Sound of Music

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The Hills Are ALIVE!

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1atgal1I could hardly wait to answer the door. After all, it had been a long time since the last Once-Loved Doll had arrived and I was growing restless. So I reached the door first.

“Toni!” I exclaimed. “Hmm. Well, no matter! ALL are welcome here,” I ushered her inside.

“Why wouldn’t she be welcome?” Hazel asked, coming up behind me.


This is Antonia (ANNE SHIRLEY) as she arrived.

“Well young Hazel, as you know, 99% of the time we work with composition dolls,” I responded, proud that I was an expert on ALL kinds of dolls, not just composition! I kept myself from preening as I continued, “Toni here is a hard plastic from the 1950s.”

Hazel gazed at Toni, a look of confusion on her face. “That’s odd! She looks like an Anne Shirley to me!”


This is an Idea hard plastic TONI doll in a slightly different original outfit. You can see my confusion.

I mentally shook my head and kindly smiled. After all, I remember when I was young and brash and thought I knew everything….

“No, no, Hazel. See? This is a Saran wig…”

Suddenly, it was MY turn to look confused. I confess, for a moment there my mind was blown, uncertain as to what it was seeing. “Anne? Um…Toni…?”


THE SNOW QUEEN That’s a whole lotta white.

Meet O.L.D. No. 76, Antonia and No. 76.5, Rabbit! You can see their adoption page HERE.

Sometime in this composition Anne Shirley’s life, someone gave her all of a hard plastic Ideal Toni’s clothing including her wig!

I decided I kind of liked the platinum curls on her! Plus, I’d been wanting to do a snow queen for a long time. Hmm….


We’ll do a WINTER SOLSTICE QUEEN instead.

Turns out, Antonia’s eyes were green, not the frosty blue that would be ideal for a snow queen. Plus, I don’t happen to have a whole bunch of different white fabrics. Winter Solstice Queen it is!

I started with her gown, finding some nice but odd curtain-style fabric that was a pale celery green. I finally figured out what this fabric reminded me of…


On the left is my fabric. On the right is the Von Trapps!

Making clothes out of curtains has precedent! And “The Sound of Music” is one of my favorite things.

mehcSpeaking of favorite things, besides pointy hats, another favorite thing of mine is “something riding something.”


I couldn’t find the image from the magazine, but you get the idea. Cute, right?!

It all started years and years ago with one of my favorite magazines: “Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.” There’s free paper doll in every issue! What’s not to like? I miss that magazine….Anyway, there was a Christmas edition, and in it were decorating ideas for the holidays. She’d taken a small stuffed polar bear, and there was an elf riding it! It was the CUTEST THING EVER.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to re-create that polar bear for myself. Well, I’m halfway there! I created the polar bear, but he’s going with Antonia. Still, whoever adopts him, it would be awfully fun – with or without a sprig of holly around his neck – to put an elf or a small Santa Clause riding on his back. Antonia wouldn’t mind!

1atrabbitThe polar bear’s name is Rabbit. My sweet sister Julie gave me the cutest little jacket from the 1950’s that she thought was rabbit fur. It turned out not to be. But isn’t that sweet that she is so generous? She also gave me the fun fur for the collar of Antonia’s cape. My neighbor Brandi give me the sprigs for Antonia’s crown. Once again, a village helps create these Once-Loved Dolls!

Rabbit was fun to make. He has a wire armature inside and is stuffed with sawdust and cotton balls. Thank goodness our little grocery store had some on hand! It’s amazing how many it takes. I got the pattern to make our dear polar bear HERE. Best site for all kinds of stuffed toy fun.

1Lugal3School has been in session for quite some time now! O.L.D. No. 75 Lucy and her little dog too have I’m sure long since settled in…Colorado! At the very welcoming home of Michelle. Thank you, Michelle!

And with that, I leave you! Happy “Fall is In the Air”! You’re my favorite!

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Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. LOVE that movie!

You know, you hear of things like this. But you never think it will happen to you. Not at this ripe age. The magic, the excitement, the butterflies. The FIREWORKS. Reader! I finally had them!

fw5As you may or may not recall, woman does not live by dolls alone and I was looking for love in the only place one can find it whilst living in the booniest of boonies: Online. And I found it! I FOUND LOVE. I’ve been walking around last week with a Mona Lisa smile on my face, because I Had A Secret. I told very few about it, because I wanted that secret to be mine and it seemed almost too good to be true.


Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done Something Good.

He was a magic man. A charmer with a lilting voice, from Canada – although he was becoming a U.S. citizen on the 20th of this month, and he was very proud and excited. He even quizzed me with some of the questions during one of our many hours of conversation by phone.

His own parents had met one day when they were very young, and married the next. They are celebrating their 70th anniversary this November. So really, it didn’t sound strange that he felt strongly drawn to me, and that he insisted that we would be married by Christmas and that he loved everything about me.


“Somebody loves me! At last!” – Sweet Charity


Of course! OF COURSE. This is why I’ve been having all this bad luck of late! The operations…well, pretty much just that. And the occasional bruised heart. And the whole poverty soiree I have going on. I seem to have lost my mojo with dolls. But now I know why! For this! For him. He even said he prayed about us. A God-fearing man! Who was handy to boot and not afraid of bats! I of course asked to make sure.

I wanted to shout it to the heavens! I wanted to post about it on my blog! But I didn’t. Because he did sound too good to be true. No matter, I was going to meet him last Saturday at 4:00. I spent my week singing every love song I could think about it as I worked and thought about how nice it would be to wear a wedding ring again…

snidely whiplash

Snidely Whiplash

I was joking to him that he was too good to be true, and that I would be careful. That if he ever tried to get me to sign life insurance papers after we married, I wouldn’t do it! Now, I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but after that conversation, I never heard from him again and 4:00 on Saturday came and went with no pizza meeting at Wes’ Place and no hand in hand stroll about town. I have to say, that smarted for a bit.

The good news is, I think I have my mojo back. AND! I’ve made a very important decision about the last chapter I have to write to finish my book. Also, my house is clean. I even picked up litter around town for this guy’s visit, fer cryin’ out loud!

You hear of such things, but you never think it will happen to you. Or if it does, you’d like to think you wouldn’t be pulled in. I have no idea what his motivation was. I almost hope it was for the life insurance money he would receive upon my murder. In a funny sort of way, that would kind of be nicer than if he was just doing it to be mean.

At least I didn’t do a blog post about him, declaring my love! Because THAT would have been embarrassing, having everyone know what a fool I was!

Oh. Ahem.

Sticks & Bones

hansel3In Chapter 17 The Ending & The Beginning, I get to use a few of my favorite things: The Night Before Christmas, Breakfast, and Hansel & Gretel.

The Night Before Christmas: As a child (which I still am in my head), I loved this story. One of my favorite illustrations was “The children were nestled, all snug in their beds” because looking at them, I knew just how excited they were for Christmas morning, and wasn’t it the best feeling in the world?

hansel2sBut I also loved that BED, like a twin mattress sideways, with the headboard and foot board along the long sides. What fun! And thankfully, perfect for my story.

I also loved breakfast on school mornings with Adam. The camaraderie of it, the working together to get everything out piping hot, the music we would listen to, the talks we would have.

Of course, Hazel’s experience on this particular morning isn’t quite that pleasant.

And finally, a brief glimpse into Hazel’s mind (which I secretly share). This is the sentence I’m talking about:



Maybe Ruth was The Queen of the Giant Spiders, which would explain why she always wore black, and she’d been feeding Hazel moldy food this whole time to fatten her up for Priscilla, and the transformation of the home had only been an illusion created to make it appear to be wonderfully magical and clean and to keep her here willingly, and instead Hazel was actually still living in filth, surrounded by ghosts masquerading as dolls.

Now it’s nowhere in there, but in my mind, when Ruth was fattening up Hazel in her imagination, she was doing it like the old witch was doing it in Hansel & Gretel, with Hazel in a hanging wooden cage. Surely Hazel would be clever enough to stick out a bone for a finger when the blind witch checked to see if she was plump enough yet. Of course she would!

So there you have it! Three more of my favorite things! KISMET. Because today is Thursday! Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood will be LIVE on TV! What fun! Reminds me of the occasional live shows (Cinderella with Julie Andrews comes to mind) that they used to have on TV back in the day….

‘Til then!

She Must Have Done Something Good

Wait for it…..



SOMEONE won in a bit of a landslide last night…


amayor2To our own little sister Julie, who has done many good things, and continues to do them. I am so happy for our town.

Tomorrow: About Chapter 14 Zombies & Ghosts with thanks to my brother Dennis, who managed to post it in the nick of time in spite of all that’s going on.

In the meantime, today we celebrate. Congratulations, Julie! I LOVE YOU.


Leisl’s Fall-y

Le BirthA

Photo courtesy of Lois Shimon. Note the bat.

As you may or may not know, Thursday is usually doll day here at the ol’ cork board. And it is! It will be! But first! My debut!

It went very well! I got to talk about my love for Iowa, how this journey began and bats. It was very therapeutic. I am not alone in my fear although I think I can safely say I am still the scardiest cat.

Then I read – out loud and in public! – the prologue and first chapter of my book. No one left or started reading other books (and being in the library, there were hundreds if not thousands around) or fell asleep so…success!

I was a teensy bit disappointed that Colin Firth wasn’t there, but other than that it was perfect.


“Leisl” rhymes with “easel.” You may also recognize the name from The Sound of Music’s “16 going on 17 girl,” – right?

So now we just have a little space and I’ve decided to therefore introduce a little doll to fill it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis poor wee thing! Take note: when you hear a tiny knock at your door make sure you look all around before s-l-o-w-l-y opening it. This diminutive darling was knocked off her pins when my screen door was opened as I simultaneously asked out loud who was there. Thank goodness I happened to look down before stepping out onto the porch, it could have been disastrous!

To make up for it, I made a more than usual elaborate gown with lots of hand beading. She was completely bald, so I made a tiny wig for her with a hank of mohair that I curled with toothpicks and I sewed seed pearls into that too.


In my defense, she was tiny!

Her entire outfit is linen and silk, but she deserved it after the knocking down she’d received when arriving on my doorstep for help! You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but she only spoke German so we never learned what her actual name was. Therefore we called her “Leisl.”

She wasn’t here for long, even with the hand beading. Love is love, and I’m sure that she’s a happy member of someone’s dollhouse somewhere.

ASIGNNow a little plaque hangs on my door, the instructions opposite of what you might find for gifts under a tree:

Slower Than Austen Slow

“Miss Eliza Bennett, let me persuade you to follow my example,
and take a turn about the room. I assure you, it is very refreshing…”
– Miss Bingley, “Pride & Prejudice”

“Ah, Spring! When a young man’s fancy turns to love!” Or not. Finding romance in a small town is not as easy as one would think. The following is something I wrote to a friend when there was the slightest hint of a hope of romance in the air:

The man I adore – we shall call him Mr. Rochester – bought some land! He probably purchased it so that he can build a home he feels is worthy of me with his own two hands, and that’s why this whole romance thing is taking so long. The pace here in Reliance makes Jane Austen look like a loose woman!

There was an open house where I work. We had wassail and coffee and cookies and a meat and cheese platter and crackers and of course, free calendars. We were supposed to dress up so I wore my swoopy skirt that I love so much and a knit top beneath a velvet jacket I’d purchased at a thrift store and hadn’t worn yet (it still had tags!). It has a faux fur collar and the sleeves flair out ever so gently at the wrist.

Perhaps not THIS swoopy...

Perhaps not THIS swoopy…

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