Sunday, May 11, 2014

Muffie and Ginger, Almost Twins


Muffie, left, and Ginger, right

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! I've been lying around all day, something I rarely ever do anymore, being spoiled. I haven't cooked anything today and my husband chased me away from the bathroom when I tried to just clean a little bit. He and our teen made me a big breakfast, started building me a cold frame, mowed the lawn, baked a strawberry cake, and now they're cooking a huge supper.



I can't stand to just sit around for hours anymore, however. I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I lost my ability to "veg out." Once upon a time I spent entire Saturday mornings watching old movies and painting my nails. I used to literally read myself sick. I'd spend whole days reading without moving from the couch. Now I feel guilty when I'm sitting down, and that also gives me the impression I'm gaining weight by the second, so I can't relax. I decided to work on my blog so I can feel like at least I'm accomplishing something.




Running a home business can be dangerous to a person of my personality type. More nights than I can count I've finally surfaced for air in the midst of work to find it's already 11 PM or midnight even and I've been working for four or five hours without pause. Last night was one such. I got behind during my decadent Florida vacation so I had my nose to the grindstone as soon as I returned. I listed a bunch of Peter Thomas Roth skin care and then in a big push I finished all but one of the large lot of toddler dolls I bought last month. When I finally got all the girls restored last night it was almost 11.

Muffie

The newest dolls to join the store are the brunette Cosmopolitan Ginger I used to model the Ginny raincoat and other Ginny clothing I've listed and a Nancy Ann Storybook Muffie doll I was lucky enough to win. I don't know why, but it seems like Muffie is more popular than Ginny or any of the other similar 1950s dolls. I shelled out nearly $50 for this Muffie in rather bad shape, which is a pretty reasonable price for a Muffie fixer.

Muffie has rings, rather than arm hooks.
I hardly ever see them sell for less unless their arms are missing or replaced. Muffie's arms were attached with plastic loops rather than hooks. The loops must have broken off easily because it is very common to see Muffie without them, or with replaced arms.


Ginger's friend, Ginny, let her borrow this purse for the photos but it's not included.

As I've noted before, Ginger bears a striking resemblance to Muffie. Even though Ginger is called a "Ginny" clone by some, it's clear to me she was modeled after Muffie. The earlier Muffie and Ginger dolls have smaller eyes and nearly-identical faces. Later Muffie and Ginger both have larger, very round eyes. The latest dolls have faces made of vinyl. Sometimes the later Muffies are called "Lori Ann" by people, but Lori Ann dolls were separate dolls produced simultaneously by the Nancy Ann Storybook company. Later, Rothschild bought a bunch of unused Nancy Ann Storybook parts and put them together as a doll they called "Lori Ann-Muffie" and sold by mail order. My mission here is to chronicle how Ginger dolls' metamorphosis echoes that of Muffie and to show you how to distinguish between them.




Ginger's face differs from Muffie's in subtle ways. Here I'm comparing the earlier dolls, made prior to 1957. Muffie's face is square, where Ginger's is slightly heart-shaped with a pointed chin. Muffie has full, straight lips, while Ginger has a Cupid's Bow mouth. Muffie's nose smaller and more delicate than Ginger's rounded nose. Ginger also has a pronounced philtrum above her lips and a dimple under her lower lip which Muffie lacks. Ginger does not have the painted lashes, at least as far as I've ever seen. Muffie sometimes has painted eyebrows and sometimes does not. My understanding is the dolls without eyebrows are earlier dolls.


Although both dolls have separate fingers, slightly bent arms, and circle marks on the inside of their wrists, Muffie dolls' are more bent with her hands held above Ginger's and Muffie's first finger is raised and held farther apart from her other fingers. Muffie's arms are instantly recognizable to me. They are beautifully molded, with more grace than the other toddler doll arms. Muffie reminds me of my son, who has always been long and skinny, even in his infant and toddler years.



Both Muffie and Ginger have a little belly button and a hint of a bosom. Muffie has larger, more detailed feet, with pronounced toenails and dimples and creases above each foot. Ginger has less pronounced toenails, a dimple above each toe, but does not have creases on her ankles.

Muffie's feet, left, and Ginger's, right

Muffie and Ginger both have synthetic wigs. Muffie's is Dynel, a Saran-type hair but a bit more coarse. Ginger's is often styled in a large sausage roll around the back and sides of her head. Muffie has a smaller rolled flip. Sometimes both have pigtails. If their hair is rolled both often have a stitched side part. Muffie usually came with a bow or barrette on the opposite side of her part.


Muffie's face, before and after restoration

Both these particular dolls needed restoration. Muffie arrived with a red smear under her lips, bald spots in her wig, and a disintegrating dress. Ginger looked perfect other than needing a bath, but I soon discovered small side splits on both sides.


Muffie's wig, before and after

I cleaned Muffie and painted over the red smear on her face. I borrowed a trick from cheap vintage dolls and painted her scalp to match her hair in the thin places. I've often seen old dolls with pigtails or pony tails. When I took the hair down I discovered it was only rooted around the edges and the scalp was painted to match the hair. I used acrylic paint so any purist can remove it later. Then I re-arranged Muffie's hair so it looks much thicker now.



Muffie's dress, before and after
 
Muffie's dress isn't tagged but it has the attached slip and round snap typical of her dresses. Her shoes have a half circle on the edge of each sole, another Muffie hallmark, and her panties have the typical looped soutache edging. This dress had the skirt separating from the bodice, a hole in the side, one sleeve band clumsily re-sewn, and was missing the trim from one side of the bodice, I thought. Later I found it was supposed to have asymmetrical trim. There were holes in the bodice, so I repaired the holes. Since the trim on the bodice went over the shoulder I removed it, cut it in half, and sewed it on both sides of the bodice front to cover one hole, leaving the back without trim. I sewed the sleeve band on more securely. Then I trimmed a vintage hat with vintage trims to match the dress.
 

Ginger's repaired side splits
 
Ginger got epoxy repairs to her sides and repainting over the epoxy. She had a faint mark on her face, probably from glasses, so I painted over that and then arranged her hair to further hide the mark. Ginger's eyes must be manually worked, but this is so common with Ginger dolls it doesn't affect the value much, if at all. Ginger's friend, Ginny, gave her a tagged Vogue dress and loaned her a matching logo purse. I was selling this with Ginger, but now I have a new Ginny doll in so I'm giving her the purse. I gave her vintage acetate panties, which have some red dye transfer. Ginger also wears very nice faux suede sandals with gold bead accents, probably by Madame Alexander. I trimmed a vintage hat with vintage flowers to match her dress as well.


Ginger's face, before and after

These little sweeties are all dressed up for Mother's Day brunch. They make an adorable pair, but both look lovely displayed on their own as well.



You can find these, and many more beautiful dolls, as well as cosmetics, skin care and other "mom" stuff in my store, so please check: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline.

I'm from California, just like Muffie!
In celebration of Mother's Day, here's a little blast from the past: me and my mom in the water, my natural habitat. I hope you enjoy your day!

 UPDATE: A helpful reader just informed me the dress Muffie is wearing is original to her, but the trim was supposed to be on one side of the bodice only. Evidently Nancy Ann favored asymmetrical designs. In this case I used the trim to cover a hole on the untrimmed side of the bodice, and the dress was too torn up to command a mint price so I don't feel too guilty about altering it.

As you long time readers know, I write as I learn, so you are part of the process and are learning along with me. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on any dolls except maybe the Fisher Price My Friend dolls I played with and owned as a child. I'm doing a lot of small dolls right now because those are what I happen to have purchased for a decent price recently. Soon I'll be back to the 20s and 30s compo dolls again. I have a Princess Elizabeth and another Wendy Ann in the pipeline.

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