Friday, May 26, 2017

Welcome, Summer!

Although it's really still a few weeks away, the beginning of summer is traditionally marked by the Memorial Day weekend holiday. It's a somber remembrance to begin a season associated with happiness, but perhaps that is fitting. We can reflect in the midst of our joy on those who sacrificed themselves in order that we might have this freedom. 

I'm always hesitant to set up sales on occasions such as this, but it seems like it's so expected these days you almost have to do it. For one thing, many people have the only break they get to shop during the day and they expect discounts. For that reason I have coupon codes and sales set up for all my shops through midnight Monday. Use the code: SUMMER for 15% off this website and my Facebook shop. Take an additional 10% off my monthly sales throughout the eBay store. Take 15% off any Etsy order with the code REMEMBER. You can link to all these shops through ateliermandaline.com

I hope you have a happy weekend of celebration and remembrance!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Got Slimed!



If you have kids you've no doubt been introduced to the dual sensory trends sweeping schools right now: fidget spinners and slime. Our schools had to ban these items due to children playing when they should be paying attention and the toys getting lost. Plus, whenever something becomes this trendy all kinds of cheap copies pop up and those can be dangerous. I've seen both items selling for as little as $1 and have already heard reports of children choking on pieces of fidget spinners and all sorts of things. I worry especially about the cheapest versions, because I can tell you the slime, at least, is not inexpensive to make!


Sticky Slime Gel
My daughter is completely addicted to slime making and my son enjoys it as well. So far we are over $100 spent on supplies. It requires a lot of glue, which isn't all that cheap. Then there are the questionable recipes floating around. A really heavily-advertised recipe includes contact lens solution and baking soda. Don't try that one! My daughter tried it and liked it at first so she made several batches. Well, it turns out baking soda isn't a stable emulsifier. After a few hours all the liquid began to seep out of the slime, and even out of the plastic containers. The dye and baking soda got all over my white painted dining room furniture. It was a huge mess. The slime turned from supple to rock hard lumps. It was a an enormous waste of money and I feel like calling Elmer's Glue Company, who is circulating the recipe, and demanding they come repaint my furniture! That recipe isn't the only failure we've had; it was just the most spectacular failure.



Rose Gold Star Slime
Lucky for you, my daughter worked through several recipes in her extensive product-testing and came up with a few winners. She wanted to sell her slime and I agreed to stock it in my Etsy and eBay shops since she can't take it to school. If I can get rid of some of our overstock and help other parents save money and time buying it pre-made I'm happy to do it! We use recipes that include glue, Borax, and water, as well as add-ins like food coloring, glitter, and sequins. These aren't safe to eat, so I recommend them for older children. For a while my daughter was scenting them with essential oils but I thought that was too dangerous. It makes the slime smell like lemon or peppermint or other foods and I worried kids might want to taste it. I even had an adult ask if it was edible! Why you would look at this stuff and want to eat it I don't know, but if it has a chemical gluey smell I think that's best.



Frozen Slime

The kids spent the entire day making slime Sunday, since it was raining and they couldn't go outside. Literally from around noon until my daughter left for church at 6 they made batch after batch, so we are well-stocked! We have sticky slime and stiff therapy putty slime and gel slime. We have Galaxy Slime and Rose Gold Slime and three colors and two textures of Frozen Slime in containers printed with pictures of Olaf the Snowman. We even have the ONLY slime keychains on eBay and Etsy, so you can carry your slime with you! I made the keychains by hand. You can open them whenever you're feeling stressed and remove your slime to play with it. I have to say, I haven't ever considered slime putty for stress relief, but it is rather soothing to play with it or even just to watch videos of people squishing it. You can find our videos on Instagram @ateliermandaline so I hope you'll stop by and give us a follow. Our least expensive mini-egg slimes are nearly sold out already on eBay and Etsy so if you want the best selection please visit ateliermandaline.com and link to my stores. The Etsy shop has the greatest selection at the moment. I have forbidden any more slime-making for now. We are out of containers, and with two band concerts and a banquet this week I haven't had time to pick up any more. Happy Squishing!


Atelier Mandaline's exclusive slime keychains

We have assorted colors ready to ship on eBay and Etsy.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Celebrate & Shop!




I am beyond thrilled to announce my website can now take payments! I have my own shop at last! I've been working toward this moment since I was playing with my Barbie Dream Store in the basement, dreaming of a store of my own. My designs are ready to go, my exclusive pink branded bags are on the way, and I'm over the moon with joy! Please visit the Atelier Mandaline Shop and check it out. *P.S. There just MIGHT be a few celebratory sales going on in the other Atelier Mandaline shops on eBay, Facebook, and Etsy!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Offers Online!





Here at Atelier Mandaline things have been crazy busy, but I did have time to set up some new promotions in the eBay store. Anytime you want to see all the sales I have running in that store, which is my largest, head to http://www.ebay.com/sme/ab_art/offers.html  You can bookmark this page and check it monthly to see my newest offers in this shop. To keep up to date on all my stores, head to ateliermandaline.com and sign up for my newsletter (and get exclusive sale coupons when you sign up!).

This week I am working on listing vintage fashion, most from the 1990s. So far I have some shoes and boots up for auction, and I am working on a bunch of sweaters, so stay tuned. I finally decided I am never going to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, including my shoes because my feet got larger along with everything else, so I am selling them and getting them out of here. Some are post-baby, but still really small because they were pre-36, the age at which I started to have some serious problems with weight gain. It's a shame, because back then I had a lot more money to spend on myself and I had much higher-quality clothes and shoes than I do now.

I would have as many kids as God would give me, but I tell you, right now the three I have are keeping me poor and exhausted! We just finished Senior Prom and have Graduation coming up. After that we are taking a family trip to Disney to celebrate. I've been working on accruing gift card points for over a year to help pay for that. When we get back we are taking the younger kids to my parents' for a week so they are out of the way while we move our oldest into the dorms for an early-start program. I still don't have sheets or towels or anything for him, so I need to get on it. I think a trip to my happy place: IKEA, is in order!


Our oldest got out of braces a couple months ago and now our daughter went into them on her lower jaw. She has a torturous appliance across the roof of her mouth. I have to turn it with a key every night to expand it The hope is we can avoid extracting as many as eight teeth by stretching her palate. She has to wear the appliance for eight months before she can have braces on her upper teeth.

A couple nights before her appointment the orthodontist called wanting to see our youngest for new X-Rays, even though he did scans and models just a few weeks back. He is the doctor on our cleft team who's in charge of deciding when to start expansions and stuff for our son's bone graft, and he's having a tough time. Several permanent teeth are in the wrong places and the thinking right now is our youngest may have to go into braces on his baby teeth to push them out of the way so the permanent teeth can drop into the correct spots.

It might be easier as far as cooking if they were both in braces. Our daughter can't chew anything or suck because of her appliance and I am racking my brains for liquid recipes the whole family can enjoy so I don't have to cook extra suppers for her! I guess it's good practice, since our youngest will have to be on a liquid diet for several weeks before and after his bone graft surgery.

On the crafty front, I have been stocking a lot more doll making and repair supplies lately, since they are selling better than restored dolls right now. I several "blank" dolls in my Etsy shop for you to finish if you want to make a custom doll without making the doll herself. Those are nude Madame Alexander dolls to dress. My sister sent me a big box of alpaca roving for my birthday and I am itching to do some felting, so keep watch for those new creations. I'd better get them done before June, since we will barely be home all month!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cathy's Eyes



Today I received a package, a Chatty Cathy head from one of my regular customers. My client wanted me to replace the eyes in her Chatty Cathy doll after she ordered eyes a size too small. She sent a photo of a metal piece that originally came attached to Cathy's eyes, but the eyes themselves were broken so I couldn't see them.


Cleaning the doll
I told her I've never worked on Chatty Cathy before, but said I was willing to try to help her. I started he way I start all my restorations, with cleaning. I like to get the doll's face nice and clean before inserting eyes so the new eyes aren't spoiled by cleaning.


Heating the head
My client wanted me to replace the eyes using the heat method, even though it seems like she is much more accomplished at that technique than I. The heat method requires you to heat the head with a hair dryer or something and pop the old eyes out of the head. Then you pop new eyes into the head. My client advised rubbing petroleum jelly on the new eyes to put them in. Well, I tried it. I heated the head and lubricated the new eyes. Then I tried to push the new eyes in. The only size I could get into the socket was a 10mm and it was way too small. The 18 inch Chatty Cathy requires a 14mm eye, but the eye socket is too wide and shallow for that size. When I tried to insert the eyes I broke the first one and bruised my hand. I took the photo immediately after it happened; now my palm has a much darker bruise.




Two examples of why I don't use the heat method.

In order to remove the broken eye I had to cut the back of the eye socket. This is how I usually insert eyes anyway, so I went ahead and inserted 14mm eyes from the inside. The 14mm eyes are all right, though not a perfect fit. Cathy obviously had originally come with almond-shaped eyes connected with a metal nose bridge. The Margon eyes are a bit too round and quite a bit too tall for the Cathy eye sockets. If you have a Cathy to repair I suggest you try to find a junk doll with decent eyes you can harvest to repair your doll. Barring that, you can use the 14mm Margon eyes but you will have to cut the eye pockets inside the head open. Then you will have to heat the inside of the head with a hair dryer and pull the vinyl pocket edges out of the way. Pop the eyes in and draw the vinyl pocket flaps over the eyes as far as possible. The eyes are too tall to be covered completely. Glue the flaps of the vinyl pockets back down over the backs of the eyes with thick glue like Aleene's Tacky Glue or acrylic modeling paste. Acrylic modeling paste is available in art supply stores.

You can order eye replacement kits from my eBay and Etsy shops. I don't have all sizes listed, but I have eyes in size 6mm to 27mm available in brown, blue or green. Just send a message to ateliermandaline.com to let me know which you would like or to request help with measuring.

I have had several questions about Chatty Cathy dolls and this is the first one I've ever restored, so I am happy to finally be able to answer questions accurately! This doll id heading back to her owner, but I have many beautiful dolls already restored in my shops. Link from ateliermandaline.com to all my stores.



Cathy's new eyes

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

You're My Favorite Notification!




The Atelier Mandaline newsletter is live! Sign up today on my website and I will send you a welcome message with exclusive coupon codes for my eBay and Etsy stores. You can expect to receive my emails every 7-14 days. They will alert you to new products and product lines, announce upcoming projects, and let you know of all the promotions and sales I'm offering across my network of shops. The Atelier Mandaline newsletter is the most convenient way to stay in touch with me, as it comes straight to your inbox! *You may need to check your Promotions or Junk folder if you don't see it within 24 hours of signing up.

In addition to my subscriber's bonuses, I'm offering a new way to earn sale and discount codes: a treasure hunt! I am running my first Ad Words campaign to advertise my new website. If you come across my Atelier Mandaline ad "in the wild" send me a screenshot or a description of where and when you saw it and I will send you another set of discount coupons!

As my eBay newsletter subscribers know, I will certainly not spam you with a bunch of emails. In fact, I can be rather lax in my newsletter writing! Unlike my eBay store newsletter, this one pertains to all my shops and I am able to customize it with links. I will still write the eBay newsletter, if you are already a subscriber to that one, and it will contain the same information minus any links to my website or other shops.