Friday, December 7, 2018

Tutorial: How to Swap Blythe Eye Chips

The original eye chips

Tonight on my website I show how to swap out your Blythe doll's original eye chips and change the direction of her gaze. I hope you'll check it out! This post teaches removal of the eye mechanism and eye chips, insertion of new eye chips, and modification of the gaze. You will also find links to purchase Blythe dolls and supplies, including new eye chips! Stay tuned for more Blythe customization tutorials, coming soon.


The new custom eye chips and modified gaze

Saturday, December 1, 2018

4th Quarter Blues

This Betsy McCall trunk set is now available in my shops

As many of you know, I am self-employed largely as a result of our adoption of two children with special needs. I feel incredibly blessed to live in an age when I can work from home, create my own career, and communicate with people all over the world. The Internet changed my life and has given me more opportunity than I ever imagined it could. That does not, however, mean it's made this life terribly easy. The fourth quarter of the year is a notoriously busy time for anyone in retail, and for a solo momtrepreneur like myself it's just insanity.

​This year, more than ever, I'm feeling the pressure of trying to be a mother as well as run a successful business. Our youngest son has a major surgery scheduled this Monday. He will be getting a bone graft and some facial revision to help correct his cleft lip and palate. We've always known he would need this surgery and his team of specialists have been working together for years to get him ready. This particular surgery is time-sensitive and must absolutely be performed during the optimal window of his dental development. We hoped to have it done during one of the school breaks but it just didn't work out that way. So now, right at the height of the sales season and my busiest professional time of the year, we have the surgery, and last month we learned our cleft team had gone out of network with our insurance company. Facing a $10,000 bill, we applied for Gap Coverage so we could pay in network, and thankfully it was granted. That process, however, required extensive phone calling and paperwork-filling for myself and my husband, and my son has visited almost his entire network of doctors in the past month to get all his pre-surgery check-ups and procedures finished. 

If you watch my social media on Instagram and Facebook you also know we discovered a rotten support post on our house that spread mold and decay into the interior walls and floor and then we had yet another water heater leak, so besides all the doctor visits we've had to work around contractor and plumber schedules. We performed much of the interior renovation ourselves. My husband has become a champ at installing drywall and I helped out with the painting.

Add to that all the cooking and cleaning and entertaining of the holiday season, and you'll understand why I haven't written a blog post or newsletter for ages. I sincerely apologize. I have been working hard to get new things made and posted for sale and the slideshow on my website shows a few of these. I know how much people love trunk sets during the holidays so I managed to finish a few like the Betsy set in the photo, as well as one doll and book set, and some single dolls. I was honored to create an adorable matryoshka birth announcement set, and my daughter and I collaborated to design some cozy winter poncho wraps. 

We are trying to fit an early birthday celebration into the weekend since it will be so long until our son can eat solid food and run around again, so I have my stores either on vacation or set for really long handling times. You can still place orders but I am not guaranteeing new custom order deliveries for Christmas and anything paid after 9PM on Sunday will likely not ship until Friday at the earliest. I truly hope you will still place orders because to be honest I need the money! As soon as I know how long we will be in the hospital and how well my son recovers I will update my handling time and get everything out as soon as I possibly can.

Please keep us in your thoughts and please know as soon as I am able I will get back to writing tutorials and posting new projects. This is my "why". I am so grateful to all of you for supporting me, reading my blog, shopping with me, emailing me , over all these years. You made my little family possible. You gave me the ability to drop everything and step away from my career when it's necessary for me to be just Mom. I'll be spending the day and night in the hospital on Monday, at the very least, and possibly longer. There may be a delay in my response to messages and questions during that time.
​Many blessings on you fall, until I can write again, Amanda

Sunday, November 4, 2018

For the Love of Blythe

Vadoma, a custom Blythe doll

I'm finally learning to make custom Blythe dolls! Visit my website to view videos and slideshows of my newest creations, as well as purchase your own ready-made or custom-order Blythe dolls and supplies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Another Keto-Ade



Today I posted my recipe for a vinegar tonic that helps me get through long fasts and remedy small amounts of "cheating" or higher-carb days on my diet. Unlike most vinegar tonics, this one has no gritty spices or added juices or sweeteners, so it's perfect for those following a ketogenic or carnivore lifestyle. The recipe, along with a link to purchase the ingredients, is posted on my website, so I hope you'll check it out!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Doughnut, Darling




After a delay due to illness, I finally got my Keto Doughnut recipe online. Visit my website to learn how to make my Keto Chocolate Frosted and Keto Apple Dumpling Doughnuts. These are so good we had them for supper one night! I sincerely hop you enjoy them. I'm at my lowest weight in two years, and if I can lose weight eating doughnuts for dinner I'll call this diet a winner!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Eye Swapping 101, A Tutorial




I'm so happy to announce my new line of custom designed doll eyes for American Girl and similar dolls! I worked for months to manufacture these with my customers' needs in mind. The result is a perfectly-fitting moving sleep eye which makes it easier to repair or customize your doll. Learn how to swap out your doll's eyes step by step with my tutorial: https://www.ateliermandaline.com/updates/eye-swapping-101-a-tutorial.


I believe these eyes are even better than the originals, as they should be, since I spent nearly a year working with the manufacturer to perfect them. So far, Atelier Mandaline eyes are available in my four most popular colors: purple, green, blue, and brown. You can order custom-painted eyes from my Etsy shop as well. My goal is to expand my selection of colors and sizes eventually. Purchase Atelier Mandaline eyes from my eBay and Etsy shops. You can link to all my shops from my website.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back To Business!





I'm happy to announce all Atelier Mandaline shops are open! Hurricane Florence finally arrived and has been steadily soaking us for two days, but we are doing fine. We will have a lot of leaves and sticks to clean up and the kids and dogs are stir-crazy, but we have been extremely fortunate, for which we are grateful. I also want to thank all those who called and sent texts and reached out here on the blog and Facebook page to make sure I'm okay. You are truly a treasure and I'm so happy to have you in my life!

Please consider helping those in the Eastern part of our state in any way you can; many have been devastated and it will only get worse when all this rain falling up here in the foothills flows back down to the coast. I will most likely be doing a fundraiser in the near future; please stay tuned for that. In the meantime, to make up for the inconvenience and loss of income from nearly a week's closure, I am running a sale on eBay and Etsy. You can link to all my shops from the Home page of my website

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Breaking the Bread Code


Keto Cheesy Garlic Biscuits



Days and days of Hurricane Florence-forced inactivity has me stir crazy. Today I worked some of it out experimenting in the kitchen, trying to perfect a Keto dinner roll recipe. The result is more like a biscuit than a roll, but it's still delicious! You can find the recipe on my website. I hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hurricane Party





Unless you live under a rock you have no doubt heard about Hurricane Florence, currently barreling straight toward the Carolinas.  You might think, since I live in the Appalachian foothills of Western N. C., I am safe from the storm, but it's increasingly looking as if that's not the case. Therefore, all Atelier Mandaline shops will close tonight until further notice.

I hate to close up shop because honestly, I need the money and I am just starting to see the typical fall sales increase.  However,  I am all too well aware of the danger we're in. I'm trying not to panic, but the continual resurrection of Fran and Hugo by meteorologists has me scared. In 1996 I experienced the longest night of my life, the time I drove through Hurricane Fran. I was attending university in Greenville (considered part of NC's "Inner Coast") and Fran was supposed to hit us directly. We were told we would be without water or electricity for at least a month. My younger sister was also at ECU and my parents were making me share my car with her (even though I bought the car with my own money, incredibly unfair in my opinion... but that's a story for another day!) and the day Fran came ashore was her day to have the car. I wanted to go inland to our parents' house near Raleigh but she refused to leave and she also refused to bring the car to me. She had all the vast confidence in her knowledge of the typical college freshman and she had determined the storm wouldn't hit her. Besides that, she lived on campus and would have far more access to supplies than I. Finally around 4PM I convinced her to bring the car and I got out of town. 

By the time I made it to Wilson, about 45 minutes away back then, it was apparent I waited too late to leave. The sky was pitch black, as though it were midnight and not 5 PM. Trees were bent nearly prone across  Highway 64 and I had to drive in the center of the road. Rain lashed the windshield in sheets and branches and leaves and even several frogs blew into my windshield and the wipers were as nothing. I was rolling along, blindly,  wondering what on earth I could do. Back then the highway between Wilson and Raleigh was a straight, empty stretch of road through apparent wilderness. I didn't want to face the storm from my car but I couldn't see any gas stations or anywhere I could shelter. Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, an 18 wheeler pulled onto the highway in front of me. I could see the truck's tail lights and I pulled up as close behind it as I dared and stuck right behind it, following it all the way to Raleigh (To this day my children love to hear the story of the time my guardian angel saved me in the form of a truck!). There, I had to part with the truck and cut through downtown Raleigh to the bedroom town of Garner. The trouble was so many roads were closed due to flooding I kept getting turned around by police. After three or four detours I was hopelessly lost. The street signs were unreadable, spinning like tops on their poles. I drove on desperately in what I hoped was the right direction when I saw the Rialto theater and realized I was heading the wrong way. I turned around and  after a bit the tall facade of Shelton's Furniture became visible, guiding me. The rest of the drive was a straight shot and I eventually made it. The drive, typically a two hour drive, took more than six hours.

Despite all that the storm hadn't reached its full potential yet. We spent a long and fearful night as it got increasingly worse. I slept in the basement, convinced the skylights in the roof were going to break open. Morning showed trees down everywhere and the entire back yard flooded. We were without power for several days and counted ourselves lucky, since we had water. Many in the area were without water or power for up to a month. It turned out the Fran forecast was completely wrong. It just brushed over the coast and hit Raleigh head-on. I had driven right under it the whole way. I ended up stuck in Garner, meeting the neighbors at our grill in the mornings for coffee, spending the days helping cut and clear fallen trees, taking cold showers at night. The worst part of it all was my sister's extremely annoying smugness for ages and ages afterward!

Fran taught me respect for hurricanes and contempt for meteorological forecasts, and I'll never forget those lessons as long as I live. Now I'm responsible for my children and my house and my business and since my husband is in charge of the power grid for the Carolinas, he will be at work and I will be on my own. We are praying for the best but preparing for the worst. I hope I'll be able to reopen soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Transitions



My Pretty Ballerina, 1990


Exciting new products just danced into the shops and BIG things are coming to Atelier Mandaline! Head to my website to find out more!





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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dream Revisited





You might remember my tutorial a few months back on how to clean and re-flock a flocked doll which featured the Ideal Baby Dreams Velvet Skin doll. I finished the doll and put her aside planning to make a new bunting but with all the housework and all the ketogenic cooking to support my weight loss journey and our son's diabetes and trying to get a big consignment lot listed I didn't get to it. Now my husband announced he wants us to go through the attics and clean them out, so the kids got out the toys they want to sell and stacked them all over our bonus room, so I guess I have to find time to get to that too. We are going out of town tomorrow until the 9th, and I'm trying to get everything ready to pack and this morning we had to replace  rotten fence post so our dogs won't escape while we're away (our son will be here but we didn't want to take chances), so I'm a mess right now trying to finish a thousand things at once. True to life, when things get hectic there's always something more that gets added! I had a customer request to buy the Baby Dreams doll I restored in the flocking tutorial and she wants her dressed, so I stayed up way past midnight to get that done. Please know, I am not complaining! I love when people message me to purchase things they've seen on my website; it makes me feel like it's worth paying the fees to have a personal site!




I used my mint-in-the-box Baby Dreams (she's not for sale) to make a pattern for the bunting. I've done this before, but could I find the pattern anywhere? Of course not! Organizing my office is another thing I really need accomplish, and soon, before the holiday season rush! I used pattern tissue to trace the garment and constructed it the same way. Our Walmart, the only place to buy ribbon trims in town, was sold out of the lone white eyelet they carry so I drove 68 miles round trip to go to Joann Fabrics, and I was glad I did, because they had a nearly identical trim! Pretty impressive since this doll was made in 1975! You can see my outfit is actually much nicer than the original (on the right) because I used better fabric and didn't skimp. You can straight-up see through the original bunting! My mint doll is a later version of the Baby Dreams, and they aren't as nice as the first ones the company produced. The first Baby Dreams had flocked legs, which the later ones don't, and much thicker, longer hair. By the end of production Ideal was clearly cutting costs wherever they could. You can see the difference between the first and later production dolls in this post from a few years back. I think Baby Dreams was made for just one year, so it's odd they would cut back so much in the quality for such a short run.





I'll tell you what, that little face just gets me every time! It tugs at my heart just like looking at pictures of my real babies. I guess since this was my first baby it makes sense! If my client decides she doesn't want this doll after all I will have her listed in my shops. You can link to my shops from my website to see all the dolls I have available.



And just a reminder, here's what the doll looked like when she arrived. I'm so glad I was able to save her! It's a good thing the original outfit has a hood, since the hair is probably this doll's greatest weakness. I did my best on it and it actually turned out better than I feared it might because I was able to save it and didn't have to give her a wig! I'm always watching for Baby Dreams. She's my favorite doll to restore! If I find another I'll be sure to post about it!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

NC-MEX

Southern Style Keto Nachos

A recent disastrous attempt to make Keto sandwich bread resulted in a couple of great Southern-Style "Mexican" recipes: Southern Style Keto Nachos and Low Carb Pimento Cheese Tacos. Head to my website to make these delicious treats. We are calling them "NC-Mex" instead of "Tex-Mex"!

Low Carb Pimento Cheese Tacos

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tighten Up!

2017 & 2018
I want to thank all of you who have been following my switch to the ketogenic diet for the past several months here and on Facebook and Instagram. If you're new to my site, back in September my oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It came out of nowhere and surprised us all. In the time since his diagnosis I've learned just exactly how much I didn't know about T1D and how much I thought I knew is incorrect. As it turns out, the typical age for diagnosis as T1D is the late teen years (my son was 18) and not early childhood. T1D isn't usually inherited; researchers have isolated a strain of Enterovirus, an extremely common childhood illness, which attacks the pancreas and they are now formulating a vaccine for those lucky enough not to have contracted the illness yet. Eating whatever you want and flooding the body with insulin is not a good way to treat T1D; insulin can cause hangover symptoms just like alcohol and when taken in excess can kill you, just like alcohol. It is far more advisable to follow a ketogenic diet that keeps blood sugar levels stable and reduces the need for mealtime insulin. Do any of these statements surprise you? They sure as hell shocked me! I'm a researcher at heart and I've read everything I can find about Type 1 Diabetes and all the newest trials and studies since my son's diagnosis. It led me to put the entire family on the ketogenic diet. Even though my son attends college, I didn't want to have to cook separate foods for him when he was home and I didn't want everyone eating stuff he couldn't have, and quite frankly, the more I read the more I could see the ketogenic diet is by far a healthier diet than we had been following and may prevent the rest of us from developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and other inflammatory conditions so common in America.

I won't lie, when I put us on Keto I sincerely hoped it would help me lose weight. When I became pregnant with the very same oldest son I started gaining weight like crazy and for no apparent reason. Dieting didn't help; I restricted food throughout my pregnancy and still gained about 50 pounds. When I became pregnant I was a size 4 with a 25 inch waist and at the very lowest range of my BMI so I had trouble getting doctors to pay attention. "Just eat less," they would say, when I was already restricting myself to 1000 calories or fewer per day. After my son's birth I developed a host of "female" problems that lasted for 15 years and which none of the plethora of doctors I saw could explain. Thankfully, when my son was 15 I discovered essential oils and found one in particular, Young Living's Progessence Plus, that solved my female hormonal problems in ONE month. After 15 years of visiting different doctors, 4 drops a day of this oil fixed me in one month! That is when I became to passionate about essential oils, and Young Living oils in particular. Sadly, I still couldn't solve my weight problem. The photo on the left (above) was taken in February of 2017. At the time I was following what I thought was the Keto diet with intermittent fasting and very strenuous exercise, after the advice of a website I found on Pinterest. I was actually just starving myself and working out way too much. When I saw that photo I switched to a vegan plan and actually gained another 15 pounds or so while also giving myself IBS symptoms. There are no photos of me after that; I made myself scarce or hid behind other people. I was terribly depressed and felt horrible, exhausted all the time. Neighbors would always comment on how much they saw me out walking (I was walking 7-10 miles a day as well as lifting weights and doing aerobics) and I knew they were really wondering how much I could possibly be eating to still be so fat. The reality was I was starving myself and yet I couldn't lose weight. It was absolutely a horrible nightmare. When we got the call our son was in the ICU with his blood sugar over 700 it felt like the last nail in my coffin. I honestly didn't know how I would be able to pick myself up and keep moving forward.

April 2018 & July 2018


My research into treatment for my son's diabetes led me to discovering Dr. Jason Fung. His books, The Complete Guide To Fasting and The Obesity Code, threw me a lifeline and gave me hope I could improve not only my son's outcome but mine as well. Through Dr. Fung I discovered the Diet Doctor website, which has been another amazingly beneficial site for me.  As you can see from my photos, Keto is working for me as nothing else has. In the photos of my face, from February 2017 to July 2018 I actually weigh more in the "After" photo. The photos of my torso above are from April 2018 on the left and July 2018 on the right. I am about five pounds lower in the "After" photo. Weight on the scale doesn't count for as much when you're following a ketogenic diet and you should track your progress with your measurements and photos instead. You will see people who lose a lot of weight very quickly doing Keto but I think they are probably healthier to begin with. After following starvation diets and strenuous exercise plans for my entire adult life and beyond (I started going to the gym with my mother and doing Slim Fast when I was 12) I had a severe Vitamin D deficiency and most likely extremely low bone density. I don't know because I could never get my doctor to test me. Even with Vitamin D levels that didn't register and a Nowegian genetic background (Norwegians have the highest rates of osteoporosis of anyone in the world) they still would just repeat their policy is they don't test before age 50. Thank God I discovered the ketogenic diet before then! I would probably have been a hunchback by age 50! Keto rebuilds your bone and connective tissue. These are heavier than fat. So if you've spent many years on fat-free and low fat diets or the processed and fast food SAD (the Standard American Diet), you will most likely need several months to repair your health before you will see significant weight loss. Dr. Fung explains this best, I think, when he says weight loss is a hormonal illness and yet we try to treat it with caloric intake. Does your body come with a calorie counter? No, it does not! The calories from sugary candy are totally different than the calories from grass-fed beef. Your body can't use GMOs or artificial flavors or hydrogenated fake butter, so those calories just get stored way in fat cells as your body tries to protect itself by isolating these unknown chemicals.

If you focus on restoring your health by eating properly, fasting when you aren't hungry, and sleeping enough, I promise you will see results! Lately I've been running my SEVEN online stores, enjoying summer with my kids, swimming, working in my garden, keeping up with my housework, creating new Keto recipes, and even learning to ride a mountain bike. I've read four books in the past two weeks. I still have a really long way to go, don't get me wrong, but my health and mood and just my enjoyment of life are so much better than they were. I have hope for the future now, which I did not for many months. I no longer feel like sleeping all day. I can see from the photos how much my health outcome has improved. I used to carry most of my weight in my neck, chest, and abdomen. Visceral abdominal fat is one of the greatest indicators for heart disease and the fat releases hormones that harm your organs. I'm very pleased to have lost so much weight from the area around my heart!

Tighten Up Oil Ingredients



Besides the ketogenic diet I feel like my oils have also been helping me with my weight loss. I actually formulated my Tighten Up blend as a breast reduction tool. If you've been following my blog for a long time you know how much I suffered as a teen when I was already in a D cup bra size at age 13. Over the years it just got worse and worse. And yes, I know there are women who get breast augmentation because they want larger breasts, but personally I think they're crazy. My neck and shoulders hurt all the time just a few months ago, and I have to special-order bras online because no local stores carry a G or H cup with a relatively small 38 band size. The oils I used in my blend are all oils that help reduce bloating, support the liver, help flush the lymphatic system, and improve skin tone and tightness, and in the case of frankincense, prevent and treat breast cancer and other cancers. I apply this oil under my arms before I put on my deodorant so it creates a protective shield, because here in the South the natural deodorants just don't cut it.

Even with all my weight loss my cup size has not gotten any smaller, and although that's been quite disappointing, I am happy to say it's as if I've gotten a breast lift. I've had permanent little sores under my arms since I was 13 from the underwire in my industrial strength bras digging in to my skin, but now I've completely switched to wire-free bralettes, Never in a million years did I think I could go without wires! I can wear little tank tops with built in shelf bras! For me this is amazing and life-changing. To go without some huge bra when it's 100 degrees out is just wonderful! Part of this is my discovery of Cosabella and their Curvy Sweetie line, which is specially made for women with large cup sizes compared to their band size but it's also definitely due to the oil (I'm not getting any compensation for recommending Cosabella; I just think they're wonderful!). I've started using it all over and I'm not seeing much sagging skin after weight loss, even being in my mid-40s! Make sure to apply it at night or if you use it during the day, cover up before going out because it WILL make your skin sun-sensitive. You can purchase the ingredients for this oil from the link on my website.

Tighten Up Massage Oil
1 bottle Young Living Cel-Lite Magic massage oil
20 drops each Ledum, Frankincense, Cypress, and Citrus Fresh essential oils
10 drops each Sacred Frankincense, Patchouli, and Geranium essential oils
5 drops each Rose, JuvaFlex, EndoFlex, and Blue Cypress essential oils

Add essential oils to the Cel-Lite Magic massage oil. Close the lid and gently turn upside down and right side up while rubbing the bottle in between your palms. The heat from your hands helps the oils to blend. Massage for several minutes 1-2 times per day anywhere you want to see tighter, firmer skin. This oil is also wonderful as a bath oil and for use with ayurvedic dry-brushing.  Make sure not to expose the areas to sunlight as you will burn very fast.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Copycat Keto


Keto Chick-Fil-A Copycat Nuggets

The other night I posted photos of my ketogenic Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets with sauce and my edible low-carb peanut chocolate cookie dough balls and my Instagram followers were begging for the recipes. So I wrote them up and they are on the website, ready for you to cook! I hope you enjoy!

Low Carb Edible Cookie Dough

A Jolly Dolly Friend

jollyvolley on Instagram

I want to apologize sincerely to all my doll readers; I know it's been ages since I wrote any doll-related posts. I've been in kind of a funk lately. I haven't been able to find a manufacturer for my eyes. Although I have a large inventory of dolls to restore the ones I have finished haven't been selling much at all for years now, so it's not really worth it financially to spend my time restoring them. The things I enjoy are designing and making my own dolls and fashion and thrifting. I'm really good at making things and I have a good eye so I'm good at finding abandoned treasures. In fact, my biggest finds from my out of town thrift trip last month, the Wedgwood plate, ARTEL cowboy hat, and Peter Millar cashmere sweater vest, all already sold and provided a great return on investment. The problem is, I have so much inventory to list, from my kids' outgrown clothes and toys to a huge consignment lot I just got and another on the way, I can't really justify buying anything else. Our dining room has once again been taken over by inventory, so I need to move it, but I just can't seem to find the motivation. My oldest heads back to college in just a couple weeks, and then my younger kids will go back to school, and I've been focusing on spending the last bit of summer with them as much as possible. I'm considering just sending whatever I can off to thredUP and selling the other clothes in big lots. Even if I don't make as much profit it may be worth spending my time on something more enjoyable so I don't get burned out.

In an attempt to wake up my doll sales I have an ad running online through Google Ad Words. Unfortunately, instead of increasing my sales it's mainly just turned up people wanting things from me. So far I've had many responses from people wanting me to purchase their marketing services (these messages in particular are ALWAYS misspelled... WHY would anyone want to buy marketing from people who don't even proofread their own marketing messages?!), feature their product in my blog, or to buy their dolls. It's incredible the number of people who have monster collections of dolls, 3000 in one case, and then decide they don't want them. They want to sell them but they don't want to do it themselves, so they email me and beg me to buy them and when I tell them I don't have the money or the room they insist they don't want much for them. So after days of begging and pleading I will agree to view some photos. The dolls ALWAYS need restoration. And they are ALWAYS all the way across the country so shipping will be ridiculous. And then I make my offer and the people get mad and decide they aren't selling them to me. It's just such an enormous time waster for me. So, if you are considering emailing me and begging me to buy your dolls, just don't. PLEASE. I can assure you, if you bought your dolls prior to 2014 you paid too much to get your investment back in today's market and I don't have the space to keep thousands of dolls until the price rebounds, if it ever does.

My ad did turn up one good thing: a new friend! Amanda Volley, of the Jolly Volley blog, featured me as an expert in her recent post about a walker doll she picked up. Her blog is wonderfully funny and well-written and I sincerely hope you will check it out. At the very least you can get the doll posts you desire until I get it together and start restoring dolls again. You can also find Jolly Volley on Instagram (the profile is shown above). I will soon begin my holiday trunk sets soon. Last year I sold out by the first week of December, so I'm trying to make more this year. At least it's good to know dolls are still popular in trunk sets, even if it takes a long time to make them!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

More Keto Craveables


After much experimentation I finally created the perfect Keto Cheez-It cracker replacement! Just three ingredients! Head to my website for the recipe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Keto Aid!

Keto-Ade

Sometimes a really effective anti-bloat diet, like the Keto diet, causes unpleasant symptoms like dizziness, muscle cramps, insomnia, or constipation. This is because rapid weight loss or water loss can cause an electrolyte balance. Thankfully, there's a delicious solution: Keto-Ade! Find the recipe and purchase ingredients from my website, and Keto on!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Keto Strawberry Pie Recipe

Keto Strawberry Pie


Just in time for June berries, I developed a delicious ketogenic (sugar-free and grain-free) recipe for classic Strawberry Pie! This is suitable for diabetics and anyone else who wants to improve their health and lose weight following the Keto diet. You can find the recipe on my website. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Happy World Doll Day!


I barely made it, but here it is, my World Doll Day post! Happy World Doll Day! Atelier Mandaline is celebrating all weekend long! 

I spent the day driving around, taking my daughter to and from a party, cleaning the house in anticipation of guests arriving tomorrow, running to the hardware store for my husband... busy, busy, busy, but I DID find time to set up my Doll Day sales! Save 20% on all things doll in my eBay and Etsy shops through Monday, June 11th.  I included action figures in the sale. 

Speaking of action figures, I just listed a ton of retired Funko Pops on Amazon and eBay and have more on the way. These are already selling out fast, some going locally before I even got them listed online. Sadly, I made a dumb decision, choosing a Princess Diana in a black dress. Turns out, I should have gotten the red version. It sold out over the past few days and now it's selling on Amazon and eBay for $50! All the Pops I got are retired, though, so they should all appreciate once they've sold out in regular stores. And what an adorable investment! So much cuter than stocks and bonds! The ones shown below are a tiny fraction of my inventory. I hope you'll head to my shops from my website to celebrate World Doll Day with me.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sauna Review

Personal Sauna

Head to my website to read my review of my new personal, portable sauna and get a coupon code for $15 off. Tomorrow I'll post a full review in my Instagram stories, so I hope you'll tune in!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7 Year Itch

My first handmade Edith doll


I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, because things have been really slow in my stores. I haven't had a sale on any platform in two days, despite doubling my number of eBay and Amazon listings and starting the 30 Minute Method on Poshmark. I would blame it on eBay's widespread new update, as they completely revamped the entire platform and that kind of stuff often takes a while to get back up to speed, but it's every site. It's scary, because the last time I remember a slowdown like this was right before the economic crash that led to the Great Recession. Just like today, I would read about how the economy was booming and wonder what I was doing wrong. I'm not an economist but I've been selling for a lot of years, so take it for what it's worth.

Thinking back, however, made me realize it's Atelier Mandaline's seventh anniversary this month! And not only that, I've come an incredibly long way. Seven years ago I was home with three young children. The Body Shop at Home closed leaving me, as an independent consultant as well as freelance graphic designer for their headquarters, out of not one but two jobs. I was selling occasionally on eBay but the throes of motherhood left me little time for it or anything else and I felt like I was losing myself. I had recently become interested in doll making and repair and taught myself to make pressed felt dolls. I decided to write a blog to document my learning process and also to force myself to use my art and writing degrees with some accountability and regularity since I would presumably acquire followers. My very first post was about my obsession with re-creating Edith from The Lonely Doll books, published on May 10, 2011. Mandaline Artful Living, as the blog was then known, was born and would grow into the Atelier Mandaline brand, collection of shops, social media pages, and finally, my own website.
My second handmade Edith doll

I never imagined too many people would be interested in my doll making, but now I have stores on eBay, Facebook, Etsy, Poshmark, Young Living, and of course my website, and I sell on Mercari and Amazon too. My blog has hundreds of thousands of readers from around the globe and I have thousands more followers on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Poshmark, and Vero (I'm up to nearly 20,000 followers on Poshmark alone!). My offerings have expanded to include everything from doll supplies to my own fashion boutique. I'm still struggling to find a reliable manufacturer to help me expand my website shop but I feel really proud of myself. I built my brand and bootstrapped my business entirely by myself and I did it without taking on any debt through the Great Recession and while raising three kids, two of whom had to work through (and one is still working through) significant special needs. My business and brand aren't the only things to experience impressive growth. When you compare the first felt Edith doll I made with the second one you can see how much I was able to improve my skills (in photography as well as doll making), and those dolls were only made a few months apart. Nowadays I sometimes amaze myself when I save dolls that I would have just thrown away in the beginning and my production speed is exponentially faster. Of course, much of the improvement in speed comes from no longer dealing with a two year old! I always wanted more children and would be thrilled to have another baby, although I've given up on that dream, but I have to say it is so much easier to get things done now!

I have to say, although I may have built my business and brand alone, I absolutely could never have reached my current level without all of you. My readers and early, blog followers, my customers, all those who took me under their wings and mentored me and gave me advice and became my wonderful friends and in some cases even sent me gifts and free inventory, I will never be able to thank you adequately. Even the Internet trolls who sent me hate mail when I didn't do well enough or made an identification mistake or when I over- or under- restored a doll in their opinion, thanks to them too, because they forced me to improve my game. They, and all of you, made me stronger and better. I'm not going to let a few bad days take that away from me. I'm going to keep going, improving, and growing, as I always have.

As a special thanks to you all, I am having a huge sale. You will find extensive markdowns on eBay, Etsy, Mercari, and Poshmark through Tuesday, May 29th, even including some of my newest pieces. You can link to all my shops from my website. I have so many new products planned. I even have a new Edith version in the works, so I hope you will keep watching.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Dream Doll



My most recent restoration is this Ideal Baby Dreams Velvet Skin baby doll. She got a cleaning, a hair style, repaint, reflocking, and new eyelashes. To see how to restore one of these dolls yourself please visit my website.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tutorial: How to Insert Eyelashes on Fixed-Eye Dolls



Well, I am sad to report Google has allowed the Blogger app and website to become so outdated it's obsolete. The Blogger app became dysfunctional several iPhone updates ago so I can't add photos from my phone. I either have to connect my phone and download them all or move them one by one from the blog on my own website. So, I decided I am not writing this tutorial twice. It is posted on the Updates page of my website. I hope you'll stop by to learn this skill! I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Coming Attractions


A Wellie Wishers doll with real lashes.

I know it's been ages since my last post and I apologize! I have no fewer than five saved drafts I just never got around to finishing. Rest assured, I have been working hard. On the way to the blog is one tutorial showing how to add "real" eyelashes such as the ones shown to dolls with fixed eyes and another showing how to re-flock dolls whose flocking has worn away.

The new fence, under construction

Spring arrived in fits and starts, and if you're a long time reader you know that means I'm working in the garden for long periods. Loki, our naughty puppy, has decimated the grass, including the sod we laid last year. He has also been digging up the vegetable and flower beds and even the stone patio. Our yard is extremely wooded and we don't have enough sunlight for plants of any kind in most of the yard. The stone patio is right in the best area for a garden, but the patio is one of my favorite things about the property and a reason we chose our house, so I don't want to rip it up. My husband came up with a terrific idea to combine a fence to protect the grass with planters in the sunny part of the yard and I contributed the idea to use a wide cap to add extra seating to the patio. We've been working on that. After five years of similar projects we are starting to see results, enjoying our fire pit and our homegrown fruits.

My husband was able to get my computer working fairly well again, which is a good thing, because besides working in the yard I've been re-working my business model. Long and hard reflection convinced me that while my doll and doll supplies business is steady, it's not very lucrative. It's just too much of a niche market to be really profitable, at least to the extent I am able to fund it. My problems finding a reliable supplier contributed to my decision. I spent a month or so in a funk and feeling really depressed and then I decided to do something about it. I joined a resellers group which is helping me set and achieve goals ad build my business. I am absolutely still restoring and selling dolls and doll supplies and writing tutorials but I am expanding the reselling part of the business. I branched into women's fashion with my Poshmark boutique earlier this year and now I have started selling on Amazon and Mercari. I am Atelier Mandaline on both platforms. I am stocking new and used toys, electronics, fashion, art supplies, and even some food and toiletries. I even started adding men's fashion to my boutique! My inventory is the largest it's ever been. It's still hard for me to purchase large lots. I had a little mini heart attack this month when my credit card bill arrived during a slow sales period, but things picked up so I'm trying to trust the process. The next step for me is to try Fulfilled By Amazon. You pack your inventory and mail it to Amazon and they handle it from there, so it's as if you have a big warehouse with employees. Freedom from daily shipping and collecting money will allow me more time to restore more dolls and find more great deals, as well as allow me to occasionally take a vacation without losing sales. Right now the way eBay is set up forces me to close my store any time I can't be at home. I hope you'll check out my newest "stores". I don't have a store on my newest platforms but you can follow me on Mercari like a social network and I hope you will. I don't have any followers so far!



Friday, April 6, 2018

A Wish No Longer!



I am happy to announce my newest flat back stationary doll eyes have arrived! This represents one more step toward the fulfillment of my wish to offer my own line of custom doll supplies! These eyes are sized to fit American Girl Wellie Wishers and other vinyl dolls with oval 16mm eye pockets. You can also use eye setting putty to use them for bjd, reborn, and other dolls with an open socket. The new colors are pink, lavender, and gray, bringing my offering to eight colors total! I am currently listing these on eBay and Etsy. If I can keep them in stock well enough I will add them to this website soon. You can link to all my shops from my website.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Keto Cakes Worth Craving




Yesterday my husband and I were craving something sweet, so I experimented in the kitchen and came up with a few variations of ketogenic cake. These hit the spot! My computer is broken and I am writing on my old, extremely slow computer, so I only posted the recipes once, on my website. I hope you'll check them out: https://www.ateliermandaline.com/updates/keto-cakes-worth-craving and enjoy them as much as we did!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's Your Lucky Day!


Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today's your lucky day because I am having a huge 1-Day sale in my Poshmark boutique. Buy any two pieces and get one FREE! To get this deal, go to Poshmark, create a bundle of three items, and I will send you an offer with the cheapest item free! I've never done this before, and the luck won't last: it runs out at 9PM EST TONIGHT! I am running a 1-day sale on eBay and Etsy as well, so make sure to check those shops today. You can link to all my shops from my website and save a ton of green (or gold)!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stylish Slideshow



This week I've been paying lots of attention to my fellow resellers on Instagram and in my Facebook group as well as starting the second week of eBay's Seller Boot Camp, trying to bring my business to the next level. It's a little outside my comfort zone; in the past I've always just sold my kids' outgrown stuff or the same sort of things for family and friends, as well as any dolls I happened to finish. To be a "real" business though, you have to source inventory. It's scary to me to spend money  but you have to spend money to make money and so far I'm doing pretty well, if I do say so. Last week my son was home on Spring Break and we went sourcing and picked up some shoes and some stuff from IKEA. Over the weekend all the IKEA stuff sold out as did 1/3 of the shoes! So this week I went back to IKEA and restocked popular items as well as added new things.  I realized I have a whole bedroom in stock, so I got to do some interior design and put together a style board to show the room you could decorate from my eBay store. I have a bunch of nightlights for kids' rooms too. I added molds, including the discontinued and highly desirable diamond ring ice cube tray, to Etsy and eBay.



I placed a big wholesale fashion order and some already arrived and is listed on Poshmark. I have a great selection of dresses for women and girls, just in time for Easter! I also have a few pairs of leggings left and some tops, as well as the vintage fashion and kids' stuff I normally stock. Please view the slideshow on my website to see all the new styles for your home and closet, available in my shops. You can link to all my shops from my website.




I found a buyer's agent in China to help me negotiate with manufacturers for doll eyes and that's going well. I hope to order a new set of samples soon, since the last ones were unfortunately not a good fit. If I can find a good manufacturer I have a whole bunch of designs in mind, so keep your eyes on me!