now browsing by month
It’s said that waitresses are the best tippers. Having been a waitress myself many moons ago, I can tell you this is true! You understand how frantic it is when you get swamped, or the delicate line you have to toe when you have a very picky customer and a very grumpy cook.
I guess it’s another way of saying, “Before you criticize, walk a mile in another man’s shoes.”
Mail carriers and the post office in general are easily maligned. I confess myself to laughingly snipping to my sister Julie, who besides being the mayor of this here small town also works at the post office in our sister town of Pokey, that my mail was wet one day. Well, with one carrier out for maternity leave, and another out for an operation, Julie had to fill in during the busiest month of the year, December, with record breaking cold…in IOWA…
Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 102, Jude the Mail Carrier and his little friend Zippy. You can see their adoption page HERE.
Jude is a 13″ composition Kewpie doll. That must have been one happy factory. So many times as I was working on him, trying on his hats and coats as I adjusted and sized, I would catch a glimpse of his smiling face and it was impossible not to smile myself. What a worthy soldier for this trying job of his!
You might look outside on a beautiful spring or fall day, when the temperatures are perfect, not to hot or too cold, and there’s a slight breeze, and the sun is shining, and here comes your mail carrier outside when you’re stuck inside at an office or in your sewing room. “Lucky carrier!’ you might think to yourself. “I wish it were my job to simply walk about!”
Oh sure, it’s all fun and games when the weather’s nice. But in the searing heat of summer! In the frigid cold of winter! Not so. Especially this last December when warnings would scroll along the bottom of the screen of your TV. “STAY INDOORS” the warning warns, “DANGER OF FROSTBITE AFTER 30 MINUTES TO EXPOSED SKIN.” And below that a flashing list of school and church closings.
It was on a day such as this, with the actual temperature at -10, with the wind chill making the “feels like” three plus times that, that Julie had to leave the office job for which she was hired and deliver mail herself.
“I hope I don’t quit, I hope I don’t quit,” Julie muttered to herself as she tried to grasp little envelopes with gloved hands and avoid falling on ice while peering for obscure house numbers in a town with which she’s not familiar.
Hours later she was shouting to the heavens through frozen lips, ‘I HOPE THEY FIRE ME! I HOPE THEY FIRE ME!”
Well, she didn’t quit, and she wasn’t fired. She continued trudging on delivering mail into the dark hours, sometimes through occasional tears. This is not a job for sissies. THIS is why she’s my hero. As are ALL those who deliver mail. THANK YOU, brave carriers! Jude is a tribute to YOU.
The reason this post is called “The Essentials” is because of a comment our own local carrier here in this wee town made. Several roads and highways were closed, there were dire warnings for travel and a lot of cars going into ditches. “Only the essentials are supposed to be out,” he said. “So I’ll be there…”
Bless him. You need that kind of spirit to do what mail carriers do.
I called Jude “Jude” after the Beatles song, “Hey Jude” and my mangling of the lyrics: So letter out and letter in and Letter into your heart and so forth. It seemed a worthy name.
Speaking of worthy, Louella De Nice was adopted by the VERY worthy Hillary P. of New York, NY! This makes EIGHT O.L.D.’s (and their occasional companions) for Hillary, if my count is correct. THANK YOU, Hillary!
And with that, I leave you! Be kind to each other, and to your local mail carrier! I know you already are – and that’s why you’re my favorite.
I confess, I have over 100 Once-Loved Dolls already at my house, just waiting their turn. In the lulls between when a fresh face comes to my door (which are frequent), I’ll peek inside the bins where they raucously play as they wait their turn.
This time there was an unusual hush when I lifted the lid. All the O.L.D.’s contained therein looked at me with shining eyes and pointed their fingers downward. Curious, I set them aside one by one to see what – or WHO – they were pointing to.
“Hello!” I said to the naked little girl. “I remember you! I repaired your lip! That was a long time ago…” I could feel the eyes of the rest of the girls upon me. I glanced around before I looked back at that naked little girl, to the cheers of all the other dolls. “Would you like to be next?”
Thus begins the description of Louella De NICE, also known as O.L.D. No. 101. You can see her adoption page HERE. Our Louella is SO nice, the other dolls – who just as desperately would like their turn – spoke up on her behalf. Or at the very least, pointed.
And lucky for Louella, every time I happen upon fabric that is mainly black and white, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a doll entirely in black and white. And what better time to do it than on the number 101, as in “101 Dalmatians”?
And isn’t it lucky for me that just like black and white are opposites, Louella’s personality is the opposite of Cruella De Vil’s?
Not to mention how much I love these little 13″ composition dolls, and it’s been so long since I’ve had one. Why, in the first 20 dolls alone there were THREE of these girls!
So I’m glad that this sweet little girl is finally getting her turn.
I confess, I had to make the second outfit in secret, because JULIE.
It’s no secret that I’m very, very slow. And I have unrealistic expectations of what I can accomplish in any given time. Julie helps to keep me in line by trying to sprinkle reality into my world. But she gave me a bunch of vintage wool sweaters that she’d purchased at thrift stores over the years, and I desperately wanted to give Louella a second outfit with a vintage cream one, complete with a little embroidery! So I DID IT. Without telling Julie! But you know what? Julie likes the second outfit best!
I have a new plan of attack to try and battle my slowness. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I like to watch movies over and over as I sew, kind of a background music for me. I’ll watch the same movie for months on end. Well, now I have a unit of measure for the hours I work! I’m currently watching “Misery.”
No, no! I’m not some dark and evil person, who enjoys watching innocent authors hobbled in the middle of the night! I’m just a fan of dark humor and Kathy Bates excellent portrayal of this well written character.
Anyway, “Misery” is 1 hour and 47 minutes and 29 seconds long. So if I work four “Misery”s a day, that’s about eight hours! Another favorite, “Phantom of the Opera” with GERARD BUTLER is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Three Phantoms would about do it! So far so good. Not that I was slacking off before, but now I can think to myself, “I’d like to get these buttons sewn on before Annie Wilkes spills the soup and loses her cool for the first time.” GENIUS. Har.
Three cheers for the alumni of the Rolfe Community School! They got together and almost, almost won Mary Lou the vintage Cheerleader. I imagine there will be another Rolfe-themed doll in the future.
However! The person who won her is a faithful Hazel Twigg-er that we haven’t seen in a little while…Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! THANK YOU, Michelle!
And with that, I leave you! Pick GOOD when you can – unless there’s a little dark humor involved….You’re my favorite!
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time working when there are repair guys at my house. So while Resolution patiently waited a week or so ago, instead of working on her, I sorted through jewelry. I also contemplated What To Do for our 100th doll. 100! That is nothing to sneeze at…
“Are they done yet?” I murmured as I sorted.
“Doesn’t sound like it,” Resolution whispered.
Suddenly I came across something that WASN’T jewelry. “1963 Rolfe, Iowa Centennial” the wooden nickel, pin and token cried.
“Centennial! That’s 100 years! 100! I’ve always wanted to do something Rolfe related! Now, where did I put that charm bracelet…?”
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 100! Her name is Mary Lou, and you can see her adoption page HERE.
You may wonder why I was in possession of things from Rolfe, Iowa’s Centennial celebration back in 1963, when I’ve only lived here 11 or so years. The reason is the generosity of people. I use a lot of things for my creations, and when people have things they don’t need, they frequently think of me. Aren’t I lucky? But I don’t consider these things mine to keep; my intention is to use them in my quest to help these lost dolls find new homes and new loves.
One of the bags that appeared at my door contained an old charm bracelet in a tangle of chains. It was red and gold, and it spelled out the words, “ROLFE HIGH” – with the exception of a missing “R”. No matter, I loved it! I knew I would use it for some special doll some day.
The Rolfe Community School has long been demolished. Only the gym remains, and I’ve spent many a good time there. I can only imagine what the school must have been like!
Once Resolution was ready to go, I knew one of the the first things I had to do was to find that bracelet. Reader, I spent a DAY hunting every single place I could think of two or three times. NO LUCK. I was still going to do a Rolfe school doll (“Make her a cheerleader!” my wee sister demanded), but it would have to be without that bracelet.
The other thing I did – in between hunting – was I went to the Rolfe Community School Facebook page to find out particulars. “What were the school colors?” I ask. “Red and gold,” I got back. Hey! Same as my high school back in Cedar City, Utah! But there are different shades of red. “Maroon or rust or red red?” I asked. “RED-RED,” was the reply.
I thought the mascot was a Lion. Turns out it’s a Ram! “And the girl’s teams are called “The Rammettes,” I was helpfully told.
I learned so much! I also asked for good luck wishes in finding that lost bracelet. The following day I wrote that I’d failed in my search.
“Do you mean the Rolfe Ram bracelet?” a kind woman asked. “Yep! No matter, I’m doing the doll anyway.”
HERE’S WHAT SHE RESPONDED: “If you’ll pm me your address, I’ll mail (mine) to you. ” I told her I would be giving it away, and she said, “That’s great. If it would give a little joy to someone, I don’t need to have it lying around in a drawer here.” Isn’t that wonderful? This woman’s name was Mary Lou. How fortuitous that doll No. 100 should have THE VERY SAME NAME. What a koinkidink!
That bracelet made all the difference. I mean, I still would have done my best by Mary Lou, and those perspective adopters out there wouldn’t have known, but it would have bothered me not to include it!
But how to actually use it with the doll? I was reminded of those large fur coats that used to be all the rage with college boys back in the day. YES. That would do it. That with the beanie, and the pennant and the megaphone I’d already planned on making. The coat would be large enough that the bracelet would fit nicely. I sewed hooks on either side, just beneath the large collar.
It was fun to see all the reminiscing my questions sparked, which in turn sparked some of my own memories. There’s nothing like high school! It’s something we all share. I’d like to thank all the former Rams and Rammettes who helped me in my quest to complete this very special girl. You do Iowa proud!
Resolution was adopted by…Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! A new face! Thank you, Gwen.
And with that I leave you, oh wonderful people of the world! You’re my favorite.
P.S. A “ewe” is a female ram/sheep. See what I did there?
Thus begins the description of O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 99. Ninety-Nine! The LAST of the double digit O.L.D.s! Her name is RESOLUTION. You can see her adoption page HERE.
Several months ago my dear friend Brenda posted a picture on my Facebook page of some dolls she thought were cute. I LOVED them! One of them even had one of my favorite things: A pointy hat. YESS!
I kept trying to get a doll based on that image into the mix, but other things and themes came up. I’m kind of glad now. Being No. 99 seems a very good place for her.
I of course have to work with the materials I have on hand, so it’s not an *exact* copy. “Do the dress from the one on the right, and the hat from the one on the left!” my little sister cried. I of course listened to her, as I always do.
Resolution, or “Lucy,” as she likes to be called, is a 21″ Arranbee Nanette. I think this particular mold is the prettiest of all the compositions. TELL NO ONE. I’ve used it previously, although these may look a little different to you. Sometimes the smaller sizes are slightly different, or it can be amazing what a difference hair and eye color can make:
And of course, our Resolution needed some “street clothes” as well.
The brooch on her coat was discovered tucked away in the treadle sewing machine found in the house behind me that I purchased. That house had all kinds of treasures in it!
You can’t really see them, but besides the brooch, the coat also sports Victorian-era jet black glass buttons. Here’s a better view;
These buttons are treasures in themselves. The back loops are brass. You can tell the buttons are glass by tapping them against your teeth. Always a good time…
It’s taken me nearly four years to get from 1 – 99. I need to work so much faster! I have so many ideas just brimming over in my brain. So many dolls clamoring for their turn.
Which brings us back to Clara, who was adopted by…Linda L. of Portola Valley. Thank you again, Linda! That’s number FIVE.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! There are SO MANY things I want to accomplish. I have a feeling, and I’ll say it now, 2018 is going to be my year! I shall share it with you.
Know why? Because you’re my favorite.