Friday, 30 March 2012

Vintage childrens wall hanging


Where is the sun gone? Bring it back, I was getting used to it... We even had a barbeque yesterday and today the winter coats were back on. Ah the joys of living in Ireland.

This is one of the vintage children's room decoration items I am listing on etsy. Its a plate, no idea what age it is but I think its so cute!

Have a wonderful weekend,
All the best,

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Re-rooting Dolls - part one, The Preparation


This is a guide on how to re-root dolls hair. It is a time-consuming process and you have to be patient!
There are a few different methods for re-rooting, I use the knot method as I find it the easiest.

The tools you need:
1. Tweezers, any kind will do, a basic pair from the chemist should be perfect.
2. Doll Needle. You can see the packet below, I use the smallest size for Sindy dolls. You can get this on ebay very reasonably.
3. Small bowl of water, this is for wetting hair.
4. Pair of sharp scissors
5. Pair of long handled tweezers.
6. Hair!

Types of Hair
There are a few types of hair available and you can buy it from a number of specialised shops online, I usually buy from as the price is very good, the range of products is excellent ( you could pass a few hours lost in choice!), the amount of hair you get is very generous and the service is excellent.
Saran is a lovely soft hair, very easy to use. I would recommend this for a beginner. It comes in a vast range of colours. It is harder to curl than other types of hair.
Nylon is the other main type of hair. It holds curls and styles very well. You can use very hot water for styling without fear! It is thicker than saran to the touch, a smaller amount can be used. The first doll I rerooted I used Nylon and put far too much into each plug (hole in head) so having learnt my lesson I use a lot less now. Nylon comes in so many colours.
Kanekalon is similar to Nylon , comes in a smaller range of colours. Is lovely and shiney!

As you can see the hair comes in many colours. The choice is really endless!

Step One: Remove old hair
1) Your first job is to remove the old hair from the doll.
All dolls have their heads attached to their bodies in different ways. Some dolls like Sindy(70s and 80s) or Dawn you can literally just lift the head off. The 1960s Sindy doll heads are attached into the body of the doll at the bottom of neck.
Some Barbies the head can be lifted off but usually not. So you have to be very careful in removing the heads off these types of dolls as don't want to break the attachments inside. It is recommended you soak the doll in hot water to loosen the head before attempting to remove it.
I am just going to use two Sindy dolls and a Dawn doll so there is no worry about breaking anything.

2) Cut the existing hair as close to the head as possible.
Head on the left is finished, head on the right is a work in progress.

3) Using either tweezers pull the hair from the inside of the head. You will find some come out very easily and others seem practically glued in. Be gentle as you do not want to cause a split in the head.
This make take awhile! Once done, wash and leave to dry.

Step Two: To Paint or not to Paint
Next step is to decide whether to paint head or not. Of course this might just depend on whether you have paint in your house or not! I have a supply of acrylics from craft projects that is perfect for this.

For these dolls, I am not going to paint the head as the colour is fairly close to the colour of the dolls head.
If you are using for example black or maybe purple then it would be worth considering painting the head in a colour close to the new hair colour as possible. I think it looks much better when the hair is finished as you won't have bits of pale colour visible underneath.
Having said that, I have done plenty of dolls without painting so its a personal choice to make. But if I was to do a darker colour now I would paint first!

Sindy is ready for her makeover

I will return with part two in the next few days.

Hope this was helpful!
All the best,

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Sun is out!


If you are in Ireland, you know the weather has been wonderful the last few days. Its very hard to stay inside when the sun shines because you just know its not going to last forever!

We went on a nice long walk in Altamount Gardens, Co. Carlow yesterday. Its such a beautiful place with enough of a forest walk to keep the children happy! And my own garden has been receiving some attention, potatoes and salad are planted.

I must have hundreds of photos of flowers from Altamount at this stage.

I am working on updating our photo albums at the moment. Thats the thing with digital cameras, we look at them on the computer and you really have to make an effort to get them printed too.

I have taken lots of photos for a doll rerooting guide which I am going to begin typing up now so should post tomorrow.

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are!!
All the best,

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New Doll Items in Etsy & Why Reroot a doll?


Back to reality after the long weekend, St. Patricks Day and Mother's Day. I am slowly listing up some new items on etsy. I was lucky enough to have a few more sales this weekend so I need to restock the shelves!

The dolls are modelling some little belts I put together.

There are many reasons why a doll needs new hair, sometimes the hair has been cut by some budding young hairdresser into a "style" that is not very flattering! Sometimes the hair is just in very bad condition as the doll is a few decades old and has been loved a lot. And other times people do it for artistic reasons and create OOAK (one of a kind) dolls. There is some incredible work out there by some amazing artists. Type OOAK Barbie or Sindy into google and see what shows up!
Also it is quite fun to create a doll with a hair colour that you can't buy in shops.

My reasons for rerooting a doll is normally to fix/restore a doll that needs a little help.
The doll on the left below was victim of a haircut and the doll on the right is missing all the hair on one side of her head for some reason! I need to order some hair for these dolls as I'd like to keep the colour close to the original.

I have three lots of blond hair already so I am going to use that on three different dolls, two Sindy dolls and a Dawn doll.

On the left is a 80s Sindy, then a 70s Sindy and then a 70s Dawn doll (so small in comparison).
Sindy is one of the easiest dolls to do as the head can easily be taken off and put back on with breakage. I'll be back with more rerooting details as soon as possible.

All the best,

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mothers Day


Just a very short note to wish all the Mammy's of the World a very happy Mother's Day!

A great excuse for a slice of cake!!

Take care,

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mini mini cushions and lots of buttons


I have been making a new batch of doll cushions. Sewn and stuffed and needing buttons!
I sold some more doll cushions and buttons last weekend on etsy so I need to start listing some new stock urgently...

I took this photo a few days and have added lots more since. I like to do them in one big batch. First I cut, then sew inside out, turn back around and trim, stuff and then sew buttons or anything else on the outside. It does take awhile as they are so small.

My daughter asked me to make some bedcovers for her tiny The Littles dolls bed (my first doll from the very early 80s!) which started me thinking about making cushions etc. for the smaller sized dolls. Below is size 1:12. Barbie and Sindy are 1:6 so this is half the size again.

The smaller the doll the smaller the prints need to be otherwise it looks out of place.

The Littles are going to be a challenge as they are 1:24. I tried some out below but they are too big still, how small can I sew???
I have the cushions and bedcovers measured and pinned and ready to sew today. I am a little worried about the cushions as they are so small but I'll give it a try.

Have a great St.Patricks Day and Mothers Day and I'll be back in the next couple of days with a guide to rerooting dolls!

Have a great weekend,

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The dolls are clean & Easter bunting


My little charity shop doll finds are finally nice and clean and settled in.
I have to find or make some clothes for the Strawberry Shortcake doll, so she wasn't in the photo.
The girls took the their new life with enthusiasm!!
So with minimal effort the dolls are ready to be played with again.

My next doll project (after I finish those mini eggs today or tomorrow) is to reroot a lovely 1970s Sindy with high colouring and blond hair who received the worst haircut from a previous owner. I've been itching to do a reroot for awhile so I will post a how to reroot as I do it. I am going to keep the colour as close to the original as possible for this doll.

Easter Bunting

Here is a picture of some Easter bunting (for adults, not dolls!!) which I just listed on etsy. I have made three of these, one which is going to be hung up in the kitchen for Easter. Last year I had plastic (shame, shame) bunting all ready for the Easter bunny. Somewhere along the line the kids got the idea that the Easter bunny brings Easter eggs to good boys and girls as Santa brings gifts at Christmas. It sort of spiralled and now the legend in our house is that the amount of things you give up for Lent equates to the number of eggs the Easter bunny will bring to you on Easter Sunday. I think this idea was wishful thinking on small people's part as I am strict on the number of eggs that they are allowed eat. Whatever happened to just one?? Anyway, hopefully the Easter bunny will be pleased with the bunting (he he he) and leave a few more eggs this year.

All the best,

Friday, 9 March 2012

Charity Shop Doll Finds, & Washing Dolls

Hello there,

Everytime I pop into a charity shop these days I always check the toy section as I am convinced some day I will find a collection of Sindy dolls just waiting for me. Alas this has never happened. I think the people of Ireland are firmly keeping their dolls in their attics.
So apart from a matted hair modern Barbie its very rare I find anything.
This week I happened to be passing a charity shop and spotted a few dolls in the window, nothing too vintage but nice enough to buy! They were stuck in the middle of a pile of Bratz dolls and I just had to rescue them.
A Barbie doll, a small Steffi doll, Strawberry Shortcake!

This is a Mattel doll, have to figure out which one yet, still has string from box in hair
All in good condition, not chewed or damaged, nothing a little wash won't sort out. So the first thing is to take all clothes off  the dolls and any hair elastics out of the hair, there is always plenty on the modern dolls, presumably to keep the hair in place on the ship from China! Then get your rubber gloves on.

Next, add a small bit of non-bio powder to a basin (or sink) and add in some boiling water to dissolve and then cold water. I say non-bio because thats what I keep in the house, no other reason!
You can safely add the clothes in and usually the dirt will lift off easily. These are modern dolls clothes,all synthetic materials so there is very little chance of them running.

I use the same method for vintage clothes. However you have to be a lot more careful with regards colours and materials. Some colours are destined to run, such as red (especially red), or blues or yellows. If you are washing vintage test a piece at a time and wash similar colours together. Sometimes the item bleeds colour the minute it touches water and sometimes it takes a couple of minutes so don't presume you are safe!
The one item of vintage clothing that will always run is a Sindy 1960s Weekenders top, red, blue and white, the mess, always..
The main rule is if it is vintage or if you simply just love it, do not throw it all in the wash together. Take your time and treat as you would your own clothes. I can say this because I some of the dolls clothes are worth a lot more than mine!!
If something does start to run, take it out of the water immediately and rinse.
Really dirty vintage clothes may take a few washes, trust me I have seen the water turn some disgusting colours.
Whites may need some extra care with a small bit of powder that is especially for whites as it contains mild bleaching agents, approach with care.
Some people use denture tablets for this but I have yet to try!
I also keep a small soft brush handy for gentle washing of stubborn stains.

Once the clothes are washed and then rinsed in water, leave flat on a towel to dry.

I leave them on a towel to dry as if you hang them they can stretch into the wrong shapes.
If the item did have colour run then don't dry it on a good towel as it will leave a colour mark on the towel as well (I learnt this the hard way).
The dolls have had a bath too, so everything is smelling a lot fresher.
Will add a picture when they are all dry!

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back with pics of Easter decorations.

Take care,

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Adventures in Clay & Easter Decorations

Hello there,

I've decided its about time I got some Easter decorations made.
I am in the middle of making some really cute bunting, some to list on etsy and some for my own home. Should make a nice upgrade from last years plastic one! So that's all underway, chicken flags cut, backing flags being cut today.
I bought some foam eggs before for decorating for Easter. I plan on filling a vase with lots of tree branches and twigs, covering the twigs in ribbon and then hanging beautifully decorated eggs on the end of the branches. Thats the centre of the table plan.
Then I remembered the oven-baked clay I bought before Christmas, which is a bit neglected. I made a few things before to try it out but its been left in a bag since.

What a learnt from my brief attempt at making with clay is a) its fun! b) spray paint sticks to it very well and c) the coloured packets leave colour on your hands, rolling pin, basically everywhere.
So I thought about what to do for the dolls for Easter and well if its good enough for us its good enough for the dolls, so I am going to attempt to make a minature version of my table centre plan.

Sindy is ready to assist.

Out comes the supplies:
Bear in mind I am a beginner! I have two tiles for rolling on (keeps the back flat and stops it from sticking to table), rolling pin, some coloured clay and some plain clay. The plan is to take some clay and turn it into mini eggs.
When you make anything in minature you have to work out the scale. Anything Sindy/Barbie size is 1:6 normal size. Dollhouse is usually 1:12.
My first step is to measure step then has to be to measure a normal egg and work out the size for Barbie.
Right to work I go with the help of some little children to "help" me.

Have a wonderful weekend,