Texas Centennial

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Rock-a-bye Billie

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“Nice hat!” Dot laughingly said to our new arrival.

“Dot, be nice to Shirley.” 

Then I had to laugh too. Shirley was trying to see her own “hat,” which was an overly thick acrylic replacement wig. She was flipping her head heavenward and trying to catch a glimpse. Somehow, her eyes could just never get there in time. I lifted her to look at herself in the hall tree mirror.

“Oh, goodness!” she exclaimed. “This isn’t right at all! Well, I s’pose I’ll need a new one. I can’t wait to meet my new human!”

Reader, my heart sank. I knew that there wasn’t a Shirley Temple wig in my stash, and heaven knows when I’d ever get one! But this Shirley – whose first little human had named Billie – was so eager to go. I would have to come up with something…

Thus begins the description for Hazel Twigg O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 108, our little Billie and her hobby horse Bingo. You can see their adoption page HERE.

I was so excited to get to work on a little cowgirl as soon as the idea came to me from a little voice with equally tiny fists. Especially when I saw images like these:

What great spirit! Ten gallon hats! Fur chaps! FRINGE! But then I remembered: in 1936, the Ideal Toy Company, manufacturers of Shirley Temple dolls, had come out with a Shirley Temple cowgirl for the Texas Centennial.

OH.

The more I looked at that picture of the original Shirley Temple cowgirl doll, the more intimidated I became. She had been so well done! Any idea of mine on how she would look paled in comparison.

“One word,” that helpful little voice said when I called her in despair.

“What word is that?” I asked.

“ROCKABILLY.” Julie stated. “Look up ‘Vintage Rockabilly Cowboy’.”

Which, and I’m no mathematician, is actually THREE words, but no matter! PHEW. I was inspired! And SAVED. And about to get a lot of holes in my fingernails. Embroidering leather is NOT for sissies!

Not to mention that this girl’s name is Billie. Get it?! RockaBILLIE…? So many levels!

“Rockabilly” is hard to define, but when I looked up images for that three worded phrase, up popped a definite style. Lots of embroidered flowers and the exact kind of free spirit of those black and white cowgirl images above.

And it’s a good thing this Shirley is only 13″ tall! I of course didn’t have small leather fringe laying around, so I had to cut it all. It was a little bit nerve racking: one false move, and your fringe would be missing a “tooth”!

Billie needed a companion with which to ride the wild range (try saying that three times fast!), so I created Bingo with wool, cotton, and leather ears and harness.

The non-Shirley wig I found for Billie in my stash is a vintage human hair wig in braids. It was a little large for her and had to be adjusted, but I liked what the warm tone of it did for her.

So there you have her! I’d like to thank my sister Julie for giving me that boost, and my mom for sending me a care package that contained those snippy scissors. I LOVE those things! Thank you, Mom! And thank you all for being here. Truly.

HOLLY was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California! Lucky number six for her! THANK YOU, Linda! From my old stomping grounds…Well, my stomping state, anyway.

And with that, I leave you! Happy “Spring,” we’ve been recently clobbered by snow and ice!

Hot or cold, you’re my favorite!

 

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