May, 2016

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Avon Calling, Freedom Rings!

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1f2aaThe very first thing I said to the future O.L.D. before me as I opened her box and lifted her out was, “You look as if you’re saluting me!”

And she did! When I lifted her out, her arm came up in a bent position to her forehead. It was good to have an ice breaker for this latest arrival. I almost felt as if I should be down on one knee before her. A Schoenhut! A SCHOENHUT.


Look at the poses they can hold!

Albert Schoenhut was a German immigrant who opened a toy factory in Pennsylvania in 1872. He started making dolls in 1911. Schoenhut dolls are not composition. They’re carved completely of wood and have steel spring hinge joints. They truly are works of art.

And now here I was in the presence of one such gem, staring up at me with those big blue eyes.

1ffHer name is Freedom, she is O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 71, FIFTH in the Sewickley Series, and you can see her adoption page HERE. This is how her story began…

“I have one more O.L.D. that really should go to a new home,” sweet Diane, giver of that wonderful group of Sewickley dolls (so named because they come from Sewickley, PA) instant messaged me a little over a month ago.

No matter how an O.L.D. arrives, I’m always happy to see her, and the Sewickley dolls have been especially sweet, so I was of course pleased to see these words. 


Some inspiration photos. These are Americans! I liked the idea of jodphur-style pants. I made spats and shoes instead of boots, so that the shoes beneath could be worn separately with her other outfits.

Then Diane continued, “I don’t know if you would be interested in her because she’s a wooden Schoenhut, a little bit older than 1930s composite girls…”

Reader, my heart both leapt and plummeted. I have always, always wanted a Schoenhut and had never even touched one before, let alone seen one in real life. It would be very hard to let her go. Diane’s next words stopped me in my tracks.


Another inspiration picture.

“You can keep her if you want.”


Fast forward and backwards: Several months ago Julie, my wing woman when it comes to thrift stores, came to me with three small vintage flags she’d found: An American flag, a Marine Corps flag, and a P.O.W. flag.


Close-up of Freedom’s hat up top. You can see my confusion! In the inspiration photo below, I thought the trim was a zipper! “How clever!” I said to myself. But, nope! Turns out, it was piping. Ah, well! The zipper adds a nice weight.

“Thank you!,” I said. “I’m going to do a Memorial day O.L.D. one day…”

Well, that day had arrived. I was surveying the throng before me to see who would receive the special honor. It was not something to take lightly. I confided to Julie that I wished I had a doll who could salute. Then *clench!* I remembered: I do…

Like many of the Sewickley dolls, Freedom came with a lot of clothes. Lovely old clothes that I can’t look too closely at. How’d they do that? With all the tiny, perfect stitches? Even the buttonholes are hand sewn!

As for the Avon reference, “Avon calling!” was always a familiar refrain growing up. Both because my mother sold Avon for many, many years (with seven kids to raise, you did what you could!), and because it’s a family name. My grandmother was named Avon, and one of my sisters has it for her middle name.

If you’re familiar with the Avon lady, you’ll remember these:


‘Member those? I used to love them! My mom would let me have one every now and then. I felt so grown up.


See ’em? There are TWO. “Russet Rage,” and “Deep Sea Coral.”

Well, it turns out, those little mini lipsticks have been around awhile! And like many things, they weren’t always encased in plastic! See if you can spot them in this picture here:

Can you? They make perfect little bullets or some such thing for Freedom’s belt! Also, remember when I took apart all those watches for the last Steampunk girl I did, Thyme? Turns out, the leftover buckles are the perfect size for dolls!


I made a fraction of these clothes. She comes with a LOT.

Working on Freedom was as exhilarating as it was exhausting. But, oh! I’m going to miss her.

Of course, my sacrifice is nothing compared to those men and women in the armed forces that we pay tribute to this Memorial Day. I’m thankful every day that I live in this great country.

I won’t have another O.L.D up for adoption until next Sunday. Every girl is special to me, but Freedom was especially so. THANK YOU, Diane! I will never, ever forget you! There are still more Sewickley dolls to come…

I’ve “met” so many wonderful people since I began this Hazel Twigg journey! One such person is Hillary P. of New York, NY, who adopted O.L.D. No. 71 “Fire & Rain” Taylor. Thank you, Hillary!

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


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Clean Up Days to the Rescue!

taygal3aIt was obvious that the little girl standing in front of me had been subjected to a composition doll’s worst enemy next to water: FIRE. I immediately got to work on her, only remembering to take her “before” pictures halfway through. Her poor sooty skin was flaking off into my hands.

The fire, the fact that Iowa’s spring has seen a lot of rain, and the additional fact that this little girl’s name was Taylor all led me into the direction of O.L.D. No. 71 Taylor’s theme: Fire & Rain, based on that wistful James Taylor tune. It’s all well and fine to have a vision, but getting that vision to actually work is a different story altogether…


Befores and Afters

It’s a good thing I have a sense of humor! And a very good imagination. I was cackling to myself these past two days as I tried and tried over and over to Get The Umbrella To Stand By Itself. 

“She makes everything look so easy!” the voices in my head from the constantly present audience teased, as I failed for the umpteenth time and the umbrella collapsed. But that’s the way it has to be: when I look at a Once-Loved Doll, the first words that come to mind HAVE to be, “She looks so cute!” and not, “Hm….I don’t like the shape of that umbrella…..”

Hence the delay. I destroyed the head massager that my sister had given me (there’s a dollar she’ll never see again!) and instead had to resort to one of my favorite things, wire hangers…

Thus begins the second half of my description for “Fire & Rain” Taylor, O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 71, added two days – TWO DAYS! – after I first put her up for adoption.


The vase looked kind of like this.


Aren’t glass garden sculptures pretty? The green will add a touch of color.

Once I got the shape better with those wire hangers, the problem became the weight of the umbrella head contraption. Fortunately, it had been Rolfe Clean Up Days a few days before. The one and only thing I snagged was a retro Regency-style vase. I had planned on using the green glass part to make a garden sculpture.

“Just keep the green glass part and throw the rest away!” my wee sister cried in her tiny, tinkly voice.

“Peanut gallery, HUSH!” I decreed.

She’s the peanut gallery, unless she’s spouting something brilliant, which happens more frequently than you’d think. Secretly, I would have gotten rid of the rest of the lamp right then and there, but I couldn’t figure out how to take it apart, so…


VERSION 1: I wasn’t happy with the shape of the umbrella, and it couldn’t stand on its own. It was resting on the wall behind it.


VERSION 2: Here’s our happy Taylor, dancing around a common street vase.

The metal parts were of a heavy pot metal. Finally! Something weighty enough to support that top-heavy umbrella!

“That’s going to cost extra shipping…” my wee sister, who in addition to being The Mayor, also just so happens to work at the post office, so she knows such things.

“I don’t care!” I cried, almost hysterical at this point.

I desperately needed to get on to the next doll, whose cries to be remembered (< a CLUE!) were growing louder by the day. But first, I had to make sure I got Taylor to a point where I could be happy with her.

1Taydress1“What’s with the vase?” my wee-voiced sister inquired, upon finally seeing the finished listing.

“That’s a street vase. All the best cities have them,” I sniffed.

One last note, the way the raincoat and hat came about is somewhat of a miracle. I happened to see all three of the fabrics I used for the umbrella, raincoat, and dress sitting side by side in the fabric section of a Walmart and thought, “Perfect for an umbrella, raincoat, and dress!” I considered buying some plastic sheeting, and sewing it to each piece. The thought made me not want to do it. But I couldn’t resist that fabric…


Note the ladybug boots. They were a hoot to make.

I was patiently waiting for the nice woman to cut that fabric and give me my fix, when on a whim I asked, “Is there such a thing as plastic that you can some how fuse to fabric, to make it….”

Before I even finished my question and without uttering a word, this glorious woman went to a shelf and pulled a magical bolt from within its depths.

“This is iron on plastic,” she sang with a chorus of angels accompanying her words. As if it couldn’t get better, she continued, “It’s on close-out, and is a dollar a yard.” Trumpets! A full choir! And FLUTES! Lots and lots of flutes. I bought all that remained, which was about four yards, which means there will be more rain-coated O.L.D.’s to come. Taylor is the second, HERE is the first.

1TayallWhen I was in the thick of sewing, I had some doubts about some things.

“With the plasticized raincoat and hat, having a plasticized umbrella would be too much shininess,” I fretted aloud to my sister.

“Umbrella’s are usually just fabric anyway,” she replied.

Yessirree, sometimes that sister of mine is pretty brilliant. Phew.

Speaking of brilliant, the always treasured Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado adopted Clare II. Which means, both Clare’s are united! Thank you, Michelle!

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

The Burn Circle

burnpThe other day, I decided to have pizza for supper. I turned on my trusty old stove and went about my business while I waited for it to warm up. A flash caught my eye. POOF! The oven was on fire! I could see flames through the window. Perhaps some previously dropped food was burning. I opened the door to see. Gasp! The heating element was sparking and spitting away like the wick to a bomb. I watched in dismay and fascination as it made it’s way aaaallllll around the element. When it finished, the floor of the oven caught fire. Not wanting to see what would happen next, I threw some flour over the flames.

Fast forward. I’d found a reasonably priced stove at a local store in Poky (aka “Pocahontas,”). Delivery would be in the early afternoon two days later. Excellent! I could do a little straightening in preparation, but spend the bulk of my time doing outside chores. I’d still have plenty of time to finish cleaning the morning of delivery…

burn1NOPE. I got a call the late in the afternoon. I’d been mowing and raking and pulling weeds.

“Would it be okay if the stove was delivered between 8:30 and 9:00 tomorrow morning?”

Um. “Of course! (my house is always neat as a pin. This will be no sweat at all!)

Every year when the cold weather starts and you live surrounded by cornfields that have been freshly harvested, you get mice. There’s just no two ways around it. It’s disheartening to see those little poops appear in your drawers and cupboards. You have to thoroughly clean not only the cupboards, but the contents, as well. You put out a little poison and wait a few days. If you don’t see any fresh poops, you put the contents back in their places and hope for the best. This year the mice would just not take the hint. A few days later, more poop would appear and the whole process would begin again. Such is the glamour of living out in the country in the middle of nowhere.

After the third or fourth time I gave up. I knew when the warmer weather hit and the fields were planted again, the little varmints would disappear. I decided to wait them out. For the past several weeks my pots and pans have been conveniently and pooplessly on my countertop. My silverware tucked into cupboards above, where mice don’t seem to go. All well and good when it’s just you there. Now I had company coming. Delivery men, to be sure, but company nonetheless.

burnwThe morning of the delivery, I bit that bullet, donned rubber gloves, and went for it. Plenty of time! I said to myself.

Hmm. All this cleaning was taking longer than I thought. Maybe the truck will be delayed. I called to check, only to be kindly reassured, “They’re loading up the truck now, they’ll be there very soon.”

GONE were the visions of my entire downstairs sparkling clean. GONE was the vision of a freshly mopped and gleaming floor. GONE was the vision of my washing machine in the basement merrily washing, the huge mountain of dirty laundry spitting out of my bathroom finally transferred downstairs to be washed, folded, and neatly put away. Perhaps I could paint my nails whilst I waited for their arrival, I had naively thought a mere two hours earlier.

Instead I SHOVED that pile of laundry further into the bathroom and slammed the door. I didn’t mop, instead settling for a quick sweeping. It was a decent enough job. One of the smartest things I did was to change the Scentsy.

“This house smells good,” I heard one of the appliance guys say as they left to go get the stove after surveying the kitchen. “Yeah, and look at that beautiful woodwork,” the other responded. I felt a glow.  They were far nicer than the Batman had been.

burnmburnhwWhen the stove guys removed the back of the old stove to get the cord (new stoves don’t come with cords nowadays, which seems odd and somewhat stingy), they discovered…an electrocuted mouse.

It’s rather ironic: my counters were cluttered for fear of a mouse. A nibbling mouse caused the death of my stove. The death of my stove caused the de-cluttering of my counters. Full circle! Now all is right in the world.

Until next year, of course.

There are many things afoot in the world of Hazel Twigg, thus leading to the brief hiatus when it comes to O.L.D.s. Updates coming soon, and a new doll coming this Sunday!