Monday, April 10, 2017

Doll Detective, April

At long last, here is a new Doll Detective post! I decided to give up on the goal of posting every week or two. Who am I kidding? I have a new goal of posting picks monthly. I wanted to finish this last week but life intervened as usual. On Wednesday night my husband came home feeling sick and he actually took a sick day Thursday, which he almost never does, and went to the doctor. He was diagnosed with a sinus infection and throat infection and given antibiotics. He came home and took the medicine and it made him feel sick. He went into the bathroom and after a little bit I heard a huge thump. I called him and he didn't answer and when I went in he had collapsed on the floor! So, terrifying to say the least. I tried to get him to return to the doctor and get a different medicine but he wouldn't do it. He's fine now, luckily.

The same day our youngest came home with his mouth full of sores and looking peaked. He got out of bed around 10, saying his stomach hurt. I gave him some oils and held him on my lap for a while until he was able to go to sleep. And... two hours later I was vomiting. Our middle child is coughing and looking peaked too, so I've been making her go to bed early and kept her home from church youth group.

I just do not know what on earth is going on around here! I have done everything I can think of. I've washed everything I can wash, I'm diffusing all kinds of oils, I am making everyone take vitamins, I opened all the windows to air out the house. I was cooking really healthy foods but on Thursday afternoon I went to our favorite Chinese place and got quarts and quarts of won ton soup and fried rice and that's about all we've eaten since then. I finished the last of it off today. My stomach is still a little off, so I may have to go pick up some more tomorrow! I am completely off the whole keto thing, but it doesn't matter because I hardly lost any weight and I've been sick the whole time I've been on it. It seems to have annihilated my immune system!

So, anyway, I'm sorry about the delay. Tomorrow I will be out of the shop for an epic round of kids' doctors appointments but after that I HOPE things can get back to normal and I will start feeling better.

To begin, I found this new-in-the-box Madame Alexander Sweet Tears. This is a classic play doll with lots of clothes for little mommies, so it's incredibly unusual to find her unplayed with.

Another great play doll is Marybel Gets Well, also by Madame Alexander (actually, all my picks this week are Madame Alexander). Marybel uses the Kelly face. She comes with a couple casts and a bunch of bandages and some crutches and also a pair of skates. So, she can get injured and would-be doctors can set her bones and help her get well. The Alexander marketing said you can be "just like Mommy" and help Marybel get well. I'm glad I didn't have to be a mom back then if you had to know how to set broken bones! Given my track record lately, we would probably all be dead! Beatrice Alexander had a lot of strong ideas and my guess is she wanted to encourage female doctors with a doll disguised as a child needing mothering. Motherhood would have been a much more proper career for a girl's aspiration.

Besides Marybel, the Kelly doll used the Kelly face, as did the Elise dolls for a very short period. Kelly is a typical little girl doll. She is kind of unusual because instead of the common hard plastic of the time she is made of an early vinyl. This vinyl is extremely heavy and thick. Her jointed waist makes her extra-poseable. Kelly isn't an easy doll to find under any name, so if you see one for a good price you will want to snap her up! Kelly is prone to discoloration due to her experimental material, so you want to try to find one who hasn't turned orange or yellow. A Mr. Clean Eraser, doll cleaners, and acne cream can help if your doll did turn.

"So Big" is a large baby doll from the late 1960s with a cute cartoon-like face. This face was also used for a doll named Punkin. I'm not sure but I've always supposed this doll was made to compete with Vogue's Baby Dear and Too Dear dolls inspired by Eloise Wilkin's books and illustrations. They are the same type of dolls and one of the books has a similar title. This doll is hard to find. I don't believe this doll is wearing her original clothes.

The Sonja Henie is a doll dear to my heart. I have one of these with a trunk full of clothes in my studio but I haven't ever restored her, partly because I will want to keep her! We Norwegians don't have many sports heroines and Sonja was a film star as well. What I love about this doll is how faithful to the portrait and individual she is. She's not just a celebrity doll dressed in clothing and tagged as a celebrity. She has Sonja's big dimples and her signature dark eyes and fair hair. Although Scandinavians are always portrayed as blond and blue-eyed, most of my family are blond with dark brown or green-hazel eyes. This doll is just so typically Norwegian; I love her!

This little Disney Snow White is another composition doll and one I've never seen before. She's clearly influenced by the animated film, rather than the original story. Of course, the original stories all featured Snow White's sister, Rose Red, as I remember. We seem to have completely forgotten poor Rose Red. Rose Red is a clear throwback to the old Norse folk tales, who very often feature princesses with blood-red hair. Many people don't realize the prejudice against red-haired people that still persists in some places comes from the stigma of red-haired babies who were born as a result of Viking raids in populations where red hair did not previously exist.

I am including a Wendy Ann composition doll who has been completely re-done as  a Madame Pompadour type. I just think this is a beautiful restoration, and very true to many of the Alexander early portrait dolls of the period. You have to use your gut when you buy a doll with this level of customization. Just like classic cars with very individualized restorations, old dolls can lose value when they are made into one of a kind pieces. Most doll artists won't make big changes unless the doll has already lost all her original clothing and needs extensive repair. If you find an artist's doll you really love, buy her, but be wary of buying one just to resell.

My final pick is another Mary Ellen life-sized (about 31 inches tall) doll. This one looks to be terrific shape. I use my Mary Ellen (well, actually she is supposed to be my daughter's Mary Ellen!) as a mannequin for the clothing I sell on eBay and Poshmark. She can wear 12-24 months size baby clothes and can be used as a model for some pieces up to size 5 or so. People on my Instagram ask about her all the time, so I thought I would show her again. I really hope no one else finds one, I have to admit. Recently a seller who seems to me to be way more successful than I showed their new photo space on Instagram and they bought the exact same dress form I have AND got a photographic backdrop of a room that looks almost exactly like my dining room where I shoot my photos! I guess I must seem really successful to other people who don't know me really well, too. It's flattering when I find people copying me. The other day I found a listing with a description just totally lifted from my own past listing. Luckily my item already sold! I do want people to be able to tell when I am the seller, however. I am such a perfectionist I don't trust anyone else to do as thorough a job as I and I don't want to get confused with someone who pays less attention to detail. Not that I know any of these people well enough to tell how detail-oriented they are; I just know from a lifetime of experience that most people aren't as obsessed with perfection as I!

Just a reminder, unless I am showing my own doll I do not know these sellers and how well they represent the condition of their items and I have not seen these dolls in person. My goal is just to share dolls you might not know about or that you might be trying to find. I get questions all the time from people all over the world wanting to know where and how to find a rare doll for their collection or wanting me to identify a doll they found or tell them how to clean or repair a doll and affiliate links like the ones in this post help pay me back a tiny bit for the time I spend researching dolls for others.

I am truly hoping for a less eventful week! I hope you have a terrific Easter and Spring Break and I hope you will stop my my new website and check out the Spring sales and offers in all my shops.

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