Friday, March 4, 2016

Special Problems

Well, doll repair people, I finally have been doing some doll work again and will have posts to share shortly. The week has been absolutely insane. It's amazing how I go on for months on end with no one interested in any of my stores or services and then BOOM! Everyone wants me at once.

Monday started out dismally. I take our puppy to the bus stop on a leash every morning to give her practice at proper leash walking. That morning when the bus picked up the kids I went back into the house and released the puppy, who was pulling hard against her collar. The second I unclipped the leash, she sprang forward in pursuit of our cat. The cat jumped on the table, the puppy ran after her, and the puppy clotheslined herself on the computer cord, which my daughter left plugged into the wall after completing a last second assignment before school. The cord, wrapped across the puppy's chest, pulled out of both the wall and the computer, but not before the laptop went sailing across the room, smashing into the floor and cracking open all across one side.

I had an appointment to meet a client who drove from Tennessee to drop off a doll for repair, so I didn't really have time to mess with the computer. I was truly upset to have to give her an unprofessional handwritten invoice because I just finished designing beautiful new invoices and packaging. After that appointment I had another meeting to pick up some sewing supplies, then yet another with a client who was dropping off some consignment items for me to sell on eBay, then chorus carpool, then two more stops to deliver Girls Scouts cookies, and I was grateful to be too busy to stew about the computer. My teenager came home and wiggled some cords in the computer ports and messed with the machine and got it started (so disgusting; I messed and messed with it and couldn't get it to work at all!). It's limping along, but we will definitely have to get a new one. I am so grateful my son was able to back everything up.

Over the rest of the week I met with a Young Living client who needed oils for her daughter's sore throat and helped a client who bought a stringing kit but had a piece missing from her doll. Then I cut down and re-made my 25 year old graduation dress for my daughter to wear to a Cotillion ball. My husband has been home sick since Wednesday with the same sore throat and cough my friend's daughter has; it's evidently going around and it's terrible. The pain is so severe the sufferer can't sleep. So, I've been concocting all kinds of potions with my oils to try to help my husband and also diffusing the heck out of some oils to kill germs in the air. Thank goodness I bought a third diffuser during the Young Living kit sale last month! So far (knock on wood) I have a slight cough and headache but no one else has caught the bug. I finally convinced my husband to see the doctor so we know exactly what we are dealing with but the verdict isn't in yet.

Anyway, I thought you might appreciate some tips for troubleshooting and solving an unusual doll repair problem such as that of my customer. I had a client message me to say her doll didn't have a bar in its head so she couldn't figure out how to attach the head to string the doll. I asked a lot of questions and couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on. The doll was a 1950s Elise from Madame Alexander and all the ones I've worked on had head bars. Then right before bed it occurred to me in a flash: the doll had a loose head bar that fell out! Sometimes dolls have a little wire with a notch in the center and a metal disk in their heads, rather than a head bar attached to the head. The wire fits inside the head across the disk, the head hook fits into the notch, and the string is threaded through the head hook. If you have a doll like this and the bar is missing all you have to do is cut a sturdy piece of wire not quite as wide as the head. Place the wire inside the head at the neck opening or disk if it has one, hook your string to it, and voila! Tension holds the head to the body once the doll is strung. Often these dolls lose pieces over the years, so you might just have to really brainstorm and make your own replacements. I'm always happy to help, so please feel free to contact me with questions if you buy one of my kits (I even answer questions from people who haven't purchased from me!). You can see the diagram I made for my customer below. For restored dolls and repair kits, along with much else, please visit Atelier Mandaline on eBay and Etsy. Keep watching for my next posts on altering vintage clothing and composition doll repair (fingers crossed the computer keeps chugging along until we can replace it).

Steps to replacing a missing head bar



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