July, 2014

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The JOY of Frittering

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frit·ter [frit-er] VERB 1. to squander or disperse.

chittyperf1There’s an old wives tale, or perhaps it’s a folk story, of acquaintances cleaning out a recently deceased woman’s home. On her dressing table were pretty bottles of perfume, filled to the brim. In her kitchen, collecting dust there was an old unpopped bottle of champagne and in her closet there were several pretty dresses with the tags still on. I don’t recall all the details, but the moral of the tale is: Don’t wait for a special occasion to use your precious things. The special occasion is the Here and the Now.

For some reason, this story really stuck with me.

I find myself struggling with that concept daily. When I work on sewing for dolls, I am frequently working with vintage fabrics. Sometimes the pieces I find have just enough for a single dress or coat.

Or, ooh! Look at these nifty buttons! What a miracle that I have four of them! FOUR!! And I look at the little girl who is next and think, “She’s nice, but I should save this fabric (or those buttons) for someone more worthy.” It’s my natural instinct.

It will be a nightmare enough when I die. I certainly don’t want people going through my things, finding really cool fabrics and trims that I never got around to using, waiting for that perfect worthy doll.

So I use! I FRITTER! And I do it with JOY.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake this dress that I made for Savannah. It is a mild example of what I mean, but it fits nonetheless. I based her dress on an original from the same model of doll in a smaller size and I used this very vintage green fabric that I have less than a yard of and these cute red buttons.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHer coat was made from the lining of a “London Fog” coat given to me by a friend for just such a purpose. The slithering interior sleeves were used as lining. You can’t see it in this photo, but her coat has a pretty trim encircling it which also matches the trim on her muff. The trim was a recent find from the place I affectionately call “The Crazy Lady’s Store.” I love that place! There was less than a yard and *Poof* now there are only inches of it left!

But I’ve learned that the most important doll is the one that I’m working on right that moment and no matter what their state, they are all worthy.

And in life the most important occasion is the very day that you’re in.

You can see Savannah’s adoption page HERE. I need to hire an efficiency expert to see what takes me so long, because she’s not quite finished. I have her onesie to make and more photos to take.














If I were really really good, I would have also used the cute Santa pin from the original dress and added it to my own creation. I used a sweet old Red Cross pin given to me by the Mayor of Rolfe instead.














I love that Santa pin. Clearly I haven’t mastered the concept completely yet. Room to grow!

Happy Monday!

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Oh, Savannah! Oh Don’t You Cry For Me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m pretty sure those are the lyrics.

O.L.D. No. 9 is proving to be even more of a challenge than first thought. But when I saw her eyebrows, I had to move her to the front of the line! They’re straight. STRAIGHT. I adore them!

I can only imagine one artist at the factory, sitting side by side with his co-workers painting little doll faces.

All of other artists have no trouble at all painting nice, curved brows. But not him! He can only paint straight lines, and the other workers make fun of him! There’s a story in that. If I were to write it, I would call it…wait for it….“Trouble With the Curve.”

Har! These are the jokes, folks! Can you tell I’ve been in my sewing room a lot recently?

Ahem. Back to Savannah. Besides needing the usual cleaning, wig washing, teeth straightening and re-stringing, it was obvious that her wrist was fairly damaged. No problem!


Then I took off her wig. Problem! Perhaps at a past birthday party they played, “Heavy, heavy hang” game with the birthday presents. Anyone else play that besides my family? Where you hold the present over the birthday girl or boy’s head and chant,

Heavy, heavy hang over thy poor head

What do you wish with a *bump!* on the head?

And then you bonk the recipient on the head with a gift? Anybody? Anyway, perhaps Savannah’s previous humans played it once too often. She’s had a lot of birthday’s, after all. The top of Savannah’s head was as thin as an eggshell and in danger of breaking through altogether!

It needed to be repaired. Not only so that her head would be nice and round, but also so that there would be something to glue her newly-cleaned wig to.


Because it’s going under her wig, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just stable.

Then I removed her shoes. Oh, dear.


I don’t know what kind of glue they used on her right foot, but it doesn’t take paint. Then, when I washed her wig it pert near fell apart and had to be re-sewn with new netting added to the base!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHer hair’s still messy but her wig is stitched back together and re-attached to her newly strengthened head and she feels so much better now that she’s cleaned and restrung. While I might tweak her a little bit more, she’s now nice and sturdy and ready to be loved once again.

As soon as I finish her clothing. It will happen.

In the meantime, Happy Friday!

Trouble With the Curve!! Comedy GOLD!!!


HHOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter having temporarily disappeared from the face of the earth (I was on a secret mission and could focus on nothing else), I now realize that I have left some business undone.

As you may recall, Harriet Peabody was O.L.D. lucky No. 7, who uncannily resembled Hazel herself!

Her adoption date was July 9, and when such an important event occurs, I write about that adoption here.

So! Who adopted Harriet? In a roundabout way, you might say that HAZEL herself adopted Harriet!

Let me start at the beginning…hazelscrollgal“You can find anything on the internet!” people will say. And it’s true. Mostly. But there are times you can’t quite find *exactly* what you’re looking for.

When we decided what we wanted for our logo, Hazel Twigg looking at her pendant, I as usual got to work on a sketch to send to Nina.

Hazel Logo HTO1alogocropEasier said than done. Drawing a picture of a girl looking down is not easy!

Ah, well! We sent my sketch to Nina. Here’s her attempt>>>>

Hazel looked very pretty, but it wasn’t quite what we had in mind. Hazel wasn’t looking down as much as we wanted and she didn’t appear to be looking at her pendant at all.

So our Nina made a second attempt, as well as coming up with a different option:


Nice! But, nope! Still not quite right. How to convey what we wanted, given the distance between us and the Ukraine (where Nina lives. We’re thinking of you Nina & Genn!) and the language barrier?

I scoured Google Images for “girl looking downward.” There weren’t as many choices as you’d think, and the ones they had still weren’t right.

1aaHT_06_Logo_03-1Enter Sophie, my niece. As you can see, she’s a colorful, quirky girl in her own right, and just the right age. My brother took her out onto his patio right after our meeting and took a picture.

So it was Sophie who inspired Nina who got our logo just right. You can see the resemblance.

It’s funny, when I was sewing for Harriet, especially when I was making her headbands with the large flowers, I found myself frequently thinking of Sophie.

When I saw that Harriet/Hazel was going to Sophie, everything clicked. That was EXACTLY where Harriet belonged.


Glad you found a good home, Harriet. And Sophie, may the spirit of tea parties last you all your days.1st

Never Fear, AUTUMN Is Here!


In this picture, Autumn is paying homage to Dot with a hair bow of her own.

Well, not really. Not the season, at least – not for another two months and two days. However! Autumn the next O.L.D. is here!

On a day in a summer that has been unusually mild and even a little chilly in the evenings, not to mention the first day of RAGBRAI, today happens to be a tad hot and moist here in Iowa.

RAGBRAI1What is RAGBRAI, you might ask? Well, here you go:

RAGBRAI is an acronym and registered trademark for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, which is a non-competitive bicycle ride organized by The Des Moines Register and going from west to east across the United States state of Iowa, that draws recreational riders from across the United States and many foreign countries.[1] Held beginning in 1973, RAGBRAI is the oldest and largest bike-touring event in the world.[2]

It’s gone through Rolfe once or twice and is kind of a big deal, almost like having the Olympics come to town, and it lasts a whole week. Lance Armstrong, love him or hate him, rides pert near every year! This year I happen to know a couple of people who are going part way. Good luck, people I know! You know who you are.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA But now! Back to cooler climes and cooler times! Autumn is a 21″ composition/cloth doll that I believe was made by the Perfect Doll Company, even though she is unmarked. Because, see? I’ve had her mold before and it’s one of my favorites. What a difference hair and eye color makes!


The girl on the left was here and gone long before the Hideaway came into play. I confess to having fond memories of her. So much so that I channeled her dress a little when making Autumn’s clothing.




Even with the time that’s passed, the sentiment behind the clothing and the dolls are the same.

Autumn’s day will be here before you know it. In the meantime, you can see her adoption page HERE.






And just like the season for which she’s named, she looks good coming and going. And then it’s Winter’s turn…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUntil then! Bikers gonna bike.


Doppelganger a Go-Go

O.L.D. number 7 is finally up for adoption! You can see her adoption page HERE.

I confess to having occasionally gone a trifle “Miss Hannigan,” the Carol Burnett character from the movie “Annie” this week. I wanted every detail to be perfect! But, curses! These girls are small.

carolburnLittle girls
Little girls
Everywhere I turn I can see them

Little girls
Little girls
Night and day

I eat, sleep and breathe them…

It was worth it! She turned out great. See what you think:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHarriet’s hooded cape is made of old and lovely green velvet. I taught myself to do ribbon work and embroidered the flowers on her cape in pure silk ribbon.

For the first time I made two dresses on purpose. Harriet looks just as pretty in the blue as the yellow! And each dress comes with a matching hair band.

Lastly – and this is where the Miss Hannigan came in, but only after I spilled half a bottle of glue PLUS a thing of glitter all over my desk – which also had paperwork on it!  Did you know a little glitter goes a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlong way? Well, it DOES. Also, glitter sticks to glue. Hope nobody was walking by my house when THAT happened!

All for this tiny, tiny hand-painted pendant for Harriet to wear around her neck, just as Hazel does in “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway.”

I did a little reverse painting on the glass and then drew the little fairy on a paper insert. Then I shamelessly cannibalized an old necklace for its chain because I wanted it to look old…”and important” (from the book).

All these fiddly, fiddly things! I can’t seem to help myself! It’s an illness, I tell you! I hope Harriet finds a good home. We’ll see!

Some women are dripping with diamonds
Some women are dripping with pearls
Lucky me! Lucky me!
Look at what I’m dripping with
Little girls

Read more: Annie – Little Girls Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Hairy-Chested Good Deed Doers

This post has been highly edited. As those of you who regularly read my blog might know, to me a fairy is anyone who does a good deed. However! Men don’t like to be called fairies, apparently. And the last thing I’d want is to make a Good Deed Doer mad, because I truly am grateful for said deed. So without further ado!

fairyiowaOne of the things I love best about Iowa is the weather extremes. From steaming hot to bitter cold to exceedingly windy to pelting ice storms to exceedingly windy to hail in summer to exceedingly windy to ear-splitting thunder…you get the idea.

For the last few years I confess to being a little bit disappointed. Timid winters that are cold, yes, but with very little snow! And where’s the rain been? And the lightning and thunder?

Of course, we still have the wind. There are no mountains in Iowa! We’ll ALWAYS have wind!


My Cairn terrier TEDDY. He turns eight today! Happy birthday, Teddy!

But lately it appears that Iowa is back. Thunder and lightning galore, and I love it! Teddy doesn’t, but I’ll protect him. The other morning we were having a glorious storm. It was dark as night and the rain was pouring down amongst the booms and flashes. I was of course in my sewing room working away, with Teddy at my feet (he’s hypo-allergenic and doesn’t shed, so is allowed in).

As I worked, I was thinking to myself that in a future book with Hazel Twigg there will be storms, and she would do the same thing I’d just done: run around the house and batten down the hatches.

Because I have learned from experience: when you see the rain, if it’s accompanied by our constant companion Iowa wind, you need to look out the window and see in which direction the rain is falling, and run to that part of the house and close those windows. I have lost I don’t know how many rolls of toilet paper due to sogginess from the rain blowing in. Sometimes you just can’t outrace Mother Nature!

fairyarrowSo I sewed and I watched the rain and soothed little Teddy (who is currently sporting a very unfortunate haircut), and finally the storm passed and all was quiet once more.

Then I heard, “Creeeee…”

My head lifted. I looked out the window in confusion. A stray bit of thunder?


Hmm. That sounded suspiciously like a tree. Better check. I looked out the window towards the west, since it was closest. Nothing. The north. Nothing. The east. Nothing. The south…

Ah. Gulp.

Not a tree, but a huge branch from one of the large black walnut trees in front of my house was laying on my front lawn. It was with a little bit of dread that I looked to make sure our friendly mail carrier wasn’t pinned underneath it, because it was about that time of day, and neither rain, nor hail, nor snow…

Phew! Luckily not. But what to do? This thing was massive, and I can’t lift anything over 10 lbs.! I called the first dude, aka my brother-in-law Scott, and asked him to help me think of something. Seeing nothing else for it, I went back up to my room to get back to sewing. Moments later, Scott came over. Something magical was afoot.

I wish I would have thought to grab my camera sooner, because I didn’t get a good “before.” This branch was massive, taking up my side lawn and wide front walkway and even touching the porch stairs. I’m lucky that the only casualty was my planter. I sense a hypertufa pot creation in my future.

However! Even though I wasn’t able to to snap pictures of the branch as it lay, I did manage to get photos of the good deed as it occurred! The Doer was disguised as a grumpy farmer with a heart of gold, and with his tractor he hoisted that massive branch as if by magic, and away it went!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s first dude Scott in the foreground. He did all the leg work.

Below is the debris left behind. It didn’t stay there long, the Good Deed Doer came back with a new attachment on his tractor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you look closely, you can see Teddy with his unfortunate haircut, bless his heart! He’s still cute, and a good sport. And a lot cooler than he was, so there’s that. Also note the broken planter. Now there’s just the one on the left. I sense two hypertufa pot creations in my future, for I must have symmetry!

Speaking of hypertufa, my repair is holding up well, even with all the storms we’ve had of late!

Besides having excellent weather for those that love extremes, Iowa is absolutely teeming with fairies! When the last of the debris had been magically whisked away, with barely a finger lifting on my part, I came back up the stairs to get back to work on Harriet’s costume. But first, as always, I checked my emails.

Did you know that fairies use the internet?! They do! They do!! Because there in my inbox, moments after the cracking of the tree, a fairy had seen what had happened and was about to send her minions!

Iowa is full of goodness, and I love it with all my heart.

So, thank you, good deed doers and fairies alike! Thank you Iowa! And thank you, Mother Nature. Soggy toilet paper and all. Happy Tuesday!