Every holiday season my most popular offerings are doll and trunk sets. If you have been following me for a while you know I rarely see a doll trunk I don't love! Trunks sets are really not as lucrative as selling all the pieces separately but I just love making them, and my customers love buying them! I made some earlier in the year that sold out pretty much immediately. Yesterday I finished my first set for the holidays: a Marlo Twist and Turn Barbie from 1966.
I am not a Barbie expert; I've only restored a few of these older dolls. I just ordered a set of magazines suggested by one of my followers and I did a ton of research on this set. The Barbie has the "Marlo" face, a portrait of Marlo Thomas. Her hair is medium brown, which according to a blog I read is the "CoCo a Go Go" shade. This Barbie came with blond, red, brown, or dark brown hair. Barbie wears her original outfit, which consists of a bikini made of orange plastic stuff, a mesh cover-up romper, and a hair ribbon. The trunk is the 1961 Ponytail Barbie case made over into a custom case or handbag. I re-lined it, added an accessory box, and replaced the broken handle with a chain and real leather purse strap. I then restored a bunch of handmade and factory made clothes and accessories. None of the clothes are tagged. I do recognize a couple as Mattel or other brands. The set includes a real fur stole!
Some people on eBay (and only on eBay) have told me the doll's hair doesn't look brown but cherry red or purple. I don't know what's going on with that. The hair is medium brown with a hint of auburn in certain lights. I got a new phone recently and I this is the first thing I photographed with it, so maybe I am doing something wrong with the camera. Or maybe it's the rainy weather we've been having. The fact it's only people on eBay makes me think it's possibly something with their site. At any rate, I can assure you the doll has brown hair and I have taken photos both indoor and out at different times of day so you can get the most accurate picture of it. I actually wish she had red hair; in my experience redhaired dolls sell for about 30% more than other dolls!
Earlier today this set sold, not even 24 hours after listing, but then the buyer changed her mind so I went ahead with this post. The set is now re-listed. If you order from my Depop shop before midnight tonight you will get FREE shipping! So hurry over there if you want sweet Marlo Barbie and her wardrobe please head to Depop or my other shops from the Home page.
What doll would you like to see made into a trunk set next? I have a Vogue Jill, several Topper Dawns, Tiny Betsy McCall, mod era Skipper, and so many more. Please, let me know! And please, enjoy Barbie's home video of her trip to Saluda, NC up at the top of the post!
I just added a third type of doll voice box to my shops. These battery-powered voices make three different sounds. Each time you squeeze the box they cry, laugh, or say "Mama".
I stocked these after complaints about my vintage reproduction voice boxes when people would order them for use in reborn dolls. I had a couple bad reviews on Etsy from people who ordered my vintage voice boxes and didn't like the sound. The sound is identical to the Midcentury "mama" crying dolls like Madame Alexander Puddin' and similar. I have an audio file linked to my Etsy listing, so I was confused about why people were ordering the old-fashioned criers for modern dolls if they didn't like the sound. The mystery was solved a few weeks later when I realized Etsy was recommending the crying boxes on the home page as a suggestion for "Reborn Dolls". It's a huge deal to get a spot on the Etsy home page and to have them suggest your listing, but it's really unfortunate they recommended the wrong product, especially since my listing says absolutely nothing about reborn dolls. Most reborn doll makers want a realistic sounding voice. My pink criers are meant for doll restorers who repair vintage dolls. After a great deal of searching I found recordable voice boxes for reborn and other dolls and these pre-recorded voices. I just hope Etsy will suggest these for reborns instead!
You will install these boxes just the same as the recordable boxes shown in my tutorial. The difference with these is you need to squeeze them to get the sound, not just press a button. Therefore I recommend you install them in soft body dolls. You will want to position them more toward the center of the doll and keep the stuffing loose around the box. These criers use button cell batteries which you can replace, so I recommend finishing the seam in the doll with hook and loop tape for ease of battery replacement. As soon as possible I will create a specific tutorial for these boxes. You can purchase them from my Etsy shop, eBay store, and other shops from my Home page.
I apologize for my long delay in posting. I always have the best of intentions to post at least once a week. Unfortunately, last month we had an illness go through the entire family and I was sick for more than two weeks. I don't think it was COVID because my oldest caught it first from an outbreak at the Starbucks where he works and they required him to get a COVID test, which was negative. I think it was probably the flu. It had a long incubation of about a week and then the respiratory and stomach symptoms lasted for at least 10 days, so it took up our whole September moving through everyone.
I have also been feeling discouraged and depressed lately. My sales have been slow, and I'm behind on my book. The main problems though are issues with my sales platforms, beyond my control but still causing me a lot of angst. Besides Etsy's misguided voice box recommendations I have had a recent rash of customers who don't read listings or measure or who flat out disregard my advice and then leave me bad feedback when they order the wrong items. I had one customer who ordered the wrong size doll shoes several times despite me repeatedly stating they wouldn't fit the doll in question! Normally I just let bad reviews like that go because I have a 5-Star rating with almost 2000 sales on Etsy and I figure anyone who does read the listing will see the reviewer obviously didn't. Unfortunately, Etsy has premiered a new "Star Seller" program. Despite my mostly stellar reviews I don't qualify because it requires you to have essentially 100% positive reviews. I am enough of a perfectionist without Etsy pressuring me further, especially when their website is far from perfect 100% of the time! Their sharing feature for listings hasn't worked for months! They also require sellers to respond to 85% of messages. I respond to 100% of messages but their algorithm isn't working. I figured it out, I think. If you send me a couple messages on the same topic and I only respond to the most recent one it counts it as me not responding. So, if you send a seller different sentences as different messages or you send a message with just an emoji the seller has to respond to EVERY message separately. So, if you want to help out Etsy sellers please send your entire question or comment in one message and PLEASE don't leave poor reviews for sellers if you're the one who didn't measure or read the listing or whatever!
My sales slowdown is largely due to problems with USPS and eBay's Global Shipping Center. They have stopped delivering to Australia and New Zealand due to COVID. International customers represent at least half my sales and my products are particularly popular in Australia. I had to cancel a $100 doll sale the other day because Etsy allowed the buyer to choose USPS postage to Australia for $53 even though they are supposed to have their own global delivery program. USPS isn't delivering there and the only alternatives were UPS or FedEx at a cost of more than $200! So, I don't know what to do. Someone told me Pirate Ship was selling postage to Australia but they only use USPS so I think it will be another situation where they sell the postage but the packages will be returned. Over the summer I told you about eBay's Global Center returning all my doll-related orders marked as prohibited, even though they are not prohibited. I reported that to them about a thousand times and I THINK they finally fixed it. The other day I was able to send a pair of doll eyes to Australia through their Global Center. I sincerely hope it's fixed because eBay is delivering to Australia and New Zealand at no extra cost. So, if you are a customer there please contact me on eBay to add the Global Center to your delivery options if you don't see it. Of course eBay possibly fixed the issue after I spent a month converting all my listings to USPS instead of the Global Center!
So, anyway, I am sorry to be absent and in such a funk. I am working hard to focus on the things I can control and find alternatives for my international peeps. Besides the doll voices, I am in the process of listing an enormous Barbie lot from 1959 to the present. I am also going through the attic and selling my kids' outgrown toys. I read there will be a toy shortage this holiday season so I am determined to get everything listed for sale. There will not be a toy shortage at Atelier Mandaline!
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.
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.