May, 2013

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Eeny, meeny, miny, MOE!

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It was dark, so I had to shoot into my closet where the light would hit. To the left of these are two more stacks of five bins each, to the right three more. And I have more bins elsewhere.

Today I’m going to Choose My Next Victim.

Ever since I started collecting dolls – once I discovered their existence – I’ve been an avid collector, going in fits and spurts. The fits being a doll every now and then, the spurts being dolls upon dolls arriving on my doorstep, to the point they were “stacked up like firewood” in any place I could put them. So I have dolls galore to the point where finding one to prepare for her next home shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Wrong. I am the America of doll collectors: “Give me your naked, your wigless, your well-loved and faded…”


I set up my sewing room kind of like a kitchen. “Good Enough Construction Company” (of which I happen to be the sole owner and operator) installed the cabinets. This one is below-the-sink size, and it’s stuffed with the large girls and the girls who are in pieces and waiting to be restrung, safely kept in bags so their parts don’t become separated.

I remember once upon opening a box and removing a doll my then five-year-old son said, “Look, Mom! It’s not broken!”

So I shall go through bin upon bin over the din of clamoring voices. “Me! Pick me! I’ve been waiting the longest!”


These are some of my older dolls, the bisques and the china heads. The paper mache doll on the far left in the plaid is very homely, the victim of a repaint. But I love her so much! And can hardly wait to make her pretty once more. Or at least “plain” rather than “homely.”

It’s like my very own reality show! Who will be chosen? What will they end up wearing? Will the sewing go smoothly or will there be copious unpicking? Can I even find my unpicker after all this time? And finally, to whose home are they destined to go?

We shall see…

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Back To The Future

BratzThe other day my brother Dennis, who is also a writer, received an email from the makers of Bratz dolls. Seems the company is doing a re-launch and part of their campaign is to get bloggers to hold contests. The company would then provide the participating blogger with one free Bratz doll to be given away as a prize.

Which brings to mind a large part of the reason that I wrote “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway” in the first place. I explored the Bratz and Bratzillaz websites and part of their credo is to “push boundaries” and to get involved in every kind of career. But it seems to me the only career they’re pushing for is the oldest profession in the book.

Is this what we want for our little girls and young women?

Bad Girls ClubThere’s a television channel geared completely towards females, and one of their main anchor shows is “The Bad Girls Club,” where poor behavior and language and plain ol’ ugliness is apparently encouraged.

Anyone who speaks out is jeered at for being old-fashioned, the lamest thing in the world to be, and the mindset appears to be that a woman’s strength comes solely from her sexuality and ability to swear.




Somewhere along the way the message was lost, because I’m fairly certain that’s not what these women had in mind when they fought for equal rights.

I also don’t think that what’s being portrayed in popular culture is what most mothers want for their little girls, nor is it the way they are raising them.

I believe the majority of mothers feel the way that I feel, that we are just not being represented out there. Wouldn’t it be nice for there to be a voice for the rest of us? Would “Little House on the Prairie” even find an audience today?

cast LHOTP

Sometimes you have to go back to truly move “Forward.”

My answer is a resounding YES. Yes it would, but for some reason we’re not being offered that kind of fare. For some reason, even though ‘G’ rated movies make far more money dollar for dollar than ‘R’ rated movies*, they are few and far between.

While I can’t get out there and make a movie that portrays the values I feel a majority of us have, I can write a book!

So that’s what I did. And I did my best to make it entertaining without glorifying anything that ought not to be glorified. Just call me old fashioned.




*FILM PROFITABILITY STUDY 2012 – The Dove Foundation


Dr. Ruth, Medicine Woman

handsBehold, these hands! (Ignore the lotion. Pesky hand model.) These gifted hands have healed again!

No, I’m not a doctor. But I play one in real life. Last night I noticed my dog Teddy was not himself. You can just sense these things. I put these glorious hands on him and discovered… a TICK!

Be not jealous, ‘tis not as glamorous as it sounds!

So I took what I call my Tick Tweezers (not to be used on chin hairs, I have standards) and with a deft and gentle touch I plucked the tick from Teddy’s poor forehead and put it into its waiting Foil of Doom, which is a small square of a common household item that I created with these hands when I got the Tick Tweezers.

But I did not give up then! I gave Teddy a thorough check-up as all good doctors do and I discovered….another tick! Lucky me, I’d had the foresight to bring TWO Foils of Doom, so I was prepared. And I plucked. And I folded. And Teddy was restored to himself once more. And the two ticks, unless they are Houdinis which I doubt, will never see the light of day or fur again.

Of course I washed these hands afterwards.



On a second note, I don’t care who you are, when you have something from the library and it becomes marred on your watch, your heart sinks. It was with panic and desperation that I was able to release this from my VHS machine. It was with resourcefulness that I used this old key to wind it back up.

It was with Perseverance that I attempted to play it again. And once again it became stuck and panic reared its ugly head once more. We shall not be watching “Apollo 13” this day. But we did get to learn a little Perseverance!

And we saved a dog. Twice. So there’s that.

Tears For A Clown



I don’t have much time this morning since we had several power outages last night, therefore I’m choosing a someone who fits the bill: It’s rare that a BOY doll comes through the hideaway, and though nearly 100 years old, his expression speaks volumes.

Everybody loved him! Everyone was sad to see him go! But he was meant for a very special little girl who needed him even more than we did.

He came to me naked and I was going to make a sweet little sleeper for him, since he was barely past the baby stage and had only just learnt to walk, but he kept saying, “Cown! Cown!”

I had no idea what he was trying to say (Cow? Gown? Oh dear…), but the resourceful little fellow pulled out a picture book and showed me. “Ahh, a clown! I see!”

I snapped a picture or two just before he left...

I snapped a picture or two just before he left…

Since he was so small, it didn’t take a lot of time to make his outfit although I tried to sew as slowly as possible because I knew that it was going to be hard to let him go. Finally, there was no more putting it off.

We had just said our last goodbyes. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house – except for me, somebody has to be the adult and keep it together – when suddenly he struggled to get out of my hands. It was a moment of mixed emotions. I knew he was needed out there, however if he really wanted to stay…

But no. He simply ran to the dining room table that held a vase of flowers from the garden.

“Fower, peas!” he cried, reaching up his chubby hand.

He looked so adorable, clutching that small flower that still dwarfed him. I took another picture or two and then off he went, this time leaving us with smiles on our faces.

Such a lust for life in one so young and old! I think of him often and I know that wherever he is, he is loved.

Two tiny friends wanted one last shot.

Two tiny friends wanted one last shot.

It’s like Thunder! Lightning!

Time for Marley to start clanging his chains again! (April 2nd post: My heaters rattle like the Dickens…Comedy GOLD!)

Iowa, I love you! Day before yesterday it was 80 degrees. Now, today: rain and thunder. Tonight: SNOW. Up to five inches! And howling wind throughout. Could things get any better?! I’m being 100% sincere here, my favorite seasons are fall and winter and from my first lawn mowing to my last I am eagerly anticipating that hint of chill in the air, that hint of color change in the trees. Winter is having its last hurrah and it shall be glorious.

My assignment from my dear brothers that I love so much: Watch the movie ‘Apollo 13,’ because apparently “Somebody needs a lesson in perseverance.” I’m no Sherlock, but I think they mean me. So yesterday as soon as the library opened and I learned they had it (on VHS. Not to brag, but I have both VHS and dvd playing capabilities. What is this “Blu-Ray” I hear talk of?) I trotted on down the street in the hot weather with my faithful dog Teddy in tow.


Toto from “Wizard of Oz” was a Cairn terrier too.


When I sent these pictures to my Mom, she thought Teddy was a toy. It was only the slight movement of his head between the two pictures (see it?) that convinced her otherwise.

Poor Teddy! He’s afraid of thunder! I know I’ve mentioned him before, but here’s his story: Normally, I’m a mutt snob and I would never have a pure-bred, but this little dog fell into my lap. When I saw him running so happily at the farm where Adam spent his summers I said, “Now there’s a dog! Not too big, not too little, just right.” The owner’s ears perked up. They were looking for a home for him (he wanted to be king of the castle and their three other dogs felt the same way) so for $10 and a plate of chocolate chip cookies ‘Teddy Bear’ was mine!

We tried to change his name but couldn’t. Besides, he looks like a teddy bear! The blonde, mohair, old-fashioned kind. He’s gotten me through many a hard time so I’m glad I can help him in turn with today’s storm.


Might I recommend the Nina spa? It does WONDERS for one’s face!

I’m also going to work on the final editing of “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway.” We’re starting to get the color illustrations for this final version of the book and it’s truly getting exciting. Nina does great work. Here’s an illustration she did from the now defunct first version. It’s all coming together! All it needs is a little more perseverance.

Knock on wood. (If you’re lucky, you will have that song stuck in your brain all day. Yer welcome.)