October, 2014

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Annie, Annie, Annie! Oy! Oy! Oy!

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O.L.D. No. 20 has had a slight delay in production. I tend to get carried away with the outfits I make, and this girl is no exception. Therefore, there’s a gap between No. 19, Piper and No. 20, whose name happens to be Annie.

Sometimes a doll’s outfit is influenced by her name and Annie is no exception. But, which one? I can think of several famous Annie’s. Is it one of these three?



The era’s about right for composition dolls: the 1930’s.


In one of my favorite movies, “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie finally gets his Orphan Annie decoder ring and the eagerly awaited secret message is, “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.” ‘member that?

Annie7This girl is an orphan! I’m partial to orphans, since most of my dolls happen to be orphans too.

Little Orphan Annie is a popular enough character to have made it both onto the stage and film, let alone comic strips and radio. That might make her more appealing to the adopting public out there.

And her clothing! She has that cute red dress, as well as other charming clothes that are a mix of prints. It’s no secret that I love clothes of that decade. Maybe it’s Little Orphan Annie!




The role of Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” helped propel Ethel Merman’s career and contained the song, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Ethel’s signature song.

Could it be Annie Oakley? Not the usual kind of style I work with. Attractive in a masculine sort of way, and a fascinating woman to boot (see what I did there? Boots? Cowgirls? Comedy GOLD!).

And she’s a real person! Also portrayed on stage and on film. Maybe it’s Annie Oakley!

And lastly, well, we ALL know I’m partial to THIS particular character…



Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s “Misery”!

Annie2Annie3aShe, um, has a unique style all her own. Why, I’ve always been partial to jumpers!

And she could come with LOTS of accessories! Let’s see, a knife, a sledge hammer, some matches, lighter fluid, a heavy old typewriter…

Or maybe it’s none of these! Time will tell. Our Annie goes up for adoption on Sunday November 2nd at 6:33 Iowa (Central) time.

In the meantime, you’re my favorite!


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skates2You know how it is. There’s something you desperately need to find. You know you have it, it must be somewhere

I confess, the time between dolls – when one is just finished and put up for adoption and the next O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) is standing there in need of clothing and looking at me with those large (usually) tin eyes – is a time that I absolutely dread. What if we can’t come up with anything that will do?

mayorEnter The Mayor of our fair city, aka my sister, Julie: “Skater!” she said in her squeaky voice, waving her tiny fists. PERFECT. In fact, I even had a pair of doll skates, just waiting for the right girl! They were around here somewhere…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReader, I searched and searched. I found one, but heaven help me if I could find the other. I knew it had come off the shoe it was attached to, but no problem, I wanted to make my own shoes anyway. I TORE THIS PLACE APART. TWICE. THREE TIMES. I would wake up in the mornings with a start, “Maybe it’s ______!” only to search and search again fruitlessly. There’s nothing quite so frustrating as seeking something you absolutely must have and not being able to find it.

So, what to do? I had some doll-sized tennis rackets, maybe she could be a snow-shoe wearer instead. Nope! That wouldn’t be right. I decided to make my own skates. I thought of several options and finally came up with…clothespins! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. “Old English” aged them nicely.

Now, she won’t be doing twirls and jumps and sudden stops in these anytime soon, not if she wants them to stay in one piece, but by golly, I got my Skater that Julie (aka The Mayor) so helpfully suggested.

Meet Piper, the official O.L.D. No. 19. You can see her adoption page HERE. She’s my favorite to date! Kind of old fashioned looking, isn’t she?


Actually, Piper has several different looks. I got a little carried away with her as I thought and thought about where that other skate might be…

Her main look in the cream wool coat and hat are sort of a departure for me. I looked at vintage skating images from the 30s but couldn’t find what I had in mind. Enter Victorian post cards. Here are my inspirations:



This illustration inspired the striped socks.


I love, love, love Piper. Of course, I love ALL my girls. And honestly, if I could spend forever on each one, making thing after thing and accessory after accessory, I would.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPiper’s skirt is made from the same fabric as Savannah’s dress. Her muff is real fur. Mink, I think, and I braided the cord it hangs from. Her sweater has embroidered silk flowers on it. Sometimes I find myself wondering what a grown woman is doing working on these dolls all day. And then I get nice emails like the following:

“Your creations are awesome. had to let you know that you’re the first seller i followed. I’ll be watching for your “new” O.L.D.s.”  –Amy

“Love it!”

“Now I know what your work is & I love it! I missed the Angel aviator (last one) & read your blog & am thrilled to have found such a great artist! The OLD, Once Loved Dolls are the BEST thing I’ve seen for a long time! GREAT WORK, GOOD JOB, BRAVO!” Doll Hugs, Sue Ann

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese kind comments make me feel less silly and thank goodness for them!

Speaking of Angel, she will be joining her fellow flyer Bonnie. Together again with Michelle E. in Colorado! It will be interesting to see how this plays out…Thank you, Michelle!

I *think* I know what the next O.L.D. will be wearing. I’m already behind! That lawn wasn’t going to mow itself! And if I could invent self-raking leaves, I’d be RICH. But with these O.L.D.s, all I can do is my best. Plus, for THIS girl, I know where everything is!


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

Orange You Glad…?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, this isn’t even Angel’s – aka O.L.D. No. 18 – main outfit. But let me tell you about that dreadful, awful, horrible orange fabric that I used for that large bow on her hat. It comes from an antique piano scarf that I have very little left of, but that I absolutely adore.

When I look at it, I think about Hagrid from Harry Potter and the Goblet of orangehagridFire, when he dressed up to impress that giantess. Turns out, I was mistaken: it was a BROWN hairy suit with a large orange flower, not the other way around. No matter, I love it still.

orangesofaIt’s the same fabric that I used to make the humpback sofa for The Little’s dollhouse. Because what dollhouse doesn’t need a hairy orange sofa?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo when I decided that Angel needed some zesting up, I decided to use some of this preciously awful fabric that I love on her. That means that when Angel flies the coop, she’ll take a little bit larger of a piece of my heart with her than most.

Speaking of flying (as in the coop), some of you may recall that Angel is a Doppelganger for Bonnie. Of course, I’ve had many doppelgangers before: Why even O.L.D. No. 1, Carol Jane and O.L.D. No. 7 Harriet (who is herself a doppelganger for Hazel) were from the same mold!

However! These particular  doppelgangers arrived one after the other. AND! Guess who else flies besides Bonnies? ANGELS, that’s who! I took it as a sign. So without further ado, here is Angel in her “main” outfit.


Angel’s clothes are identical to Bonnie’s, ‘cept in a different color scheme more suited to her brown tin eyes. All except for her non-aviator hat. Angel’s hat sports a deliciously hideous bow. You can see Angel’s adoption page HERE.

Bonnie is flying as we speak to…Colorado! Michelle E. has struck again! THANK YOU, MICHELLE!

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

Bonnie LIES.

The most recent O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) is up for adoption! Her name is Bonnie, she’s number 17, and you can see her page HERE. Below is the start of my description of her on ebay:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Bonnie flies over the ocean

My Bonnie flies over the sea

My Bonnie flies over the ocean

Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me…

Now, do you see my mistake? When this unmarked 13” Patsy/Sally-type composition doll with blue tin eyes arrived at my doorstep, she was naked and bald (as is frequently the case).

When we searched through my stash for a suitable wig, the one we found made her look like Amelia Earhart. When I found out her name was Bonnie, and I remembered that old song, a flying outfit seemed just the thing!

I was already halfway through making her clothing when I realized my mistake: it’s Bonnie “LIES” over the ocean, not, “FLIES”! Whoops.

True Story! No matter, we were already well on our way and having so much fun that we kept on going.

Poor Bonnie was all in pieces and her facial feature paint was worn.


Still worn, but a lot happier! What I love about what I get to do (besides “Phantom,” which I’m still watching) is that I get to try new things. With the previous doll it was hoop skirts. For Bonnie, there were a lot of new things! Jodhpurs, an aviator hat, goggles…THAT is what takes time: figuring out how each thing is to be done. The goggles alone took me an entire morning and I’m still not 100% happy with them. A little more tweaking is needed!


Bonnie’s jodhpurs. Surprisingly easy!


Can you see the plane? It was a little dark when I took this. A clothespin and some popsicle sticks and paint, and you’re good to go.

I also decided that I had to include a plane in her ensemble. Since my little boy is grown and I can’t just run out to the store and get one (this being the boonies and all), what to do?

Pinterest to the rescue! >>

Can you see the plane? It was a little dark when I took this. A clothespin and some popsicle sticks and paint, and you’re good to go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, GUESS WHAT? No sooner was Bonnie ready, then the next O.L.D. walked through the door! Can you say “doppelganger”? This girl and Bonnie are identical – well, they came from the same factory, most like. ‘Cept the new girl (whose name I don’t yet know) has brown tin eyes instead of blue. And with those eyes, she saw Bonnie’s outfit and for the first time ever I’m going to make the same set of clothes for her! Not the exact same, mind you…

This morning we say a fond farewell to Kristi, O.L.D. No 16 and the last of the Halloween series for this year as she heads off to…wait for it…Colorado and the home of Michelle E. That’s seven for her! I’m beginning to think she’s amassing some sort of unusually dressed army over there in the Rockies…thank you, Michelle!

Happy Tuesday! You’re my favorite.

Walnut Waltz

walnutreeIt happens every Autumn: the black walnut trees so fortuitously planted in front of my house will drop their fruit, day and night. The fruit will fall all by their lonesome, or assisted by some very crafty and very particular squirrels. Why two squirrels feel the need to fight over one nut, I’ll never know. There are hundreds of these tasty gems, nay thousands to choose from.


..or fireworks. Or walnuts popping, apparently.

Last night I found my little dog Teddy hiding between the staircase and the entryway window seat, cowering. I can only imagine that he must have thought the loud explosions that occasionally rock our house (and all the houses close by) must have been fireworks, or thunder, or…walnuts popping beneath the tires of a passing car. Pop! Pop-pop-pop!

I cannot blame him. The sound seems especially loud this year. I even had a neighbor ask me if I thought the walnuts might hurt car tires. “Nope!” I confidently replied.

I mean, I’m pretty sure they don’t. It’s not like I’m a walnut expert, or anything. One thing I am sure of: I bet those squirrels give each other high fives every time a nut is cracked. Free walnut meat! Less work for them…


I bet they sit up there and time the dropping of the nut, just waiting for a car to come by!

My home is currently the scourge of the neighborhood. Everyone else’s sidewalks are pristine cement. Mine are littered with the carcasses of walnut shells, dropped by careless squirrels in their rush to get ready for winter. The first year or two or three living here, I would rush out at the sight of the first shell, and sweep and sweep and sweep, only to come out seemingly fleeting moments later, and the sidewalk would be completely littered again. Those squirrels are fast.



But far worse than those bits and pieces are the walnuts that fall whole. They are large things, about the size of a billiard ball. Mother nature has cleverly designed them to fall at the same time as the leaves from the same tree. So you have these hard little balls wrapped in somewhat slimy, slippery covers buried beneath pretty little leaves. I pray for our mail carrier every day not to roll their ankle! You have to watch every step you take and dither and dance and waltz your way across my lawn.

Not to mention what it does to my mower. It’s amazing that I have any windows left unbroken once that mower spins them in and flips them out, I tell you…Flip! Zing! THWACK!

walnuthandsIt’s easy to see where black walnut stain comes from. Get this stuff on your fingers, and it takes days and even WEEKS, to come off!

Still, I’m grateful for the shade, and I would never, ever consider getting rid of them. Ever. I hope they live for years to come. I hope they outlive me. And know this, fellow Rolfians: every time you snap, crackle and pop by my house, I smile.

Also,  FREE WALNUTS!! FREE WALNUTS ON PINE STREET!! All’s you have to do is pluck them from the ground. All the while avoiding angry squirrels, of course…