November, 2015

now browsing by month


Magic Reminder!

Pin It

1ctcsideamDon’t forget from the comfort of your own home (or job. Pesky work!) to take advantage of the monstrous sale of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway for $9.95 TODAY ONLY on Amazon!

And I hope your Thanksgiving was Amazing!

Thank you!

Pin It

MAGIC Friday

bloggal. . . as opposed to “Black Friday.”

READERS! Tell your family! Tell your friends! Tell your work buddies! Tell yourself! THIS FRIDAY ONLY Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway will be on sale at only for $9.95!

When my brother Kenny proposed it this morning via instant messaging on Skype, there was silence and Kenny wondered if he was typing only to himself. I happened to be outside, chopping ice off my front stairs so didn’t see it until later. Finally, Dennis responded, “Sorry had to pick jaw up off the floor.” Most likely because this is way, way, way below cost. Those gorgeous illustrations aren’t cheap to print!

The largest old lady, the one on the bottom row! BIGGER.

But it’s kind of like that old woman who swallowed a fly if you contort your mind a bit. Hazel Twigg represents a return to good old-fashioned childhood magic and we need to get the word out. The old lady swallows a fly, then a spider, then a bird, a cat, a dog, a goat, a cow . . . and she gets bigger and bigger each time. We wanna be that old lady!

We’ll start off with flies – although, let us charm this concept up a bit, because the thought of eating a fly sounds like no fun at all. We need lots and lots of fairies to read Hazel Twigg. Then hopefully they’ll tell their furry woodland creature friends about it, and the woodland creatures will tell the handsome princes on horseback, who just happen to be wandering through the forest, and he will tell the random singing maiden, and together they’ll tell the villagers in the nearby town, and…

See what I mean?

woodlandcreaturesaSo we need to attract those flies fairies. And how do you attract fairies? With honey! In this case, “honey” is an extra special price of $9.95 this November 27 on Amazon only and I’ll sign them all to whomever you want at your request.

wanderingprince1For those of you who have already purchased this book at the higher price, think of it this way: the further we can spread this magic, the more valuable your book will become. Plus, restoring the magic of childhood is a good cause, and nothing to be sneezed upon. We so appreciate you.

So please! Help us spread the honey! Hazel Twigg $9.95 this Friday ONLY on Amazon! Hazel Twigg makes a great gift!

And with that, I leave you! Thank you, you’re my favorite fly fairy!

Happy (Belated) Birthday To US!


My brother Kenny, the birthday boy. Look at that handsome mug! My brother Dennis, who is also a huge part of Hazel Twigg, created this photo for him. Note the two cakes. One for Kenny, and one for Hazel Twigg’s official launch.

After several stops and starts and false alarms, and four years, plus two months and who knows how many days, Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway is FINALLY in print!

How fitting that it should also happen to launch on the anniversary of another important birth, my brother Kennys! He who started this whole thing, those four years, two months, and who knows how many days ago. Heaven knows, I never would have gathered myself well enough to write a book otherwise.


Here’s our little library in Rolfe. It was closed at the time, so only the lights above were on. It’s wonderful that I can now bring the original illustration art, all the way from the Ukraine and Nina with me. That’s gold right there.




The Hazel Twigg Partnership is made up of four people: My brothers Dennis and Kenny, my sister Julie, and me. But in reality, it’s much bigger. It’s all of you! It’s anyone who views my dolls via Ebay or Pinterest, or watches the videos on YouTube, or looks for Hazel Twigg on Amazon. It’s the wonderful local people of this town. The ones that came to the library presentation that happened to coincide with the First Release date of the book. Several ladies from that launch have taken it upon themselves to get me more gigs at more libraries, and articles in newspapers. Local at first, but perhaps from there it will grow. Perhaps at these future presentations there will be other people from farther away, and I’ll get booked there, and so on and so on. It’s the people who have or will soon have my book in their own hands. Hopefully, they’ll spread the word.


Cora came with me for this special day. She kept jingling her bell with each book I sold and signed. I finally had to hide it from her altogether!

I think of it all as being similar to a family tree. This one starts with four people rather than the regular two, and it branches out from there, bigger and bigger as each branch spreads the word. You are the branches!

Our cause is a simple one: to reinstate the magic of childhood the way it used to be. Our ambassadors are these dolls and these books, and you.

Here’s an interesting exchange between my brothers on Skype our second day after being available on Amazon:

family-treeDennis: Yesterday (on Kindle), we were at #21,677 in Fantasy, today we’re at #3,547. We were at 36,138 in hard copy fantasy (today we’re at) 5,658.

Ken: Now that is movement

Dennis: We were 48,414 in contemporary fiction, now we’re at 8,036. At this rate… NYT Bestseller list, here we come.

Of course they’re being a little tongue in cheek, but could you do me a favor? Go to Amazon and do a search for Hazel Twigg, just to see what it does!


The leather surrounding her was a gift from our dear Janey. That and the fact that this O.L.D. was scheduled to start before Thanksgiving gives you a clue as to what her role will be. I’m still going to go there. I didn’t learn to bead for nothing!

And now it’s back to work for me on the next O.L.D. I blithely thought I’d perhaps have enough time to work on her a little before my library presentation, then swoop my way down there, do the presentation, and come back home and get her done enough to put her up for adoption that very night. I’d forgotten how exhausting giving birth can be. Even as it was exhilarating. There was a tangible magic in the air in this little ol’ library in the middle of nowhere.

So now the next O.L.D., originally designed for Thanksgiving, will wait for next Wednesday. Rolfe is bracing for its first winter storm, which is predicted to be a doozy. Eight to twelve inches!!! That’s a LOT for a first snow! Goodbye, grass! See you next spring!

Because of the coming storm, a neighbor friend Sarah, along with the mayor and I and anyone else who can make it have moved our noodle-making extravaganza for the homemade chicken soup to be served  at the Community Center for the Turkey Bingo event taking place tomorrow night up to early this afternoon. THAT kind of storm. THAT kind of town. THAT kind of old-fashioned goodness. It’s a perfect place for the birth of this particular tree.

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

Message In A Bottle


Dark and Stormy afternoon photo. See?

Usually, I’ll do a post about the current O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) several days after she’s put up for adoption on ebay. Frequently, even after a doll is listed, I have copious amounts of things still to do. Such especially was the case with Cora the Town Crier, she of the Special Announcement.

She was put up for adoption three days ago Wednesday with minimum information. You can see her page HERE.

At the time, I could only post one photo because of the dark and stormy afternoon. Also, she wasn’t anywhere near done. I worked hard and finally finished her Friday night. Took her pictures, edited them, uploaded them onto ebay, and . . . POOF. Nothing. After several tries, I called ebay. They’re having technical difficulties! Which wouldn’t be so bad if I could let people know there were technical issues, but I can’t! Nothing’s working. Ebay said to give them 24 hours. I check every now and then to see if the problem’s fixed, but still no go. So this post here is my message in a bottle to those prospective adopters of Cora the Town Crier.

She’s here to make a very special official announcement:


Here’s her scroll! Note the time on the watch. See what I did there? I was given a bunch of watches of all kinds by Jennifer Trenary from her grandmother. They’ll be popping up here and there with future dolls. One in particular! Can’t wait.


The bell was a gift to Cora from The Mayor. It jingles ever so prettily – unless you’re doing a fitting with lots of moving about.

This fellow here was my main inspiration:

town crier11ctcfullb

Here he’s announcing a royal birth. In a way, Cora’s doing the same thing! Not a royal birth by any means, but this is my baby, and I did labor on her for over four years.

I noticed that over his coat he was wearing a cape that had several different gew-gaws on it. So I made one for Cora.

town crier1c


I used a bunch of earrings and charms and odds and ends.

And of course, she has street clothes!


Here she is before. She was so excited when I told her what her role would be.










And there you have it! Cora the Town Crier! I hope this bottle floats to more than parts unknown.

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


The Princess Who Really Was

It was late at night at the Hideaway, and everyone else was asleep. At least, that’s what I thought. Some quiet sniffling sounds were coming from the closet. I gently opened the door.

“Why, Princess! What’s wrong?”

She looked up at me in surprise before burying her face in her hands again. Her little shoulders were shaking with sobs now. I could see she was trying to talk, so I scooped her up and took her into the hall.

I decided that nothing but the best for her would do. Gorgeous vintage brooch courtesy of my dear friend Jennifer.

“That’s just it,” she said, once we were alone and away from the rest of the sleeping dolls. “I’m not a Princess! I’m not even a Madame Alexander! I’m a…a…knock-off!”

I paused for a moment before responding. “First of all, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a name brand or a knock-off, you know that! That’s why dolls are never told at the factory whether or not they’re a real Shirley Temple, for example. Because if a little human’s parents can’t afford the real thing, as long as the child believes – and the doll believes – that’s all that matters.”

She seemed to feel a little bit better.

“Second of all,” I continued. “You are at the very least a Madame Alexander. Either a McGuffey Anna or a Princess Elizabeth. The way you’re marked is how they were marked. Sometimes. And I can tell by your wig.”

“So I am a real Princess?”

“Either way, yes you are…”

I made three crowns for her after stumbling across lace crowns on Pinterest. From left to right: 1) Every Day, 2) Official Business, and 3) for play and rough-housing. “What possible official business could a doll princess have?” you may ask. Well, this particular Princess loves dubbing things and will dub things at the drop of a hat. “I dub thee cat!” she will say. Or, “I dub thee stove!” But not to worry. She’s not obnoxious about it or anything . . .

Meet Princess! The Girl Who Really Was. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I truly believe she’s a Madame Alexander 13″ Princess Elizabeth. Regardless of who she is, I wanted to make a full complement of clothes for her:

p4aI decided to use real fur for Princess’s coat collar, hat and muff. WHEW. Always a bit of pressure, because I don’t want to make any mistakes and waste anything. The fur I used was from a large cuff from a coat, or a human-sized fur muff. Either way, it was produced a long, long time before I was even born, which is saying something.

princoatbuttonAnother thing about Princess’s coat (besides the lovely old green velvet of a theater curtain used to make it) is the buttons. I was so happy to find six that matched! When I took a closer look, I could make out the words, “STATE OF OKLA-“. I did a little research and found a treasure hunters site where someone dug up old buttons just like these and there was all sorts of speculation because they’re dated 1807 or 1907 and “Oklahoma” is mis-spelled. Oklahoma became a state in 1907, and this is a copy of their seal, I know that much now. You learn all kinds of things working with these old dolls! Mainly, I was happy to find six matching buttons…they’re probably worth a fortune. How much fun would that be?

In other news, JULIE IS MAYOR once again! Thank you to all who voted and all who sent their good wishes! CONGRATS, Julie!

Lastly, Carmen Miranda. Her tutti-fruitiness was adopted by Hillary P. of New York, New York! Start spreading the news…a new record! Thank you so much, Hillary. To you and to all who bid, you are much appreciated. From now on, any doll going for $300 or above will receive a free First Release copy of my book. So a free book will be winging its way to the big apple! As soon as they’re ready, of course.

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

Speaking of Wednesday, the next O.L.D. will be up for adoption Wednesday, November, 11. Veteran’s day! I’m switching to Wednesdays at 6:33 instead of Sundays.

Thank you!


marching-bandPROOF-First-Release DAmarching band

I have done it. I have finally held in my own two hands the culmination of a journey that began four years, one month, and nine days ago. Or thereabouts. The Proof copy of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway! Once this copy is approved (and *Mayor Julie is going over it right now. I’m a little too close to it), then whoosh! The order for the limited First Release printing will be made!


Pinky becomes lost when a cat chasing a mouse knocks her out of a barn loft and she gets buried in the hay. She’s the first O.L.D. to come to Hollyhock Hideaway.

I’ll give more details later, but for now we’re planning on November 18 – also my brother Kenny’s birthday AND the date of my local library presentation, where there’s a good chance I’ll have actual books there for sale – as our official release date, including on

I was looking over past emails from back in the day trying to find the exact date of when this all started. I wasn’t able to find it, but what I did find was somewhat amazing. This book has gone through so many changes. So many towns and characters and settings. But here’s an excerpt from an email to a friend I wrote less than a month after this all began back in 2011:


Ruth makes new clothes for Pinky.

I was thinking that since dolls come and go here, my house could be the place that dolls who are no longer played with or who have been forgotten and neglected by their little girls escape to in the hopes of some day being loved again.  An orphanage of sorts, and in the meantime we have adventures!


The bat finale in the attic.

Whether it’s bats in the attic, or a creature in the basement, or we explore an abandoned house looking for treasure or even just take our dog for a walk and the people that we meet.  In the meantime, I clean them up and make dresses for them and one by one they’re adopted out to happy houses.  Before you know it, ANOTHER lost little girl appears needing attention!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

After all the changes, this beginning kernel of an idea is what the book ended up being about. So many things have come together in its creation. But the most important thing to remember is that this isn’t just a book. To me it’s a movement to a new O.L.D. way of life. A back to the future in reverse. A return to the imagination that you create yourself, free of gadgetry. I’ve seen several memes along the lines of, “I’m so grateful I had my childhood before technology took over.” That’s the gist of the Hazel Twigg world in a (hazel)nutshell. More to come soon.

*In the meantime!



If you’re lucky enough to live in Reliance, aka Rolfe, Iowa, don’t forget to VOTE FOR JULIE FOR MAYOR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, at the ROLFE COMMUNITY CENTER. Don’t assume! She loves this town as much as I do and has its best interests at heart and has worked so hard and been so involved with everything, and not just these past two years. She truly cares. PLEASE VOTE!

Thank you! You’re my favorite!