November, 2014

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The Trouble With Tribbles

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Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket.


Our Trixie, with faded features, exaggerated cupid’s bow lips, and no hair.

Oy!  What a week this past week was! It goes like this: you get an idea in your head, your muse whispers that It Can Be Done, and that’s it. You have to go for it and there’s no time to second guess yourself! So O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 22 is a bit, shall we say, unusual.

Her name is Trixie and she just so happens to be the same type of doll as the previous O.L.D. Kat: a 21″ Anne Shirley. This girl had no hair and her features were a bit faded, not unlike the Effie Trinket character in the latest “Hunger Games” movie, Mockingjay Part 1. Not only that, but you could tell Trixie had a rough life. Her fingers were broken in a most unfortunate position. Look if you dare!


Different day, different lighting. It all depends on the weather in my sophisticated studio. I spare no expense when it comes to photography!

I have since repaired them, the muse was whispering, so off we went. Trixie’s lips had also been repainted with fingernail polish, a fix I usually abhor. But this time, for this character, the exaggerated bow worked. I didn’t remove the paint, I filled it in.


Here is the Effie Trinket character in her glory days. I love the mix of eras: there’s Elizabethan, 80’s, 40’s you name it!

What to do for her hair? THIS is why I rarely throw anything away. Why else would I have kept the partial acrylic silver/gray wig intended for humans? I never thought I’d use it, but I kept it anyway, as has become my mantra: just in case. And THAT is where the title for this post comes from.






On December 29, 1967 an episode of Star Trek entitled “The Trouble With Tribbles” aired. In it, an innocuous life form, pretty much a fur ball, is brought aboard the Enterprise. The problem with this small life form is that it is born pregnant. Soon Tribbles were overtaking the entire space ship, getting into various systems and eating all the supplies.


In this picture, just one “Tribble” is showing.


A better view of both Tribbles.

The term “Tribble” entered my brain several times whilst working on Trixie. For her signature wig, I took some of this wig hair and wrapped it around two styrofoam balls, stitching them shut. They looked just like Tribbles! And they were very troublesome to attach to the wig I created too, let me tell  you. I finally got it to work and after a spritz or twenty of hair and glitter spray, she was finally done.

tribekMeanwhile, Kat is the 11th O.L.D. headed to our dear friend Michelle E.’s home in Colorado! Trixie may end that streak, as she is just So Strange. Despite all the Trouble (with Tribbles!) that I took, not to mention that it’s Thanksgiving week, Trixie might just go for a song.

You can see her adoption page HERE. No matter what, I adore her and I wouldn’t change a thing, Tribbles and all. Neither would Trixie. Because just like the Effie Trinket character, she secretly has a heart of gold.

I’ll leave you with this last funny that I stumbled across, right after I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for YOU. You’re my favorite!

Now, here’s the funny:tribblespm

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Trials and Tribute-ations

I was also going to call this post “The Day the Music (Stand) Died.” You’ll soon learn why…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor some reason, you rarely see a composition doll with long, dark hair. Even this girl didn’t start out with her hair that way. Sometime in her life, her wig had been replaced with a human hair wiglet. But when all is said and done, it suited her.

Not only that, despite her blue wool dress, she was something of a tomboy. So I did something I rarely do: I begged her. I begged her to let me dress her as Katniss Everdeen.

“Who?” she asked. Well, of course she wouldn’t know, having been dormant for who knows how many years. But I showed her pictures and she was immediately taken with this character from the Hunger Games series. It helped that her name happened to be “Kat” with a “K,” as in KISMET!

Katniss1aSo it was decided: I would make a hunting outfit for her, the white wedding dress, and if I had time, I would modify the blue dress…Kat stopped me right there. “I want the black wedding dress with the wings,” she said firmly.Katniss9

“Well, I can make the black dress, but the wings, um….how would I even do that?”

crowJust then a crow flew past the window. I had a bow and arrow, ready to go. Hmm…


But then, what else? Since I’m the one who insisted on the main character, I felt I had to give in. I racked and racked my brains. The wings would need to fold, otherwise, she’d be knocking everyone down in her path! What folds? A music stand! I knew I had one in my attic.


We just used the upper parts not marked with the official-looking red, squiggly lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy brother-in-law, aka The First Dude (his wife being The Mayor, and all) kindly cut the stand for me. Sparks flew!

Turns out, music stand joints are pretty flopsy when not attached. It took some doing to get the wings to stand out; a combination of leather, elastic stringing and proper weight distribution. A lot of trial and error. But we got them to work! And they do indeed fold down.

In addition, Kat had her fingers rebuilt. The Effanbee Doll Company Anne Shirley is one of the few composition dolls to have separate fingers. They’re very distinctive with their orange nail polish, and they frequently break. This 21″ girl was no exception. She was missing five out of her 10 fingers! Someone had repaired them in the past, but they were crumbling so I decided to redo them. This is why O.L.D. number 21 took longer than most. You can see her adoption page HERE.



I modified the blue dress our Kat arrived in to resemble the Tribute dress Katniss wore in the first Hunger Games movie.

katniss effie reaping

Look at that blue dress! You can see why I saw the resemblance.

And now I’m hard at work on No. 22. She is closely related to Kat in more ways than one.









OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe streak continues! Annie was adopted by Michelle of Colorado. New record! That’s TEN for her! Thank you, Michelle!

And with that, back to the sewing room. Happy Wednesday, you’re my favorite!

You CAN Get a Doll With A Gun


This wide-brimmed hat became my inspiration for our Annie’s hat. I was glad to see the real Annie Oakley wasn’t in a traditional cowboy hat, because how on earth could I have made one of those? THIS hat I could do!

O.L.D. No. 20 Annie is finally up for adoption! You can see her page HERE.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll say it again: I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason. A couple of weeks ago when I was frantically searching for that (other) skate, in one of my bins of Things For My Future Dollhouse, I found a miniature, very well-made gun.

Less than two weeks before that, a friend had given me a vintage key chain with doll-sized spurs. And then little Annie came ambling through my doorway, and that was IT.

So if you guessed Annie Oakley, you were RIGHT.

As usual, our Annie was dirty and bald and she had a chipped heel. Her outfit made her look almost Pilgrim-like:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs AnnieaI began my research, trying to decide what kind of outfits I wanted to make, I was surprised at all the excellent songs that came from the Annie Oakley-based musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.”  Songs like “Doing What Comes Naturally” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).”

The title of this post alludes to the song, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun,” in case you didn’t guess. I’m certainly not advocating going out and pulling a stick up to take someone’s doll at gunpoint, fer cryin’ out loud!

There have been a lot of productions of this musical! But for some reason, the above costume is the one I liked best. Perhaps it’s because I’m partial to black and white. And let’s face it, once you start silk ribbon embroidery, it’s hard to stop. Am I right?

Annie1Then I began studying Annie herself. Fascinating woman! My favorite Annie Oakley quote:

I ain’t afraid to love a man.

I ain’t afraid to shoot one, either.

I looked at several photos of the real Annie Oakley, but was most intrigued by this post card.

“Ooh! And what are all those things on her blouse?”


I had so much fun and hardly any swear words putting these little things together. They’re earring parts, charms & findings, glass beads and ribbon. The little gold heart says “Merry Christmas.”

When I looked a little closer, I discovered they were all her medals for shooting. HOW FUN. So I did my own version for our Annie, with the main focus on the blouse with those medals, but also incorporating other pieces of clothing from other photographs of the real Annie Oakley.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what I came up with for our Annie’s second costume:

Now it’s time to start on the next O.L.D. We’ll see what comes about! In the meantime, I hope that whoever adopts Annie – who also happens to be the THIRD time in these first 20 girls that this particular mold was used – loves her as much as I have.

1Annies1By the way, the streak continues! PIPER was adopted by Michelle E. of Colorado! By my count, that makes a RECORD NINE DOLLS. Will the streak continue…? We’ll see!

Happy Tuesday! You’re my favorite…