Our story starts about three weeks ago now. I was out in town doing my usual thrift store visits. I should mention some sad news, out of the three thrift stores in town, two of them have gotten rid of their toy sections. My father asked about it in one of them, apparently they were tired of shoppers dropping off their kids in the toy section, having the kids make a mess, the staff cleaning it up, then have another parent dump the kid in the section, and the whole process repeating. I'm not surprised that they ended up cutting their losses. I'm hopeing that once Summer's over and there's less kids around they'll bring back the toy sections. *Finger's crossed*
Anyway, I was at the Salvation Army. I was looking over the knickknack section. I haven't been buying them lately since learning that they don't sell that well over on E-bay. Just ask the modest amount of them I've been trying to unload over there. However I still check to see if there's anything I can't live without. I also check to see if there's anything marked "Made in Occupied Japan", my father has a small collection of those so if I find any I show them to him. And finally, I like testing myself. I look at all certain figurines and try to determine where they were made, then look at the underside for any markings. I'm not perfect at it, but it makes me happy when I'm right. So I was looking over the figurines when I saw the most darling figurine of a reindeer. Standing at about 5 inches tall it was made out of a white ceramic with gold accents. It was very cute, but in need of restoration. It wasn't broken but it originally was decorated with rhinestones, most of which were missing. I assume someone had replaced the stones at some point and had done a really sloppy job. All of the holes for the stones were filled with this white glue (possibly cement?). The glue had overfilled the holes and just looked terrible. Since I had bought several things that day, and didn't need another project, and didn't know where to get replacement rhinestones I put it back. It can be someone else's lucky find.
But it was destined to be mine. It was there one week later when I went back. This time I could not leave without it. It was going to be a lot of work to repair it, but I had found a source for the rhinestones. While I was at Hobby Lobby looking for something in the Jewelry section I found out they sold them. At the time I didn't plan on going back to get the reindeer, but it was still there waiting for me. So I bought it. It cost me 99 whole cents. I didn't buy the rhinestones that week. The first thing I did was wash the reindeer. It was filthy. There was even a bit of a dry leaf stuck between it's back and neck. After that I started scraping out the old glue residue. I was afraid it was going to be a terrible task, but it ended up not being so bad. It took me a while, but with hard work and dedication I was able to scrape it out of the holes. It even had big blobs of white glue on both roses. I was worried that meant they had broken and been repaired but when I was scraping off the glue they turned out to be fine. I guess there were stones there at some point. With all the crevices it was hard to get the glue out of the roses, but I got most of it. With that done it was time to get the new rhinestones. I took one of the few remaining ones with me to the store. I couldn't find an exact match size wise, but I knew that the original ones were slightly undersized for the holes. I also knew that the original stones were different colors but they weren't sold in a multi-colored pack. I was tempted by the pack that had black and white, but eventually settled on just white stones. The rhinestones were sold in pack of multiple sizes, I needed the largest size in the pack. I was worried there wouldn't be enough large white ones if I bought the black and white set so I just got the white set. I used the coupon on the stones, they were originally 5.99, but the coupon made them 3.40 (plus tax).
I wasn't sure what glue to use to set the stones. I decided to start with a mild glue and see if that worked. Elmer's glue was the first one I tried. I figured that if they didn't hold I could get a stronger glue. I did it over a week ago, and so far so good. I glued in the majority of the stones at the same time and they've all stayed in place except for one. And I've been working on the figurine and moving it around, so I think it's doing a great job. The one that fell out I re-glued and it's been holding ever since. I think the reason why it fell out is because the hole the stone is set in is not as deep as most of the others. So it's more exposed and has a greater chance of getting dislodged. If it happens again I'll just glue it back in again, and I do have extra stones in case it gets lost.
With the stones replaced I was making decent progress on the restoration. All that was left was the bow at the neck. It was red, but it was extremely worn (in vintage figurines the gold is under the glaze, while the red is painted on top and is very prone to rubbing or washing off). I decided to try repainting it, using nail polish. I figured it would be an easy way to get paint with a nice shine, plus it's thicker than regular paint so it'll be easier to stay within the lines. I went to Walmart and bought a vial of their baby pink nail polish, when I got home I painted the bow.... and didn't like it. It was close in color to the roses, but not a perfect match. Also it was looking.... dull. So I ended up removing it. Instead I glittered the bow. I had some white glitter that I had bought a while ago that I used. I got that done this morning, and when that was finished I installed the last two rhinestones. And like that I was done!
I can't wait for Christmas so I can display him!