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
 


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