I have returned from my long vacation. I was pretty good about resting the entire time, at least from my job. I did ship a couple packages and answer a few messages, but I also extended the closure of my shop for five days. All Atelier Mandaline shops are open and my eBay and Etsy shops are on sale. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
As far as updating you on my health, I am afraid I don't have much to report. Other than the vitamin deficiency and slight anemia caused by blood loss the doctor found nothing. A battery of tests and an ultrasound didn't reveal anything. I can't help feeling like this is because the attitude from the moment I walked in that this is "normal" kept them from really searching to find anything. So, I am still bleeding quite heavily at times. I did find a doctor who offers online treatment of Hashimoto's, which is what I am pretty sure I have, and started his treatment. I also adjusted my essential oils which contain bio-identical hormones, and I am already much less tired. The rash on my face is gone, and I succeeded in stopping the bleeding and slowing it down for a few days. I feel once I have been on the Hashimoto's treatment a bit longer and get the dosages of my oils correct I will be back to normal. My son who works in a lab as a geneticist ordered some more tests for me that he felt the doctor neglected to do and I am waiting for those results.
Today I woke up a few hours earlier than normal, went shopping, did some housework, and then worked in the yard for an hour. It's a big change, as since January just shipping my orders was enough to fatigue me to the point I needed a four-hour nap. Earlier this week I drove my kids to see my parents and to the beach for a day. So, I am hopeful I will soon be better. I am beyond disgusted with women's health care in this country. Almost every woman I have talked to since this began is experiencing similar issues and is being told it's normal and it's just because of her age. I was 24 when this first started for me, triggered by pregnancy, and I was never able to get a solution until I did it myself. Why are we all putting up with this? If this were happening to most men it wouldn't be happening! Thank goodness for the Internet putting testing and treatment into our own hands!
This is a hard post to write. I will be closing my stores temporarily from April 13 to at least the 19th. These dates are subject to change depending on medical tests I'm undergoing next week. In the meantime, please enjoy my Easter sale going on now in my eBay and Etsy shops. You can link to all my shops from the Home page.
As you know, at least if you follow my social media, we have been having a streak of bad luck with our plumbing, our son's health, my husband's car, etc, so it's not a great time for me to close my stores. It's the reason I never fully closed when I had COVID. Even when I claimed to be closing for vacation a couple months ago I didn't really close. I just extended my handling time and still answered messages. This time I will actually be closing. You will be able to purchase only from my eBay store or my Shop page. You will receive downloads instantly of course, but no physical items will be shipped and I will not be responding to messages until I return. I will not be taking any new doll hospital patients.
So, here's the situation. I have not ever fully recovered from COVID and it seems to have reactivated a mystery illness I have been struggling with for more than 20 years. As you can see, I have a rash all over my face. The little white flecks are flakes of skin that's so dry it's peeling off. The rash is itchy and painful and I have some acne thrown in, despite the fact I'll be 48 in a few weeks. Fun times! This is not the main problem, however. The main problem is uncontrolled bleeding. I have lost so much blood in recent weeks I have a vitamin B12 deficiency and possible anemia, both of which are very hard to develop on a near-carnivore diet like mine! This exact illness, right down to the rash, popped up during my pregnancy with my oldest son and raged on undiagnosed and untreated for 15 years (despite me seeing legions of different doctors and undergoing a plethora of tests) before I was able to get it in remission myself with diet, essential oils, and supplements. Unfortunately, none of my home remedies are working now, so I went to see a new doctor.
The new doctor promptly told me this is "normal" for a woman my age, which is the exact same thing I've been hearing since I was 24 (and the reason I rarely visit doctors anymore)! She did, however, order some tests. I have at least one more test next week. So far, other than the vitamin deficiency almost certainly caused by blood loss, they are all normal. I'm sure the new doctor thinks I'm crazy, as I was crying in her office. The last eight years, having this issue under control. have been amazing and I just can't stand being back in this dark place after so many years.
Personally, I think I have Hashimoto's disease. My home treatment was based on that and has been working well for almost a decade. I really hope I am able to get it back on track. At the moment I am exhausted. I am in pain and experiencing crushing fatigue and I need to focus as much as possible on myself right now. It's hard when you're mom; it seems like you never can be fully selfish. At least I can't.
So anyway, I am closing my stores and doll hospital until the 19th at least. I may close my shops early if my condition changes or I need surgery, which I should know sometime next week. I am very sorry for any inconvenience and I appreciate any positive vibes you can send my way.
Despite my last post title, things aren't entirely back to normal, but I'm getting there. I have some lingering symptoms that ebb and then surge, just when I think I am recovered. Mostly, I am still suffering from fatigue. I could sleep about 20 hours a day I think! As a mom, of course, that's impossible. Track started up as soon as swim team ended so I am obligated to spend a great deal of the day driving kids around. I have been pushing myself to list every day and try to work my way back to my ordinary schedule. It helped that I was stuck upstairs with my inventory for a week; after staring at our surplus of outgrown but unlisted goods I was definitely inspired to get them out of the house!
On top of kids' clothes, toys, and plush, I prepared some dolls for sale. With the exception of a century-old Gre Poir doll, these have largely dated from the 1970s. I have a soft spot for these Barbies, because I owned them or their very similar counterparts as a child. I have some incredibly rare dolls just hanging around the house, and these are two of those. The top video is Free Moving Barbie, made only one year, either in 1974 or 1975 depending on who you talk to . She has a ball-jointed waist that releases for extra range of motion via a clip in her back. She came with athletic clothing and sporting goods and a separate set of patriotic, Olympics-style outfits were available for her. I have boxes and boxes of doll clothes in my office and I was able to put together several outfits for her, very similar to her originals and most from the same era. Many of these are as rare or even more rare than the doll. I love this Barbie face, the "Marlo" face! She doesn't have the rooted eyelashes the original Marlos had. Her hair is fantastic! It's nice and thick and you can curl it with your fingers. I found her a case from 1968. It was falling apart so I restored it with a new lining and outer border, all wipe-clean like the original. I was able to give her several sporty outfits and implements, like a tennis racket and ball bag with little foam tennis balls I made by hand. She has ice skates and a basketball and a swimsuit and swimming medal as well as a floral bouquet, just like in the Olympics! This is a really fun set for anyone who likes both sports and dolls.
The second trunk set I completed this week features the incredibly rare Super Fashion Fireworks doll and wardrobe from 1976. I knew as soon as I saw this doll she was different. She has the Stacey face, which is very rare in America, having been used briefly in addition to the Marlo face before the Superstar face debuted. The most recognizable Barbie with this face is the Sun Set Malibu Barbie from around 1970 (leading some people to call this the Malibu face). However, by the time I got a Malibu Barbie a few years later she had the Superstar face.
I knew this wasn't a Malibu Barbie because she has very pale skin, not the Malibu tan, and she was made in Korea, not Japan. Her hair is a different color, too, almost yellow with a hint of apricot, and it's a different texture: extremely thin and straight and dry. It's not damaged hair; it's clearly just a different fiber than I've seen on most Barbies. Barbie came with a lot of clothing and I actually identified her using those pieces. She's the Kresge exclusive Super Fashion Fireworks Barbie from 1976. This explains her lower-quality hair. Kresge was a dime store chain and this Barbie was sold with a set of clothes including the patchwork print maxi dress, the pink trousers, and the white blouse. Other clothes also came in the set and the doll originally wore an orange swimsuit, but those are missing. Even though none of the clothes are tagged I knew the dress and blouse had to be by Mattel because of their distinctive tiny buttons. Mattel used the tiny colored buttons as well as tiny snaps on clothing from Barbie's inception until around 1980 when they switched to hook and loop closures. The buttons and snaps are recognizable as Mattel because they are significantly smaller than those used by other manufacturers at the time. There is another version of the Super Fashion Fireworks set exclusive to Ben Franklin stores from the same year. That one includes the same doll in her swimsuit but with different fashions. There was also a "Barbie Plus 3" set sold at various discount chain stores using this Barbie in her orange swimsuit packaged with three outfits, different from those sold with the Fashion Fireworks sets. We didn't have Kresge when I was little but we did have Ben Franklin. Man, I loved that store!
I found another case for Barbie, and it's a rare one. I've never seen it before! It's from 1975 and features Barbie wearing a prairie style maxi dress with a headscarf. It has a Bionic Woman sticker on back! I loved that TV show. The case (and both these dolls) was black with mold but I was able to get everything really clean again. The cardboard inserts were starting to crack so I lined them in pink tape to stabilize them. I found extra clothes for Barbie to fill in the gaps made by the missing pieces from her original wardrobe. This is another really rare set, sturdy enough for play but terrific for a collector. You can find both sets in my shops linked to the Home page. I have been listing some very rare Mattel clothing pieces separately, such as the Growing Up Ginger original skirt, so you should check out the Doll Clothes section of my shops if you are trying to complete a certain doll.
I never actually closed my shops completely while I was sick. I still shipped orders, but on a slower turnaround time. So, I decided I am going to really take the long Presidents' Day weekend off. I will have a sale on eBay and Etsy but orders won't ship until Tuesday the 22nd. I am going to spend the weekend just relaxing and trying to completely recover. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!
Atelier Mandaline shipping and processing times are back to normal. Thanks so much to everyone who reached out to advise and check on us! My daughter is back to school feeling fine. I’m still dealing with some fatigue and breathlessness after physical activity but I’m better every day.
Atelier Mandaline is temporarily closed due to COVID. You may make purchases from my shops on the Home and Shop pages but there may be a delay in fulfillment and response. Don’t miss my Chinese New Year Sale on eBay and Etsy. Stay well!
Well, here we are two weeks into the new year and I haven't posted on my blog. Sorry about that! We've been traveling all over the place now that the entire family is fully vaccinated. It's been wonderful, especially for the kids, to see relatives and friends again. Like so many people, I had some trouble maintaining my waistline during the lockdown. As you might remember, I lost 60 pounds in 2019 through intermittent and extended fasting and the keto diet. I was working with a doctor on my fasting, but sadly the combination of the pandemic and the presidential election seemed to drive him crazy. He was assigning more and more extreme fasts and I started losing hair and re-gaining weight. He's now doing week-long dry fasts and stuff so I can no longer recommend him. Instead I returned to my old stand-by, the original Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution book from 1972. This is the book that taught me how to feed my son after he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I didn't want to cook different foods for everyone so we switched the whole family to his plan. Nowadays we would call this the Keto diet. After a couple months, my teenagers' acne cleared up completely and my youngest son, whose pediatrician was on the bring of prescribing immune-suppressing medicine for his eczema, saw the eczema and the mouth sores from which he suffered, completely clear up. It was obvious this was an optimal diet for everyone's health, not just for controlling diabetes. And my son's A1C went down to 6.5 and his sugars were totally flat, which is textbook-perfect diabetes control!
A couple weeks before Christmas my diabetic son took a new job as a geneticist and moved out and I'm afraid we had a carbohydrate festival until after New Years. And almost immediately, my weight shot up and my kids' acne and mouth sores and eczema came roaring right back. Atkins was right when he said you should consider excess weight as a lifelong chronic disease. As soon as you stop treating it you go right back to gaining. I whole-heartedly recommend that book! It's pretty easy to find online and at thrift stores.
A new popular form of fasting is the PMSF, or Protein Modified Sparing Fast, and I noticed the original first week of the original Atkins diet matches the macro percentages for that fast perfectly: 30% Protein, 65% Fat, and 5% Carbohydrate. Just reduce the calories to around 800 to induce fasting autophagy. PMSF is not a new invention, despite what many influencers claim. Dr. Atkins called it a "Fat Fast" and was prescribing it to his patients back in the 1960s. The diet mimics the influence of fasting without the spike in cortisol and malnutrition or muscle loss many people experience with dry or water fasts. After just four days of PMSF following Atkins' first week diet I was in deep ketosis and lost 2.5 inches off my waist! Our scale broke partway through lockdown and I never replaced it so I am using measurements to track my progress. One note: I am allergic to a large number of fruits and vegetables, including iceberg lettuce, so I did not eat the daily salads Atkins adds to his diet. It's a pity because I love iceberg lettuce!
Atkins' reason for adding the lettuce to his diet is the lack of crunchiness in the texture of pretty much all keto foods. It is something you will come to miss pretty quickly. I remedied this for my family with my Keto Copycat Cheez-Its recipe. Cheez-Its are my favorite snack and I missed them terribly, but my recipe tastes just like the real thing! The annoying thing about making the original version is the requirement, if you want true Cheez-It crunch, of aging the cheese. My husband figured out a genius hack, however: you can "age" the cheese in a dehydrator! We just put the Gouda slices on parchment paper and dry for 9 hours at 125 degrees. These are great plain to snack on and are also a terrific replacement for crackers and flatbreads and chips to eat with pimento cheese or dip.
The dehydrator was my husband's Christmas present because he loves making jerky, but we've used it pretty much constantly to make Cheez-Its! I'm so glad he figured it out because I can make 200 individual crackers and they'll be gone in two days! Now I can just dry the cheese overnight or all day and it's ready to bake. I just wish the dehydrator didn't take up so much room in my kitchen!
So, that's where I've been, just dieting and turning my son's bedroom into a new office and guest room. I am selling the incredible amount of stuff he left behind and doesn't want. I have all kinds of video games and consoles and other gaming stuff for sale, as well as a ton of clothes. A lot of the clothes are brand new because he outgrew them before he ever had a chance to wear them. You can link to all my shops from the Home page to purchase these. I am listing new stuff daily! I have so many new dolls to restore and customize, but it will have to wait until I finish the re-decorating. I hope your year is off to a wonderful start!
It's that time of year again: when, if you're like me, you realize you've missed the shipping deadline for Christmas cards and gifts! I totally get it! I will be sending digital cards and electronic gifts this year because I just never got around to ordering Christmas cards and mailing gifts to far-away friends and family. With kids' sports and holiday activities, it is really hard to keep up with the postal schedule. Therefore, I am doing my best to help you with your gift list by discounting all my ebooks 20%! You can download these gifts any time, even Christmas Day. Give your loved one (or yourself!) the gift of a new career with my Doll University ebook for less than $30! That's an amazing $50 off the price of the paperback. Doll University teaches doll repair as well as how to profit from your new-found skills by opening a doll shop or doll hospital.
Do you know someone dreaming of downsizing? Give them my Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin ebook, a journal detailing how we built and furnished our tiny cabin for under $20k and purchased an acre of waterfront property for less than $45k.
Know someone who just wants to repair one special doll? Give them one of my Midcentury Trade School doll repair lessons featuring specific individual midcentury dolls, such as Tiny Tears or Saucy Walker.
When you give the gift of knowledge you give endless opportunity for new experiences, something that won't break or fade or be re-gifted. Find these special prices exclusively on my Shop page.
This is the last week to order online in order to get your packages delivered in time for Christmas. I’m having a sale to help you get everything you need. Link to my eBay, Etsy, and Depop shops from the Home page to save.
Today I am going to show you how to install squeeze voice boxes. I am using one of my 3-Sound voice boxes, available from my shops (link from the Home page). I am using an applique patch to attach the voice box to a firmly-stuffed doll. If you want to put the box into a floppy, loosely-stuffed doll or plush you can just open one of the seams and insert the voice box. Squueze the body to make sure the box works. If you can't squeeze it enough to make the voice work remove some of the stuffing around it. When you get it to work re-sew the seam or add hook and loop tape so you can open and close it to get to the box.
To insert with a patch, cut out your patch. Heart-shaped patches are always cute. Sew on the applique partly, until you can insert the box. I am using blanket stitch and a fleece applique.
Continue sewing the applique until it is complete. If you are using one of my boxes consider using hook and loop tape on one side so you can get to the box because these boxes have batteries which can be replaced. The vintage doll body shown here is too delicate to have the patch opening and closing so I sewed it all the way around. You would insert a squeaking voice box and any other box you squeeze to work the same way.
Here is a video of the crying sound. To hear the entire series of sounds please click here.
My long-time readers will remember my specialty: Ideal Velvet Skin Baby Dreams doll restoration. Ideal has been making a Baby Dreams doll since at least the 1930s but this version, with flocked "velvet" skin, was only made for one year, 1975. It so happens this was my first doll. I adored her but one day she disappeared. Unbeknownst to me, since her flocking was turning brown and peeling off, my mother threw her away. Shortly after that my father died and we moved from California to Ohio to live with my grandparents, and all the events during that traumatic era erased her from my conscious memory. Every so often, though, Baby Dreams would resurface, literally in my dreams! I had a recurring dream that I left her lying on the floor in the foyer and when I returned she was gone. In my dream I could see her soft face and her pink pointed hood. The funny thing is, I can't remember much about our house in California, but in my dream it reappeared in all it 1970s glory and I could recall every detail. I asked my mother what doll I had but she couldn't remember. In my memory she was a cloth doll but my mother told me she was flocked. I searched and searched for a flocked doll with a pink hooded bunting and finally I found a wise eBay seller who included those keywords in her listing. This is a helpful note for eBay sellers: use descriptive words because your buyer might not remember the name of a vintage item! Once I found my doll I realized she is extremely rare. Due to the issue of the flocking darkening and flaking off the dolls were often discarded and they were only made by Ideal for one year. After many years of waiting I was able to find a replacement doll I could afford and since then I no longer have the dream about her being lost. I realize, of course, the dream wasn't ever really about the doll. I linked her to my lost life in California when my family was whole and my father still alive. I am happy to have my replacement doll though anyway. I learned to restore the velvet skin and now I restore as many as I can get.
This particular Baby Dreams had lost most of her velvet skin and her vinyl was dark and stained. The tip of her nose, for example, was dark brown. I took her apart and cleaned her and re-stuffed her. Then I gave her a full body repaint and re-flocking. I applied four layers of flocking so she won't be losing hers again, at least not any time soon! The right panel of her chest had a hole and was very fragile but otherwise her body is in excellent condition. Since she didn't need a new body I repaired the hole and added a 3 sound voice box. Each time you squeeze her body she will laugh, cry, or say "Mama". The video below is the crying sound.
Baby Dreams has her original box and bunting. She is all ready for a new home. Because she is hand-painted and flocked and her body is fragile I recommend her for adult collectors. Any young child should be supervised while playing with her. You can find this extremely rare doll from all my shops. Link to all my shops from the Home page. I have another of these on the way but that one needs a new body and bunting as well as flocking so it will be a while before she's finished.
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.