"Patti PlayPal Eyes..." Sing it to the tune of Bette Davis Eyes and you'll hear it every time you think about them!
Here's my latest patient, a Patti Playpal clone, who came to the hospital for a complete makeover: new eyes, new hair, a new arm, repaired feet... Anyway, when I was replacing the eyes I remembered, after acquiring some blisters, Patti Playpal eyes require a special method.
My eye swap tool doesn't work, nothing works, to get the eyes inserted from the front. You can sometimes heat the head and remove them from the front but the new ones just won't go into the socket that way. I don't know how I forgot about this because I wrote all about it a few years back and you can sign up to get it here.
Patti was lucky enough to get my last pair of green eyes. They were a return, which is the only reason I have them since my supplier hasn't stocked them since 2021. They weren't used by the first customer so they're perfect for this doll. I'm still looking for a new supplier who can get me the eyes in green.
I did manage to procure some Patti wigs and I decided to use my patient as a model since I don't have one of these dolls. I'm really proud of wigs #1-4. These are a Mandaline exclusive: the curly poodle cut so prevalent in the 1950s but which I haven't seen anywhere besides my shop nowadays. This is the perfect style for an authentic 50s doll! The wigs are made in Japan and I have extremely limited inventory. You will see the photos are missing wig #5 and that's because it sold out before I could get it listed. I will try to get some more but they are quite hard to find in this large size.
Red is the main wig color I was able to get, and it does seem like it was the predominant Patti hair color. My patient needed her head shaved so her new wig can adhere and, although the hair looks like a sort of mouse brown at first, as I shaved it I saw from the hair at the roots it was once a bright strawberry blond. A light red you might say.
You can find all these wigs in my shops. Links are on the Home page. Here's my eBay Doll Making & Repair store section where you can find all my doll making supplies in one place.
Other new supplies listed or headed to my shops are the squishy vinyl Tiny Betsy McCall shoes in mint green. As I mentioned a few months back, the Tonner Doll Co went out of business and those shoes are no longer made. I have just three pairs in the green and once they sell out they're likely gone forever. I really, really hope Robert Tonner decides to re-issue them or at least sells the molds to someone else to manufacture.
I am also trying a new product called "Doll Skins". These are stretchy doll bodies you just put on over your doll's old cloth body. Like a slipcover, but for dolls! I have only a few of these which I'm testing out to see if they're a viable product. They are also in very short supply so if they prove popular I will look into making them myself or finding someone to make them.
If you're noticing a theme here, I need a new wholesale supplier really badly. If you are a wholesaler or manufacturer (who I haven't already queried) please reach out to me!
August is drawing to a close and that means the Young Living August Gifts with Purchase will soon be gone. All about gut health, August's gifts come with their own travel case so you won't forget your supplements and oils jetting off to vacay or suffer from Traveler's Tummy woes.
In more news, Young Living just debuted several new starter kits. Check them out in the photos or on the website. I absolutely love my Aria diffuser and I'm so jealous of you if you don't have one yet because you can get it for SO much less bundled into the Starter Kit!
And then YL just casually dropped this bombshell the other day: you no longer have to be a Brand Partner to make money sharing Young Living! That's right, you can share a 10% coupon code (SHAREYL) with family and friends or even just share your own wishlist and you get 25% in product credit to use like cash from their order!!! Talk about easy money!
Just want the 10% discount? Go to Young Living with this link and use the coupon code SHAREYL at checkout.
Brand Partners make even more ~ 50% ~ along with other benefits, so if you want to see some real dough talk to me about becoming a Brand Partner. Just email email@example.com or contact me using the form below. The best news is, when you use the contact form you will automatically get my discounts, freebies, and updates (no spam, unsubscribe anytime).
Have you ever wondered how I make the beautiful cover images of my books? I use MockupShots by Adazing. MockupShots allows me to easily drop my book into all kinds of realistic-looking scenarios to make advertising images and GIFs. I've relied on MockupShots for years; it's been key to professionally positioning Mandaline Press and my books and promoting myself as a "real" author. Recently, Adazing asked me to become an affiliate for them (which means I get a small commission when you make a purchase; there is no cost to you) and I jumped at the chance because I see the true value of their services and I know they're a trustworthy company!
If you're an author you know nowadays it's up to you to promote your book, even if you have a publisher and if you're self-published you definitely need a hand making professional-looking advertising imagery. Well, right now Adazing is letting you try MockupShots for FREE! Just fill out this form to get your summer mockups here, drop your book cover into the images and GIFs and get advertising! Happy Promoting!
The calendar and the heat might still say it's summer but the season is over for my family. This morning I was up at the ungodly hour of 4:45 am to take our son to cross country practice on his first day of high school. I rewarded myself with a long lunch break and a pot of turmeric tea; I'm trying desperately to keep my eyes open all day so I can go to bed by 9 pm and actually fall asleep! I finally achieved my long-pursued goal to get off coffee (and caffeine) and wine, which is supposed to help both my allergies and Hashimoto's disease, but as a result I have trouble both falling asleep and waking up.
My tea basket, above, is a 19th Century antique from Hong Kong. I was introduced to these when we adopted our daughter. We stayed at the Shangri-La hotel on the island of Hong Kong and, true to their British colonial roots, they served jasmine tea every afternoon. Not only did they serve it; they brought straight it to our room in a basket like this. The insulated lining keeps the tea hot and is fitted exactly to prevent the pot and tiny cups from getting jostled. The little dish that serves as a teapot lid held sliced pears at the Shangri-La.
To this day the smell of jasmine tea takes me right back to Hong Kong in summer. I wanted one of these basket sets in the worst way, but they were $80 in the hotel gift shop and about $60 in the shops around the hotel. Jerry said we should wait until we got to mainland China to get a set, where they were sure to be cheaper. Well, poor Jerry soon found that was a mistake! We never saw another set again. When we got home I searched and searched online and couldn't find one. He did not hear the end of it for many, many years!
Then one day a shop I follow on Etsy listed this set for sale and I snapped it up. It cost way more than than it would have if I'd just gotten one from the Shangri-La, but I was so happy to find it I didn't care! I learned you have to search for a "Hong Kong" tea basket because they aren't used elsewhere in China. Even still they are quite hard to find online and I have only seen vintage or antique ones. Maybe somewhere you can buy new ones online but I haven't found it. So, if ever you are in Hong Kong near the Shangri-La, pick me up another one of these tea sets, 'kay? Just in case this one ever breaks.
Anyway, sitting out in the sun (another of my doctor's Hashimoto's prescriptions: 20 minutes of sun bathing around noon) drinking my tea I reflected on Hong Kong and the Shangri-La and our daughter, who was surely a baby just yesterday but whom we dropped off at college last weekend. How long ago it was, getting her from China. Young motherhood is a complicated season, hard but so, so sweet. That season is ending for me; just one fledgling is left in my nest and he will soon be flying free. Motherhood was the summer of my life but it's ending and I'm heading into fall.
Not to be maudlin; fall is a season with its own beauties, although I have cried many tears over the past few years. I get to focus on myself a lot more now, despite carting our cross country runner all over the county. My business is thriving and growing. I'm taking all kinds of classes and learning new things and pursuing hobbies. But there's nothing like having all my babies home again.
I love this photo of myself, even though I am not as young or thin as I'd like to be and I'm wearing no makeup and a mom bun. I love it because I'm so happy. This day, all the kids and my husband were home and we were having a game day. Our youngest snapped this picture of me and I can see I'm just having so much fun and that makes me beautiful. I was taught from about age 10 to never, ever let anyone take a photo of me without my makeup and hair and outfit being perfect. What would my mother have said back then about me posting this on the Internet for literally the entire world to see?
I used to get annoyed with people who acted like I should cherish every minute of motherhood, although even then I knew how fleeting it was. "The days are long but the years are short," as they say. I remember one day when I had my own infant and babysat another and we also had a dog and cat. The dog was sick that day and I was changing diapers constantly and I thought to myself, "I haven't done anything all day but clean up bodily fluids." It certainly isn't glamorous when you're in the trenches, but then you miss it when it's over.
In that regard I feel sorry for parents just a little younger than I. I watch them and see how much they're missing. Their noses are constantly stuck to their phones. Often their kids' are too. They're so distracted. Not that I am some phone-less Luddite; on the contrary the fact that social media marketing is now an inescapable part of owning a business means I'm online all the time; or at least way more than I like. The thing Jerry and I love most (and the kids hate just as equally) about the tiny cabin is our abysmal wireless signal up there. I just take books I want to read, and board games, and actual paper binders of work because I know I won't get a signal. If you comment on my Instagram or message me and don't get a response for several days you can bet we've been up at the cabin. We are forced to focus on the physical up there ~ the present, the environment, the now. One incredibly valuable skill I learned from all my classes is automation. I now automate my social media at least a week out. I could automate this blog except I haven't learned to do that yet!
I've been able to kind of automate my listings for a while with eBay's photo tools. They're a little jenky so I still have to do some work manually. Canva has AI image generation now as well, and I make my book cover mockup images with Mockup Shots, an AI marketing tool. I use AI to write social media captions on and off; at first it took so long to prompt the chatbot it hardly seemed worthwhile; it wasn't saving any time. Just within the past six months that's gotten way faster, and I do notice my robot-written captions seem to get more engagement than my own words. So I will probably use that function more, even though the captions sound way too over the top and unlike myself.
I am starting to automate more and more areas of my life, and not always using robots. As I write this, my Roomba is vacuuming the floor for me but actual humans are doing my shopping at Walmart. They'll deliver our groceries in a few hours. My books for sale on Amazon are printed and shipped to my customers for me, as is my artwork and fashion from my Shopify and Redbubble boutiques.
I really, really love that kind of automation! Employing other people while giving myself more time to create and work is something I wish I'd been able to do when my kids were younger. I could have spent so much more time being with them... but only if I let myself and didn't get sucked into my devices the way I see younger parents doing! My favorite new automated life hack is my Rakuten/Walmart + collaboration. I get on Rakuten and then link to Walmart and sign into my Walmart +. Then I order free same-day delivery (and free shipping on things our store doesn't have in stock). I earn cash back from BOTH Rakuten and Walmart! Walmart + members also get cash back on gas and travel as well as free Paramount Plus streaming tv. It's less than $9 a month if you pay annually too! Plus right now when you sign up for Walmart + you get $20! So by signing up for both Rakuten and Walmart you get $50 along with the convenience and money saved! Sign up for Walmart+ with this link: Get $20 credit when you sign up for Walmart+. Courtesy of W+.
I do make money if you join Rakuten with my link ~ and so do YOU! Right now you get $30 when you join and make your first purchase and anyone who signs up with your link makes $30 too. Besides cash back, Rakuten has special deals and coupons. The other day I ordered some clothes for myself from Belk and got 6% cash back as well as a pair of genuine diamond earrings worth hundreds of dollars for only $29! I was going to sell the earrings but I decided to keep them as my reward for finally giving up coffee and wine! If you want to stay updated on coupons, freebies, and deals from my affiliates just follow my Pinterest board: Deals.
Thank you for wading through this long, long, long post! As you can see I had a lot of things pent up waiting for the chance to write them, and thanks to my robot and human helpers I finally got the chance!
Whew! It's been a hot minute since I wrote a blog post, hasn't it? I did a thing ~ I wrote another book! I hope that's a good enough excuse. We also moved our daughter into college. So now our youngest is an only child, at least until her fall break. It's weird. I keep buying way too many groceries. Eric, our youngest, made the cross country track team, one of just a few freshmen to make it. They win the state title almost every year so it's a big deal for him to make it. Unfortunately for me, they practice at 6AM, including Saturdays! I've been getting up all summer between 5:30 and 6:30 to take him to training in hopes he'd get on the team, but man am I already beat and the real season doesn't start until tomorrow!
Anyway, The Ultimate Zucchini Cookbook is now available for pre-order at special Early Bird pricing. This is my re-write of my grandmother's book, 56 Zucchini Recipes. She wrote it sometime in the mid-20th century and sold it through ads in the back of magazines. It is just type-written and photo-copied, with a cardstock cover and my copy is falling apart. Mine no longer has 56 recipes because some of the recipes were just typed on loose paper and stuck inside the book without being attached.
I assume mine was a leftover author's proof and not the final book because it also has a lot of typos ~ very uncharacteristic for Grandma, who was an English professor and refused to even answer questions if you asked using improper grammar. She gave me my copy decades after she sold the book, when she was cleaning out her office, and I guess she didn't have any final copies left.
The recipes in my book are great, however. I use it so often it's in pieces. I refined some of her recipes, corrected the typos, and added a few recipes of my own. Then I made low-carb versions of most of her recipes. My book will be hardcover, much sturdier than cardstock! It's more than 100 pages with retro illustrations and plenty of Notes pages for you to write your own comments and recipes. Early Bird orders get a discounted price, free author signing, and free domestic shipping.
Sign up for the Waitlist and you'll get a free sneak-peek recipe as well. I hope you love it as much as we do! I rarely have any leftovers when I use this cookbook!
I haven't even told you about the drama of the past week ~ I think I'm too exhausted to even think about it! Remember my Barbie FOMO post where I talked about my daughter inviting guests for supper? Well, while I was cooking and cleaning all day I got super hot and sweaty.
I went to see what the air conditioner was set on because sometimes Jerry turns it up when I'm not looking. This is one of those never-ending, simmering fights of long marriages; I'm always too hot and he's always too cold. In the summer he's always sneaking to turn up the air conditioner and in winter he's always sneaking to crank up the heat. I keep the heater at 65 and that's often too hot for me and I will turn it off altogether but he comes home and turns it up to 68 or 69 or sometimes even 70 and then I'm sweltering! Supposedly turning up the air conditioner is to save money and the planet but when I ask how come turning the heat up is so much less damaging to the wallet and environment I get... crickets.
Well anyway, the air conditioner HAD been turned to 72 (from 71 where I had it) but the thermostat said it was actually 75 in the house. I asked Jerry if he thought we should worry about that and he said no but then he went outside and saw the unit wasn't running at all. So, right before the dinner guests arrived the air conditioner died!
On Monday the technician came out and gave us the bad news: although it was just a small part that needed replacing, our unit was leaking Freon. It's some Freon that's been banned so it can't be refilled unless they happen to have some. If they did the repair, it would cost $1000 at least and it would just be a Bandaid to tide us over a few months before we would have to replace the whole thing. A new unit would cost $7000. Then he went under the house and informed us the furnace is on its last legs. The cost to replace both the furnace and air conditioner is a little over $10K, which is a significant savings on labor. So, we decided to do that but they can't install the new units until August 7th. Thank goodness we had the old air conditioner from the tiny cabin, which we've been using in the garage! Between the upstairs air conditioner and the little one it's bearable in here.
However, if you've been keeping score, at the beginning of the year I spent most of my own savings taking classes to improve my business skills. Then in February we decided after saving for 11 years we finally had enough money to remodel our decrepit kitchen. The kitchen cost around $10K. Right after we ripped out the old kitchen and were at the point of no return our son broke both his wrists. That ended up costing $3500. Then in May the water heater died and set us back another $3K. Last week our daughter's first college tuition payment came due. And now this. So, we are over $30K in the hole for this year so far, not even including my classes. Our savings and bank accounts are decimated.
We decided it's time for another vacation, one last one before our daughter heads off to university. We are just going up to the tiny cabin to rough it, although honestly, the cabin's lack of plumbing and large appliances is quite refreshing! There's not really anything expensive to fix.
So, I will be back on Monday, but that's the day of the a/c and furnace installation as well as our youngest son's cross country time trials AND his freshman orientation at the high school, so I'm not opening my store until Tuesday. Have a great week! I sure hope your year is going better than ours!
My grandmother wrote this cookbook, "56 Zucchini Recipes" & I am so proud to let you hknow I'm recreating it after my daughter asked me to make one for her. Y'all ~ we had people FIGHTING over the last piece of zucchini casserole from one of these recipes last night. You can use any kind of mild squash for these recipes besides zucchini. Sign up for the waitlist and I'll send you a recipe so you can try the book for free and it's guaranteed to get your family begging for zucchini! You're gonna wish you had MORE in the garden! Sign up for the waitlist here.
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.