November, 2017

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Forever M.E. With Love

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We’ve got this whole “lost doll coming to the Hideaway” thing down pretty well!

“Name?” Hazel said with a friendly smile, getting ready to scribble down information in her notebook. 

“Mary Ellen,” the sweet new arrival replied.

I said, “Good night, Mary Ellen!” Only to find Hazel and the other dolls looking at me quizzically, which was understandable. It was full daylight outside. 

“It’s from an old TV show. Before your time, I guess” I said, looking at Hazel. I laughed as I looked at the dolls, “and AFTER yours…”

“You’re going to make her a nightgown for nighttime, and then a dress for day!” Hazel exclaimed. She likes to try to figure out what I’m going to do for each doll. Good night. Nightgown. And of course Mary Ellen would need something for daytime. I could see where Hazel was coming from. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to do a different sort of extreme…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 96, Mary Ellen. You can see her adoption page HERE.

This girl has so many levels! First of all, her initials are M.E., and as her clothing morphed, I realized I was making a summer outfit and a winter outfit! See where I’m going here? Yeah, Julie didn’t either. Well, a song from my favorite album of all time is “Summer Me, Winter Me”!

COCO CHANEL: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” ME: NO!

And with your kisses morning me,      evening me
And as the world sleeps far away, star away
Forever me with love…

I LOVE that song! I love that album! I guess at this point in time, it’s a little obscure…But come to think of it, I’m positive I would put this record on when Julie and I would bake cookies together growing up.

JULIE vs. RUTH. Creamy vs. Extra Crunchy. Colgate vs. Crest. Yet still, we get along…

The dress Mary Ellen’s wearing for summer was initially going to be the dress she wore with the gray coat, but it just wasn’t fitting in its style. So I decided to use it for a more summery look, and make a second dress to go with the winter coat.

As I worked on the winter outfit and kept adding and adding, it occurred to me that not only would Coco Chanel not approve of my styling’s for M.E.’s winter look, with her velvet muff hanging from a chain, the beaded necklace, the deep red stockings…but also that the contrast between summer and winter were a lot like my sister Julie – freshly minted third term mayor, thankyouverymuch – and myself.

That summer dress is absolutely Julie’s favorite colors, green and blue on a predominately white background. The outfit itself: simplicity.

M.E.’s summer hat is made from one of those straw placemats you occasionally see in thrift stores. Just cut a hole for the head, and another for the size brim you want, a few nail-biting moments while you sew trim around, and voila!

This hat was easy. A velvet circle, six even scallops on the gray, and some silk upholstery fabric remnant flowers. It’s lined, of course. Mustn’t muss the mussy hair!

Whereas the winter outfit is more like me: a somewhat gaudy, gypsy style. “Take one thing off,” Ms. Chanel? I THINK NOT. What can I add?

Not only that, but if I had to pick a single season, it would be winter. Julie likes summer best. Which is nice, because as long as one of us is happy, we’re both happy.

I often marvel at the way things work; the wonderful way the world functions.

Witness the seasons: Winter solstice takes place a few days before Christmas. That’s when it’s the shortest daylight of the year. After that, the days get longer and longer. This makes BOTH Julie and me happy: me because I know there’s still a lot of winter left and Christmas is almost here, Julie because the days are getting longer. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Also, Christmas is almost here.

You can read about M.E.’s finger fiasco HERE.

I don’t know what I’d do without Julie. She’s my brain and helps me keep track of the practical things when my mind is off on some odd tangent. She has troubles of her own, yet patiently helps me deal with mine. We’ve made a pact to give each other unconditional love, which we do. It’s good to have that in your life. Thank you, Julie! Summer, Winter, simple, gaudy, I’m glad you were born!

I’ll wrap you up and ribbon you, rainbow you
And shower you with shine…
…Always be mine

Flying Ace J.P. was adopted by…Martha B. of Chantilly, Virginia. A new face! J.P. arrived there safely after a long flight, and is happy in his new home. Thank you, Martha!

And with that, I leave you! Next to Julie, you’re my favorite. And THAT is saying something.

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First, Do No – WHOOPS!

When you handle as many of these O.L.D.’s as I do, you’re bound to have a mishap now and then.

I have a doll up for adoption. This isn’t her “official” post, but if you like, you can see her page HERE.

When she arrived, it was only upon closer inspection while cleaning her that I discovered that some of her fingers had been broken and reglued, and others had been completely rebuilt! I’m happy to say it wasn’t a bad job, but the angle was slightly off on one, and another was a little too short…hmm….to fix or not to fix?

I had her two little arms in one hand and was taking pictures with the other to ask another Holder her opinion, when CRASH. I dropped her arms! Two of her little fingers broke off! “No problem,” I thought confidently. “This isn’t my first rodeo with DeWees Cochran hands,” I said snootily to myself, preening because I knew what these types of hands are called – even though there was no one around to witness my brilliance.

To rebuild fingers, it’s a good idea to insert a pin into the stub for strength. Have you ever tried to hang a picture in an old house, only to have the hammer practically bounce back into your face because the wall’s so hard? This Anne Shirley’s fingers are IMPENETRABLE. I was going to need a drill bit. A really, really small one.

Here is the story in picture and song. Also, I’m probably dancing…

Here are the hands BEFORE. See? Not a bad job! The pinky on the left hand was a little stubby, and the ring finger on the right was at a slightly off angle. But not a bad job at all…

AFTER THE WHOOPS. Dingity, dangity…And, to add insult to injury, I LOST THE RIGHT PINKY, which was original and reglued!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That pin just bent and scratched the heck outta me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually insert stronger-than-normal pins that I’m able to “drill” in by hand. But as small as this drill bit was, it required a thicker piece of wire. I used a lawn flag thingy…

While I was at it, I sanded the slightly stubby left pinky so I could adjust the angle. Note the inserted wires are curved, because Dewees Cochran fingers are curved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After rebuilding. I use an epoxy called Milliput. It’s from jolly old England.

HANDY TIP: Emery boards are AWESOME for rebuilding fingers. They’re thin to fit in between, and rigid for maneuverability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANDY TIP: These types of hands have a clear-ish, orangey nail polish. To achieve this, just mix some orange paint in the right shade with a little craft varnish. Voila!

SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON:

So now the left pinky is a little longer and at a better angle than before.

The ring finger is slimmer and longer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it worth the extra effort? I secretly don’t think so. If I could pull a Cher and turn back time, and NOT drop those poor little hands, I would do so. Glass half full, practice makes perfect. Yessirree, a few dozen more dropped hands, and I’ll have these hands down to a T.

You’re my favorite!

 

Let’s Hear It For The BOY!

We were playing in the attic, as we frequently do while waiting for the next Once-Loved Doll to appear. Out of nowhere, I heard a whirring noise. I looked up and saw something zooming around. Of course I assumed it was a bat. Hazel and her little friends were too engrossed with a trunk they were exploring to notice. I forced myself to remain calm as I calculated how long it would take us to get to the stairs if we crawled really, really fast. I steeled myself to look more closely at the flying creature and was relieved and surprised to see that it was actually an old metal plane come to life.

“What on earth?!” I exclaimed.

Just then, far below from the first floor, there was a loud and insistent banging at the door… 

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 95, J.P. the Flying Ace! You can see his adoption page HERE.

J.P. had a bit of a false start. After 94 dolls, NINETY-FOUR mind you! Ebay says I can’t put “HazelTwigg.com” on my pictures, or say, “Like Hazel Twigg on Facebook…” so after three days, they took my original adoption page down. HMPF. Well, I can understand why, I guess, but…HMPF!

So stinkin’ CUTE.

No matter! He’s back now. The ORIGINAL J.P. is my darling nephew, son of my brother Kenny. Ever since I saw him dressed as a flying ace in my other brother Dennis’s award-winning short film, “The Girl Who Wanted To Do Something Big,” I wanted to do a flying ace. I was just waiting for the right guy to come along…

He finally did. Our J.P. is a Schoenhut all wood doll. He arrived bald, with his eyes repainted, and some chipping and a big blob of hardened glue on his forehead, poor fellow! It was a daunting task, but I got the glue off, filled in his forehead, and repainted his eyes to look more like they originally would have. I was also lucky enough to find a really great wig for him in my stash.

While researching the flying aces of WWI and WWII, I learned so much, especially from this article. Namely, about the leather bomber jackets they wore. They were called A-2’s, and each airman personalized their own, painting images onto the back of the jacket, and adding painted leather patches to the fronts and sleeves.

More important was what was inside. No, not just then men themselves (that goes without saying), I’m talking about their Blood Chits. A Chit is a notice an airman would wear on the inside of his jacket. It would have the flag of the country they were in, with a notice written in the local language.  The Blood Chit states that the bearer of the Chit is American, requires assistance, and that those who help the soldier or pilot will be rewarded for their service.

Also, when the men discovered that having an American flag on the backs of their jackets made them easier targets, they started wearing them on the inside, near their hearts. It makes me so proud and grateful to think of their great spirit!

These are all based on actual patches. Note the “95” on the top center patch.

I now have a jar of capers in my fridge with a tinfoil lid.

 

Our J.P.’s jacket is made from a Wilson’s leather jacket, and I hand painted each of the patches as well as the image on the back and the blood chit and American flag with 48 stars, which was the number of stars at the time. The jacket alone took me four days! The helmet was made from the same Wilson jacket, dyed with a combination of Old English furniture oil, and craft paints in burnt umber with a touch of black because I didn’t want the jacket and hat to exactly match. For the ear inserts, I used two lids from jars of capers from our local grocery store. I love a good caper! I then sanded it for wear.

Here’s J.P. with his sister, sweet Sophie, aka the model for the Hazel Twigg logo.

J.P.’s cap is plaid wool.

As with all my O.L.D.’s, if I can, I like to give them an additional outfit. So…where to go for inspiration, I wonder? BACK TO NEPHEW J.P. There’s a photo of him I adore. It could have been from a different era! In it, he wore a cap. I remembered as I sewed that my dad used to wear one just like it. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered after talking to my mom, that the hat J.P. is wearing in the photo IS my father’s!

It’s called a “flat cap” or a “driving cap,” and I found a useful pattern and tutorial HERE.

I also cut up a sweater to make a sweater for our J.P. “Put leather patches on the elbows!” my wee little sister cried. So I did, although you can’t see them here.

Working on J.P. has been a labor of love and joy and tribute for not just my nephew, but for all who have served, and what better time than when Veteran’s day is almost upon us? Thank you, Veterans.

Meanwhile, O.L.D. No. 94 Aubrey the Autumn Fairy was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California. If memory (and my search engine) serves me correctly, this is Hazel Twigg doll number three for her. Thank you, Linda!

And with that, I leave you! Veteran’s Day is a November 11th. Thank a Veteran, if’n you get a chance, and HAPPY FRIDAY! You’re my FAVORITE.

My favorite veteran, and my favorite mom. Side by side for 60+ years.