Anne Shirley

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TUG O’ WAR(drobe)

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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First, Do No – WHOOPS!

When you handle as many of these O.L.D.’s as I do, you’re bound to have a mishap now and then.

I have a doll up for adoption. This isn’t her “official” post, but if you like, you can see her page HERE.

When she arrived, it was only upon closer inspection while cleaning her that I discovered that some of her fingers had been broken and reglued, and others had been completely rebuilt! I’m happy to say it wasn’t a bad job, but the angle was slightly off on one, and another was a little too short…hmm….to fix or not to fix?

I had her two little arms in one hand and was taking pictures with the other to ask another Holder her opinion, when CRASH. I dropped her arms! Two of her little fingers broke off! “No problem,” I thought confidently. “This isn’t my first rodeo with DeWees Cochran hands,” I said snootily to myself, preening because I knew what these types of hands are called – even though there was no one around to witness my brilliance.

To rebuild fingers, it’s a good idea to insert a pin into the stub for strength. Have you ever tried to hang a picture in an old house, only to have the hammer practically bounce back into your face because the wall’s so hard? This Anne Shirley’s fingers are IMPENETRABLE. I was going to need a drill bit. A really, really small one.

Here is the story in picture and song. Also, I’m probably dancing…

Here are the hands BEFORE. See? Not a bad job! The pinky on the left hand was a little stubby, and the ring finger on the right was at a slightly off angle. But not a bad job at all…

AFTER THE WHOOPS. Dingity, dangity…And, to add insult to injury, I LOST THE RIGHT PINKY, which was original and reglued!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That pin just bent and scratched the heck outta me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually insert stronger-than-normal pins that I’m able to “drill” in by hand. But as small as this drill bit was, it required a thicker piece of wire. I used a lawn flag thingy…

While I was at it, I sanded the slightly stubby left pinky so I could adjust the angle. Note the inserted wires are curved, because Dewees Cochran fingers are curved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After rebuilding. I use an epoxy called Milliput. It’s from jolly old England.

HANDY TIP: Emery boards are AWESOME for rebuilding fingers. They’re thin to fit in between, and rigid for maneuverability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANDY TIP: These types of hands have a clear-ish, orangey nail polish. To achieve this, just mix some orange paint in the right shade with a little craft varnish. Voila!

SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON:

So now the left pinky is a little longer and at a better angle than before.

The ring finger is slimmer and longer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it worth the extra effort? I secretly don’t think so. If I could pull a Cher and turn back time, and NOT drop those poor little hands, I would do so. Glass half full, practice makes perfect. Yessirree, a few dozen more dropped hands, and I’ll have these hands down to a T.

You’re my favorite!

 

The Snowman’s Tale

1vsgal3Ooh, it’s that time of year: Snow, snow, snow. And Christmas is coming! In strolled Victoria with her very pretty face and rosy cheeks. Why, she looked as if she’d been gallivanting in the meadow next door. And she had!

Meet Victoria! The Girl Who Built A Snowman In the Meadow. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Victoria is yet another Anne Shirley! I love this mold and have used it many times (do a search on this blog for “Anne Shirley” and you’ll see what I mean!). This particular girl – O.L.D. 60 – is of the 18″ variety.

Because it’s the Christmas season and perhaps triggered by Victoria’s name, I decided to create a Victorian-inspired outfit for her. And I wanted her to be doing something…wintery. Well, what’s more wintery than building a snowman? And guess what his name is? PARSON. See what I did there?

In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is Parson Brown…

christmas snowman1

Here’s my inspiration snowman, as you can tell.

And thus begins The Snowman’s Tale: I didn’t want my snowman to be small. I wanted life-sized! Life-sized for an 18″ doll, that is. And I wanted his arms to be jointed, which meant he’d have to be fairly firmly stuffed. Readers, this portly fellow took every bit of batting I had in the house. Also, I ripped open a pillow. THAT kind of determination. I put some brown rice I had on hand at his base to keep him upright.

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He’s holding candy canes here, but he also has a twig from my backyard. Options!

The snowman I’d chosen to model Parson was wearing a newspaper hat. Finding just the right newspaper was the very next step.

A friend, we shall call her Jennifer, for that is her name, saw that I’d used old newspapers in a previous O.L.D., and a few months ago she gave me a stack of newspapers from the now defunct Rolfe Arrow.

When I make a paper hat, I want it to be interesting. Plus, this is a happy time of year, so I want no depressing stories. I did several different tries, but you can’t always pick which headlines and articles will land where. Finally, I found the one that I wanted. It was from 1967. Here it is. I bet you can guess why someone saved it:

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A happy story! I mean, it doesn’t seem like it at first, but it is in an unusual way! Plus, I love that it mentions Rolfe, which besides being my home is the town that Reliance in Hazel Twigg is based upon.

I was in a rush so didn’t read the article. I did happen to notice that on the inside of the hat there was a picture of the fortunate man’s unfortunate hat:

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WHOA. And he LIVED.

Back to the snowman’s tale: the night before last I was at a friends barn with some other friends, including of course The Mayor. This is no ordinary barn. It’s filled with hunting trophies, memorabilia from old Rolfe, and all sorts of nifty things. Everywhere you look, there’s something to see! Except for its size, it’s very un-barnlike. It also had heat, and most importantly for that fine evening, a big screen TV. The Iowa Hawkeye game was on!

1vaallWe were all talking, as people do, and my current doll came up in the conversation, along with her companion and his unusual hat. Well, guess what: IT WAS THE HOST’S OWN FATHER. Not only that, but framed up on the wall, surrounded by yellowed old newspaper clippings, was that very same hat. In the flesh – or the cloth, as it were.

So our little Parson – who is very big to Victoria – will be coming with a little bit of history of his own. And that is Parson’s Tale.

1rgalaRaven, who was O.L.D. No. 59, never got her just dues! I had a post written in my head (Everybody Loves Raven) and everything! I just got too far behind to catch up. Luckily, she ended up in good hands: Michelle E. of Colorado! THANK YOU, Michelle!

And with that, I leave you! Happy Monday Eve, you’re my favorite.