July, 2015

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Well I Would Not Give You FALSE HOPE

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My beautiful little sister Julie. Photo taken just the other day, before the Rolfe Rodeo.

My sister Julie The Mayor has given me permission to tell her story.

As I posted awhile back, my brother-in-law Scott’s son recently had a rare and early stroke. After three weeks of ups and downs, he passed away. Evan was only thirty years old.

Julie's Andy1

ANDY. So handsome! The resemblance is uncanny. It’s like they’re related.

One month later to the day Julie received a most unusual phone call. When my family was living in England, Julie had a baby. Because of her young age, she put him up for adoption. She was never able to have children after that. I happened to call Julie just after she’d hung up from this unusual phone call and she was sobbing as I have never heard her sob before.

“I just got the strangest call,” she managed to say.


Here Julie is holding my son Adam. Turns out we both had only sons whose names are four letters and begin with the letter “A.” She was following me in advance!

You must understand: I always wish Julie a Happy Mother’s day in May because she is a mother. She gave birth to a child and did the very best thing that she could for him by giving him up. We would talk about her son every now and then and calculate what age he must be at various times in our lives. When his 18th birthday came and had long since passed we went about our business, me wishing her “Happy Mother’s Day” over the years and her wistful “Thank you”s in return.

Back to that phone call. At first Julie thought it was a scam. It most gloriously was not. A few days later Julie was on the phone with her very British-sounding offspring. Her joy knows no bounds. “For the first time in my life I feel whole. I now know what was missing.”

Julie's Andy

Andy is talented, charming and thoughtful. He sent Julie a gorgeous bouquet of flowers thanking her for giving him life. How sweet is that?!

Andy will soon be flying all the way from England to meet the mother that has always held him in her heart.

One hard aspect to deal with is Julie’s extreme happiness at gaining a son in the face of Scott’s recent loss. Scott looks at it another way: Perhaps Evan had a hand in putting all this together and timing it just so. Because thirty years ago just a few months apart two baby boys were born. Thirty years later and a few weeks apart the baton has been passed. I’m so very happy for you, Julie. And thank you Scott for being so gracious. Andy, we can’t wait to meet you and welcome you to our family!

AND NOW FOR A SWIFT CHANGE OF SUBJECT: I lost a day yesterday. Know why? Because of BAT. I had a BAT in my house! After two years of being bat free.

It was almost midnight when I spotted him flitting about in my room. I grabbed my wee dog Teddy and escaped to Julie’s so I could not sleep there (instead of not sleeping at my own house). The following morning I bravely went home alone. Scott was going to be coming by in just a half hour or so to try and find the bat and it was daylight. Everybody knows that vampires bats don’t fly in daylight. WRONG!

stock-illustration-23236081-scared-woman1The little critter flew at and around me in my sunny kitchen. I tried to see where he was going so I could point his whereabouts out to Scott. Turns out, it’s hard to see when your eyes are clamped shut and you’re screaming like a little girl! The bat couldn’t be found so I spent the day out of doors, mowing my lawn and watching “Outlander” (ooh-la-la!) with Julie instead.

bat4It wasn’t until later in the day that my hero Julie found the bat after an exhaustive search and plenty of fervent prayers. Hero Scott got him out of the house. In the meantime, I lost an entire day of sewing and toil. O.L.D. Andrea still needs half her clothes, and the next O.L.D. will be No. 00050! Which is a significant number and I simply can’t rush her to get her done by this Sunday. She’s going to have a theme. I’ll give you 50 guesses as to what that might be, and the first 49 don’t count. It’s a place near and dear to my heart.

Since I also have the final, final edits to do before the book goes to print, the next O.L.D. won’t be up for adoption until the following Sunday August 8th. Which also happens to be my parents anniversary.

These last edits are based on a professional editor suggestions. Reader, I am heartened and excited! She is a tough cookie and she really loves the book. FINGERS CROSSED! And back to work…

With that, I leave you! Andrea’s post will be coming soon! In the meantime, Happy Thursday, you’re my favorite.


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Cassie, PROOF, and One MoreThing

“Cassie, c’mere!” the little girl cried. And of course Cassie came, for she loved her little human. “I’m gonna make you pretty and give you rosy cheeks. Hold still, okay?”

Cassie held very still.

“Hmm. That doesn’t look nearly as good as I thought it would. But don’t worry! I got some fingernail polish remover. It’ll take this right off – OH!”

Cassie was also very filthy. Her wig went from a mousy brown to a golden blonde after washing.

Cassie watched in consternation as her little human’s eyes filled with tears. Then she saw her own face in the mirror. All of the color had come off her cheek, including her skin-tone paint.

“It’s okay! it’s okay!” Cassie held her human close, comforting her as best she could…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 48, second in the Simplicity series. You can see Cassie’s adoption page HERE.

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it dozens of times: fingernail polish! What a novel idea! We can give our girl ruby red lips with a built in shine…what could possibly go wrong? Usually the experimentation is done on the lips, but in Cassie’s case, her cheek got the worst of it. And then inevitably fingernail polish remover with acetone will be used in an attempt to correct the blunder. Not that I have room to talk. I used to cut my doll’s hair, and there’s definitely no coming back from that!

It didn’t look too challenging. A little skin-tone touch up, a cleaning and she’d be good to go. In fact, Cassie was originally slated to appear months ago as May Flowers.

Alas! The fingernail polish remover had done something to her remaining skin, causing a reaction with any repair I attempted to make. I regretfully had to set her aside. But this time when I saw those brown tin eyes looking up at me, I couldn’t turn her away again. I took a deep breath and did the best I could, and I have to say she is adorable, flaws and all, and she has such a loving heart.


Cassie & Her Copious Clothes

Speaking of loving heart, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you’ll know how much I love my sister and best friend, The Mayor of this here burg. You’ll also know how she occasionally makes fun of my love of these old dolls and the penchant I have for making more than one outfit for them.

“Do you really think people sit around, playing with their dolls and changing their clothes?” she has said more than once. And brace yourself, there was a hint of scorn in her voice. Scorn! Do not shun her, I beg you. She’s still a human being, after all.

Julie With Her Doll

JULIE ONCE LOVED A DOLL ENOUGH TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH HER (sorry to shout, but I was that shocked).

But recently, proof was unearthed proving that Julie once loved a doll of her own. PROOF. It was a blurry old photo, grainy and faded. My thanks to my brother Dennis for enhancing it for the world (well, YOU at least. And aren’t you important?) to see.

Lastly, I have One More Thing to add to the whole Marjorie the Majorette story. I don’t know why I missed this before! I wish I would have remembered I had this treasure!


My dad is the second little boy from the left on the bottom row. He with the impish grin. Guess who he had a crush on? The majorette! And he’s holding a drum a la Liberty! Will the coincidences never end?!


Cassie & Nancy

Last lastly: for a few brief, shining days I had TWO dolls listed at the same time! But now Nancy, the First in the Simplicity series is on her way to….Michelle E. of Colorado! Michelle, get ready to play with your dolls and change their clothes (take THAT, Julie!) because Nancy is on her way! Or will be soon.

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



Our Nancy

Ah, Summer! So many places to go! So many people to see! Sometimes you’ve just got to do a little uncomplicating to your life. For the duration of summer I’m going to do more traditional dolls. AND! I’m going to do more of them. Just because something is “simple” doesn’t mean it’s boring…

Thus begins my post for O.L.D. No. 00047 Nancy, who was unusually put up for adoption on a WEDNESDAY, and the *First* in the Simplicity Series. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Look at those hollyhocks! At their peak, they were the tallest ones in town. Then a storm came through and oh! How the mighty have fallen…

By the way, it’s not me that has places to go and people to see! No sir! I can usually be found hunkered down in my house, aka “The Hideaway”, and lately I shall be even more so. I recently had to quit one of my extra little jobs for physical reasons. I swear, I thought I had another hernia! I’m going in for more tests. Either way, I find myself incapable of doing some things. Lucky for me, I can still sew! And so I shall.

My first pajamas!

My first pajamas!

To gear myself up for doing more than three or four dolls a month, I’m going to stick to more traditional styles. Still fun for me! Know why? Because now the challenge will be in making them as adorable as possible without gymnastics.


Two dresses, a coat, a hat, pajamas, and a long pointy hat to wear to bed. And shoes. And undies, of course.

These shall be simple girls in era-traditional straightforward styles. Straightforward, excruciatingly cute styles, that is. At least, that’s what I shall strive for!

Nancy was started on a Wednesday, and an as-yet-to-be-named girl shall be going up for adoption on Sunday. That’s right. TWO dolls at the SAME TIME.

Here’s our Nina. Isn’t she pretty? I’ve so missed working with her! It feels like old times.




I’ve also just finished the sketches for the new chapters and Nina is hard at work on the illustrations. How I’ve missed that girl!


Marjorie and Nancy got a chance to pose together when Nancy was having her “before” photos taken. They are Sisters Of Different Sizes.




If all goes as planned, OCTOBER 1ST is going to be a MAGICAL date.

In the meantime, Marjorie is going to someone new…Michelle E. of Colorado! Well, I mean, not super new. But it’s been awhile…Thank you, Michelle!

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



Now Dasher! Now Dancer!

I LOVE spats. I sacrificed the cutest pair of kidskin gloves so that Marjorie could have some.

I don’t know where exactly the idea of doing a majorette came from. But when it did…when it did! Things fell into place in ways you wouldn’t believe. I can’t tell you here, but my post regarding this girl will reveal the amazing coincidences that collided to bring her together. Until then…


Here she is in her “street” clothes.

Thus begins the adoption page for Marjorie the Majorette. You can see it HERE.

And here is the story: Whenever the next little doll and I decide what her “theme” is going to be, I send her out to play with the other little dolls, and I do research so I can figure out how I want her outfit to look. So I researched, “Vintage Majorette.”

I found several useful images.




Ooh! A hat with an eagle! I just so happened to have an eagle pin! I’ve had it in my stash forever, and when I’ve stumbled across it I’ve wondered where I’d ever use it. It’s far too large to use as a brooch for a doll. And now here the use is! On Marjorie’s Hat:

See that plume? It was sent OUT OF THE BLUE in a box of GLORIOUS goodies from a friend named Janey that I’ve never met in person. PERFECT TIMING.

I like that Marjorie also looks like she could have stepped out of a stage production of “The Music Man.” That’s Iowa based!












But the best thing I found when doing my research wasn’t just the following image, it was the poem that came with it called, “Prance Little Lady.” It was written in 1954 by a father for his daughter, who had been a majorette at Leonia high school from 1941-1942. The majorette’s niece posted photos and the poem on her blog where I was lucky enough to stumble across it. BEHOLD:

Majorette Midgie Twirler2-1

Courtesy of Barbara Schaffer

 Prance Little Lady


Strike up the band, here comes a cutie.
Baton in hand, ready for duty.
High-action knee – smile grimly set –
Who can it be but the Drum Majorette?


Twirling her stick like an airplane propeller –
Gee what a trick! What a treat for a feller!
Bobbing her head, her baton swinging high,
“Margie” co-ed, majorette, marches by.


Thump! Goes the drum; Oompah! The brasses.
Onward they come, the lads and their lasses.
All round the field – into the stand!
Strut, Little Lady! Strike up the Band!


Courtesy of Barbara Schaffer


Marjorie Hope Bower
Leonia High School
Daddy 1954


It took me awhile to realize what I was seeing. I was so focused on the lovely images from the site, and from the poem itself. It wasn’t until I re-read the kind permission email I got from the original poster that I finally noticed. The girl that the poem was written for was named
And here’s a closer shot of that pin:

Sometimes things are just meant to be.

Speaking of Meant To Be, brace yourself! Patriotic Liberty was adopted by…Kathleen Z of Alameda, California! HAH! Fooled ye, didn’t I? Thank you, Kathleen! Glad to hear you love Liberty. So do I…

And with that, I leave you! Happy Wednesday, you’re my favorite! And HAPPY GREATER ROLFE DAYS!!! (surely you’ve heard!)