December, 2014

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Talk Softly, But Carry a Large Wand

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Shirley fairy

An older Shirley Temple. I used this wand she’s holding for inspiration. If you look closely, you’ll see wires “bursting” from the star.


…My “bursting” wires had to be snipped and shortened when it was discovered come picture time that they poked right into her face and hair. We can’t have that!

Tis a season for miracles, and two Shirley Temples in a row is a small one. O.L.D. No. 00024 has arrived and her name is…Shirley! As all Shirley’s are. You can see her adoption page HERE. This time I let The Mayor take charge.

For weeks now, she’s been asking me to make a doll with a pretty and formal gown. “A fairy!” she cried. “Or an angel! For Christmas!” she hollered. The reason I didn’t oblige her right away, this actual Mayor for our town of *nearly* 600 souls, is because I didn’t know how to sew tulle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASTfairyTulle is that frothy, netty stuff that bride’s veils are made of. It was a small act of courage to stick a piece into my sewing machine and give it a try. Whatever would I do if my little machine broke? But it worked! And a Shirley Temple Fairy Angel was born. And The Mayor was silenced! For a little bit.

Shirley’s crown is made from an earring and a bracelet. It pangs me to take these pretty pieces of jewelry apart, it does. But I’ve learned to live in the moment, and the end result was worth it. Plus, I couldn’t find the other earring anyway and the bracelet was missing a stone…

orange flag

If you look very closely, you can see fairies dancing around this flag, beseeching me to pluck it from the ground and keep it, Just In Case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone who knows me knows I love wire hangers! I horde them because I fear that they’ll stop being made. Alas! They are not perfect for everything. For Shirley’s wings I needed a less heavy, more bendable wire. Enter the orange lawn flags that polka-dotted the city a year or so ago during a large rewiring project. Turns out it was up to us citizens to remove these flags from our lawns once the project was over.

Turns out that was a good thing. I noted the nice weight of them, the sturdiness and flexibility, little knowing how handy they would come in one day to one who lives in the middle of nowhere on limited funds who can’t just run out for “wing wire,” as I call it. I spray painted them silver and voila! Wing frames!

Shirley is always a joy to work with no matter what her state. I came upon this Shirley and last week’s Shirley at the same time, took their “Before” pictures at the same time and accidentally deleted them at the same time. So this picture was taken when I’d already cleaned her very dirty face. You can see evidence of her arrival state by looking at her wig, pre-washing. Shampoo, cream rinse and rag curlers make all the difference.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I finally finished the fairy/angel outfit, The Mayor piped in again when I pondered what I wanted Shirley’s “street” clothes to look like. “Green!” she squeaked.

Well, wouldn’t you know? I just happened to have some old green velvet that would be just the thing!

But what about the dress beneath? Orange? Red?


This is one of the very first images done for the first version of the book, before Hazel Twigg herself was born. I don’t think it made it into the current version. That’s Dot on the left.


I scanned a snatch of this vintage polka-dot fabric and sent it to Nina for reference. Now Shirley’s wearing it too! It would almost be like having a teddy bear made from the original Winnie-the-Pooh fur!

“No red!” The Mayor insisted. Orange seemed too loud, so I chose brown polka-dots. The same fabric that Dot’s dress has been made up of from the very beginning.

Speaking of Dot and my book Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, which is how all this started in the first place, there are exciting things afoot! I’m taking the next few weeks off to complete a long overdue task. What could that be? I mean, besides finishing the sorting of my buttons? Or cleaning my sewing room? THINK BIGGER. More info coming soon! AT LONG LAST.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs for O.L.D. No. 00023, Santa Shirley, Michelle E. is back in action and Shirley will be making her way to Colorado.

Who will get this next Shirley? We shall see! You can never have too many Shirleys!

And you can never have too many friends. I hope your Christmas season is going well, even as it goes too fast.

Happy Tuesday! You’re my favorite!


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At 13″ this Shirley Temple puts the “Little” in Christmas. Good things come in small packages!

ST SANTAI’ve said it before: while other dolls may receive other names from their little humans, 99.9% of the time, a Shirley Temple doll will always be named Shirley Temple.

So without further ado, meet Shirley Temple! O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 23. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I confess, I didn’t see this picture of Shirley Temple as Santa Claus until just last night, unfortunately. Do you see that fur around the bottoms of the real Shirley’s pants? Wish I’d thought of that! You’ll soon learn why.


Shirley Temple in “Little Miss Marker.”

Believe it or not, it takes me all week to do a doll. To clean her and do any repairs and then make two outfits plus accessories…Therefore I wanted one pair of shoes, which I also make using my stash of different colored leathers, that would work with both outfits. Black boots were required, because we decided Shirley should be dressed as Santa. It’s pretty hard to make boots that work with a dress!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I saw this picture of Shirley Temple from “Little Miss Marker.” It’s reportedly her favorite photo from her movie career. Yes, she’s wearing shoes and socks rather than boots, but the effect is the same and I liked it.

My plan in place, and with Shirley’s enthusiastic agreement, we went to work. The Santa pants would tuck into the boots and blouse over nicely and the boots would look good with this dress. Perfect!


Here she is in her blue velvet coat and hat. Between that, the green velvet Santa bag and the red velvet Santa suit, it’s a wonder her name isn’t Velveeta.


There’s just nothing like a Shirley.

But guess what? Turns out, if you make boots to fit snugly around a little girl’s ankles, they will NOT go around velvet pants! Oh sure, it seems obvious now

If I have time, I’ll add some cuffs to the Santa pants, although I’m currently hard at work on the next O.L.D. She too will be adorable (I hope! I think!).

TRIXIE! Ah, Trixie. I was right, she was not everybody’s cup of tea and went for a song. The good news is that my sweet sister Carol, who lives in Arizona, was able to adopt her. Every now and then she bids when there’s an O.L.D. she likes. See? So there IS someone for everyone! And a bargain to boot! But JUST YOU WAIT:


And with that, I leave you. Merry Christmas! I’m going to be saying that as often as I can, because with the luck of the draw (and the calendar) this will be the second shortest Christmas season on record, darn the luck. Happy Wednesday! You’re my favorite!