Phantom of the Opera

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What Do YOU Think Of When You Hear The Number 101..?

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I confess, I have over 100 Once-Loved Dolls already at my house, just waiting their turn. In the lulls between when a fresh face comes to my door (which are frequent), I’ll peek inside the bins where they raucously play as they wait their turn.

This time there was an unusual hush when I lifted the lid. All the O.L.D.’s contained therein looked at me with shining eyes and pointed their fingers downward. Curious, I set them aside one by one to see what – or WHO – they were pointing to.

“Hello!” I said to the naked little girl. “I remember you! I repaired your lip! That was a long time ago…” I could feel the eyes of the rest of the girls upon me. I glanced around before I looked back at that naked little girl, to the cheers of all the other dolls. “Would you like to be next?”

Thus begins the description of Louella De NICE, also known as O.L.D. No. 101. You can see her adoption page HERE. Our Louella is SO nice, the other dolls – who just as desperately would like their turn – spoke up on her behalf. Or at the very least, pointed.

And lucky for Louella, every time I happen upon fabric that is mainly black and white, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a doll entirely in black and white. And what better time to do it than on the number 101, as in “101 Dalmatians”?

And isn’t it lucky for me that just like black and white are opposites, Louella’s personality is the opposite of Cruella De Vil’s?

Not to mention how much I love these little 13″ composition dolls, and it’s been so long since I’ve had one. Why, in the first 20 dolls alone there were THREE of these girls!

O.L.D. No. 1 (ONE!). Carol Jane

O.L.D. No. 7. Harriet Peabody, dead ringer for Hazel Twigg.

O.L.D. No. 20 Annie Oakley











So I’m glad that this sweet little girl is finally getting her turn.



I confess, I had to make the second outfit in secret, because JULIE.

It’s no secret that I’m very, very slow. And I have unrealistic expectations of what I can accomplish in any given time. Julie helps to keep me in line by trying to sprinkle reality into my world. But she gave me a bunch of vintage wool sweaters that she’d purchased at thrift stores over the years, and I desperately wanted to give Louella a second outfit with a vintage cream one, complete with a little embroidery! So I DID IT. Without telling Julie! But you know what? Julie likes the second outfit best!

I have a new plan of attack to try and battle my slowness. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I like to watch movies over and over as I sew, kind of a background music for me. I’ll watch the same movie for months on end. Well, now I have a unit of measure for the hours I work! I’m currently watching “Misery.”

No, no! I’m not some dark and evil person, who enjoys watching innocent authors hobbled in the middle of the night! I’m just a fan of dark humor and Kathy Bates excellent portrayal of this well written character.

Even Louella’s watering can is black and white.

Anyway, “Misery” is 1 hour and 47 minutes and 29 seconds long. So if I work four “Misery”s a day, that’s about eight hours! Another favorite, “Phantom of the Opera” with GERARD BUTLER is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Three Phantoms would about do it! So far so good. Not that I was slacking off before, but now I can think to myself, “I’d like to get these buttons sewn on before Annie Wilkes spills the soup and loses her cool for the first time.” GENIUS. Har.

Hey! Michelle also happens to have one of my 13’s! This little Viking was one of my favorites. They all are, really…

Three cheers for the alumni of the Rolfe Community School! They got together and almost, almost won Mary Lou the vintage Cheerleader. I imagine there will be another Rolfe-themed doll in the future.

However! The person who won her is a faithful Hazel Twigg-er that we haven’t seen in a little while…Michelle E. of Hudson, Colorado! THANK YOU, Michelle!

And with that, I leave you! Pick GOOD when you can – unless there’s a little dark humor involved….You’re my favorite!

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Nina Nails It, Chapter 7

Regarding the difference between my sketches and Nina’s final illustration for Chapter 7, there really is no comparison.

For a person who knows next to nothing about cars, I seem to have a lot of them in these early chapters of the book. I guess that’s what comes from having a Hideaway in a town in the Middle of Nowhere! Now that everyone’s just about arrived at their destination, the magic can begin. But first! Chapter 7 illustrations!

The first illustration was a hard angle to capture, but I was sure that Nina could figure out something that would work. Here’s my initial take:


Because I had a hard time getting the angle right, I sketched out a quick drawing of what I meant so that Nina could understand and take it from there:

blogLine of Cars

She did! Nina’s angle was leaps and bounds better! We’d already had a car interior in the first chapter with Hazel, so this was a MUCH better choice:

HT_18Below is the “Can I help you, officer?” sketch from me. Note, I didn’t draw Maxwell’s face. I didn’t feel comfortable drawing what he would look like, wanting to see what Nina would do:


In yesterday’s post, I had for some reason imagined actor Richard Masur as Maxwell. My brothers absolutely hated that. My younger brother Ken proposed THIS guy:

clark gable

Recognize him? I hope so! This is Clark Gable, of “Gone With the Wind” fame.

Ooh, I see! They wanted a better-looking villain. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Here were MY picks:

Maxwell Colin Firth

Colin Firth. OF COURSE.




Machine Gun Preacher - UK Premiere - Inside Arrivals

Girard Butler, who secretly looks better with half a mask on.

Nina did her own thing:

HT_19Secretly, I love it. Is it wrong to have a crush on a fictional character, even though he’s not a nice guy? My sore little heart! I would see this image from a then upcoming chapter, and I would find myself thinking, “Yay! Maxwell is on his way!” forgetting that he is NOT on Ruth’s side. Plus, also, he is not actually a real person.

So there’s THAT.

Ah, well! There you have it, my friends. Nina does it again. We hoped to be able to release chapters more quickly than once a week by now, but Nina is scrambling. Apparently, brilliance takes time. Even now she is rushing to complete the illustrations for Chapter 8. Will she make it in time? And what will Marlene make of the handsome Maxwell? We shall see. Oh yes, we shall…

Have a happy weekend!

P.S. Yesterday I was taking my usual walk with my trusty sidekick Teddy around the golf course and cemetery on the outskirts of Rolfe. Just when I got the the single red flashing light, what should pass me, but…a PIG TRUCK. It was empty, so…no matter! Moments later, Wall of Smell! It made me smile.