now browsing by category


Set Her Free

Pin It

Reader, I could not believe my eyes when I opened a bin from a dark corner of the closet and saw her laying there. I checked her back just to make sure and saw the horrible strips of skin that confirmed her identity, but I already knew. I turned her back over and looked at the sweet face I’d first seen 20 years ago. There was no mistaking those features. After all, I’d painted them myself…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 117, Pendleton. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Thank goodness when I tried this method, I tried it on her back, poor thing.

There was a time when I didn’t know that composition dolls existed. I don’t know if I ever would have were it not for the popping of my childhood friend into my life for a brief moment. She showed me her collection of old dolls and I was entranced. WOW. There were bisques, hard plastics and composition dolls. For the next few years I would scour the antique stores for ones I could afford but never found any.

Fast forward to 1999. I was standing in the living room in my little house in Napa, California talking to my sister Carol, when she handed the phone to her daughter Rhiannon. There was excitement and relish in her voice as she told me, “There’s this site. You’re going to absolutely love it. It’s called ‘Ebay’.”

I have no actual “Before” picture. This was back in the day of the One Hour Photo, or the scanner, if you were lucky. I removed her painted features with skilled photo editing. Ahem.

Ebay? What a strange name! I joined but worried about sending my money to some stranger. These were the days before Paypal, when you would pay by mail. It seemed like quite the risky gamble. But then I saw her. That goggly fish. She was filthy and had no hair or painted features, and she was cracked all over but she was also very affordable. I loved her instantly.

I found a nice little wig for her.

When it came time for her auction to finish, I waited anxiously by the computer, my heart pounding, my cheeks flushed. I put in a bid, but was it enough? There was no automatic countdown. You had to refresh the page each time. And when you did, it reloaded as slowly as the sun rising above the horizon, except backwards and line by line…by…line. GAH!!! I was almost too scared to look, but I HAD WON HER!!! And it hadn’t even been a contest! Apparently, no one wanted her but me. That suited me just fine.

Once she was finally into my anxious little hands, after my check traveled one way, and then she traveled the other, the next problem became how to fix her. I got a very well known doll repair book that mentioned “Formby’s” and how it magically re-creamed the composition together, kind of like a paint thinner. This didn’t seem right at all, but nothing ventured…


I didn’t have any Formby’s or paint thinner on hand, but I had fingernail polish remover! It seems so silly now, but I was merely trying to be brave and doing what I could for this girl. I was horrified when I saw the results. WHAT TO DO?

Then a light bulb went on over my head. My friend Holly! She had mentioned doll repair while I was still trying to absorb the wonders of these creatures that weren’t in museums or antique stores behind glass. I contacted her. And she gave me that best tip I use to this day.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Pendleton clothes. My brother Kenny worked at the Pendleton store at Disneyland for a time.
This dress is made from a Pendleton suit a neighbor gave me. How fortuitous!

And now here she sat, poor little Pendleton. Lonely and forgotten. That sweet face that started everything for me now as neglected as the Once-Loved Dolls I vowed to try to save. Which is why as an act of love this Valentine season I’m letting her go. THANK YOU, PENDLETON!! I shall never, ever forget you.

As I mentioned on Pendleton’s adoption page, there’s a song from a movie that would move me to gulping, sobbing tears if I let it. Instead I control myself, genteelly biting my lips, silent tears flowing like diamonds down my rose petal cheeks. Also, my nose gets a little snotty. Can you guess it? Here it is:

“When She Loved Me” sung by Jessie in Toy Story 2. This song gets me every time! Julie just snorts, so I guess not everyone feels the same way. I’m sure Julie has many other good qualities. Sniff!

On a side note, I’d like to thank the wonderful people of Rolfe who attended or participated in any way in the breakfast and bake sale auction benefit for Julie and Scott. BEST TOWN EVER. This is one of the many reasons I love Iowa, and Rolfe in particular!

FRANK & SPOT were adopted by…Adele M. of Castroville, Texas! They will be in good company as this is the fifth O.L.D. for Adele, including a previous Kewpie, Jude the Mail Carrier. Thank you, sweet girl!

And thank YOU. Aren’t I lucky to have so many Valentines in my life? Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart! You know you’re my favorite.

Pin It

Right Said Fred!

One never knows when one might need a rescue. During Valentine’s day for sure! Especially when it’s a Kewpie and his ever dotted dog…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 116, Fred the Firefighter and his Trusty Sidekick Spot. You can see their adoption page HERE.

There wasn’t much to do to Fred. The difference of “Before/After” is much more dramatic in person.

Fred, as you may have guessed by now because you are fast becoming an expert, is a 12″ composition Kewpie doll. He is the third Kewpie to have passed through the Hideaway’s doors. Can you sense a theme with me and Kewpies? That’s right, they’re all daily heroes!

FRED & SPOT on the left, ERNIE in the center, and JUDE on the right.

That’s right! They’re all HEROES.

I tried to get him to do a calendar-like post as firefighters are known for their calendars that are sold to raise money for good and charitable causes, frequently with rippling muscles and “Come hither” gazes. Fred was shy at first. I showed him some examples. “See? They pose with their dogs. You can pose with Spot!”

We came close!

Behold the rippling muscles of his biceps! Some might call them mold flaws from factory, but we know better! Clearly, Fred has been working out.

Spot was made with a former stuffed rabbit toy. The fur was rather thick and had to be trimmed. For awhile I looked like a stuff toy myself, so covered in fur was I.

Fred’s helmet was made from leather with a chipboard frame. I studied a lot of fire helmets old and new to figure out how I wanted mine to look.

The ridges on vintage fire helmets are very pronounced, so I did reverse French seams. These things take a lot of pondering…

Because it is so close to Valentine’s day, Fred will not come empty handed! It would never even occur to him! Hopefully, he will send someone’s heart a-flutter…

Nicholas was adopted by Adele M. of Castroville, Texas. She has three previous O.L.D.’s, including Jude the Mail Carrier himself! THANK YOU, Adele, you are much appreciated!

And with that, I leave you! Happy Playoff day and may the games be GOOD. But whether good or bad, you’re my favorite.

Fearlessly Facing the NEW YEAR

We mortals sometimes have a hard time not judging a book by its cover. I have learned that this is most unfair when it comes to those whose features are painted on, especially when done against their will.

“I am NOT afraid!” Nicholas protested when I told him my thoughts. “I am BRAVE. Can you help?”

Hoo. This was going to be a tall order. But if Nicholas could be brave with eyebrows like that, then so could I. “Why, YES I CAN…”

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. 114, Nicholas the Toy Soldier. You can see his adoption page HERE.

His mustache and rosy cheeks string on like an old fashioned fake beard – with elastic.

Refilling and repainting Nicholas’ face was daunting. The top layer of paint is very thick – too thick to be filled in with mere paint, and a lot more “skin” flaked off with cleaning. Including one of Nick’s “fraidy cat” brows. The other I had to remove with the tip of a pin. I used epoxy, sandpaper, paint and prayers..

Nick is a 15″ Schoenhut doll. Their wigs are originall nailed onto their heads, as was Nick’s. I didn’t want to remove it for washing, so I spritzed it with Windex and blotted it dry.

He was now ready to MARCH! And march he did. His outfit is trimmed with gold braid of various kinds sent to me by the lovely Janey J. of Oakland, California, along with his red plume. The visor and strap on his hat is made from black patent leather.

For his “civilian” outfit when he’s not marching, I channeled Christopher Robin from A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” books, because he often wore boots and shorts.

Nick is the last doll of 2018 and adoption ends this Sunday. Then his new adventures with a brand new (to him) human BEGIN.

As do all of ours! Speaking of new adventures, I have a feeling 2019 is going to be our year. To begin with, I’m slowly updating “The O.L.D. Registry.” You can see the little link way above at the top of this page on the right. So far I’m up to O.L.D. No. 60 with the help of my brother Dennis. Little by little I’ll get to No. 115 and add each lost doll as their new journey begins. There are a few tweaks to be made to the first 20, but there you’ll see which doll was number what, who adopted her, and what her adoption fee ended up being. Always interesting to see, I think! What would I change with these dolls of the past? NOTHING. I do my best with each and every one.

By the way, WordPress has changed its format and I’m still trying to figure things out. Hope this looks normal, we’ll see!

Cherry and Wills were adopted by Gwen R. of Bedford, Texas. This is magical number 4 for her! THANK YOU, Gwen.

And with that, I leave you! HAPPY NEW YEAR, the best is yet to come, and you’re my favorite.


You never know how a doll’s going to arrive at my doorstep. This particular girl came by way of a friend I haven’t met yet, who wrote to ask me if I could find a good home for her doll if she sent her to me. Of course I said yes! 

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Usually, however, there’s a lengthy bit of time before a doll gets chosen. But when I found my inspiration, and I looked at her little face so full of surprise and wonder, I knew she was the one, and her time was NOW.

Thus begins the description for Cherry and her sidekick Wills. You can see their adoption page HERE.

How cute is this?

It’s not like I have weeks and weeks to look for inspirations. Sometimes my sister Julie and I will yak on the phone and send each other Pinterest images. A few weeks ago we were doing just that; looking at vintage winter images of children. I don’t know who found the one I ended up using, but I instantly fell in love and Cherry was perfect for the job.

You can save it to a file then zoom to make it whatever size you want and trace it directly from your screen. You probably knew that, but just in case…

My next task was to find a pattern for an elephant. Namely because if I couldn’t make an elephant toy, then all was lost and I’d have to move on. The problem is I wanted the elephant to look vintage, and modern patterns just don’t quite do it.

I found the one below. How perfect is that? It came from a pack of cigarettes manufactured in England. Long ago they used to insert collectible cards with pretty images and useful information.



The elephant was part of the “Household Tips” series of 50, including instructions on how to make a jolly bedspread, a gingerbread castle, a simple weather-vane, how to properly fold a coat (what a gyp!) and more. Now, of course I don’t recommend smoking, but I love these little cards!

Cherry has embroidered Cherries on her scarf.

I modified the elephant just a little bit, slightly changing the shape of the ears to more match the illustration, making the trunk a little longer, and adding pads to the bottom of his feet so he could ride his contraption.

Wills the Elephant is firmly stuffed with sawdust and there are supporting sticks that are attached to the wheel base that go up into his legs. I didn’t have any gray wool, but I looked and nearly half of Steiff’s stuffed elephants were brown, so…Precedent! I worked as hard as I could to make him look as vintage as possible. After I got him together I regretted not dyeing the wool with tea and considered brushing some on him…but didn’t want to risk it.

Look at that! You can even make your own N, S, E & W letters!

I’d like to thank sweet Nancy B. of Millbrae, California, that friend that I haven’t met yet. She also sent some other treasures, doll shoes bits of clothing and accessories, wigs…An early, wonderful Christmas! THANK YOU, Nancy! Your timing was perfect and Cherry was meant to be.

Doris the Doughnut Dolly was adopted by Barbara E. of Diamondhead, Mississippi. This is her second Hazel Twigg! She also has No. 49, Andrea. So nice to see you again, Barbara!

And with that, I leave you! It’s my favorite time of year and know what? You’re my favorite.

Hello, (Doughnut) Dolly!

I made the doughnuts with salt dough spiced up with cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Second uniform. The patches are hand embroidered. The Red Cross and flag pins are made from kidskin leather.

You never know where your next inspiration will come from. There you sit, watching one of your favorite series on the telly, in this case, “The Great British Baking Show,” when all of the sudden they segue away from the scrumptious baking going on in

the tent to do a piece on WWII Red Cross Doughnut Dollies! 

“I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before!” I exclaimed. “Ooh! And look at those hats with that BOW! How stinkin’ cute is that?”

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg No. 113, Doris the Doughnut Dolly. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Just like I’d never heard of Vivandiere’s and their service during war, I’d never heard of Doughnut Dollies!

I wanted to do the uniform with the skirt and that unique hat with the bow, but I also wanted to make a “Clubmobile” uniform, that more resembled an auto worker’s coveralls. I described both to Julie. She as always just wanted me to make one outfit. I was going to compromise and make the jacket with a skirt and pants. Alas, I didn’t have enough of the gunmetal blue/gray fabric. So I made BOTH uniforms! I WON. It all took awhile, though.

The apron and tray were based on what I saw in the mini documentary on “The Great British Baking Show.” I liked the bold colors.

Clubmobile uniform. Note the tiny wrench in her back pocket, also salt dough.












The “Doughnut Dolly” tradition was started by the Salvation Army in World War I as a way to bring a taste of home to U.S. soldiers overseas. The program was so popular, that the Red Cross made it a central part of their entertainment program for WWII.

At service clubs set up near U.S. Army bases, intelligent, attractive American women were hired to dance, flirt and socialize with soldiers and of course, serve up good ol’ American doughnuts. This earned these women the affectionate name of “Doughnut Dollies.”

See? Doughnuts on sticks! PRECEDENT.

Wanting to make this program more widespread to reach more soldiers, old trucks were converted into “Clubmobiles,” which were basically rolling doughnut factories manned by women. The women had to learn to do truck repair and maintenance. From June 1944, when American forces were preparing to invade northern France, nearly a 100 Clubmobiles worked side by side with the armed forces all across Europe until May the 7th, 1945 when victory was secured.

A doughnut making machine in the back of a truck.

The doughnuts were hand cut, sometimes raw, sometimes burnt, “you were lucky to get a hole in the middle” but it was the heart of those doughnuts and the touch of home hey brought that meant the most.

The program continued into both the Korean and Viet Nam wars.

Serving doughnuts to soldiers, what a novel idea! THIS is why humans will never be totally replaced by robots…

If you’ve never watched “The Great British Baking Show” on PBS, keep an eye out for it. It’s a breath of drama free fresh air!

Whimsy the Witch was adopted by a new and friendly face, Traci B. of Summerville, Georgia! Thank you, Traci! It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’m so happy to have met you.

On this Thanksgiving eve I’m thankful to all the men and women who serve, sometimes in unique and novel ways. And I’m thankful for YOU. Truly.

With that, I leave you! Happy gobble extravaganza, you’re my favorite. 

A Handful of Miracles

No. 111, Whimsy.

Whimsy didn’t start out in this direction; she didn’t even start out with this name! But something happened of great significance in my life and it caused a little hitch in my step. My little buddy Teddy, that feisty, stubborn, cairn terrier companion of 12 years passed away. A creature named Whimsy was the source of two smaller creatures that are helping me to heal. Therefore, No. 111 is a Rainbow Bridge of sorts; named for Whimsy and dedicated to my little Teddy Bear.

Thus begins the description for Whimsy the Witch. You can see her page HERE.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but Teddy was such an important part of my life that I simply have to. Because how things went at the end of Teddy’s tale were nothing short of a handful of miracles.

Teddy came into my life less than a year after I moved here to Iowa. Being a newly single, newly working mom was tricky enough. Trickier still when school let out that first summer. Adam was still reeling from the divorce so there was no way I could leave him at home alone at barely a decade old for hours on end. Enter my friend Jennifer to the rescue. She had relatives with a farm just outside of Rolfe where several children, cousins all, would spend the days playing. Would Adam like to be part of that group? What, hours in the country, running through cornfields, helping with the garden, not to mention there was a pool? YES.

Teddy and Adam in the early days.

In addition to the children, it was a play group for all the pets of the cousins as well. I had long been trying – and failing – to get a dog for Adam. The two that we’d had were left behind with my ex. I felt their loss almost as keenly as I did the loss of my marriage. We’d searched for just the right dog everywhere with no success.

One morning as I was walking Adam to the front door of the farm, a passel of dogs came bounding up behind us. I only had eyes for one. The cutest little Cairn terrier I ever did see. Not too big, not too small. Just right.

“Now, THERE’S a dog!” I exclaimed.

This apparently set off an idea in his current owner’s head. Teddy was one of several dogs in this family, and though he was the smallest of them all, he wanted to be king. This was never going to happen. So she offered him to us. And for $10 and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies, Teddy Bear was ours.

Being an old-fashioned, modern Witch, of course Whimsy rides a vacuum instead of a broom.

Years later, when Adam needed to stretch his wings and so moved to live with his father in Massachusetts, Teddy was mine alone. I work from home so we were together more than most. Through the good times and the bad, the feasts and the famines. The noisy days of his sitting by the window and barking at leaves, or the wind, apparently. And the quiet nights when it was just he and I alone in the dark. He was my confidante, someone to say “I love you” to, another heart beating in the house.

We grew old together. I found I could no longer simply leap off curbs when walking. Teddy, the dog that I used to walk for miles and he still wanted to play fetch when we got home, could barely make it around the block.

For several weeks he was on a few medications and didn’t want to walk at all. I was consumed with whether or not his quality of life was good. He wasn’t in pain, but was he having any joy?

Since Whimsy was an unconventional doll, that helped to distract me because she took some thinking. This vacuum for example, made from a plastic silver butter dish. It took some doing to get it to balance and stand on its own.

Needing a second opinion, I took him over to my sister Julie’s house. She knows him well. Julie and Scott’s dog Toby is Teddy’s best friend. For the first time in a long time I saw Teddy’s tail wag again, and he even barked! Julie thought he was doing fine. And he was still enjoying the treats I baked for him after all. Comforted, I took him home.

The following day was beautiful. I put Teddy outside so he could enjoy the Autumn weather. But I knew he was an old man, and I noticed he wasn’t sleeping. He seemed to be spending all his energy on simply breathing. Finally in the early afternoon I could stand it no longer. I took him to the vet to see if they could help him breathe.

Because it was harvest, our vet, who is also a farmer, was out in the fields. Cheryl called him and told him what was going on and he recommended some shots. I carried Teddy into the little room and placed him on the high table and wrapped my arms around him in preparation for the treatment. Cheryl was rummaging through the cupboards looking for the medication, so it was just Teddy and I alone for that moment.

I kissed his head and Teddy looked up at me and into my eyes in a way that he hadn’t for a very long time. It was such a direct, thorough look. Then his whole body relaxed, and the heavy panting that had become the soundtrack of my life, ceased.

I thought he was slowly going to sleep. Cheryl took one look and knew what was happening and told me. Teddy was dying. As he took his last breaths, with me still not believing that this was the end, I thanked him for everything and told him how much I loved him, just in case. And then he was gone. Just like that.

I included a little picture of Teddy on Whimsy’s adoption page. I’m not one to take a lot of pictures, so this is just about the only one I have.

Reader, I knew the time was coming and I hadn’t planned to be there when it did because it would have been too hard. But because of how things unfolded the choice was taken out of my hands. It was, in it’s way, a small miracle; one of many. A miracle I happened to take Teddy to the vet at that moment so I wasn’t alone when it happened. A miracle he got that last visit with Toby the night before. A miracle that I didn’t know he was going to die, so I was there to hold him and say goodbye. I’m so grateful for that last look from Teddy. As painful as this has been, I wouldn’t have changed a thing

Gracie and George. It’s impossible not to smile with two kittens afoot.

Finding the right dog can take awhile but I needed another heart – or two – beating in this house. Enter once again Jennifer, who let me know of a friend whose cat had just had kittens. She and I connected, and now George and Gracie are helping me to heal. Their mother’s name is Whimsy. So, thank you Whimsy! Thank you Melody! Thank you Jennifer! And thank you Teddy. I’ll see you again, little buddy.

No. 110 Blossom the Geisha was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California. Linda’s becoming quite the O.L.D. friend! Thank you, Linda. And thank you truly for all of you.

And with that, I leave you! On this Halloween eve, you’re my favorite!

If you haven’t read the poem “Rainbow Bridge” and you’ve ever lost a pet, I highly recommend it.

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.


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!