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Tonight at midnight! The first new chapter this year. Charming Marlene makes her return in Chapter 20 Bearing Gifts.

Such a thoughtful real estate agent! How could I ever have thought she was a “piece of work”?

And here, hot off the presses, is a sketch for Chapter 19 Cheerleader Tower from Nina we received yesterday, which also happens to be Ukraine’s Christmas Eve. Which would make today Christmas for Nina. First, my version:

HT-044 The Tower NG



Love it! Can’t wait to see it in color! After Christmas, of course…

Merry Christmas to our dear Nina & Genn!

And happy New Year to all of you, as we continue to be a tad chilly here today in Iowa. The best is Yet To Come. Keep spreading the word for Sewers and Shiners of Shoes!

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ART! A Tale of Two Chocolates…

Chapter 11 The Appointment, was especially fun to illustrate – I mean, to do the sketch for. I hope Nina had fun with it too!

Poor Marlene. I tend to pick on her a lot. I can’t seem to help myself! Some reference images I sent to Nina to help explain what I meant in my sketch:


The color scheme of the trailer in this photo I found online was just what I had in mind. And I love my giant calendar! I get one every year from my beloved bank. When the month is done, I use the over-size paper to make dress patterns for my larger dolls.

Here’s my sketch of Marlene enjoying her just reward:

HT-026 Marlene Makes a SaleblogaI was laughing to beat the band when I drew Marlene’s real estate agent portrait behind her desk! Bless her heart…

“Reliance” is in Haven County, Iowa. Hence the overuse of the word. If I’d thought of it in time, I’d have Marlene eating a Cherry Mash instead. Ah, well!

Nina’s excellent take:


The inspiration for the next drawing:

scarlett-and-rhettMy sketch:

HT-027 scanAs you might notice, I really wanted chocolate in Marlene’s teeth.

Nina obliged:

HT_27It’s a Match Made in Heaven. And Marlene and Maxwell aren’t too shabby either.

May there be many chocolate bars in your future! Have a great weekend!

The Art of EIGHT

Chapter 8: Whirlwinds contains the only illustration that it was possible to reuse from the previous book. I’ve switched computers since then so I can’t find the sketch that I did. Then again, I’m not even sure if I did one for this drawing. *Shudder*:


When I did my earlier sketch of Marlene, I gave her green fingernails – if you recall:


In Nina’s subsequent drawing, she was wise enough to keep Marlene’s fingernail polish color relatively the same. See? Here’s the detail of the “bat” picture :

Ch84And the “Hazel Meets Marlene” noted from the previous Chapter 6:Ch85










But, a-HAH! I have FOUND A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW MARLENES! In the first book illustration (with the bat above) Marlene has a SINGLE SILVER BANGLE bracelet. NEW Marlene has MULTIPLE GOLD ONES. Plus, also, a RING. Clearly, this doesn’t mean anything. But, um…I noticed…

Still, DANG. That Nina is good.

I’ve always been enchanted by whirlwinds and I find them to be magical things. My sketch for, “Look! A whirlwind! Fairies!”


Nina did me one better. She actually added fairies. Can you spot them?

HT_20Interesting tidbit: Nina had missed the note that Hazel should be looking at the whirlwind. As usual, she thoughtfully changed it, but not soon enough for the online book. It WILL however, be in the printed book. Here’s the before and after:


Lastly, the pantry. Note the push button light switches, which I do still have in this house here and there. Clearly this drawing was done after a long break from sketching, when it was decided that another illustration was needed. Because LOOK! I went ALL OUT on color:

HT-021 POS

And of course, Nina did too:


And there you have it! NINA.

I forgot to mention yesterday about Ruth’s first noting of the Priscilla windows, a fact I discovered when looking at a reprint from an old Sears Catalog from whence this house came. Ruth seems to be exceptionally fascinated by this little tidbit and will point it out every chance she gets!


It doesn’t take much to fascinate Ruth. Ahem.

Happy Friday to one and all!

The Golden Years

As I look at recent photos of myself, it occurs to me that it’s a pity that we cannot always pick the time and place for things. I am not one to put myself out there, and now I must! But it’s for something I believe in with all my heart.

Still! I have been sewing for almost as long as I can remember. Why not then?


See those bottles of paint in the forefront? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I still have those exact same bottles, having dragged them from state to state, year after year. I use them, though!

And look! Here’s young Hazel! With the red hair and everything! Why not then?


Secretly, Hazel is a female version of Adam.

Why not when one can look glamorous doing ordinary things?


Why, hello! I didn’t expect to see YOU here…

Then again, sometimes even back then I looked practically ready for a rest home:


So perhaps I will accept things as they are. Besides, there’s always Nina…


This is from the first version of the book. Those of you at the library met the two dolls Dot and Betty, on the left. The lady in purple is real estate agent Marlene. She’s still in the current book.
Oh, how she is.