August 27th, 2019
Today I'm cleaning my old shoes to get them ready for sale and I think most people will not have tried my favorite shoe cleaner: Thieves Foaming Hand Soap from Young Living! To be honest, Thieves is my favorite cleaner for just about everything. It smells divine, it's really hydrating and yet doesn't cause breakouts in acne-prone skin, the essential oils give every surface a lovely sheen, and it can be diluted with water about three times before it stops foaming, so it saves us money! You can purchase Thieves Foaming Hand Soap from the Young Living link on my Home page, and right now if you re-activate your Young Living account you can get one free with a 50 PV order!
The reason I'm selling my shoes is I am down two full sizes since 2017. I've lost almost 50 pounds and the place I am seeing it the most is in my feet! You might know! I am seeing some loose wrinkly skin under my chin but that's not really a positive. I'm hoping the autophagy from fasting will take care of that soon. I have really sensitive skin and a bone that sticks out of my heel so I almost only wear open front and back shoes like clogs. Otherwise I get terrible blisters. The trouble with this type of shoe is dirt gets in when you're walking outside and gets ground into the insole. I have thrown away so many shoes in the past that were perfectly fine except for the insole! And there isn't a good way to add a replacement insole; believe me, I've tried! Last year I had a new pair of expensive shoes that were already getting all yucky inside and I saw the Thieves soap sitting on the counter and decided to try it. It worked like a charm! So now it's my favorite!
So to use the Thieves soap, just pump some of it on the shoe and spread it all over.
Scrub the soap into the shoe, all over. I use a baby bottle cleaning brush for this. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off the soap. Check to make sure you got all the dirt and don't need to repeat the scrubbing process. Then just let the shoes dry. If you have a bright sunny day it's great for shoe drying because it's fast! Voila! Clean shoes!
These shoes, in size 10, are headed soon to my shops and I have more already listed. Most of the shoes I'm selling will be 10s but I have a couple 9s I'm thinking of listing. I mostly wear a 9 now but I have a couple pairs that run small and I'm not sure if I want them hanging around until I lose another shoe size! The closer I get to my goal the slower my weight loss goes and the harder it is to stick to the long fasts. I am about 25 pounds away from my initial goal weight. When I get there I will re-evaluate whether I want or need to lose more. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
Back To Doll? School
I just want to start by updating my last post. We did end up finding a property in the mountains and we are under contract to buy it! It's nice piece of riverfront land and although it looks to us like it's on the side of cliff, the grading guy says it's just "moderate". We aren't building a house anytime soon; we will just be camping on it and fishing for trout. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This has been a dream of ours for over 20 years and though we've been saving up for all that time the deciding factor in going ahead with the purchase is my income. It has become reliable enough to make us feel confident we could pay ourselves back (we borrowed from our savings to make a cash offer). When you follow my blog and click on my affiliate links and purchase products from me you help make this possible. I can't ever tell you how grateful we are! This land is close enough to our son's university we will be able to see him far more often, and if our other children attend the same university it will make it easier to be close to them as well. We close in one month and at that time I will officially be on vacation over the weekends. For one thing, we won't have Internet access and we may or may not have electricity, so I'll be off the grid! It's going to be weird to take weekends off; I've worked seven days a week since 1998 unless we went on vacation or something. I'm sure I'll get used to it however! I'll do my best to keep my customer service exemplary during the week.
I also have an update to a post from way last year concerning my "Doll School." There was only slight interest in the subscription doll school. I had the idea to send a lesson with instructions and supplies each month. The services that provide subscription billing were too expensive for the projected amount of students I would have and the coding to set it up myself was far beyond my capabilities. I have a solution finally: I already offer doll repair kits with instructions and supplies for various repairs. Now I am also selling instruction packets for specific dolls. These are copied from a vintage doll repair correspondence course. The school that offered the course is now defunct and the lessons are no longer under copyright. I have included my own tips in each packet as well. The lessons cover Cissy and Elise, Sweet Sue, Tiny Tears and Betsy Wetsy, Kissy, the Valentine ballerina, Thumbelina, Saucy Walker and Posie, and Suzy Smart. I also offer a packet with all the instructions.
This way, you can pace yourself. You can order the instruction packets as you need them and get supplies or kits from my shops to supplement the packets. I have an idea for the Ultimate repair kit with supplies (sort of a doll hospital starter kit) but I'm still trying to figure out how to make that affordable enough that anyone would actually buy it. You can order my Doll School lessons from eBay, Etsy, and now Poshmark!
That's right! Poshmark just opened a Home Market as well as a School Market. If you download the app with the code STUDIOMANDALINE you will get a $5 credit which you can put toward your doll lessons! You can link to all my shops from the Home page. My Poshmark doll supply offerings are still pretty slim; I have instructions and stringing kits but I'm still working on getting more supplies on there. My US wholesale supplier has unfortunately become quite unreliable and I have trouble keeping things in stock. I would like to order more custom goods from my Chinese supplier but the cost is much higher due to the recent tariffs and I have to order so many units storage space becomes a problem. I'm busily working out the kinks and I'll let you know when I get it all set up.
Besides Doll School I just listed a bunch of women's athleisure-style clothing from brands such as Pink Lotus and Miss Me. My enormous wholesale Foster Grant sunglasses order arrived today and I'll start getting those listed in the next few days. I have vintage Pyrex and Fire King and Nintendo 64 newly-listed in all the shops.
I hope your summer is wrapping up beautifully, and I look forward to seeing you in Doll School!
Doll Hospital Tips
The Atelier Mandaline doll hospital is steadily busy, just the way I like it! I don't like to be swamped with other people's dolls because it prevents me from working on my own, but I absolutely love my bread-and-butter business to come through this, my own website, so I don't have to pay fees to sites like Etsy. The dolls shown above are my most recent patients, who visited the hospital for split repairs, blushing, re-stringing, and hair styling. Use the contact form at the end of this post to request a doll repair.
Please see my new price list for common doll repairs. These prices do not include return shipping. If your doll needs more than one repair or if you send multiple dolls I will offer a discount of some kind. Please be aware, this price list only applies to repair requests through this website. If you contact me using eBay or Etsy or another platform I will then have to create a listing for you to pay through that platform and pay fees to the platform. Many people prefer to pay through a larger, more well-known site, and I understand that caution, but prices on those sites are 20% higher because of the fees I have to pay. You may purchase doll repair kits from my eBay and Etsy shops and do the repair yourself to save money. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
My most recent patients arrived in pieces or very loose and with faded blush, messy hair, and/or splits in their seams. I gave them a good cleaning, then repaired the splits with epoxy, and restrung them. Then I styled their hair and refreshed their blush. I wanted to expand on my last post and tell you about some more of my essential tools for doll repair. First of all but not shown is Mr. Super Clear UV Cut Flat Matte Varnish. This is expensive but well worth the cost. It is the only varnish I have found which seals even pastel and watercolor on hard plastic without even a hint of stickiness. Here in the South the humidity level keeps most varnishes from drying properly and every other brand I've used has dried sticky. I am able to use pastels and even human makeup on my dolls now because this varnish holds it in place. The matte varnish is preferred for the vintage Madame Alexander hard plastic dolls, which were designed to have a "porcelain-like" finish. For composition dolls you may want to use the gloss version that mimics those dolls' original finish.
Another of my favorite tools for epoxy repairs and doll cleaning is a nail buffer. These have four or five sides and are designed to file ridges out of your nails and then smooth and buff them to a shine. It turns out, they work just the same way on hard plastic dolls! Even the roughest side is gentler than fine sandpaper and the small size makes it easy to use on miniature doll parts. The Cissette doll above had epoxy repairs to several seams. I used the buffer to finish-sand the epoxy. Then I painted and sealed the areas and used the Shine side to give the painted areas the same sheen as the original plastic.
My newest favorite tool is the Creative Options Small Rack System organizational box. Do you remember the part of Toy Story 2 when the toy thief hires a toy restorer to come repair Woody? Remember his cool tool box? I've wanted a box like that ever since that movie came out so when my husband saw this one he snapped it up. It was my anniversary gift this year. I love it for carrying my tools, from stringing hooks to bamboo skewers, and now I'm not always having to search for my hemostat or my epoxy! The only thing it's missing is the little doll chair.
The Atelier Mandaline hospital and shops will most likely have a slightly longer turnaround time for repairs and order fulfillment starting soon. I am trying to stop working on weekends, at least during the slower months of the year. The holiday rush will probably force me to work on the weekend but I'm trying to avoid it for now. I'm really proud of myself: It's only August and so far I've made double the profit of last year, even though I'm working less! I've been pushing myself to learn more and source better. More of my income is coming from my website and private label products, saving me on inventory and selling fees.
One reason I want to spend more time away from work, besides my kids growing up too fast, is we are embarking on the fulfillment of a long-held dream. For many years we've wanted to buy some land for a fishing and hunting camp. This weekend we are helping our oldest move into his dorm and then we have an appointment to view some land. I just can't believe we are at the point of actually viewing properties! I'm so excited I haven't been able to sleep all week! We've been wanting to diversify our investments and land seems a perfect place to put some money. The properties we are viewing are near our son's university, making it possible he could actually live there in the future and also allow us to visit him more often. I really want an income property for short-term rental. My husband is not interested in this, but I'm going to work on him. Maybe in the future you can experience the Atelier Mandaline Glamping Getaway! We are focusing on the best trout streams in the Appalachians so you can load up on quality wild protein while you relax. My long-term goal is to convert more of my profits into income-generating properties in resort areas like the beach and mountains. I have no interest in dealing with long-term tenants so weekend or weekly rentals seem perfect. I love the idea of income coming in without me having to be involved day to day; eventually I would hire a property manager to make it more autonomous. Please send all your most positive vibes our way that we can find and afford a suitable piece of land!
As always, some links on this site, including those in this post, are affiliate links. I get a small payment is you buy anything from eBay in the 24 hours after clicking the link, even if you don't buy the products I show. This costs you nothing and helps me keep my tutorials free for you.
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.