Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

Hello everyone.

Just last week I was bragging about how I was finally being good and starting to save money and now I'm here telling you how I spent it all.
Well, planning on spending it all. 

As of right now, there are three auctions that I am watching veeeeeeeeeery closely. I'm trying my best to remind myself that I can't afford too much on any of them, so they could easily slip through my fingers, but I'm hopeful that at least some of them will end up being mine.

This is a loss on two parts, both financial and space wise. But at least I've been clearing out what I don't want so I have room for what I do want?

That's what I keep telling myself.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hola Everyone!

Not a ton of new stuff to report going on in life. I still haven't been sewing much but I have made some progress in curbing my spending and slowing down on adding doll after doll. I know I thought I'd never say it, but I am running out of room. And while I can't say I'll ever stop buying dolls, I'm at least trying to slow down on buying so many of them.
I am still working hard on listing stuff on E-bay. I manage about six new listing per week and I have had some decent luck selling on there. On average I get bids on two items per week, usually for the starting price. Obviously, I would like things to go for more but I'm at least getting back what I paid for the items. Also I am getting "payment" in the form of clearing these items out of my room. Which is a great benefit (and the reason why I started this push to clear stuff out). I will say that while most things don't sell for very much, I have had a few nice surprises where something would sell for a bit more than I was expecting. Granted those are rare, but they are a total "yay me!" when they do happen. And so far I've been really good about not spending the money I get from the auctions. Since starting this push over on E-bay I've actually sent money from my Paypal to my bank account twice instead of immediately spending it on my next doll purchase.

*I feel so grown up!*

But this post is going to be more than my usual quick updates that I've been doing lately. This one I'm also going to be talking about a recent doll purchase. While my online doll shopping has lessened slightly, I certainly haven't been able to flat out cut myself off. I'm also especially bad when it comes to buying dolls in person. It's easier to walk away from an online purchase compared to something that's right there in front of you tempting you. I could own this NOW
Our story starts a long, long, long time ago (like a month ago now) on a Saturday. My father and I were making a special trip to downtown so he could go measure something at one of the antique stores. He had seen the item the day before, but needed to do some research before buying it. Having done his research during the night we headed back out so he could measure the item and see if it would work for his needs and asked me if I wanted to go out too. I was on the fence about going, but (obviously) ended up going. It actually ended up being for the best for me that I did.
 Once we got to downtown my father headed to the first store on Sunset. Since I had been there the previous day and didn't see anything I wanted and didn't think anything new would appear overnight (ask me about the 120 dollar "Skipper" doll that's actually a Skooter doll that's been there since I started shopping there years ago) I opted to go to another store on Sunset. I picked the Antique Mall since I have better luck there than any other stores on the strip.
I was wandering around upstairs checking out the stalls where I have had lucky finds before. (I am a creature of habit). Most of them were pretty empty of new doll stuff (I hadn't been there that long ago). I had just finished checking one of the larger stalls upstairs and was turning to go when I noticed a doll foot barely visible from an open box. Curious I peeked inside. In the box were two TLC Mod Barbie dolls. They both needed work, but had potential. And they were not alone in the box, there we also some clothes in the box as well. The entire box was priced at 35 dollars, but everything in the booth was on sale for 60 percent off, making them around 15 dollars. I would have left them at 35, but 15 was much more tempting, so they ended up coming home with me.
I would say I hope this will be a quick discussion of showing off the actual item, but I know me and just talking about how I got anything I am a real Chatty Cathy, so I doubt it will be quick. I hope you're committed to reading this post, because it's not going to be over any time soon.

Up first I'm going to talk about the box I found the dolls in. I believe it's a child's play box, measuring 9 inches by 3 1/2 inches by 12 inches. The lid of the box has a glossy image of a pink lamb with a basket of flowers around it's neck standing in a flowered field with a small pond. Also with the lamb is a baby duck, a bunny rabbit, a goldfish, a butterfly, two bluebirds, and two winged... worms? (seriously, what are those?). The image only wraps around the lid. The back half of the box is covered in a matte pink and white mesh design. On the inside there is a third design. This one is
white with silver stars of different sizes. I think the box is several years older than the contents I found in the box. If I had to guess I'd say the box is from the late 50's, early 60's. The box is made out of a dense cardboard (from what I can tell) and has metal hinges, a plastic handle, and a metal claps on it. The clasp is the only item with any sort of marking. It says "USA Xcelsior" and a town in Connecticut, which after researching it is just the maker of the clasp. As I said I haven't found any other markings so I really don't know a lot about this box, so if anyone knows anything about it feel free to let me know in the comments section. Condition wise, the box looks to be in pretty decent shape. It does have several spots of wear to the paper that covers the box, including a tear or two. It was pretty dirty when I got it, but a damp cloth has cleaned it up nicely. For something made from materials that wouldn't hold up well to rough play it looks pretty good. I'm not totally sure what I'm going to do with it, but I'm going to hold onto it for now. I think it's really cute.
There weren't too many clothes in the box, which isn't surprising. It's not a very big box. I'm going to talk about the non-Mattel clothing first. There
were a grand total of three non-Mattel clothing pieces in the case. Two of them look to be hand made and those two are way too big for Barbie. Just a wild guess, but I believe that based on the style and size they were both originally made for Tiffany Taylor (Update, I now own Tiffany Taylor, there's no way these would have fit her, these might belong to a toddler doll, or some doll with a little bit of a belly). The first item is a pair of cream colored pants made from felt. They have elastic in the back to be able to get on and off the doll. They are unhemmed at the bottom, but have a line of stay stitches at the top. They are in pretty decent shape, I did see a tiny hole at the crotch but they look to be in decent shape. I however have no intention of using them for anything. They will be banished into the unwanted clothing bag. The second clothing piece is a jumpsuit. These are made from the same
pattern as the pants, except they aren't just pants. It's a jumpsuit with a halter tie at the neck. These close in the back with a single snap. They are made from an amazing textured bright green fabric. This fabric I really, really like. I have an idea to use the fabric to make something for Barbie. I will be have to be careful with deciding what I made from it since I don't have too much of the fabric to work with. The pants and jumpsuit have a very unusual construction. These pants actually have a seam that goes down the front of the leg, which is not something I've come across before. And here I thought it was weird when doll pants have a side seam. The final item is a clone dress, I know that for a fact since it had a paper Made in Hong Kong tag inside.This one I Barbie sized (one of the dolls was wearing it in the box). It a bodice with a full skirt made of a saturated baby pink nylon with a lace overlay. I'm not sure what
color the lace was supposed to be. When I got it it was the color of weak tea with several spots on it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I took out the snaps (they were falling off and very corroded) and the paper tag (to preserve it) and washed it. The stains really did not come out at all. I would have liked it to (I am SO bad on stain removal), but I'm not really sure what I was going to do with it. It's not really my style.   
Moving on, we get to talk about the Mattel clothing from the box. There was actually the same amount of Mattel made clothes in the case as non-Mattel pieces.
Up first we have a Skipper pajama top. It's the top to the pajama set "Baby Doll" from 1968. It was the only part of the outfit, or item for Skipper in the entire lot. It's actually in pretty good shape. It does have some issues, including the pink ribbon falling apart, the elastic loop in the back is gone, and there's a small pull spot to the lace but the pink netting looks really good. Usually when I get stuff like that it's torn or snagged to death.With a little work, this would be a really great display piece. After that we have the bathing suit bottoms to a
Standard Barbie doll. This was the earlier one that came in the hot pink two piece with the flower on the bottom piece. It looks to be in pretty good shape, with minimal popped stitches. The flower is missing and there's a snag where it would have been (I assume it got torn out). But overall they look good.
They're actually tagged with a Barbie tag. And finally we have mod Barbie dress "Romantic Ruffles" from 1969. Apparently it's hard to find. This one is in decent shape. There is wear to the silver of the bodice, some fraying to the ribbon at the waist, and some minor snags here and there. Just like with the Skipper pajama top I think this will display really nicely. And I actually have thoughts to display it. And that was the Mattel made clothing pieces!
Moving on, there were also a couple accessories in the box, literally two. The first one is
an orange vintage Barbie filigree hanger. It's in really great shape, it actually looks brand new. I don't have very many of these types of hangers, so it's pretty cool. I like using them for hanging up my vintage Barbie clothes. I don't think that any of the Mattel clothes I got in this lot came with an orange hanger, so it must have been from an outfit that either didn't survive until
now, or just didn't end up in this lot. The second accessory is a plastic brush. It's about 3 inches long and is made from a yellow flexible plastic. It has a hole in the handle with a red plastic string that's looped inside. It has "Made in Hong Kong" molded into the back. I don't ever plan on using it, I have better brushes plus I don't think it will work that well. It might cause more damage to doll hair than brush it. 
After that we get to talk about the dolls in the lot. As I said there were two Mod
dolls in the lot. The first one was a TNT Barbie doll. She's a light blonde haired doll, I believe she's the hair color "Sun Kissed". She has stunning face paint, just perfect. However, she's got lots of issues on both her head and body. Her head is made out of
the thinnest vinyl I have ever come across. It does not take much for her head to squish. Since it's so thin it's really prone to tearing. She doesn't have any neck splits, but I found out that she has a tear on the inside of her mouth. I do wonder if it happened naturally or someone decided she needed to be able to "eat". Either way I reinforced it in the inside with vinyl glue. I hope it hold and doesn't get any worse. That was the biggest issue with her head. When I got her the back half of her part had come undone. I did fix it, but I could stand to go over it again and do some more work with it. Her body is in decent shape, with one major issue, her leg is broken. Not only is the leg broken above the knee, there's a huge tear in the vinyl so it's exposed. I tried fixing it, but haven't been able to get the glue to hold. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. I have thought about sticking her in some tall socks to help keep it secure. I wish I could repair it, but it just seems to be beyond my capability. That is the biggest issue with her body, but she also has some chewing to her feet and spots on her legs here and there. She was well played with, but for what I paid for I can't expect a pristine mint doll.  
The second doll from the lot had a hint about who she was from the items I talked about above. The
second doll is ... a standard Barbie doll! Ironically her swimsuit bottom was on the TNT doll (under the Romantic Ruffles dress so I didn't know about it until after I bought them). She's really pretty with her light brown hair. Her skin tone is amazing, her hair is wonderful, and her paint looks absolutely pristine. She'd be near mint if it wasn't for two problems, she has a nose nip and is missing half her thumb on her left hand. It's a real shame since she's so nearly perfect, but she was part of a 14 dollar lot. She's my third standard doll! On a weird note, I only have brunettes. I have yet to stumble upon a blonde (or an oxidized Titan). Just an odd coincidence.

So that's what I bought! I know that everything I bought was rather TLC, but I think I got a decent deal based on what I paid for it. And now that I've finally shared it with you, I can finally put it away!
(Which is a decent reward for finally getting it finished!)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hello Everyone, Me again

Still not a whole lot going on to report lately, but I wanted to show you some recent findings that I discovered on a doll related front.

I was actually going to share this several months ago, but kept putting it off, which is a common theme for me. With my big push to clear out the stuff I don't want, I've been doing some reorganizing. And the the item I'm going to talk about today is something that should be put away, but I didn't let myself put it away until I talked about it on the blog and it's high time I put it away, so here's the post about it.
Let me start off with a picture:
(First of all, not my picture. I stole this from E-bay, will removed if asked).
I assume most people know what that is. If you don't let me explain. That half doll up there is a cake doll. She's designed with that spike on the bottom so you can stick it into a cake. The cake is traditionally made into a skirt shape then you decorate her and the cake with frosting (and candy) to dress her. If you look up pictures online you can see some really creative examples of doll cakes. This can also be done with a regular doll, you just get the legs all covered with cake. Buying the half doll is cheaper than buying a full doll for the cake and it's quicker clean up.

Now, you might be asking yourself why I bought her. It's not like I have a shortage of full dolls around here that I can shove into a cake. Why would I shell out money for a half doll when I have so many full dolls that would do? Well, I bought her for two reasons. The first one is that her arms look an awful lot like the Mod/70's era Barbie Mexico arms. And since I have been dabbling more into collecting dolls from that era I might end up needed replacement arms for some reason I thought it might be in my best interest to see if this doll could be used as a replacement arm for those dolls. And secondly, I've never had a doll cake before. Yes, it's true that my aunt used to make them and my cousin got several of them growing up but nooooooooooo, I never did. But I informed my mother that this year after purchasing this I will be getting doll cake and that she will be making it.
We are all about righting childhood wrongdoings over here one doll cake at a time. 
(Although, that's literally eating my problems)
Anyway, back to the cake doll. I bought this cake doll at Hobby Lobby, I assume any decent sized store with a cake decorating section will have them. They sell them 3.59 both online and in store. They also sell them in a boxed kit that comes with a pan that looks like a skirt, I didn't bother with that since it was 20 bucks and I just wanted the half doll. I used the 40 percent off one item coupon to make her even cheaper than 3.49. I don't have the receipt anymore and percentages were never my strong suit, but I've given you enough information to crunch your numbers if you're so inclined (Don't forget sales tax). When I bought mine they had 3 on the racks, which is good because I got to pick the best one. I found that the skin color varies with these dolls, the one I got was pretty pink. The first one I looked at wasn't as pink and more tan, but not tan. So just be warned, they do have variations in the colors. They also have other variations, I didn't realize it in store, but the arms of mine are uneven. The right arm is noticeably bigger than the left one, but it's not a huge deal.
I made it into the car before I opened her bag and tried removing her limbs. They actually popped off pretty easily (but I did manage to snap off part of one of the posts later, so they are fragile i.e. cheap). The three posts that hold her arms and head on are a lot smaller than Barbie ones. But they are the same type of set up as the 70's era dolls. I could tell right away that the arms, while looking nearly identical as the Mexico arms, weren't the same. Color me surprised. I thought that since Mattel wasn't using them anymore just licensed the molds to Wilson (or Wilson just used them), but they have different seam lines. The Mattel dolls have a seam line that goes around their wrists as well as going up both sides of their arms, the cake doll has the seams going up their arms (in different spots than the Mattel doll) but do not have the seams around their wrists. But even with this little difference it's pretty clear that the cake doll's arms was copied off the Mattel arms, the shape of the arms are nearly identical. Actually I think the torso is also based off the vintage Barbie torso. While I was comparing the arms to a 70's era doll I had the shape of the torsos were matching up between the two, especially noticeable with the shape of the breasts. There have been some changes (especially to the waist area and knobs), but they clearly have a lot in common. Which brings me to the most important information to impart, while the posts that hold the arms onto the torso are smaller than regular Barbie ones, the arm holes aren't and can fit vintage Barbie. I used a replacement arm post I had and the cake doll arm fit it easily. I didn't put it on an actual doll (I don't have any with their arms off), but it seems that these can be used in vintage dolls. I however would make sure there was a layer of clear nail polish between the torso and the arm since I don't know how the plastics will react.

And a quick note about the neck knob, just like the arm knobs it's also smaller. It's also narrower and more pointed (kind of like an arrow head). Mine was also rough so I had to file it smooth. It can be used with a vintage head, except the head will flop about on it. I was planning on popping off the head the doll came with and putting a vintage head on for my doll cake. It's not like I don't have a shortage of heads around here, and now I won't have a shortage of (Mexico) arms.

But now I need legs. Where will I find legs?