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Just The Way You Are

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Reader, my heart sank when I saw her. She needed a cleaning to be sure, and a good chunk of one foot was missing, but…that coat! That hat! Those are my two favorite things to make, and there was no way I could possibly improve upon what she was already wearing. I would have to think of something…

Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 122, Shelly the United States Navy girl. You can see her adoption page HERE.

Here’s how sweet Shelly appeared on my doorstep.

And it’s true! I loved what she was wearing more than anything I could make for her. But I had to do something besides the usual cleaning and few repairs! So I got to work.

First of all, while her coat was so nicely made and while it even had the perfect dress AND onesie beneath it, it looked a little too short! It needed something to go beneath. Some pants would do…and you can’t wear pants with a dress, so a shirt too! And of course some shoes…

Then while looking for something else entirely I came across I skirt I got from heaven knows where that I’ve had for years. I wanted to give it to some little girl, but never knew any that it would fit. Besides, it might be an adult size skirt. I could have worn it back in the day, but now…If I had a second one, I could put each around my thighs and perhaps create a new sensation of bell-bottom shorts, but no. Shelly needed this skirt much more than I did. So when I found a tattered little nightgown that suited her, I decided that a special hooded cape would be in good order.

Mine’s a cut to shreds. Here’s one I found in cream and blue.

The skirt is an ESPRIT skirt. It was navy blue and had two white stripes at the bottom. Avove those stripes were the words:

A curious sailor boy appeared and took my hand, and led me only goodness knows where.

I managed to get the first half of that quote going around the bottom of Shelly’s cape. After all, she’s only 15″ tall!

Then I wanted to make a tote, or sailor’s kit for her to carry everything in. I found a WONDERFUL tutorial and modified it to doll size. I then mimicked the “U.S.N.” and anchor motif on her uniform sleeve along with her O.L.D. number in paint on one side. And voila! She can now carry the rest of her clothes.

But she still needed something. I love to put brooches on my doll’s coat for a touch of sparkle, but you can’t put a brooch on a U.S. Navy coat, it would be undignified!

“I have the perfect thing!” my wee sister’s voice squeaked to me from the other end of the line.

Secretly, I doubted it. I’m around these dolls all day and even *I* can misjudge their size and how very small they are. I wouldn’t want to weigh this girl down.

Minutes later she came screeching to a halt in front of my house and I ran out to see her, sure that I would be proved – once again – right.

I WAS WRONG. She handed me a little pin of a tiny ship’s wheel about the size of a nickel and surrounded by rhinestones. JULIE WAS RIGHT, it was PERFECT.

And now our little Shelly is complete, basically Just The Way She Was but with a few extra things to help her on her journey to new adventures unknown. To your house, perhaps…?

Another girl who’s now experiencing new adventures is TAHITI, who had an adventure on her way because SOMEBODY transposed the numbers in her zip code (that would be me. That makes twice in the past week and a half I’ve been wrong. Oh dear). But she finally safely arrive and is so happy with Gwen R. of Bedford, TX. Thank you, Gwen! And your kind husband too!

And with that, I leave you! Be kind to your Mother’s, you’re her favorite!

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Finding Your Sea Legs & Taking The Plunge


A piece of compo fell off while I was taking her “Before” pictures, even!

They don’t call me “Ol’ Sawbones” for nothing…

That pretty face beckoned me, and time after after time I would pluck her from the crowd, only to be reminded why I hadn’t chosen her before. Those legs! I would put her back, silently telling myself that when all the other dolls that only needed a cleaning were done, I would get to poor Felicity…

But thanks to a Giver, Felicity is finally up for adoption! You can see her page HERE.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou see,  there comes a time when a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and I knew the thing that I needed to do was to take the plunge and perform a leg-o-lectomy. I didn’t even know if my plan would work; after all, I was exchanging one style of legs – jointed at the hip – for another style: swing legs. It was now or never! I got my scissors, and I cut Felicity in half. Gulp.

fbaHer legs were so bad that I didn’t even really notice how much work the rest of her needed. There was composition missing from the sides and back of her head, she had cracks around her eyes, and her wig was so filthy that it got noticeably lighter after a good washing.

Melody sailor

I love the drop waist and pleats. So cute!

How a doll’s hair turns out can greatly influence what clothing she’ll receive. When I saw those golden curls, all I could think was “Beach.” In the middle of winter! Maybe I should put her back and wait for a more appropriate time of year…NO. I’d already cut the poor girl in half after avoiding her for so long. A nautical theme it would have to be and it would have to be NOW.


It turned out just as I hoped it would. I love when that happens! (because it doesn’t always)

I’ve always wanted to do a sailor dress! And lucky me, I had some vintage navy wool on hand and some middy braid. I found a dress I liked for inspiration and got to work.

I still wanted to make a coat and hat for her, so was tickled pink when I ran across a nautical-themed sample square of upholstery fabric I’d purchased somewhere in my travels. There certainly was not enough for a coat, but there was enough for the brim of a floppy hat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy sister The Mayor made fun of the huge ship’s wheel displayed so prominently, but I worked extra hard to make sure it was placed right there, because it was my favorite part of that fabric! I still like it, even if it is a little “busy.”


You can see her new lower half here. I didn’t have matching fabric, so through a series of eliminations, this brown was the right choice.

So now in the dead of winter we have a little bit of summer to enjoy! Even as the wind howls outside…

The unusual Tabitha was adopted by….Amy W. of Alabama! Tabitha will be clanking her way to you soon! Thank you!

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