February, 2016

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The Way You Wear Your HAT

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1p1234“Hmm. Hmm…..,” I said, as I tried the little hairpiece this way and that. Patsy sat quietly in my lap, freshly cleaned and strung, with her rosebud lips touched up, her eyes shining with excitement.

Finally, I gave up. “What we have here is a conundrum,” I said. “This is the wig that was meant for you. It came with you in the box and everything! The problem is the base of it is too small. If I spend time trying to sew the hair to a larger netting, I won’t have the time I need to make your clothes.”

Suddenly, Patsy’s eyes weren’t just shining; they were filling with tears.

I touched her little nose with my index finger. “Wait a minute! I know just what to do.”

Patsy looked at me hopefully and I started laughing, patting my own messy hair. “The same thing I do when I’m having a bad hair day and have someplace important to go. Hats. HATS! I’ll make a hat for every outfit you wear.”

Thus begins the description for Patsy, O.L.D. No. 66 (which is lucky number 33 twice, and therefore not unlucky at all!) and SECOND in the Sewickley Series. You can see her adoption page HERE.


I didn’t make all the outfits. Some I just mended and modified.

It’s always a relief to me once I have a direction for a doll, and then all I have to do is sew. So I happily sewed away, planning different hats for each outfit this girl wore. When she was put up for adoption, I proudly sent a link to my doll friend in New York, Brenda. Which begets the second part of this post, and the second part of Patsy’s description on ebay:


Here’s Patsy before and after her wig was shifted. I can’t believe I made a mistake! I’M AS SHOCKED AS YOU ARE.

“I’m not so sold on that wig,” my friend, who knows her dolls very well said.

“How come?” I asked.

“Well, her molded hair is showing…”

She was right. In my defense, I’ve seen dolls with molded hair showing beneath their factory original wigs. Also, this exchange all took place via email, as she and I have never actually met. Which is good (for her). I’ll often wistfully tell my sister that sometimes I wish she would come and sit in my sewing room with me so that I could bounce ideas off her.


Patsy got bunny slippers too. Hers are in blue instead of pink. It wasn’t until after I took this picture that I realized I forgot the little pom-pom tail. This shall be remedied.

Alas, Julie knows me too well. She knows that I would ask her opinion, she’d give it, and I’d quickly shoot it down and go my own way. Plus, I’d laughingly bounce wads of fabric off her head and say, “Get it? Get it?!”

However! This just goes to show you that sometimes I DO listen. NOTE PATSY’S NEW ‘DO. There was a section of the wiglet that had some shorter strands. I decided to try the wig with those as bangs, so I removed it, rotated it, and voila! Whaddya know? My friend was RIGHT.


No. 65 Patsy Joan and No. 66 Patsy.

You may notice that No. 66 Patsy looks an awful lot like No. 65, Patsy Joan (PJ). That’s because Effanbee made a whole bunch of slightly different molds and called them the “Patsy Family,” when Patsy – the original – proved to be so popular. There’s even a Patsy Ruth! She’s rare. As am I. Ahem.

Speaking of Patsy Joan, she was adopted by Michelle! Ma Belle! of Hudson, Colorado. Thank you, Michelle. I hope you adore her.

HT11Book #1 was one by…Shawn P. of Loma Linda, California. Guess who he bought it for? His granddaughter. Guess what her name is? HAZEL. How nifty is that? She’s only three, so it will be awhile before she reads it. But when she does, I’ve snuck a few tidbits throughout the pages. Shawn is the proud owner of THREE of the top 10 books! Thank you, Shawn.

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


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Sewickley Pick

1pjf4I’m sure that if you’ve lived on this planet for any length of time, you’ve heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Well, gentle reader, I would like to assure that such is not always the case.

Several months ago a lovely woman, Diane M. of Sewickley Pennsylvania, contacted me out of the blue. She had several enchanting old dolls that she wanted to have go out to good homes, and she thought that I might be just the person to make that happen. She wanted to know if she could send them to me. And she wanted nothing. Nothing at all in return.


That’s PJ on the right. She’s an Effanbee Patsy Joan.

A few days later, two huge boxes arrived. Boxes filled with several beautiful old dolls, eight in all! Not only that, there were several items of clothing, and socks and trims and other doll related things.

Does this sound too good to be true? Apparently not!

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. No. 65 Patsy Joan – PJ to her friends. You can see PJ’s adoption page HERE.


What girl doesn’t look better with a freshened face and touched up lips?

I’d written about this fortunate and true stroke of luck several months ago, and now I’m finally getting to them! I won’t do them all in a row, but Sewickley Series #2 is coming next.


PJ’s head had been broken and lovingly re-glued long ago. I camouflaged it a bit.

In the meantime, I’ve been going through a pom-pom frenzy. I know I’m not the only one this has happened to!

Mayor Julie stumbled across a pound of 100% cotton pom-poms for next to nothing, and we went halfsies. Do you know how many pom-poms it takes to make a pound? A LOT. PJ happened to speak up right when they arrived, so she got pom-pomed. I strung aaallll those pom-poms together for her scarf, and then dotted her hat with them.


Also, do you see that last outfit? Those jammies? Do you see what PJ is wearing on her feet? BUNNY SLIPPERS! The first pair I’ve ever made – and most likely not my last.


They’re fully lined in pink satin, fer cryin’ out loud!

These Sewickley dolls came with a lot of clothes already made. I cannot let a girl out of my hands without making something for them myself, so that shall be the trademark of the Sewickley Series: lots of clothes.

O.L.D. No. 64 Heroic Helen was adopted by Sandra B. of Myton, Utah! Sandra also adopted No. 42, Valerie the Happy Wanderer. Thank you, Sandra!

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


If this is to come to anything, then THIS is the book to have. Number ONE. Numero Uno. The FIRST.


The auction for Book #1 of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway ends Wednesday, February 17, at 6:33pm Iowa Central time.

1WWOThroughout the ages, there have been first editions. A true first edition is the first batch of the first printing of books.

Just think of them! Sitting there on the shelves of Ye Olde Book Shoppe, waiting to be purchased. Unassuming books. Perhaps dusted every now and then. Wouldn’t we like to go back in time and buy those books to have them in our hands now?







Usually thousands, or tens of thousands of these true first editions are printed. In the case of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, we’re on our third printing, but of the first printing there were only 100 copies made. That’s IT. And all one hundred of those first 100 copies were hand numbered. The final ten have been auctioned off, one by one. And now we’re down to the very last.

1velvOf course, Hazel Twigg is much more of a gamble than the books pictured here. These other books are first published editions, and we’re still working on that. By authors who were better known. We’re working on that too. But those very things – that this is a first release, rather than a first edition, and the very existence of this book is so far known by very few people – might be what makes this very copy of this very book worth that much more.

ht10bookAfter all, once we do find a publisher, will they really want to print all these beautiful illustrations by Nina Khalova in full and glorious color? Some taking up two whole pages? All very vibrant and expensive to print? Most likely not. Maybe not until the “Commemorative Reprint of the Full Color First RELEASE!” You never know.

1HT4aSo yes, this is a gamble, but the payoff could be that much better. Perhaps in your lifetime. Perhaps in your great, great, great, great, granddaughter’s lifetime. Either way, you could be the one that had the foresight. To take a chance. To bid. To OWN.

Book #2 was purchased by…Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! Michelle, my thoughts are with you and I want to publicly and gratefully acknowledge you and thank you for all your support.

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


Just some of the Hazel Twigg illustrations by the incomparable Nina Khalova.


HT12Book #2 is up for auction! You can see it HERE.

I had a hard time coming up with something for the number two. I even secretly snickered to myself as I dismissed some ideas out of hand.

2TThe problem with 2 is that it gets a bad wrap. Little humans of a certain somewhat unpleasant age are referred to as “The terrible twos.” Or in competition some view second place as “first loser,” and there’s no fun in that.

Then inspiration struck: I’m currently working on the sequel for Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, the SECOND in the series right now! And you know what? Sometimes sequels outperform their originals! So, see? TWO can be a good thing!

2TSFor my yet-to-be-named sequel for Hazel Twigg, my goal is a release date of November of 2016. No more of this four year stuff! Plus, technically, I wrote two books in those four years. So really, writing a book in half that time shouldn’t be too hard.

Just like *most of the sequels represented here, I hope to make my second effort better than the first.

2ZaSo in this case, the number 2, or a sequel, as it were, means that there’s more experience under your belt. Sometimes you have a better feel of what people respond to, and you can improve upon that. Let us embrace the #2!

GUESS WHAT happened with book #3, my lucky number? My dear friend Jennifer Trenary purchased it for ME! She thought I should have it. Which makes me very lucky indeed – to have such friends as this. THANK YOU, Jennifer Trenary! You’re the best!

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

*The original Ghostbusters was better than the sequel. It’s too early to tell with Zoolander 2. I have high hopes…

The Coats Off Their Backs. And Blankets, and Blouses…

1hgalFrom my description for O.L.D. No. 64, Helen the Unlikely Hero. You can see her adoption page HERE:


It was such a cute jacket, too. LAST WEEK.

I want you to know, I don’t go around to friends houses and immediately start cutting up their clothes. But when a friend mentioned that she was getting rid of “this rack of clothes here,” and I spotted a gray jacket, I POUNCED. And she willingly gave it to me. So! From the cutest gray jacket EVER (that definitely wouldn’t fit me. This friend is very tiny), I finally got to make a gray coat for a doll, just like I always wanted. It’s double-breasted with a deep pleat in the back and it’s fully lined.


I wish I could remember where I got this blanket. Thank you, whoever gave me this!

1hfbI don’t only use fabric for clothing! I use clothing for clothing! And blankets. And piano scarves. And handkerchiefs. You get the idea.

Besides being a Hero, who got my out of my doldrums, Helen is the first Simplicity O.L.D. of 2016! I’ve decided that Simplicity dolls shall always have jammies. Helen was also gifted with a robe.


Here’s what remains of this once lovely and now loved blouse, who has lined many an O.L.D.’s coats – including Helen’s.

HDJSo to all of you who have given me things, and there are MANY, Brandi, Cheryl, Coppelia, Diane, Janey, Jane, Jennifer, Jule, Julie, Jennifer and Suzanne, to name a few, I say THANK YOU. I shall continue to strive to put such things to good use. Your sacrifices shall not be in vain!

O.L.D. No. 63 (poet!) Thyme was adopted by…Lorrie N., of Monroe, Michigan! Lorrie also received a free book as promised for O.L.D.’s who go over a certain amount. She had me dedicate it to her sweet husband, who – as all good husbands do – indulges her in her love of dolls. Thank you, Lorrie! Thank you, Frank!


Here is Helen before again. That sweet, smiling girl in the red lace dress.

And w1tb1ith that, I leave you! Happy Sunday Eve, you’re my favorite!

Go Broncos! Unless you’re going for the other team. I’ve heard there was one…kidding!