As it seems like I've been putting up a lot of entries lately about our American Girl dolls, I've decided to move them to a blog of their own. So, if you're wanting to follow those posts, check out the new place:
See you there for doll news . . . and this blog will continue with the regular goings and comings, as well as needle-felting, my cat Samwise and more!
It is a big day for Nanea and Benny! They have been wishing for one of Lea's Rainforest Houses for a long time. In fact, Nanea has been wishing for one of these since she arrived. That's a big wish, since it's a large item and an expensive one! Well, we saved up enough money to get one, but finding them at the price we wanted is not an immediate thing, you know. There was one listed on Craigslist for $300, up in the very Northern Cleveland area. It would be about two hours' drive for us, but that wasn't terrible. Then, someone told me that the Rainforest House was going to be at the new American Girl outlet mall opening in Hershey last weekend --- for only $150! Not bad, because our friends live not too very far from there . . . and we've been as close as sisters for over three years now and never actually met. So, that sounded like a good way to meet. They were willing to go over on opening weekend to get one, then we could drive out to pick it up. It would be close to the same price as the Cleveland house, but we'd get to meet!
Well, they went over, but all the Rainforest Houses had sold. Back to the drawing board. There was one listed in Cincinnati Craigslist for $275, but that was farther away than the Cleveland place. It didn't seem like a viable option. That is, until Dad volunteered to pick a friend up at Columbus Airport this afternoon. That was almost half way down there, and then Mom found that the same person listing that had two houses. They listed one on eBay for $200 plus shipping --- and they were willing to sell one to us for $200, if Dad picked it up! Wow! Add about $40 dollars in gas, and there is a brand new (giant) box in our living room!
It will take us a little while to decide just where to set this up, but Benny and Nanea cannot wait!
This is a fun week coming up for them, because the AG store in Columbus is holding a "Nanea Celebration" day on Sunday afternoon, August 26th. We're planning on going for that, so Nanea has gotten on a new dress for the occasion.
Dolls. I love them. Doesn't matter if they are Gene Marshall, American Girl, felted wool . . . you name it. I like dolls! Anyone who knows me, also knows that I inherited Mom's passion for England and British history as well, so you would probably say that it was inevitable that I would end up with a Girl for All Time doll. These are a line of hard vinyl 16" dolls made for the British market. They look British. Well, I really liked the one called "Matilda", because she looks particularly British, has brown hair and grey eyes. Also, her face appealed to me.
We found a deal on eBay that had the doll with her entire bundle pack (which included her meet outfit, traveling cloak, ball gown and nightdress with cap), along with her pet dog. I was so excited. She was listed as "display condition only, adult owner", and the price was a bit less than buying new. Not bad. So, I ordered it and waited impatiently for the mail. Several days later a Priority box arrived in the foyer --- and I knew things weren't looking too good. For a 16" doll, the box was only 12" inches wide, after I had asked that she be shipped carefully wrapped and stretched out straight. We opened the box and there she was, bent in half with a little piece of bubble wrap thrown on top of her and no packing for anything else.
The packing was very disappointing, but the doll was (surprisingly) not harmed. But the smell! We've never gotten a box in our house that smelled so bad. Just like dirt. People dirt, house dirt, unwashed dirt. I held my breath while look at the doll and found that there was brown crusty stuff all over her shift. We shoved everything back in the box and closed it up as fast as we could. The living room smelled so bad that we had to open all the windows and air everything out for two hours. It was so awful. I was so disappointed and went to file for a return on eBay.
The seller never sent any kind of e-mail or anything, but the return was accepted and a return label promised. The following day, a label was uploaded and we went to print it out. For anyone not familiar with eBay returns, the item must be returned in the same packing as it was sent and via the same postage rate as was paid. We had paid $18.90 for a decently heavy Priority Mail box. The uploaded return label supplied by the seller was for 13 oz. via First Class mail. You can't mail anything heavier than 13 oz. via First Class, and it was totally against the eBay system rules to try uploading a label like this. Had to call eBay and report it. After ten days or eBay notifying the seller, telling them that they had to supply the correct label --- and no response from the seller --- eBay closed the case and issued a full refund. They said to keep the doll or throw her away. That seemed a real shame, so Mom and I decided that we wouldn't lose anything for trying to clean it all and wash the clothes. We wouldn't be out anything.
We got a beautiful morning yesterday, so I made a makeshift table outside, and we filled three bowls -- one with shampoo in water, one with laundry soap in water and one with plain rinse water.
Mom and I put gloves on and took the box outside. That helped, because the smell was able to dissipate without getting in the house. We put all the clothes into the soapy water immediately, rinsed them off and hung them on the clothes line to dry. Even the little plush dog got hung on the line!
For the doll herself, we shampooed her hair with wig shampoo, and then I washed her with baking soda paste. Here she is after being washed, letting her hair drip a little.
Everything dried by last night, and we were really amazed at the quality of the clothes. Everything got dunked in the soapy water except for the shoes and costume mask (which wouldn't survive getting wet -- just aired those). The smell was gone, and the clothes washed amazingly! I really didn't expect that, because doll clothes tend to not do so well. And a lot of this was faux fur and velvet to boot!
So, she was alright in the end, and I've decided to name her "Eleanor Violet" (after this amazing adopted relative). I think that I'd like to make 1830s clothes for her, but she's happy with her medieval outfits for now. Here are some pics of her modelling her various clothes this morning!
She is a very quality doll. Nothing cuddly about her, and you don't get the same "Mothering" impulse that comes with American Girl dolls. These Girl for All Time dolls look like quality, old-fashioned dolls. Like something that would have been in an expensive mail order European catalog in the 1980s or '90s. I've always like the 1840s German wooden dolls, and this is larger and gives the same period feeling. So cool! Her wig is not the most beautiful thing, being very fine hair and appearing rather thin. However, it is very long and meant to be styled into old-fashioned hair dos. I think it is perfect for that and really looks very realistic.
First off, here are photos of Eleanor dressing into her ball gown. She has bloomers on that don't show in the photos. Then, there is her shift, followed by her slip and necklace. The gown is a two-piece shirt and skirt set. The clothes are all beautiful and very quality --- no velcro on any of these things. The shoes are not much and could be easily made at home.
And here are photos showing Eleanor in her meet outfit and travelling cloak. It's velvet and very gorgeous! And yes, we even washed the hat, and it looks like new! You'd never know that it had been dunked in soapy water. There are a couple of photos in here showing the doll holding her pet dog, who is actually a plush made by "Aurora".
And finally, here she is ready for bed, wearing her nightgown and bed cap. She is so cute! This looks very like a Jane Eyre type of outfit, and there's something endearing about her in it!
So, this is the newest addition to the doll world around here, and now Mom is going to get one for herself. I hope this helps someone make a decision to add one of these beauties to their own doll family! They are really neat!
More coming about Nanea and Benny really soon!
Slideshow of pics below, just click on thumbnails or arrows to navigate.
I can't believe how cute this little fellow is! He has loads of personality, and there is nothing "girly" about him. It's interesting to see that removing the eye makeup on Nanea really changes it. There is not as much little girl look, even when dressed as a girl. I wonder if that's why they put it on Nanea in the first place?!
Benny is still getting introduced to all the other dolls here, and he's glad that there are six other fellows in the house to play with him! He and Nanea are now practically inseparable, though, and making all kinds of plans to practice their swimming and diving together (pretend water, of course). Pop is going to build a Rain Forest hut for them to live in, and they are hoping to find a pet parrot along the way!
This is a post that I've looked forward to the day of writing for a while! Ever since picking out my own fabulous Nanea doll at the store in May, I've wanted to find a cheaper used Nanea to use for some custom wig experiments. She just looks like she has the most fabulous face for short hair. However, since the doll has not been out for quite a year yet, she doesn't exactly come up used too often --- or at a cheaper price.
So, last week, I could barely contain myself when someone on an American Girl forum listed a bald Nanea doll who had already had an eye swap to brown eyes and the painted eye makeup removed! Wow! Elizabeth and I have not ventured into the field of eye swapping, so this was cool. And wigless meant that I could try anything I wanted right away! I e-mailed the seller immediately and then had to contain myself for seven or eight hours until they e-mailed back (talk about a test of patience)! I was never so thrilled to hear that I was the first of a whole inbox full of e-mails expressing interest in that doll! So, I paid right away, and today she came!
Here's the box just after it arrived . . .
Slice open the box, take out some packing paper, and this is what you see:
And here is the amazing doll . . . just waiting for a new look and hair!
Now came the fun part . . . trying on wigs. I photographed every wig that we have in the house on this Nanea doll, because I'm hoping that this helps others who are wondering if they would like to customize a Nanea of their own! The doll came with some kind glossy stuff painted on the lips. This is now removed, but it was still one when all the photos were taken. Also, keep in mind that this doll does have brown eyes (rather than the original Nanea hazel eyes) and the eye makeup removed.
Monique Dutch Boy Wig - Black
This wig looks really cute on her. It makes her look more Asian, that's for sure. Personally, I really liked this one! It's best if you seat the wig slightly back on the forehead, too.
Monique Johnny Wig - Dark Brown
This was a really cute one and the closest match to Nanea's hair color and waviness. It is not a two-tone wig like Nanea's black/brown hair --- rather, it is solid dark brown, but very much like her color. You can adjust the front of the hair to part on either side of the forehead, too, so that is nice.
Monique Dutch Boy Wig - Carrot
Mom and I laughed when I went to put this one on, but it actually looked pretty cute! It sort of grows on you. It also looks cuter in real life, but lighting all those shades of brown and red together is tricky. The last photo in the slideshow above shows the color a lot better. She's pretty cute this way!
Monique Johnny Wig - Auburn
This was one of the cutest, and it didn't photograph as fabulously as it should have! It actually makes the doll look very Nicaraguan! There's a photo of her next to original Nanea at the end of the slideshow. Honestly, I would have kept the doll like this, if it had not been for the one other option that I recognized as what I wanted (see the next blog post).
Kemper Tyler Wig - Black
For some reason, I forgot to take individual photos of the Nanea wearing the Kemper Tyler wig. Here, though, are two photos showing the same exact wig on three different dolls! They are TM #26, Nanea and Kaya.
Truly Me #62 Wig
This make the doll really appealing, but I don't think that the face mold looks as unique as it does in other wigs. There is a photo showing her standing beside normal Nanea, which gives an idea of the difference.
Truly Me #28 Wig
Again, this wig doesn't show off the unique face shape as well (or make it as obvious, should I say), but I think this was one of the most appealing looks of all. It seems like this would be something little girls would love.
American Girl Marie Grace Wig
My sister has a Marie-Grace wig here, so I tried that on. This makes a sort of Nanea-type of Kanani doll!
LollyLueStephens Caramel Posy Wig
Click on the photos to see full size.
I bought this wig on Etsy (the same seller is also on eBay). It's a gorgeous wig . . . but I don't care for it on Nanea. :) Thought I'd include it anyway, in case someone is wondering about this style.
Well, I hope this gives everyone a good idea for their own customization dolls. Nanea has a lot of cute looks, and I'm sure there are a ton more that these short wigs have not even touched! As far as Nanea wearing short hair, I have only been able to find one photo online of a Nanea in Lindsey's wig . . . which was cute! So, I hope this fills a bit of the gap.
To find out what I chose for this really fun doll, go to the next blog entry (should follow tomorrow or later today)!
The subject has been coming up about Luciana's bangs and the two different styles showing up on dolls. So, the last time we went to the store, I photographed every Luciana display model that was out. These photos show the two different styles (either a wig made with separate bangs, or a wig with the front section just trimmed to create a banged look). They all kind of hang in Luciana's eyes, so I don't know if one is better than the other. These photos will give you an idea. At the end of the slideshow below, I did add a picture of what the dolls look like in the boxes. With the hair nets on, I don't think it would be easy to tell what you're getting, though someone who knows what they are looking for should be able to!
First four photos shows a doll with what is considered the original style. These bangs are made as a separate area of the wig (see third and fourth photo).
Fifth and sixth photos show a doll with the second style of bangs, being just a trimmed area of the wig.
The rest of the photos show various models, and I think the Columbus store actually had more of the second style wigs!
Re-wigging American Girl dolls opens a whole new world . . . to me, anyway! A little while ago, I posted about the first custom doll that I made by changing wigs. Actually, I bought a Lea Clark doll on eBay that came wigless. That was a nice way to try the wig changing, because I didn't have to worry about removing a wig --- just adding a new one. Well, Pip and I just weren't "bonding" as they say. There was no attachment. She was pretty, but I didn't think about her much and never seemed to pick her out of the group. The Lea doll was really nice, though, and I love the medium-skinned Josefina mold with Hazel eyes. What a difference a wig makes . . .
Elizabeth and I had come up with the fun idea of making a pair of dolls named for two very special relatives (I believe they are cousins, but with Cuban families it gets confusing sometimes!) on Dad's side of the family. They have these little dogs that look exactly like Coconut and Sugar, so when we realized that the dolls could even have the matching pets . . . well, it was too good to pass. Zaida (pronouced Zie-duh) is from Cuba and has a little white dog named Valentino (called Vale). Bessy is from the Honduras and has a little Yorkie named Gigi.
Elizabeth decided right away that she wanted her #62 to be Bessy. I had more trouble getting a doll for Zaida. Originally, I got a TLC #28 and thought I'd just give her a good clean. Then, when I bought that wigless Lea doll and saw how easily and effectively a wig could be changed, I decided that #28's boring wig should go. I knew that I wanted short and dark hair, preferably wavy. In the end, Elizabeth ordered a Kemper Tyler wig for one of her Kaya customs and that was fabulous! It was the exact cut that I wanted for Zaida! I looked online and ordered one in dark brown, and the color was perfect.
In the meantime, I was working on cleaning my #28, and Elizabeth was getting it re-strung. While all of this was going on, I went online and ordered a pair of Coconut pajamas which came in a fabulous deal including the poseable doll-sized Coconut. Now Zaida had Valentino and matching pajamas! Another amazing Buy-It-Now came on eBay, and I got a Coconut short-sleeved shirt, Coconut long-sleeved shirt, Coconut doll-sized key chain and two Coconut grin pins. Wow!
All of the little clothes arrived in the mail, and I just couldn't wait to try them on and get a feeling for Zaida --- so, I pulled Pip out of the closet and took her wig off (it wasn't glued down) to try on Zaida's wig. The only difference between #28 and Lea was the eye color, so I'd get a good feel. Oh, boy! The minute that wig went on, I knew that Pip was no more and Zaida had arrived! The whole combination is stunning and the personality is there!
Here are some before and after pics. The one shows the dolls with a #62 wig as Pip. The second picture shows her now, with a Kemper Tyler dark brown wig as Zaida.
I hope that this inspires others to play around with re-wigging their dolls --- and don't be afraid to keep looking for the right one, because each doll has its own personality!
Elizabeth and I have really wanted to find some little girls who want nice dolls, but who live in a situation where they can't get a doll of their own. We've had a number of TLC American Girl dolls that we've been restoring --- all of which would really love to find a little girl to love them. We contemplated the idea of sending them into a Foster Care center, but it seems that too often the nice toys and items are sold before the child ever gets them.
Thankfully, God has a way of bringing things to your attention. A friend of the family (going back about five generations on Mom's side there is actually a family connection --- so it's a sort of cousin) who was widowed a few years ago has now gained custody of three granddaughters, ages 14, 9 and 7. The two youngest were dropped off with not even a pair of shoes or pajamas. One of the girls has lived in more than 30 homes already, and every doll or toy she's had has been sold almost right away. She had never even had her own bed before, let alone owned a toy of her own. If someone gave her a present, it was taken away and sold. The oldest little girl had a doll, but the two younger girls really want to have their own dolls. At this same time, the grandmother is fighting terrible cancer, so things are stretched even for the daily stuff.
Elizabeth and I were really excited to hear about this, because it's exactly the opportunity we've been looking for! So, we've been working on restoring three dolls for them --- an Isabelle, Josefina and Julie.
Click to see photos full size.
We bought doll-holding backpacks for the two little girls, and a bright pink bag for the older girl. We fixed up the dolls with a cute outfit on each one, and a pair of pajamas for each. All three dolls also have a little plush pet, and I sewed a little quilt that fits either the pet or the doll. Here they are all packed up! We'd like to keep collecting some accessories and other outfits for these dolls and figure that we can mail them later on!
The Josefina was quite a restoration, because she came as quite a TLC. She had painted nail polish on her hands and feet which I had to remove with non-acetone nail polish remover. The green on the fingers came off with just the remover . . . the red on the feet came off but left stains on the toes. We had to treat it with Oxy cream three times to get rid of it!
Here are some before pictures of the Josefina doll before restoration, as we got her. This is also the Julie seen above. She came with some kind of blue make-up all over her face, but this came off with baking soda and elbow grease! The photo of Josefina's toes shows one foot having nothing done and the other having had the nail polish remover applied, but still stained and needing Oxy cream treatment.
Click to see photos full size.
This was our first experience of removing anything with the nail polish remover, and I was amazed how well it worked! There is no sign of the paint left on the doll. It's really cool!
We're pretty positive that this Josefina was an original PC doll. She had a very large body (we actually swapped the cloth body for a newer Kaya body, so that we can send newer clothes later on), and she looks amazingly like my 1997 PC Josefina. For fun, here are some comparison photos of the restored Josefina (wearing the "Play Loud" shirt) and my Josefina (wearing the red AGP shirt).
Click to see photos full size.
Lots more to post, but I wanted to get pictures of of this one sooner than later!
Some little girls are too young for dolls, and some little girls should not have dolls -- period. Well, this poor American Girl Caroline doll belonged to one such young owner. This is the story of her restoration!
My sister and I decided that it would be a lot of fun to fix up used American Girl dolls and give them to little girls in abusive situations and homes where they will never be able to have a nice doll. AG dolls can be cleaned and fixed fabulously, so Mom set out to find some inexpensive lots of TLC dolls. (She's great at procurement for any project, so this is right up her alley!) So far, we've done really well on Craigslist. Once such lot cost $117.00. It included a Julie (dirty with a few stains but with whole meet outfit), a Kaya (same as the Julie, and with a rougher wig), a Marie Grace (pretty good shape, just dirty but nice wig --- with original meet dress) and a "throw in". The throw in was poor Caroline here. The woman selling the dolls explained that her daughter wasn't very "into dolls". Pretty obvious.The doll totally marked up with a variety of purple, blue and orange markers, pens and Sharpie. It was all over the face, cloth body and all four arms and legs --- right to the bottom of the feet! Not only that, but the girl had decided that she did not like Caroline's curly hair, so she ironed it! Needless to say, there wasn't much left of the nasty melted wig. Poor Caroline.
Click on the photos below to see at full size.
When we undressed Caroline (she had her very dirty meet dress on), we decided that it was a pretty good thing that she had been a "throw in". She didn't look like she would fix up. Her left eye stuck closed. Marker was all over her face, and even the cloth body was so penned and marked that it was a total mess. I thought it probably wasn't going to be worth messing with. There was always the option of selling her head to someone for $20.00, in case somebody wanted to send her in to the doll hospital for a new head, and that seemed like a decent option.
Cleaning the Limbs
But all night the thought bugged me. It seemed too easy to give up on the doll without trying to save even part of her. So, in the morning, I decided to try to save at least the arms and/or legs. That would give us a couple spare parts to keep around. Plus, I had just been telling Mom that I wanted a real "rescue" doll. Well, this sure seemed like a rescue and a CHALLENGE!
I tell you, that was a lot of work. It couldn't even be done all in one session, and I worked away over the weekend. Here's a photo that shows the limbs while I was working on them. The second leg has been partially cleaned, and you can already see the tonal difference from removing the dirt and grime (not to mention marker)!
I was able to remove a surprising amount of the purple and blue marker with baking soda paste and elbow grease. Some of the marks remained, though, so it was out in the sun with some Oxy cream! The orange marker on the bottom of the right foot came off with one Oxy treatment. A few of the dark purple marks on the limbs took a second time.
Cleaning the Cloth Body
I was definitely feeling better. At least the limbs were saved! While I had been scrubbing away on those, Mom decided to tackle the cloth body. First, she put Oxy-Clean stain remover on it, soaked it and hand washed it. Nothing came off. Then, she poured straight laundry soap on it (All Free and Clear), let it sit and then hand washed again. Nothing came off. So, she decided to throw it in the agitating washing machine (you don't need to put them in a garment bag or anything, just toss them in with your like-color load). That took off some of the stain and marker, but still a lot was left. Finally (after some reading), she poured rubbing alcohol, liberally, on the stains and began blotting it up with cotton balls. AMAZING! Almost all of the stain came out (after a lot of blotting). There is a faint purple stain left on the back seam, which you can only see after re-stuffing the body --- and the mark from a Black Sharpie marker on the front of the body faded but did not disappear.
You do not need to press the body once it's washed. They do come out wrinkled, but we have washed numerous AG bodies, and they will look perfect once they have been re-stuffed.
Cleaning the Vinyl Head
Now that the limbs and body had been saved, I was feeling attached to this doll. In fact, I was so attached that my Mom offered to send her in for a head replacement for my birthday! By this time, I wasn't unsure that the marker on the head would come off --- but the sticky eye was a no go. I wasn't about to try replacing eyes, so the only option would be a head replacement. That bothered me. I was attached to the doll by now, and even though I was resigned to a head replacement, it seemed like giving up too soon to admit defeat.
With nothing to lose, I decided to see what I could do about the eye. Having done a preliminary baking soda paste clean on the head, it was obvious that some kind of glitter make-up had been rubbed all over the face at one point. Apparently, the oily base of the make up had gotten into the eye socket and was a hard goo all over the plastic rod that holds the eye. There is only a very small opening between the eye ball and the inside socket, so I folded a small piece of paper and stuck it inside the socket. It came out covered in nasty goo. Yuck. So, I folded up another tiny piece of paper and stuck it in again. More goo. Yuck. But this seemed effective! So, poor Caroline's head sat in the living room for days. Every time I had a few minutes available, I kept sticking paper in that eye socket and coming out with old goo. After a while, the eye was working about 75% of the time. That seemed good enough for me to start Oxy treatments on her face.
Click on photos below to see full size.
There was purple marker all over the head. Both ears were full (the right ear being marked all the way to the wig), the whole right side up to the edge of the eye opening, the whole mouth (even inside around the teeth), and around the left eyebrow. I knew it would need at least two Oxy treatments, because I wouldn't be able to get both ears in direct sun at the same time, so I left the left ear for last and didn't even worry about it.
Having surveyed the damage, it was time to cover her with Oxy cream, plastic wrap over the top and set her outside. This was the Dollar General store brand version of oxy cream. It's plenty thick to not run, so I was able to get it right up to the edge of that right eye without fear of it dripping in.
Since the wig was a total loss, I didn't have to worry about that while outside, so that was helpful! After four hours outside, I was AMAZED to see that almost all of the marks were gone (all but inside the right ear had disappeared)!!! I let her cool down for a couple of hours and put her back out with more cream inside the right ear. All went pretty well, except that in the space of five minutes, it clouded over and started raining a sun shower! Thankfully, Caroline's head was totally covered in plastic wrap, and nothing got wet on her. She'd been outside long enough for the cream to work, and the marks were gone. One more three-hour stint for the as-yet-untouched left ear, and the head was totally clean!
Here are photos that show the head after the first Oxy treatment.
Click on photos below to see full size.
Here are photos that show the head after all three Oxy treatments.
Click on photos below to see full size.
A couple more days of working on her eye, and it is now 95% normal with just a little sluggishness when it's warm.
That left her poor hair . . .
Out with the Old and In with the New (Wig, that is)
Removing Caroline's wig was not much of a chore. I'd never removed one before, so this was a good start. It was already loose and pulling back from the glue line across her whole forehead, and there was no reason that you had to be careful with the hair that was left. So, I just started pulling, and it was only a matter of about two minutes before the old wig was off.
Now it was a question of deciding on a new wig. I really didn't care for Caroline's platinum blonde hair. Little girls don't usually have hair like that, and it makes her a bit washed out, in my opinion. I plowed through photos of a bunch of custom Caroline dolls and realized that I didn't care for dark hair on this doll --- her eyebrows are too light to hold it. So, it really left blonde or light red. Mom and I had a lot of fun one evening going through wig options and settled on a gorgeous one called "Caramel Posy" from LollyLueStephens on Etsy/eBay. The wig arrived quickly, and I couldn't have been happier --- but more on that later, because I'm getting ahead of the story.
Enhancing Faded Lip Paint
Elizabeth re-strung the limbs and stuffed the body, but before this doll's head could get tied back on and wig replaced, there was one more major problem to overcome. Her lips were faded to just a bit of orange tone.
I went onto one of my AG forums and asked for advice, and someone was kind enough to write in about a very successful method she had used on her #4. She had fixed the lips on that doll eight years ago, and they still looked perfect! I wasn't going to argue a success like that, so it was off to the craft store paint aisle for some "Gel Medium".
Elizabeth is the painter around here (I'm hopeless in any classic art form.), so she was volunteered to do some lip re-touching. Armed with a white plastic palette, super tiny brush, a cup of water, acrylic paint and the gel medium, she set to work. She just used a drop or two of the red paint in some gel medium to make a deep pink color (you need it a little darker than you think) as seen in this photo:
Brush that on very carefully (it took a few layers), and the result was amazing! If you don't like how you're coming out, you can always take a wet paper towel and wipe it off before it dries. It goes on shiny, but it dries matte like the original face paint. Here are before and after pictures of the lips --- just click on them to see full size.
Now that her face was cleaned up and touched up, Caroline was ready to be put back together!
A Whole New Girl
We let her lips dry overnight, and then it was yesterday morning that we were able to finally put everything back together!
First, Elizabeth tied her head to the body. You can see how much better (and cleaner) she looks already!
Click on all following photos to see at full size.
Next, I unpacked the wig and put it on her (not glued down, just sitting on her head) for a sample look. It is an amazing wig. Weighs a ton and has a massive amount of hair. No bald spots here! Beautiful curls. It did need a few hours out of the hair net to settle down and allow gravity to work. These photos were taken after only about five minutes, so the wig is a bit longer.
And, as a finishing touch, she got a new outfit! I think that blue suits her eyes, so she's trying that. I'm not totally sure about her personality yet, so I don't know what styles she will wear from now on.
This is definitely a special doll and an amazing rescue! It's a real testimony to the quality of American Girl dolls that you can take a doll like she was and turn her into a doll like this.
I've renamed her Georgiana and call her "Georgie". She has a few scars on her vinyl, but nothing that you would notice. She counts them as beauty marks! As soon as I glue her wig in place, she will have a pretty clip in her hair. I think I'll print out a little "before" photo of her and frame it to stand next to her in a display! She has been a really fun project and challenge!
If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment or send a note through the contact form.
The custom doll bug has sort of bitten me. :) Of course, the first time that you have to take a head off, restring the limbs, remove a wig, try on a new wig . . . it's a bit frightening! But only the first time. It's amazing to be able to make a doll into something that is not an option from the store or catalog. Well, this is the case with Harriet. When we first visited the AG store in May, I saw the "Create Your Own Doll" display, where one of the models featured a blonde little girl doll with short Pixie-cut hair. Wow! I loved it. Not enough to pay $200.00, though.
Around the same time, I was quite excited to hear that there had been a Regency-era American Girl doll who was now retired. She had been available during the years that we were not at all involved with our AG dolls, so we had totally missed her. Being as the Regency era is a big part of the family/historical research that I love, I thought I would have to have her. Until I looked her up. Type in "American Girl Doll Caroline" and all these photos of a platinum blond doll with long curly hair come up. What?! Little girls in the Regency era did not wear LONG hair! They wore short hair. So, I was sort of back to square one. That is, until I started reading about re-wigging your dolls. Sounded worth it.
So, I started looking for a Marie Grace doll with less than nice hair, because I didn't want to remove a wig from a gorgeous looking doll. In the end (and not even after a very long time), Mom found a lot of four TLC dolls on Craigslist, and one was MG! Her wig was brushed out but not at all bad. I was actually able to remove it in full condition, so we can use it again!
She actually didn't have too much wrong with her (unlike some of the other dolls --- see a post coming soon about a Caroline restoration!). A little oxy treatment on a few spots, new stuffing, washed body, re-strung limbs, and she was ready for a wig! I worked on it yesterday afternoon, and here are photos of the result!
She is an ultra-modern little girl who loves her family history and is going to have a full costume rack. That way, she can dress up like all of her relatives in various portraits (like the little girls above). She has a brother named Eliot (used to be called "Logan"), and his photos will be coming soon!
SAMWISE: MY HONEY-POT
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
BEATRICE: MY HONEY-BEE
Edward James Eliot
My "favorite" member of the Clapham Sect. Not very much is known about him, but what is preserved keeps a beautiful memory alive of an exemplary Christian man.
William Wilberforce Quote:
May I look to Him for wisdom and strength and the power of persuasion, and may I surrender myself to Him as to the event with perfect submission, and ascribe to Him all the praise if I succeed, and if I fail say from the heart thy will be done.
For you Jesus Christ came into the world. For you he lived and showed God’s love. For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished.’ For you he triumphed over death and rose to new life. For you he reigns at God’s right hand. All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.
Where there is one, there is a majority of one; and when the rights of the majority take away from the rights of the one, then the many will themselves suffer.
~Henry David Thoreau~
I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. You see, that's where I belong. That's home. That's why I came back, because you don't have one. A home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.
~ Bilbo Baggins ~
FAVORITE BOOKS & FILMS
Gone With the Wind (Mitchell)
Genesis of a Legacy (K. Ham)
Prisoner of Zenda (Hope)
Amazing Grace (2007)
Bertie & Elizabeth (2002)
Farmer's Daughter (1947)
Ride Clear of Diablo (1954)
Secondhand Lions (2003)
He was born with a gift of laughter & a sense that the world was mad.
The future is to be read with certainty only in the past. Man never changes.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE:
A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE:
Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.
WINSTON CHURCHILL ON
KING GEORGE VI
"His conduct on the Throne may well be a model & a guide to constitutional sovereigns throughout the world today & also in future generations."
"For 15 years George VI was King. Never at any moment in all the perplexities at home & abroad, in public or in private, did he fail in his duties."