October, 2015

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The Happy Horde

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Horde [hawrd, hohrd] 1. a large group, multitude, number, etc.; a mass or crowd.

111houseI could just as easily have called this post “The Horde of Happiness,” because that’s what they’ve given me! Usually O.L.D.s (Once-Loved Dolls) arrive at the Hollyhock Hideaway one at a time, sometimes days sometimes months apart! Occasionally, two will arrive at the same time, causing much excitement, so the following story I am about to tell you is rare indeed.

Dianes SallyA couple of weeks ago via my Hazel Twigg page on Facebook (please feel free to “Like” it if you haven’t already), a fellow lover of these old dolls sent me a picture and asked me if I recognized either of the two dolls photographed therein. I recognized the one in green instantly. They leave my house, but they never leave my heart! I’d sewn for her many moons ago, before Hazel Twigg was even a blip of a twinkle in my eye.

I sent her this picture:

“That’s her! I think I got her from . . . Magic Elizabeth?” she asked.

“Yes! That was me!” I explained how Magic Elizabeth was the title my favorite book  when I was a little girl, and how I liked it so much that I named the main doll in Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway Elizabeth.

magicelizabethcoverMagic Elizabeth was written by Norma Kassirer and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush (they also illustrated The Borrowers). It’s the story of a little girl named Sally who has to stay with her cranky old aunt in a scary old home. While there, Sally sees a portrait of a little girl from long ago holding the most enchanting doll she has ever seen. She is heartbroken when she learns the doll was lost, and is determined to find her. She sneaks up to the attic to search for clues and finds an old diary and is transported back in time . . .

A little girl, an old house, an attic, and a doll! Those are some of my favorite things! Clearly.



Back to the story of the doll in green. This wonderful woman, who we shall call Diane M. of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, for that is her name, had some also enchanting old dolls that she wanted to have go to good homes to be loved again. So she sent them to me!

Oh, MY!

Just. Like. That. For nothing. Along with bags and bags of precious old doll clothes and fabric and other treasures. How can I ever thank her? The best thing I can do is to send her a signed soon-to-be-in-print copy of my book (We’re talking SOON. In a couple of days I’ll have the proof copy in my very own hot little hands! More on timing later!). The other thing I can do is vow that I will find these dolls new homes where they will be loved again, along with a good portion of the lovely vintage clothes that came with them – after I study them to learn new things about sewing back in the day. Also, I’m going to enjoy these girls for a little bit. I love them already! But soon the time will come to say goodbye.

So look for these sweet darlings in the weeks and months ahead, as soon as I hear their siren call. Thank you, Diane! I’m a lucky, lucky girl. Thank you to all the generous, wonderful people out there.

O.L.D. schedule: While doing last minute things with the book and with having a slight breakdown with the O.L.D. I was working on, I haven’t had a doll up for adoption for awhile. New plan! I will have one up this Sunday, November 1st. After that, I’m going to start adoptions on Wednesday at 6:33 from now on. Sunday shall once again be a day of rest!

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

*By the bye, the caption in the gallery photo, “They say happiness,” is a nod to a song from the musical version of Scrooge, starring Albert Finney. I love that movie, and it’s almost time to start watching it again! This is my favorite time of year.

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Finding Your Inner Ha! Cha! Cha!

Such a quiet girl . . .


. . . until you put a bunch o’ fruit on her head!

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name. What did you say it was?”

It was then that I learned that I kind of know how to read lips, because the tall – for a doll, that is – girl standing before me made whispers sound like shouting, but still I understood.

“Miranda!” I exclaimed. “How pretty!”

As I got to know Miranda, I learned the reason for her quietness was that she was extremely shy. Not sullen, not sad, just shy. With Halloween just around the corner, I knew just what to do to get Miranda out of her shell…

Thus begins the adoption page for Miranda. You can see it HERE. She ends this Wednesday.

Our Miranda is a 21″ Effanbee Anne Shirley mold. It’s no secret I love Anne Shirleys! I’ve used them before in previous O.L.D.’s . . .


Interesting how a slight change of skin tone and eye color – and wigs, of course – can change a girl’s appearance.                     Katniss Everdeen, Effie Trinket, May Flowers and Carmen Miranda.


I’ve been wanting to do a Carmen Miranda for a long time and was waiting for an O.L.D. named Carmen to come strolling through my doors. Therefore, it took a little time before I figured out that a Miranda – even an extremely shy one – would do every bit as well!

In anticipation, I’d been swooping up mini fruits whenever I see them in thrift stores. In all that time, I only found one bunch of grapes! Thank goodness I got the little bag that contained them. It’s just not a Carmen Miranda without the grapes!

A previous Carmen Miranda also made a wonderful contribution. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Our Current & Future MAYOR!


Also a very shy and retiring girl!


When she found out I was going to do a Carmen Miranda, she instantly gave me the fruit jewelry she made! Famous Fruit!



Plus, she’s been a very good Mayor.


Miranda also comes with street clothes, and I made a hat stand for that hat! After all, there’s more to life than cha-cha-cha-ing! Or is there…?



Speaking of generous, I am so very lucky to have so many generous people in my life. SO MANY! If I named them all, this would be a novel rather than a simple blog post.

glcThis time, a shout out goes to Janey! A new old friend that I’ve never yet met. She sent me a box of goodies, and in that box there was a pin to wear. A HAZEL TWIG(G) pin, from the 1940s! It’s made from Bakelite and REAL hazelnuts depicting hazelnuts hanging from a twig. And purchased from a seller in…Iowa! How nifty is that! Thank you, Janey!

I tell you, the signs they are-a overwhelming…

Sweet and brave Gracie went to…Elaine D’A, in Midlothian, Virginia! Thank you, Elaine! I know Gracie will find it easy to be brave in your beautiful state. Especially this time of year. How I love it!

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


Gracie Under Fire & The Way It Went

“All right, I need a volunteer…” Dozens of small hands went up. “To come and be up on stage with me when I speak at the librarian’s workshop…”

Suddenly, I was met with a sea of quiet faces, all looking around the room and various objects, trying to avoid my gaze. All except ONE.

Meet Gracie! The Girl Who Came Through In A Clutch. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I got a photo of Samantha and Gracie  with Gracie in Samantha’s “street clothes” before I sent Samantha flying on her way.

As many of you know, I went to a librarians workshop in Nebraska as a keynote speaker in regards to my book, Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway. Since I refurbish the O.L.D.s (Once-Loved Dolls) one by one and promptly send them on their way, it’s not like I have a plethora of freshened dolls ready to view. They leave me just as quickly as I finish with them! I only had Samantha, the lovely witch. She was excited to go! It’s not as easy for dolls that have yet to be refurbished go out there. Poor Gracie was missing a few fingers and had chipping paint on her face, and still she volunteered.

This is the outfit Gracie arrived in. It will of course be going with her.

Our Autumn witch Samantha also had a second outfit. Gracie here was smaller than Samantha, but she was willing and brave, and so I brought her along with Dot and Betty and The Mayor and The First Dude and away we went.

The talk went well! As well as can be expected for my first time speaking at length. There are many things I would do differently if I could do it over again, but overall I was pleased! I remember I was in the middle of saying something, and the room was so silent you could hear a pin drop. On carpet! It was a little startling, but then I realized: They were listening! And that’s a good thing.

PowerPoint is a wonderful thing. Who knew? If you look closely, you can see Samantha, Gracie, Dot and Betty. Also, me.  I was reading them the first chapter.

I put together my first PowerPoint presentation. Next time I’d use more pictures. But I wish you and Nina, our artist, could have heard the gasps of wonder as I displayed first my sketches, and then her gorgeous, full color illustrations. Even more impressive on the big screen! Plus, I’d bravely brought Nina’s original artwork, and I had it displayed on easels surrounding me. I spoke just before lunch, and when I finished, the lovely Molly, the woman who got me there in the first place, had the line pass by the art to see. I spoke with a lot of people. It was a blur. But I did it!

Gracie was richly rewarded for her bravery.


She deserved it! Note the fluffy slippers. Gracie decided she wanted baby-doll style jammies. It’s cold here! Winter’s coming! She insisted, but I insisted that at least her feet be warm.


<Here’s her “All” picture. I forgot to post it on her adoption page, so said I would do it here. And I did! Now Gracie is ready to make her way somewhere new. She’s already had adventures with me! Now it’s someone else’s turn.

Speaking of someone else, Samantha was adopted by…Michelle E. of Colorado! Thank you, Michelle! I was worried something had happened to you…

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