Requiem For The Year
The Census At Bethlehem by Pieter Brueghel The Elder
Early this year, I was hit with a premonition. We were driving up to the mountains and I saw a man walking along the side of the highway. I can't remember any particular thing about him but for some reason he struck me forcibly as the iconic tramp, a symbol, like The Walker in The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper (with which I was obsessed as a pre-teen) or Strider from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I was still musing over why I saw him as a tramp and not just a stranded motorist, and also considering the ancient origin of the term "highway", when we passed a wooden wagon full of hay straight out of a Brueghel painting. The wagon wasn't in a farm yard or anything, just in a clearing by the road. It wasn't the kind of wagon you could attach to a vehicle and I have no idea how it got there. I suddenly had the impression we were hurtling backwards through time, driving inexorably into the past. As it turned out, I was somewhat correct. The arrival of the pandemic, the medieval quarantine, the slowing of life's pace are all experiences our ancestors would recognize. The year seemed to freeze us in amber, or at least in some viscous miasma we had to drag ourselves through, every movement labored and spotlighted. There were some blessings; I didn't miss our usual hectic summer sports rolling into the even more frenetic holidays. It has been especially hard on the children, however. They miss their friends and their usual activities. It was worsened by our daughter's advent of back pain and subsequent diagnosis with scoliosis. Swimming, her favorite sport and the activity most recommended by her osteopath, was closed to her.
And of course, the year has been a disaster for so many. The past again: bread lines, famine, mass unemployment, and the complete absence of any government relief. People have been left to sink or swim alone. Our town Santa Claus died of COVID, as did a high school friend. My sister's entire family caught it, though they seem to have come through okay, thankfully. I did the only thing I could think to help and wrote my Doll University book and Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin books. These teach you to set up your own home-based doll repair business as well as get into a tiny home as cheaply and quickly as possible. I fervently hope my advice helps you turn this year from the past into a prosperous, or at least stable, new future.
Here's to 2021. May we take only the good with us into the new year. Happy New Year, from Atelier Mandaline!
Merry Christmas! Atelier Mandaline shops are closed for the holidays. May you have a wonderful Christmas!
I've been re-branding Atelier Mandaline. It's been 15 years since I designed my logo and packaging and my business has evolved. Back then, I only sold girl's clothes and dolls on eBay and I didn't even have a storefront. Now I have eight shops and a doll hospital and I've become an author. My customer base has become more diverse since I started selling men's fashion. My new logo reflects my increasing focus on doll eyes and supplies and my previous pink and white color scheme has become more neutral to appeal to all my clients. I am still using the handmade unicorn tags created by my kids because they're just so cute and I do still sell a lot of dolls and girly stuff.
My re-design has not yet reached my web presence; I still need to update my website, blog, and store logos. Rest assured, I will get those done as I can. I did change my logo on my newsletter and immediately got an Abuse report to Mail Chimp. Evidently, someone didn't recognize me! I never subscribe anyone to my newsletter unless they request it because I hate when I buy something and end up with a ton of spam. I would not do that to someone else! So please pay attention to my Atelier Mandaline name, not my logo. The new logo is the one shown above. It's still me, just with a new look!
One of the reasons I'm not completely done with my re-brand is because I've been working on my third book, Atelier Mandaline Presents Art Dolls, second in the Atelier Mandaline Presents doll series. This latest book focuses on making one-of-a-kind dolls using pre-made dolls, like Barbie, American Girl, Blythe, and now, Pullip.
For literally as long as I can remember, I've wanted to make my own dolls. As a teenager I made rag dolls, but I really wanted to learn to sculpt dolls. I started sculpting them from clay and polymer medium, but because I didn't have a kiln they were extremely fragile and not long-lived, and they weren't professional-looking.
Over the past couple decades I've learned to make unique dolls without having to manufacture them. I found I can completely re-design commercial dolls by replacing their eyes, wigs, and re-sculpting and re-painting them. My custom dolls sell for hundreds of dollars each. Making art dolls is a huge trend right now and it's a perfect work-from-home career during the pandemic. I decided to share my tips so you can learn to create your own dolls.
I already covered Blythe and American Girl art dolls in past blog posts, and I added a historical doll section to help you create accurate vintage and antique art dolls. I still wanted to learn how to make a custom Pullip doll so I could show that to you.
Pullip dolls are "big eyes" dolls made by Jun Planning, similar to Blythe in that they have convertible eyes. While Blythe has color changing eyes, Pullip dolls have moving eyes. Pullip dolls can wink, sleep, and look from side to side. They use eye chips a little smaller than Blythe's. The eyes don't change color but you can customize the eye chips. Pullip dolls come with a ball-jointed body. Jun Planning makes finished Pullip dolls but they also sell a kit with a blank doll ready to be customized. I ordered one of those kits two years ago and finally got around to finishing it. Allow me to introduce "Autumn", my new custom Pullip.
Autumn has custom-painted shimmering hazel-green eyes and a red curly wig. She's painted with a peaches and cream complexion, freckles galore, and metallic copper eyeshadow and blush. Her wig is attached with silicone adhesive in front. leaving the back open so you can easily reach the buttons and lever to manipulate her eye mechanism.
Autumn wears a vintage hand-crocheted dress with organdy slip. Her slip can be worn as a babydoll dress. Autumn's coin head band can be worn as a necklace. Autumn is for sale in my shops, and she will also be featured in Art Dolls so you can learn to create your own Pullip doll. You can link to all my shops from my Home Page to purchase her from your favorite site.
I'm thrilled to introduce my latest book, Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin! As anyone following my Instagram knows, we spent the past year building a tiny cabin in the mountains. We finally have our space completed to the point we can live in it and I want to share our experience. Learn how we built and furnished our cabin for less than $20,000, got a great deal on waterfront property, negotiated the permit process to save cash, and created a sustainable lifestyle. I know it's a departure from my usual doll repair content, but I wanted to help anyone else who might be interested in tiny living. We started saving up for a fishing camp more than 20 years ago and we finally realized our dream!
I am having a pre-order and launch sale through 12/26. You may pre-order signed paperback copies of the book or immediately download the e-book. As always, the e-book is a high-quality printable PDF so you can print pages or the entire book for reference. The e-book is available from my website and the pre-order paperbacks from my website and Etsy. Please note, the pre-order copies are currently in production and will not ship for 3-4 weeks. Please follow my Amazon Author Page to see the moment the book becomes available from Amazon.
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.