February, 2014

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On The Road(show) Again…

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As I work with my newly hired Minions, and as dolls go back and forth and I’m once again shut away quietly in my cell, my mind begins to wander.

This time, we’re back at the Antiques Roadshow 2118. Five years since the last Hollyhock Dolls were unearthed there, revealed by my previous post, Tiffany Scmiffany!

antroadIf you watch Antiques Roadshow with any regularity, then you know that those experts are EXPERTS. As in, “For breakfast, the artist who made this item liked to have bacon. But not the thick cut, the thin and crispy. Preferably maple glazed from Gunther’s farm, but Johann’s farm would do in a pinch…”

So it should have been no surprise to me to discover that some companies have within them certain artists, and the Antiques Roadshow Appraiser recognizes their work and knows their history. “This was made for Rookwood Pottery Company by an artist named so-and-so who was with them in the early days before moving over to California Pottery…”

And so forth.

Switch back to the present, as we here at Hazel Twigg train the new Minions – the very first new minions – to work on these Once Loved Dolls (O.L.D.). Cleaning and doing hair and the sewing that’s to come…

So! Antiques Roadshow, 2118, The Appraiser: “Ooh! Ooh! This is an early, early Hazel Twigg doll! You can tell by the mark on her back of course, but also, this doll’s hair was done by a very special specialist. The very first one! Look at that signature curl! Look at that shiny cheek! Perfection! I’m not supposed to do this, but I’ll give you 150 million dollars for her!!” (inflation, yes, but that’s still a lot of dough).

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Because honestly, that’s how I think of this thing. These are the early days. For now the wigs are hand curled. Hand everything. Maybe we won’t be able to keep up and we’ll have to invent really cool machines to do everything for us, making these early dolls that we produce now, by hand, that much more valuable. And those futuristic appraisers will recognize every single nuance.

You just never know! But it’s fun to think about…’til tomorrow!

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Fade to BLACK

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Here she is looking just like herself, dimples and all.

Yesterday an icon died, and I can’t let that pass without saying farewell. One of the most – quite possibly the most – enduring dolls of all time is the Shirley Temple doll and it tickled me pink that the person this old composition doll was based on was still alive and kicking.

Shirley

Late 50’s, early 60’s version.

The Shirley Temple doll was popular for decades in many forms besides composition; vinyl, plastic and even porcelain. Of course I prefer the composition ones the most! But the vinyl ones of the late 50’s, early 60’s are a close second.

 

Shirley Temple was even mentioned at my father’s recent memorial. From my brother Dennis’ blog:

I think I’m gaining a greater appreciation for how the stories from our lives constantly work to shape us. As I was doing the research to prepare my father’s eulogy, I came across a few small, but life-shaping stories like that, most of which I didn’t know until I started my research.

Close Encounter with Shirley Temple

shirley_templeSometime when dad was around 7 or 8, he lived in Palm Springs, which was at the time a playground for Hollywood stars. Once, dad and his parents were stuck in traffic on the town’s main street, when a whole crowd of people rounded the corner and crossed the street.

Suddenly Dennis saw Shirley Temple emerge from the crowd, and she touched their car as she walked by. I picture it happening in slow motion. I suspect that moment may have contributed greatly to dad’s life-long love of movies, a love he passed along to his kids.

*****

I finally found the image that inspired the outfit made for a 13″ composition Shirley Temple doll that I had. I should have known! It was in my folder of favorite things. Here it is:

ShirleywaveOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABye-bye, Shirley! I’LL MISS YOU.

Once Cut…

measure2Tonight! At midnight! Chapter 25 The Excursion. Hope you enjoy!

HT-052 WWgIn the meantime, it’s hard to teach when you’re a little rusty, so I’m going to be in my Newly Nifty Sewing Room trying to make a dress from my own pattern.

I usually make adjustments as I go along, but for the sanity of my Sewers, I’m going to try and be a little bit more exact in this style of clothing that I love so much.

Of course, since my mom is here Edward will have to wait, poor fellow. Well, we’ll muddle through somehow…edwardlove1

Look at the desperation on his face! Bless his heart. We’ll be together soon, my love!

N’ART!!

Shame on me! I think I gave Nina what I had. That was one mighty powerful bug, with the chills and the fever and the coughing and sneezing. And it made it halfway ’round the world to the Ukraine, found our artist, and nabbed her too!

However, she’s getting better thank goodness, and now we have some newly colorific art.

First, here’s my sketch “The Mimic” from Chapter 20’s Bearing Gifts:HT-046 The Mimic NG

Nina’s! A tad better, even when she’s under the weather (and by “tad,” I mean a LOT):HT_46Next, here’s my sketch “Teeter Totter” from Chapter 21’s A Place For Everything:HT-048 Teeter Totter NG

Nina’s!HT_48NO, those are NOT my legs in the foreground, why do you ask? I know, I know! It’s like looking in a MIRROR. Where the heck is my razor? Ah, well. It’s winter time, and mighty cold out…

Regarding the “Gallery” image, whenever I look at my sketch, I see a face in that fruit basket…

Happy Monday, all!

The GIVERS

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Waiting.

Well, it’s not secret; I am a trifle odd when it comes to my dolls. And as my mother and I have toiled and labored, counting and recounting and studying and analyzing, there are some who were simply too far gone.

I do not take this lightly!

In the back of my mind, as early back as Chapter 4’s Stuffed, I wondered how to explain them: Where did those boxes of “Teeth” and “Eyes” crammed into Ruth’s old white car come from? They had to come from somewhere! Or someone’s.

Yesterday afternoon after two days of counting we got to the nitty gritty of dolls. Dolls with arms or legs or heads or bodies that were damaged beyond repair. What to do?

Enter THE GIVERS.

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Maybe one of these would work.

There is a code amongst all dolls at the factory: should they be lucky enough to be loved beyond Mint, beyond reason even, and should they have anything left to give that might let another doll continue on with her journey to be loved again, said doll will give what she has to give. In that way she can also be loved again. At least a part of her.

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These eyes might get a second chance to see.

And that is better than nothing.

So as I say goodbye to a few of these old faces that have given and received so much love, that is how I get past it. Their legs will help another doll walk again. Their arms will hold another little girl close.

It truly is hard for me to say goodbye! But these dolls are giving the best gift of all. That of second chances.

Several of my dolls will get second chances at love thanks to the sacrifices of The Givers.

And on that slightly odd note, have a great weekend!

P.S. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet “Liked” Hazel Twigg on Facebook, please do so! THANK YOU!!

By Any Other Name…

Chapter 24 Scotcharoo’d: What’s in a name? A few things! Here in Rolfe the gas station we used to have was called “The Pronto.” Now we have a nice, new gas station with a larger eating area. A favorite place for farmers to meet and shoot the breeze, and gaggles of ladies as well (rarely at the same time!).

HT-051 gas

“Pronto” must be a chain, because when sending photos to Nina, this is what I sent her for the gas station in case gas stations are different in the Ukraine. This isn’t OUR Pronto, but it looks awfully close!

While the new place just a few hundred feet down the block was being constructed, there was a contest were you could enter your name suggestion for our new fancy place. I am an extreme creature of habit! I wanted it to be “The Pronto” as well! No? Okay, how ’bout “The PronTWO!”? (Because in my crafty mind, I knew it would still be called by it’s original name)

Well, I lost. I stubbornly and for a long time continued writing my checks to “The Pronto” when I would make my purchases (in Iowa it’s no shame to write checks, people do it all the time. So I do too. This place was meant for me. I’m not good at remembering to enter every little entry into my checkbook, but those little carbons! THOSE I can easily SEE!). Anyway, I was told I had to use the new name, otherwise the checks wouldn’t work. But I still call it “The Pronto” in my heart!

So when I needed a setting for Maxwell and Marlene’s second meeting, well. Reliance, Iowa doesn’t have a restaurant, but they have a gas station! I decided to call it…nope! Not “The Pronto”! The Giddyup.

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These caramels were really, really GOOD.

As Marlene makes her way into the gas station to meet Maxwell, trying to keep the plastic wrap on her Scotcharoos in the constant Iowa wind, she meets two farmers on their way out. It’s a small thing, but the first farmer is named for what was to me a main character here in town. Several days before our first Christmas here, Julie, her husband Scott and I were walking around town. It was a beautiful, snowy day and there was a feeling of well being and joy. Not for any particular reason, there just was. With all three of us. At once.

Just walking down the street, knowing everyone who passed in that short amount of time that we lived there (because there weren’t that many to know), waving, shouts of “Merry Christmas” without a second thought…and up comes Tom in his large red dual wheel truck to chat for a bit. And he gave us caramels. And it was the cherry on that day.

Tom passed away recently. In this first book of the series there aren’t a lot of names to hand around, but I knew that one of them would be for him.

The second farmer is Spencer. A wonderful, classic name. And, it also happens to be the name of a very dear, dear friend’s son. So there you have it!

A-Tisket, A-Tasket…

07-Tisket-TasketToday my Mom and I have a Momumental Task: Inventory! Guess what? I HAVE LOTS OF DOLLS! Guess what else? I HAVE LOTS OF FABRIC! Need…More…FINGERS!!

Now if I can just keep up with my Mom, we’ll be in business.

Ooh! This is my 200th post! I hope that bodes well…

WISH US LUCK!!!

It’s a STAPLE of Iowa!

Scotcharoos

This is the picture I sent to Nina for reference on what Scotcharoos are. They say a way to a man’s heart is through his belly. Hmm…Good luck, Marlene. You’re going to need it.

When I first moved to Iowa, there were several words and phrases I’d never heard before, especially pertaining to food. What the heck is “Broasted Chicken”? Why is “Dinner” at noon? What’s a “Made Right”?

But the catchiest new term of all was SCOTCHAROOS. What is it? A cookie? A drink? Turn’s out, it’s a bar! I finally had a chance to have one awhile back and for me it fully captures the essence of Iowa – and most likely, the Midwest – that I love so much: They are Sweet and Old-Fashioned, two of my most favoritest things.

So when the opportunity arose to write an Iowa-centric book, I just had to put some Scotcharoos in there. Guess whose hands I put them in? MARLENE’S, that’s whose! Guess who she’s going to give them to? As if her feminine wiles weren’t enough already…

Tonight, at midnight! Marlene hops aboard her broom again in Chapter 24’s Scotcharoo’d.

Whirligig

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“I’ll get right to that. Let me just finish this here laundry first…”

As I posted on Friday, my Mother is here! And my lovely sister-in-law Suzanne left just last Saturday.

Besides helping me out from my recent surgery, they’ve also been helping to transform my home! We’re preparing for the Lost Dolls.

Also, apparently, besides being a little cluttered (although I know where everything is *mostly*), parts of my house are, um, messy. WERE messy!

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“I’ll be right there, I just need to finish landing this plane…”

These women, they are AMAZING! This way! That! Chug, chug, chug! Lug, lug, lug! While Suzanne was only here for a week (and she moved MOUNTAINS while she was here!), my mother is here for a month! But you wouldn’t know it, the way she’s whirling through my house. All I do – all I CAN do – is sit and direct, poor me. Poor LUCKY me!

The speed with which my “how-old-is-she-again?” mother is moving makes my head spin. I laugh when I think of the two of us going anywhere, she spry and hale and hearty, supporting me as I totter to and fro, helping me lift, helping me open, helping me retrieve…

There is still so much to do to prepare for the minions, but step by step we’re (and by “we’re,” I mean my mother and Suzanne while she was here) are getting everything done.

Rather speedily, I might add.

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“Good heavens! Where’d that football come from?”
“I have no idea, dear. Do you want to get rid of it?”
“YES. After that game yesterday, I DO.”

But as I said, my mother is here for a MONTH. Whatever shall we do for the rest of her days here? When I query that, I’m met with laughter.

“Oh, we’ll find things,” the laugher will say.

Oh, dear.

I am so very, very grateful for these angels that I love. Now if I can just KEEP things this way…

Anybody want an airless football?