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“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.
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.
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!
“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”!
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.
And with that, I leave you! Happy “Spring,” we’ve been recently clobbered by snow and ice!
Hot or cold, you’re my favorite!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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!
“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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the America of doll collecting. “Give me your tired, your poor, your broken limb, your hole in the head….”
I never, ever buy mint. Not because I can’t afford it (although I can’t!), but because I’m just so tickled pink to actually have these old treasures right in my hands that I don’t care WHAT’S wrong with them. You must understand, I lived in a world before ebay! Hard to imagine, but there once was one. The only time I ever saw my future loves, old dolls, was in antique stores. There they sat, behind glass doors, out of reach in more ways than one, faded, frustratingly turned upside-down labels attached to their wrists.
“Ooh! Does that say $25.00?” I would eagerly think to myself, contorting my body into the oddest of positions trying to see that elusive tag. I would contain my excitement as I made my way to the front of the store. Contain it as I followed the helpful store lady back to my find, dutifully stepping back and not lunging as she unlocked the case.
“Here she is,” the lady would kindly say, laying this glorious treasure in my arms.
“Oh, hmm…” I would nonchalantly murmur as I surreptitiously take a look at the tag, only to have my heart sink. $250.00 – NOT $25.00. I would give the doll one last squeeze before gently handing her back to the woman. “I’ll have to think about it. Thank you.” I would say.
If that happened once, it happened a hundred times. To this day I do not care what shape an old girl is in, I’m just honored to hold her and have her for my own, even if it’s just for a little while.
This summer I had to change my tactics a little and sell some of my dolls quickly to get by. My older dolls that are monetarily worth more – except they’re once again dolls I could afford, that were therefore very flawed, that I loved to distraction nevertheless.
I intended to simply sell them quickly, like ripping off a bandage. But when it comes to dolls, sometimes me and fabric are a magnet, and my sewing machine is STEEL. In some cases, I just had to do SOMETHING.
So I sewed for some of them. The ones that I could, that I had time for.
I learned a LOT this summer, like how to string a bisque head, composition body doll. Or how to make a jester hat, or how to easily make a reticule (little drawstring purses like the ones the Flappers are holding. I’m thinking of doing a video on them, they’re super easy – now that I figured out how).
I’ve shown just a few of these girls here, and now there are three that I have left. That for whatever reason didn’t call out to anybody at the “Buy It Now” prices I set. But I’ve already said goodbye to them in my heart, and while I work on the next O.L.D., I’m sending these girls off auction-style. Now I know for certain as do they that no matter what, they’ll be going someplace new very soon. I’ll miss them! But you never know when there will be another knock at my door when another doll arrives…
HERE ARE THE THREE. As you expect, one has a hole in her head, another some broken legs (I made new ones), and another is the one I learned to restring on. It was TRICKY. She’s the closest thing to a Hazel Twigg-style doll I’ve done all summer.
MARVEL was adopted by…dearest JANEY J. Oakland, California! Isn’t it wonderful when O.L.D.’s and old friends collide? Oh sure, I’ve never actually MET Janey, but she feels like an old friend all the same! THANK YOU, JANEY!
And with that, I leave you! Happy cooler weather and popping walnuts, you’re my favorite.
My sister, the Mayor, is quite the crafty and rather gifted girl. A year or so ago when I was at a quilter’s estate auction I spied a lovely old dressmaker’s dummy that I KNEW she would like. I would have liked it too, but I have no room!
I’m so glad I gave it to her. She came up with something quite lovely. I probably would have decoupaged some old vintage advertising on it or some such thing. Not her! She spent days toiling away. It’s a sight to behold in person, with it’s swirl of patriotic bunting and rhinestones and pearls. The draping of the fabric reminded me of the Statue of Liberty. Therefore, I have my sister to thank for the inspiration for O.L.D. No. 92…
Thus begins the description for #92, Independence! You can see her adoption page HERE.
Thank goodness me wee dear sister finds dolls scary, because she would give me a run for my money. It’s not for nothing that I sneak into her house in the dead of night, a particularly scary doll clutched in my fist, whispering in the dark, “I’m gonna bite you with my nice….sharp….teeth.” Ah, the times we have! Plus, it keeps her good and scared of my dolls, and keeps me safe up here on my perch alone.
For those of you who don’t know, Julie and her husband Scott (the First Dude) live in a rather mansion-y house here in town, and I feel very fortunate every time I drive up her driveway. “Why, yes! I know these people who live here! That’s right, I have friends in this manse! Sure, they’re related, but…they like me! They really like me!”
I would never say this out loud to others, and they could probably give two flips about it, but to me it’s a privilege. I love Julie and Scott’s home. It was built in 1893, and the living room is large enough to boast two gorgeous old crystal chandeliers. There’s a cloak room in the entryway, and you can picture couples pulling up in horse and carriages to attend a ball. This thrills and fires my imagination.
There are two staircases, one for servants close to the kitchen, and the main one that leads up from the living room for the family. The main one has a landing with a bench, should you care to rest between climbs. Two staircases! That kind of house.
Which is why I knew Julie would have the space for that wonderful dressmaker’s dummy that nobody wanted. At that estate sale there were three in all. Two fairly nice new ones, and this old number with its cast iron base and chipboard body with the dented boob. The other two went for $15 or $20 each. The one I wanted…nothing! I bid $2 and held my breath. SOLD! Of course, I told Julie as I magnanimously gave it to her that I paid $50, but…that is neither here nor there.
Julie and I like to give each other little surprises now and then because life can be a tricky thing. But even with her busy schedule of Mayoring and working full time, she makes everything look so effortless.
“Whatcha doin’?” I’ll casually ask during one of our many, many conversations per day. “Oh, crafts.” And then I’ll go over to her house, and she’ll show me all these things she’s made! Wonderful things! When I first saw what she’d done with the dummy, I said, “Um, can I have that back…?” Of course I was just joking. Mostly. Well, at least I could steal the inspiration…
Julie had this wonderful old bunting she used for her dummy. I alas did not. I hand painted each and every star. “Oh, I’ll just zip downstairs to the kitchen, paint the stars, and while that’s drying I’ll….” NO SUCH THING. Turns out, painting hundreds of starts takes awhile. After all that painting, I then scrunched up the fabric so you couldn’t really see them anyway. No matter, I wanted scrunchy bunting, and I know the stars are there…
The beading was so much fun to do, but also time consuming! If it weren’t for Dowton Abbey, I might have injured myself. I’m currently watching all six seasons of “Downton Abbey” over and over as I sew. Thank goodness I find it engaging, because sometimes sitting there for hours with beads and threads and sharp, pointy needles…*bonk!* Next thing you know, your head droops, and there goes an eye…
Independence was a labor of love, and I hope you love her as we celebrate America’s birthday this coming week.
Bathing Beauty Macie was adopted by…Hillary P. of New York, New York! And to think I’ve never been there! THANK YOU, HILLARY!
With that, I leave you! Happy July 4th! You’re my favorite.
Book number EIGHT of the first 100 numbered books is up on ebay! And has been for almost a week!
Book number NINE went to Bonnie D. of Sheldon, Iowa. For a relative song! It might very well be worth a fortune some day. Better odds than a chance lottery ticket. That is the hope…
Speaking of hope, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We got some miracle snow! And now we’re getting CLOBBERED. Here’s to an excellent New Year!
The first 100 copies of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway were numbered, and now they’re all gone. All EXCEPT the last 10, which we’re auctioning off one by one, a week at a time. You can see number 10’s auction page HERE.
To launch this enterprise, my brothers wanted me to get all gussied up and have a professional photograph taken with each book. Lucky for me, I’m a photo-shopping EXPERT. Maybe they won’t notice. Ahem.
Things are going well! The third batch of books has already been ordered and we’ve been in print less than a month! Step by step…
I hope those of you who are reading are enjoying the story! If you’d like to give a review, please go to the tab above, “Reader’s Write” to share your thoughts. Also! We would love it if you’d take a selfie holding a copy of Hazel Twigg and post it on the Hazel Twigg Facebook page.
It’s such a busy, wonderful time of year. I hope this wee blog post finds you happy and surrounded by those you love. Cheers!
READERS! Tell your family! Tell your friends! Tell your work buddies! Tell yourself! THIS FRIDAY ONLY Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway will be on sale at Amazon.com only for $9.95!
When my brother Kenny proposed it this morning via instant messaging on Skype, there was silence and Kenny wondered if he was typing only to himself. I happened to be outside, chopping ice off my front stairs so didn’t see it until later. Finally, Dennis responded, “Sorry had to pick jaw up off the floor.” Most likely because this is way, way, way below cost. Those gorgeous illustrations aren’t cheap to print!
But it’s kind of like that old woman who swallowed a fly if you contort your mind a bit. Hazel Twigg represents a return to good old-fashioned childhood magic and we need to get the word out. The old lady swallows a fly, then a spider, then a bird, a cat, a dog, a goat, a cow . . . and she gets bigger and bigger each time. We wanna be that old lady!
We’ll start off with flies – although, let us charm this concept up a bit, because the thought of eating a fly sounds like no fun at all. We need lots and lots of fairies to read Hazel Twigg. Then hopefully they’ll tell their furry woodland creature friends about it, and the woodland creatures will tell the handsome princes on horseback, who just happen to be wandering through the forest, and he will tell the random singing maiden, and together they’ll tell the villagers in the nearby town, and…
See what I mean?
So we need to attract those
flies fairies. And how do you attract fairies? With honey! In this case, “honey” is an extra special price of $9.95 this November 27 on Amazon only and I’ll sign them all to whomever you want at your request.
For those of you who have already purchased this book at the higher price, think of it this way: the further we can spread this magic, the more valuable your book will become. Plus, restoring the magic of childhood is a good cause, and nothing to be sneezed upon. We so appreciate you.
So please! Help us spread the honey! Hazel Twigg $9.95 this Friday ONLY on Amazon! Hazel Twigg makes a great gift!
And with that, I leave you! Thank you, you’re my favorite
Usually, I’ll do a post about the current O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) several days after she’s put up for adoption on ebay. Frequently, even after a doll is listed, I have copious amounts of things still to do. Such especially was the case with Cora the Town Crier, she of the Special Announcement.
She was put up for adoption three days ago Wednesday with minimum information. You can see her page HERE.
At the time, I could only post one photo because of the dark and stormy afternoon. Also, she wasn’t anywhere near done. I worked hard and finally finished her Friday night. Took her pictures, edited them, uploaded them onto ebay, and . . . POOF. Nothing. After several tries, I called ebay. They’re having technical difficulties! Which wouldn’t be so bad if I could let people know there were technical issues, but I can’t! Nothing’s working. Ebay said to give them 24 hours. I check every now and then to see if the problem’s fixed, but still no go. So this post here is my message in a bottle to those prospective adopters of Cora the Town Crier.
She’s here to make a very special official announcement:
This fellow here was my main inspiration:
Here he’s announcing a royal birth. In a way, Cora’s doing the same thing! Not a royal birth by any means, but this is my baby, and I did labor on her for over four years.
I noticed that over his coat he was wearing a cape that had several different gew-gaws on it. So I made one for Cora.
And of course, she has street clothes!
And there you have it! Cora the Town Crier! I hope this bottle floats to more than parts unknown.
And with that, I leave you! Happy weekend, you’re my favorite!