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One Fond *Yosuru

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I confess, I’ve been wanting to do a Geisha for a long time. So when this girl arrived, and her name was Blossom, which is kind of Geisha-ish, and she didn’t mind removing her wig – as long as I sent it along with her (which I will) – then she was absolutely game… 

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 111, Blossom the Geisha. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I’ve had an affinity for all things Japanese since childhood. Growing up in Hawaii, there’s a huge oriental influence. Talking with my Mom last night, here are two stories in particular. They were such a part of our family history that Julie’s the one that mentioned them to me when I told her my next O.LD.’s theme – and she wasn’t even born when they occurred!

Left to Right, Dad, Kenny, Mom, Dennis, January, Me, and Carol.

They happened 50 odd years ago. We lived on the less inhabited north shore of Oahu, which back then was rather primitive. My parents had learned of a professional photographer who lived on our side of the island. Most things were in Honolulu, and it was hard to get all the way there for a more formal photo and still keep five kids looking fresh, what with the heat and winding roads and frequent barfing that would take place en route.

It looked a lot like this.

So my parents marked this much closer find on a trusty map, dressed us all in our Sunday best, and off we went.

“We kept driving and driving, farther into the jungle and I wondered, ‘How on earth can there be anything out here?'” my mother recounted. “Finally we came to this little shack in the middle of nowhere…”

The Foundling.

The photographer, a tiny man of Japanese descent, “didn’t even pose us, and I think he only took one shot. When we finally got the photo weeks later, he proudly announced that Kenny, currently the youngest, had his eyes closed, but not to worry! He, the photographer, had painted them in…”

Thus this picture became not only a piece of glossy card stock, one of many photographs dotting our scrapbooks over the years, but a memory that gave us laughs back then and still does to this day.

The family, sans their kids. They spoke little English, and we no Japanese, but somehow we communicated very well.

Another very strong memory from our childhood is when we sponsored a family from Japan. I remember them very well, and in talking to my mom was surprised to hear that they only came to our house two times for dinner on two separate visits from Japan with the meals very far apart, because they made such a very strong and warm impression on me. They were so kind and generous and I felt such an affinity for them and from them.

It was a doll similar to this. She made the clothes for her herself!

They wanted to experience an American meal, so my mother and Auntie Anne, who was also living in Hawaii at that time, set out to make the most American meal possible, which of course included Jello. Jello was hard to make in Hawaii, as it was “so darn hot” that it wouldn’t properly set.

They put out silverware, but the children from the family weren’t able to eat with forks and spoons. So my mother found some chopsticks, and they ate everything, including the unstable Jello, with ease.

We exchanged Christmas cards with this family for years to come, and the wife sent my mother and Auntie Anne Japanese dolls in full dress as a thank you gift, along with an assortment of seaweed wrapped crackers that I adored.

Kankashi flowers, made with an open flame, petal by petal.

We’ve always had oriental art and trinkets dotted throughout our house, as much a part of the decor as any throw pillow or bookend, even beyond the Hawaii years. And little Japanese lanterns were a family favorite tradition on our Christmas tree. So of course a Japanese doll was somewhere in my future!

It was finally the time. I learned a lot in my research, like how a kimono is always worn left over right unless you’re in mourning, as well as how to make Kansashi flowers in the traditional Japanese way. And that the wooden shoes are called “Geta” and the socks with the split toe are called “Tabi.”

I used balsa and wood with red velvet cording to make these Geta shoes.

Since we don’t have massive fabric stores, and for once I didn’t have on hand the kind of fabric I wanted, searched the fabric section at the craft store, worried I wouldn’t find anything that would work. Christmas to the rescue! Freshly arrived for the coming holiday this red with metallic gold was just the thing. I heaved a dainty sigh of relief when I found it.

Speaking of my mother and talking to her last night, guess who won the last doll, No. 110 Mona? My mother! When I see her occasionally bidding I say, “Aw, Mom!” beneath my breath and actually right to her. When she gets outbid I tell her, “OKAY MOM!! STAHHHP!!!” This woman has a MIND OF HER OWN. I think I come by my stubbornness honestly!

But she rarely bids, and only on dolls she likes. She knows me so well, and knows how hard that first doll back after a long period away was and how nervous making it was to get back in the saddle. Her reaction via email SAVED ME. She LOVED this girl and said I hadn’t lost my touch! PHEW. My mother is one to say what she thinks, so this meant a lot to me. And now she finally has an O.L.D.! Thanks Mom! YOU’RE MY FAVORITE MOM EVAH and one of the best human beings I know.

You know who else is my favorite human, as we get our first flurries of snow? YOU. You’re my favorite.

*Yosuru means “embrace” in Japanese.

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Mona Shines

I love back to school! I’m so rusty, I almost missed it! But I didn’t, and THAT is the important thing…

Thus begins the description of O.L.D. No. 110 Mona, she who brings the Hazel Twigg line ROARING Back (to School!). You can see her adoption page HERE.

Mona! That’s not a name you hear very often, is it? But it’s one I’ve wanted to use for quite some time. This Mona is in honor of our very own Mona of Rolfe.

Mona was truly gifted. Here she is surrounded by her work at the Iowa State Fair.

As you may know, this town is on the shy side of 600, but we’re very proud of all that’s available here, especially for so small a town! There’s a bank, a grocery store, a hardware store, a gas station…..and our own bona fide art gallery! “Wild Faces Gallery,” run by a very talented artist named Mona. Not only was she an accomplished wildlife artist, she was also a warm and wonderful soul. Always happy, an instant friend, and she was even a member of sorts of the Hazel Twigg family!

Thank you, Mona!

When I first started doing presentations for my book, “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway,” I would take the original artwork with me for display. These things were hectic events, and keeping the prints safe and crease and smudge free was nigh on impossible.

Luckily, we had right here in town someone who was able to make large prints because she made them for her own beautiful works! So Mona generously made prints for me, both large and small, of our artist Nina Khalova’s work.

Mona was a definite fixture here in town. Here colorful fingerprints are still everywhere.

Mona and Luna Lovegood. “Wild Faces” indeed.

Last January, Mona, who was relatively young, passed away from complications from that flu that was going around. One person in Iowa, and it was her! I still cannot believe she is gone. When I think of her I can’t help but smile, even as there’s a little catch in my heart. So of course, there had to be a Mona O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll), and this is her.

Mona also comes with a more traditional Lion coat with removable tail, a sweater with a letter “R” for Reliance, a pleated wool skirt and more!

 

Our Mona happens to be from the fictional town in my book called “Reliance,” which is of based on Rolfe. The mascot for the town school is the lion. That’s the theme I wanted for my 2018 Back-to-School girl.

I was looking for some kind of lion-inspired hat, and 90% of what I found was Luna Lovegood, one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter, wearing a lion hat! Since it’s close to Halloween (it’ll be here before you know it!), I decided to make Mona a Luna Lovegood Halloween costume.

The story of how I made that lion hat is a teensy bit dark, in a Disneyesque “Cruella DeVille” sort of way. You’ll never believe what I used! I made a video about it. Wanna see it? Here it goes:

 

It’s also literally a little dark because I broke my light bulb from my fancy umbrella light.

So there you have it! Mona for our Mona. Two lovely, lively creatures I’ll never forget.

A long time ago there was an police officer named Ernie. He was adopted by…Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! This is Gwen’s lucky third! THANK YOU, Gwen, and sorry this particular thank you took so long!

And with that, I leave you! Happy early Fall. It feels like it, doesn’t it? You’re my favorite!

 

First Dude Vs. SHARK

No, I’m not doing a shark doll! BUT, the next Hazel Twigg doll is in the works and will be coming very soon! FINALLY.

In the meantime, it’s been a dicey (har! (you’ll see why)) few weeks here in Iowa. 

Let’s start at the beginning: several years ago the First Dude, aka my sister Julie the Mayor’s husband, aka the heretofore shall be known as SCOTT was diagnosed with something called “Shark-O.” That’s how I heard it. But for some reason I could never quite remember that word, so I called it something I COULD remember: “Sharknado.”

That’s what I called it when writing my dear friend Brenda, who wisely realized that could not possibly be the correct name. She did a search for “Shark Foot,” and there it was with the correct spelling! CHARCOT. Named for a French person, so the “T” on the end is silent. Those pesky French change EVERYTHING.

The best way I can describe Charcot is, it’s like the worst kind of diabetes of the limbs without the diabetes itself.

About two weeks ago the battle with this vicious creature came to a head. Or in this case, a foot. The Shark won. It won the battle, but not the war! When it was a choice between certain death or having his leg amputated, Scott wisely chose the latter.

You can see a glimpse of the ramp in this shot here.

There have been a whirlwind of emotions going on. Such a fast learning curve, so many things you don’t think of, so many dark humors swirling about, because you have to laugh at such things and of course there have been tears.

During this time I have come to admire anew the team the Scott and Julie are. Since becoming disabled a few years ago, he did what he could: he’s been to every one of Julie’s council meetings, kept their lawns looking pristine and did the grocery shopping and much of the laundry. AND he squires me around when my car doesn’t work, which is 95% of the time. We’ve become quite the errand buddies!

This is one of the dark humors I was talking about. Julie found this image online, and sent it to me, laughing.

And that Julie! Though she be but little, she is FIERCE. She is 5’2″ to Scott’s 6’4″, and she’s been a dynamo. Taking time off work at the post office to tend to Scott, then working at the post office and still tending to Scott, picking up and dropping off equipment as they try to figure out what will work best, keeping track of his meds, taking him to appointments, and in her down time she lists on ebay to try and make ends meet. She does this all with a smile on her face, even as her cheeks are rosy with fatigue.

There are so many things you never think of that come up with a challenge like this. Things that less than two weeks ago weren’t a consideration because we didn’t know THIS was going to happen! The ramp, the higher commode, the shower bar, the gas to get back and forth to aaallll the appointments. They have good insurance, but it doesn’t cover everything and they have a high deductible.

My dear friend Jennifer came up with the idea to do a Go Fund Me page if there’s anyone out there interested in helping, even a little bit. You can find it HERE.

Scott married the right sister. I don’t think I would have made a very good nurse.

If you’re a novice like me, the way it works is this: you go there, follow the simple instructions, it’s very secure, and the tip is optional.

Or if you would rather send a check, we’ve set up an account at our local bank. Here’s the info:

Scott Lancaster Benefit

c/o Rolfe State Bank

P.O. Box 101

Rolfe, IA 50581

Any amount, large or small, would help. Julie never asks for help and Scott is a man of few words, so I’m doing it for them.

Lastly, Julie is quite the talented girl. Yessiree, the apple doesn’t fall far from the other apple! She’s been making these little treasures for awhile, and has now started putting them up on ebay. Wanna see ’em? HERE THEY ARE. The most dazzling things EVER. I’ve seen them in person and I want them ALL.

Every day in every way, things are getting better! And know what else? You’re STILL my FAVORITE.

Back to the sewing room I go, hi-ho! CAN’T WAIT.

But How Do You Thank Someone..?

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you might already know that I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. A town so small that we have no police officer (don’t tell the bad guys!). But I do see what’s going on, and I want to somehow reach out and thank those brave men and women who put their lives on that thin blue line to keep us safe.

This whole week plus while I was working on this little fellow, the first line from the chorus from the song “To Sir With Love” from the 1967 movie of the same name was playing in my mind. Anybody know what that line is…?

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 109, Ernie the beat cop. You can see his adoption page HERE.

 

Ernie is a 13″ composition Kewpie doll. It is my intention to do a series of “Hero” Kewpie dolls. The first was the mail carrier. Perhaps not an obvious choice – unless you live somewhere with extreme heat, or extreme cold, or if there are dogs on the loose. Or sometimes, mail carriers are the ones who alert others when something is amiss at someone’s house. So maybe it’s not so much of a stretch after all!

The next, whenever another Kewpie comes to my door, will be a firefighter. But for today, and always in my heart, we focus on police officers.

For those who don’t know, the first line of the chorus of “To Sir With Love” is the title of this post! I’m always assuming everybody has the same musical references as myself, but Julie (who is nine years my junior) didn’t instantly know the song I was referring to, so maybe not!

My heart goes out to these brave men and women who, for very little pay, go out into the streets and put their lives on the line for all of us. And like you, my heart breaks when I see them under attack.

I was once held up at gun point walking home from a grocery store in the early evening hours. I was in my early 20’s, and two teen girls were trailing me. I thought nothing of it. They called out and asked for directions. When I turned around to help them, they pulled out a gun.

Ernie’s hat badge is glass beads and metallic trim stitched onto leather and painted silver.

It’s one to thing to IMAGINE what you might do when faced with such a situation, another thing when it actually happens. I previously pictured myself shoving someone’s nose up into their brains with one swift, ninja-like action. Or saying, with my vast acting skills, “Look! What’s that over there?!” and snatching their gun away when they were distracted. Or perhaps some jujitsu. I’d seen movies! How hard could it be?

Here he is with his white gloves, directing traffic.

But when you’re actually looking into the barrel of a gun, all bets are off. All thinking is off. All I felt was absolute, abject fear like nothing I ever imagined. I let them take my purse.

When I got home, I sputtered to my roommate, “I was r-r-r….”

“What? What?!” she cried, horrified.

Ernie’s chest badge sports his O.L.D. number, 109.

“I was r-r-r…” I tried to get out. I took a deep breath and finally managed to gasp, “I WAS ROBBED!”

The police arrived at our apartment moments later. They caught the two girls that night. They are the superheroes walking amongst us.

Police officers around the country do this sort of thing every day. They say goodbye to their spouses, who themselves are brave for sending their wives and husbands into the fray, not knowing if they’ll come home safe.

Since there are no local police officers I can thank, Ernie here is saying it for me. If YOU encounter a police officer, can you thank them for me?

“Who?” they will say. No matter. I am grateful all the same. Here’s the song if you’re not familiar with it, or just want to hear it again:

This song also means a lot to me because every year the graduating drama students from my high school would sing it to our much beloved theater arts teacher, DJ. From the comments on the video, a lot of other students from other high schools had the same brilliant idea. It’s a great song!

Billy and Bingo were adopted by Karen L. of Oakton, Virginia. A new face! I love new faces! I love old faces! I LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU ALL. Thank you, Karen, it’s been a pleasure and I hope to see you again.

And with that, I leave you! Happy last day of April, you’re my favorite.

Rock-a-bye Billie

“Nice hat!” Dot laughingly said to our new arrival.

“Dot, be nice to Shirley.” 

Then I had to laugh too. Shirley was trying to see her own “hat,” which was an overly thick acrylic replacement wig. She was flipping her head heavenward and trying to catch a glimpse. Somehow, her eyes could just never get there in time. I lifted her to look at herself in the hall tree mirror.

“Oh, goodness!” she exclaimed. “This isn’t right at all! Well, I s’pose I’ll need a new one. I can’t wait to meet my new human!”

Reader, my heart sank. I knew that there wasn’t a Shirley Temple wig in my stash, and heaven knows when I’d ever get one! But this Shirley – whose first little human had named Billie – was so eager to go. I would have to come up with something…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 108, our little Billie and her hobby horse Bingo. You can see their adoption page HERE.

I was so excited to get to work on a little cowgirl as soon as the idea came to me from a little voice with equally tiny fists. Especially when I saw images like these:

What great spirit! Ten gallon hats! Fur chaps! FRINGE! But then I remembered: in 1936, the Ideal Toy Company, manufacturers of Shirley Temple dolls, had come out with a Shirley Temple cowgirl for the Texas Centennial.

OH.

The more I looked at that picture of the original Shirley Temple cowgirl doll, the more intimidated I became. She had been so well done! Any idea of mine on how she would look paled in comparison.

“One word,” that helpful little voice said when I called her in despair.

“What word is that?” I asked.

“ROCKABILLY.” Julie stated. “Look up ‘Vintage Rockabilly Cowboy’.”

Which, and I’m no mathematician, is actually THREE words, but no matter! PHEW. I was inspired! And SAVED. And about to get a lot of holes in my fingernails. Embroidering leather is NOT for sissies!

Not to mention that this girl’s name is Billie. Get it?! RockaBILLIE…? So many levels!

“Rockabilly” is hard to define, but when I looked up images for that three worded phrase, up popped a definite style. Lots of embroidered flowers and the exact kind of free spirit of those black and white cowgirl images above.

And it’s a good thing this Shirley is only 13″ tall! I of course didn’t have small leather fringe laying around, so I had to cut it all. It was a little bit nerve racking: one false move, and your fringe would be missing a “tooth”!

Billie needed a companion with which to ride the wild range (try saying that three times fast!), so I created Bingo with wool, cotton, and leather ears and harness.

The non-Shirley wig I found for Billie in my stash is a vintage human hair wig in braids. It was a little large for her and had to be adjusted, but I liked what the warm tone of it did for her.

So there you have her! I’d like to thank my sister Julie for giving me that boost, and my mom for sending me a care package that contained those snippy scissors. I LOVE those things! Thank you, Mom! And thank you all for being here. Truly.

HOLLY was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California! Lucky number six for her! THANK YOU, Linda! From my old stomping grounds…Well, my stomping state, anyway.

And with that, I leave you! Happy “Spring,” we’ve been recently clobbered by snow and ice!

Hot or cold, you’re my favorite!

 

TUG O’ WAR(drobe)

My heart went through a plethora of emotions upon seeing this little girl at my door. First, of course, was EXCITEMENT. I didn’t know if I’d ever see the day when an American Child would come strolling into my house! AT LAST!!

The next emotion was dismay. Honestly, 83% of the O.L.D.s (Once-Loved Dolls) that come here are naked and bald. But this one was different: Someone had loved this girl enough to remold nearly all her fingers, and then inexplicably put her away, most likely in an attic judging by the fly dirt. Without even a rag to protect her! All those years…

The final emotion was determination. To misquote Shakespeare, “If you prick me, am I not sawdust and glue?” 

This girl, special and forlorn, deserved to be loved again no matter how daunting the task. So without further adieu…

Hazel Twigg No. 107 is an Effanbee American Child doll, and her name is Holly. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Left to right, 1.) Before. Those aren’t freckles all over her face, that’s all I’m saying about THAT. 2.) After cleaning I picked this wig for her from my stash. It too was filthy and tattered. 3.) Wig washed and mended and paint touch up done. 4.) “Before” arm showing the worst of the chipping paint and the previously repaired fingers. All in all, these repairs and cleaning took nearly three days to complete.

Upper right corner in the orange.

“American Child” dolls were manufactured in the 1930’s for about four years by the Effanbee doll company, who would later manufacture Anne Shirley dolls which were produced for 20 years, making the American Child doll’s much more rare.

There were six different face shapes in all. That combined with different hair and eye colors meant that little girls could have dolls that looked just like themselves!

They were also one of 17 dolls chosen for the “Classic American Dolls” postage stamps that came out in 1997. It had taken nearly 10 years to decide which dolls would make the cut, so you know they’re something special.

Segue alert! WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE.

As you may know, my sister Julie who is The Mayor also works at yon post office in Pokey, and I love old dolls! She tries to keep me realistic, bless her heart. I told her my plans for Holly.

“She does NOT need THREE DRESSES!”

This was the first time in months I had seen Julie for any length of time. Cold weather makes hermits of us all. I vaguely noted as I followed her tiny waving fists that her knuckles were almost as chappy as mine. It’s been a long winter here in Iowa.

“HEY!”

Julie, sensing that my mind was elsewhere, jumped as high as she could, stretching her arms upwards as she tried to regain my attention. It worked.

“Huh,” I responded as I took in her rosy cheeks and snapping blue eyes. “I would’ve thought you’d be more upset by the two coats.”

“I AM!” This time she both waved her fists and stomped her feet. It was good to see her again. I’d forgotten how very cute and little she is.

She’s been right a lot in the past, but maybe this time she was wrong! I was determined to TRY. There was so much I wanted to do for this rare and unusual little girl.

There was a LOT. That red, white and blue dress was trickier than it looks.

Reader, I worked day and night. When I told Julie a few days before Holly’s adoption date what was left to be done, she said, “There will be other dolls!” (Meaning, “You can make those other things for THEM.”)

THE CURSE OF JULIE

It was 3:00 Easter Sunday afternoon and adoption time is 6:33. I’d been working since 5:00 in the morning, frantically finishing allll the little touches. I won’t tell you all the things I attempted and failed at, either due to lack of skill or time, but bless my heart, I tried! I touched base with Julie.

“I have to finish NOW. It’s not like taking pictures takes no time at all! All those outfits to change in and out of…”

“Another reason to whittle things down!” she replied.

HMPF.

I was giving the coat one last ironing. That lowest button would have to be lowered just a bit more – later. Where was that hat…?

Suddenly the smell of something burning accosted my nostrils. “Whatever could that be?” I wondered to myself. NoooOOooOOOoooo!!! IT WAS THE COAT. I had singed that beautiful wool! It wasn’t a mirage, it was there. PERMANENT. On the one panel that I’d done my first hand sewn buttonholes on!

“That’s okay, it goes well with my eyes!” sweet Holly cheered me.

“Plus, it matches the buttons!” kind Betty chimed in.

Well, there was nothing for it. I gathered the smoldering coat, found the hat that was laying nearby, as well as all of Holly’s clothes and my camera, and went into my photography/shipping room. I made that 6:33 adoption time by the skin of my teeth.

Maybe next time I’ll listen to Julie. Maybe…

Little Navy and smaller Bean were adopted by Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas! This is Gwen’s second O.L.D. Thank you so much, Gwen, it’s nice to see you again (POET)!

And with that, I leave you! Happy Wednesday, You’re my favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Know JACKS

The atmosphere at the Hideaway was a teeny bit gloomy. It’s a tricky time of year. It had been a long winter, and now it was as beautiful as anything with the sun beaming and the birds happily chirping. But the dolls couldn’t go outside. It was far too soggy with melting snow for little girls made of sawdust and glue to go and out play.

“I have just the thing,” our newest arrival said.

There was instant anticipation in the air. We don’t like to pry too much into what a lost doll – and in this case, her companion too – bring with them. But there was no denying it: we were curious as to what was in the worn red bag that made strange clanking sounds they had been dragging behind them wherever they went.

Navy – that was the lost doll’s name – nodded to her friend Bean to open the bag. It was almost as tall as he was. He upended the bag and after several vigorous shakes the contents spilled out.

“Jacks!” Navy said happily. “Jacks solve ALL.”

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. No’s 106 and 106 1/2, Navy and Bean. You can see their adoption page HERE.

It’s hard to believe, but some of us grew up in a world without the internet. Before mere peasants could watch pert near any movie at any time in the comfort of your own home. Before you could be reached by phone wherever you happened to be. Before video games. Before even Pong!

Why, whatever did we do…?

I’ll tell you what we did! We played JACKS! We played Pick-up Stix! We copied the funnies – the color Sunday ones were the best – with Silly Putty! Mother May I! Red Light/Green Light!

I’m not around kids much these days. Do they still play any of these? I know here in little ol’ Rolfe, Iowa there’s still a lot of bike riding going on. Helmetless, even!

Those of us who grew up in the dark ages did get to experience the thrill of new things. I remember when answering machines were a new thing. Before if you weren’t home your phone would just ring and ring. Oh, the THOUGHT that went into what your outgoing message would be!

Or the first time we got our computer up and running and signed into the internet. The absolute THRILL I felt when in a little corner in the upper right hand corner of the computer screen I watched what I thought was a live shot of a plane flying over trees from the viewpoint of the pilot. I realize now it was probably just a video, but my heart was thrilled all the same.

Or when cordless phones first came out, and everyone would nonchalantly hang out on their porches, handset in hand, yakking. Their body language would shout, “Oh, no big deal. I’m just out here WITH MY CORDLESS PHONE!” Ah, the excitement of new things!

But with all this excitement, I hope we don’t lose the classics of our past! I feel like a toothless old woman, standing on my porch and shaking my cane at the world. That said, I bet there was some old woman out there when I was little, lamenting that with the invention of the T.V. and portable radios that kids of MY generation losing out!

Moderation, I guess! Moderation in modernization.

Speaking of folks of long ago, historical “Outlander” James was adopted by Cecilia S. of Fostoria, Ohio! One of the two sisters that suggested Jamie to me in the first place! I see what you did there. This is Cecilia’s second O.L.D. Thank you, Cecilia!

And with that, I leave you! Spring has arrived, and with it, a clobbering of snow! No matter: You’re my favorite.

 

 

Let Me Call You…Sassenach

Perhaps it’s the time of the year. You know, “Spring! When a young doll’s fancy turns to love!” 

There was just something in the air when that firm knock sounded at the door. When we opened it, there was a rather tall Schoenhut boy standing there. He wasn’t anything super special to look at, but from the moment he arrived there was an extra skip in Dot and Betty’s step. 

“And he gets more and more handsome the better you get to know him!” the usually shy Betty whispered to me one day, blushing.

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 105, Jamie, inspired by the “Outlander” series on STARZ which themselves are based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon. You can see Jamie’s adoption page HERE. Jamie is my sixth Schoenhut doll. I tell you, they’re addicting.

Poor me. I had to study every nuance of actor Sam Heughan’s clothing. Oh, how I suffer!

Sas·se·nach
[sasuh-nuhkh, -nak]
NOUN [OFTEN DISPARAGING.]

1. a term used by the Gaelic inhabitants of the British Isles to refer to the English inhabitants. (Jamie says it like an endearment, once he gets to know Claire.)

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK whoever it was out there who made this suggestion. I should write these things down, but I know full well I will absolutely lose the scrap of paper! So mea culpa and thank you! Drop me a line! UPDATE: It was Cecilia and her sister Wanda of OHIO. Thank you!

BEFORE.

When our Jamie arrived, he was in pretty good shape. He needed his eyebrows redone, and his wig was just too short for the flowing locks of the character. Luckily, I had an old, tattered wig of nearly the same shade of human hair. I took both wigs apart, and alternated the wefts onto a new skull cap.

Basket-hilt sword and dirk made from a triple layer of popsicle sticks with wires running from inside the blade to the handle for extra sturdiness.

I had previously done two Claire dolls from the “Outlander” series HERE and HERE, but it would never had occurred to me to do a doll based on Jamie. And quite honestly, I still might not have had I not found the beautiful wool/cotton plaid I used for his kilt at a thrift store. It was my absolute favorite find of the day!

I’m now practically an expert on all things Scot. Like how to put on a kilt, for example. Turns out, it’s kinda complicated. It’s hard to imagine these tough Scottish guys laying on the ground to get dressed, but by golly they do! And they hand pleat their kilts each time, too.

This is the guy I learned from. He’s a true Scot, and a charmer! Also, he flashes his bum at the end. Woohoo! Turns out, Scot’s don’t wear anything under their kilts. I bet you knew that.

I didn’t want whoever adopts Jamie to have to go through this, so I sewed in a hidden waistband and added a series of snaps. It took me over a day to figure out, but now you too can put Jamie’s kilt on with no fuss!

Of course, you wouldn’t have to mess with it at all if Jamie never changed his clothes. Luckily, he does! I was happy to see Jamie wearing his jacket, vest and shirt with a pair of pants. I also find it downright impossible to send a doll out without a hat. But what to give him? Does Jamie even wear a hat? YES HE DOES.

He wears a tricorn hat. The brim on mine is made from leather. That with the boots and the belts and the sporran, and this was a leather-heavy fellow.

You know I love a patriotic doll. Seeing this Scotsman in his new hat made me want to give him an American flag for special occasions. “Well, he DOES go to America…” helpful Julie, who has watched all the episodes so far told me. Score! DONE.

The dolls and I are going to miss him. He has conquered our hearts! But now he must venture out to conquer MORE. Yours, perhaps…?

Our sweet Georgy Girl Scout was adopted by…Beth N. of Nipomo, California. A new friend! Welcome, Beth, and thank you!

And with that, I leave you! There’s a change in the air. Spring is almost here! And you’re my favorite.

Hey There, Georgy Girl (Scout)!

“A-HAH!” I said out loud, pleased with my own ingenuity and inventiveness. I was trying to come up with a theme for the next O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll). St. Patrick’s Day was coming, but for some reason I was in no mood for leprechauns.

I waited until I had my sister Julie’s full attention before continuing, “Who besides Leprechauns has a green theme and a shamrock logo?”

I’d like to thank my dear friend Jennifer T. for printing up the Girl Scout Promise and the cookie recipe. And for helping me out in so many ways! Jennifer’s the BEST.

Julie could not guess.

“GIRL SCOUTS!” I crowed. Yessirree, I really am quite the clever girl to come up with this idea clear out of the blue…Julie’s question interrupted my preening.

“Are you going to use that Girl Scout tin I found for you TWO MONTHS AGO?!”

Curses.

Anywho…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 104, Georgy the Girl Scout. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Girl Scout’s gotta have a canteen! I made mine from the lids of some salt and pepper shakers just like this. They had rusted and were unusable.

It was Julie who guessed her name first. I was having a hard time figuring it out. It’s winter, and sometimes my ears get a little stuffy.

“Georgie!” Julie cried. We were on the phone at the time, but even so I could practically see her waving her tiny fists in joy this time.

Here’s the tin that Julie found that led to her suggestion that I took…a few months later.

“You’re RIGHT. It’s GEORGY!” I crowed a little too loudly, my ears being stuffed and all. “And it’s PERFECT, because she’s a GIRL scout!”

There was silence on the other end of the line, so I continued, “You know, like that song! ‘Hey There, Georgy Girl!”

Martha Stewart had a very useful video on the history of G.S. uniforms.

STILL there was silence. Finally, Julie squeaked, “Huh?”

So I obligingly sang for her. I will obligingly sing at the drop of a hat. “Hey there, Georgy girl, swinging down the street so fancy free…” I then skipped to the chorus, “You’re always window shopping, but never stopping to buy…”

There was a pause. “Nope, never heard of it.”

IT HAS COME TO THIS. I knew I was getting older, but OY. No matter! I love the song, and the theme seemed to fit.

It’s all fun and games until you’re trying to embroider patches little bigger than a pencil eraser. Actually, it WAS pretty fun. These are based on actual patches.

I wanted this to be an early Girl Scout, so I did a lot of research and based mine on a combination of the 1920’s and 30’s era. The main difference I noticed was that patches were worn on their sleeves rather than on a sash. And the hats were so cute!

When I was describing the uniform I was going to make for Georgy to my mother, she protested.

“She should have a beret!” she cried, waving her tiny and also very lovely fists about (my sister Julie comes by it honestly).

My mother rarely gives me directives, so I had to oblige – in my own way, for I art stubborn.

I made an orangey-red beret to go with the olive green coat I made for Georgy for those meetings when the weather was cold. To tie the hat more to the coat, I also made mittens and then a coordinating scarf.

AND NOW! For the uninitiated. This is the 1967 (before my pesky sister was born) song, “Georgy Girl” from an Australian group called The Seekers:

GREAT SONG. The whippersnappers of today just don’t know good music!

Speaking of great, Presley was adopted by the Great Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! Michelle’s about like family. As are so many of you. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

And with that, I leave you! Swinging down the street so fancy free. As soon as this ice melts…You’re my favorite.

 

Love BURNS

“Dennis! Did you hear that?”

It was a Saturday in May of 2011 in California. My parents were out doing something they dearly loved to do: garage sale shopping. It’s not as if it were early morning. The sale had been going for hours. And yet there on a table in a box in a bag was a voice calling out that only my mother could hear…THANK GOODNESS.

Thus begins the description of O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 103, Presley, who was discovered by my very own parental Valentines. You can see her adoption page HERE.

I confess, even *I* sometimes fail. No, no, it’s true! HERE IS MY CONFESSION:

THE FABRIC

The reason that No. 103 was named Presley is because I had this unique fabric I’d purchased years ago because it was excruciatingly cute. However, while cute, it wasn’t really the kind of fabric I would normally use. Yes, it was a print of vintage Valentines, but the fact that vintage Valentines were printed on fabric was too much of an in-your-face manifestation that it wasn’t vintage, not one bit. They would never have done that back in the day!

But every Valentine’s day I would look at it, and I decided that this year it was finally time to use it. Only ONE DOLL could pull it off. A doll that is indeed vintage, but that has been reproduced in recent years so she could easily bridge both old and new: PATSY.

Here’s a nice example of a PATSY doll.

Effanbee Patsy dolls were extremely popular back in their day from 1928 to 1946. They are distinctive with their molded hair in a bobbed style, their painted, side-glancing eyes, and their crooked right arm, perfect for holding things. In recent decades, they were reproduced in vinyl, and are popular to this day.

Here’s a vinyl REPRODUCTION Patsy

I only had one Patsy, and she had a major issue: She had been in a fire, and had suffered smoke damage. Now, she didn’t smell! But parts of her were discolored and she had severe chipping and flaking.

“No matter!” I confidently said to myself. “I can do this! This is her year!” A theme even came to mind! BURNING for your LOVE. Perfect! I went to YouTube and typed in “Burning Love” for inspiration for a name for this girl. Of course, Elvis Presley’s song of the same name came up (“…a hunk a hunk of Burning Love….”). Presley! PERFECT.

Here’s my burnt Patsy. Soon after this picture was taken, her remaining painted eye crumbled into smithereens.

This, Reader, is part of the reason for the longer than normal gap between this doll and the last. My struggles with Patsy, the Super Bowl, and also, my dog got sick. I know, sounds fake, right? That’s what my mortgage guy thought when I told him that. But it’s true! Thankfully, he got better. My dog, not my mortgage guy. But that’s a story for another day…

Here’s my attempt. Her face paint is too flat and getting her entire body to look smooth without an airbrush just wasn’t gonna happen without a lot more time.

I digress! Anyway, it’s all fun and games to tap your way into smaller repairs with your fingertips rather than an airbrush. But to tap an entire doll? DIFFICULT. I tried, went to bed, tried again and again, but NOPE. This just wasn’t going to work! Did I have anybody else that would do?

Luckily, with great success comes great competition. This is true now, and it was true back in the day. Enter the Madame Hendren doll company and PEACHES. She also has the molded bobbed hairdo and the crooked arm.

As you can see, Presley (II) arrived in pretty good shape – which I needed after the trials with Patsy. Her foot was broken was the main thing. Not bad at all…

Now, don’t you worry about a thing! Patsy will get her turn some day, she will! For now, she’s happily content to at least have two eyes she can see her many friends with.

It turns out, Peaches – now PRESLEY – was meant to be. I LOVE that she was discovered by my parents. What a perfect girl for Valentines Day, a celebration of love! My parents were married for 60 years before my father passed away about a year and a half after this garage sale. I miss him so much.

You never saw such a grateful girl! Dancing as well as her broken foot (since rebuilt) would allow her, so excited to finally get her turn! She helped me with Teddy when he was sick (bad dog food! It took me some trial and error and a good scare or two to discover this) and has an absolute heart of gold.

So now you know. Because of the delays, Presley won’t actually end until AFTER Valentines day. But Valentine’s day will come again! There’s always next year…

JUDE was adopted by…Adele M. of Castroville, Texas! If my count is correct, this is O.L.D. number THREE for her. Thank you, Adele!

And with that, I leave you! YOU ARE MY VALENTINE and YOU are my FAVORITE.