Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sometimes, I buy lemons.

Late last year I got a new doll obsession (other than the Disney store Princess shoes, which is still going strong by the way). I suddenly found myself really intersted in Tammy and her friends and family. Not sure how it started, but I would find myself on Ebay several times a day checking out the new listings and just seeing what was availible.
I actually already have a Tammy doll, I found her locally over a year ago now so I was mainly interested in her family, specifically the men in her life. It's nothing against her mother and sister, but I have so many female dolls it's interesting seeing male characters who are someone other than the boyfriend (I do like Tammy's boyfriend Bud, but since he's so rare and expensive I doubt I'll ever own him). Luckily for the most part Tammy's family are rather affordable. However for such a passing fancy, I still wanted to get a bargain (Shocker, I'm being cheap). I was focusing on both Tammy's father and her brother Ted. Ebay did have someone selling her father rather cheaply as a buy it now. He did have some issues, but when he was under 12 dollars including shipping I could live with some of them and fix some of the others. The seller had a make an offer option for the auction which I did. Obviously they accepted my offer and I got him for 10 dollars including shipping. Which is always a nice thing... or so I thought.

I was in for a bit of a shock when he arrived. Tammy's Dad has had a hard life (it must be hard when your doll line gets discontinued). He has paint wear to his head which is very common to any doll with painted hair. Oddly his right ring finger is stained a bright green (haven't bothered with acne cream yet), some staining to his upper arm, a fold to his neck in the back (I thought I could repair this, but I think his neck actually stretched), a slightly squashed torso leaving one leg hole warped, and, worst of all, three cuts to his chin at the front of his face. From the listing I knew about the stains, the paint wear, and the bend to the back of the neck. So I was pretty annoyed when he arrived with more damage than what I was expecting, especially about the cuts to his face which were not disclosed or visible in the pictures. I was unhappy with my purchase, but I wasn't sure what to do. I thought about returning him, but I really don't want to spent 3 dollars on shipping for a 7 dollar doll. And I felt it was pointless to contact the seller for a partial refund since again, it was such a small amount. I thought long and hard about it and ended up leaving a neutral for the seller, the first time I've ever done that. I still feel sort of guilty about it, but those issues really should have been disclosed.
For a long time I wasn't sure what I was going to do with Tammy's father (does he have a name, it's kind of odd to keep referring to him as Tammy's father). He's not worth much so I wouldn't bother re-listing him and I did think about just sticking him in a box and forgetting all about him. However I've decided that I'm going to give him some flocked facial hair to cover his cuts and live with the rest. I still have to find where to buy flocking, but I'm satisfied with that solution so I put him in the box top with the other dolls I need to share with you on the blog. He doesn't sell for very much even without all the damage mine has, so it wouldn't be too costly to get a better condition replacement one to keep original.
Today I pulled him out to share with you all (I really am trying to get all caught up). I also still had
my Homme doll on the desk with his new pants. On a whim I tried his plaid pants on Tammy's Dad. They actually fit really well. The only fit issue was that they were a little bit too long. They actually fit better on him than the Homme. I'm able to tuck a shirt into them! I proved this by using the white button up shirt from cheerleader Ken. I slightly modified it by taking off one of the pockets (the one with the logo), undoing the side seams, unrolling the sleeves and hemming them. It's now a much more traditional button up shirt. I actually really liked him in it. I also give him a pair of black dress shoes. These are from the High School Musical Ryan doll, who's a teen sized doll. For a doll that's bigger than Ken (mainly because of his large noggin), he has tiny feet. Most of the Ken shoes were too big for him! Luckily these fit him. I also gave him a pair of glasses, these are just a loaner pair since they belong to Joe. I do like how he looks in them so I might end up breaking down and buying some of those larger than Barbie glasses from Aliexpress. And just like that he was dressed! I do have an issue as to where to display him, he's just too tall to go on any of the shelves of the bookcase. I'm not sure where he's going to go!

And want to see something really freaky? 
On the left is my Grandfather circa 1964, on the right Tammy's dad. 

Does this make Tammy my aunt?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I've been sewing!

Since I've been trying to cut back on buying new dolls I've actually be doing some sewing. I'm still not doing as much as I used to but I am slowly getting back into it. I'm still having issues with being unsatisfied with the quality of my work and have plenty of times where I give up, but have actually finished a few items that I started.
The other day I started working on some pants. I needed some for an Integrity Homme doll, who will be introduced to you all when I finally get my Christmas present post finished (I have it started, I promise). I already have several different sized patterns as options for starting point for him. I just had to find the best one. The first thing I tried was putting him in a pair of pants for Joe. I guess I was thinking that since they were both big they would be the closest match. However, Joe is a thicker kind of big, the homme is just really tall. He's actually the closest in size to vintage Ken, just a lot taller (because of his legs). So I ended up using a vintage Ken pants pattern to make his pants pattern. I knew he would need some length to the pants so that was the first thing I changed on the pattern. After making a test pair and trying them on him, I ended up doing a few more minor tweaks. I tested it after that and felt they fit pretty decently. So I decided to use some decent fabric and sew a pair for real. I used that plaid John Deere fabric that I just love. They came together pretty easily. I did have one issue where one hem didn't match up, but I was able to adjust it to get it to fit. I was pleased how they came out and how they fit, but I'm going to have to adjust the pattern again. These are a bit too tight. I mean, they fit fine, but don't have enough space at the waist to allow a shirt to be tucked in. Which is fine, not every shirt needs to be tucked in. These will just be his untucked shirt pants!  

Showing off the fake pockets

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Superstar Barbie just had to have Superstar Friends!

Per usual I was over on Etsy scoping out the newly listed Barbie items. There weren't too many new things, but they don't really add up when you check as often as I do. There were a couple new listings, including one that was sort of interesting to me. It was the 12 inch version of Cheryl Ladd from Mattel. Cheryl Ladd was one of the celebrity dolls that Mattel released in the 1970's. (You may remember I compiled that list several months ago, finding this doll was the reason why I did that). I'm not really interested in dolls that "new", and I never have much luck with celebrity dolls (just ask Donnie and Marie who no longer live here), but Cheryl was only seven dollars including shipping, so I decided to get her. I figured that even if we didn't click I could use her body. She has the later issue straight cut waist, but she did have the Mexico arms, so another 70's era doll could always use her body. She also came fully dressed including shoes and I was hoping her shoes were Superstar era shoes that someone else could wear. (Charlotte does love wearing Superstar pumps)
Sadly, her shoes are clone shoes. I can still use them on Bend leg dolls, but quite honestly I doubt I
will. I know I've said this before, but I just don't use purple in the collection. I don't have anything against it, I just don't gravitate to it for some reason. Cheryl also came with a pair of turquoise pants with a silver elastic waist (I haven't bothered identifying these pants, but I'd bet they're 70's or 80's era Barbie pants) and a striped partially un-hemmed tube top. The bottom of the stitching on the tube top has come undone, but it's really not an issue for me. I really do not care for it. I'm not sure if I'm even going to bother repairing it. It'll just be banished into some bag around here until I get rid of it.
So pretty much Cheryl's clothes were a wash. I will be keeping the pants and shoes, but I doubt I'll ever actually use them.
However, my seven dollar expense wasn't in vain. Cheryl herself is in
amazing condition. She doesn't seemed to be played with much, if at all. She's practically perfect, all she needed was some light cleaning. Great hair, perfect face paint, body looks amazing, she's really a great example of this doll. So my seven dollars were well spent. I will say I'm not totally sure if she'll live here forever. In the 1970's the celebrity dolls got their own unique head mold and I kind of prefer the earlier dolls that used already made head molds but with unique hair and paint. They fit in better with the other dolls. She might end up going the way of Donnie and Marie. I will say, in her favor, I think that she looks an awful lot like Jane Curtain. And quite honestly, she might have more staying power as Jane Curtain than Cheryl Ladd.

No offense to Cheryl Ladd. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

She's now heads above the competition!

I'm hoping this will be a quick post. I just wanted to share with you all my second Quick Curl Francie now that she's complete. You already saw part of her several months ago when I shared her broken body that I had found online very cheaply and repaired. I had found someone selling the head but hadn't had the chance to get together with them for months until last weekend. I was going to buy the head from them, but they just ended up giving it to me for free!
She's in really nice shape. Perfect makeup and her hair wasn't too messy for a Quick Curl doll. It didn't take me long to brush it out. At first when I was brushing it out I thought she might have cut hair, but now I'm not so sure. It's shorter than my other doll, but it's all even. It's long enough that she doesn't need a reroot, but if she did it wouldn't be terrible since she would make a beautiful Baggie Francie. I'm not sure what it is about Quick Curl Francie, but I really love her face paint.
And now she gets to join the rest of the undressed dolls while I work on dressing them and who knows when I'll get around to her. But at least now she has a head! 
She's prettier in person, my camera just took a bad picture of her. I really need to upgrade.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy Tiny Button Day!

I'll confess, tiny button day isn't a real thing, but I personally am celebrating it today.
I've been mostly good with my doll buying resolution. I know we're only on day 6 of the new year but I haven't bought a single doll so far this month. I was actually pretty good in December too with getting new dolls. I only bought one doll online that month, so I am making some progress in curbing my spending. However, I did have a minor setback, all due to the previously mentioned tiny buttons. I don't know if you remember, but over a year ago I found some "micro-buttons" at Hobby Lobby. They had a pack that had yellow, orange, blue, green, red, and purple that I bought. I looked for white or black but they didn't have either of those in stock. I loved these buttons, they look amazing on doll clothes. They're just so cute and tiny. They really add a special touch to the clothing that I've used them on.
Some colors were more popular than others. I ran out of red first and yellow is nearly depleted. However when I went to buy more at Hobby Lobby, they no longer sold them. They had cleared out the button section so they could sell their own brand of buttons, and none of those were anywhere close to the right size for Barbie doll clothes. I saw the same brand recently at Handcock Fabrics in town (we just got one at the mall), but they didn't carry the micro sized buttons. All the ones I was finding were the 1/4 inch size, which are small but way too big for Barbie. They are sold online in a few places, but all the places I found them wanted a lot for shipping. I mean these buttons cost 2.29 a pack I'm not going to spend 4 dollars plus on shipping. It would just be so much easier if someone locally (or not even that locally) had them in stock. I even tried finding out if Handcock would order something for you, but I never found a real answer. I assume they don't.
After giving up finding them cheaply I had a thought; I should check Amazon. They literally have everything. I checked and they did have them, some of them were even on sale! Some of them even had free shipping for prime members if you were ordering 25 dollars worth of stuff (we have prime thanks to my sister). I told this information to my mother and she was just happening to be placing an Amazon order right then, so I was able to add my buttons to that order for free shipping!
I bought 10 dollars worth of buttons.

Like I said, some of the buttons were on sale for half off. They had four different kinds on sale, I bought two of each pack. I figured that I might as well buy them and not have to get them again for a
long time. They had black, "Christmas" (green and red), a pink micro/mini shapes pack (tiny buttons and larger heart and star buttons), and a "romantic" color pack (ruddy tans, purples, greens, and blues). I ordered them on Friday and arrived on Tuesday. I took them all out of their original packaging and counted how many of I got of each type.
Combined the black pack had 99 buttons. There should have been 100 (50
per pack), but one package had just 49. Which isn't a huge deal, that was the only pack that was underfilled. All the rest of them had well over their stated piece amount. In the Christmas packs (which I did not count separately I just dumped together and counted) I had 58 red and 62 greens. I still need to compare them to see if these are the same colors as the original colored set I bought. In the pink set, I got 36 of the star buttons, 51 heart buttons (each button also had different shades but I didn't bother counting how many of each color I had), it also had 17 hot pink micro buttons, 12 medium pink micro buttons, and 22 light pink micro buttons. In the the "romantic" color packs I got 14 green-gray buttons, 22 green tone buttons, 32 blue tone buttons, 25 purple buttons, and 29 tan tone buttons. I also got a small piece of blue plastic that wasn't a button. In that pack there were several different shades of buttons but I wasn't sure if that was a separate color or just a color variance within the plastic. 
So I got a fair amount of each kind. Overall I am very pleased with my purchase. I'm not expecting to need to reorder these buttons for a while, but I am keeping tabs on when white goes on sale since I know that one I'll find uses for. I'd also like to pick up some of the other colors just because I like having the variety. I will say that I most likely will not get the "romance" pack again. The colors are just not that attractive. If your romance is that color, it should be taken out back and buried. I probably won't buy the pink set again either. I love the color of the buttons I got and really think they'd work well for my purposes but I just don't need the mini heart and star buttons. I think they'll work nicely for Barbie sized brooches, but how many of those do I need? After looking at the other buttons they have for sale, they do have pink packs that's just micro buttons, they just none on sale at that time. Now that I have some I can wait until they're on sale to get more if I want them.

And for people curious, these buttons are extremely close to vintage Mattel ones. Here's an orange one (one of the older ones but the new ones are exactly the same size) next to a vintage Mattel button I took off a Best Buy dress. The new button is a lot less opaque than the vintage one but they look nearly identical.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope everyone had a happy new year'seve and a so far the new year is treating you well. My new years eve was mostly good. I'm currently dealing with another sinus infection. Luckily it's nowhere near as bad as the one that knocked me out of commission in the fall. I'm on day four of dealing with it and I'm trying to do my regular routine just feeling tired and lousy while doing it. But last night I spent some time with my family. We played some board games, two games of Clue (the "new" 2013 edition which I did not care for) and one game of Apples to Apples. I lost both Clue games (just barely), but won Apples to Apples.

But now it's 2015, I wanted to share my New Year's resolutions with you all.

1. Get my finances in order. This includes getting a job, paying off what I owe, keep selling stuff on E-bay, putting money back into my bank account, and most importantly, stop buying things. This one is pretty big since it covers a lot, but I really do need to be better about my money. I'm most likely not able to flat out stop buying dolls, but I need to be more selective and let more deals pass. I'm also going to try and curb my items for resale. I want to get out of the E-bay game, but I can't do that if I keep buying stuff for it. Fabric also falls under this resolution. Just because I like a fabric doesn't mean I have to buy it. I need to wait until I have an actual project in mind for it if I'm going to buy it.

2. Start eating better and working out more. I've been very bad lately and it needs to stop. I'm going to ease myself into this because normally I try to do a total 180 on my exercise and eating habits and I get defeated quickly and give up. So I'm going to focus on starting small and building from there to hopefully get long term results.

3. Buy a new camera. This is a bit contradictory with my first resolution, but I seriously need a new camera. In fact the one I'm using right now isn't even my camera, it's my parents. And it's ancient (in terms of camera years). I've noticed that my pictures are getting blurrier and blurrier. I think a camera upgrade is something that will make my life a lot easier. I've already been doing some shopping around for one and I've found a couple that could work. If anyone has some recommendations I'd love to hear them. Right now I'm looking for cameras under 100 dollars, I'd feel more comfortable spending 80. I don't need anything too fancy, I just need a good average camera. You've all seen my pictures I'm hardly a photographic artist.

And that's it! (But I think that's plenty). I'm hoping 2015 is better than 2014. 2014 wasn't that bad (compared to other years), but ... it was a bit of a rut for my family. Nothing bad happened (thank goodness), but nothing good happened either. And when you're kind of just above water, you need something good to happen.

So may 2015 bring us all favor!