What Do YOU Think Of When You Hear The Number 101..?

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I confess, I have over 100 Once-Loved Dolls already at my house, just waiting their turn. In the lulls between when a fresh face comes to my door (which are frequent), I’ll peek inside the bins where they raucously play as they wait their turn.

This time there was an unusual hush when I lifted the lid. All the O.L.D.’s contained therein looked at me with shining eyes and pointed their fingers downward. Curious, I set them aside one by one to see what – or WHO – they were pointing to.

“Hello!” I said to the naked little girl. “I remember you! I repaired your lip! That was a long time ago…” I could feel the eyes of the rest of the girls upon me. I glanced around before I looked back at that naked little girl, to the cheers of all the other dolls. “Would you like to be next?”

Thus begins the description of Louella De NICE, also known as O.L.D. No. 101. You can see her adoption page HERE. Our Louella is SO nice, the other dolls – who just as desperately would like their turn – spoke up on her behalf. Or at the very least, pointed.

And lucky for Louella, every time I happen upon fabric that is mainly black and white, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a doll entirely in black and white. And what better time to do it than on the number 101, as in “101 Dalmatians”?

And isn’t it lucky for me that just like black and white are opposites, Louella’s personality is the opposite of Cruella De Vil’s?

Not to mention how much I love these little 13″ composition dolls, and it’s been so long since I’ve had one. Why, in the first 20 dolls alone there were THREE of these girls!

O.L.D. No. 1 (ONE!). Carol Jane

O.L.D. No. 7. Harriet Peabody, dead ringer for Hazel Twigg.

O.L.D. No. 20 Annie Oakley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’m glad that this sweet little girl is finally getting her turn.

GOOD…

…VS. EVIL.

I confess, I had to make the second outfit in secret, because JULIE.

It’s no secret that I’m very, very slow. And I have unrealistic expectations of what I can accomplish in any given time. Julie helps to keep me in line by trying to sprinkle reality into my world. But she gave me a bunch of vintage wool sweaters that she’d purchased at thrift stores over the years, and I desperately wanted to give Louella a second outfit with a vintage cream one, complete with a little embroidery! So I DID IT. Without telling Julie! But you know what? Julie likes the second outfit best!

I have a new plan of attack to try and battle my slowness. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I like to watch movies over and over as I sew, kind of a background music for me. I’ll watch the same movie for months on end. Well, now I have a unit of measure for the hours I work! I’m currently watching “Misery.”

No, no! I’m not some dark and evil person, who enjoys watching innocent authors hobbled in the middle of the night! I’m just a fan of dark humor and Kathy Bates excellent portrayal of this well written character.

Even Louella’s watering can is black and white.

Anyway, “Misery” is 1 hour and 47 minutes and 29 seconds long. So if I work four “Misery”s a day, that’s about eight hours! Another favorite, “Phantom of the Opera” with GERARD BUTLER is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Three Phantoms would about do it! So far so good. Not that I was slacking off before, but now I can think to myself, “I’d like to get these buttons sewn on before Annie Wilkes spills the soup and loses her cool for the first time.” GENIUS. Har.

Hey! Michelle also happens to have one of my 13’s! This little Viking was one of my favorites. They all are, really…

Three cheers for the alumni of the Rolfe Community School! They got together and almost, almost won Mary Lou the vintage Cheerleader. I imagine there will be another Rolfe-themed doll in the future.

However! The person who won her is a faithful Hazel Twigg-er that we haven’t seen in a little while…Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! THANK YOU, Michelle!

And with that, I leave you! Pick GOOD when you can – unless there’s a little dark humor involved….You’re my favorite!

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It Had To Be EWE.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time working when there are repair guys at my house. So while Resolution patiently waited a week or so ago, instead of working on her, I sorted through jewelry. I also contemplated What To Do for our 100th doll. 100! That is nothing to sneeze at…

“Are they done yet?” I murmured as I sorted. 

“Doesn’t sound like it,” Resolution whispered.

Suddenly I came across something that WASN’T jewelry. “1963 Rolfe, Iowa Centennial” the wooden nickel, pin and token cried.

“Centennial! That’s 100 years! 100! I’ve always wanted to do something Rolfe related! Now, where did I put that charm bracelet…?” 

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 100! Her name is Mary Lou, and you can see her adoption page HERE.

You may wonder why I was in possession of things from Rolfe, Iowa’s Centennial celebration back in 1963, when I’ve only lived here 11 or so years. The reason is the generosity of people. I use a lot of things for my creations, and when people have things they don’t need, they frequently think of me. Aren’t I lucky? But I don’t consider these things mine to keep; my intention is to use them in my quest to help these lost dolls find new homes and new loves.

One of the bags that appeared at my door contained an old charm bracelet in a tangle of chains. It was red and gold, and it spelled out the words, “ROLFE HIGH” – with the exception of a missing “R”. No matter, I loved it! I knew I would use it for some special doll some day.

Clara H. sent me some nifty images, like the Rs on the left. A-hah! Pretty much a rectangle with some angles cut away. I could do that. Score!

The Rolfe Community School has long been demolished. Only the gym remains, and I’ve spent many a good time there. I can only imagine what the school must have been like!

Once Resolution was ready to go, I knew one of the the first things I had to do was to find that bracelet. Reader, I spent a DAY hunting every single place I could think of two or three times. NO LUCK. I was still going to do a Rolfe school doll (“Make her a cheerleader!” my wee sister demanded), but it would have to be without that bracelet.

Clara H. also sent the image of the beanie on the left. I used it as inspiration for Mary Lou’s beanie.

The other thing I did – in between hunting – was I went to the Rolfe Community School Facebook page to find out particulars. “What were the school colors?” I ask. “Red and gold,” I got back. Hey! Same as my high school back in Cedar City, Utah! But there are different shades of red. “Maroon or rust or red red?” I asked. “RED-RED,” was the reply.

I thought the mascot was a Lion. Turns out it’s a Ram! “And the girl’s teams are called “The Rammettes,” I was helpfully told.

I learned so much! I also asked for good luck wishes in finding that lost bracelet. The following day I wrote that I’d failed in my search.

“How’d you get that action shot?” my wee sister Julie asked. I fooled even her for a moment with my mad photo-shopping skills.

“Do you mean the Rolfe Ram bracelet?” a kind woman asked. “Yep! No matter, I’m doing the doll anyway.”

They were raccoon coats, and they were all the rage in the 1910’s and 20’s mostly.

HERE’S WHAT SHE RESPONDED: “If you’ll pm me your address, I’ll mail (mine) to you. ” I told her I would be giving it away, and she said, “That’s great. If it would give a little joy to someone, I don’t need to have it lying around in a drawer here.” Isn’t that wonderful? This woman’s name was Mary Lou. How fortuitous that doll No. 100 should have THE VERY SAME NAME. What a koinkidink!

You can’t see them well in this picture, but the buttons on this coat were given to me from my sister in law’s mother from England. That’s right! IMPORTED.

That bracelet made all the difference. I mean, I still would have done my best by Mary Lou, and those perspective adopters out there wouldn’t have known, but it would have bothered me not to include it!

But how to actually use it with the doll? I was reminded of those large fur coats that used to be all the rage with college boys back in the day. YES. That would do it. That with the beanie, and the pennant and the megaphone I’d already planned on making. The coat would be large enough that the bracelet would fit nicely. I sewed hooks on either side, just beneath the large collar.

It was fun to see all the reminiscing my questions sparked, which in turn sparked some of my own memories. There’s nothing like high school! It’s something we all share. I’d like to thank all the former Rams and Rammettes who helped me in my quest to complete this very special girl. You do Iowa proud!

Resolution was adopted by…Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! A new face! Thank you, Gwen.

And with that I leave you, oh wonderful people of the world! You’re my favorite.

P.S. A “ewe” is a female ram/sheep. See what I did there?

Here’s A Resolution You Can KEEP

She was already pretty when she arrived, just a little filthy. Heaven knows where she’s been! Her wig turned noticeably brighter after it was cleaned.

Once again we have that chance to start anew. To make goals, and do our very best to achieve them. Here is a girl to represent those lofty aspirations…

Thus begins the description of O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 99. Ninety-Nine! The LAST of the double digit O.L.D.s! Her name is RESOLUTION. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Several months ago my dear friend Brenda posted a picture on my Facebook page of some dolls she thought were cute. I LOVED them! One of them even had one of my favorite things: A pointy hat. YESS!

I kept trying to get a doll based on that image into the mix, but other things and themes came up. I’m kind of glad now. Being No. 99 seems a very good place for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I of course have to work with the materials I have on hand, so it’s not an *exact* copy. “Do the dress from the one on the right, and the hat from the one on the left!” my little sister cried. I of course listened to her, as I always do.

Resolution, or “Lucy,” as she likes to be called, is a 21″ Arranbee Nanette. I think this particular mold is the prettiest of all the compositions. TELL NO ONE. I’ve used it previously, although these may look a little different to you. Sometimes the smaller sizes are slightly different, or it can be amazing what a difference hair and eye color can make:

No. 43 Claire from “Outlander.”

No. 80 Geena from “A League of Their Own.”

No. 70 Claire II from “Outlander” (Season 2).

 

And of course, our Resolution needed some “street clothes” as well.

The brooch on her coat was discovered tucked away in the treadle sewing machine found in the house behind me that I purchased. That house had all kinds of treasures in it!

You can’t really see them, but besides the brooch, the coat also sports Victorian-era jet black glass buttons. Here’s a better view;

There’s a larger, faceted jet button on Lucy’s hat.

These buttons are treasures in themselves. The back loops are brass. You can tell the buttons are glass by tapping them against your teeth. Always a good time…

It’s taken me nearly four years to get from 1 – 99. I need to work so much faster! I have so many ideas just brimming over in my brain. So many dolls clamoring for their turn.

Which brings us back to Clara, who was adopted by…Linda L. of Portola Valley. Thank you again, Linda! That’s number FIVE.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! There are SO MANY things I want to accomplish. I have a feeling, and I’ll say it now, 2018 is going to be my year! I shall share it with you.

Know why? Because you’re my favorite.

The Mouse Who Would Be KING

We were in the midst of decorating our Christmas tree when there was a knock at the door. We all raced to see who could get there first. Not that it mattered; only Hazel and I could reach the knob, us being the only humans. The rest of the dolls certainly couldn’t. Even Elizabeth, who at 21″ was the tallest. No matter. We raced all the same.

Standing on the porch was a little shivering Schoenhut dressed all in black. 

“Come in! Come in!” we all cried. We ushered our newest arrival towards the fireplace – not too close, seeing as how she was made of wood.

“What’s your name?” I asked, once we had settled her comfortably in a chair with a blanket and hot cocoa.

“Let me guess: Ruth!” Dot said, giggling.

I couldn’t help laughing myself. It’s no secret: I always wear black.

“My name is Clara,” our new little girl said softly. “And I know exactly what I want to be…” 

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved doll) No. 98, She of the Nutcracker Dreams. You can see her adoption page HERE.

This girl comes with a LOT of stuff. A nightgown, two dresses, a coat and hat…

A stocking full of goodies including a little German doll, dancing ballerinas, a rocking chair, an old afghan, and of course, a nutcracker or two. She comes with a LOT.

I wanted Clara to have Nutcracker characters dancing around her head. so I took these old plastic ballerina ornaments I had and repainted them and then I made this contraption, because I am insane.

But Reader! If you could know what I originally wanted to include with her! The MORE that I wanted to do! It is only the powerful waving fists of my wee little sister, the reasonable chidings of my patient mother, and TIME that keep me contained.

When I put my dolls that I love so much up for adoption at 6:33 Central time on a Wednesday or a Sunday, it’s by the skin of my teeth that I get them done. And the last minute furious flurry that takes place is something to behold. Nothing’s sacred at the end! I throw things searching for a shoe that might have fallen off, barrel through piles looking for a missing hair ribbon. You get the idea. In fact, the other day I was laughing to myself. When I’m done with a doll, my sewing room resembles the setting of Charles Dickens “Ghost of Christmas Present” in A Christmas Carol:

Picture no beard and fabric instead of food.

Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch…

NOW I’ve given him a crown…

Which brings me to the mouse of the title of this post. In the Nutcracker ballet, the Nutcracker that Clara receives for Christmas comes to life, defeats the evil Mouse King in battle, and whisks Clara away to a magical land. So of course I wanted a Mouse King for my Clara too! I was going to make one, but then in the desperation of time, I was going to use the one I had on hand and just give him a crown and a sword. But then I ran out of time to do even THAT.

See that writing? That is CHRISTMAS to me. I can’t tell you how many hours my siblings and I would sit under the tree, searching for our names in that dear, dear script.

Thirty-three years ago this very Christmas I was gifted a book from my mom and dad called, “The Brambly Hedge Pattern Book.” It was for these excruciatingly cute mice.

Also at that time, there were these popular bears made by the North American Bear Company, made to resemble celebrities and used clever plays on their names.

Left to Right: Abearham Lincoln, Kareem Abdul Jabbear, Bearb Ruth, Sza Sza Gabear and Beartsy Ross.

“A-HAH!” I said to myself in my musical, lilting voice. “I want to do the same thing with RODENTS.”

Of course I wanted my rodents to be appealing, and the patterns in this book would fit the bill. So I came up these characters: RAT Butler, ScarRAT O’Hara, RODENT Valentino and MozRAT. This couldn’t fail!

This doesn’t look like a fair fight.

I never gave up on this idea, even though I only got as far as Mozrat. And through all the moves in my life, and there have been plenty, Mozrat and this book have come along with me. Even the move when all I owned fit into my dearly loved Volkswagen bug. But I get so determined to get what I want when I finish a doll, that almost NOTHING will stand in my way! Except the finality and peskiness of time.

HEAR THIS: If whoever adopts Clara happens to read this blog post and mentions “Mouse” or “Mozrat” to me, this dear old friend, dust and all, will be coming to you to do battle for the heart of a maiden with a Nutcracker.

No. 97 Heidi was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California, a name that is becoming more and more familiar! This is number 4 for her. Thank you, Linda!

And with that, I leave you! I hope you’re having a very jolly season so far. Merry Christmas, you’re my favorite. SEND SNOW.

The Royals

The red-faced girl at the door with her arms full of clothes looked vaguely familiar. 

“Haven’t you already been through here?” I asked suspiciously as I relieved her of her burden and ushered her inside. I was secretly alarmed. Had she been rejected…?!

“I knew it!” she said triumphantly. “I KNEW you’d forgotten about us! I’m part of the Sewickley crew. You’ve kept us separate from the others, tucked away in a box in the shipping room…”

Reader, it was MY turn to be red-faced. I’d forgotten they were there…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 97, Heidi, who also happens to be part of the Sewickley crew. You can see her adoption page HERE.

That’s me on the left, Holly on the right.

My description for this particular girl is pretty lengthy.  I always figure if someone doesn’t want to read the flotsam and jetsam, they don’t have to as long as the pertinent points are easy to find.

Truthfully, I could have written pages and pages about this girl, and the memories she evokes! But here in this place, I’ll just write about one.

This memory has to do with my childhood and my best friend growing up, Holly. I’ve written about her here and there. She was my Julie before Julie was born.

Both Holly and my’s dads worked at the same place; The Church College of Hawaii, aka C.C.H., as it was known back then. It’s currently BYU, Hawaii. My father was in the college administration, her father was in maintenance. Both had perks to their positions: my dad would bring home reams of scratch paper. During church, I would kneel between the rows of pews, facing the back of the chapel, using the bench as my desk, and I would sketch the people behind me. At least I was quiet! Or Holly and I would make countless, countless paper dolls with an infinite number of outfits for each that we would design our very own selves.

The perks from Holly’s dad was movies. Laie, Hawaii where C.C.H. was located was a very small town on the north shore of Oahu. There were no movie theaters and this was long before the luxuries of Blockbuster (who?) and VHS. If you wanted to see a movie, you had to watch whatever was on the three whole channels of TV, and that was IT.

Enter Herb, Holly’s dad. The college would occasionally show movies in the auditorium. For .25 you could go see an old movie, like “The Wizard of Oz,” or “Pollyanna.” Besides being a character, Herb was a very resourceful fellow; he was able to get a projector and movies and bring them home for Holly and I to watch. Just we two! It’s hard to remember a time before instant streaming and downloads. Back then, getting to watch a movie at a time of your own choosing in the comfort of your own home was HUGE. HUGE.

 

One of my favorites was “Heidi” with Shirley Temple. For some reason, a scene stuck out in my mind that I’ve always been taken with: on her way to meet her mean old grandfather for the first time, Heidi doesn’t have a suitcase. So not only are her arms full of clothes, but she’s wearing lots of outfits layered one on top of the other. She gets hot and drops her pile in the middle of the street and starts pulling off sweaters and endless skirts. I just thought it was the niftiest thing.

Enter O.L.D. No. 97! When the Sewickley crew arrived, not only were there the nine dolls, there were tons of doll clothes and some fabric and trims. One wonderful Sunday I got to sit in bed surrounded by these recent arrivals and go through the clothes and see who fit what. Heidi made out like a bandit.

I made the coat, the hat and the carpet bag. Other than that…

A BANDIT.

Here I made the red velvet hat to go with the blue velvet outfit, as well as the robe and the bunny slippers.

I have a soft spot for the name “Heidi.” Not just because of the movie, but also because my best friend Holly has a sister named Heidi. Our O.L.D. Heidi has Holly’s unusual coloring of brown eyes and blonde hair. And she has a lot of clothes and a place to go and no suitcase to put them in.

It’s been a pleasure and a series of wonderful flashbacks working on this doll. Of two little girls who got to eat popcorn or homemade anise candy or lime slush in the formal living room and watch flickering scenes of magic whenever our hearts desired. Royalty couldn’t have had it better. Thank you, Heidi! Thank you, Holly! Thank you, Herb!

And thank you to a new face, Carmen Z. of Toledo, Ohio who gave Mary Ellen a home! Turns out, there’s a doll club in Toledo, and they recently had a Hazel Twigg program where those that had ’em, brought ’em for the others to see! How nifty is that? I tell you, it tickles me pink.

As do YOU. Know why? ‘Cause you’re my favorite!

Forever M.E. With Love

We’ve got this whole “lost doll coming to the Hideaway” thing down pretty well!

“Name?” Hazel said with a friendly smile, getting ready to scribble down information in her notebook. 

“Mary Ellen,” the sweet new arrival replied.

I said, “Good night, Mary Ellen!” Only to find Hazel and the other dolls looking at me quizzically, which was understandable. It was full daylight outside. 

“It’s from an old TV show. Before your time, I guess” I said, looking at Hazel. I laughed as I looked at the dolls, “and AFTER yours…”

“You’re going to make her a nightgown for nighttime, and then a dress for day!” Hazel exclaimed. She likes to try to figure out what I’m going to do for each doll. Good night. Nightgown. And of course Mary Ellen would need something for daytime. I could see where Hazel was coming from. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to do a different sort of extreme…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 96, Mary Ellen. You can see her adoption page HERE.

This girl has so many levels! First of all, her initials are M.E., and as her clothing morphed, I realized I was making a summer outfit and a winter outfit! See where I’m going here? Yeah, Julie didn’t either. Well, a song from my favorite album of all time is “Summer Me, Winter Me”!

COCO CHANEL: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” ME: NO!

And with your kisses morning me,      evening me
And as the world sleeps far away, star away
Forever me with love…

I LOVE that song! I love that album! I guess at this point in time, it’s a little obscure…But come to think of it, I’m positive I would put this record on when Julie and I would bake cookies together growing up.

JULIE vs. RUTH. Creamy vs. Extra Crunchy. Colgate vs. Crest. Yet still, we get along…

The dress Mary Ellen’s wearing for summer was initially going to be the dress she wore with the gray coat, but it just wasn’t fitting in its style. So I decided to use it for a more summery look, and make a second dress to go with the winter coat.

As I worked on the winter outfit and kept adding and adding, it occurred to me that not only would Coco Chanel not approve of my styling’s for M.E.’s winter look, with her velvet muff hanging from a chain, the beaded necklace, the deep red stockings…but also that the contrast between summer and winter were a lot like my sister Julie – freshly minted third term mayor, thankyouverymuch – and myself.

That summer dress is absolutely Julie’s favorite colors, green and blue on a predominately white background. The outfit itself: simplicity.

M.E.’s summer hat is made from one of those straw placemats you occasionally see in thrift stores. Just cut a hole for the head, and another for the size brim you want, a few nail-biting moments while you sew trim around, and voila!

This hat was easy. A velvet circle, six even scallops on the gray, and some silk upholstery fabric remnant flowers. It’s lined, of course. Mustn’t muss the mussy hair!

Whereas the winter outfit is more like me: a somewhat gaudy, gypsy style. “Take one thing off,” Ms. Chanel? I THINK NOT. What can I add?

Not only that, but if I had to pick a single season, it would be winter. Julie likes summer best. Which is nice, because as long as one of us is happy, we’re both happy.

I often marvel at the way things work; the wonderful way the world functions.

Witness the seasons: Winter solstice takes place a few days before Christmas. That’s when it’s the shortest daylight of the year. After that, the days get longer and longer. This makes BOTH Julie and me happy: me because I know there’s still a lot of winter left and Christmas is almost here, Julie because the days are getting longer. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Also, Christmas is almost here.

You can read about M.E.’s finger fiasco HERE.

I don’t know what I’d do without Julie. She’s my brain and helps me keep track of the practical things when my mind is off on some odd tangent. She has troubles of her own, yet patiently helps me deal with mine. We’ve made a pact to give each other unconditional love, which we do. It’s good to have that in your life. Thank you, Julie! Summer, Winter, simple, gaudy, I’m glad you were born!

I’ll wrap you up and ribbon you, rainbow you
And shower you with shine…
…Always be mine

Flying Ace J.P. was adopted by…Martha B. of Chantilly, Virginia. A new face! J.P. arrived there safely after a long flight, and is happy in his new home. Thank you, Martha!

And with that, I leave you! Next to Julie, you’re my favorite. And THAT is saying something.

First, Do No – WHOOPS!

When you handle as many of these O.L.D.’s as I do, you’re bound to have a mishap now and then.

I have a doll up for adoption. This isn’t her “official” post, but if you like, you can see her page HERE.

When she arrived, it was only upon closer inspection while cleaning her that I discovered that some of her fingers had been broken and reglued, and others had been completely rebuilt! I’m happy to say it wasn’t a bad job, but the angle was slightly off on one, and another was a little too short…hmm….to fix or not to fix?

I had her two little arms in one hand and was taking pictures with the other to ask another Holder her opinion, when CRASH. I dropped her arms! Two of her little fingers broke off! “No problem,” I thought confidently. “This isn’t my first rodeo with DeWees Cochran hands,” I said snootily to myself, preening because I knew what these types of hands are called – even though there was no one around to witness my brilliance.

To rebuild fingers, it’s a good idea to insert a pin into the stub for strength. Have you ever tried to hang a picture in an old house, only to have the hammer practically bounce back into your face because the wall’s so hard? This Anne Shirley’s fingers are IMPENETRABLE. I was going to need a drill bit. A really, really small one.

Here is the story in picture and song. Also, I’m probably dancing…

Here are the hands BEFORE. See? Not a bad job! The pinky on the left hand was a little stubby, and the ring finger on the right was at a slightly off angle. But not a bad job at all…

AFTER THE WHOOPS. Dingity, dangity…And, to add insult to injury, I LOST THE RIGHT PINKY, which was original and reglued!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That pin just bent and scratched the heck outta me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually insert stronger-than-normal pins that I’m able to “drill” in by hand. But as small as this drill bit was, it required a thicker piece of wire. I used a lawn flag thingy…

While I was at it, I sanded the slightly stubby left pinky so I could adjust the angle. Note the inserted wires are curved, because Dewees Cochran fingers are curved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After rebuilding. I use an epoxy called Milliput. It’s from jolly old England.

HANDY TIP: Emery boards are AWESOME for rebuilding fingers. They’re thin to fit in between, and rigid for maneuverability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANDY TIP: These types of hands have a clear-ish, orangey nail polish. To achieve this, just mix some orange paint in the right shade with a little craft varnish. Voila!

SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON:

So now the left pinky is a little longer and at a better angle than before.

The ring finger is slimmer and longer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it worth the extra effort? I secretly don’t think so. If I could pull a Cher and turn back time, and NOT drop those poor little hands, I would do so. Glass half full, practice makes perfect. Yessirree, a few dozen more dropped hands, and I’ll have these hands down to a T.

You’re my favorite!

 

Let’s Hear It For The BOY!

We were playing in the attic, as we frequently do while waiting for the next Once-Loved Doll to appear. Out of nowhere, I heard a whirring noise. I looked up and saw something zooming around. Of course I assumed it was a bat. Hazel and her little friends were too engrossed with a trunk they were exploring to notice. I forced myself to remain calm as I calculated how long it would take us to get to the stairs if we crawled really, really fast. I steeled myself to look more closely at the flying creature and was relieved and surprised to see that it was actually an old metal plane come to life.

“What on earth?!” I exclaimed.

Just then, far below from the first floor, there was a loud and insistent banging at the door… 

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 95, J.P. the Flying Ace! You can see his adoption page HERE.

J.P. had a bit of a false start. After 94 dolls, NINETY-FOUR mind you! Ebay says I can’t put “HazelTwigg.com” on my pictures, or say, “Like Hazel Twigg on Facebook…” so after three days, they took my original adoption page down. HMPF. Well, I can understand why, I guess, but…HMPF!

So stinkin’ CUTE.

No matter! He’s back now. The ORIGINAL J.P. is my darling nephew, son of my brother Kenny. Ever since I saw him dressed as a flying ace in my other brother Dennis’s award-winning short film, “The Girl Who Wanted To Do Something Big,” I wanted to do a flying ace. I was just waiting for the right guy to come along…

He finally did. Our J.P. is a Schoenhut all wood doll. He arrived bald, with his eyes repainted, and some chipping and a big blob of hardened glue on his forehead, poor fellow! It was a daunting task, but I got the glue off, filled in his forehead, and repainted his eyes to look more like they originally would have. I was also lucky enough to find a really great wig for him in my stash.

While researching the flying aces of WWI and WWII, I learned so much, especially from this article. Namely, about the leather bomber jackets they wore. They were called A-2’s, and each airman personalized their own, painting images onto the back of the jacket, and adding painted leather patches to the fronts and sleeves.

More important was what was inside. No, not just then men themselves (that goes without saying), I’m talking about their Blood Chits. A Chit is a notice an airman would wear on the inside of his jacket. It would have the flag of the country they were in, with a notice written in the local language.  The Blood Chit states that the bearer of the Chit is American, requires assistance, and that those who help the soldier or pilot will be rewarded for their service.

Also, when the men discovered that having an American flag on the backs of their jackets made them easier targets, they started wearing them on the inside, near their hearts. It makes me so proud and grateful to think of their great spirit!

These are all based on actual patches. Note the “95” on the top center patch.

I now have a jar of capers in my fridge with a tinfoil lid.

 

Our J.P.’s jacket is made from a Wilson’s leather jacket, and I hand painted each of the patches as well as the image on the back and the blood chit and American flag with 48 stars, which was the number of stars at the time. The jacket alone took me four days! The helmet was made from the same Wilson jacket, dyed with a combination of Old English furniture oil, and craft paints in burnt umber with a touch of black because I didn’t want the jacket and hat to exactly match. For the ear inserts, I used two lids from jars of capers from our local grocery store. I love a good caper! I then sanded it for wear.

Here’s J.P. with his sister, sweet Sophie, aka the model for the Hazel Twigg logo.

J.P.’s cap is plaid wool.

As with all my O.L.D.’s, if I can, I like to give them an additional outfit. So…where to go for inspiration, I wonder? BACK TO NEPHEW J.P. There’s a photo of him I adore. It could have been from a different era! In it, he wore a cap. I remembered as I sewed that my dad used to wear one just like it. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered after talking to my mom, that the hat J.P. is wearing in the photo IS my father’s!

It’s called a “flat cap” or a “driving cap,” and I found a useful pattern and tutorial HERE.

I also cut up a sweater to make a sweater for our J.P. “Put leather patches on the elbows!” my wee little sister cried. So I did, although you can’t see them here.

Working on J.P. has been a labor of love and joy and tribute for not just my nephew, but for all who have served, and what better time than when Veteran’s day is almost upon us? Thank you, Veterans.

Meanwhile, O.L.D. No. 94 Aubrey the Autumn Fairy was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California. If memory (and my search engine) serves me correctly, this is Hazel Twigg doll number three for her. Thank you, Linda!

And with that, I leave you! Veteran’s Day is a November 11th. Thank a Veteran, if’n you get a chance, and HAPPY FRIDAY! You’re my FAVORITE.

My favorite veteran, and my favorite mom. Side by side for 60+ years.

If Ever I Would *LEAF You

I don’t see it, the scariness. Oh sure, her hair’s a little messy, but so’s mine, and I’M not a Halloween prop! Or am I? Oh dear…

A lot of dolls have come to my house over the years, to the point where I can tell a LOT about a doll simply by her knock. Most knocks express excitement by these little girls, knowing that they’ll soon have a chance to be loved again. 

This knock however was different. It was sad. I couldn’t get the door open fast enough. There stood this little doll, and she was weeping. I asked her what was wrong.

Nothing lifts a girls spirit more than some wings and a wand! And a few little curls.

“I found myself at a table surrounded by lots of other things, and I overheard an adult human talking…”

At this point, she stopped and blew her nose and bowed her head.

“What did the adult human say?” I asked, my heart breaking just a little bit for this little girl.

“They said I was creepy and scary, and that I’d be a good prop for Halloween!” 

WELL. There was certainly something I could do about THAT…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 94. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I had so much fun working on our Aubrey, because she was so grateful for each little thing! She didn’t need *too* much in the way of work. The toes on her right foot had been nibbled off by mice. Her arm had been exposed to water and had “melted” a little bit. That doesn’t make her a witch!

INSPIRATION PHOTO

I think the main reason she was perceived as scary was because of her hair the the dirt that had formed in her eyes. Her wig was so firmly glued on that it would have been nearly impossible to remove without destroying it. Turns out, it was filthy in addition to being messy, so I used the Windex method to clean it. Namely, you spritz a wig with Windex avoiding a doll’s skin, and you blot it with paper towels.

Sometimes you can’t tell how much dirt you’re getting off because the towel is wet with Windex so it doesn’t show. For my own satisfaction, I took that damp paper towel and IRONED it so I could better see the dirt. YESS. Satisfying.

I then curled her wig with Spoolies and a little small barrel curling iron touch up.

Aubrey has a crown and an acorn sceptre-wand for granting wishes, but my favorite thing that led me to wanting to make her into an Autumn Fairy was the idea of LEAFS as WINGS. How clever is that? Now the trick was to find some good leaves. My kind neighbor gave me some, but I needed a few more. What to do…?

I’ve asked if I could buy one of their baskets, which look very similar to this one with the fabric sides that collapse and the metal handle. Alas, no dice.

ENTER the V&S Variety Store. I LOVE that place! It’s in Humboldt, Iowa which has a population of about 4,800. So pretty big in comparison to Rolfe. It’s not too far away, about 30 minutes, and there you can find all sorts of things that you wouldn’t find anyplace else. It’s like stepping back in time! Possibly not on purpose, even. More like good old fashioned Iowa thriftiness. If it’s not worn out, why throw it away? Even the shopping baskets are treasures!

They have candies I haven’t seen in years, and little toys, and cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes, and fabrics! A very nice couple run it, and I get a lot of joy in my heart anytime I can sneak over to Humboldt and see what’s new there. Come to think of it, the fabric for Aubrey’s dress came from V&S!

There’s the coat from my YouTube video tutorial, there’s the dress with the fabric from V&S, and there’s a better view of the leaf wings.

So with a little vintage magic – and a little help from my friends, our girl Aubrey is ready to conquer the world. Perhaps more importantly, she’s ready to conquer HALLOWEEN. Not creepy, not scary, certainly not a prop! Just a little girl who wants to be loved…

Here’s a “living” before and “after.”

A hearty thank you to those who gave my three dolls last week good homes. Agnes A. of Carrollton, PA, Corinne S. of Lexington, MA, and Dennis Z. of Kirksville, MO. Much appreciated!

With that, I leaf you! And even if your hair is a fright, you’re STILL my favorite.

*The title of this blog post came to me as I was working on Aubrey. “If Ever I Would LEAF You” – get it? From that song in ‘Camelot’ with “leaf” instead of “leave”?! Comedy GOLD!

It takes very little to entertain me. I even called my beloved mother and cackled to her about it. Yep.

A Colossal LOVE

A pierced-ear Parian with leather arms. Have you ever SEEN anything more beautiful?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the America of doll collecting. “Give me your tired, your poor, your broken limb, your hole in the head….”

I added fresh sawdust, made earrings for her from a necklace and a dress from old lace.

I never, ever buy mint. Not because I can’t afford it (although I can’t!), but because I’m just so tickled pink to actually have these old treasures right in my hands that I don’t care WHAT’S wrong with them. You must understand, I lived in a world before ebay! Hard to imagine, but there once was one. The only time I ever saw my future loves, old dolls, was in antique stores. There they sat, behind glass doors, out of reach in more ways than one, faded, frustratingly turned upside-down labels attached to their wrists.

Bad acrylic wigs, but sweet as can be turns into…

“Ooh! Does that say $25.00?” I would eagerly think to myself, contorting my body into the oddest of positions trying to see that elusive tag. I would contain my excitement as I made my way to the front of the store. Contain it as I followed the helpful store lady back to my find, dutifully stepping back and not lunging as she unlocked the case.

,,,FLAPPERS!

“Here she is,” the lady would kindly say, laying this glorious treasure in my arms.

“Oh, hmm…” I would nonchalantly murmur as I surreptitiously take a look at the tag, only to have my heart sink. $250.00 – NOT $25.00. I would give the doll one last squeeze before gently handing her back to the woman. “I’ll have to think about it. Thank you.” I would say.

These little girls had all sorts of problems! No hair, cracked and reglued heads, no clothes. No matter, because now they’re PIRATES. And a Jester.

If that happened once, it happened a hundred times. To this day I do not care what shape an old girl is in, I’m just honored to hold her and have her for my own, even if it’s just for a little while.

This summer I had to change my tactics a little and sell some of my dolls quickly to get by. My older dolls that are monetarily worth more – except they’re once again dolls I could afford, that were therefore very flawed, that I loved to distraction nevertheless.

This is my machine. It’s literally STEEL. Well, it’s some kind of metal. It’s old and only goes forwards and backwards, but it’s a tank and I adore it. Kingston Royal Deluxe Precision. (The machine in back is for winding bobbins.)

I intended to simply sell them quickly, like ripping off a bandage. But when it comes to dolls, sometimes me and fabric are a magnet, and my sewing machine is STEEL. In some cases, I just had to do SOMETHING.

So I sewed for some of them. The ones that I could, that I had time for.

I learned a LOT this summer, like how to string a bisque head, composition body doll. Or how to make a jester hat, or how to easily make a reticule (little drawstring purses like the ones the Flappers are holding. I’m thinking of doing a video on them, they’re super easy – now that I figured out how).

A reticule.

I’ve shown just a few of these girls here, and now there are three that I have left. That for whatever reason didn’t call out to anybody at the “Buy It Now” prices I set. But I’ve already said goodbye to them in my heart, and while I work on the next O.L.D., I’m sending these girls off auction-style. Now I know for certain as do they that no matter what, they’ll be going someplace new very soon. I’ll miss them! But you never know when there will be another knock at my door when another doll arrives…

HERE ARE THE THREE. As you expect, one has a hole in her head, another some broken legs (I made new ones), and another is the one I learned to restring on. It was TRICKY. She’s the closest thing to a Hazel Twigg-style doll I’ve done all summer.

MYSTERY DOLL. You can see her HERE.

Rosy-cheeked China head. See her HERE.

Armand Marseille School Girl. See her HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARVEL was adopted by…dearest JANEY J. Oakland, California! Isn’t it wonderful when O.L.D.’s and old friends collide? Oh sure, I’ve never actually MET Janey, but she feels like an old friend all the same! THANK YOU, JANEY!

And with that, I leave you! Happy cooler weather and popping walnuts, you’re my favorite.