Recently someone in my weight loss group asked why Americans celebrate everything with food, implying we are the only ones who do so. And then everyone jumped in and bashed American eating habits and the whole discussion devolved, in my opinion, into nonsense. As someone who started her career working in Italy and as a Norwegian-American, I disagree wholeheartedly with this idea. If anything I think other cultures celebrate with food even more than Americans. It's our day-to-day food use that's really different. The best expression of this I can recommend is the book French Women Don't Get Fat, but I have a few experiences to relate.
Our family's tradition, for as many generations as we remember, has been to eat rømmegrøt, or Norwegian cream porridge, for supper on Christmas Eve. We only ever eat this decadent dish on Christmas Eve. As you might imagine, sugar and flour were not common in Norway in the past, so this meal was used as a celebration. We savor it because we eat it so rarely. Even though I created a Keto version of the recipe to make it diabetic-safe, I still only make it on this one night of the year so it keeps its special status.
When I was 21 I spent the summer working as an intern in Italy. Two days a week I worked for an ad agency, where I actually worked on a campaign for Roberto Cavalli, the couture clothing designer. Three days a week I worked for a woman named Laura who owned her own design studio. Working with Laura was very intimate since I was her only employee. Laura was maybe four feet tall and always in a rush. We would go out for breakfast each morning. This was a shot of espresso. Laura would sprint to the counter, slap her hand down on it and yell "cafe!" and then she would down her shot and be on her way out the door, all in about 45 seconds. For lunch we would go to a panini shop for at least two hours, where we would eat our sandwiches and drink an entire bottle of Chianti with pretty much all of Firenze. Laura knew everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in Firenze (Florence). She knew all the shop owners, all the gallery owners and Uffizi tour guides. Even the African guys with the tissue packets they peddled clipped all over their clothes, she knew them. And they would all come sit with us at lunch and shoot the breeze. Laura would drink most of the wine herself. I would have been passed out on the floor if I drank that much compared to my height, but she would go back to the office and work until about eight every night. Lunch with Laura was a huge celebration, a party every single day, but neither of us and none of our friends were overweight.
The difference I saw in Italy was that no one snacked, ever. Meals lasted so long there wasn't time to snack and foods like pop and chips were so expensive no one could afford to eat them. No one ate breakfast. They would drink a coffee, usually just one. No one drank coffee all day or carried giant coffee cups around with them everywhere. No one watched television and snacked. Italian television was horrible back then and after supper, which was eaten around 10PM, everyone would get gelato and stroll along the Arno talking to their friend late into the night.
The difference in America, in my opinion, is that we don't celebrate with food. We eat all the time. We're always consuming trying to become healthy, rigorously drinking our kale smoothies, or we give up and eat fast food and junk food snacks all day and night. Food is anything but special here; it's anything but a celebration. It's either a duty or a guilty rebellion.
My challenge for myself this holiday season has been to celebrate with food and celebrate the food. I'm trying to savor the moment and enjoy myself. I'm eating only when I'm hungry. We went to our favorite restaurant and I enjoyed a low carb pizza and didn't feel one ounce of guilt. I'm not trying to lose weight during this season, just maintain. My weight has been up and down over a five pound range so I've been successful so far. We do stay low carb, if not keto, because of our diabetic son. I have a rash on my face from eating low carb wheat, so I may have to modify to strict keto for that reason, but I'm not giving up celebrating with food. In fact, I encourage you to START celebrating with food! Make eating an event, not a mundane constant, and really enjoy it. I think you might see some really positive changes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A couple weeks ago a client approached with me with a rush job: to repair an antique porcelain doll in time for Christmas so she could give it to her grandmother. The doll arrived in pieces, needing stringing, eyes, epoxy repairs, and replacement parts as well as clothes. I actually amazed myself by finishing the restoration in time! I don't usually repair porcelain dolls. The modern ones are mostly not valuable enough to be worth the time to repair and the antique ones are extremely scarce. These dolls were produced in Europe, mostly Germany and France, prior to World War I. During the war the factories were bombed and after the war ceramic doll production moved to Japan. The dolls themselves are fragile and didn't last long as children's toys, so nowadays these dolls are beyond rare!
This doll's head is marked S&H with a Star of David. The star was originally the hallmark of K&R but they merged with S&H and another company, H&H. These were all German companies. The doll's body is a mishmash. The torso is traditional composition. The forearms and knee and elbow joints are wood, the hands are composition, and the rest is a strange kind of composition made of pressed cardboard with a coating over it. When I took the doll out of its basket brown stuff like dirt poured out of the body and I could hear something rattling around inside. Further inspection showed this was due to a mud dauber wasp nest inside the body, so it actually was dirt coming out! I used my trusty hemostat to chip the nest apart so I could remove it through the leg hole.
I thought maybe the body was made of parts of different dolls. The head was repaired at some point in the past, very professionally, so I thought maybe the body was added then. However, a friend of mine told me the body looks like her doll's H&H body, so maybe it is original. Most of the time these dolls have kid leather bodies, so I don't know. The proportions are correct so maybe when the companies merged they used up their spare parts.
The head and body were filthy so I used my go-to Young Living foaming hand soap to clean them up. You can purchase this from the Young Living link on the Home page. This soap is a terrific cleaner to get rid of dirt and grime without removing paint. Luckily I had one pair of eyes in stock to fit this doll. I'll add some tutorials showing porcelain doll eye replacement soon.
One of the soles of the feet was missing. The legs are made of pressed cardboard so I used a piece of cardboard to replace the sole. I traced and cut it out and glued it on. Then I coated it with several coats of acrylic paint and gloss medium. I prefer to add a coating of oil paint over the acrylic but there wasn't time for oil paint to dry in this case. Always use a layer of acrylic on paper before using oil paint, otherwise the oil will eat through the paper and degrade it over time.
I also had to replace some fingers and one elbow joint. For these repairs I used hard plastic epoxy. To strengthen the fingers I inserted straight pins into the hand and used them as armatures. I wanted to use a wooden bead for the elbow joint but I didn't have one large enough and none were available locally. I ended up covering a too-small wooden bead with epoxy to size it up. This wasn't an ideal solution because the acrylic paint doesn't stick to epoxy well and scrapes off the joint as you move the arms, but it was the only way to finish in time for Christmas. The main lesson here is if it's at all possible you want to order your repairs as early as possible so I can do the job as thoroughly as I'd like. My solution was to dress the doll in long sleeves so the joint isn't visible.
One reason I thought the body might be a hodgepodge of parts is the variation of the wire hooks attached to the hands. The wire on the right actually went through the elbow and prevented it from bending so I ended up cutting it down to the same size as the other one.
For really large dolls like this, where I can't reach across to grab the elastic I use a wire as a come-along to pull the cord though. I just wrap the wire around the elastic and pull the wire through with the elastic attached.
Once the doll was strung I did some spot-painting to match the new parts to the old and cover the most egregious scratches. I would have like to do complete body re-paint with oil but there just wasn't time and the buyer didn't ask for that repair in her budget. The dress we chose covers most of the body anyway. Thankfully the doll had her original high-button shoes so that covered the rest of the legs. I didn't have shoes to fit her so it would have been a problem to find some in time otherwise.
The Christmas doll turned out beautifully, if I do say so! She's the perfect classic doll, always shown under Christmas trees in illustrations to this day, even though these dolls are largely non-existent now! When I was a little girl I was a huge fan of the book A is For Annabelle by Tasha Tudor. Annabelle is a doll much like this one and she has a wonderful wardrobe of clothes and accessories and a trunk to hold them all. I wanted one so badly but of course I never got one. My parents tried, but in the pre-Internet days just not possible to find. My grandmother had a photo of herself as a girl with a doll like this but it was long broken by the time I came along. I really felt betrayed she didn't preserve her doll for me! I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to keep your kid's dolls intact if you were a parent back then. I got a porcelain doll for Christmas once when I was about 12, so not a little girl, and when I picked her up out of the box her legs banged together and one foot broke off! So my dad was having to glue it back on later on Christmas Day!
If you're lucky enough to come across a doll like this one she'll probably need some repairs after a century of play. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some restoration tips, my holiday gift for you. You can also request an appointment for your doll to visit my doll hospital using the form below.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season!
Anyone who's followed me for a while knows I've been trying and failing for many years to lose weight but finally have been successful using ketogenic dieting and intermittent and extended fasting with the help of Dr. Wade Baskin. The photos above show my transformation from January of this year to today. I still have weight to lose and while I'd like to say I'm always consistent and motivated, sometimes I fail to achieve my goals. This week was one such time. Dr. Wade's group is doing a 5-day fast but I had to drop out less than halfway through. I've completed 5-Day fasts before, so it wasn't a case of being a newbie; I just had several things going against me this time.
Fasting, as I've mentioned before, is simple but it's not easy. I find it far easier to start a fast when I'm in ketosis and after Thanksgiving I certainly was not. I had some non-keto foods and way too many keto treats. It's also difficult for me to fast when I'm stressed out and the combination of running my business during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and solo parenting while my husband was away on business was just too much. Last night I was abnormally cranky and snapping at my kids all out of proportion to their behavior. I also made a bunch of mistakes sewing a scarf for an Etsy order and had to throw away a great deal of fabric I ruined. The kicker, though, was the onset of flu-like symptoms. I'll spare you the details except to say, while autophagy has amazing benefits, too much autophagy can be unpleasant to say the least. I ended up having a bowl of homemade sausage late at night in order to stop the autophagy without adding any more junk to my system. Breaking a fast, especially a long fast, can be dangerous. Most experts agree a small, simple meal of broth or meat works best. I was stuffed after just a few bites, and my stomach settled down, my headache disappeared, and my agitation calmed down so I could fall asleep.
Autophagy means "self-eating", named for the process through which the body begins not only using stored body fat for fuel but also clearing away damaged cells. Dr. Fung describes this phenomenon comprehensively in his book The Complete Guide to Fasting, which I sincerely recommend you read. If you start a fast after eating a bunch of junk or being exposed to a lot of chemicals or being under a bunch of stress or something to cause cellular damage, your body may eject these damaged cells all at once. I get migraines and stomach flu symptoms quite often from fasts of 40 hours or longer, which is because I still have a good 30 more pounds of fat to lose at least. One purpose of fat cells is to insulate the rest of your body from toxins. Your body places these in a cell surrounded by fat to isolate the toxin, so if you have excess body fat you can be sure it's full of lots of bad stuff. Fasting helps detoxify your body but let's just say sometimes this process isn't as gradual as one would hope! So, I failed at my fast this week, but it's okay. I did fast for over 50 hours, so I saw a great deal of autophagy, got back into ketosis, increased my growth hormone levels, and had a decline in insulin production (and increase in insulin sensitivity). I lost nearly all the weight I gained during Thanksgiving. I'm still having cravings for stuffing, my Thanksgiving favorite, so I will most likely switch to OMAD (one meal a day) and fat-heavy keto for the rest of the week to get that carb addiction under control. The reason Dr. Wade started these long fasts is because he read The Fasting Cure by Upton Sinclair and realized how many illnesses were successfully treated though extended fasting in the days before antibiotics. It's a very interesting book and another I recommend.
After a few days of strict low-carb whole foods I should be ready for a long fast. It's a difficult time for fasting, with all the holiday parties and in our case, birthday parties, so I'll do another post about holiday maintenance in a few days. What about you? Do you fast? How do you manage during the holiday season? Comment and let us know!
I got many compliments on my outfit today. Everything but the sweater (palazzo pants in blue or black, LipSense lip gloss, black bra) is available from my eBay store. The change in hair color and straightening of my normally-fuzzy hair is thanks to Overtone Coloring Conditioner. I'm using the Espresso Brown shade but they have lots of colors, including fun colors like red or blue and you can mix them to create your own custom color! Pro Tip: if you see something you like in my eBay (or any of my other stores) contact me using the form below for a discount! If you buy from me directly I can offer discounts of at least 10% -20% because I don't have to pay selling fees to a hosting platform. Make sure you contact me through THIS website though; I am not allowed to mention off-site sales on my store-hosting platforms.
Atelier Mandaline shops are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so I can finish cooking all the Keto treats. You may place orders from my shops (link on the Home page) but they will not ship until Saturday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
It's been quite a while since my last post and I want to apologize. As a mom and small business owner life tends to get in the way of social media at times. For the past five weeks we have either been up in the mountains working on our new property or hosting guests and I've been completely overwhelmed just trying to get the basic housework and childcare accomplished. We had a Harry Potter Halloween, the result of me finding a Firebolt broom at the thrift store, so I had to shorten a cloak for my youngest. We wrapped up another soccer season just in time to start a new season of high school swim team. Our daughter is doing extremely well in school; she's 9th in her class, so we are exploring opportunities for her to improve her chance of scholarships to college.
In the shops I've been busy listing fall and holiday staples like sweaters and fancy dresses and home decor. These are starting to sell out already. I just added the Hogwarts crest shirts shown above to my Poshmark boutique. I'm proud to say that, while I'm still not meeting my ultimate financial hopes, I've almost quadrupled my income over the past year. I've been adding more streams of income as well as automating as many processes as possible. In that vein, I ordered my first thredUP bag today. I'm going to see how it works to have someone else photographing and listing a lot of my fashion pieces. ThredUP takes kids' clothes now, thank goodness, because I have about six full tubs of consignment kids' stuff to list and no time to do it. I am selling most of the kids' stuff I already have listed in economical by-the-pound lots. You can buy four or five pound boxes of kids' clothing for boys or girls, sorted by size so they're perfect for dressing your child or even to resell! I do not photograph every piece since I'm selling this way to save time, so you should not purchase these unless you're okay with buying "mystery" boxes. Most of my customers have been very pleased with their boxes so far. I only include pieces I would sell individually in my store: so only pieces in excellent to like new or even new condition. You can find these lots in my Poshmark, eBay, Depop, and Mercari stores. On eBay save 15% off any purchase of $50 or more through November 25th. Link to all my shops from the Home page.
In doll news, I am having a lot of success selling dolls for customization or parts, mostly on Etsy. I clean up Barbies or similar dolls, ball-jointed if possible, and sell them nude for you to dress or repaint. I have a bunch listed and many more on the way to the shops, just in time for the holidays! I'm glad these "blank" dolls are popular because it saves me a ton of time. It's an easy way to create your own one of a kind art doll as a special gift. It's also popular to use the fashion doll bodies for Blythe doll heads as they are sturdier than the Blythe factory bodies and fit the more affordable Barbie clothes. Look for a doll customization tutorial coming soon to the blog. That's my big interest in dolls right now and I love to share!
If you follow my Instagram you know I've now lost more than 50 pounds with the help of Dr. Wade Baskin. I want to lose at least 30 more so I'm working on back to back 48 hour fasts again this week. I've had trouble with insomnia while fasting so Dr. Wade suggested I cut back to 48 hour fasts. Dr. Wade is a great person to follow for weight loss advice and I highly recommend his group. It does take me out of my comfort zone though. I am not a person who likes to post photos of myself, but Dr. Wade says since he is providing his service to us free of charge he expects group members to pay it forward by sharing our results and methods. Dr. Wade has seen huge improvements in his health and those of his patients and group members following the unconventional advice to fast and limit food to mostly meat when eating and he wants us to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health.
At this point, you're best off following my Instagram or Facebook pages to keep up with me since I'm so short of time for blog posting or newsletter writing. I appreciate all of you who are still hanging in there following me when I've been so absent. Yesterday at a party I was telling my friend I feel like I'm so overextended I'm not doing anything very well right now. I know firsthand how fast this phase of life will pass, however. Before I know it I won't have any kiddos at home, so I'm trying to savor it while it lasts.
Last week I had two new-to-me patients in my doll hospital: the 14 inch Miss Corolle Classic doll and a Bitty Baby Twins doll. Both these little ladies needed eye transplants. The Bitty Baby was partially repaired at home but the owner couldn't get the second eye in and sent the doll to me to finish. She was the second person in as many days to have trouble inserting the second eye into a Bitty Baby. I am not sure what the problem was because the eye popped right in for me. If you are having trouble with your Bitty Baby I suggest you review the tutorial. Bitty Baby takes a Margon size 13mm eye, available in my Etsy and eBay shops (link from the Home page). I find rubbing a bit of baby oil or petroleum jelly on the back of the eye helps with insertion. Miss Corolle was a lot more difficult so I was glad the owner sent her in. I didn't think to take photos but I made notes of some particular issues with that doll.
I believe this is the "Miss Corolle" classic doll. There are a few different 14 inch Corolle dolls and this one is the older-looking body and face rather than the baby type doll. Miss Corolle lost her iris. Unfortunately the only solution is to replace both eyes, unless you were to find the same doll from which you could harvest an eye. This doll, like the 18 inch American Girl, does not use a standard eye size. Her eyes are wide but the case is shallow. In the Margon replacement eyes she takes a size 10mm. You may remove the eyes using the method illustrated in the tutorial above, except that since this doll has rooted hair you will need to line the inside of the head with an oven roaster bag before you fill it with water. When the head is warm the eyes pop right out. Her vinyl head fits on a hard plastic neck so there is no reason for a drawstring; you can just pop the vinyl head right off the neck piece.
The Margon 10mm eyes are too tall for the eye pockets so you can't use the boil method to insert the new eyes. You will need to use my cut method. You will need to remove the ends of the vinyl eye pockets inside the head. This will result in a vinyl tube with an open end inside the head. The fit will still be tight. I gently heated the eye tubes with a hair dryer. Then I used a curved hemostat to place the eyes on the tube and push them toward the front. Then I straightened the gaze so both eyes looked in the same direction and sealed them to the tubes with Aleene's Tacky Glue. When the glue dried I popped the head back on the neck and sent her home. Although it was a difficult repair I believe the doll turned out beautifully! This doll looks to me like the American Girl Wellie Wishers size clothing would fit her if you find one without clothing. My traditional eye repair kit (not the American Girl kit) will work for this doll, but if you have trouble you can always send your doll to my hospital using the form below.
Today in my doll hospital I got a new patient, a Bitty Baby Twins dolls named Harmony. Harmony needed an eye replacement and hair styling and while she was here her owner wanted her ears pierced as well. The American Girl Hospital will pierce the 18 inch dolls' ears but they won't do the Bitty Babies' due to earrings being considered a choking hazard. So before you proceed please consider if your doll will be a play toy and don't pierce the ears until your child is five years or older and you are confident they won't put the earrings in their mouth.
Choose the spot where you want to pierce the ears and scratch a little mark there so you can make sure the placement is even. It's easiest to put the earring just at the edge of the ear lobe rather than in the center of the lobe the way human earrings are placed. You want the earring to look like it's in the ear but not to have to pierce the thick ear vinyl. Choose the thinnest spot as close to the ear as possible. I use a sewing machine heavy duty needle for both the marking and the piercing. For vinyl dolls, it can be helpful to fill the doll's head with hot water prior to piercing to soften the vinyl. I forgot to photograph that step, but this doll's head was still soft from her eye replacement when I did the piercing.
Bring some water to a boil. This step is also mostly for vinyl, not resin or hard plastic dolls. You are going to use the hot water to heat the needle.
Place the needle in the hot water for a few minutes until it is very hot. Use a hemostat or other tool to hold the needle so you won't burn your hands. If you are piercing a hard plastic doll you will probably need to heat the needle by passing it through a candle flame in order to get it hot enough. That method will cause a black mark on the doll's face where you pierce it unless you wipe off the needle before you pierce the doll. Be careful not to get burned!
The needle should be so hot it's difficult to hold, so I use a napkin or cloth like an oven mitt to protect my fingers. Press the needle steadily and forcefully into the spot you marked previously. Press until the needle breaks though the vinyl.
Now you may insert the earrings. It's helpful to do this while the vinyl is still warm. If you are doing it later you can heat up the earring posts beforehand the same way you heated the needle. If you are going to keep the earrings inserted all the time it's important you choose gold or gold-plated posts. Other metals, including sterling silver, will oxidize and turn your doll's ears green. I use human earrings or make earrings myself from gold-plated posts. You can use wire cutters to trim the posts if they're too long. If you're having trouble with the earrings falling out you can bend the tip so it's square. You turn it while you insert the earring and it will hold itself in. This is how the Revlon doll earrings are inserted and that's why it's important to cut those posts before you remove the earrings. If you just pull the Revlon doll earrings out of the ears you will tear the vinyl ear.
Harmony's owner chose pink faux pearls for her and they're very cute! She's all fixed up and headed home. You can use the doll repair request form below to ask for a repair or service, such as ear piercing.
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.
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!
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.