December, 2017

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The Mouse Who Would Be KING

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We were in the midst of decorating our Christmas tree when there was a knock at the door. We all raced to see who could get there first. Not that it mattered; only Hazel and I could reach the knob, us being the only humans. The rest of the dolls certainly couldn’t. Even Elizabeth, who at 21″ was the tallest. No matter. We raced all the same.

Standing on the porch was a little shivering Schoenhut dressed all in black. 

“Come in! Come in!” we all cried. We ushered our newest arrival towards the fireplace – not too close, seeing as how she was made of wood.

“What’s your name?” I asked, once we had settled her comfortably in a chair with a blanket and hot cocoa.

“Let me guess: Ruth!” Dot said, giggling.

I couldn’t help laughing myself. It’s no secret: I always wear black.

“My name is Clara,” our new little girl said softly. “And I know exactly what I want to be…” 

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved doll) No. 98, She of the Nutcracker Dreams. You can see her adoption page HERE.

This girl comes with a LOT of stuff. A nightgown, two dresses, a coat and hat…

A stocking full of goodies including a little German doll, dancing ballerinas, a rocking chair, an old afghan, and of course, a nutcracker or two. She comes with a LOT.

I wanted Clara to have Nutcracker characters dancing around her head. so I took these old plastic ballerina ornaments I had and repainted them and then I made this contraption, because I am insane.

But Reader! If you could know what I originally wanted to include with her! The MORE that I wanted to do! It is only the powerful waving fists of my wee little sister, the reasonable chidings of my patient mother, and TIME that keep me contained.

When I put my dolls that I love so much up for adoption at 6:33 Central time on a Wednesday or a Sunday, it’s by the skin of my teeth that I get them done. And the last minute furious flurry that takes place is something to behold. Nothing’s sacred at the end! I throw things searching for a shoe that might have fallen off, barrel through piles looking for a missing hair ribbon. You get the idea. In fact, the other day I was laughing to myself. When I’m done with a doll, my sewing room resembles the setting of Charles Dickens “Ghost of Christmas Present” in A Christmas Carol:

Picture no beard and fabric instead of food.

Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch…

NOW I’ve given him a crown…

Which brings me to the mouse of the title of this post. In the Nutcracker ballet, the Nutcracker that Clara receives for Christmas comes to life, defeats the evil Mouse King in battle, and whisks Clara away to a magical land. So of course I wanted a Mouse King for my Clara too! I was going to make one, but then in the desperation of time, I was going to use the one I had on hand and just give him a crown and a sword. But then I ran out of time to do even THAT.

See that writing? That is CHRISTMAS to me. I can’t tell you how many hours my siblings and I would sit under the tree, searching for our names in that dear, dear script.

Thirty-three years ago this very Christmas I was gifted a book from my mom and dad called, “The Brambly Hedge Pattern Book.” It was for these excruciatingly cute mice.

Also at that time, there were these popular bears made by the North American Bear Company, made to resemble celebrities and used clever plays on their names.

Left to Right: Abearham Lincoln, Kareem Abdul Jabbear, Bearb Ruth, Sza Sza Gabear and Beartsy Ross.

“A-HAH!” I said to myself in my musical, lilting voice. “I want to do the same thing with RODENTS.”

Of course I wanted my rodents to be appealing, and the patterns in this book would fit the bill. So I came up these characters: RAT Butler, ScarRAT O’Hara, RODENT Valentino and MozRAT. This couldn’t fail!

This doesn’t look like a fair fight.

I never gave up on this idea, even though I only got as far as Mozrat. And through all the moves in my life, and there have been plenty, Mozrat and this book have come along with me. Even the move when all I owned fit into my dearly loved Volkswagen bug. But I get so determined to get what I want when I finish a doll, that almost NOTHING will stand in my way! Except the finality and peskiness of time.

HEAR THIS: If whoever adopts Clara happens to read this blog post and mentions “Mouse” or “Mozrat” to me, this dear old friend, dust and all, will be coming to you to do battle for the heart of a maiden with a Nutcracker.

No. 97 Heidi was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California, a name that is becoming more and more familiar! This is number 4 for her. Thank you, Linda!

And with that, I leave you! I hope you’re having a very jolly season so far. Merry Christmas, you’re my favorite. SEND SNOW.
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