Friday, March 22, 2013

So Many Dolls...So Little Time!

Today I'm just going to write a little about all the projects I'm working on at the moment, since I haven't managed to finish any of them this week. It's frustrating! But, I've had a sick husband home with me and the usual stuff to do. Besides that, it seems like we just have one thing after another popping up in the house.

A Cissy doll from 1960 or 1961 in need of repair.
We didn't notice at first when it was still pretty warm but as soon as the real cold of January and February crept in it became obvious that the house is infested with ants. We've sprayed and put out traps and sprayed again and we just can't get rid of them. The weird thing is, they are all in our shower and tub and some of the sinks. A neighbor was telling me they are probably something called "Acrobat Ants" that burrow into wood and that we'll probably have to gut the bathroom. This is a different bathroom than the one with the new water spot on the ceiling! I am really missing the brand new, $30,000 cheaper, 1100 sq. ft. larger house we were building in Raleigh! This house has the potential to be lovely if we can ever get ahead of all its issues and fix it up, but it just seems like something else goes wrong every other day.

Besides the house, we found out another teen at our 8th grader's school has been really mean to him and he's been very upset about it. The kids are homesick. Our 4-year-old kept asking to go to "regular" church, and we were confused because we've been trying lots of different churches around here, but I finally figured out he wants to go back to our church at home. I guess I'm homesick too. I miss my friends a lot. I also still have the rash I got back in December almost as soon as we moved here. It's worst on my face but I have it all over now and it's very itchy. It's clearly an allergic reaction to something, because it goes away when we go home to visit, even just for a day or two, but I can't figure out what's causing it.

Cissy's face has yellowed over time.

I guess it just goes to show you can't avoid some troubles even when you see them coming (I am referencing my last post about ring around the moon). I also have to remind myself I am the cause of so much of my trouble simply because of my attitude. If you've been reading this blog for a while you might remember me talking the work accident that disabled Jerry years ago. Besides the adjustment required to Jerry becoming disabled when we were only 24, our financial situation was grim. We had just purchased our first home and had a baby on the way when we took a huge hit to our income. I still don't really know how we got through it all. I do remember, though, when things seemed hopeless something would always come along to tide us over. The Rolling Stones were right, I suppose. You almost always get what you need to get by, even if it's not what you'd want. And sometimes, no matter how much you want something, you just can't have it.

This 15-inch Revlon doll's eye is stuck.

The trick I learned back then is to count my blessings every day. No matter how bad things seem, you're always blessed in so many ways if you just open your eyes to them. Lately, I've been feeling sorry for myself and I've been ungrateful for the many good things I do have. Jerry got a little raise and bonus, and I just had the best sales week ever for my eBay store. I inherited a little money as well. I was going to use it to buy a new sewing machine, but I guess now I'll just save it for the house. So, even if it seems like all we've been doing lately is sitting around watching money drain out of our account, we should be able to make up for it. As for our friends, we will just have to make new ones.

Someone also gave poor Revlon a mullet!

We haven't been to church for nearly all of Lent, with everyone being sick and going out of town. We will have to get back into it when everyone recovers. I haven't been doing well on my Lenten resolution anyway. I've been starting to sneeze again, so I hope I haven't caught Jerry's cold. I have decided to just ignore it and go about my business as usual. Last night, though, after I finished my 5-mile run, absolutely everything was hurting!

This Cissy's walker mechanism isn't working and someone chewed up her breast and face paint.

I have a type-A personality. I like to be in control of everything and accomplish projects quickly and perfectly all on my own, and when I can't I get frustrated. I get mad when things go wrong, and that makes me want to smash stuff up or hit people or something. It must be my Viking side coming out! Instead, I have found running helps a lot, and it's also helpful for me to repair things. You wouldn't think putting dolls back together would ease the urge to destroy things, but it does! So, I have amassed quite a bit of work for myself, as you can see from these photos.
 

This Margot doll by Madame Alexander from 1950 or so has multiple issues.

Every one of these dolls would be worth upwards of $100 once repaired. The Cissy dolls are actually worth about $150 in their current state! I need to get more dolls in my shop, as well. I've sold out nearly all my vintage doll stock and only have a couple left. We always call my store "the doll shop", even though right now I have more boy's clothing than anything else listed. Our teenager is outgrowing his clothes in a way that reminds me of David Banner transforming into the Incredible Hulk...I just try to snatch them away and list them before they get torn up! If you are in need of boy's clothing in size 14 to 16 you really need to visit my store: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline!

The doll shop is supposed to do well enough to buy us a boat eventually, and a beach trailer. I told Jerry I want a Viking ship, though...I bet it'd be a tourist attraction! I want to go back to Northport, where there is a boat building camp. You spend two weeks there and they teach you to build boats and you build your own while you're there!

Someone tried to fix Margot's arm with a Popsicle stick and masking tape.


Her eyes are stuck and set incorrectly.


Her ballet costume is nearly perfect, though, and just needs cleaning.
I replaced the 15 inch Revlon's missing fingers by sculpting new ones. Her one eye still sticks a bit, but I have loosened it a lot. I don't want to replace her eyes because she has the rarer green eyes. That, along with her unusual size, makes her valuable. As soon as I give her a reroot and amass a wardrobe for her she'll be ready to list.

This tagged Cissy skirt needs a careful cleaning.
I've also been working on cleaning the dolls' clothing. The original outfits make the dolls much more valuable, but some collectors don't want them cleaned and others don't want them to have spots. You also have to clean them some just to preserve them from mold or insect damage. With the clothing I've shown I have "dry-cleaned" them with Dryel fluid and now I am setting the Cissy dress in the bright sun for short periods of time to help bleach out the yellowed areas and stains.

Cissy still has original pins in her hair, but they are rusted and her hair has discolored from dirt.

The dark strawberry blond Cissy was probably originally a bridesmaid with the gathered tulle hat fastened above each ear with flowers, because I have pulled several rusted original hairpins and straight pins from her wig. I hate to wash a wig in its original set, but it is discolored because it's so dirty, so I will have to wash it and reset it.

The Margot doll was one I purchased just for her original outfit, which is quite rare and valuable, but I hope to get the doll working again. Her walker mechanism had an old spring that was so seized up it was pushing all her joints apart, so her whole body was splitting along the seams. Jerry helped me take her body apart along the side seams and remove the offending spring. Now I have to decide whether to try to keep her a walker or just restring her with cord. Cord would actually be more flexible for ballerina poses and kinder to the joints, but I hate to give up on her walker. The real problem with her is her eyes. I haven't ever seen rocker eyes set this way, and they're so tight they're stuck and scraping her eyelid paint off. Jerry is trying to help me figure out how to remove them but even he is at a loss. The good thing about Margot is her hair is just perfect and in its original set. I always wonder how kids so destroy a doll's face or eyes or something but keep the hair intact!

Along with all the dolls, we are getting ready for a trip home over Easter, and I still need to organize my office so it doesn't resemble a demilitarized zone. The mess is creeping back into the dining room. I hope I won't drive Jerry crazy with my messy work. Sometime soon he will start working from home for 8-10 weeks while his office is renovated. We aren't used to being together much, because so far in our married life he has traveled and been away from home a lot. This will be an adjustment for us. So, I have a lot going on to keep me and my mind occupied, and I am just trying to trust that this place is where I'm supposed to be. Things work out as they're meant to, I hope, and I'm trying to believe in that.

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