Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Barbie Fever Relapse

I really thought I was done with Barbies, especially now that I had my Tonner doll. Barbies just aren't as gorgeous as Tonners. But then Raine said something to me about I thought I was done with Barbies but I probably wasn't. Of course this planted the seed in my head and the next day at work I started looking at the bagged Barbies on the wall. To my amazement, I saw one that had a face that reminded me of Starla! Now the people at work are not supposed to enable in my dolly habit, but when I told the supervisor "There's a doll I have to get" she just shrugged and said "Well, you've gotta do what you've gotta do" and for $1.51 the doll was mine (original price $1.99).

When I got home that night, I ripped open the bag and saw on the back of her neck DC Comics!

Mr. Philadelphia's blouse comes in handy again.
I didn't even know there was such a thing! It took quite a bit of googling and eBay searching to figure out she is Lois Lane from the movie Superman Returns. She has one brown eye and one blue, just like the actress who played Lois Lane. She is by far the prettiest of the Superhero group (even though she herself isn't a superhero).

Starla and Lois Lane doll

Luckily I had a few clothes to fit her.

This dress is more her style.
And then I remembered that I didn't get rid of all my Barbies! I kept Bobbie and Sabra and Kyle and G.I. Joe. They are packed away in a box and now I'll have to dig them out.

Husband-like Person asked if I didn't think the other dolls got jealous when I got a new one and starting taking pictures of her and not them. I said they probably did. I also admitted that it's been a few days and I'm ready to find another new doll. It's all in the thrill of the hunt. He agreed, saying that's how he is with wristwatches. At least his watches don't take up as much room as dollies, but I'd much rather have a dolly habit.

Mrs. Smith and I were going to go thrifting today but she was having plumbing problems (in her bathroom, not personally) and I am low on money, so we agreed to go next week when Mr. Smith will be out of town and I will have had a payday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Little did we realize when we set out that sunny June day what a treasure awaited us at, of all places, the Other Savers! I work at the Savers in Sparks, Nevada, and the Other Savers is the one in Reno. Of course my coworkers and I consider our store to be vastly superior to theirs (well, it is bigger). But with thrift stores, it's all a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We had some donations to make, since Auntie Berman was getting ready to move away (and sadly, she has done so) and since many of the items were things I never wanted to see again, we took them to the Other Savers. (Here I might add that sometimes we donate things to my store and then accidentally buy them again, but that just shows that our taste is consistent.)

Anyway, as we checked out the Toy Wall, I noticed that their toy bags were much bigger than ours (and more expensive). I think it was Auntie Berman who spotted the larger-than-Barbie size doll in a bag and closer inspection revealed it to be a Tonner doll!

"What are the odds of finding me in a thrift store!"
There was a Barbie and some other small toys in the bag with her and the price was $5.99. Because she had just been put out that day, I couldn't buy her with my employee discount so Auntie Berman bought her at full price. And here I must say that when we made the donation, the guy asked us if we wanted a 20% off coupon and I carelessly said "Oh no, I'm an employee so we don't need it." Auntie Berman has not let me forget that. We later stopped at a Salvation Army store and bought a sock for her to wear, although it didn't fit as nicely as Casilda's.

When we got home I began to search for her identity. On the back of her head it says Effanbee Doll Company Inc. ©2004. On the small of her back it says ©2003 Tonner Doll Company Inc. I started with the Effanbee Company website and thought she looked a little bit, but not totally, like Brenda Starr. Then I went to the Tonner website and thought I searched thoroughly through their archived catalogs but still couldn't find her. So I emailed the Tonner Company and a very nice lady named Michelle helped me figure out that she (the doll) was Betty Ann, Brenda Starr's friend. They only had her for a couple of years, around 2006. Michelle said "Still working and now that we solved this wonderful mystery, it’s 2006 Mainline Collection, scroll to Effanbee and you will see her, it’s the Basic Betty Ann!! YAY!  Mystery solved, you’ll see her in full view…so fun! Glad we could help, those dates are basically meaningless as we use them for many years and also we used the Tonner updated bodies on Effanbee too so they had the bendy wrists!"

Here is what she looked like in the catalog.
Brenda Starr, Daphne Dimples, Betty Ann
I wonder why Betty Ann didn't have a last name? I named her Starla. I have a Wayfarers Inn doll named Starla but they don't mind sharing the same name. 

Of course I made her a swimsuit.

Possibly there's a bit too much cleavage.
I found a pair of Barbie shorts that just fit her, along with a Barbie shirt that was too big.

"Well, it's better than a sock."
And then I attempted to make her a dress using a Barbie pattern that I biggified, with not very good results.

"This dress makes me look dowdy!"
I have photographed her with Trouty Boy, one of our two trout shaped pillows that are excellent neck pillows. They are both named Trouty Boy but mine only has one eye. I keep meaning to give him another one, because I have a whole package of googly eyes, but somehow I never remember to do it.

Next I will try this Gene dress  because I really like bias-cut dresses. Gene is the same size as Betty Ann, although made by a different company.

Because they were both designed by Robert Tonner, I thought Starla and Lorraine might get along well.

"Surely we're not really related!"

They were polite to each other, but that's all.

Now if I can just walk into a thrift store and find Havana St. John  http://www.tonnerdoll.com/brenda-starr/havana-st-john with or without his eye patch!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bathing Beauties

I told them they were going to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
I think I had heard of Lorifina dolls at one time but never paid any attention to them (the story of my life!), so when I found one at my store last December I didn't recognize her but thought she was really pretty. No one seemed to want her so I decided to buy her. She was priced at $7.99 so someone in Back had recognized her quality although she was just put out with the other ordinary dolls. Picking the right time/right supervisor, I got her for $4.00. She was wearing jeans and shoes and nothing else, so I took a top along for her to wear. I discovered she was a Lorifina doll (good review here).  I named her Casilda, Cassie for short.

Casilda and sock monkey
A dress I had removed from a broken porcelain doll fit her perfectly for her Christmas dress.

"Goodness, I hope I don't have to wear this all year long!"
Lorraine liked her, as well as Lorraine could like anyone else. Lorifinas are 20 inches tall (Lorraine is 21), which is probably why they never caught on.

Lorraine had just tried on her new dress that I made for her.
Here they are side by side. Lorraine is quite a bit bigger around.

Lorraine is wearing a Chinese outfit Auntie Berman let her borrow. Cassie's pink top belongs to a bear, I think.

Then one day when we were out thrifting we found a child's pair of socks that I thought would make a cute sock dress. So I tried it for Casilda.

Cassie's new sock dress.
You can't tell in the picture, but it's actually a two-piece outfit. Thanks to her curvaceous figure, it fit quite well. Now for the first time, Husband-Like Person had something nice to say about my dolls. "I like her," he said happily. "She's a Hot Chick!"

Not wanting to discourage his interest, I deciding to make a bathing suit for her, and when I rewigged Caroline and Juliet I realized they needed them too.

I can't remember where I found this pattern, so I can't give credit to the original poster, unfortunately. It was sized for a Barbie but I biggify or smallify as needed (I've made lots of them for various dolls). Once I've cut one out, I'm always confused about what to do next. So I opened the picture with Windows Paint and added the letters. Use really stretchy fabric. First fold the fabric lengthwise and sew together the straight part with the double notches/tabs (A to A). Don't sew all the way down into the curved part. Now both the B pieces will be one single piece, so fold the B down to meet the C and sew them together. Now all you have to do is match the single notches/tabs and sew those seams. Don't accidentally sew the leg or arm openings together, as I have done more than once. Depending on your fabric, you can hem the raw edges or not. Some swimsuit fabric is really tightly knit and you won't have to do anything to the edges.

Here I just added a skirt to Caroline's outfit and she's ready to party.
Now I was going to put my most wonderful find, a Tonner doll, in this post but I don't have time so I will save her for the next post. Here is a sneak peak of her:

"I'm not very impressed with my sock dress!"
Also, I have named the new Tollytots doll Sandra (and don't call her Sandy, please). I took Lizzie's advice and combed out her hair and she looks a little happier now. Auntie Berman gave her the sock monkey dress.

That's a Wells Fargo horse on the left, not a piggy.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I don't remember where I first saw the Journey Girls but I was enchanted by them. Although I hoped I could find one at a thrift store, I knew it wasn't likely so I actually bought one brand-new! First Auntie Berman and I made a trip to Toys R Us to look at them. Surprisingly, I wasn't attracted to Kelsey, the red-haired one. Instead I liked Dana. I wasn't totally sure  I needed a new doll, but Auntie Berman convinced me I did and offered to advance me the money, since it wasn't yet payday. So we went back the next day. (Auntie Berman was thinking about getting Callie, the Asian girl, for herself but she was Out of Stock and apparently wasn't going to be restocked.) Dana was $32.99 and I had found a 30% off coupon, so that paid for the sales tax and then some and she was only $28.43 total.

We rushed her out to Auntie Berman's van and eagerly unpacked her. The first thing I did was remove her glasses, because dollies shouldn't have to wear glasses. Meanwhile, she (Dana) had told me that her name is really Belinda. Then we needed to dispose of her box, because I didn't want Husband-Like Person to know about her (that I'd bought her new, not that he would have said anything because he's always buying himself bicycle things, but still . . . ) The box stayed in Auntie Berman's van for quite a while, until we were able to dispose of it discreetly.

Belinda and Merry

Meanwhile, we had found a horse at Goodwill Bargain Bin! He was very battered and had obviously had a hard life, but we couldn't bear to think of him going to the glue factory so we got him. We named him Laredo. The girls all love him. It looks like he has eyebrows but actually that's where his "skin" has rubbed off.

Belinda on Laredo
New dress
Lorraine is not terribly pleased with her new sister.
In the last couple of months I have found two more horses! Both came into our store and as soon as I could (remember, I have to wait 2 days to buy things there) I bought them.

Pally, Laredo and Durango.
Pally is a palomino, of course. (Pally is an old family horse name from my father's side of the family.) Durango seemed like a good Western sort of horse name to go along with Laredo. These horses have articulated ankles, although I'm not sure why.

I suppose I'll have to get them saddles now.
The girl on Durango is my latest doll. She is a Tollytots. We got ten or twelve 18 inch dolls at our store and at first I wasn't terribly impressed with them. They were all Tollytots and Battats, most of them not very cute. Then I read on someone's blog about how they turned a girl doll into a boy doll and I briefly thought I might do that. So on our Thrifting Tuesday last week, Auntie Berman and I looked over the remaining dolls. I had second thoughts about gender reassignment at that point and decided I liked this girl a lot. Auntie Berman found a similar one (with sausage curls that need work), so we both got a doll that day. I still haven't named her and I wish she didn't look so frightened all the time, but I'm sure she'll settle in soon.