Happy Thanksgiving! Atelier Mandaline is closed for vacation. Everything in my shops is on sale. You may purchase items but shipping will be suspended from 11/24-12/1.
Just like everyone else, we are having a remote Thanksgiving celebration with only our immediate family. We hope and pray this will be the last holiday season we have to spend apart from loved ones. May you have a meaningful holiday, even with the Covid isolation.
In other news, my Doll University books arrived early! You may now order from Amazon and all my other shops. I will honor the pre-order sale here on my website. Order my book for 50% off through 11/30.
I'm so pleased to announce I am turning my Doll University book into a series! Coming soon, two books on making your own custom dolls. My Art Dolls book will show you how to make one-of-a-kind art dolls from existing dolls, no kiln or manufacturer required! My Pressed Felt Dolls book will show you how to create your own pressed felt dolls in the style of antique Lenci dolls as well as how to identify authentic Lenci dolls. These two books are partially-written. I would love to finish them in time for Christmas but I think that might be pretty optimistic, at least for the paperback versions! I will format them as both e-books and paperbacks. You can pre-order my Doll University book from my website or Etsy and you can download the e-book right now from my website. Both are on sale until November 30th! While you're shopping, why not sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out on any launch announcements and sales?
In a departure from dolls, I have written another book called Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin. This is a book sharing how we built and furnished our environmentally-friendly tiny home for less than $20K and how you can do the same. I also reveal how we got a great deal on waterfront property, negotiated the permitting process to save cash, and made our home sustainable. I am finished with the manuscript and am in the process of formatting the book as a paperback and e-book, and I expect it to be ready for download and pre-order in December.
These covers and titles may change when the books are finished since they are still in progress. Please, however, enjoy these mock-up shots of Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin; I had so much fun making them!These covers and titles may change when the books are finished since they are still in progress. Please, however, enjoy these mock-up shots of Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin; I had so much fun making them!
Several years ago I was lucky enough to get a vintage textbook from a Midcentury trade school that taught doll repair. This book has detailed instructions for problems with specific dolls, such as Saucy Walker, Tiny Tears, Cissy, Valentine, Thumbelina, and more. I am so happy to offer these to you in printable PDF form! You can view them on your device or print pages to see diagrams better. Some parts of these Midcentury lessons are obsolete, so each packet comes with an information section I wrote to help you update them. Purchase these packets here by choosing your doll's name. Please note, these are specific to each particular doll. For general doll repair, like eye replacement, purchase my Doll University, Repair Dolls for Fun & Profit book. Have fun with your doll repair career!
I am so happy to announce my book, Doll University, Repair Dolls for Fun & Profit, is available immediately for download as an e-book! I got concrete information today that the paperback copies are set to arrive November 30th, so I am extending my 50% off pre-order sale until then. I will also be offering a special sale price on the e-book until November 30th. Buy the e-book here on my website. The paperback my be pre-ordered here or from Etsy.
I set up my e-book to print full-page at high quality, so while you can read it on your computer or device you may also print out a paper version of your own. This is especially helpful when you are using my proven "cheat sheet" tutorials with step-by-step photos. As you can see from the Table of Contents, I cover every type of doll repair I find essential as a doll doctor and restorer. The e-book is set up with UNLIMITED access; once you buy it you can download it as many times as you like with no time limit. I am still working out whether to offer the e-book on any other sites. I would have to completely re-format it to sell on Amazon and other platforms.
Order today and give yourself or a loved one the gift of a new career!
I'm so happy to announce my book is finally here! Are you looking for a new home-based career? Doll University, Repair Dolls for Fun & Profit is the answer! I have been working from home for more than 20 years restoring and selling dolls and running a doll hospital. Doll repair is an underserved field, especially in times of financial hardship when people desire to fix their dolls rather than buy new ones. My book will not only teach you to repair all kinds of dolls; I also walk you through opening a doll hospital or doll shop, purchasing wholesale supplies, manufacturing and importing your own goods, and creating and promoting your brand.
My book is currently in production. You may pre-order it here or from Etsy for $40 shipped in the USA. The price will double when the book is released. Pre-orders will take 3-4 weeks to arrive and you will get a paperback signed by me. If you were to send dolls to my hospital for all the repairs shown it would cost over $700, not including shipping, and that doesn't even take into account all my advice for setting up your business! This is your chance to start a fun new hobby or business or inspire someone else by gifting a copy to them. People all over the world have learned doll repair from my tutorials. All my lessons are included in this book and I've added a few new ones never before posted! Here's what just a few of my recent students had to say:
If you've ever wondered whether you could repair dolls or start your own business I am here to tell you YES you can! Place your order and get started today!
It's been so long since I posted a blog entry some kind souls reached out to see if I'm okay. Thanks so much for noticing! I am doing as well as can be expected. If you follow my social media you will see I am working on a complete re-branding and overhaul of my business. I've been working on it for months and now, right when I was finishing up, our daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis. For those keeping score, this means now every one of our children has a pre-existing condition, right when the GOP is trying to strip them of their health coverage. It's been an incredibly stressful few months.
I am dealing with it by trying to make sure we all stay as healthy as possible so we can avoid any additional costly medical intervention. My husband's company announced, despite the pandemic, all their employee insurance plans will be increasing in price due to hikes by the insurance companies. It's hard to stay positive when we live in a world with so much evil and greed.
Therefore... doughnuts and cookies to the rescue! Specifically beignets and Norwegian Fattigmann. It's difficult to be sad when you're eating fried dough! And these are Keto recipes, sugar and grain-free. The beignets even fit within Dr. Atkins' allergy elimination protocol diet! I adapted this from Ketochix's French Fry recipe on Instagram (@ketochix on Instagram). The French Fries are great, but these are even better.
Makes 8-10 beignets
1/2 cup almond flour
6 tsp Xanthan Gum
6 TBSP hot water
Pinch powdered monk fruit sweetener, sifted, and some for dusting (I prefer Lakanto)
Coconut oil, tallow, or lard for frying
Start heating the oil in your deep fryer, following manufacturer's instructions for the amount of oil to use. Mix the almond flour and xanthan gum with a pinch of the powdered sweetener. Add the hot water one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough forms a ball. It is very sticky dough, so that's normal. Chill for 15 minutes. Roll dough out between two sheets of parchment paper or silicone mats until it is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Deep fry on high for 5 minutes, turning over halfway through, until the beignets are puffy and golden. Shake off excess oil and dust with the sifted powdered monkfruit. Serve hot.
The thinner you roll the dough, the crispier and drier the beignets. Thicker dough produces beignets with a crispy shell and a gooey center. To adapt the recipe for Fattigmann, add a pinch of cardamom to the dough. Substitute 1TBSP brandy for one of the tablespoons of hot water. Roll the dough on the thinner side. Fold over one edge of each rectangle after you cut the dough, so it looks like you're making a little sack, as shown in the photo below.
Of course, real Fattigmann are actually twisted in a sort of knot, but this dough is too sticky for that. Fattigmann were my Norwegian grandfather's favorite cookies, he once told me. He didn't like sweets and they aren't very sweet cookies. Fattigmann means "poor man" in Norwegian and these are called "poor man's cookies". There is some argument as to why. Some say the expensive cardamom and brandy made the baker poor and others say these were the only treats poor people were able to afford to make. My grandfather's family was certainly poor, so that would make sense! These are a traditional Christmas treat in certain areas of Norway, or in my grandfather's case, Norwegian-America, and the original recipe is terribly labor-intensive. You roll out the dough and cut it into diamond shapes. Then you cut a slit in the center of each one and pull one end through the slit, like you're tying a bow. Then you fry them. They take forever! A couple times I made these for my grandfather and carted them from NC to Ohio but they aren't very good unless they're fresh and I gave up on it. I wish I had this recipe when he was alive! If you want to make these to travel I recommend only frying them about halfway. Then freeze them and finish frying them just before you serve them. You could probably make them in an air fryer, too. I would brush them with oil and fry them in 5 minute increments, checking them and turning them over every couple minutes until they're done.
I'm feeling better after treating myself to a plate of beignets. It was like I was at Cafe Du Monde! I wish I had some of their coffee! Outside of our kids' health issues, things are going well. I completely transitioned my women's and kids' fashion to ThredUP. I did this for two reasons: my daughter has been assigned to have her physical therapy at home and I need the room I was using for inventory for a home gym. Also, we have been finishing the tiny cabin shell we ordered all by ourselves, including even some electrical work. We spend most weekends up there now, so I am looking for more passive income sources that require less hands-on work from me.
In that vein, I finally wrote my book! It's called Doll University and it contains every doll repair tutorial I've ever made as well as instructions on how to turn those skills into a home business. I just finished correcting my author's proof and I hope to offer pre-launch copies at a discount later this week. I will update you as soon as I finish that. I'm just so thrilled, and now I have several more book ideas in the works. I've inspired my kids as well; my two youngest have their own books about halfway written and plan to publish them!
I am having my best year of my business so far. Before the pandemic I was on track to quadruple my earnings but now, with that and the extra time out of the shop required by my daughter's diagnosis, I am looking at just doubling it. That's still good, however, and I am proud of myself. As of October I also saved up my daughter's entire four- year college tuition, if she attends the same university as my son! That takes a huge load off my mind. I was able to buy a composting toilet for our tiny cabin, too. That will probably not sound as exciting to you as it was for us, unless you've been using an outhouse! Those suckers are expensive but it was worth every penny. I'm grateful every night I don't have to climb down the 60 foot cliff in the dark to use the outhouse. It's the little things!
You might have noticed I haven't been posting recently and this is largely due to a Weebly glitch. Since about March whenever I post a new photo to my Updates blog the site randomly replaces photos on older posts with the new photos. Since I post so many tutorials this is a huge problem. I'll be working with Support to figure this out when I can but in the meantime I suggest you follow my Instagram and/or Facebook pages for up-to-date Updates and even some mini tutorials.
Back in March I started a huge undertaking: moving my women's and children's fashion to ThredUP. I took Kreithchele Barnard's ThredUP class and was inspired. Since the end of March I've been paid out more than $1200 on the platform with hundreds of dollars still pending payout. Most of these sales have been items that were sitting for months or even years in my other stores, as well as my kids' outgrown clothes and my pre-weight loss clothes that are too big now. While that's a small amount of money compared to my other shops, I feel good about it. My ThredUP shop is in its infancy still. Sending my inventory to them rather than storing it in my house opens up wonderful expansion opportunities for me since I'm not limited by my physical space. You can sign up for Kreithchele's course using my affiliate link (I will get a payout when you sign up). I highly recommend this class. Unlike other teachers, Kreithchele offers free lifetime updates and discounts on her other classes. I am about to start her class on how to create your own course (hello, Mandaline's Doll Doctor School! Remember that dream of mine?!). The problem with this endeavor is just the sheer magnitude of the task of packing off my thousands of items to ThredUP and cataloging it all and just learning a new platform, not to mention taking another class and learning another skill while running my existing businesses (oh, and being a mom and wife and all that too!). If you haven't signed up for ThredUP you can use this link and get a $10 credit to shop!
It doesn't help that we have been spending most weekends and even some whole weeks up at our fish camp in the mountains. We had a pre-fab shell delivered in December and we've been finishing the inside to turn it into a tiny cabin ourselves. We are doing everything except the electrical wiring. Over the past few months we've insulated and paneled about half the structure. We are in the process of finishing all that and building a bathroom. The property was untouched when we bought it so we are also spending many days building stairs and fences and just making it accessible. Our cabin is on a 60 foot cliff above the rest of the property and the river so making safe stairs down has been a top priority. It's been an amazing opportunity for us to teach our children the skills they need to be self-sustaining as well as to get to know them better since we are in such close proximity. We don't have Internet so we have to work from our cell phones using our data and the signal is very spotty, another great reason for me to move as much as I can to ThredUP so they can fulfill orders and deal with customer service issues for me.
I have also been so swamped with custom orders and doll repair requests in my doll hospital I've had to turn some away. It's wonderful to make so much more money and I am so thankful to all my customers, but turnaround time at the moment for major repairs is close to a month. This is another reason I want to get my Doll Doctor course finished. Soon I will be homeschooling again due to the pandemic and I will have even less time for my business. I know firsthand the incredible demand for doll and toy doctors; I am getting dolls from as far away as Europe and Australia in my hospital. I can tell you it's a promising trade to learn and one that allows you to work from home. I'll post more about how to sign up when I finish the class and create my course.
I hope you are all doing well and just wanted to let you know what's been going on here. I fervently hope we can pull together and take care of this pandemic and get things back to normal. Stay safe and well!
If you've followed my blog for a long time you no doubt remember my obsession with my first baby doll: Velvet Skin Baby Dreams by Ideal. I had a latent memory from childhood which would express itself at night when I was dreaming. I would dream I left my baby, who wore a pink gown with a little pointed hood, on the floor by the front door and went back to get her she was gone (I know, I was a great mother!). I would look and look for her but could never find her and then wake up and feel such a sense of loss. This was occurring when I was in my mid-30s but the doll in the memory was real, from my early childhood. In the dream I could perfectly recall our house in California as it was when I was a toddler, something I can't remember in my waking life. I kind of remembered the baby doll in my dream. I thought it must have been a cloth doll because I knew it had a fuzzy face. I asked my mom about it and she immediately became very defensive. It turns out, the doll had a flocked face. The flocking was peeling off and turning brown so when I wasn't looking she threw it away. Shortly after that my father died and we moved to Ohio to live with my grandparents. I think the sense of grief I had in my dreams and my compulsion to search for her was my brain trying to get back the memory of my California days when I was a happy little girl and didn't yet know the loss of a parent.
My mother couldn't remember the name of my doll, so armed only with the information that she had a flocked face and hoping my memory of her pink gown with the pointed hood was accurate, I began searching online. It took months to find out her name and when I did I discovered she is a very rare doll. Apparently most of these dolls were thrown away when their flocking started to flake off. I made it my mission to find and repair as many of these babies as I can. Since then I no longer have the recurring dream.
As you can see from this doll's before and after photos, she gets pretty scary looking when she's been overly loved. For one thing, the original body fabric is a dark beige, so it looks dirty even when the doll is new. Ideal only produced this doll in 1975 and they significantly lowered the quality toward the end of the production. The first dolls had a flocked face and limbs and thick hair. By the time they discontinued the doll only the faces were flocked and the hair was thin and sparse. Even the better dolls have the low-quality hair so prevalent in the 1970s. It gets very frizzy with any kind of play.
This doll is one of the higher-quality early ones. I cleaned this doll, made her a new body using the old one as a pattern, gave her hair a boil treatment to straighten it and ran over the hair with a fabric shaver to trim the split ends. Her eyes were cloudy so I cleaned those with a cotton swab dipped in window cleaner. Her flocking is rubbed off her chin, cheeks, and the tip of her nose as well as in spots on her legs and arms. Despite all that she cleaned up well and looks much better. She's also much sturdier now and ready for gentle play. These dolls are really too delicate for rough play unless you want to have to re-flock them about every 6 months.
After many years of searching I acquired a mint-in-the-box Baby Dreams doll for myself. I used her original outfit to make a replica. As you can see, my restored Baby Dreams holds her own pretty well next to the mint one. I don't think you'd even recognize her from her before photo!
My mint doll is one of the later ones, not as high-quality, but still cute. She spends most of her time in her box anyway. I also use her original paperwork to make tags for my restored dolls.
I did the best I could with her hair. It never gets perfectly smooth. Of course you could re-root the doll or give her a wig. Whenever possible I try to retain the original hair because it's a very unusual pinkish-white blond that matches the flocking. Besides that, the lucky circumstance of the original hooded gown covers it very well.
I make copies of the original paperwork to use as tags. This doll has special eyes that open and close when you lie her down sideways and the paperwork explains that (I guess so people wouldn't be calling Ideal all the time complaining the eyes were broken). It takes a little practice to learn to work them.
I had stretch jersey knit body fabric especially for doll-making so that's what I used for the replacement body. As a result my doll is a little more toned-looking than originally. I like the pale peach shade so much better than the original brown. I couldn't believe it when I got my mint doll and found out the body was always that dark and dingy looking!
I'm very pleased with this restoration! Right now this baby is reserved. If her adoption doesn't go through I will list her in my shops and update this post. You can link to all my shops from the Home page. I have many more restored dolls for sale on eBay, Etsy, Depop, Mercari, and Poshmark.
Etsy has been essentially begging sellers to make and sell face masks due to high demand. This is a perfect project for me because I have tubs full of mask-sized fabric and elastic scraps! Etsy is the only platform who has not banned the sale of face masks so it's a good opportunity make money and provide for others at the same time. I would never try to price gouge, but I also am not going to work for sweatshop wages; my daughter and I both sewed all day yesterday so my masks are fairly priced for us as well as buyers.
That said, I am painfully aware of all those out of work at the moment. I have also been having some trouble with my sewing machine. Therefore, I am providing a free PDF pattern to print at home as well as selling kits to make masks at a discounted price. Everything in the kit is pre-washed in hot water and pre-cut. All you have to do is sew it together. If you don't have a sewing machine you can buy our pre-made masks. As always, I am making no medical claims about these masks; I am simply following the CDC recommendation for us to all wear masks when we leave the house. If you are using your own fabric researchers recommend 100% cotton and natural fibers, tightly woven. They say you should avoid synthetics, particularly Spandex. If you have any old cotton dress shirts past their prime those would be ideal. Pre-wash all fabrics, including the reusable filter material, in hot water and tumble dry before cutting and sewing (this step has already been completed if you are using my mask kit).
Download the PDF file above to print at home. Please note, this is my exclusive pattern for your personal use or to make donations; it is NOT for resale. The pattern is scaled for adults and the finished mask will measure approximately 10 inches wide by 5 inches tall. You can print it at a reduced scale to make a smaller pattern for children. I prefer foldover or hair tie elastic because it can be cut and knotted to size and comes in fun patterns. These masks are designed to have a pocket for a removable filter. You can use a folded tissue for a disposable filter or a coffee filter. For a reusable filter hospitals recommend interfacing fabric or tightly woven flannel, such as shop towels from the hardware store. I am using interfacing.
I found during my personal use the interfacing is perfect to make the mask into a diffuser for essential oils. Just a couple drops of Thieves, Raven, or the "allergy trio" (peppermint, lemon, and lavender) makes for much more pleasant experience in my opinion. You can order masks, mask kits, and essential oils from the links on my Home page.
Once you've cut out your mask pieces mark the triangles (which are called "notches") with chalk or a tiny clip. Start with the lining pieces. Stitch the notched long end, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and leaving an opening between the notches as shown below. This is the opening of the filter pocket.
Sew wide gathering stitches between the notches marked along the upper and lower horizontal edges of each piece. Pull the threads to gather the pieces. This adds elasticity that will allow the mask to fit more snugly over the nose and chin.
With right sides together, place two 12 inch elastic pieces as indicated by the notches on one side of the mask, sandwiching the elastic between the main and lining fabrics as shown. Pin in place.
Sew the pieces together as shown on one side. Then repeat as above on the other side.
When your sides are joined, pin the top and bottom edges of the main and lining fabrics and stitch, being careful not to catch the elastic in the stitching.
Cut the corners and clip the curves, making sure you don't cut through the stitching.
Turn right-side-out through the filter pocket opening.
Adjust your mask to help it lie as flat as possible.
Iron your mask to help it look more professional.
Your finished mask should look like this.
If desired, use a few drops of your favorite essential oil on your reusable filter. The CDC recommends you do not touch your mask once you have placed it on your face. As soon as you return home remove your mask and wash it, along with the reusable filter if applicable, in hot water and tumble dry.
You can purchase my masks and mask kits from my Etsy shop and the essential oils from my Young Living shop. Both links are on the Home page.
If you’re in need of funds right now I want to recommend a class I just completed about selling on ThredUP. This course showed me how to maximize profits by sending stuff in from our closets and old store inventory that has been sitting in my other stores. This is just one bag that recently arrived; I’ve made over $150 so far. You can sign up at: https://kreithchelesacademy.teachable.com/?affcode=83024__muw7ipr
I believe in this teacher so much I signed up as an affiliate for her so I will make a commission if you order a course from my link (no extra cost to you). This class is how I got the information I shared in my last post about promoting my items and following sellers. It turns out you don't have to just accept ThredUP's low pricing or sit there hoping things will sell; there are actions you can take to facilitate sales and save on fees. I really wish I'd taken this class before I sent in my first box; I actually lost money on that one! This is a long class; it's way more information than I can share for free, so I really hope you'll consider taking it.
Kreithchele makes almost 100K per year just selling on ThredUP and teaches more classes on accounting, among other things. I'm already signed up for her next class! I've taken many courses online and this has been one of the clearest and easiest to follow. Best of luck on your ThredUP journey! And don't forget to sign up for ThredUP with my link for a $10 credit!
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.