Monday, December 19, 2016

Cissy For Christmas

Tomorrow, December 20th, is the last day to ship via First Class Mail so that the package will arrive in time for Christmas, and December 21st is the last day to ship via Priority Mail in time for Christmas. I have to admit, I am looking forward to a little downtime. My extra 15% off sale on eBay ends tomorrow and my HOLLYJOLLY coupon code on Etsy expires tomorrow as well, so I anticipate a slowing in my sales. Please don't misunderstand; I don't welcome slow sales, I'm just tired. This season has been really disappointing due to one buyer on eBay who left me Neutral feedback on Thanksgiving Day. Most people who don't sell on eBay don't realize how harshly sellers are punished for less than perfect feedback. Even though the buyer eventually revised it to positive because she didn't actually read the listing, my sales are down about 60% since I got the feedback. If your feedback isn't perfect eBay hides your listings and makes it so no one sees them to buy them. I reported this situation to eBay but they are ignoring me, so there it is. It just makes it seem futile to work so hard every day and I will be happy to have a break.

Repainting Cissy with help from the cat
As if that weren't enough, today I got some hate mail through eBay from another doll seller. You would think people who share the same profession would try to support one another, but sadly it is not the case. I can't even tell you how often I get nasty messages from people telling me my things are priced too high or not any good. Today it was a criticism of this Cissy doll I just finished, which my heckler feels is not restored well enough. My suspicion when I get these kinds of messages is that they come from people who aren't confident in their own listings. If you're really involved in your work and keeping busy selling you don't have time to send random hate mail to strangers. I sure hope I've raised my children better than so many other people seem to have been reared.

Cissy with new paint and lashes

All I have to say about this doll restoration is, Try it yourself, Sweetie Pie, and see how you do. I have actually been working on this doll for over a year because I got so frustrated I had to put her aside for a few months. When Cissy arrived I could see she had a really amateurish re-paint of her eyebrows and eyeshadow and lashes, almost as if a child had painted them, and she needed new brush lashes. That would not have been a big deal, except someone had apparently already tried to replace her brush lashes and really botched the job. They gouged the plastic in her eyelids and got super glue or something like that all over the place so the bad painting was cemented on. I had to sand and sand the eyes to remove the paint but the plastic was still scratched. I sanded and sanded that, both by hand and with various Dremel tool attachments and got it as smooth as I could. You can still see some scratches, however. At this point I put the doll aside and puzzled over what to do about her. I considered just taking her apart and selling her piece by piece for parts. I just really hate to do that, however. Then I considered filling the scratching in with epoxy, but I worried that would make the damage even more noticeable. In the end I decided to paint several layers of base paint over the eyes, sanding between coats. Once I built up a fairly smooth surface I repainted the lashes and brows and added a tiny bit of eyeshadow. I replaced the brush lashes with long flutter lashes and left them long rather than trimming them as I usually do, to help cover the eyelid area.

You can still see some scratching.

In the end I feel pretty good about Cissy's eyes. Her long lashes are a little unusual, but they're pretty and now you really only see the scratching if you turn her to the side and really look for it. I had to put her in bright, direct light to get them to show up in photos at all. The rest of her face looks wonderful and I even got her one-eyebrow-raised expression that can be so difficult to reproduce accurately.

The Alexander mark

Cissy will never be confused with a mint doll. One of her vinyl elbows had a nick that I repaired, and I left another little nick inside her shoulder joint. It doesn't show unless you pull the arm out of the socket and since it's inside the joint repairing it would cause the arm to lose mobility. Cissy also has one knee that's kind of loose. I restrung her head and arms but her head is still somewhat loose. One of her hips is tight as well. These are all little nitpicky things, but fixing them would be a major project. It would require taking the arms and legs apart and possibly splitting even the torso to remove the walking mechanism. I just don't feel like the issues are severe enough to risk possibly breaking the doll to repair them.

A repaired elbow

This nick is visible only when the arm is pulled out.

It's not really necessary anyway. Despite her vintage issues, Cissy is still a lovely doll, and she can sit and stand alone and poses well. Her wig is full and gorgeous and I gave her a new set. The blush on her hands is nice and bright. Her eyes are green without all the yellowing of the whites you sometimes see and they function well. Cissy could function perfectly as a display doll and most of her problems would not be visible at all.

Her hands have original blush.

Her shoe elastic is a little loose.

I found the lace teddy "basic" Cissy dolls wore. It's not tagged but it's instantly recognized by collectors. I reinforced fragile areas of the lace. I also got an original "diamond" ring worn by basic Cissy dolls. Then I found vintage Madame Alexander stockings, shoes, and a fan for Cissy. These items came from various Portrait dolls and fit Cissy perfectly. Finally I made Cissy a faux fur stole, so she can stay warm. I decided against dressing Cissy, since she won't command the high price needed to justify buying or sewing her a dress. My hope is someone who has hoped for an "entry-level" Cissy will buy this one and maybe make her a lovely wardrobe. She deserves it after all she's been through!

A Cissy wearing the basic outfit usually commands between $500-$800 when fully-restored. Since this one has some flaws I have her listed far below that with a Best Offer option. She would really make a wonderful display doll or model, or even a great play doll for an older girl who can be careful with her. In fact, if she doesn't sell I may just keep her to model for me. I have already gotten offers on her, albeit none high enough to accept so far, so I expect she won't be around too long. There's still a tiny bit of time to put Cissy in a stocking or under the tree if you hurry! I have more beautiful dolls in my shops on Etsy and eBay and there's still time to order those too, so I hope you will.

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