September, 2014

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Harlequin Romance

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Masquerade2I will be the first to admit: when I like something, I really, really like it. To the point of obsession. Past it, even! My latest obsession is “The Phantom of the Opera.” I’ve got it on the brain!

Masquerade1masqueradeOne of the big production musical numbers is “Masquerade,” and all the cast is in costumes of black and cream. I love it! A feast for the eyes! I knew that I wanted to do one of my own for our next O.L.D.

I was inspired by one dress in particular. I didn’t want to duplicate it, I only wanted to use if for my muse. I sensed pompoms in my future. And Napoleon.

masqI drew a sketch of what I wanted my dress to look like:

ENTER KRISTI, who thankfully had a waist, which this kind of costume would need. Many of my girls don’t! They have more of a toddler build. Lucky for me, Kristi liked the idea of the dress. I modified the design a little as I went. Here she is!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe giant flower she holds is a nod to a doll I’d done long ago in the same color scheme. He was a little Nippon china doll and I loved his impish expression. I wanted Kristi to have a pop of color too.

I made a hoop skirt for her. My first!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made aaalll those little pompoms, since I wanted them to be natural materials (I used wool yarn) rather than the pre-made polyester, and I wanted to control the size of them. All part of the obsession. And all done whilst watching “Phantom.”


Here’s her “Before.” Her wig lightened several shades after it was washed. Ick! Yes, it slightly creeps me out too, to wash a human hair wig that contains years and years of dirt. It’s all for love…

Kristi is an Effanbee doll named Suzanne. She sports her original human hair wig that I carefully washed, in addition to repainting her lips that had been done with fingernail polish and, as constantly happens, wiped off with remover, which also removes the skin tone around it as well.


Kristi’s predecessor.

You can see Kristi’s adoption page HERE. She is O.L.D. No. Sweet 16 and she is THIRD in the Halloween series!

Her trick or treat pumpkin contains tootsie rolls, because they are the closest thing to black and white candy that I could think of that would fit into a trick or treat pumpkin of diminutive size.

O.L.D. number 15, Rory, for some reason never took off. If she had to go for a song (which she DID), then I’m glad she went to the Mother of All Adopters, our friend Michelle E. in Colorado. Good heavens, I wonder if she gets any sleep. Must be like a slumber party over there! Thank you, Michelle!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd thank you also, Andrew Lloyd Webber! And whoever cast Gerard Butler in the role of the phantom. ‘Tis no hardship to sit in that room and sew, I tell you…

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


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Ride A Painted Pony

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPoor Rory. Here she is, arriving at the Hideaway after having been dormant and asleep for so long, and what do we do? We put her back to sleep again! This time it’s just make believe, thank goodness. Rory is the 2nd in the Halloween series, and she is Sleeping Beauty.


Rory is a somewhat rare Knickerbocker composition doll. Their most famous doll was Snow White. I can only guess that maybe Rory was originally….SLEEPING BEAUTY. Turns out, you CAN go “home” again!

She arrived filthy with her skinny braids hanging on by a few strands of mohair. I tried to save her wig, truly I did! But what I ended up with was an unfortunate mess of miss-matched colors that even I could not accept. So I found a “new” human hair wig for her in my stash.

At one point in her life, Rory was broken completely in half. Someone lovingly glued her back together and she remains sturdy after all these years.


You can see the glued crack. It goes all the way around the front of her, too.

I’ll tell you a secret: originally, Rory was going to be dressed up as Rapunzel. I had braided together three thick, long strands of mohair with silk ribbons and sewn it directly into her hat. The braid trailed all the way past her toes!

However! I’m all about the “stupor of thought” thing. If you try and try and something’s just not working out, it’s time to try a different direction. I couldn’t decide what to do with her “regular” hair when she had her Halloween costume on. Hide it? But it was so pretty! Plus, what to put in her goody bag? Enter Sleeping Beauty. Suddenly, everything became clear! The stupor was gone. I plucked that mohair braid out of her hat and never looked back.

Brief refresher: Sleeping Beauty is a princess. When she was born, the king and queen gave her a lavish christening and they invited all the fairies in the land. All except ONE. The snubbed fairy cursed the new baby that she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. A good fairy changed the curse so that Sleeping Beauty would only sleep for a hundred years…


Rory’s goody bag is reversible. This is the side not shown on her adoption page. Look at that sewing kit! Complete with NEEDLE, of course! Isn’t it cute?


Here’s the lace from Rory’s pantaloons. Do you see what I see? SPINNING WHEELS! Kinda. I like little things like that…

Into her goody bag I put…wait for it…CHOCOLATE KISSES!!! Because the prince wakes her with a kiss! RORY is SMART and HELD OUT FOR FIVE! I also gave her a tiny sewing kit and it was a pang to give it to her because it was intended to go into a dollhouse sewing room. But she looked up at me with those liquid tin eyes and I had to give in.

Rory has a pointy hat! Apparently, I can only go so long without doing one.











And now sweet Rory is ready and up for adoption. You can see her page HERE.


Rory in her more casual, “Skipping through the woods” outfit.

In the meantime, Patty was adopted by…..Michelle E. of Colorado! Her mother’s name happened to be “Patty” too and they even resembled each other a little bit. It was meant to be! That’s O.L.D. number FIVE for Michelle! Thank you!

Meanwhile, Lois, another O.L.D. multiple adopter dropped by our little town of Rolfe for a visit. An excellent time was had by all. There was even a round of golf at the Rolfe Golf course! And a bonfire and cheesecake. But there wasn’t a visit to the sewing room! HAH! It was lovely to meet the very friendly Lois and her excellent husband Warren. The FIRST visitors to the Hideaway!

And with that, I close. Happy Tuesday! You’re my favorite.

PATTY, Queen of the EGGPLANT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeet Patty! Doll No. 14 in the Hazel Twigg series and KISMET to boot! Lately I’ve had a vegetable fairy in my life who brings me lovely produce from her garden (my thumb is black). Her name is Patty, and she recently brought me several eggplants. She doesn’t eat them herself, she simply grows them because they are beautiful…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThus begins my description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 14, Patty. Now, I love Iowa and Iowans as much as the next person. MORE. But one thing I’ve noticed is that Iowans are Very Practical People. That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate beauty, and simple pleasures for pleasure’s sake, but practicality seems to be their driving force.

So when this local fairy whose last name rhymes with Trenary presented me with yet another batch of gorgeous produce that included eggplants grown simply for the pleasure of gazing upon them, and when this poor little lost girl arrived on my doorstep, and her name happened to be Patty too, I had to pay homage.


Here’s Patty’s tag. You can read it right through that darn material!

I picked out the only fabric I had on hand in that particular eggplant shade for her dress. The fiddliest fabric imaginable! So sheer, somewhat fragile, and very vintage. When I saw it at “*Crazy Lady’s Store,” I had to have it, although I couldn’t imagine where I’d ever use it. THIS is why you follow your instincts and grab things when they call out to you!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt took three layers of this sheer fabric keep O.L.D. Patty decent. But it set off her brown eyes to perfection and I’ve completed her outfit with my sanity fairly intact.


You can see Patty’s adoption page HERE.

Speaking of eggplant, here’s a recipe that Julie, aka The Mayor, swears by:Back

Yves Saint Laurent- The Retrospective curated by Florence Muller,Pierre BergeEggplant, Easy, Good & Tasty from allrecipes:

1 tablespoon olive oil                  1 cup dry bread crumbs

1/3 large eggplant                       1 tomato, chopped

1 egg                                         1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon water                     1/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet or pizza pan with olive oil.
  2. Slice the eggplant into 8 round slices, each 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Trim the skin, maintaining the round shape of the slices. In a small bowl, whip together the egg and water. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate small bowl.
  3. Dip the eggplant slices one at a time into the egg and water mixture, then into the breadcrumbs. One by one, place the coated slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet or pizza pan. Top the slices with equal amounts of tomato, Parmesan cheese and Italian-style salad dressing.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 15 minutes. Change oven setting to broil, and continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes. Check the slices frequently while broiling to avoid burning.

YUM. Of course, if local Patty sees this and likes it, I may never receive an eggplant again…THANK YOU, PATTY! One of the many wonderful fairies that seem to reside right here in our little town.

Cassandra was adopted by the once again LOVELY Michelle E. of Colorado. Corner on the market! Michelle is now the mother of FOUR O.L.D.s. And speaking of adopters, the First Pilgrimage to the Hideaway is afoot! The ALSO LOVELY Lois S. of New Hampshire, second only to Michelle in number of adoptions at three, will be coming to visit Rolfe this weekend on her way to Colorado. Coincidence? I think not!

Lois wants to see my sewing room. Heh. Even the voices in my head are chuckling at that one…

Happy Monday! You’re my favorite!

*Said with complete affection.

Lost & FOUND


The sudden, plaintive cries startled me awake as I dozed over the cleaning of the next O.L.D., Cassandra. The previous three would be a hard act to follow, seeing as how Shirley, Bridget and Lauren were all “name brand” dolls – and all, incidentally, adopted by the lovely Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut Cassandra, an unmarked, unfamous, un-name brand little girl was willing to give it a try. So we started our work, giving her a very good cleaning, which she desperately needed.


There it was again!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my sewing room there is a tall, glass-fronted cabinet, purchased on layaway from an antique store in Algona, Iowa. I love that thing! It is where *most* of my cotton fabrics for dresses reside. Okay, HALF. The bleating sounds sounded as if they were coming from there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABelow the cottons in the lower cupboards are where my felts and faux furs are kept. Cassandra eagerly jumped off my lap and struggled to open the door, which was stuck swollen shut with our recent copious amounts of rain.

She stood back and I helpfully opened the door for her.


The cry was less plaintive and frantic this time. In fact, it sounded…joyful.

Cab3aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“There!” Cassandra hollered. “Right there! Do you see?”

Reader, I did not. Do you?

She was pointing to some fur at the very bottom of the pile. Long ago I’d gone through a teddy bear making stage, and this light colored fur was a remnant of that period in my life. Bears! Bears for everyone!

One of the first bears I made was for my grandmother. “What a nice monkey!” she exclaimed. I’m happy to say I got better at it as I practiced.

But the sounds we had heard were clearly not from some old remnant of fur. There wasn’t even a mouth, so how on earth…?


With her mask, added as a nod to Halloween, Cassandra is like the super hero of Sheep Rescuers.

“My sheep! My sheep!” Now it was Cassandra’s turn to plaintively cry. “He is in there, I’m sure! We just have to find him!”

Well, there’s only one person I for sure know is a rescuer of lost sheep. Enter Cassandra, which it turns out is the real name of, you guessed it, Little Bo Peep.

Bo Peep1I did a little research and found inspiration in this old illustration for Cassandra’s costume.

Once we finished cleaning and re-stringing and then making her true outfit for her, complete with hip bolsters, a petticoat, bloomers and a straw hat made from an antique, human size one, we were ready to find Cassandra’s sheep. It turns out, he was there all along. He simply needed to be cut out, sewn, and firmly stuffed with cotton balls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I’m happy to say, he hasn’t made a peep since.

Good luck, Cassandra! Lucky No. O.L.D. 13! She is the FIRST in the Halloween series (hence the mask), and possibly the last. Unless I start hearing those voices out of nowhere again, that is.

You can see Cassandra’s adoption page HERE.







Happy Mond – er, TUESDAY! You’re my favorite!