Sunday, December 25, 2011

It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without a New Doll

I received an unexpected $60 as a gift. I was going to pay $50 of it towards the rent, but when I got to the office I couldn't find the $50 bill. So I trudged back home wondering what could have happened to it, only to find it right where I'd left it in front of my computer. I took it as a Sign. That money was not meant to go to rent--it was meant for a gift for myself! And Auntie Berman had received a check early that she didn't expect until next week. So we started out to the thrift stores.

Because it was Christmas Eve, Salvation Army and St. Vinnie's were closed. Most of the other stores were closing early. We found many wonderful things but I hadn't seen any sign of my Doll. Then we thought of the Antique Stores. There used to be lots of them but now there are only a few. The first one was a disappointment. We went across the street to one that had closed two minutes earlier. So we decided to try a place called Junkee that we'd been meaning to go to but never did. It was open and there was a doll booth! Auntie Berman spotted her. Auntie Berman, I should add, was slowly coming to realize that I was dead set on getting a doll and she would never get home if I didn't find one. So she really pushed this doll and I'm so glad she did.

Auntie Berman suggested Noelle for a name, since she's a Christmas dolly. Noelle is a Madame Alexander doll, 14 inches tall. She was $45 (allegedly worth $300). I think she was marked down because her hair has been cut. Auntie Berman later discovered she is a walker doll: when you move her legs, her head turns back and forth (why this was popular in the 1950s, we don't know). The down side of being a walker is that she can't sit down! She was dressed in a bride's dress. The woman who sold her to us (not the booth owner, who wasn't there) said her hair would look fine if I put a veil over it. I replied that I did not approve of child brides and she was going to get some nice clothes as soon as possible. The woman thought that was very funny, as did the cashier. I think her hair is fine the way it is.

"I haven't worn anything but a bride's dress for so long I forgot what it's like!"
I hadn't realized how few clothes I have for these dolls. Noelle borrowed Pollyanna's middy blouse and a pleated skirt. Sally is wearing a skirt I made over from a Barbie skirt (it was very fully gathered). Everyone liked the blue ribbon so each girl had some around her hair.

"The human was supposed to make us Christmas dresses but she never got around to it," explained Sally.
My Hard Plastic Girls: Noelle, Sally, Penny, Marley
Marley looks like she's had a bit too much to drink, but I think it's just because they are sitting on a very lumpy surface.

"Who's the giant girl next to me?" whispered Noelle. "That's our big sister Lorraine," explained Sally. "She doesn't really like to associate with us."
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to the Bigger Dolls

Several months ago I signed up for the Maker's Mark website (I think I got something free when I did). I've never tried their Kentucky Bourban but they often send me free things and recently I received a sweater from them, apparently to put on my whisky bottle. It was too big for Pollyanna Sunshine but it just fit Lorraine!

"I don't think I like being a walking advertisement for liquor! But it is warm."
Over a week ago at work I saw an older, hard plastic doll in our store. She was in a hatbox with three smaller hard plastic dolls and was priced at $29.99. I was surprised no one showed any interest in her (she was kept behind the jewelry counter with the Special Things That Cost More) and I only had one person ask to look at her while I was on duty. Then last Friday when I went in to work, I was handed a Christmas card with a Bonus Check in it (and I really hadn't thought I would get a bonus since I hadn't been there a whole year yet), so I decided to get her. And because she was marked as a toy and not a collectible, I got her for half price! And because my HLP was returning a pair of shoes (they turned out to be two right feet and the left ones couldn't be found), we got a store credit and so really the dolls didn't cost me anything at all.

I'm pretty sure she's a Sweet Sue, just like my other Sweet Sue (I think I named her Penny), only in much better condition. I couldn't find any markings on her (Penny has AC on the back of her neck, which stands for American Character). But many Sweet Sues weren't marked. I have named her Sally.

Sally and Penny liked each other right away.
Sally wants a cowgirl outfit too.

Sally's dress looks like an original 1950s dress. She has matching panties. I have to find her some shoes because she's barefoot. Penny is wearing a skirt and vest of suede and a gingham blouse. I made these for her last week. HLP, pulling a sticker off a banana, thought she needed some sort of badge on her vest so he added the Del Monte sticker. Penny's face needs repainting. I got her from eBay at a bargain price, because her face had been messed up. I removed the bad paint but haven't yet tried repainting her.

Her eBay picture.
Here is a close-up of her face when I got her.

That's not lipstick on her face!
I had to use acetone to get the paint off and that's why her face looks kind of dull. But it's a great improvement over what she did look like.

I Am So Far Behind

Ann at Small Sewing sent me these wonderful knitted outfits for my Barbies!

Bobbie, Jordan, Sabra, and Roxy show off their new outfits.
The girls are posing in front of our Christmas tree. We didn't plan to have a tree but while walking the dogs, Auntie Berman and I found a perfectly good fresh-cut tree behind some garbage cans in an alley. A week later it was still there (since our garbagemen are loathe to take anything they don't have to, except if it's two bags of leaves that Auntie Berman put in front of our neighbor Sheila's gate so Sheila could take them to work and feed the wild horses. Then the garbagemen cheerfully haul the extra bags away. But I digress . . .) So we dragged the tree home and set it up on my porch. Then, of course, we had to go to thrift stores to get ornaments! It was a win-win situation.

A few weeks ago I got another Barbie. She was at my store and I didn't even ask Auntie Berman if I should get her. I just said "I want her."

I think she's a Holiday Barbie.
The picture doesn't do her justice but I'm having camera problems.

Then, a few days later, I saw him!

I wasn't sure at first if he was a girl or a guy. He was bagged with wonderful clothes, a boombox, teeny little CDs, and cellphone. He is a Mattel Flava doll. He was wearing this coat when I saw him.

Sabra likes his coat but she thinks he's a little weird.
Oddly enough, his hat was sewn to his head. I took out the stitches but I think he looks better with the hat on. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture with his hat off and I'm not going to fight with my camera again (it actually needs new batteries).

We found the red hatbox at one of the thrift shops. I didn't realize till I got it home that it was filled with things--a passport, camera, money, and a couple of things I'm not sure about.

How cute is this!
G.I. Joe and Kyle aren't sure what to think of him. They are keeping their distance for now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Was Going To Do An Arm Transplant

With this doll to replace Jordan's rather flattened hand. But then I kept looking at the poor girl and decided  I'd like to try re-rooting her hair.

She looks a fright, doesn't she? But she's still smiling. Her hair had been chopped off and she had ink all over it, as well as on her face. The ink didn't come off with peanut butter, like some inks do. I removed her head, pouring almost boiling water on her neck to loosen it. I cut the hair as closely as I could all over her head. Then I used a small crochet hook and long tweezers to remove her hair from the inside. It takes a long time to do this.

I had various types of doll hair that I thought would work but threading them through a darning needle proved difficult, if not impossible. I was getting quite bored with it all and started looking at a roll of brown  hair that I think was meant to be piled on top of someone's head. I got out my glue gun and went to work.

It's a bit poufier than I like, but she's seems happy with it. I couldn't think of a way to make it lie down without getting a lot of glue in it. This is the back.

I need to trim the glue off of it. She can either be a 40s style girl or an 80's Big Hair girl.

Meanwhile, Pollyanna Sunshine now has a middy blouse to wear, and Auntie Berman found this nice red sandals for her.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Bathing Suit for Lorraine

I know it's the wrong time of year, but when I saw this little bathing suit (size 18 months) at the thrift shop I thought of Lorraine.

I had already started to cut it apart when I thought to take a picture.
It seemed like it would be very simple to cut it down for her.

I cut off the side seams, turned it inside out, and folded it in half.

Then I sewed up the center to make it smaller across her chest. I didn't want to move the straps, so that's why I didn't cut down the sides to make it smaller.

Then I draped it over her to see how it was fitting.

Much too long. I folded it half again and cut down the leg holes.

Then I turned under the raw edges on the leg openings and sewed up the sides. Auntie Berman suggested tying the two upper straps behind her neck, instead of trying to cut down the straps to make them fit, so I cut them off where they joined the back of the suit.

Yes, I know the print on the back of the suit is upside down, but that's the way it was originally.

I didn't want to cover up her swim suit after I just made it, but it's kind of cold so I put her seersucker capris (which is what she was wearing when I got her) on her and added a little bolero vest from an American Girl.

I think she's almost smiling!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Clothes for Lorraine

Lorraine was complaining that she had nothing to wear but summer dresses (and her Christmas dress, and her jacket, and her robe), so I made her an outfit.

"These shoes are ridiculous!"
The pullover sweater is made from a thrift store sweater. I used an American Girl pattern, unfortunately forgetting they have bulkier bodies than Lorraine. So it's a bit large for her. The pants are actually the right length for her, but the shoes make them bunch up. I used a combination of several patterns to get one that fit. I also made her a pair of panties but she refused to let me photograph them. Then she needed shoes, so I tried my hand at making them. I used this as a guide but got everything too big, including the tongue of the shoe. When I first got Lorraine, I made her a pair of slippers using this pattern, adjusting it for her larger foot.

"At least these are decent slippers."
They are a better fit, but more slipper-like than shoe-like. So, I saw another pattern here and thought it looked pretty easy. I am out of printer toner so I couldn't enlarge and print the pattern but I drew a reasonable facsimile of the upper part, found a piece of upholstery fabric and the glue gun, and gave it a try.

"Why is my Mommy so incompetent?"
They don't look bad from a distance but I couldn't find the Fray Check to keep the edges from raveling and I was getting glue all over myself and Lorraine. And I was getting tired of the whole project so I decided I would try again another day.

I had made a previous pair of pants for Lorraine that were too short, so I gave them to Pollyanna Sunshine.

"I don't care if they're way too big."
I will have to cut them down for her, but she was thrilled to have more clothes, even if they are hand-me-downs. Of course she's thrilled about anything.

Now you're all anxious to know about the new Barbie. I have named her Mallory Storm. I was researching some family history and came across a long-ago relative named Mallory Storm Hickerson, who died at age 13. No one on the forum seemed to know if Mallory was a girl or a boy, but I think it's a marvelous name.

I made her a dress out of purple velvet, which matches her lips so I guess I won't repaint them. I actually already had the top made so I just cut four triangles from another piece of the velvet, made a gored skirt, and sewed it to the top. Now I have to find some bling to spice it up a little.

"She should have made it ankle length."
And now I must tell you how it's entirely Auntie Berman's fault that I have yet another Barbie.  We were in Goodwill Bargain Bin and she said "There's a nice Barbie"  or words to that effect. I had briefly noted the Barbie and was walking on by when she (Auntie Berman) spoke. So of course I picked up the doll and I really, really liked her.

"At least someone recognized that I have star potential."
We thought she looked kind of like a 40's movie starlet. She had no clothes but I found a blouse and skirt in a nearby bin. Her hair was very tangled but I brushed it out on the way home, using Auntie Berman's hairbrush, which she doesn't need any more because she got all her hair cut off. When we got home I dug out this lovely Chinese coat for her to wear. It came from the Dollar Tree and was for a wine bottle. Apparently some people like to dress their wine bottles, although I think dollies are more fun.

"This is the life I was meant for."
I am going to make her a cowgirl outfit. I have a piece of thin fringed rawhide that was part of a purse, I think, and it's the perfect size. It's just pinned on here, not yet made into a skirt. Now she needs a Western blouse, a hat, and maybe a vest.

"I already have the boots. Maybe I can be in a movie with John Wayne."
I hope I can keep up my enthusiasm for making clothes for everyone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Do You Ever Have Conversations With Yourself Like This?

At the Salvation Army Warehouse up Valley Road:

Me:  Oh, I like that Barbie!

Myself: You don't need any more Barbies. You just got rid of a dozen of them.

Me: But she's really pretty and she looks kind of wistful. And she has a smudge on her nose.

Myself: You can't start collecting Barbies again. You have two and you promised No More!

Me: I like the way her hair's been cut, even if it is a little uneven. She doesn't have any bite marks on her or gouges on her leg, like that other Barbie.

Myself: Absolutely not.

Me: I don't really like the color of her lips but I could repaint them.

Myself: You'll never get around to doing it.

Me: Ann just got a Barbie. I should get a Barbie.

Myself: That's Ann's one and only Barbie. She doesn't compulsively buy Barbies.

Me: She might start, now that she has one.

Although this conversation seems to last a long time, it only took a few moments to go through my mind and I was asking Auntie Berman's opinion. Auntie Berman said weakly, "Well, if you really like her . . . " Later she said "Now I suppose you'll have to get a Ken to go with her."

Of course the Barbie was naked so I wrapped her in a scarf Auntie Berman bought. I think this may be a Bob Mackie 2005 Holiday Barbie. She has 2005 on the back of her neck and 1999 on the back of her waist. There is also what appears to be a serial number above the 1999.

She actually looks very nice in purple, so maybe I shouldn't try to repaint her lips.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pollyanna Sunshine

This picture was supposed to be last but I was having difficulties arranging things.
Since I couldn't decide between the two names, she is Pollyanna Sunshine. I worked on her hair with a pink doll brush from Salvation Army Warehouse.

I was supposed to section off the hair but it wasn't easy to do. I just took a hunk and started brushing, from the ends up, against my well-protected leg. Then I tied each section off with string.

Almost done!

Her hair is a bit, um, fluffy.

Her jeans are, I think, for an American Girl doll. I had to take two darts in the waist to make them small enough for her. She is quite a bit daintier than AG dolls.

"I feel like a princess!"