Friday, May 8, 2015

Win This Upcycled 18" Doll Dress! A Drawing on Facebook!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!!

So... As you know, I've been upcycling 18" Doll Clothes from regular clothes for a while now. I've made so many posts about how easy it is. You can find instructions here and here and here and here and probably a few links I am forgetting. They are so much fun to make that I make them just for the fun of it really. I get a kick out of it every single time a little dress emerges so easily from a sourced item that might otherwise end up in a landfill or something.... I digress. The by product of my enjoying the process is I a becoming over run with doll clothes! We are out of room in the doll closet even!! So... What to do...? 

Have a drawing to give away a free dress!!!! This is probably going to be the first of many upcoming 'give aways' because I seem to me amassing way too many doll clothes and other items and how much fun is a good old fashioned give away drawing....? 

How do I enter the drawing you ask? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!! You simply go to my blog's Facebook page and 'like' the page, find the contest photo in photos (it'll be the one that says "Win this Dress" with this dress on it) and share the photo with your friends. That's it. 

The drawing will be held on Mother's Day since it's coming up this Sunday. That is May 10, 2015 at 8pm Central Standard Time. Due to shipping rates the contest is only open to US Residents!! I will announce the winner on Facebook and come and update this blog as well. 

Here is the dress on an Our Generation Doll. They have a bit of a thicker torso, more like AG Dolls, than the Tolly Tot that is modeling above. 

PLEASE NOTE! When I make these little dresses, sometimes in order for them to come out right, the seams don't match up perfectly. Please see above, the seam is a bit wonky... It doesn't really detract from how the dress falls and my daughter says she didn't notice it... But I am a perfectionist and thought I'd mention it. This is why I probably won't ever try and sell my dresses. So... I don't want anyone disapointed by it's imperfection! I chose it as a contest dress anyway because I thought it was so pretty otherwise. So... There is that. If you want to give a home to this slightly imperfect dress, go and enter the contest! My Facebook page has been stuck at 96 likes for months now... I really don't care about the number but my kids seem to get a kick out of it so I thought it'd be fun for them to see it go over the 100 mark. We will see if it happens. I sometimes feel like I am talking to myself with this blog but... I have fun with it so. That's what counts right!

Good luck!! 

A Vintage Gotz' Doll Joins the Doll House Sorority!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!

I've always wanted a Gotz 18" Doll. They are so pretty and just a bit different enough than all the other 18" dolls there are out there that I wanted to add one to the Doll House. However, they are not come by inexpensively for the most part. On eBay they generally range from $40 and up, with the lower end of the range being dolls that need a bit of TLC in order to make them presentable again. The new ones available now are from Pottery Barn Kids and are around $100 new. You can find them here if you're curious what they look like. 

As many of you already know, when I am in the area of one my favorite thrift shops, if I have time, I always drop in and browse around for any of my regularly checked for items. Wait a minute... I feel a blog coming on with that comment... I'll have to come back sometime and tell you what sorts of things I look for and ask about yours! But that's another blog! Back to the Gotz dolls! I stopped into one recently and I look up to the top shelf and the first thing I see is her feet. I grabbed her immediately, before I had any idea what she was... Her dress was what I was looking at, at first. Here she is, in that dress!

Isn't she pretty!? I loved her immediately, before I was even positive what sort of doll she was. I really love the brown eyes with blonde hair combination, it's just so striking. When I realized she was a Gotz doll, I may or may not have jumped up and down squeeling like a little girl in the thrift shop I was in. Teehee. She was marked 99cents!! *happydance*

She was a bit messy... Her face needed washed... I was looking her over as I got home and as I was taking off her dress to inspect her, what did I find but....

She was signed!! She was made in 1990!! That was a great year for me and so it made me love her even more. No one could pry this doll out of my hands now! She was meant to be mine! I'd explain all the reasons but they'd sound sappy to you in all likelyhood and don't matter anyway. You know what a good year means... Some are better than others, right? I digress. She was SIGNED!! She was in great shape other than her face and limbs needing washed with a warm washcloth and her hair... I'll get to that...

Here is the tag in her dress so it is the original dress she came in!!! It is in beautiful shape, no tears or rips or anything! A bit dusty from display is all... I should mention that she is a bit different than the more modern day Gotz 18" dolls. She has a 'soft body that isn't posable really. I could install an armature in her I suppose, like I did here. I don't think I will though... I don't want to change her! She's 25 years old! 

Here is her neck marking. It reads Gotz 90 129/74

Did I mention her hair being a bit of a mess. Well, that was probably a huge understatement because her hair was a nightmare of knots and tangles. Really, should she have been any other doll, I might've considered it too much trouble and passed on her but... She is a Gotz. She needed to be restored!! So... Using several techniques I've learned from my doll friends on Facebook, I slowly worked her hair out. I started with a slow, bottom to top, section by section, slow deliberate detangling of her hair with a wire wig hair brush. It took a lot of breaks and patience. Then I shampooed her hair, not getting her scalp wet because I am nervous about plugged hair dolls getting water in their head and mildewing and, um, not on my Gotz doll. So I shampooed her hair with gentle shampoo, put in some conditioner as a 'cream rinse' so it'd be a bit more shiny, then I hot dipped her hair in this process although I was more nervous doing hers than I have been with any other doll... But.... It was worth it!! Here she is, all happy and restored to her former beauty!

I love her! I haven't named her yet... I want to pick something special. Stay tuned, I'll come back and update when I decide. You can leave suggestions in the comments!

That's it for now Doll Friends! See you soon!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Doll Armatures or Dolly Get's a Spine!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!
I've had the draft of this post uploaded for ever so long but am just now getting a chance to come and write up the rest! I tell you, real life keeps me way too busy lately and there is never enough time to play dolls. Hahaha. Such problems! Actually, one of my problems is a am always burning my way into a new project and oftentimes I seem to neglect coming to write them about them... I think I have about six drafts waiting at this moment, in fact. I digress... On to the dolls!

As you may or may not recall, I reccently got a beautiful Postively Perfect Divah Doll. I wrote all about her here. As I mentioned in that post, I wanted to figure out a way to help this beautiful doll stand up and sit better. The bodies on the dolls, as made, are designed much the same as 'baby dolls' in that the body is 'floppy'. Which is great for girls who like to have slumber parties with their dolls and want to sleep with them. However, it makes them really hard to pose in either standing or sitting positions. So, after reasearching all my options, I decided that I was going to attempt inserting an armature (think doll skeleton) into her. Yes, I decided to give her a spine! Teehee. 

The longest part of this procedure ended up being waiting for the armature to arrive after I ordered it off eBay. It came all the way from China and, considering that, really didn't take too long in the big scheme... It took about three weeks. I didn't know which size to order, for sure, so I ordered one that was listed as '20inch doll armature'. I researched first and realized that the little 'beads' on the armature were removable and so I could just 'trim off' any length in the arms or legs I didn't need and I knew for sure it wouldn't be too long. Also, I found a cheaper auction for the 20" one by quite a few bucks and, well, I am me. Ha!

Above is the only real 'tutorial' I found in all of Internetland! I found all manner of videos on YouTube about how to make armatures out of wire (Um, not that brave yet) and/or how to install them into dolls of other mediums, like clay. Not what I was looking for. So, I looked at the basic principle of the idea and decided "How hard could it be?"

Finally, the armature arrived! I was so excited that even though I was due to go have lunch with my amazing girlfriends, I brought the doll, my sewing kit and armature along. I knew it wouldn't take long in actual work time and I can talk and work at same time afterall!

So I roughly measured how long I thought armature should be before I opened up dolls back stitching by laying armature on back of doll. 

Then I very carfeully opened her back stitches. It was kind of tricky around her back tag and I wasn't going to attempt to put it back on after I was done because that would be tricky. She has her butterfly kiss on her neck, anyway, to identify her doll type. Right? 

So I wasn't quite prepared for what I found when I opened her up. (I now feel for Doctors who say that exact thing when opening up live patients! How much it took me aback and this is just a doll!!) 

1)She had/has this long cardboard bit coming out of her head. I discovered it was the closest thing she had to a spine really because it kept her head from being floppy. I tried to take it out and just have armature hold her up but it didn't work very well, so I kept both in there and just put armature up close-by to the carboard bit. I was going to use a zip tie to hold them together but decided that made her too rigid and left them unattached. 

2)Her leg and arms were 'closed' with only a small hole in the middle. I almost cried when I saw that because my whole plan was to insert the armature up and down the legs! After checking, I realized that the armature would go into the holes, but you have to kind of force it down into them and only push it in as deep as you want it to stay. It's all a bit of trial and error, but if you push them in too far, it's a bit tricky to pull them back out, so just go a bit at a time and go equally deep with both legs and arms and you'll do fine. 

I didn't really take as many pictures as I might ought have but the basic procedure is to remove her stitches, take out all of her stuffing (put in a bag as you go so you can put back in and I also added a bit more polyfill to make her more 'dense' when I put it back in), insert armature into her arms and legs and line it up as best as you can with head/cardboard part, then re-stuff her well and sew her back up. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Well, maybe not that easy but it wasn't that hard either. I kept reminding myself how great it would be when I was done, being able to have her sit up strait and stand and just kept going with it. 

I learned AFTER I was done that you're supposed to have pliers to pull the armature beads apart. I about ripped my fingers off trimming mine down, so, yeah, learn from my pain and use pliers! I found they sell specialized ones but I can't see how they'd be different, too much, from kind you probably have in your garage so... Up to you how much you want to invest I suppose. I don't think I'll be doing a lot of armatures and I'll probably buy the right size next time, the 18inch kind. Haha!

After getting her all done, I happened to be browsing in Hobby Lobby and asked if they, on an off chance, had doll armatures. Low and behold, they totally do!! So you can get an 18" doll armature at Hobby Lobby for about $8! Lots better than having to wait for three weeks!!

Here is how the cardboard bit coming out of her head looked. 

And minus all the stuffing! 

After armature inserted.

Stitches to close her up. 

Standing on her own!!! 

All dressed and standing up!

That's it Doll Friends!! Hope, if you find and fall in love with a doll who needs a spine, you'll not be afraid to help her out now! Leave any questions in comments! See you next time!!