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RAGBRAI Comes to ROLFE

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Here they are coming into town.

A.k.a. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

FROM THE WEBSITE: RAGBRAI is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state.  Heading into its 48th year, RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest multi-day recreational bicycle touring event in the world.  Des Moines Register Media has been the title sponsor of RAGBRAI since 1973.

Every year, the route is slightly different. This year, RAGBRAI came through Rolfe!

Someone put a lot of work into these.

This is only the second time they’ve come directly through my little town in the 15 years since I’ve lived here. The first time was 15 years ago. In a way, yesterday was possibly a last in a lifetime event for me. Who’s to say I’ll still be alive for the next one?

This kind of bike is called a Penny-farthing.

It takes months of preparation, and the closer it gets, the louder the buzz of excitement in the air. Giant bicycles someone made appeared throughout downtown to mark the event. I went out in the calm of the day before to get photos.

The seats of the bikes were made from old tractor seats.

Picture it: You have a town of about 500, give or take. Suddenly, a crowd of 20,000+ people on bikes comes riding through. It was WONDERFUL. To watch, that is. My bum hurts just thinking of doing it myself. I would have been content just sitting on the curb, conspicuously eating ice cream and shouting, “Buuurrrrn!!” as the skinny little munchkins went whizzing by. This is what will contribute to my early demise, I suspect.

This here’s Carl. He’s 6’1″. He was kind enough to stand in front of the bicycle to give a perspective on size. Thank, Carl!

But I didn’t sit on the curb (there isn’t one), or eat ice cream (I don’t have any). Like a proud citizen, I mowed and weed-whacked my lawn the night before so it would look its best. In the early morning, Julie came over and we sat on my porch to wave and wish the riders a hearty “Good morning!” and “Welcome to Iowa!” because people come from all over the world for this ride. Insane people, but people nonetheless!

Julie went home to wake Scott. I went inside to put on a bra (wouldn’t want to excite the masses) so I could venture out into public and take a few pictures.

Riders galore!
In all shapes and sizes!

It’s one thing to see 10 or 20 bikes at a time go zipping by from the narrow vantage point of your porch steps. When I went to the corner of my street and looked toward downtown, my jaw DROPPED. I’d never seen anything like it! MASSES!! Masses of humanity! There was music playing and tents set up and delicious smells of various foods. Totally worth putting my bra on for! I traipsed downtown to get more photos.

It was hard for me to capture the magnitude of visitors...
…so I took this photo to give you somewhat of an inkling.

The race always takes place in the last week of July, which is frequently boiling hot. This time, the weather was GLORIOUS. A high of 81, with lows in the 60’s and a beautiful, sunny day.

You can imagine what a boost it is for a small town like ours to have that many people coming through. Besides all the vendors, several enterprising folks and small organizations set up shop. A ladies organization – and I speak from personal knowledge when I say they do wonderful things – baked dozens of pies. They sold all 750 slices by 9:30 in the morning!

“Brownies for sale!”
View from the top of the water slide.

My enterprising neighbor Nikole raised money by selling brownies. She’s also fortunate enough to have the best and only hill in Rolfe, and she wisely used this to her advantage, laying down a huge white tarp complete with a hose to water it down. The words “Brownies!” and “Water Slide!” were ringing out through the morning. There were a LOT of happy customers! Even in nice weather, biking an average 67 miles a day, one would tend to get hot!

Perfect spot.
View from a bridge in the distance, courtesy of wee Julie.

It was a circus! It was a carnival! It was a mini-Olympics, all rolled it to one. And then, POOF! It was over. Julie and Scott drove through town in the aftermath. I expected to hear reports of lots of trash and water bottles left behind. Nope! Everything was clean, everything was gone, as if nothing had happened at all. But it did. I saw it! And it was WONDERFUL. A huge thank you to all those who made this event go so smoothly.

And with that, I leave you! May you find a bike with a comfy seat. May we all! Because you’re my favorite.

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We’re Going on a TREASURE HUNT!

Every now and then you need an adventure. Last Friday was our latest.

The front.

My wee sister Julie and I are very similar, but with a little twist on each similarity. I like crunchy peanut butter, she likes creamy, I like Crest, she likes Colgate, I like estate sales where I know the price and can “hem” and “haw” to my heart’s content. Julie likes the fast moving thrill of an auction.

Also the front. This store takes up several storefronts and there’s more stuff around the side.

At a recent auction – and the auctions in Iowa are huge and every bit as wonderful as you could imagine – she didn’t see a dollhouse until it had already sold. Later, when she told me about it, I asked her if she could contact the guy that bought it to see if he would sell it to me. He has a store, and that’s what he does. We offered $30, and he accepted!

So last Friday we set out to the little town of Peterson, Iowa, a scant hour away, to pick up the dollhouse and see what other treasures we could find at the man’s store. It’s called “ThriftnPick.” Here’s the WEBSITE, and here’s the FACEBOOK page.

We had SO MUCH FUN. The store was endless, with row after row, and cranny after cranny filled with treasures, many of which were .25! Wanna see some of the treasures I found?

Linens. A quarter a piece! Good, crisp cotton, or some are 100% linen, all with beautiful embroidery. I use them to make petticoats and underclothes for dolls.

<<<Speaking of embroidery, I got this stand because Julie and I have decided to take up needlepoint as a hobby. True to form, she’s picked crewel embroidery, I’ve chosen cross stitch. This one’s mine from Ebay. I love it! So Steampunk-y. >>>

Speaking of Steampunk, not many would get excited about a bag full of zippers, but this girl would! They have so many uses!

I also found this piece of metal. Another .25! I didn’t know what I would do with it, but it was something you don’t see everyday, so I had to have it. Dollhouse patio furniture, perhaps?

Some more odds and ends:

And now for the piece de la resistance, the dollhouse! It needs some work before I can actually start decorating it.

The front. I can work with this! There were extra pieces of wood inside, including tall, carved wood spindles that would be good for a porch that wraps towards the right. I think I’m going to channel the house in Mary Poppins, complete with a gated square on top.

The back. Here’s where it goes all wonky. There are some rooms only accessible from the inside. I’d like to have the whole back open with two pieces of wood, like a book. But this is good wood, and with a little modification, this will be a great dollhouse.

I also found this beautiful sign.

All in all, it was a glorious day! Including the $30 for the dollhouse, I spent just under $45. Not shown are the kitchen stool, the wooden dollhouse window, a jar of wood findings and a few other odds and ends. THIS STORE HAS NOT SEEN THE LAST OF US! It was like Disneyland. You couldn’t do the whole thing in one day. We’re going back for Julie’s birthday in a week and a half!

If you’re in the area, and love a good treasure hunt, you should go!

And with that, I leave you! Know what? Even with all these fun finds, you’re my favorite treasure!

Next up: RAGBRAI. What is Ragbrai, you may ask? You’ll soon find out!

My Own Personal Waterloo

My new plan is to work one more year at school and then next summer (if not before) hit the ground running and go back to doing what I love best: creating. Before I get too old! To that end, I am moving heaven and earth to get the house around me organized and in good working order which involves many, many tasks. This is the tale of one of those tasks.

It all started with my garbage disposal. I wish I had a better picture, because it was spectacular. COMPLETELY rusted away from the sink above, and was only held up by a few old plastic bottles of cleaner. Just look at it! For that reason, I avoided “under the sink” forever, and just used the one side. When I got a home improvement loan, I was finally able to have the whole thing removed and turned back into regular plumbing.

Now that that was fixed, I really wanted a Reverse Osmosis drinking water system. Reverse osmosis turns your tap water into something akin to bottled water. No messing with five-gallon containers or endless little plastic bottles! It’s a little expensive to begin with. $700 to $1000 to have it installed, but I discovered I could buy a system and do it myself for $300. Score!

Once the scary disposal was gone, I gritted my teeth, put on some rubber gloves, and emptied everything out from under the sink, including an old mouse trap. Gulp! I channeled my mom, who faced this sort of task with grim determination.

After I bleached and scrubbed and bleached again, I put some linoleum tiles down. Much better! The plumber accidentally left that cord in the upper right behind. Even plumbers make mistakes!

My new system finally arrived. I have zero knowledge of plumbing so I studied the instructions backwards and forwards and bought the required tools, a 1/4″ and a 1/2″ drill bit, and I skimmed through a video or two. Finally, I was ready to go. I would install the system, have lunch, and take a nap.

The first thing I had to do was drill a new hole in my kitchen sink for the faucet that would dispense my water. It turns out, old stainless steel sinks are really tough, and the faster you drill, the harder the steel gets. The sink was smoking, the drill was smoking, I burned my fingers.

I finally found out I needed a special drill bit, one I’ve never heard of or seen before. It’s called a Step drill bit. It’s gold, because it costs a lot of money. And I’ll only use it once! But needs must, as they say in jolly olde England.

Surely that would be the hardest part, and it would be smooth sailing from there. Wrong! There were so many other stops and starts. Throughout installation there were equal parts swearing and praying, one loud and the other soft. More than once I decided to give up and call a plumber in the morning. But then morning came and I would try, try again.

Finally, I finished. It was time to turn the spigot. I now know what they mean by, “Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!”

It was leaking all over the place! I almost cried and probably would have, if I hadn’t already sweated all the moisture out of my body. I finally figured out I hadn’t pushed the tubes into the “quick connect” joists firmly enough. One last trial. I redid the joints and held my breath.

IT WORKED.

The installed system. How it works is, the one thingy goes into the other thingy…never mind. It’s something only us plumbers would understand.
The bare wood cabinet on the right is where I had my dishwasher removed. The new one doesn’t quite match, but I’m going to paint all the lower cabinets dark blue. Close enough!

This little project ended up taking THREE DAYS. But I learned a lot. And it’s done! I did it! I didn’t give up! And less the $100 I spent on tools, I still saved $300. That’s $100 bucks a day! Would I call a plumber if I had it to do over again? I’LL NEVER TELL.

My next major project – after a complete overhaul of my downstairs bathroom – is my sewing room. You think my disposal looked bad? Wait until you see the room where all the magic happens! I’ve filmed the “before” and am going to make a video post. VERY FEW have ever been in there. Few would dare! COMING SOON.

With that, I leave you! Need a hole drilled in my sink? I’m your girl! You know why? Because I’ve got the bit, and You’re My Favorite!

Breaking a Thumb – and a Sweat

It was August, and it was HOT. Hard to imagine on a wintry day like today. My brother Kenny had come from Utah to torture help me with my yard. I thought he was going to maybe whack down the little sucker trees that had overtaken my garden, mow the lawn…Nope! He went full monty yard-wise, digging out those sucker trees by the roots, adding a weed barrier against future miscreants, adding mulch, fairy lights and fairies…My dream garden! He put in hours and hours. I tell you, this guy has the strength of an ox half his age!

I wish I had more pictures. For the before, I didn’t know the extent of the transformation to come. This was mid-finishing, when I could still somewhat raise my arms to snap a quick shot. Kenny went on to add beautiful lights and whimsical fairy statues and gorgeous flowers. This coming summer I’m going to mend that stucco.

Alas, I do not. I wanted to get back to my sewing room. I was having a slight breakdown when my cell phone rang. It was a job. Starting the very next day. Just a temporary one – at the time. It has since become permanent and that’s where I dwell to this very day.

Luckily for me it’s at an elementary school and we get out in the summer. Therefore, come June I’ll be back to doing what I love best. O.L.D.S. (Once-Loved Dolls, in case you didn’t know). I’ll start with the girl that I was working on mid brother’s visit and before that phone call.

Her name is Woodstock, and here are a few peeks at her. She won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes you just have to get a little groovy with it. She’s a 14″ Anne Shirley and like most Annes she had some broken fingers. Two, to be exact. Her pinky and ring finger on her right hand. That’s what gave me the idea in the first place. She already almost looked as if she was flashing the “PEACE” sign. But to make it convincing, she really needed to have her thumb bending inward too. Gulp.

Yep, I did it! I broke off her thumb. Anne’s fingers are actually kinda stubby. I didn’t want to make them disproportionate to the rest of her fingers, so what you see is what I ended up with. I’m happy with them!

I’ve already made her day of the week underwear and her cork wedge shoes. The bell bottoms I’m going to remake because I’m not happy with the fit. There’s also going to be fringe and flowers and leather in her ensemble too. She’ll finally get her turn and then it will be onto the next. And the next, and the next after that. Can I get more than three dolls out in the summer? I hope so!

In the meantime, I love my job! I work with kids who need a little extra help. Don’t we all sometimes? Plus, we get snow days. Like today.

I hope you’ve all been well. I miss you and can’t wait to see you again on a more regular basis! This job keeps me young. Challenging and rewarding and then summers off to play and do as I please! THANK YOU, KENNY. I face this coming summer with a beautiful garden that’s full of potential that I could never have achieved otherwise and an appreciation for all that you are, even though at the time I wanted to smack you a little bit if I’d been able to lift my arms…

Until June, and now and then in the meantime…You’re My Favorite!

Soldiers In Petticoats

As you know, I cannot let a summer pass without doing a patriotic doll! I was looking through my folder of ideas, when my wee little sister Julie piped up.

“It’s the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in America!”

Voting! What could be more patriotic than that?

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 130, Georgette the Suffragette. She’s this summer’s patriotic doll and you can see her adoption page HERE.

Georgette is a composition R&B (Arranbee) measuring 18″.

The minute I decided on a Suffragette, I knew what I wanted her to look like. I was going to use the dress that Rose wears when she comes onto the Titanic, except in white. But the Titanic sank in 1912, and the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote happened in 1920. No matter! There was precedent.

The vintage images I found had more of an A-line skirt, which was good, because I knew that I wanted her to have a petticoat, so I modified things to suit my needs.

Right on the heels of that, I knew what I wanted the title of this post to be, hence the need for that petticoat.

“Soldiers in Petticoats!” I crowed to Julie. “Do you know what that’s from?”

“Um, no,” she replied.

No matter. I did! There are some musicals emblazoned in my mind and I can quote every lyric from every song. “Mary Poppins” is one of them. We had the record, the piano music book, everything. SISTER SUFFRAGETTE. So why the petticoat? It’s in the very first line! “We’re clearly soldiers in petti-coats! Dauntless crusaders for women’s votes!”

Luckily, our Suffragette would only need one outfit. However! I really, really wanted to get elaborate with her underclothes and finally make that corset I’ve been wanting to make. Here was my chance!

Courtesy of Claire Hummel

But when you get right down to doing it, the details become persnickety. I found an illustration that was PERFECT.

I was given permission by the lovely artist, Claire Hummel, to use her art. Not only is it visual, it gives lots of details right down to layers and what goes where. I was intrigued by the garter clip stocking holder thingies, and decided to add them to my doll. They’re white on white, but you can see them if you look closely.

I love how her corset turned out. The outer layer is from a sample of 100% silk upholstery fabric. I used zip ties for boning.

Finally, there’s the sash. I, um, embroidered it myself. It’s based on the original sash from back in the day pictured on the left.

Our little Pippi Longstocking was adopted by Beth N. of Nipomo, California. I believe this is her second! I could be wrong. It’s happened before. THANK YOU, Beth!

And with that, I leave you! I’m grateful to those ladies of long ago. I’m grateful for you! Know why? ‘Cause you’re my favorite.

Hazel Twigg Rides Again!

It has been a very long time since my last doll. I had an idea of just who I wanted to do, and…there she was! The perfect girl! She eagerly started removing the clothing she had arrived in so that her journey could begin. My heart sank.

“Your legs!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, I know,” she said patiently, “but you can fix them, right?”

“I could, but I’m so rusty. I need to get right in and start sewing before I lose my nerve. I’m so sorry…”

Her eyes filled with tears. I felt badly.

“Who was I going to be?”

I llfted one of her red braids. “Pippi.”

I looked at all the faces surrounding me, all wearing the same expression of confusion. Of course! The character wasn’t created until 1945. Well after these girls had lived and loved and been outgrown by their first humans. Suddenly I gasped, picking her up and kissing her head.

“Pippi LONGSTOCKING!!” You’ll be PERFECT.

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 129, Pippi Longstocking. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Our Pippi is a 13″ Ginger by Ideal, who also makes the popular Shirley Temple doll. In fact, Ginger and Shirley have identical bodies and near identical faces, except Shirley has two dimples in either cheek, while Ginger has a single dimple in her chin.

The Original Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking is the heroine of a series of books by Swedish Author Astrid Lindgren, created as get-well stories for Lindgren’s ill 9-year-old daughter. The first three books in the series were published in 1945, although they weren’t translated to English until 1950. The second series came out 1969.

Pippi is brave, has super human strength, stands up to bullies and only likes to do things that are fun (don’t we all?). She has a little monkey friend named Mr. Nielsson.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, Tami Erin, 1988, (c)Columbia Pictures

In her native Sweden, Pippi is a cult children’s hero and even has a theme park dedicated to her.

Because of her popularity, I had lots of images to choose from for inspiration. She dreams of being a pirate when she grows up, hence the Pirate costume. Her parents are both gone, hence the patched condition of of clothes.

I went a little overboard with Pippi, although not as overboard as it appears. Both her pinafore and coat are reversible, with distinctive fabrics on either side. She also has five stockings, none of which match.

So there she is, and now my feet are wet again! With the situation going on in the world today, I have been presented with the opportunity to make a nice, cool glass of lemonade with all these lemons. Just in time for Summer!

Ooh! Did you hear that?! I did! It’s the sound of marching, a 100 years in the making. Who could she possibly be? Hazel Twigg No. 130, that’s who! Coming Soon.

And with that, I leave you! I’ve missed you, my darlings. You know why? Because you’re my favorite.

Until We Meet Again

Reader, when I started her I had no clue. But somewhere in that sewing room it occurred to me that I needed to be realistic. Despite my best efforts, I’m very slow at what I do. You know what’s not slow? TIME. It marches on, month after month.

This is not goodbye, it can’t be! I still have fabric! The silly thing is, I don’t even have job yet. I may come slinking back in a week or two saying, “Um, hello! Well, this is awkward…” In the meantime, real world here I come! And when I get my feet firmly planted beneath me, Hazel Twigg will ride again, just not as frequently. But for now…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 128, Marigold. Or, as I am calling her, “The Last of the Mains.” You can see her adoption page HERE.

“The Mains,” as I’ve decided to call them, are from this current era that is ending on October 9, 2019 when Marigold leaves my care. “The Mains” era began April 27, 2013 with Carol Jane, the first Hazel Twigg doll. For five and a half years, with a few breaks in between, my world has been nothing but dolls and what the next outfit or theme would be. My Main obsession, as it were. But the time has come for me to rejoin the real world. Naturally, I’ve been in somewhat of a state of mourning having made this hard decision.

See that striped ribbon? That’s my favorite ribbon I’ve had EVER. I’ve tried and failed to find more of it. Marigold’s hat has the very last snippet.

Of course I’ll never give up dolls forever! Dolls and sewing for dolls has been with me since I was a little girl. First, for my own Barbies, then for my wee sister Julie’s Barbies, then later when I discovered ebay and became a member in 1999, I would occasionally adopt dolls and sew for them. However, this era was special. Dolls, dolls, nothing but dolls and being creative. How lucky I was! I’ve learned something with each new O.L.D. and have made so many wonderful friends along the way.

But I’ve gotten too slow. Not only that, the slightest thing can throw me off. “Don’t mess with the delicate genius!” George Costanza of Seinfeld shouts. A doctor’s appointment or mowing the lawn or the need to make a phone call or two can throw my entire day off.

The last of The MAINS

It’s my hope that stepping away will free my mind, so that when I do return to my sewing room I can sew with abandon and no worries at all. Maybe I’ll even have a touch of color to my normally pasty white skin! And when I return, I’ll strive even harder to make each of them special. “Special Edition” O.L.D.s, as the era of Mains is over. They will still be simple composition dolls with plenty of love left to give.

Goodbye – for now!

Don’t think I haven’t shed tears over this decision! It will be a blip in your life, but for me it’s momentous. Regardless, I hope that when you next see a Hazel Twigg doll you will stop in and take a look, say hello and keep in touch, because lurker or frequent adopter I consider you all friends, and I will miss you. Thank you!

Mother Goose and Guy, her gander were adopted by the lovely Janey J. of Oakland, California, who has given a good home to many O.L.D.s. Janey, if you read this thank you, dear friend!

And with that, I leave you! But never forever. How could I? You are my favorite, after all.

Up, Up and AWAY WE GO!

I walked into the living room and there she was, surrounded by all the lost dolls, old and new. They sat there enthralled as she performed nursery rhymes.

So what to do with her? The goose was a dead giveaway…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 127, Mother Goose and Guy, her gander. You can see their adoption page HERE. She’s a 15″ Effanbee Anne Shirley. I love them for costumed dolls.

Several months ago my own wee dear sister Julie sent me a Pin she found interesting. It was a Halloween costume of a little girl dressed as an elf sitting on a mushroom. The girl’s legs were the mushroom’s stem, meanwhile, fake legs were posed crossed-legged on the mushroom.

Adam as “Woody Riding Bullseye”

This sent my imagination flying. I had done a similar costume myself for my son, Adam. One year for Halloween he was “Woody Riding Bullseye.” What fun to make a costume for a doll along those lines! I kept my eye out for ideas, and suddenly, there it was: an old tin toy of Mother Goose astride her gander.

The tin toy inspiration

But when it came right down to it, that goose was going to have to be HUGE in order for the entire body of a doll to fit within. For practical purposes, and not wanting this doll, now that I’d finally gotten to her, to take eons to create, I decided that the doll herself would be riding a goose. Making that goose sturdy enough to actually support her and not fall was challenge enough.

Thank goodness for WIRE HANGERS!!

“I buy you nice clothes, and you put them on WIRE HANGERS?!”Me, doing my best Joan Crawford

I chose the thickest wire hanger I could find from the tangle of them hanging in a basket from the knob of my sewing room door and bent it into an upside down “U” shape with the top of the U following the curve of the goose’s back, and an “L” at each end for the center “toe” of Guy’s foot. With the remaining bits of hanger I made two “V”s for his feet and a smaller “L” behind for stability. I then found all the available bags of cotton balls in Rolfe. Some from my own sewing room, the last remaining bag at our grocery store, and Julie’s bag besides. This goose is STURDY.

But in my last post, I promised an illusion! This was when I was still planning for the dolls legs to be the goose’s legs. A-HAH!! More wire! Not hangers this time, but a fine wire light enough to stay afloat while still being sturdy enough to support the fabric and lining for Mother Goose’s cape. And, voila!

I’d like to thank fellow Rolfian Jule H. for the nice box of fabric. I used some for this skirt. I love fresh blood! Ahem.

You can find the pattern for the goose HERE. There aren’t any directions, so you just have to wing it. Har. These are the jokes, folks!

I modified it a little. I wanted our goose, who is named Guy, to be able to open and close his beak so I added extra pieces and inserted some folded chipboard. I also inserted a square dowel into his neck so he would never droop. His eyes are black glass beads, and his bow is 100% silk from an upholstery sample square. Guy measures just over 12″ tall.

Sweet Jennifer to the rescue again! She printed this image for Mother Goose’s book.

So there you have them! The FIRST for Halloween 2019.

Izzy the Bee Charmer was adopted by Barbara E. of Diamondhead, Mississippi. Izzy reunited with two of her O.L.D. sisters and from what I hear is very happy indeed. Thank you, Barbara!

And with that I leave you on this thundery, rainy day. Nothing like a good thunderstorm! And nothing like YOU, for you are my favorite!

Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t?

Sometimes newly arrived lost dolls know exactly what they’d like to be. Such was the case with this particular O.L.D. She breezed through the door in the friendliest manner, barely able to contain her laughter. 

“Can I be a Bee Charmer?” she said after a quick hello. “Get it? I’m a Miss Charming doll! So, a bee charmer! What could be better?”

What an excellent idea!

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 126, Izzy the Bee Charmer. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Izzy is an 18″ all composition “Miss Charming” doll manufactured by the Eegee Goldberger Company to compete with Shirley Temple.

Our girl arrived in pretty rough shape. She needed a really good cleaning, as most lost dolls do, and while her face was very pretty, her body and limbs were really rough, with lots of chipping, lifting and missing composition from the seams.

Before

I practically had to repaint her entire body after removing the lifted top layer, filling it with epoxy, and then sanding it smooth-ish. I didn’t want to take off her entire layer of skin!

She was supposed to be my first doll back after a bit of a summer drought. “The next doll will be CHARMING!” I crowed on my Facebook page. But my first repaint failed. Everything was decidedly too dark, and my original idea for her was giving me a stupor of thought. I set her aside and went with the Patriotic Summer Drummer instead.

“The Bee Charmer,” digital art by Marie Gale.

When I get into a “stupor of thought,” I know I have to switch gears. I was originally going to go with an image I found entitled “The Bee Charmer” when searching for inspiration. It would be hard to capture the moody and beautiful atmosphere, and that style of dress didn’t really suit this Miss Charming. I could have used a different doll, but that would defeat the whole idea! I decided that Izzy looked more like a country girl.

After

When it was finally Izzy’s turn again, I rolled up my sleeves and re-tackled her repair work. Is it perfect? Nope! Sturdy? Yep! The first thing you’d notice? Nope! Then, let’s get GOING. Because Mama’s Got A “New” Sewing Machine!

It’s like this one

I found it at a thrift store for $10. It’s a very heavy, all metal Singer Model 223 from 1956. AND it has zig-zag! I could do buttonholes if I really, really wanted to, and jeans and overalls have zig-zagged seams! EXCELLENT. And to think, I almost didn’t get it. My wee sister Julie encouraged me to, bless her.

These overalls are as close to perfect as I can get them. They’d better be! They took a lot of thought and two plus days to make. For a little pair of overalls! But they have five functioning pockets. I even made the metal hook thingies for the buttons on the bib from one of those lawn flags.

It takes some grit to sand something you’ve spent a lot of time on. Get it? GRIT? As in SANDPAPER?! Comedy GOLD!!

A little metal bee I found in my stash for her big main pocket, a little bottle of honey my sister had gotten me weeks before when she heard I was doing a bee charmer, a little bucket and voila! Izzy the Bee Charmer was ready to go. That is, after a little sanding. I sanded the little leather boots I made, as well as the jeans. I didn’t want her looking too new.

Izzy is our last girl of summer. Can you believe the end is nigh? Yesterday I saw a flock of geese flying south! Already! Speaking of geese, one of them will come into play for my next girl if I can figure out how to make it work. It’s going to involve an illusion. Oh, you’ll see…

Hazel Twigg No. 125 Back-to-School Eddy was adopted by Adele M. of Castroville, Texas! She has two of the previous three Kewpies for a total of I think six Hazel Twiggs in all. THANK YOU, Adele!

And with that, I leave you! Get your wearing of white out of the way, Labor Day will be here soon. In the meantime, you’re my favorite!

While You Were Sleeping…

It has been my observation that as a rule, Kewpies are not very talkative. In fact, they make very little noise at all. Perhaps it’s the way their mouths are painted. But THIS Kewpie was an exception.

Before, with the kissy lips.

In our entryway we have a large mirror. When the lost dolls first enter the hideaway they are of course very curious to see themselves. Wouldn’t you be after decades spent asleep? Well! The minute this fellow looked in the mirror he shrieked and started vigorously rubbing his starfish hands across his mouth. He then quickly removed the cute crochet outfit with the pink pow he’d arrived in and kicked it off to one side, grabbing a stray sock on the floor and hastily tying it around his chubby waist.

“What on earth is wrong?!” I asked.

“I’m not a girl!” he said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” he added sheepishly, upon viewing all the solely female faces around him. 

I laughed and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll soon have you put to rights. I’ve been waiting for you…”

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 125 Eddy, also known as “Mr. C.” to his students. You can see his adoption page HERE. Eddy is a composition Kewpie doll.

There’s no telling what can happen to a doll once it’s little human has outgrown childhood and the doll falls into a deep sleep. Some well-meaning grandmother might take it upon herself to redo said doll’s face and crochet a little outfit for them. Well, he’s awake now and back to “himself.”

Eddy is based on one of the best men I know. He’s married to my sister Carol’s daughter Rhiannon. My Nephew-in-law…? And definitely a welcome addition to our family. It’s one thing to excel when your childhood is perfect. Quite another to become an exceptional funny, kind and hard-working human being when you face challenges early in life, as our Eddy did. He’s a great dad, husband, nephew, teacher, and friend. And now he’s a great principal. Who better to dedicate an O.L.D. to?

Eddy is No. 4 in the “Daily Heroes” series.

It occurs to me that it takes a village sometimes to put these O.L.D. dolls together. I wish I could remember who gave me the little baggie of teacher pins that inspired me to one day do a teacher. Because basically there’s no real “costume” for a teacher, a teacher is pretty much a neatly dressed human being that does great things. The pins would be just the thing to define this particular doll as a Teacher.

Thank you to whoever gave me these pins! Whomever? Perhaps I need to go back to school.

For the books I used little old savings account booklets from our local bank after it was sold and they became obsolete. Old stock was brought up from the basement. Savings books, pens, pencils…

The pencils were made from dowels that my wee sister Julie gave me when I didn’t have any in just the right size.

I grabbed some of each, but thought, “Well, I guess I could do a banker maybe?” Never realizing that these nifty little old books were the perfect size for dolls! And that if you find images you like and have a great friend named Jennifer T. with an fancy printer, you could paint said books, decoupage the little nifty prints on them, and voila! You have a doll-sized book of any kind that you can imagine. Why, oh WHY didn’t I grab more?!

The Hideaway. Where clothes come to DIE. Mwahaha!

My neighbor CC gives me old clothes she no longer wants that are made up of great fabric. A faux suede jacket she recently gave me made up the buttons and collar of Eddy’s jacket.

Not knowing exactly where to put those pins on our dear teacher, I was going to make some kind of sash. It was my mother that suggested I put them on the strap of the satchel when I told her I was planning on making one. I was going to base the satchel on my dad’s old briefcase, the one with a hard front and back and curved top and the accordion sides and bottom.

Principal Eddy C. Good guy!

“Why don’t you just put the pins on the strap?” my mom suggested helpfully.

Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I made the strap a little wider to accommodate said pins. Thanks, Mom!

And a big “Thank You” to all the teachers and principals out there, especially at this time of year!

Recently a dear friend-I’ve-never-met (yet!) sent me a picture of all her Hazel Twigg dolls standing side by side together.

So fun to see O.L.D. faces again. Feel free to send pictures of your Hazel Twigg doll in her new natural habitat, whether it’s one or many!

That same friend, we shall call her Janey J. of Oakland, California for that is her name, now has another Hazel Twigg joining her. Flossie the Summer Drummer is already there and has been welcomed by many open arms. Thank you, dear Janey!

And with that, I leave you! Happy Back-to-School season, you’re my favorite! You are my village.