June, 2014

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Just Wild about HARRIET

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe didn’t see it at first. Of course we saw that the next O.L.D. doll was the same model mold as the first O.L.D. doll Carol Jane. And we knew she was an earlier version of that mold due to the fact that her eyes were tin rather than plastic, but there the similarities to anyone else ended.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe was bald, too. But half the dolls that come through the Hideaway are bald! And need a cleaning and restringing…

After learning her name was Harriet and taking her “Before” photos, as per usual Hazel, Elizabeth, Dot, Betty and I let her look through the bin of wigs for small dolls as we stood by and watched. Because as frequently as it happens, the choosing of the wig is never, ever boring.

I don’t know how she found it. It was only visible by a few strands, having been buried beneath other wigs and bits of vintage fur caplets, but she reached in as if her fingers were magnets and the wig was steel and triumphantly waved her choice over her head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Ah, I see!” I cried. “That’s very nice Harriet, but it’s not the proper wig for you. It’s not mohair or human hair. Your new mother might be a stickler for correctness! Later composition dolls had Saran wigs such as this one, but you’re far too early. It never would have happened!”

I’m not trying to be mean. I simply want to give my girls the best possible chance of being loved.

Hazel and the other dolls clamored to let us at least see what she looked like with her choice, and of course there’s no harm in that, so Harriet plopped her wig onto her head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe resemblance was uncanny. For awhile we just stood there and blinked. Harriet mistook our silence for disapproval. She reached up to pull the wig off. “I’ll let you pick…” she softly murmured.

“No,” I said firmly. “You were right the first time. You’ll have that wig and nothing else.”

Then Harriet’s eyes met Hazel’s. She gasped and smiled. She saw it too. And soon, so will you.

Meet O.L.D. lucky number 7 Harriet Peabody, up for adoption Wednesday eve! She’s taking a little longer, as her outfit is a little more elaborate than most…Will she find love, even with an improper wig? I hope so!

Tomorrow: Hairy-Chested Fairies. Not all fairies are tiny things with wings!

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Miracle On NICE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few of you noticed. One person in particular. Of course, as it was going on, I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but now I do! And for the rest of you, here is the rest of the story…

Remember Clementine? She of the tricky wool jacket and multiple wig trials? You may recall that she was put up for adoption twice. You may or may not recall that it was a friend of mine who adopted her the first time. A friend of many years that I have never actually met. We bumped into each other online over – you guessed it – dolls. Old dolls! And we’ve been emailing each other back and forth ever since.

She really wanted Clementine and was so excited when she won her. I was happy for her too! And then, whoosh! A calamity occurred! I won’t go into details, but sometimes a little calamity is all it takes!

I would loved to have simply given Clementine to her, but with my upcoming third operation in a year, I was in no position to do so, even though I so dearly wanted to. So there we were, two kindred souls, 23 states away from each other, pining.


This is NOT Brenda of New York. While I don’t think I could pick her out of a crowd, I am sure of that. It is, however, someone who loves her doll and much as Brenda loves Clementine.

There was nothing for it, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I cleared all evidence of my friend adopting Clementine from this site (if you look, you will not find it), and put her up for adoption again. And once again, Clementine was all set to go in a completely different direction, from someone as eager to love her as my friend had been.

But then they remembered.

Sometimes, when something is meant to be, there’s no fighting it. The person who won Clementine the second time around is a reader of this blog. They contacted me on the morning I was getting ready to send Clementine off and asked me to do something unusual; Send Clementine to my friend.

That was not their intention at all in the beginning. Something just told them it was the right thing to do. I got the blessing of packing up Clementine and secretly sending her to her new old destination. And now she and my friend, Brenda M. of New York, 36 states away, are together, just the way it was meant to be.

My readers are the very best.

I’m working very hard on the next O.L.D. She has an uncanny resemblance to someone some of you might recognize. Can’t wait to show you!

Until then, Happy Friday!

Ask Not! For Whom the Bell Tolls…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor I shall tell you. Betty’s Bell tolls with the ever-so-lovely Lois S., she of New Hampshire. She, the same woman who adopted Sunny and Faith! You can see Betty’s former adoption page HERE. The previously pictured patriotic parade shall take place!

I am thinking of moving to New Hampshire and simply handing my girls over when I’m finished with them. Thank you, Lois!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow for me to get back in the saddle. Oh, sure. Sorting buttons is very, very exciting, don’t get me wrong, but one’s heart can only take so much of the thrill. It’s time. It’s time.

Behold, though! Some of my sorted buttons this lovely morning. Like buttons are stitched together and ready to cut apart. Other buttons are sorted in little baggies, ready to go into cute little decorative and functional jars.

Here is where the magic happens:



My sweet brother donated his excellent wife Suzanne to me for a week, and she in turn donated this most excellent bedside table that swivels and turns for easy convalescent use. Who knew I would get so much use out of it? Not me!

bell5If you look closely, you can see a flashlight. We here in Iowa have had a few power outages of late, to go along with the drenching rain and cracking thunder. It’s all fun and games, and I love going Little House on the Prairie – until I miss an entire episode of “The Bachelorette”!

Even more egregious: Fox cancelled “I Wanna Marry Harry,” quite possibly one of the finest shows ever to air on television!

Well, maybe not quite.

But it was a decent, mindless summer show. A perfect accompaniment to sorting buttons. And now it is gone.

I shall throw myself into sewer mode to get over the loss…Which O.L.D. doll will be next? Whoever shouts the loudest, that’s who!

Until then!




Before the Parade Passes By…

Finally! The outpatient surgery that actually was!

paradeBecause I got home that very day that I went in. Excellent! And I wasn’t feeling bad at all. I went about my business, careful, yes, but quite delighted with myself. For it seemed I had finally cracked the code of surgery and recovery. Third time’s the charm.

Then the good hospital drugs wore off.

Oh. I see. NOT a super human! And I was reminded that in the past when I’ve gotten home from a surgery, it was after a near week of hospital bed rest with occasional very slow strolls down halls.

It was then I decided to do something I wouldn’t normally have time to do. Sit in bed and Sort Buttons and occasionally slowly stroll the halls of my own house. I’ll bet you can feel the excitement from there!

In the meantime, my new friend Lois S., who has adopted two of our girls so far sent me pictures of those two girls – Sunny Joy and Faith – with the perfect segue settings for me to introduce Betty Bell’s adoption page!

First, the photos:


The first is with just Faith herself. Love those charming old flags and the blue sponge ware dishes! In the second photo, little Sunny joins in. I was surprised to see Sunny in her green outfit, the one I’d abandoned, but Lois likes it!

I’d forgotten that in an effort to salvage the all-green outfit, I’d made this second hat with a contrasting brim and orange silk ribbon flower. If I’d remembered – and I didn’t, until I got ready to pack Sunny’s things and send her off – I may not have made the second outfit, because I thought she looked cute too.

And now, joining in the parade, Betty Bell!











It’s uncanny. She fits right in! As promised, she was put up for adoption on Sunday. You can view her page HERE.

As we here in Reliance get soaked to the bone with rains and thunder and pick up branches and fallen trees, take a gander! And have a most excellent day.


All Dressed Up & Hyper-Redux

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABetty Bell is READY TO GO. And she will go! Starting Sunday…

I wonder, if I put up a link of her scheduled page, where would it take you…? To some bizarro world, where nothing is real?

Better not, then.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANotice the trim on her dress. Who happens to have vintage trim with the letter “B” on it? Me, that’s who! I just had that little snippet, but could think of no better way to use it than on someone whose initials are “BB”.

I’ve also added a little pom-pom to the tip of her hat. When she saw the photo of herself next to Dot, she noticed that Dot’s bow made her a *little bit taller*. Now, Betty’s King of the Mountain!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe turned out really cute. I’m glad I get to enjoy her for a little while longer.

In the meantime, I’m a hypertufa-ing, window-washing FOOL. Today’s my last day! Because who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I know there’s going to be SOME kind of operation in there…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve filled in the rest of that section. The repairs are different colors, because, um…Perhaps SOMEBODY didn’t always measure things the same way when mixing!

Or perhaps they didn’t always mix as well as they should!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo matter! I’m going to paint over everything with “Portland Cement Water”…That I shall mix myself.

*Oh dear.*

Well, it’ll be better than what it was!

This corner pillar at the top of my steps was really bad. I didn’t get a “before” photo, darn the luck, but if you look closely, you can see some of the crumbles yet to be swept a few steps down. It looks SO much better than before. You can also see lighter gray areas where I’ve already painted some smaller cracks with my special “Portland Cement Water.”

Of course, the steps themselves need to be repaired too…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s my house this rather blustery morning. Bit by bit!

The final priming and painting will have to wait until after my operation. Hope it’s an outpatient soiree this time around!

However! If I should die before I wake, my love to you all!

And have a happy weekend!

I give and give and give…



My beady eyes peered into the sunlight. “So, this is what the outside looks like!” I cackled in a creaky, low voice.

I confess, that last week I had a teeny, tiny meltdown. Spring! Ah, SPRING. The ONLY time of year I want to be outside! And this year spring in Rolfe is especially glorious. The temps are perfect, a little warm if you’re toiling, but then in true Camelot fashion, it cools down at night.


So I balked at staying indoors and sewing – even though my brothers had urged me to find minions, so I have no one to blame but myself – and I went outside.

Heaven knows I love my old house, but the thing is falling apart! Especially the stucco. Witness the lower right-hand side of the photo:


And closer:


The part surrounding that round thing has been missing for a long time. If you look closely below, you can see the slab from the part of the left that just fell that I witnessed.

Time to hypertufa! I retrieved my wheelbarrow from the garage so that I could use it as a giant mixing bowl. I discovered that it had standing water in it, most likely from recent rains.


I suspect my garage roof may have a hidden leak somewhere.


I also suspect it might be leaning ever-so-slightly.


No matter! Time for my wheelbarrow to become a stand. Fortunately (thanks, Mom!) I had an freshly emptied bin to use as a mixing bowl instead. Here’s the peat moss, perlite and Portland cement, pre-mixing:




Of course, this is just the beginning. And it took less than twenty minutes of poking and smashing and molding! Pretty close, huh?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need to do the rest and there are several other stucco spots on my house that need tending, and then of course there’s the priming and painting…but it works! The hypertufa works! A repair I can do myself! CHEAP. That’s my favorite kind!

Plus, I get to keep my sanity, so there’s that. Therefore, Betty Bell is still doing well, but she’s going to have to learn even more patience! She will be going up for adoption on Sunday, June 15. And I get to keep my sanity! Because a mind is a terrible thing to lose.

In the meantime, Clementine will definitely be adopted! You can view her progress HERE.

Happy Monday!

A Simple Twist of Fate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I’ve learned over the course of my life is this: Things always work out the way they are supposed to.

Take for instance, Clementine.

Through a series of events beyond anyone’s control, her adoption wasn’t ever OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcompleted. She waited patiently on pins and needles, hoping against hope that Today would be The Day, but alas! It did not happen. So it must not have been meant to be.

And therefore! Little Clementine is available once again. You can find her new page HERE.

If you were thinking of adopting her and missed out on your chance, now you have another!

And Clementine has grown all the more sweeter and more patient from this experience.

Happy Friday!


Betty Bell is Doing Well


The flag is from a year or two ago from my garden, so a little worse for wear. But I washed it, and look! Now it looks as if it’s waving in the breeze!

…And, as promised, she’s taller! See? See what we did there? A pointy hat! I LOVE pointy hats!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe’s very proud of her new height. We call her outfit, “Vintage Patriotic,” and this is the perfect time of year for it.

If you look closely, you’ll see jingle bells attached to the tassels of her hat. Of course, it was planned! She’s Betty Bell!

I tell you, this outfit is full of hidden meaning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile she’s almost ready for adoption now, her wig needs tweaking and to be attached and a few other touches here and there, we’re going to wait for Sunday and put her up then. Patience is a virtue!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMayor Julie’s going to take over photographic duties.

In the meantime, Betty is happy that she is now taller than Dot…

Let the battle begin!

And Happy Wednesday! You’re my Favorite!

The Pond

There are more fish in the ocean than ever came out of it.

pondOh, I hope so. Because it’s been almost eight years since I left my broccoli un-loving husband. And I’m ready to jump into the water again. ‘Cept, I’m land-locked! And a very sparsely populated land it is, too!

And in that sparse land, I spend most my time indoors, shut into my sewing room! Amongst dolls, that yes, talk to me, but…well. It’s not quite the same.

Shockingly, no one’s just randomly coming to my door. Well, there was a person or two, carrying bouquets of corn and gifts of canned goods. So sweet! But they weren’t quite right for me. I have long since decided to never, ever be a bit player in the romance part of my life again.

pond2There have been one or two times that I’ve been interested in someone, and in my mind I knew something would come of it and it was just a matter of time. I was quite positive they feel the same way and we were dancing the same dance and simply taking our time.

I happily went about my business, content in the knowledge that love was just around the corner. Only to discover it was all in my mind as they waltzed off with someone else!


I haven’t been on so much as a date.  Iowa is not a sea. It’s more like a pond. A pond with very few fish to choose from, and a lot of them are hidden by algae disguised as corn.

pond5In the years that I’ve been here, single friends and acquaintances have come along and been snatched up by fishermen that I didn’t even know were there. How did they do that? I asked them, mystified. A website, they responded. I learned about this website two years ago and have now finally, finally decided that…it’s time.

Our Time.

pond6Bet you were expecting Match.com. Nope! “Our Time” is a website for 50+ year olds. It’s a strange thing, being single this time around vs. when I was 28. “Do you want kids?” and “How many?” has been replaced with cries of “I look young for my age!” and “I still have all my teeth!”

It’s no cheap thing to join this site and right now I am a starving artist. I couldn’t afford the less expensive six month bargain, so I plunked down my money for one month. A month in which I’ll be having a surgery, so I’ll be out of commission for a portion of it. But I’ll still be able to write!

pond4Which is a good thing. I am not going to be getting my feet wet until I’m ready. Slower than Austen slow, that’s me. And this time he will know exactly what he’s getting. And he will love it.

If I can find him.

Most likely, nothing will come of it and I will never mention that I was looking ever again. But if it does, you’ll be the second to know.

Happy Monday!