Summer is almost over and we are gearing up for school to start again. I am not really looking forward to it; my kids have to be on the bus around 6:30 AM and I'm not a morning person! I am also going to miss the freedom of traveling whenever we want. We were away this summer more than we were home, it seems, and we aren't done yet. We will have one last fling, a trip to the mountains, starting tomorrow. My Back To School Sale starts today on Etsy, eBay, and Depop but any orders placed after 9 AM tomorrow will ship on Monday, August 16th. Link to all my shops from the Home page. I hope you've had a wonderful summer and have a terrific school year!
I am thrilled to announce Young Living has finally updated their Distributors' links! Now you can shop from me once again by using the link: https://www.youngliving.com/us/en/referral/2256091. Feel free to contact me for advice about essential oils and Young Living products. If you live locally, contact me to add to my monthly order and get free shipping!
I want to thank everyone who reached out to me during our recent bereavement. My uncle, the only remaining member of my late father's immediate family, died very suddenly and unexpectedly and we made a spur-of-the-moment trip to Ohio last week. We have a previously-planned family vacation at our fishing camp starting July 16th. I'm afraid my shops will be closed once again from July 15th to the 26th. I am closing a little early because I am still working on unpacking and laundry from our Ohio trip. I have to unpack and wash everything and re-pack! And of course we have the usual swim meets and doctor's appointments thrown in.
You will be able to order from my eBay, Etsy, and Depop shops, as well as my website shop. To make up for the delay in shipping, I am having a sale on physical items and a special eBay Coupon for blog readers only: Use Coupon Code BLOGSUM21 on eBay and save an extra 10% off through 8/16: ebay.us/vibaVI. Maximize this code by shopping during the sale and ordering multiple items at once with "Add To Cart" and save up to 60%!
Link to all my shops from the Home page.
Note to International buyers: someone at Pitney Bowes, eBay's international shipping contractor, has mistakenly marked dolls, doll parts, and doll accessories as prohibited items to your countries, causing these orders to be rejected and returned by eBay. I have been unable to get anyone at either company to correct this error. Please contact me if you wish to order doll-related items from eBay so I can set up a special listing for you to bypass eBay's shipping or just order from my Etsy shop. If you could all contact eBay to complain it would also be helpful in getting their attention. You can message them on eBay's Facebook page, eBay For Business: facebook.com/eBayForBusiness or Twitter: twitter.com/eBayForBusiness.
Atelier Mandaline is closed due to a sudden and unexpected death in our family. Shipping and response time will be delayed indefinitely. Thanks for your patience!
If you follow my Instagram you know I got a bunch of Dollikin dolls recently. These came in all different sourcing lots; it's funny how that happens! Every once in a while you find the same things over and over. In this case I found Dollikin dolls, but in all different sizes. Now I have every size except the ultra-rare "Squirt", as collectors call the 15 inch size. The doll shown here is Little Miss Dollikin, who was also sold as "Tricky Micky" or possibly "Tricki Micki" by Woolworth's. I haven't been able to find any in the original package to see the correct spelling. You can tell the difference because the Dollikin dolls have a layered bob and the Tricky doll have very long straight hair. In the 1980s the doll became a "breakdancing" doll and sported a Princess Leia space buns hairstyle. All these dolls are a petite 6.5 inches tall, and like their 19 inch siblings they have complicated stringing. The 11.5 inch Miss Dollikin has pretty easy, straightforward stringing, so I don't think she will need a kit or tutorial but I could see it would be beneficial for the little one. I made some kits for her a few weeks ago but got behind on writing the blog. Blogger has been a total mess lately, just barely working at all, and I've had some trouble with Weebly as well. I decided to try to post here on Weebly and cross my fingers. My kits come with printed color instruction sheets. You can buy them from my eBay and Etsy shops (link from the Home page).
Little Miss Dollikin uses a ferrule or crimp sleeve to hold the string in place. The head is vinyl and just pops on the neck. If your doll has the ferrule you might be able to re-use it, which I recommend because the tiny ferrules are no longer made, as far as I can find.
Bring the elastic through the neck and pull it out the arm hole.
Loop the elastic through the arm hook. Then pull it back into the arm hole. Draw it down through the body, so you are connecting the upper and lower torso pieces. Draw it out the leg hole on the same side as the arm you already strung. Loop the elastic through the leg ring (there are no original leg hooks used on these dolls). Draw the elastic back into the leg hole.
Draw the elastic through to the opposite leg hole. Thread on the second leg. Bring the elastic back into the leg hole. Draw it up through the upper torso and out the arm hole. Thread on the second arm.
When the second arm is attached, draw the elastic through the neck. A curved or tapestry needle is helpful for this. I didn't have a needle with a large enough eye, so I sewed a piece of thread to the elastic and used it as a come along to pull the elastic up through the neck.
When the elastic was pulled through the neck I cut off the thread.
Re-shape the original ferrule if you have one to open it back up. Thread both ends of the elastic sticking out of the neck through the ferrule. My kits come with replacement ferrules. You could also use a bead or something to secure the elastic. Just make sure the head will fit over whatever you use as an anchor.
Knot the elastic. If you are using my kit you will need to ties a double or triple knot because the ferrule is larger than the original. You can also tie the elastic to the ferrule and knot it. You just need an anchor to keep the tension tight and prevent it from falling down into the neck.
Crimp the ferrule on the elastic with pliers, wire crimpers, or a multi-use electrical tool, found in the wiring section of the hardware store. The ferrule should be too small for the elastic to slide downward.
The ferrule is tight enough when it holds the elastic tight and the doll can pose without feeling floppy.
When the doll is properly strung it can hold many lifelike poses. Pop the head back on the neck and you're done!
My Little Miss Dollikin kit includes elastic cord and four hooks, in case you want to use hooks on the legs, one ferrule, and printed instructions. You could use the kit for other small dolls, like 4 to 6 inch dolls, as well. I couldn't find hooks small enough so I make them by hand! They are tarnish-resistant silver-plated copper. Each kit is handmade in the USA by me. I also sell kits for the 19 inch Dollikin dolls as well as general doll stringing kits.
I just love Dollikin dolls! They are like artist's mannequins. I can't believe I never saw the breakdancing one! I would have loved her back in the day. These are really rare, though, as you will see if you try to purchase one. I don't think Uneeda produced many. We also didn't have a Woolworth's in my hometown. We had a local general store called Barr's that was like heaven on Earth! You could buy everything from pets to craft supplies to oil paintings and they had an old-fashioned candy counter as well. The entire basement was given over to children's clothes and toys and I was hardly aware of the existence of anything not sold at Barr's. The Little Miss Dollikins can share clothes and shoes with Dawn dolls, who I also never heard of as a child. It's too bad because I loved miniature dolls and my dollhouse and I would have played and played with these.
Besides my blogging issues I have had a bunch of problems with my hands recently. A few months back I was re-rooting a doll's hair so I could show it in my upcoming Art Dolls book and I injured my hand so bad my thumb was numb for a few months. It was like it was asleep. It made me very clumsy and prone to dropping things and it was very difficult to type. We were rushing to build a pergola and finish a patio at our tiny cabin so we could have a party there for our son's college graduation so I was doing construction on the weekends. I'm sure that contributed to the long recovery time. Then yesterday I took our dogs to the vet and Loki the huskimo had a panic attack and basically climbed up my body, scratching me all up and injuring my wrist. Thankfully it's better today!
We are back to crazy normal life around here, so we are finishing up soccer for one kid and starting swim team for another. We moved our oldest home while he searches for a job (his major is biology with a concentration in cellular biology and his minor is chemistry. He has years of management and clinical trial experience, if you know anyone hiring!). So all this has been taking up my time as well. I really hope to get my book finished soon. I've had the manuscript done for some time and just need to get the design completed.
My Memorial Day Sale is running through Monday on eBay, Etsy, and Depop. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
Today's blog post is a mystery story! Read to try to solve the case of The Disappearance of the $300 Box of Doll Supplies. You aren't going to believe what I think happened! Also, my Mother's Day Sale starts tomorrow. Link to all my shops from the Home page.
Today on the blog, I tell you about Mego Melt and how to fix it. I'm using my Gen 2 Sindy doll to demonstrate. Despite the name, Mego Melt can affect any brand doll or action figure made from hard plastic and vinyl. The affected dolls are typically from the 1970s and 1980s. The Sunshine Family dolls are notorious for this problem, and it will affect them and similar dolls most especially when they aren't properly stored.
Today on my blog I show you the special hybrid method I use to replace Patti PlayPal and similar doll's eyes. Some dolls, like Patti, don't fit into one typical repair method and you have to improvise to fix them. This sort of thing happens often when you're a doll doctor; don't be afraid to think outside the box and try various methods until you get the one that works best for you!
A funny thing that happens sometimes when I'm sourcing is I will find the same thing or very similar things over and over. Recently this has happened with vintage Uneeda dolls. I am sourcing online lately since the thrift stores are all closed or operating on limited hours. This results in my getting a lot of "mystery" dolls and clothes since I can't see them up close.
I won a couple doll lots on eBay that all contained Uneeda Dollikin dolls in various sizes. I have a weakness for Dollikin dolls, as you know if you have been reading this blog for any time. These articulated dolls resemble artist's mannequins and are infinitely posable. The original Miss Dollikin was a 19 inch doll released in the 1950s as a Cissy competitor. Smaller Action Dollikin was produced in the same size as Barbie in the 1960s and Little Miss Dollikin, a 6.5 inch doll, was released a bit later to compete with Topper's Dawn. She was sold as "Tricki Micki" by Woolworths, just the same but with long straight hair rather than a bob. There was also a 15 inch Dollikin called "Squirt" by collectors and made in 1957 only, so very rare, and a rare Baby Dollikin. I've never seen one of those but I now own the Miss Dollikin, Action Dollikin, and Little Miss Dollikin. I don't know how long I will keep them; although I love Dollikins I am not a collector. I purchased the smaller versions to add to my doll stringing kit offerings. I already sell a stringing kit for the full sized Dollikin but not the others. I was unaware of Dollikin dolls as a child, which is too bad, because the Little Miss Dollikin was sold until the 1980s. She became a break dancer then! I would have absolutely loved her back then! I will probably keep my Dollikins at least long enough to make kits and clothing patterns for them all and to get them out of my system!
The nice thing about having a few dolls in a collection is it can be a great help in trying to identify an unknown doll. One of the Dollikin lots came with a mystery Barbie clone. She had long honey-blond hair, very wiry, which looked as though it had been in a ponytail, although it could be brushed out straight pretty easily. Her face looked a lot like Francie, Barbie's friend. She had a hollow plastic body with a twist waist and a vinyl head marked "U" on the back. Cursory research indicated the U mark was used by Elite for their Wendy doll as well as Uneeda for their Suzette. and Miss Suzette. Now, Miss Suzette is worth a great deal of money; I've seen her listed as high as $600! I got more serious about identifying my mystery doll!
I was leaning toward her being a Uneeda doll rather than Elite because she has several similarities to other Uneeda dolls from around the same time period. I keep a Uneeda Tiny Teen Suzette in my office because she isn't worth all that much and she is nearly identical to Little Miss Revlon, so she is useful for determining whether clothes or shoes will fit Little Miss Revlon. I could see right away the Tiny Teen Suzette has hair very close to the mystery doll's hair, very wiry and thick with rather fuzzy tips and the same dark blond color.
The Tiny Teen Suzette is marked UNEEDA on the back of her head, incised very lightly and barely visible. The mystery doll is just marked U.
Comparing the mystery doll to the Action Dollikin I saw they have similar circle marks on the backs of their thighs and what looks almost like peg joints, little bumps in the plastic around the jointed areas. They are both made of the same heavy, hollow plastic, although the Dollikin is finished much better, with completely smooth seams and brighter paint.
I looked on the Doll Reference website at Barbie clones and they show the Tiny Teen Suzette and subsequent Suzette, and the Miss Suzette. They show the Suzette doll with a ponytail and bubble cut. Another doll, Elite's Wendy, used the same head, also marked U. Both Wendy and Suzette have the Bild Lilli face, with side glancing eyes and heavy black winged eyeliner. Neither of them has the slight smile and white eyeliner of my mystery doll. Doll Reference notes a second ponytail version of Suzette was made whose face was unlike the previous Suzette. I think it is likely this is that face.
I went to Instagram for help and a collector friend said she thinks my doll is Suzette from 1960. In between the Tiny Teen Suzette and Miss Suzette, Uneeda's quality dropped sharply in regard to Suzette dolls. I don't know if they were just under such pressure from Barbie or what.
I wondered if Suzette had a friend like Midge or Francie. A great deal of research produced one ad showing Suzette's friend Diane. Diane looks nothing like this doll, however, in the ad. You have to be cautious using vintage ads because they often featured illustrations or heavily-edited colorized photos so the dolls can appear completely different than in real life. I can't find a photo of an actual Diane doll.
I am sure this is a Uneeda doll, and fairly sure she is Suzette. At any rate, she is extremely rare. I spent days pouring over doll books, blogs, sales sites, old ads and catalogs and I have not seen another doll with this face. She's for sale in my shops and you can link to your favorite from the Home page. Look for a 60s fashion doll extravaganza over the next couple months. I have many Barbie dolls and friends and their clothes listed and more are on the way.
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.