“WAIT! Don’t tell me…”
The little girl stood there gazing up at me with her piercing blue eyes, patiently waiting.
“My Pet!” I crowed. I’m always proud when I can identify a doll that’s not necessarily composition.
“OUR Pet,” said Dot the smart aleck, peering at the back of our new arrivals head. I should never have taught her where to look for markings.
I would soon learn that this little girl was a doll of few words. No matter. Her cheeks gave away how very excited she was at the prospect of being loved again…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 119, Gretchen, our very first “Our Pet” doll. You can see her adoption page HERE.
Just because she’s the “first” doesn’t mean there are a wqhole bunch of other “Our Pet” dolls waiting in the wings. She may very well be the one and only! They were made by the Armand Marseille company usually associated with bisque head dolls. This doll’s head appears to almost be a fired clay that’s been painted, as close as I can tell by looking inside her head.
I had no particular theme for her in mind; I just want to make her as cute as possible. She is such an adorable size at just over 14″, so perfect to hold. If I could keep her, I would. But alas, there’s always another doll clamoring for attention so I must prepare her, love her, and send her on her way. First I started with her few minor repairs.
Granted, the blonde mohair wig I chose for her is a little scraggly. All my wigs are! I have three bins of scraggly wigs, all patiently waiting their turn to be pieced together so they can once more sit atop a future beloved doll’s head and therefore be loved once again themselves! Same with all my fabrics. “Pick ME this time!” “Me!” “ME!” It’s amazing I get anything done with all those voices clamoring around me…
Speaking of voices, “ONE DRESS!” my wee sister cried. But, honestly! We’re straddling winter and spring here, what’s a girl to do? I soothed her by telling her I would use the same pattern for both dresses. Then I added a sweater and two aprons…I cannot be stopped!
It’s no secret I enjoy a sweater with flowers embroidered on it. I know three stitches, and by golly I use them. This sweater was made from the stash of beautiful old wool sweaters that were thrift store finds that Julie had given me awhile ago. I love using sweaters to make sweaters!
The pointy hat and mittens are made from red cotton velvet. The mittens are attached to each other with middy braid. For the hat ties, I braided red cotton string and made pompoms.
I had flashbacks the whole time I was working on the coat. I don’t know how, but I rarely make coats using the same fabric I’ve used before, at least without mixing and matching. The fabric for Gretchen’s coat is the same fabric I used for Holly’s coat when I was rushing and I singed it. Don’t think I didn’t pay close attention this time!
The shoes are based on some originals I’d seen. You know what I need? Good scallop cutting scissors. I didn’t have any, so bless my heart I cut them as evenly as I could. They’re leather and the ties are braided embroidery floss.
I found an already made slip that with some added lace was the perfect length to peek out from both her dresses. Pointy hats, flowered sweaters, and lace peeking out from the bottom of a dress. Does it get any better?
So there you have her, a wee little girl with high rosy cheeks and messy hair, counting the days to her new adventures.
You know who’s not counting the days? Sally Joy! She was adopted by Gwen R. of Medford, Texas. I think this is O.L.D. number five for Gwen. Thank you, Gwen! And your sweet husband too.
And with that, I leave you on this first day of spring! No matter the season, YOU are my favorite.
The girl standing at the door was rather large. Even so, it was impossible to see her face beneath the pile of clothes she was carrying in her arms. Was she a girl? Or a little old lady? The hair peeking out from the top of the pile was decidedly gray…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. No. 118, Sally Joy. We call her S.J. You can see her adoption page HERE.
This is only the second time I’ve had this particular doll model walk through my door. HERE’S the first. Her name was Felicity. She’s the one I gave the first legolectomy to. Luckily for me, S.J.’s legs were just fine.
One would think with all the clothes she arrived with I wouldn’t need to make her a thing! That I could simply clean her, do a few needed repairs to her composition, and send her on her way. AU CONTRAIRE!
First of all, S.J. arrived just as the hasn’t-happened-in-20-years Polar Vortex was ending, where temperatures were well below zero for both highs and lows, and the “feels like” temps were -50 degrees! All of S.J.’s clothes appeared to be more suited to summer.
To go with her summery clothes, I made some white leather sandals and the floppy hat with the large white flower. They go with everything.
Perhaps I was longing for a little summer myself; the first thing I made for her was a 1920’s style bathing suit. I also made a simple “wrap” – basically, a square piece of cloth, selvage to selvage and hemmed on either side, that she could use as a towel or simply to lay upon the beach. The fabric came from an old cardboard suitcase that was filled with 1930’s fabric that I found in the house I bought behind me. One of my FAVORITE FINDS EVER.
Then I set about making her more wintry outfit. A kind fellow Rolfian we shall call Jule H. – not to be confused with me wee own sister – had been cleaning out her fabric supply and gifted me with a bag of fabric! I LOVE fresh meat! I also love fresh fabric…When S.J.’s wig became so noticeably lighter, I thought that the pretty cream checked fabric contained within that bag would make her sort of glow.
I then made her a very heavy, very 20’s style coat, a coordinating wool cloche-style hat, and a pair of brown leather shoes. And of course, a carpet bag to carry everything in so she could more easily make her way to her new home.
She comes with a LOT of stuff. At 23″ give or take, she’s a rather large girl. But like all large girls, she can sit with several smaller dolls on her lap so barely takes up any space at all when it comes right down to it. And she is oh so very kind.
Wee little Pendleton, my very first composition doll ever, went to…the lovely Linda L. of Portola Valley, California! California happens to be where I was living when I adopted her in the first place. Pendleton has gone full circle. Thank you, Linda!
And with that, I leave you! I think we’re on our last single digit weather day. Spring is in the air! And YOU are my favorite.
Reader, I could not believe my eyes when I opened a bin from a dark corner of the closet and saw her laying there. I checked her back just to make sure and saw the horrible strips of skin that confirmed her identity, but I already knew. I turned her back over and looked at the sweet face I’d first seen 20 years ago. There was no mistaking those features. After all, I’d painted them myself…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 117, Pendleton. You can see her adoption page HERE.
There was a time when I didn’t know that composition dolls existed. I don’t know if I ever would have were it not for the popping of my childhood friend into my life for a brief moment. She showed me her collection of old dolls and I was entranced. WOW. There were bisques, hard plastics and composition dolls. For the next few years I would scour the antique stores for ones I could afford but never found any.
Fast forward to 1999. I was standing in the living room in my little house in Napa, California talking to my sister Carol, when she handed the phone to her daughter Rhiannon. There was excitement and relish in her voice as she told me, “There’s this site. You’re going to absolutely love it. It’s called ‘Ebay’.”
Ebay? What a strange name! I joined but worried about sending my money to some stranger. These were the days before Paypal, when you would pay by mail. It seemed like quite the risky gamble. But then I saw her. That goggly fish. She was filthy and had no hair or painted features, and she was cracked all over but she was also very affordable. I loved her instantly.
When it came time for her auction to finish, I waited anxiously by the computer, my heart pounding, my cheeks flushed. I put in a bid, but was it enough? There was no automatic countdown. You had to refresh the page each time. And when you did, it reloaded as slowly as the sun rising above the horizon, except backwards and line by line…by…line. GAH!!! I was almost too scared to look, but I HAD WON HER!!! And it hadn’t even been a contest! Apparently, no one wanted her but me. That suited me just fine.
Once she was finally into my anxious little hands, after my check traveled one way, and then she traveled the other, the next problem became how to fix her. I got a very well known doll repair book that mentioned “Formby’s” and how it magically re-creamed the composition together, kind of like a paint thinner. This didn’t seem right at all, but nothing ventured…
I didn’t have any Formby’s or paint thinner on hand, but I had fingernail polish remover! It seems so silly now, but I was merely trying to be brave and doing what I could for this girl. I was horrified when I saw the results. WHAT TO DO?
Then a light bulb went on over my head. My friend Holly! She had mentioned doll repair while I was still trying to absorb the wonders of these creatures that weren’t in museums or antique stores behind glass. I contacted her. And she gave me that best tip I use to this day.
And now here she sat, poor little Pendleton. Lonely and forgotten. That sweet face that started everything for me now as neglected as the Once-Loved Dolls I vowed to try to save. Which is why as an act of love this Valentine season I’m letting her go. THANK YOU, PENDLETON!! I shall never, ever forget you.
As I mentioned on Pendleton’s adoption page, there’s a song from a movie that would move me to gulping, sobbing tears if I let it. Instead I control myself, genteelly biting my lips, silent tears flowing like diamonds down my rose petal cheeks. Also, my nose gets a little snotty. Can you guess it? Here it is:
“When She Loved Me” sung by Jessie in Toy Story 2. This song gets me every time! Julie just snorts, so I guess not everyone feels the same way. I’m sure Julie has many other good qualities. Sniff!
On a side note, I’d like to thank the wonderful people of Rolfe who attended or participated in any way in the breakfast and bake sale auction benefit for Julie and Scott. BEST TOWN EVER. This is one of the many reasons I love Iowa, and Rolfe in particular!
FRANK & SPOT were adopted by…Adele M. of Castroville, Texas! They will be in good company as this is the fifth O.L.D. for Adele, including a previous Kewpie, Jude the Mail Carrier. Thank you, sweet girl!
And thank YOU. Aren’t I lucky to have so many Valentines in my life? Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart! You know you’re my favorite.
One never knows when one might need a rescue. During Valentine’s day for sure! Especially when it’s a Kewpie and his ever dotted dog…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 116, Fred the Firefighter and his Trusty Sidekick Spot. You can see their adoption page HERE.
Fred, as you may have guessed by now because you are fast becoming an expert, is a 12″ composition Kewpie doll. He is the third Kewpie to have passed through the Hideaway’s doors. Can you sense a theme with me and Kewpies? That’s right, they’re all daily heroes!
That’s right! They’re all HEROES.
I tried to get him to do a calendar-like post as firefighters are known for their calendars that are sold to raise money for good and charitable causes, frequently with rippling muscles and “Come hither” gazes. Fred was shy at first. I showed him some examples. “See? They pose with their dogs. You can pose with Spot!”
We came close!
Behold the rippling muscles of his biceps! Some might call them mold flaws from factory, but we know better! Clearly, Fred has been working out.
Spot was made with a former stuffed rabbit toy. The fur was rather thick and had to be trimmed. For awhile I looked like a stuff toy myself, so covered in fur was I.
Fred’s helmet was made from leather with a chipboard frame. I studied a lot of fire helmets old and new to figure out how I wanted mine to look.
The ridges on vintage fire helmets are very pronounced, so I did reverse French seams. These things take a lot of pondering…
Because it is so close to Valentine’s day, Fred will not come empty handed! It would never even occur to him! Hopefully, he will send someone’s heart a-flutter…
Nicholas was adopted by Adele M. of Castroville, Texas. She has three previous O.L.D.’s, including Jude the Mail Carrier himself! THANK YOU, Adele, you are much appreciated!
And with that, I leave you! Happy Playoff day and may the games be GOOD. But whether good or bad, you’re my favorite.
We mortals sometimes have a hard time not judging a book by its cover. I have learned that this is most unfair when it comes to those whose features are painted on, especially when done against their will.
“I am NOT afraid!” Nicholas protested when I told him my thoughts. “I am BRAVE. Can you help?”
Hoo. This was going to be a tall order. But if Nicholas could be brave with eyebrows like that, then so could I. “Why, YES I CAN…”
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. 114, Nicholas the Toy Soldier. You can see his adoption page HERE.
Refilling and repainting Nicholas’ face was daunting. The top layer of paint is very thick – too thick to be filled in with mere paint, and a lot more “skin” flaked off with cleaning. Including one of Nick’s “fraidy cat” brows. The other I had to remove with the tip of a pin. I used epoxy, sandpaper, paint and prayers..
Nick is a 15″ Schoenhut doll. Their wigs are originall nailed onto their heads, as was Nick’s. I didn’t want to remove it for washing, so I spritzed it with Windex and blotted it dry.
He was now ready to MARCH! And march he did. His outfit is trimmed with gold braid of various kinds sent to me by the lovely Janey J. of Oakland, California, along with his red plume. The visor and strap on his hat is made from black patent leather.
For his “civilian” outfit when he’s not marching, I channeled Christopher Robin from A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” books, because he often wore boots and shorts.
Nick is the last doll of 2018 and adoption ends this Sunday. Then his new adventures with a brand new (to him) human BEGIN.
As do all of ours! Speaking of new adventures, I have a feeling 2019 is going to be our year. To begin with, I’m slowly updating “The O.L.D. Registry.” You can see the little link way above at the top of this page on the right. So far I’m up to O.L.D. No. 60 with the help of my brother Dennis. Little by little I’ll get to No. 115 and add each lost doll as their new journey begins. There are a few tweaks to be made to the first 20, but there you’ll see which doll was number what, who adopted her, and what her adoption fee ended up being. Always interesting to see, I think! What would I change with these dolls of the past? NOTHING. I do my best with each and every one.
By the way, WordPress has changed its format and I’m still trying to figure things out. Hope this looks normal, we’ll see!
Cherry and Wills were adopted by Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas. This is magical number 4 for her! THANK YOU, Gwen.
And with that, I leave you! HAPPY NEW YEAR, the best is yet to come, and you’re my favorite.
You never know how a doll’s going to arrive at my doorstep. This particular girl came by way of a friend I haven’t met yet, who wrote to ask me if I could find a good home for her doll if she sent her to me. Of course I said yes!
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Usually, however, there’s a lengthy bit of time before a doll gets chosen. But when I found my inspiration, and I looked at her little face so full of surprise and wonder, I knew she was the one, and her time was NOW.
Thus begins the description for Cherry and her sidekick Wills. You can see their adoption page HERE.
It’s not like I have weeks and weeks to look for inspirations. Sometimes my sister Julie and I will yak on the phone and send each other Pinterest images. A few weeks ago we were doing just that; looking at vintage winter images of children. I don’t know who found the one I ended up using, but I instantly fell in love and Cherry was perfect for the job.
My next task was to find a pattern for an elephant. Namely because if I couldn’t make an elephant toy, then all was lost and I’d have to move on. The problem is I wanted the elephant to look vintage, and modern patterns just don’t quite do it.
I found the one below. How perfect is that? It came from a pack of cigarettes manufactured in England. Long ago they used to insert collectible cards with pretty images and useful information.
The elephant was part of the “Household Tips” series of 50, including instructions on how to make a jolly bedspread, a gingerbread castle, a simple weather-vane, how to properly fold a coat (what a gyp!) and more. Now, of course I don’t recommend smoking, but I love these little cards!
I modified the elephant just a little bit, slightly changing the shape of the ears to more match the illustration, making the trunk a little longer, and adding pads to the bottom of his feet so he could ride his contraption.
Wills the Elephant is firmly stuffed with sawdust and there are supporting sticks that are attached to the wheel base that go up into his legs. I didn’t have any gray wool, but I looked and nearly half of Steiff’s stuffed elephants were brown, so…Precedent! I worked as hard as I could to make him look as vintage as possible. After I got him together I regretted not dyeing the wool with tea and considered brushing some on him…but didn’t want to risk it.
I’d like to thank sweet Nancy B. of Millbrae, California, that friend that I haven’t met yet. She also sent some other treasures, doll shoes bits of clothing and accessories, wigs…An early, wonderful Christmas! THANK YOU, Nancy! Your timing was perfect and Cherry was meant to be.
Doris the Doughnut Dolly was adopted by Barbara E. of Diamondhead, Mississippi. This is her second Hazel Twigg! She also has No. 49, Andrea. So nice to see you again, Barbara!
And with that, I leave you! It’s my favorite time of year and know what? You’re my favorite.
You never know where your next inspiration will come from. There you sit, watching one of your favorite series on the telly, in this case, “The Great British Baking Show,” when all of the sudden they segue away from the scrumptious baking going on in
the tent to do a piece on WWII Red Cross Doughnut Dollies!
“I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before!” I exclaimed. “Ooh! And look at those hats with that BOW! How stinkin’ cute is that?”
Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 113, Doris the Doughnut Dolly. You can see her adoption page HERE.
Just like I’d never heard of Vivandiere’s and their service during war, I’d never heard of Doughnut Dollies!
I wanted to do the uniform with the skirt and that unique hat with the bow, but I also wanted to make a “Clubmobile” uniform, that more resembled an auto worker’s coveralls. I described both to Julie. She as always just wanted me to make one outfit. I was going to compromise and make the jacket with a skirt and pants. Alas, I didn’t have enough of the gunmetal blue/gray fabric. So I made BOTH uniforms! I WON. It all took awhile, though.
The “Doughnut Dolly” tradition was started by the Salvation Army in World War I as a way to bring a taste of home to U.S. soldiers overseas. The program was so popular, that the Red Cross made it a central part of their entertainment program for WWII.
At service clubs set up near U.S. Army bases, intelligent, attractive American women were hired to dance, flirt and socialize with soldiers and of course, serve up good ol’ American doughnuts. This earned these women the affectionate name of “Doughnut Dollies.”
Wanting to make this program more widespread to reach more soldiers, old trucks were converted into “Clubmobiles,” which were basically rolling doughnut factories manned by women. The women had to learn to do truck repair and maintenance. From June 1944, when American forces were preparing to invade northern France, nearly a 100 Clubmobiles worked side by side with the armed forces all across Europe until May the 7th, 1945 when victory was secured.
The doughnuts were hand cut, sometimes raw, sometimes burnt, “you were lucky to get a hole in the middle” but it was the heart of those doughnuts and the touch of home hey brought that meant the most.
Serving doughnuts to soldiers, what a novel idea! THIS is why humans will never be totally replaced by robots…
If you’ve never watched “The Great British Baking Show” on PBS, keep an eye out for it. It’s a breath of drama free fresh air!
Whimsy the Witch was adopted by a new and friendly face, Traci B. of Summerville, Georgia! Thank you, Traci! It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’m so happy to have met you.
On this Thanksgiving eve I’m thankful to all the men and women who serve, sometimes in unique and novel ways. And I’m thankful for YOU. Truly.
With that, I leave you! Happy gobble extravaganza, you’re my favorite.
Whimsy didn’t start out in this direction; she didn’t even start out with this name! But something happened of great significance in my life and it caused a little hitch in my step. My little buddy Teddy, that feisty, stubborn, cairn terrier companion of 12 years passed away. A creature named Whimsy was the source of two smaller creatures that are helping me to heal. Therefore, No. 111 is a Rainbow Bridge of sorts; named for Whimsy and dedicated to my little Teddy Bear.
Thus begins the description for Whimsy the Witch. You can see her page HERE.
I wasn’t going to write about this, but Teddy was such an important part of my life that I simply have to. Because how things went at the end of Teddy’s tale were nothing short of a handful of miracles.
Teddy came into my life less than a year after I moved here to Iowa. Being a newly single, newly working mom was tricky enough. Trickier still when school let out that first summer. Adam was still reeling from the divorce so there was no way I could leave him at home alone at barely a decade old for hours on end. Enter my friend Jennifer to the rescue. She had relatives with a farm just outside of Rolfe where several children, cousins all, would spend the days playing. Would Adam like to be part of that group? What, hours in the country, running through cornfields, helping with the garden, not to mention there was a pool? YES.
In addition to the children, it was a play group for all the pets of the cousins as well. I had long been trying – and failing – to get a dog for Adam. The two that we’d had were left behind with my ex. I felt their loss almost as keenly as I did the loss of my marriage. We’d searched for just the right dog everywhere with no success.
One morning as I was walking Adam to the front door of the farm, a passel of dogs came bounding up behind us. I only had eyes for one. The cutest little Cairn terrier I ever did see. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
“Now, THERE’S a dog!” I exclaimed.
This apparently set off an idea in his current owner’s head. Teddy was one of several dogs in this family, and though he was the smallest of them all, he wanted to be king. This was never going to happen. So she offered him to us. And for $10 and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies, Teddy Bear was ours.
Years later, when Adam needed to stretch his wings and so moved to live with his father in Massachusetts, Teddy was mine alone. I work from home so we were together more than most. Through the good times and the bad, the feasts and the famines. The noisy days of his sitting by the window and barking at leaves, or the wind, apparently. And the quiet nights when it was just he and I alone in the dark. He was my confidante, someone to say “I love you” to, another heart beating in the house.
We grew old together. I found I could no longer simply leap off curbs when walking. Teddy, the dog that I used to walk for miles and he still wanted to play fetch when we got home, could barely make it around the block.
For several weeks he was on a few medications and didn’t want to walk at all. I was consumed with whether or not his quality of life was good. He wasn’t in pain, but was he having any joy?
Needing a second opinion, I took him over to my sister Julie’s house. She knows him well. Julie and Scott’s dog Toby is Teddy’s best friend. For the first time in a long time I saw Teddy’s tail wag again, and he even barked! Julie thought he was doing fine. And he was still enjoying the treats I baked for him after all. Comforted, I took him home.
The following day was beautiful. I put Teddy outside so he could enjoy the Autumn weather. But I knew he was an old man, and I noticed he wasn’t sleeping. He seemed to be spending all his energy on simply breathing. Finally in the early afternoon I could stand it no longer. I took him to the vet to see if they could help him breathe.
Because it was harvest, our vet, who is also a farmer, was out in the fields. Cheryl called him and told him what was going on and he recommended some shots. I carried Teddy into the little room and placed him on the high table and wrapped my arms around him in preparation for the treatment. Cheryl was rummaging through the cupboards looking for the medication, so it was just Teddy and I alone for that moment.
I kissed his head and Teddy looked up at me and into my eyes in a way that he hadn’t for a very long time. It was such a direct, thorough look. Then his whole body relaxed, and the heavy panting that had become the soundtrack of my life, ceased.
I thought he was slowly going to sleep. Cheryl took one look and knew what was happening and told me. Teddy was dying. As he took his last breaths, with me still not believing that this was the end, I thanked him for everything and told him how much I loved him, just in case. And then he was gone. Just like that.
Reader, I knew the time was coming and I hadn’t planned to be there when it did because it would have been too hard. But because of how things unfolded the choice was taken out of my hands. It was, in it’s way, a small miracle; one of many. A miracle I happened to take Teddy to the vet at that moment so I wasn’t alone when it happened. A miracle he got that last visit with Toby the night before. A miracle that I didn’t know he was going to die, so I was there to hold him and say goodbye. I’m so grateful for that last look from Teddy. As painful as this has been, I wouldn’t have changed a thing
Finding the right dog can take awhile but I needed another heart – or two – beating in this house. Enter once again Jennifer, who let me know of a friend whose cat had just had kittens. She and I connected, and now George and Gracie are helping me to heal. Their mother’s name is Whimsy. So, thank you Whimsy! Thank you Melody! Thank you Jennifer! And thank you Teddy. I’ll see you again, little buddy.
No. 110 Blossom the Geisha was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California. Linda’s becoming quite the O.L.D. friend! Thank you, Linda. And thank you truly for all of you.
And with that, I leave you! On this Halloween eve, you’re my favorite!
If you haven’t read the poem “Rainbow Bridge” and you’ve ever lost a pet, I highly recommend it.
I confess, I’ve been wanting to do a Geisha for a long time. So when this girl arrived, and her name was Blossom, which is kind of Geisha-ish, and she didn’t mind removing her wig – as long as I sent it along with her (which I will) – then she was absolutely game…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 111, Blossom the Geisha. You can see her adoption page HERE.
I’ve had an affinity for all things Japanese since childhood. Growing up in Hawaii, there’s a huge oriental influence. Talking with my Mom last night, here are two stories in particular. They were such a part of our family history that Julie’s the one that mentioned them to me when I told her my next O.LD.’s theme – and she wasn’t even born when they occurred!
They happened 50 odd years ago. We lived on the less inhabited north shore of Oahu, which back then was rather primitive. My parents had learned of a professional photographer who lived on our side of the island. Most things were in Honolulu, and it was hard to get all the way there for a more formal photo and still keep five kids looking fresh, what with the heat and winding roads and frequent barfing that would take place en route.
So my parents marked this much closer find on a trusty map, dressed us all in our Sunday best, and off we went.
“We kept driving and driving, farther into the jungle and I wondered, ‘How on earth can there be anything out here?'” my mother recounted. “Finally we came to this little shack in the middle of nowhere…”
The photographer, a tiny man of Japanese descent, “didn’t even pose us, and I think he only took one shot. When we finally got the photo weeks later, he proudly announced that Kenny, currently the youngest, had his eyes closed, but not to worry! He, the photographer, had painted them in…”
Thus this picture became not only a piece of glossy card stock, one of many photographs dotting our scrapbooks over the years, but a memory that gave us laughs back then and still does to this day.
Another very strong memory from our childhood is when we sponsored a family from Japan. I remember them very well, and in talking to my mom was surprised to hear that they only came to our house two times for dinner on two separate visits from Japan with the meals very far apart, because they made such a very strong and warm impression on me. They were so kind and generous and I felt such an affinity for them and from them.
They wanted to experience an American meal, so my mother and Auntie Anne, who was also living in Hawaii at that time, set out to make the most American meal possible, which of course included Jello. Jello was hard to make in Hawaii, as it was “so darn hot” that it wouldn’t properly set.
They put out silverware, but the children from the family weren’t able to eat with forks and spoons. So my mother found some chopsticks, and they ate everything, including the unstable Jello, with ease.
We exchanged Christmas cards with this family for years to come, and the wife sent my mother and Auntie Anne Japanese dolls in full dress as a thank you gift, along with an assortment of seaweed wrapped crackers that I adored.
We’ve always had oriental art and trinkets dotted throughout our house, as much a part of the decor as any throw pillow or bookend, even beyond the Hawaii years. And little Japanese lanterns were a family favorite tradition on our Christmas tree. So of course a Japanese doll was somewhere in my future!
It was finally the time. I learned a lot in my research, like how a kimono is always worn left over right unless you’re in mourning, as well as how to make Kansashi flowers in the traditional Japanese way. And that the wooden shoes are called “Geta” and the socks with the split toe are called “Tabi.”
Since we don’t have massive fabric stores, and for once I didn’t have on hand the kind of fabric I wanted, searched the fabric section at the craft store, worried I wouldn’t find anything that would work. Christmas to the rescue! Freshly arrived for the coming holiday this red with metallic gold was just the thing. I heaved a dainty sigh of relief when I found it.
Speaking of my mother and talking to her last night, guess who won the last doll, No. 110 Mona? My mother! When I see her occasionally bidding I say, “Aw, Mom!” beneath my breath and actually right to her. When she gets outbid I tell her, “OKAY MOM!! STAHHHP!!!” This woman has a MIND OF HER OWN. I think I come by my stubbornness honestly!
But she rarely bids, and only on dolls she likes. She knows me so well, and knows how hard that first doll back after a long period away was and how nervous making it was to get back in the saddle. Her reaction via email SAVED ME. She LOVED this girl and said I hadn’t lost my touch! PHEW. My mother is one to say what she thinks, so this meant a lot to me. And now she finally has an O.L.D.! Thanks Mom! YOU’RE MY FAVORITE MOM EVAH and one of the best human beings I know.
You know who else is my favorite human, as we get our first flurries of snow? YOU. You’re my favorite.
*Yosuru means “embrace” in Japanese.
Thus begins the description of O.L.D. No. 110 Mona, she who brings the Hazel Twigg line ROARING Back (to School!). You can see her adoption page HERE.
Mona! That’s not a name you hear very often, is it? But it’s one I’ve wanted to use for quite some time. This Mona is in honor of our very own Mona of Rolfe.
As you may know, this town is on the shy side of 600, but we’re very proud of all that’s available here, especially for so small a town! There’s a bank, a grocery store, a hardware store, a gas station…..and our own bona fide art gallery! “Wild Faces Gallery,” run by a very talented artist named Mona. Not only was she an accomplished wildlife artist, she was also a warm and wonderful soul. Always happy, an instant friend, and she was even a member of sorts of the Hazel Twigg family!
When I first started doing presentations for my book, “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway,” I would take the original artwork with me for display. These things were hectic events, and keeping the prints safe and crease and smudge free was nigh on impossible.
Luckily, we had right here in town someone who was able to make large prints because she made them for her own beautiful works! So Mona generously made prints for me, both large and small, of our artist Nina Khalova’s work.
Mona was a definite fixture here in town. Here colorful fingerprints are still everywhere.
Last January, Mona, who was relatively young, passed away from complications from that flu that was going around. One person in Iowa, and it was her! I still cannot believe she is gone. When I think of her I can’t help but smile, even as there’s a little catch in my heart. So of course, there had to be a Mona O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll), and this is her.
Our Mona happens to be from the fictional town in my book called “Reliance,” which is of based on Rolfe. The mascot for the town school is the lion. That’s the theme I wanted for my 2018 Back-to-School girl.
I was looking for some kind of lion-inspired hat, and 90% of what I found was Luna Lovegood, one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter, wearing a lion hat! Since it’s close to Halloween (it’ll be here before you know it!), I decided to make Mona a Luna Lovegood Halloween costume.
The story of how I made that lion hat is a teensy bit dark, in a Disneyesque “Cruella DeVille” sort of way. You’ll never believe what I used! I made a video about it. Wanna see it? Here it goes:
It’s also literally a little dark because I broke my light bulb from my fancy umbrella light.
So there you have it! Mona for our Mona. Two lovely, lively creatures I’ll never forget.
A long time ago there was an police officer named Ernie. He was adopted by…Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! This is Gwen’s lucky third! THANK YOU, Gwen, and sorry this particular thank you took so long!
And with that, I leave you! Happy early Fall. It feels like it, doesn’t it? You’re my favorite!