Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

 
If you're reading today's post hoping for doll repair tips, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. I haven't managed to do any work on my dolls this week. I have been pretty busy with our moving preparations.  We finally got our original movers to work with the new ones so we can get our stuff back. We are still waiting on a moving date. We have had to go back and forth with the sellers over some necessary repairs after the inspection. I was starting to worry that we would have to back out of the contract. I have been under so much stress I find I'm grinding my teeth even when I'm awake! My jaw is sore. I can't wait to go somewhere where there's enough room to take up my yoga practice again. I am really missing it. I am supposed to be working on paperwork, but I am taking a little break to write my blog.
 
I have also been hard at work on my personal project I first mentioned in the Norwegian Women post a few months back. I am happy to report I am finally down a jeans size. And I only had to give up flour, sugar, alcohol, coffee, and start running 4-8 miles several times a week! I also had some help from a new technology, which I highly recommend. My eBay store did well enough over the summer I was able to save up for a Living Social deal for two i-Lipo treatments (also called "cold laser" treatments) at Whole U Wellness medical spa in Cary, NC. I paid extra each time to add on a treatment called the "Ultra". This is a sucky, vacuum laser wand that the technician pulls over whatever area you are getting lasered. I added it because it is supposed to work on stretch marks. So, finally after 14 years I am doing something about my poor pregnancy-wrecked stomach! Anyway, the Ultra hurts like crazy but it's worth it. I have lost 3 inches from my stomach just since October 24th. I had my last treatment day before yesterday, and I am so bruised I can't tell if it's working on the stretch marks or not. The lasers themselves don't hurt or bruise but the Ultra makes it much more effective. Hanae, my technician, told me I am responding much better than most people. She says I could be done after two more treatments, so half the usual eight treatments most people need. But sales have been slow these past few weeks, so I will have to save for that. I am just going to keep to my diet and exercise to try to reduce more.
 
So, it seems like most things are finally moving in the right direction. I am happy, because the stress has been hard on all of us. Jerry and I have had some huge fights. I am hopeful that we will be settled in Denver in less than a month.
 
I was lucky enough recently to be in the grocery store at an unusual time of day and bumped into a very dear longtime friend, who recently moved back here from the mountains. I haven't seen him for over 20 years. We stood in the baking aisle catching up for how long I don't know. I'm really glad I was still in town for that! I immediately thought of the old Dan Fogelburg song, which is a sad statement of how out-of-date my musical repertoire has become! In my defense, though, how many people have written songs about running into old friends at the grocery store? I do seem to remember in the Fogelburg song they sit in the car and drink a six pack of beer, but we did not! Too bad, because that would have been fun! But not beer, which I hate!
 
It got me feeling nostalgic. I remembered how I used to love to play that album (yes, the record, not the tape! I am that old!). I was fascinated with it because the cover had a photo of an old china doll who looked a lot like Annabelle, if you remember from my D is for Dollikin post. If I remember correctly, the doll was leaning up against a headstone, a source of morbid fascination, and then it also had Run for the Roses on it. I was obsessed with horses at the time, and I played that song probably 100 times a day. It's a wonder my parents aren't in an asylum!
 
But thinking of that old song, I could see myself in our old Ohio living room, jumping on the mini-trampoline, singing along, way too young to understand the meaning behind the words. My friend tells me he hasn't moved anything but his clothes back to town in the month since he started work here and he doesn't know why. It started me thinking about why life takes so many unexpected turns. How do we end up places we never intended? Is it fate? Or are we making choices we're not even aware of, somewhere deep in the subconscious?
 
The prints shown in the photo were taken from my grandmother's house. My mom brought them here when she died and I cut new mats for them. They had been hanging as long as I can remember in my grandmother's front room, next to the organ. The artist is Paul Blackwell. I especially loved the King's Island print. It shows International Street. As far as I was concerned back then, King's Island was Heaven on earth! I love Blackwell's style. He uses that 60s variegated line weight and swingy control I just never can quite replicate. When I was re-framing the prints I found my dad's and uncle's graduation photos underneath. My mom told me that after my dad died my grandparents just couldn't stand to have his photo hanging on the wall. I was sad to realize the prints I had always loved were hiding such pain.
 
I am feeling so many things right now. I am happy to start a new adventure. I was moved around so much early on I think it turned me into a sort of nomad. I know it's good for the children to have the stability of growing up in one place, but I tend to get bored. I am really happy to be moving to Lake Norman, but I am so sad to be leaving my friends. I don't think it's really sunken in that I won't be able to go running with them every Wednesday anymore, or attend the conference broadcasts together with them in the Chapel. I can watch them on the Internet or BYU TV but it isn't the same as sharing the talks with friends. I can't believe I finally managed to give up coffee and wine and now we're leaving. I don't know that I'm interested in being baptized as a Mormon if I am moving to a different ward.
 
I'm not really tied to any particular denomination, or even religion, for that matter! I care about the people, but I also do especially love religions with lots of "stuff". My stepsister was Catholic growing up and got to have rosaries and holy water holders, and that white Communion dress and I was SO jealous. Buddhism is fun too, with all the gongs and incense and statues. Jerry told me once I was going to Hell because I pick out churches for the accessories. The Mormons don't have any accessories, though, so that's not true! I must admit, I am a total religion junkie. I have probably mentioned this before. I have been Lutheran and Methodist, Presbyterian, and Latterday Saints. In Italy, I attended Catholic services. In China, I had my Chinese children blessed in the Buddhist temple and prayed there. I just love going to church, especially new churches!
 
I'm still kind of mourning the Inwood Forest house too. The last time we were over there the kids we looking out the car windows. It's really flat, farm fields on that road. The kids were saying "It's Ohio!", and it does look like Ohio right there. My daughter said, "How big is the sky? It looks like we're driving through it!" And I told her we're always driving through the sky. Only the wheels touch the ground. The rest is sky. We walk through the sky every day. She was fascinated with the idea. It's a pretty cool thing to remind yourself from time to time.
 
Since it's Halloween today, I will tell you a true story that's interesting and a little bit eerie. I believe that God or fate directs us and I am always looking for signs of what I should do. This incidence I am about to recount is why I think as I do.
 
During the Vietnam War my father knew his draft number was about to come up. He was already an optometrist, but he decided to join the Air Force, since he could do so as an officer and he hoped it might make the war a bit easier. He was told to report to Fort Bragg, here in N.C., of course. A couple weeks before it was time to leave he was looking at a brochure showing Air Force bases around the country. He showed my mom a photo of Vandenburg AFB in California and said he wished he could get stationed somewhere like that. Well, a few days later he got a phone call from someone at Vandenburg. She said, "I'm really not supposed to do this, but we really need an optometrist here at the base and we wondered if you'd rather come here rather than Fort Bragg?" He said yes without even calling my mom.
 
My dad loved California. He felt he had come home for the first time in his life, just as I did when I first stepped foot in Italy. He was lucky enough that he was able to stay in Vandenburg for the entirety of the war. After the war he and my mom stayed in California, even though my grandparents begged him to move back to Ohio. They offered to buy him his own practice if he would come home, but he felt like California was home and he didn't want to leave. Later, of course, he died and we ended up in North Carolina. So, we have always felt he was allowed to trade a short life in a place he really wanted to be for a longer life here. He and my mom started dating when my mom was only 14. At 16, my dad told her he wasn't going to live a very long time. He already knew he would die young, but he thought he would die in a war.
 
We, though, are evidently supposed to be here. Why? Jerry says I was supposed to marry him and he was supposed to have his accident so that we would eventually be led to China to adopt our children. I've always wondered who I would have been if we'd never left California. Would I have gotten to keep my blond hair? It turned dark the first long Ohio winter (and blizzard). Would I be more athletic? I could already swim by the time he died when I was three and I was outside all the time. My mom caught him trying to strap a scuba tank onto my back when I was only 2 because he wanted to teach me to dive so badly. I'm sure I would know how if we'd stayed. I am pretty sure I would have a different personality all together, because I can only vaguely remember being really happy and feeling safe. Most people get to years and years to grow up and discover gradually how cruel and awful the world can be, but I found out all at once. Most of my life I've always been a little bit sad.
 
I also wonder who I would have been if we had come straight to North Carolina and I grew up here and never lived in Ohio or traveled every summer to Michigan. I wouldn't know much about my grandparents. My mother has no patience with stuff like that. She says since you can't go back and make different choices you'll never know what might have happened. I can't help it though; I just find it fascinating. Now I wonder who we will all be when we move, and how it will change us. I hope we change for the better!
 
The other night I was running and listening to Pandora and a Switchfoot song came on. I tried to make a point of remembering it for this blog, but of course I forgot the name. I remember one line though: "Today hasn't ever happened before".  I heard that and thought, it is so true, and yet I never think that way at all. It seems like my days all just run together in an endless stream of errands and laundry and chores, pretty much unchanging. I have been trying to look at it differently! I hope I can see each day as a new adventure and remind myself  whatever happens is what's meant to happen.
 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Betsy Rides Again

Well, we just said goodbye to Jerry, who is off on a business trip for the second week in a row. It's a miracle I'm still marginally sane, with three sick kids to myself! Besides that, we are having some trouble with our original movers, who have all our stuff in storage. They are refusing to return calls. We hope they are just mad that the relocation company is having us use a different company and not that they have lost or sold or stolen all our household goods! It is such a stressful time, I am glad to have my work to escape into and my dolls to keep me company.
 
 
This weekend I have been working on the third Betsy doll from the Tale of Three Betsy's post. You might remember, this doll's wig was in such poor shape I wasn't sure I could fix it. She also needed restringing. Her body looked pretty good, so I put the better Betsy head I had on that good body. I first fixed crotch and knee splits on the body and painted them. I am not going into that much, since it looks pretty much the same as all the Betsy body repairs. Betsy can sit and stand alone now that she has her repairs. Her stringing and hips are very tight now. On to the wig repair; here is a close-up of the very deteriorated rubber skull cap:
 


To try to repair the wig I first cleaned the face and head thoroughly all over and under the hair. Someone in the past had tried to glue the wig down and there was darkened glue residue all over the face. I was able to remove most of this. I washed the hair and set it, working very gently, as hunks of hair were starting to fall out of the rotten rubber cap. I broke and cut away any deteriorated rubber which had already lost its hair. At this point I needed to fix the split side seam of the head, as the hair would be glued down over it.
 
The split seam is repaired with plastic epoxy.
 
After the epoxy dried I sanded and painted it. You can hardly tell any repair was made! Then I applied Aleene's Tacky Glue under the edges of the skull cap and all around the edge of the face and pressed the hair down over it, securing it with a rubber band until it dried. This glue is able to be soaked off in hot water in case the entire wig ever needs replacing. When the hair was dry I arranged it to cover any old glue and bald spots and sprayed it into place. I replaced the one original barrette. Now the hair looks quite nice. It is better than I thought it would ever be! This doll cannot have her hair changed or brushed, though, because for the most part it is all glued into place. This repair should hold until the top of the skull cap starts to deteriorate, at which time the hair will all fall away. I think, however, that with this repair and proper storage the hair should look nice for a long time to come!
 
The doll with repaired hair and body.
 


After the wig repair I moved on to Betsy's face. Now you might remember from my last Betsy post, this doll had really lovely high color face paint that was nearly perfect. The only flaw was one scratch in the cheek paint. All I had to do was rub a little more paint over the scratch to hide it and a bit more on the other cheek to make them look even. I also dabbed a bit of black on the eyelashes where the color had rubbed off the tips. This helps bring out Betsy's blue eyes. They are very pretty, a dark cornflower blue, and unusual since they aren't the normal gray color.
 
Betsy with her face paint touched up.
 
I used the flash to show Betsy's pretty blue eyes.
Some weeks ago I bought a Betsy doll with a lot of clothing. One of the pieces was the Pony Pals outfit from the 1950s by American Character. This outfit features a one-piece wool felt jodhpurs and red checked shirt romper with a faux suede vest. This one had a lot of moth damage to the jodhpurs and the vest was starting to flake at the edges. I was able to repair the pants using the needle felting technique I describe in the Loving Lenci post.
 
The pants are repaired with needle felting.
The best I could do color-wise was the camel-colored felt I use for the Nosy dogs. Since it isn't an exact match I felted the patches onto the inside. The repairs are visible but not all that noticeable. I couldn't really do anything about the vest, so it is quite fragile and should be handled with extreme care. I recommend it for display only and not to be taken on and off the doll a lot.
 
The vest is starting to flake.
 
I found a pair of vintage Barbie boots that match the pants well. They don't fit very well, but well enough that they don't fall off and Betsy can stand alone wearing them. I think the whole ensemble looks pretty cute!
 
Betsy and her Pony Pals outfit after restoration.
Of course, what would a Pony Pals outfit be without a pony? I briefly considered not including one, but you know I just can't stand to have things incomplete! Now, as far as I know, Betsy never had a pony in the original paper dolls series. Since she had a riding outfit, though, I decided a pony was in order. I found a free pattern on Pinterest. I am pretty sure I pinned it into my "Projects" or "Kids" board if you need to find it. I had the most beautiful cream-colored wool felt and mohair to use. I decided such a pretty and sweet white pony should be named "Sugar". My mom came in while I was working and was very surprised to see Sugar could stand on her legs without even being stuffed yet at that point. Mom doesn't sew with wool a lot. I explained how I love to use the wool felt because it is so malleable. You can stretch it and mold it almost like clay, and it is very strong as well. I just think Sugar is the cutest thing. I love her big black eyes and fuzzy, soft mane and tail!
 
Betsy's Pony, Sugar
 
 
I couldn't leave Sugar without her own accessories, so I made her a little brown wool felt saddle embroidered with red flowers and a red elastic bridle with reins. Sugar is even strong enough to carry Betsy, although I should really have made her a bit bigger. They make and adorable display, though, and would also be fun toys to plays with now that Betsy is all fixed. I would take away the vest if this is to be a play doll, though. I'm sure are soon as my daughter sees these photos I'll have to make a Sugar for her as well!

Sugar has a saddle and bridle with reins.
Betsy is always happy to see Sugar.

 
Betsy gets Sugar all dressed in her saddle and bridle.
 

Betsy and Sugar go for a ride.

This set is listed in Atelier Mandaline for a little lower price than the other sets, due to the poorer condition of the doll and outfit. It is still fixed well enough to be quite sturdy, though, and all the sets are also listed "Make Offer" so you can name your own price!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Senorita Dollikin

Sometimes I worry myself! I just came across this Uneeda 2S fashion doll in a box. I had completely forgotten about her! This doll came in a lot of distressed dolls that included the Marybel doll I wrote about in a previous post. This is also the Dollikin face in which I replace the eye in the doll eye tutorial post. Here she is in her original state. The pile of fiberfill next to her was stuffed inside her head when she arrived. As you can see, one of her eyes was crossed and stuck open.
 
Uneeda 2S Dollikin face fashion doll in need of restoration.
I really can't believe I forgot about this doll, because this one is the whole reason I ordered the lot! This doll has the Uneeda 2S head also used on the Dollikin jointed dolls. It is especially desirable because this one has the PAINTED Dollikin face! The painted face dolls came about originally because these dolls were made with flaws in their vinyl, so Uneeda painted the faces so as not to waste them. As often happens with collectibles of all kinds, these dolls manufactured with flaws are actually more sought after by some collectors now than the perfect ones!
 
Dollikin painted face needing repainting.
The original paint on this doll had been gouged up over the years. This was a much-loved doll, I think, and saw a lot of play. Her lower painted eyelashes had mostly worn away and her entire painted face had stickiness. I cleaned entire doll and treated the face with baby powder months ago. Today, after rediscovering her, I repainted her face and treated it again with powder just to make sure the sticky finish doesn't come back for a while.
 
The doll with her face re-painted.
I replaced her eye months ago and I had a terrible time with it. Maybe I blocked it out and that's why I forgot about her! I couldn't find a 16mm eye, which is the proper size. I ended up poaching one from a less-valuable doll. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it in without it looking slightly crossed still. I think whatever flaw was originally in the face to cause Uneeda to paint it also affected the eye socket so that no eye fits in there perfectly straight. The eyes both still stick a little sometimes, but they aren't stuck open anymore and a good shake will get them working again. The replacement eye has a tiny notch out of the edges of a couple of the eyelashes, but it is barely visible unless you are searching for it. The sticky finish extends to the inside of the head so it can be hard to turn the head at times as well. Still, these are quite minor issues for a doll of 50+ years!
 
There were also originally several green spots on the body. I was able to remove all but three of these and I painted over those. The repair is visible but lessens how much you see the original spots.
 
A re-painted spot on the doll's back.
The doll's hair was rather dry so I conditioned it and reset it. I did put it back into its original spit curl style but first I just had to take a photo of it down because I think she looks just like Liz Taylor with that style!
 
The doll with her hair down.
 
When it was time to dress Miss. Dollikin-face I remembered I had this Senorita outfit from my Dollikin's World Tour available. The buyer wanted just the doll and her undies from that set. I thought the dress would only fit the 18 inch jointed Dollikin (this one is taller) but I found it fits this one just as well. Better, actually, because this doll's hips are narrower. I think dolly makes a lovely senorita with her dark hair! Besides the original outfit, I gave her new "diamond" earrings and  custom-made ring.
 
The doll dressed in a Spanish-style dress.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Tale Of Three Betsys

Over the past few weeks I have been working on completing my Betsy McCall dolls before we move. We are looking to close on the house near Charlotte by November 15th so I don't have a lot of time. My sister has had some good luck; a couple told them yesterday they'll be making an offer Monday and another couple told them this morning that they will offer by the end of the day. They are also having an open house right now and already had one showing the minute it started. I am sure all this traffic is due to me linking the listing to my blog and Pinterest page! I think this big increase in real estate (the house we are buying also got multiple offers after being listed for years) is a great sign for the economy! I hope it continues!
 
Betsy McCall doll wearing the Holiday dress and tights from 1959.
 
I have seven tiny Betsy McCall dolls, both modern and vintage, to finish. I finished two of each and have them listed, so now I just need to buckle down and work on the others. The first Betsy I got had the almost ubiquitous crotch split and some tiny cracks around her knee. Her wig was also in need of re-styling and re-gluing. I cleaned her up and got to work.
 
Betsy and her shoes get a good scrubbing.
Betsy's wig before repair.
To clean Betsy's hair I used diluted fabric softener as a shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Then I glued the wig back down. This type of Betsy has hair rooted into a rubber skull cap. This one showed a bit of deterioration but re-gluing it hid that and the glue should help stabilize it. No hair was falling out, which is good. This Betsy is called the "blonde" one, although I would call her hair more of a light ash brown. Her hair is unusually long and is styled in a flip.
 
Betsy with her face re-painted
 
Betsy also had a rather pale face, so I re-blushed her cheeks using the acrylic color mixed with iridescent medium. I think it turned out well and looks a lot like the original blush. To fix the crotch split I rebuilt the entire crotch using Kwik Plastik epoxy. This adds extra room for the hips to move, allowing the doll to sit again. The knee crack I just patched with epoxy.
 
The doll during repairs.
 
The repaired crotch and knee
This Betsy doll came with several vintage outfits, most from American Character. I came up with the theme for this set when I found a plastic bristle that had fallen out of my daughter's hairbrush. I thought it looked just like a tiny thermometer! Then I saw the Pajama Party outfit that came with the doll and the wheels began to turn! I am really proud of the thermometer! I decided to style this as Get Better, Betsy.
 
Betsy in her pajamas, holding her thermometer.

I got Betsy some ice cream and made an ice pack for her to share with Nosy. The Pajama Party outfit also came with a robe. Poor Betsy and Nosy just don't feel well at all!
 
Poor Betsy and Nosy feel sick.
When Betsy and Nosy feel better you can dress Betsy in the "Recess" dress and panties from American Character and put Nosy's leash and collar on.
 
Betsy McCall wearing the Recess outfit.
Besides this doll, I have two other vintage Betsys. One had a wonderful wig and very nice face. The other had a great body and face paint with a terrible wig. They both needed restringing, so I removed the head with the good wig and put it on the better body.
 
A Betsy doll with a terrible wig and in need of restringing.
Brunette Betsy with a near-perfect wig and re-painted face.
The brunette Betsy head is very unusual. I haven't ever seen this variation before. She has a side-part short bubble bob with just one barrette and hazel eyes, rather than the usual gray. I really love this hairdo: it looks JUST LIKE the 50s Betsy paper doll! I wonder why they didn't do this hairstyle on the first ones.
 
This doll's face had faded to a greenish yellow color and her cheek paint was gone. I tinted her face to warm up the color and re-blushed her cheeks. It is a huge improvement! With this head and the better body I was able to create a near-perfect doll! All I needed to do besides re-stringing was to fix the knee crack with epoxy. The knee has a bit of a flare that creates a shadow in the photo and makes it seem like the knee is still  cracked but it has been fixed!
 
The brunette doll with repaired knee crack.
For the theme of this Betsy I selected the Holiday dress by American Character from 1959. I have never seen this with the original tights! These had a small run but I repaired it. Digging around upstairs I came across some old Christmas boxes and stuff and procured a tiny stocking and gift box. I noticed the stocking was just the right size to hold one of my exclusive Nosy dogs! So I came up with a Merry Christmas Betsy set!
 
Betsy finds her Christmas gifts.
Betsy runs downstairs on Christmas morning to find a new dog in a giant stocking and a huge present! Betsy names her new dachshund Nosy! When Betsy and Nosey open the gift they find a new camera for Betsy and a juicy bone for Nosy.
 
Betsy and Nosy open their present.
Nosy gets tired from all the excitement, so Betsy puts her to bed. Betsy takes a photo of Nosy with her new camera.
 
Betsy takes a picture of Nosy.
Of course now that I acted this all out in photos I have one child begging for a tiny doll camera and another who wants his own Nosy in a basket bed! So I will have to work on those gifts for the birthdays and holidays coming up soon!
 
Now I just have to try to do something with the third Betsy's wig and get her all ready to go. So I guess this entry is really a tale of two Betsys. Stay tuned to find out what happens with Betsy #3!
 
Betsy doll with wonderful paint but a terrible wig.
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back To School Betsy

 
I have been too depressed and also busy to write for a while, so please excuse my absence lately. You might remember we recently found we have to give up the beautiful house we were building and move away. I spent several days last week in Charlotte with Jerry looking at houses. We quickly learned we can't afford anything near what we can here, so we had to grapple with the reality of downsizing and also a much longer commute for Jerry. I had hoped we could build our same house again, but it will be a long time before Meritage gets started and it looks like we wouldn't be able to afford it there anyway.
 
We drove just about every inch of the Lake Wylie, Tega Cay, and Fort Mill, South Carolina area and then focused on Denver, North Carolina. We finally decided on Denver because of the relative lack of traffic and absolutely fabulous schools. We found a wonderful neighborhood as well, on Lake Norman, so meeting one criteria we weren't able to get here! This morning we found out we got the house we wanted in a beautiful neighborhood. Naturally, even in this dead real estate market there were multiple offers on the house we preferred so we had to go above list a bit, but I think it will be a wonderful house for us. I am thrilled with the prospect of living on a lake again! We aren't water view or anything but it's easy to walk down on the trails to the water.
 
Speaking of real estate, if you are interested in buying in the Raleigh, NC area, my sister's home is for sale at a wonderful price, over $20,000 below the recent appraised value! It has a daylight basement (almost unheard of here with our high water table), pool, and has been completely remodeled. Go to: http://www.601tiffany.com/ to see it.
 
One caveat is that I am not getting an office in the new house, so I am trying to finish and move as much inventory as possible before we go. Make sure to visit my store, because I do have a couple items listed auction-style with bids starting at $.99 (even one of my fifties dolls!) and everything else is Make Offer: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline. There is a walk-in attic space that we plan to one day convert to an office for me, but since we had to pay more than we wanted that will have to wait.
 
I started my "big push"  with several My Friend doll restorations. Those were pretty basic, not literary-based but just cleaning and dressing, so I am not going to write about them here. Besides the My Friends, I have a huge collection of modern and vintage Tiny Betsy McCalls in progress. This sweet little redhead came in played condition with missing face paint.
 
The doll came with eye and cheek paint rubbed off.
She also had dry, messy hair with some tiny cuts or breaks.
 
The hair before treatment.
 
I addressed Betsy's hair by spraying it with diluted fabric softener. This acts both as a conditioner and a hairspray, so it now resembles smooth mohair and keeps its shape. I was able to style it to minimize the broken ends. I didn't want to remove the barrettes, so I worked around them.
 
The doll after her repaint and hair styling.
 
I had to use the flash to show this Betsy's unusual violet eyes.
 
After repainting and restyling, I dressed Betsy in a vintage Vogue coat dress originally made for Ginny. I found it in a lot of vintage Betsy McCall dolls clothes. I was very impressed with the amazing quality and detail of this piece. It has amazing tatted trim featuring tiny hearts; unbelievable! My grandmother tried to teach me how to tat and it is ridiculously hard. I never could learn it, much less master it! If you make one tiny mistake you have to rip it all out and start over. Tatting is the only lace unable to be reproduced by machine. So to find it, over 50 years old, on such a miniature scale AND in perfect condition? Well, it made my day! I think it looks perfect with Betsy's red hair too!
 
 

Detail of the tatted lace trim
 
I decided I wanted to do a back to school doll when I found this adorable pink laptop computer eraser. I think this is the cutest thing ever! It even opens and closes! Since this is the modern Betsy, I figured a laptop is appropriate, even though I tried to give the whole set a retro feel to hearken back to the 50s paper dolls.
 
Betsy with her computer.
Then I had to go all out, of course! I already had another sandwich eraser, so I decided that would be the perfect school lunch, and I sewed a brown "paper" bag for it from felt.
 
 
 
 I made Betsy a backpack from an old plaid wool scarf. Then I decided I had to include Nosy, Betsy's dauchsund! I made this Nosy from my exclusive pattern and this time I used camel-colored wool felt.
 
Nosy, Betsy's dog
I gave Nosy a little wool scarf to match Betsy's backpack. Then I packed everything in a gorgeous paperboard box I found on the clearance aisle at Michael's. Ah, Michael's...the nearest one is like 30 minutes away from the new house, so no more popping over to browse the clearance aisle. I guess it's just as well since we won't have any money after we buy this house! As always, I had a marvelous time with my Betsy restoration. It helped cheer me up when I was in despair over finding a house we both liked and could afford! I have more modern and vintage Betsys in the works, so please check back!
Betsy's pretty box