Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wendy's Reign

Yesterday I was awakened at 4 AM by torrential rain and a headache so bad it felt like my teeth might explode. I can lessen it a bit with ibuprofen, but the only way to get rid of it is to lie down in a room with no light or sound (pretty difficult around here so I have to use ear plugs and a mask) with an ice pack on my head and sleep. Which is pretty much all I did yesterday and this morning. As a result, I haven't accomplished as much as I'd hoped, or really anything for that matter. I dragged myself out of bed now because I absolutely have to get to the grocery and I have  lot of cleaning to do. My sister and her family are visiting this weekend, and over the course of the next month we have a trip to the beach with my parents and a visit from another of my sisters, besides all the marching band events, so I have to get on the requisite cleaning and shopping and menu planning. I'm also supposed to count up all the box tops turned in by one entire grade at the elementary school, pick my son up from his engineering and physics club, and attend a Girl Scouts parent meeting. So, I definitely can't devote any more time to having a headache!

The dress has an unusual lilac sash.

Fortunately I mostly finished a little Wendy-Kins two nights ago and was able to get her listed in my store. You can find her, and many other lovely dolls, there:

This little lady is Wendy as Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation gown. Madame Alexander adored the queen and depicted her in doll form from toddlerhood, so her coronation was an occasion for Madame to go all out. Besides the several dolls depicting the queen, there were portrait dolls of Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Anthony Eden, the Queen Mother, the Ladies-in-Waiting, and even the choir boys! Of these, the queen is the most readily available doll, but even she is still fairly hard to find. The Alexander-Kins Queen is especially rare. You find only a couple when searching the Internet. My Madame Alexander books show two, but neither is this version; all the others I've seen have had either a red or blue sash. I've never seen this dress with the lilac sash before except in a doll magazine article for sale on eBay. There was a photo of this dress, but I didn't buy the article so I don't have any information about its provenance.

The Alexander-Kins doll

The mark used prior to 1976.

Based on the doll herself I would date this doll to the early to mid 1960s. She is a strung non-walker with bent knees. She has the peachier complexion and lip paint of the 1960s dolls but not the heavy paint of the late 1960s. I am, of course, assuming the doll is wearing her original dress. Her shoes are the fuzzy-bottom early satin Madame shoes with ties, which points to an early doll if she was produced in the 1960s.

Replaced vintage Alexander underclothes

Queen Wendy is another doll who arrived reeking of cigarette smoke. Luckily she didn't have the dark yellowing so many of the smokers' dolls usually develop, except under her bangs. This isn't visible, so it's not worrying. I cleaned Wendy inside and out with water and white vinegar and set her outside in the bright sun. Then I brought her in and cleaned her again with two different doll cleaners and finally sprayed her with Febreze. The scent lingers faintly in her hair, but you have to put your nose right up to her to smell it. Wendy's dress is extremely fragile (another clue to this being an early doll) so I had to clean it carefully. I sprayed carpet spot cleaner on it and dabbed it gently. Then I set it in the sun to dry. When the fabric was dry I treated with Fray Check all the spots on the sash and skirt where it is beginning to shred from age. This should stop any further enlargement of those spots. The cigarette smell did come out of the dress entirely.

The fabric is very fragile.

Wendy needed re-stringing, which I performed. She has tiny gray spots on her chest I couldn't remove, and a dark spot in the iris of one eye. The same eye has a very faint white line under it. These are extremely minor laws and don't really detract from the doll in my opinion.

Gray spots on chest

Dark spot in eye

Queen Wendy's brocade dress has an amazingly full train, but I wanted to enhance it even more with a crinoline. I replaced the elastic in vintage Madame underclothes for her and the result is a skirt that stands out so far it could probably hold the doll up on its own! This is a very impressive dress, given its miniature scale! It displays beautifully, but I think it's too fragile for child's play.

The dress with crinoline underneath.

The Alexander-Kins tag

Poor Queen Wendy lost all her original coronation bling. She would have worn a cape and crown for sure. I'm not as sure about the other accessories. The modern Alexander-Kins and the Cissy and Cissette queens each wear two bracelets, pearl necklaces, and some carry scepters and things. Of course they all wear crowns. This doll is so difficult to find I don't think I've ever seen one, even in a book, with all her original accessories. So, I decided to improvise!

Handmade crown and jewelry

The pearl necklace and bracelet are factory-made vintage pieces.

I first made a crown from the same chemical lace as those worn by my Sleeping Beauty and Honey Cinderella dolls. This is fantastic queen material, but my little aspiring fashion designer daughter has her eye on it and keeps begging for it. So if I can't order more I may have to find new crown material!

Handmade bracelet and scepter

I found a vintage pearl necklace and bracelet set for Queen Wendy. These have some corrosion of the metal but still look very regal. I have a jewelry box of bit and pieces of vintage doll and human costume jewelry, from which I found three rhinestones broken off some earring or something. I sewed these to some silver elastic to make an elastic and rhinestone cuff bracelet like those the Cissy queen wears. Then I used an old stick pin, a glass heart pendant, and an orphaned pearl bead to make a scepter for Queen Wendy to carry.

The pearl necklace and bracelet

Queen Wendy looked very royal with all the new jewelry, but I felt she needed something more. I made her a fur cape by lining white faux fur trim with gold organza. I covered the hook and eye closure with a vintage gold button. Queen Wendy's cape is so luxurious it surpasses even her gown's train!

The handmade fur cape

I think Wendy makes a glorious queen! She's a rare doll as it is, and now with her custom accessories she's totally unique. No one else will ever have a Queen Elizabeth exactly like this one! It makes me feel good. As a little girl I never liked coloring books, because I didn't like to have to color someone else's picture. I would draw my own pictures all over the blank covers and give the rest of the book to my sisters. In the same vein, I always wished I could make my own dolls. I long had an idea to make a doll with all kinds of clothing and accessories and with books about them, so when Pleasant Company came out with American Girl dolls I was livid. I was still just in high school and my idea was stolen! I would still really love to sculpt and dress my own dolls. I think this is probably why I gravitate to dolls that need major restoration. It's fun and much faster to restore dolls like this one, that only need a bit of work, but I really love designing a doll "from scratch".

A new boudoir doll to restore.

My fab flapper doll from my last post arrived at her new home and is now beautifully ensconced in an Arts and Crafts style bedroom that could have been designed exactly for her. I'm trying to find another doll for that same customer. One candidate is shown above. These are my favorites; the really needy dolls, a canvas for whatever I or my client wants. Maybe on of these days I'll have my own factory. You never know what's coming, just around the corner.

Fab Flapper in her new home

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