Thursday, May 31, 2018

Doughnut Day

Daddy Steve: June 1st is National Doughnut Day here in the United States.  This special day originated in 1938 as a Salvation Army fundraiser, and to honor the Salvation Army 'Lassies' of World War I who served doughnuts to soldiers.

During the first World War, Salvation Army volunteers traveled to France to set up canteens/social centers to meet the needs of U.S. soldiers.  Part of their work involved distributing doughnuts to the troops.

Frank would like to encourage everyone to celebrate this special day by having their favorite doughnut (which is never a bad idea on a Friday, anyway).

Frank: Glazed, powdered sugar, chocolate frosted, jelly or custard-filled, sprinkles...Mmmmmmm!  One day just isn't enough to celebrate doughnuts!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Angelo Update: Cool and Comfortable

Daddy Steve: As predicted, Angelo's navy sweater did not last long.  Memorial Day weekend in our area often tends to be cool and rainy.  However, Saturday, the temperature in Minneapolis hit 94° F (34.4° C). 

The sweater looked completely absurd, so it simply had to come off.  Pulling tight clothing off over the head of an elderly brunette doll is not a task I particularly relish.  Angelo's hair seems to be good and stable, but who wants to tempt fate?  I carefully removed the sweater, stretching the collar as wide as I could.  Thankfully, not one hair was lost.  As a reward, I dressed him in a Dollydoodles outfit (the only one we own). 

If I were a Gregor, I think I would want to wear nothing but Dollydoodles in the summer as they seem so cool and comfortable (Daddy Steve is at an age where the balance tipped long ago from fashion to comfort).

Total comfort.  And the sandals finally look good.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The 50-Year Wedgie

Daddy Steve: Spring has finally arrived in Gregoropolis, and with it warmer weather.  That means it's time to change the boys into summer outfits.  This is a big project for us--one that requires a lot of thought and planning.

Blake: I don't like this color.
Sebastian: I wore this last summer.
Daddy Steve: Good grief!

I especially needed to put some thought into what to do with Angelo.  He's a lovely early 1968 Denims boy. I named him Angelo because I think his eyes make him look like a little angel.

Very angelic eyes

He came to live with us last fall and so far I've resisted the temptation to change him out of his original clothes.  I've said before that I've never been a fan of the denims outfit--the individual parts are fine, but in my opinion they don't work very well together.  

Nevertheless, he looked so pristine that I hated to change his clothes.  It did annoy me that his jeans never stayed up properly.  They always sat very low and exposed his underwear--quite possibly the worst fashion trend ever.

Little Mr. Saggy Pants

Once I removed Angelo's jeans, I could see why they fit so poorly.  Compared to our other original jeans, they inseam on this pair was about a half-inch higher!  Inside, the sewing was kind of a mess.  Obviously some poor Stockport seamstress wasn't having the best day when she made these.  It also explained why he looked angelic; he's been a martyr to a severe wedgie for the last half-century!

Ouch!  Very little crotch room (shown with another pair of jeans underneath).

A big uncomfortable knot of fabric inside.

One martyr to another.
Angelo: Amico, I feel your pain.

In effort to make him more comfortable and give him a summery look, I replaced his jeans with a dressy pair of shorts made by Marti Murphy.  I think it's a classic look, very similar to some original studio doll outfits I've seen.  It also makes his remaining original clothes look better; particularly the early white sandals.  

Most importantly, Angelo feels much more comfortable now.  Though I have a feeling that before the summer is over that sweater will be coming off for good.

Angelo: Ah, what a relief!

Frederick: Oh yes, quite stylish.
Kaveh: Very smart indeed.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Daddy Steve: Robin is a very sweet boy, but sometimes he can go on a bit about his 'esteemed lineage.'

Robin: Have I mentioned that I'm royalty?
Mikko: Yeah.
Tyler: A bunch of times.
Robin: And that I'm supposed to have eyelashes?
Mikko: We know, we know.

Robin: I'm also a 'limited edition.'  Number 1300!
Tyler: Ha-ha!  Sounds like you're a train!  "Here comes old Number 1300 down the track!"

Robin: You guys are just jealous.
Mikko: Certainly not.  Everyone knows that thirteen is an unlucky number.
Tyler: Yeah, Robin.  You better watch out for any black cats crossing your path!
Robin (thinking to himself): Are they right?

That night, Robin hardly slept a wink.  All he could think of was his impending doom.

Robin: Yeeeeeeek!

The next morning...

Sasha: Robin, you look tired.
Robin: I couldn't sleep at all last night.
Miguel: What is wrong?
Robin: My edition number is thirteen hundred!  I'm doomed to bad luck.  I just know a black cat is going to cross my path any moment.
Sasha: Oh, that's just superstition.  Now, if Bigfoot crossed your path, well, that really would be bad luck!
Robin: It's no use.  I can't escape my fate.

Finally, Emile can stand no more...

Emile: >sigh< Oh, mon ami, you exhaust me!  Why do you speak of such foolish theengs?
Robin: Because I'm doomed!  I'm thirteen hundred! Everyone know that's an unlucky number!
Emile: Listen to me--thirteen is treize.  Thirteen 'undred ees one thousand three 'undred, or mille trois cents.  They are not even remotely ze same theeng.
Miguel: Sí, es la verdad.  You English speakers express numbers very strangely.
Robin: Hey!  You're right!
Emile: Well, of course I am.

Robin: Thanks, Emile.  I feel ever so much better now.
Emile: Not at all, mon ami.  You see, I am French, and a descendant of Voltaire.  It ees my duty to spread enlightenment whenever I can.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Now We're Cookin'

Daddy Steve: Growing kids need lots of food to keep their energy levels up.  It's difficult to make tasty and nutritious meals without kitchen facilities.  At least, that's Anthony's contention.  After all, he says, how many cold baloney sandwiches can you serve?

Bowie: Cold cuts? Again?
Anthony: Sorry.  This isn't a 5-star restaurant.

I could see that it was time we assembled a proper kitchen for Gregoropolis.

Anthony: I simply can-NOT work under these primitive conditions.

I'm fond of older, lithographed metal toys.  There was an American toy maker called The Wolverine Company of Pittsburgh, PA that made some really cool mid-century style metal kitchen toys.  They're well-scaled for 16-18 inch dolls.  

It all started when I found this wonderful Wolverine refrigerator on eBay.  It's made entirely of metal and probably dates from the late 1950s.  Best of all, it's in perfect shape with no dents, rust, or scratches.

It's quite the deluxe model with a vegetable drawer and a lazy Susan--no chance of leftovers getting pushed to the back and forgotten.

Realistic door handles that 'click' when they latch.


It even came with some of the original metal food.

Frank: Mmmmm, steak!

Having a refrigerator has created a new pastime: standing in front of the open door and staring inside.

Anthony: Are you trying to air condition the whole house?
Tyler & Mikko: We're hungry!

In our household, one things always seems to lead to another.  Now that we had a refrigerator, we naturally had to find a companion stove.  And sink.  And cookware.  And utensils.

Both the stove and sink are in stylish 1950s pink.  They have a bit more play wear, but are still in good shape for their age.  The sink basin was rusty, but I was able to remove it and give it a coat of metallic spray paint.  Good as new!

Oliver: Does this mean I'll have to do the dishes now?

Finding cookware turned out to be the difficult part.  It seemed like everything was either a little too big or a little too small.  Most of the pots and pans came from an eBay seller in Germany, which seems to be a good source for nice, older toy kitchen items.

Tyler: Are you going to make an Angel Food cake?
Anthony: It's Devil's Food cake for you two.

Frankly, Anthony was a little skeptical about the stove at first.

Anthony:'s certainly not the latest model.
Daddy Steve: But Anthony, older appliances were built so much better!
Anthony: Hmmmm.  I've never used an electric stove before.
Daddy Steve: I'm sure you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Eventually he pronounced it 'satisfactory.'

By contrast, Holly Belle gave the new kitchen her unqualified endorsement because, as she explained, "it matches my outfit."  You certainly can't argue with that kind of logic.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Farewell Tree

Daddy Steve: We've just had one of the big trees in our backyard taken down.  It was a lovely old Locust that towered over the back corner of the yard.  I think it was about 40 years old.

Unfortunately, it was in declining health; there were many dead and deteriorating limbs in the crown.

The crotch had developed a crack and was beginning to decay.  The tree was also very close to our power line.

I actually got an initial estimate to have it removed a year ago, but needed some extra time for my usual dithering and hand-wringing.  Over the course of last summer, I could see that it was getting worse.  Nevertheless, it was a difficult decision to make.  Expensive, too.  In doll terms, it was like paying for a No Philtrum, only you get a stump in return.

The boys were all sad to see the tree go.  On the day before it was scheduled for removal, Giancarlo and Sasha decided to go out and pay their respects.

Giancarlo: Should we make one last visit?
Sasha: Yes, let's.

Giancarlo: Goodbye, tree.
Sasha: You were a good friend.

We had to temporarily evacuate Apollo a safe distance away.  We didn't want him losing his head from a stray falling limb.

When I came home from work the next day, the tree was gone.

Some of the boys went out to examine where it had stood and share their feelings.

Oliver: It sure was a big tree--big enough for gnomes to live in!
Luke: It's hard to believe it's gone.
Duncan: It makes me sad.

Ravi and Patrick felt badly too, but they believed it was important to look ahead, not back.  They immediately started researching possible landscape replacements.

Ravi: It should be something pretty.
Patrick: Perhaps something that blooms in the spring?
Ravi: But maybe doesn't get quite as big.