Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sunshine and Sweden

The Sunshine Family

So far I've had a pretty productive first week of the new year. I'm surprised, because I thought I wouldn't accomplish anything. On Monday I had an orthodontic evaluation and yesterday had a full set of braces applied. Although I'm eager to straighten my teeth, particularly a severely tilted front tooth that's been ruining my smile and photos of me since I was 18 years old, I'm not super thrilled about being fat, old, and now also having braces. As if I didn't have enough going against me! I don't think I'm going to be fat for much longer, however, because I can't eat. I can't figure out how to chew with these things on my teeth and have been subsisting on spinach and whey protein smoothies and soup for the past day and a half. Even eating soft rolls and pasta makes me feel like I'm going to choke. The orthodontist assures me I will get used to chewing soon, but even if I do the maintenance after eating makes me feel like it's not really worth it. The braces came with a high-tech electronic toothbrush that times brushing and warns you if you apply too much pressure. After eating anything I have to use that, plus three other brushes: a tiny bottle-brush sort of thing, a brush rather like a runcible spoon (or what many people call a spork), and a regular brush. Then I have to floss using a threader like a sewing needle threader. It took me more than half an hour just to floss this morning! So, it's a miracle I've finished anything at all with my new extensive dental hygiene routine.

You might remember I found a vintage Sunshine Family in their truck at a yard sale a few months back. I had it listed in my store and it had 11 people watching it, when my youngest son starting going into my office to look at it and begged for "dolls who drive a truck" for Christmas. So, I took it out of my store and wrapped it up. Then I went a little crazy. I wanted to get the "Piggyback Shack" craft store for the truck. For you uninitiated in the Sunshine universe, the family (Steve, Stephie, and Baby Sweets) live in a truck and sell crafts like handmade belts and bags out of a store in the back. At least, that's how they started. Over the years they came to own a free-standing craft store, a farm, and a house. Growing up I had the farm and Baby Sweets, but coveted the parents and the tandem bicycle. And the craft store, which had a real moving pottery wheel and spinning wheel.

The Sunshine Family takes a person like myself, born in the early 1970s in Northern California, right back to childhood! When I see them I can see The Midnight Sewing Machine, a store my mother frequented. We visited so often I can still remember climbing the long, rickety wooden staircase with a pot of sunflowers on each step. Inside was a cornucopia of string art, macrame, and tie-dyed shirts in all sizes. We loved it! When I was searching for the piggyback shack I found a huge lot I couldn't resist and ended up with the Sunshine grandparents, the craft store, the shack, the house, some clothes, and then somehow the Sunshine tandem bicycle jumped into my cart! And then of course my son, who begged it out of my store opened all this stuff and was thrilled, right? WRONG! He glanced at it and went back to playing with the big tub of Legos my parents gave him! So now I have my store full of the extra Sunshine Family stuff I got in the initial lot and am considering listing all the other stuff I bought. My daughter is showing some interest in the family, and I'd really love to share a childhood favorite with someone, so I might hold on to it a little longer. Either way, I have a bunch, so make sure to check my store for lots of Sunshine:

Swedish from the Friends From Foreign Lands series.

Right before Christmas I acquired a really exceptional Wendy-Kins doll. She's "Swedish" from the Friends From Foreign Lands series of the late 1950s-early 60s. Swedish Wendy is a bent-knee walker doll. She hardly needed any work; I just didn't get her done in time for the holidays, unfortunately. I cleaned her and re-strung her with elastic, though her bands were tight. Her costume just needed a little steaming because it had wrinkled from storage in a box somewhere. Otherwise she's almost perfect, an amazing find when you consider her age!

Bent-knee walker dolls were made from the mid-50s to early 60s only.

The ALEX mark

She can sit and her knees bend.
Wendy has a couple spots I couldn't remove: a dark spot on the sole of one foot, a faint red spot on her back above her ALEX mark, some scratches on her waist, probably from a doll stand, and a faint gray mark on one cheek. None of these are terribly noticeable. Wendy's wig is pristine and glossy and her walker, eyes, and knees work well.

Wendy has a spot on her foot.

The Swedish costume is tagged and crisp. I believe it's complete as well. Wendy even has her basket of fruit and flowers! The apron has some dye transfer from the dress but it's inside where it doesn't show. One shoe button has turned red.

The dress is tagged.

There is faint dye transfer on the back waist of the apron.

The costume looks complete.

The fruit and flower basket

Pantaloons and a net crinoline are the underclothes.

One shoe button is red.

There's a tiny spot under one eye.

Once Wendy was cleaned and strung I re-dressed her and gave her a hair net and my own signed tag so she looks really nice for gifting. She's a wonderful doll to add to your international collection because she's certainly one of the earlier examples of the hard plastic Foreign Friends. These were made with the Tiny Betty/Wendy-Ann composition molds starting in the 1920s.

In addition to Swedish Wendy, I lightly cleaned and pressed a Cissy gown and got it listed. This isn't tagged but I'm sure it's a Madame piece. As I've mentioned before, Madame Alexander clothing has pinked seams and square snaps and this has both. It's very common for Alexander gowns worn under other pieces like peignoirs or jackets to be untagged.  I've also listed several electronic toys, such as an InnoTab and Nintendo DSi , my children have outgrown, so it's a great time to check the store: Atelier Mandaline. If I don't starve to death I hope to have more new things finished and listed soon! I hope your new year has started on a productive note as well.

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