But How Do You Thank Someone..?

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If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you might already know that I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. A town so small that we have no police officer (don’t tell the bad guys!). But I do see what’s going on, and I want to somehow reach out and thank those brave men and women who put their lives on that thin blue line to keep us safe.

This whole week plus while I was working on this little fellow, the first line from the chorus from the song “To Sir With Love” from the 1967 movie of the same name was playing in my mind. Anybody know what that line is…?

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 109, Ernie the beat cop. You can see his adoption page HERE.

 

Ernie is a 13″ composition Kewpie doll. It is my intention to do a series of “Hero” Kewpie dolls. The first was the mail carrier. Perhaps not an obvious choice – unless you live somewhere with extreme heat, or extreme cold, or if there are dogs on the loose. Or sometimes, mail carriers are the ones who alert others when something is amiss at someone’s house. So maybe it’s not so much of a stretch after all!

The next, whenever another Kewpie comes to my door, will be a firefighter. But for today, and always in my heart, we focus on police officers.

For those who don’t know, the first line of the chorus of “To Sir With Love” is the title of this post! I’m always assuming everybody has the same musical references as myself, but Julie (who is nine years my junior) didn’t instantly know the song I was referring to, so maybe not!

My heart goes out to these brave men and women who, for very little pay, go out into the streets and put their lives on the line for all of us. And like you, my heart breaks when I see them under attack.

I was once held up at gun point walking home from a grocery store in the early evening hours. I was in my early 20’s, and two teen girls were trailing me. I thought nothing of it. They called out and asked for directions. When I turned around to help them, they pulled out a gun.

Ernie’s hat badge is glass beads and metallic trim stitched onto leather and painted silver.

It’s one to thing to IMAGINE what you might do when faced with such a situation, another thing when it actually happens. I previously pictured myself shoving someone’s nose up into their brains with one swift, ninja-like action. Or saying, with my vast acting skills, “Look! What’s that over there?!” and snatching their gun away when they were distracted. Or perhaps some jujitsu. I’d seen movies! How hard could it be?

Here he is with his white gloves, directing traffic.

But when you’re actually looking into the barrel of a gun, all bets are off. All thinking is off. All I felt was absolute, abject fear like nothing I ever imagined. I let them take my purse.

When I got home, I sputtered to my roommate, “I was r-r-r….”

“What? What?!” she cried, horrified.

Ernie’s chest badge sports his O.L.D. number, 109.

“I was r-r-r…” I tried to get out. I took a deep breath and finally managed to gasp, “I WAS ROBBED!”

The police arrived at our apartment moments later. They caught the two girls that night. They are the superheroes walking amongst us.

Police officers around the country do this sort of thing every day. They say goodbye to their spouses, who themselves are brave for sending their wives and husbands into the fray, not knowing if they’ll come home safe.

Since there are no local police officers I can thank, Ernie here is saying it for me. If YOU encounter a police officer, can you thank them for me?

“Who?” they will say. No matter. I am grateful all the same. Here’s the song if you’re not familiar with it, or just want to hear it again:

This song also means a lot to me because every year the graduating drama students from my high school would sing it to our much beloved theater arts teacher, DJ. From the comments on the video, a lot of other students from other high schools had the same brilliant idea. It’s a great song!

Billy and Bingo were adopted by Karen L. of Oakton, Virginia. A new face! I love new faces! I love old faces! I LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU ALL. Thank you, Karen, it’s been a pleasure and I hope to see you again.

And with that, I leave you! Happy last day of April, you’re my favorite.

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Rock-a-bye Billie

“Nice hat!” Dot laughingly said to our new arrival.

“Dot, be nice to Shirley.” 

Then I had to laugh too. Shirley was trying to see her own “hat,” which was an overly thick acrylic replacement wig. She was flipping her head heavenward and trying to catch a glimpse. Somehow, her eyes could just never get there in time. I lifted her to look at herself in the hall tree mirror.

“Oh, goodness!” she exclaimed. “This isn’t right at all! Well, I s’pose I’ll need a new one. I can’t wait to meet my new human!”

Reader, my heart sank. I knew that there wasn’t a Shirley Temple wig in my stash, and heaven knows when I’d ever get one! But this Shirley – whose first little human had named Billie – was so eager to go. I would have to come up with something…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 108, our little Billie and her hobby horse Bingo. You can see their adoption page HERE.

I was so excited to get to work on a little cowgirl as soon as the idea came to me from a little voice with equally tiny fists. Especially when I saw images like these:

What great spirit! Ten gallon hats! Fur chaps! FRINGE! But then I remembered: in 1936, the Ideal Toy Company, manufacturers of Shirley Temple dolls, had come out with a Shirley Temple cowgirl for the Texas Centennial.

OH.

The more I looked at that picture of the original Shirley Temple cowgirl doll, the more intimidated I became. She had been so well done! Any idea of mine on how she would look paled in comparison.

“One word,” that helpful little voice said when I called her in despair.

“What word is that?” I asked.

“ROCKABILLY.” Julie stated. “Look up ‘Vintage Rockabilly Cowboy’.”

Which, and I’m no mathematician, is actually THREE words, but no matter! PHEW. I was inspired! And SAVED. And about to get a lot of holes in my fingernails. Embroidering leather is NOT for sissies!

Not to mention that this girl’s name is Billie. Get it?! RockaBILLIE…? So many levels!

“Rockabilly” is hard to define, but when I looked up images for that three worded phrase, up popped a definite style. Lots of embroidered flowers and the exact kind of free spirit of those black and white cowgirl images above.

And it’s a good thing this Shirley is only 13″ tall! I of course didn’t have small leather fringe laying around, so I had to cut it all. It was a little bit nerve racking: one false move, and your fringe would be missing a “tooth”!

Billie needed a companion with which to ride the wild range (try saying that three times fast!), so I created Bingo with wool, cotton, and leather ears and harness.

The non-Shirley wig I found for Billie in my stash is a vintage human hair wig in braids. It was a little large for her and had to be adjusted, but I liked what the warm tone of it did for her.

So there you have her! I’d like to thank my sister Julie for giving me that boost, and my mom for sending me a care package that contained those snippy scissors. I LOVE those things! Thank you, Mom! And thank you all for being here. Truly.

HOLLY was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California! Lucky number six for her! THANK YOU, Linda! From my old stomping grounds…Well, my stomping state, anyway.

And with that, I leave you! Happy “Spring,” we’ve been recently clobbered by snow and ice!

Hot or cold, you’re my favorite!

 

TUG O’ WAR(drobe)

My heart went through a plethora of emotions upon seeing this little girl at my door. First, of course, was EXCITEMENT. I didn’t know if I’d ever see the day when an American Child would come strolling into my house! AT LAST!!

The next emotion was dismay. Honestly, 83% of the O.L.D.s (Once-Loved Dolls) that come here are naked and bald. But this one was different: Someone had loved this girl enough to remold nearly all her fingers, and then inexplicably put her away, most likely in an attic judging by the fly dirt. Without even a rag to protect her! All those years…

The final emotion was determination. To misquote Shakespeare, “If you prick me, am I not sawdust and glue?” 

This girl, special and forlorn, deserved to be loved again no matter how daunting the task. So without further adieu…

Hazel Twigg No. 107 is an Effanbee American Child doll, and her name is Holly. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Left to right, 1.) Before. Those aren’t freckles all over her face, that’s all I’m saying about THAT. 2.) After cleaning I picked this wig for her from my stash. It too was filthy and tattered. 3.) Wig washed and mended and paint touch up done. 4.) “Before” arm showing the worst of the chipping paint and the previously repaired fingers. All in all, these repairs and cleaning took nearly three days to complete.

Upper right corner in the orange.

“American Child” dolls were manufactured in the 1930’s for about four years by the Effanbee doll company, who would later manufacture Anne Shirley dolls which were produced for 20 years, making the American Child doll’s much more rare.

There were six different face shapes in all. That combined with different hair and eye colors meant that little girls could have dolls that looked just like themselves!

They were also one of 17 dolls chosen for the “Classic American Dolls” postage stamps that came out in 1997. It had taken nearly 10 years to decide which dolls would make the cut, so you know they’re something special.

Segue alert! WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE.

As you may know, my sister Julie who is The Mayor also works at yon post office in Pokey, and I love old dolls! She tries to keep me realistic, bless her heart. I told her my plans for Holly.

“She does NOT need THREE DRESSES!”

This was the first time in months I had seen Julie for any length of time. Cold weather makes hermits of us all. I vaguely noted as I followed her tiny waving fists that her knuckles were almost as chappy as mine. It’s been a long winter here in Iowa.

“HEY!”

Julie, sensing that my mind was elsewhere, jumped as high as she could, stretching her arms upwards as she tried to regain my attention. It worked.

“Huh,” I responded as I took in her rosy cheeks and snapping blue eyes. “I would’ve thought you’d be more upset by the two coats.”

“I AM!” This time she both waved her fists and stomped her feet. It was good to see her again. I’d forgotten how very cute and little she is.

She’s been right a lot in the past, but maybe this time she was wrong! I was determined to TRY. There was so much I wanted to do for this rare and unusual little girl.

There was a LOT. That red, white and blue dress was trickier than it looks.

Reader, I worked day and night. When I told Julie a few days before Holly’s adoption date what was left to be done, she said, “There will be other dolls!” (Meaning, “You can make those other things for THEM.”)

THE CURSE OF JULIE

It was 3:00 Easter Sunday afternoon and adoption time is 6:33. I’d been working since 5:00 in the morning, frantically finishing allll the little touches. I won’t tell you all the things I attempted and failed at, either due to lack of skill or time, but bless my heart, I tried! I touched base with Julie.

“I have to finish NOW. It’s not like taking pictures takes no time at all! All those outfits to change in and out of…”

“Another reason to whittle things down!” she replied.

HMPF.

I was giving the coat one last ironing. That lowest button would have to be lowered just a bit more – later. Where was that hat…?

Suddenly the smell of something burning accosted my nostrils. “Whatever could that be?” I wondered to myself. NoooOOooOOOoooo!!! IT WAS THE COAT. I had singed that beautiful wool! It wasn’t a mirage, it was there. PERMANENT. On the one panel that I’d done my first hand sewn buttonholes on!

“That’s okay, it goes well with my eyes!” sweet Holly cheered me.

“Plus, it matches the buttons!” kind Betty chimed in.

Well, there was nothing for it. I gathered the smoldering coat, found the hat that was laying nearby, as well as all of Holly’s clothes and my camera, and went into my photography/shipping room. I made that 6:33 adoption time by the skin of my teeth.

Maybe next time I’ll listen to Julie. Maybe…

Little Navy and smaller Bean were adopted by Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! This is Gwen’s second O.L.D. Thank you so much, Gwen, it’s nice to see you again (POET)!

And with that, I leave you! Happy Wednesday, You’re my favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Know JACKS

The atmosphere at the Hideaway was a teeny bit gloomy. It’s a tricky time of year. It had been a long winter, and now it was as beautiful as anything with the sun beaming and the birds happily chirping. But the dolls couldn’t go outside. It was far too soggy with melting snow for little girls made of sawdust and glue to go and out play.

“I have just the thing,” our newest arrival said.

There was instant anticipation in the air. We don’t like to pry too much into what a lost doll – and in this case, her companion too – bring with them. But there was no denying it: we were curious as to what was in the worn red bag that made strange clanking sounds they had been dragging behind them wherever they went.

Navy – that was the lost doll’s name – nodded to her friend Bean to open the bag. It was almost as tall as he was. He upended the bag and after several vigorous shakes the contents spilled out.

“Jacks!” Navy said happily. “Jacks solve ALL.”

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. No’s 106 and 106 1/2, Navy and Bean. You can see their adoption page HERE.

It’s hard to believe, but some of us grew up in a world without the internet. Before mere peasants could watch pert near any movie at any time in the comfort of your own home. Before you could be reached by phone wherever you happened to be. Before video games. Before even Pong!

Why, whatever did we do…?

I’ll tell you what we did! We played JACKS! We played Pick-up Stix! We copied the funnies – the color Sunday ones were the best – with Silly Putty! Mother May I! Red Light/Green Light!

I’m not around kids much these days. Do they still play any of these? I know here in little ol’ Rolfe, Iowa there’s still a lot of bike riding going on. Helmetless, even!

Those of us who grew up in the dark ages did get to experience the thrill of new things. I remember when answering machines were a new thing. Before if you weren’t home your phone would just ring and ring. Oh, the THOUGHT that went into what your outgoing message would be!

Or the first time we got our computer up and running and signed into the internet. The absolute THRILL I felt when in a little corner in the upper right hand corner of the computer screen I watched what I thought was a live shot of a plane flying over trees from the viewpoint of the pilot. I realize now it was probably just a video, but my heart was thrilled all the same.

Or when cordless phones first came out, and everyone would nonchalantly hang out on their porches, handset in hand, yakking. Their body language would shout, “Oh, no big deal. I’m just out here WITH MY CORDLESS PHONE!” Ah, the excitement of new things!

But with all this excitement, I hope we don’t lose the classics of our past! I feel like a toothless old woman, standing on my porch and shaking my cane at the world. That said, I bet there was some old woman out there when I was little, lamenting that with the invention of the T.V. and portable radios that kids of MY generation losing out!

Moderation, I guess! Moderation in modernization.

Speaking of folks of long ago, historical “Outlander” James was adopted by Cecilia S. of Fostoria, Ohio! One of the two sisters that suggested Jamie to me in the first place! I see what you did there. This is Cecilia’s second O.L.D. Thank you, Cecilia!

And with that, I leave you! Spring has arrived, and with it, a clobbering of snow! No matter: You’re my favorite.

 

 

Let Me Call You…Sassenach

Perhaps it’s the time of the year. You know, “Spring! When a young doll’s fancy turns to love!” 

There was just something in the air when that firm knock sounded at the door. When we opened it, there was a rather tall Schoenhut boy standing there. He wasn’t anything super special to look at, but from the moment he arrived there was an extra skip in Dot and Betty’s step. 

“And he gets more and more handsome the better you get to know him!” the usually shy Betty whispered to me one day, blushing.

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 105, Jamie, inspired by the “Outlander” series on STARZ which themselves are based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon. You can see Jamie’s adoption page HERE. Jamie is my sixth Schoenhut doll. I tell you, they’re addicting.

Poor me. I had to study every nuance of actor Sam Heughan’s clothing. Oh, how I suffer!

Sas·se·nach
[sasuh-nuhkh, -nak]
NOUN [OFTEN DISPARAGING.]

1. a term used by the Gaelic inhabitants of the British Isles to refer to the English inhabitants. (Jamie says it like an endearment, once he gets to know Claire.)

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK whoever it was out there who made this suggestion. I should write these things down, but I know full well I will absolutely lose the scrap of paper! So mea culpa and thank you! Drop me a line! UPDATE: It was Cecilia and her sister Wanda of OHIO. Thank you!

BEFORE.

When our Jamie arrived, he was in pretty good shape. He needed his eyebrows redone, and his wig was just too short for the flowing locks of the character. Luckily, I had an old, tattered wig of nearly the same shade of human hair. I took both wigs apart, and alternated the wefts onto a new skull cap.

Basket-hilt sword and dirk made from a triple layer of popsicle sticks with wires running from inside the blade to the handle for extra sturdiness.

I had previously done two Claire dolls from the “Outlander” series HERE and HERE, but it would never had occurred to me to do a doll based on Jamie. And quite honestly, I still might not have had I not found the beautiful wool/cotton plaid I used for his kilt at a thrift store. It was my absolute favorite find of the day!

I’m now practically an expert on all things Scot. Like how to put on a kilt, for example. Turns out, it’s kinda complicated. It’s hard to imagine these tough Scottish guys laying on the ground to get dressed, but by golly they do! And they hand pleat their kilts each time, too.

This is the guy I learned from. He’s a true Scot, and a charmer! Also, he flashes his bum at the end. Woohoo! Turns out, Scot’s don’t wear anything under their kilts. I bet you knew that.

I didn’t want whoever adopts Jamie to have to go through this, so I sewed in a hidden waistband and added a series of snaps. It took me over a day to figure out, but now you too can put Jamie’s kilt on with no fuss!

Of course, you wouldn’t have to mess with it at all if Jamie never changed his clothes. Luckily, he does! I was happy to see Jamie wearing his jacket, vest and shirt with a pair of pants. I also find it downright impossible to send a doll out without a hat. But what to give him? Does Jamie even wear a hat? YES HE DOES.

He wears a tricorn hat. The brim on mine is made from leather. That with the boots and the belts and the sporran, and this was a leather-heavy fellow.

You know I love a patriotic doll. Seeing this Scotsman in his new hat made me want to give him an American flag for special occasions. “Well, he DOES go to America…” helpful Julie, who has watched all the episodes so far told me. Score! DONE.

The dolls and I are going to miss him. He has conquered our hearts! But now he must venture out to conquer MORE. Yours, perhaps…?

Our sweet Georgy Girl Scout was adopted by…Beth N. of Nipomo, California. A new friend! Welcome, Beth, and thank you!

And with that, I leave you! There’s a change in the air. Spring is almost here! And you’re my favorite.

Hey There, Georgy Girl (Scout)!

“A-HAH!” I said out loud, pleased with my own ingenuity and inventiveness. I was trying to come up with a theme for the next O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll). St. Patrick’s Day was coming, but for some reason I was in no mood for leprechauns.

I waited until I had my sister Julie’s full attention before continuing, “Who besides Leprechauns has a green theme and a shamrock logo?”

I’d like to thank my dear friend Jennifer T. for printing up the Girl Scout Promise and the cookie recipe. And for helping me out in so many ways! Jennifer’s the BEST.

Julie could not guess.

“GIRL SCOUTS!” I crowed. Yessirree, I really am quite the clever girl to come up with this idea clear out of the blue…Julie’s question interrupted my preening.

“Are you going to use that Girl Scout tin I found for you TWO MONTHS AGO?!”

Curses.

Anywho…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 104, Georgy the Girl Scout. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Girl Scout’s gotta have a canteen! I made mine from the lids of some salt and pepper shakers just like this. They had rusted and were unusable.

It was Julie who guessed her name first. I was having a hard time figuring it out. It’s winter, and sometimes my ears get a little stuffy.

“Georgie!” Julie cried. We were on the phone at the time, but even so I could practically see her waving her tiny fists in joy this time.

Here’s the tin that Julie found that led to her suggestion that I took…a few months later.

“You’re RIGHT. It’s GEORGY!” I crowed a little too loudly, my ears being stuffed and all. “And it’s PERFECT, because she’s a GIRL scout!”

There was silence on the other end of the line, so I continued, “You know, like that song! ‘Hey There, Georgy Girl!”

Martha Stewart had a very useful video on the history of G.S. uniforms.

STILL there was silence. Finally, Julie squeaked, “Huh?”

So I obligingly sang for her. I will obligingly sing at the drop of a hat. “Hey there, Georgy girl, swinging down the street so fancy free…” I then skipped to the chorus, “You’re always window shopping, but never stopping to buy…”

There was a pause. “Nope, never heard of it.”

IT HAS COME TO THIS. I knew I was getting older, but OY. No matter! I love the song, and the theme seemed to fit.

It’s all fun and games until you’re trying to embroider patches little bigger than a pencil eraser. Actually, it WAS pretty fun. These are based on actual patches.

I wanted this to be an early Girl Scout, so I did a lot of research and based mine on a combination of the 1920’s and 30’s era. The main difference I noticed was that patches were worn on their sleeves rather than on a sash. And the hats were so cute!

When I was describing the uniform I was going to make for Georgy to my mother, she protested.

“She should have a beret!” she cried, waving her tiny and also very lovely fists about (my sister Julie comes by it honestly).

My mother rarely gives me directives, so I had to oblige – in my own way, for I art stubborn.

I made an orangey-red beret to go with the olive green coat I made for Georgy for those meetings when the weather was cold. To tie the hat more to the coat, I also made mittens and then a coordinating scarf.

AND NOW! For the uninitiated. This is the 1967 (before my pesky sister was born) song, “Georgy Girl” from an Australian group called The Seekers:

GREAT SONG. The whippersnappers of today just don’t know good music!

Speaking of great, Presley was adopted by the Great Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! Michelle’s about like family. As are so many of you. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

And with that, I leave you! Swinging down the street so fancy free. As soon as this ice melts…You’re my favorite.

 

Love BURNS

“Dennis! Did you hear that?”

It was a Saturday in May of 2011 in California. My parents were out doing something they dearly loved to do: garage sale shopping. It’s not as if it were early morning. The sale had been going for hours. And yet there on a table in a box in a bag was a voice calling out that only my mother could hear…THANK GOODNESS.

Thus begins the description of O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 103, Presley, who was discovered by my very own parental Valentines. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I confess, even *I* sometimes fail. No, no, it’s true! HERE IS MY CONFESSION:

THE FABRIC

The reason that No. 103 was named Presley is because I had this unique fabric I’d purchased years ago because it was excruciatingly cute. However, while cute, it wasn’t really the kind of fabric I would normally use. Yes, it was a print of vintage Valentines, but the fact that vintage Valentines were printed on fabric was too much of an in-your-face manifestation that it wasn’t vintage, not one bit. They would never have done that back in the day!

But every Valentine’s day I would look at it, and I decided that this year it was finally time to use it. Only ONE DOLL could pull it off. A doll that is indeed vintage, but that has been reproduced in recent years so she could easily bridge both old and new: PATSY.

Here’s a nice example of a PATSY doll.

Effanbee Patsy dolls were extremely popular back in their day from 1928 to 1946. They are distinctive with their molded hair in a bobbed style, their painted, side-glancing eyes, and their crooked right arm, perfect for holding things. In recent decades, they were reproduced in vinyl, and are popular to this day.

Here’s a vinyl REPRODUCTION Patsy

I only had one Patsy, and she had a major issue: She had been in a fire, and had suffered smoke damage. Now, she didn’t smell! But parts of her were discolored and she had severe chipping and flaking.

“No matter!” I confidently said to myself. “I can do this! This is her year!” A theme even came to mind! BURNING for your LOVE. Perfect! I went to YouTube and typed in “Burning Love” for inspiration for a name for this girl. Of course, Elvis Presley’s song of the same name came up (“…a hunk a hunk of Burning Love….”). Presley! PERFECT.

Here’s my burnt Patsy. Soon after this picture was taken, her remaining painted eye crumbled into smithereens.

This, Reader, is part of the reason for the longer than normal gap between this doll and the last. My struggles with Patsy, the Super Bowl, and also, my dog got sick. I know, sounds fake, right? That’s what my mortgage guy thought when I told him that. But it’s true! Thankfully, he got better. My dog, not my mortgage guy. But that’s a story for another day…

Here’s my attempt. Her face paint is too flat and getting her entire body to look smooth without an airbrush just wasn’t gonna happen without a lot more time.

I digress! Anyway, it’s all fun and games to tap your way into smaller repairs with your fingertips rather than an airbrush. But to tap an entire doll? DIFFICULT. I tried, went to bed, tried again and again, but NOPE. This just wasn’t going to work! Did I have anybody else that would do?

Luckily, with great success comes great competition. This is true now, and it was true back in the day. Enter the Madame Hendren doll company and PEACHES. She also has the molded bobbed hairdo and the crooked arm.

As you can see, Presley (II) arrived in pretty good shape – which I needed after the trials with Patsy. Her foot was broken was the main thing. Not bad at all…

Now, don’t you worry about a thing! Patsy will get her turn some day, she will! For now, she’s happily content to at least have two eyes she can see her many friends with.

It turns out, Peaches – now PRESLEY – was meant to be. I LOVE that she was discovered by my parents. What a perfect girl for Valentines Day, a celebration of love! My parents were married for 60 years before my father passed away about a year and a half after this garage sale. I miss him so much.

You never saw such a grateful girl! Dancing as well as her broken foot (since rebuilt) would allow her, so excited to finally get her turn! She helped me with Teddy when he was sick (bad dog food! It took me some trial and error and a good scare or two to discover this) and has an absolute heart of gold.

So now you know. Because of the delays, Presley won’t actually end until AFTER Valentines day. But Valentine’s day will come again! There’s always next year…

JUDE was adopted by…Adele M. of Castroville, Texas! If my count is correct, this is O.L.D. number THREE for her. Thank you, Adele!

And with that, I leave you! YOU ARE MY VALENTINE and YOU are my FAVORITE.

 

 

The ESSENTIALS

It’s said that waitresses are the best tippers. Having been a waitress myself many moons ago, I can tell you this is true! You understand how frantic it is when you get swamped, or the delicate line you have to toe when you have a very picky customer and a very grumpy cook.

I guess it’s another way of saying, “Before you criticize, walk a mile in another man’s shoes.”

Mail carriers and the post office in general are easily maligned. I confess myself to laughingly snipping to my sister Julie, who besides being the mayor of this here small town also works at the post office in our sister town of Pokey, that my mail was wet one day. Well, with one carrier out for maternity leave, and another out for an operation, Julie had to fill in during the busiest month of the year, December, with record breaking cold…in IOWA…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 102, Jude the Mail Carrier and his little friend Zippy. You can see their adoption page HERE.

I call this the “Cliff Claven” look.

Jude is a 13″ composition Kewpie doll. That must have been one happy factory. So many times as I was working on him, trying on his hats and coats as I adjusted and sized, I would catch a glimpse of his smiling face and it was impossible not to smile myself. What a worthy soldier for this trying job of his!

You might look outside on a beautiful spring or fall day, when the temperatures are perfect, not to hot or too cold, and there’s a slight breeze, and the sun is shining, and here comes your mail carrier outside when you’re stuck inside at an office or in your sewing room. “Lucky carrier!’ you might think to yourself. “I wish it were my job to simply walk about!”

Jude comes with warmer temp delivery clothes as well.

Oh sure, it’s all fun and games when the weather’s nice. But in the searing heat of summer! In the frigid cold of winter! Not so. Especially this last December when warnings would scroll along the bottom of the screen of your TV. “STAY INDOORS” the warning warns, “DANGER OF FROSTBITE AFTER 30 MINUTES TO EXPOSED SKIN.” And below that a flashing list of school and church closings.

It was on a day such as this, with the actual temperature at -10, with the wind chill making the “feels like” three plus times that, that Julie had to leave the office job for which she was hired and deliver mail herself.

Note the chain. This is for the “relay boxes” dotted throughout the town.

 

 

“I hope I don’t quit, I hope I don’t quit,” Julie muttered to herself as she tried to grasp little envelopes with gloved hands and avoid falling on ice while peering for obscure house numbers in a town with which she’s not familiar.

Hours later she was shouting to the heavens through frozen lips, ‘I HOPE THEY FIRE ME! I HOPE THEY FIRE ME!”

Jude’s bag is filled with Valentine’s things, but he carries the bag year round. Think Christmas trees and candy canes, or flags, or spring flowers…the possibilities are endless!

Well, she didn’t quit, and she wasn’t fired. She continued trudging on delivering mail into the dark hours, sometimes through occasional tears. This is not a job for sissies. THIS is why she’s my hero. As are ALL those who deliver mail. THANK YOU, brave carriers! Jude is a tribute to YOU.

The reason this post is called “The Essentials” is because of a comment our own local carrier here in this wee town made. Several roads and highways were closed, there were dire warnings for travel and a lot of cars going into ditches. “Only the essentials are supposed to be out,” he said. “So I’ll be there…”

Bless him. You need that kind of spirit to do what mail carriers do.

I called Jude “Jude” after the Beatles song, “Hey Jude” and my mangling of the lyrics: So letter out and letter in and Letter into your heart and so forth. It seemed a worthy name.

Speaking of worthy, Louella De Nice was adopted by the VERY worthy Hillary P. of New York, NY! This makes EIGHT O.L.D.’s (and their occasional companions) for Hillary, if my count is correct. THANK YOU, Hillary!

And with that, I leave you! Be kind to each other, and to your local mail carrier! I know you already are – and that’s why you’re my favorite.

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

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!

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?