Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summery Summary

Summer Sale from Atelier Mandaline

It seems incredible to me that it's already the middle of August! How does time fly by so quickly? I realize I haven't written a single post all month and for that I'm sorry. We've been having some time lately. Since the beginning of August we had our kitten spayed, our teen's front axle of his car broke, another cat who was spayed in July got an infection, our younger son woke up one day with pus running out of his ear, our microwave died, and then our "beer" fridge (which I use for all sorts of things besides beer, like brining beef briskets to make corned beef and anything else that has to sit in the fridge for a long time) died. Besides requiring an enormous cash outlay this sort of stuff just sucks up time. It takes a while to sit at the vet's office or drive someone to and from the mechanic or wait for delivery men to arrive. And don't even get me started on administering medicine to cats!

So, I haven't accomplished nearly all I'd hoped to finish this month. I had three big dolls, a Shirley Temple, a Toni, and a Tiny Tears,  and a bunch of small dolls in the works at the end of last week and I hoped to have them all listed over the weekend but my sister came to stay with her three kids and I only managed to finish the Toni. And NOW it's only three days until my stores' temporary closure for vacation and restocking. I rarely close up shop completely for vacation, but this year I decided I really need some actual time off. I also have a tornado of new ideas for fall and winter products swirling round in my brain and I would like some time to experiment with those freed from the daily grind of shipping and social media-posting and question-answering.

To make room for new product I'm having a Blowout Summer's End Clearance Sale on both eBay and Etsy. Everything in my eBay shop is 10% off most individual listings, but 50% off all when you buy 4 or more listings. HALF OFF! That's HUGE for me; I've only ever offered that once or twice before. On Etsy you can save 20% on everything in the shop when you use the coupon code: SUMMERY at checkout. I hope you'll take advantage of these prices. Most of my inventory is exclusive and unique, so I won't have another doll or outfit just like it again and people have already started taking advantage of these deals since I posted them this morning.

Toni, a Roller Skating Walker
I am sure some of you are curious about the Toni doll I just finished. Ideal started manufacturing Toni dolls as an advertising tie-in to the Toni home permanent hair styling kits in the 1940s. The dolls came with perm rollers and curling solution, which was sugar water, and were advertised as having nylon hair that could be styled multiple times. Prior to the Toni dolls most dolls had "flock" or mohair wigs that could not withstand styling. Toni dolls were expensive because of the royalties Ideal had to pay to Gillette to use the Toni name (I'm not really sure why since they were helping advertise a Gillette product) and Ideal made them until 1953. At that time Ideal licensed the Toni name to American Character and American Character's Sweet Sue dolls went from being hard plastic child dolls to plastic and vinyl teenage dolls called Sweet Sue Sophisticate to grown-up all-vinyl (I THINK) fashion dolls named Toni.

The P-91 head and body

The Toni shown here is the original hard plastic P-91 head and body doll only with a walking mechanism inserted. the earliest Toni dolls were strung dolls, not walkers. The walking mechanism is rather odd, probably because Ideal adapted the same head and body to make a walking doll. The head is still strung but then it also is held by tension on a domed piece of plastic. The plastic dome or disk sits atop the walker pole and turns the head as the doll's legs move.  I haven't had one of these dolls before and I had some trouble with the head. I re-strung the head and arms with elastic cord and got it as tight as possible, but if it is sitting on the disk so the head turns like it's supposed to every once and a while it pops off and just sort of hangs there until you push it back on the neck. It is still strung, so it doesn't come all the way off. If you shove the head really hard onto the neck it stays on, but then it doesn't turn when the doll is walking. So, this design makes you choose whether you want a walking doll or one whose head stays in place. Or at least that's how it seems to me; it's possible there's something I don't know since I haven't worked on one before.

Sometimes the head pops off the walker.

Toni came to me dressed in a blue polished cotton day dress with lace and tiny rickrack trims and an attached organdy apron. Although it isn't tagged I'm sure this is the original dress because I recognize the style, trims, and fabric from other Toni dresses. Her satin panties appear original, although someone added new elastic to the waist at some point. Her rayon knitted socks are original and I think her Mary Janes style squishy plastic shoes are as well, but they aren't marked. The shoes are distinctive, with an adjustable side button closure, and I've seen them listed before as Toni shoes. They are marked 1 on the soles. I gave Toni a pair of skates dating to her era, but which are not original.

The elastic was replaced.

Original socks and probably shoes

Skates from the same era as Toni

Poor Toni fell down on while skating and scraped her knees and face on her cheeks and the tip of her nose. I touched up her paint in those areas. All her other paint, including a hint of eyeshadow, is original, as are her brush lashes.

The touched-up knees

The re-painted cheeks and nose

Toni's hair saw rather too much styling in her day. At first I thought her wig, which was partially unglued, was not original because it seemed too small and looked like it was cut. The foldover stitched part was correct, so maybe it was original, but at any rate it was damaged to the point I felt a new wig was in order. So Toni went from a platinum blond to a redhead with a glorious auburn wig in a style similar to the Toni dolls had when new. I moved the metal barrettes from the old wig to the new, and now you can barely tell this isn't the hair Toni was "born" with! The color and style are very similar to the auburn-haired Toni dolls from the 40s and 50s. The main difference is the part, which is more realistic looking than the original wigs.

The new auburn wig

The original barrettes

Toni really displays as a near mint doll now that she's cleaned up. Her dress has a small spot but it's under the apron, so not visible. Her skates don't look new, and she has play wear on her body here and there, but these things really only show up when you are handling her and looking for them. In a case you won't see them.

The dress has a spot.
An older child will enjoy playing with Toni still, and she and her clothes are sturdy enough to withstand it. Vintage toys may not meet today's standards for playthings, however.

Toni can sit.

She can stand alone in skates or shoes.

If I can get to them I still really hope to list a few more dolls before the shops close. I have a lot to do to get everyone ready to leave, so I don't know. I can't wait until I'm lying on the beach, but I do enjoy my work so much I rarely take a break!