garb, others wear gilded gowns made of banana leaves and still more showcase clothing worn by long-ago Caribbean residents.
"This is my triple doll," Frett said.
Look once at this doll and it looks like Little Red Riding Hood dressed all in red. Flip the hood down and the back of her face becomes that of the Big Bad Wolf. Invert the doll and it's Grandma you see.
Then there's the mermaid decked out in a wild print fishtail and long, black flowing locks. Don't miss the dolls dressed in clothes crafted of coconut fronds and loofa sponges. And then there are the dolls dressed in Indian wedding clothes. There's even one in a chef's checkered pants, white top and toque hat straight out of one of the island's upper-crust restaurants.
A colorful stuffed crab graces a shelf along with dolls, dolls and more dolls.
House of Dolls is located upstairs at Meada's Plaza on the street that runs between the Post Office and Connections.
The shelves are chock-a-block with all manner of enticing items. Children's clothing handmade by Frett vies for your attention with adult African-style clothing, purses shaped like shells, a small selection of shoes, knickknacks, and, of course, you guessed it: dolls.
Her dolls are good enough to have earned Frett first place in the arts and crafts division at the recent St. Thomas Carnival Food Fair.
Frett's creativity doesn't stop with handcrafted items, however. If you order the day before, she'll dish up breakfast or lunch to go. She also sells cakes, tarts and on Fridays only, coconut candy. She also does roti twice a week.
And if you're looking for something special, she also does Valentine's Day and Mother's Day dinners, as well as a Father's Day brunch at her East End, St. John home. But you'll have to plan ahead because these culinary treats are by reservation only.
"I love to cook," she said, as she spooned out rice, chicken and salad for one of her to-go customers.
She also dishes out advice if you're ailing, noting that the thick molasses she sells at the store mixed with orange juice helps perk people up when they're out of energy.
Frett was born in Guyana of parents who came from Trinidad and Guyana. She moved to Tortola in the early 1980s, where she honed her doll-making skills while waiting for patients she was nursing to undergo treatment.
She is married to Jerry Frett, a St. John contractor.
She moved to St. John in 1998, and soon opened House of Dolls at Raintree Court. She moved a few years ago to Meada's Plaza.
House of Dolls is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Call 777-4100.

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