Two Barbie dolls from my childhood, Beauty Secrets 1979 and the 1975 Ballerina.

So how did all this Barbie doll collecting start? I must say, I’m not quite sure, other than to pin point it down to the moment I saw a picture of a doll from my childhood on the page of a Facebook friend. I recognised her immediately, and asked my fellow Barbie fan what she was called. She replied she was a Beauty Secrets Barbie from 1979, so knowing what she was called I then did a search on ebay, and I found her! This is the doll I had kept until my early 30s, and in good condition too, but sadly lost while moving around after my divorce.

The asking price for a mint in box starts from $100! But I wanted to see and touch her, so one still in the box was out of the question. I did bid on one that went for $15, but her hair looked terrible so I stopped bidding and someone else got her. Then I saw these two dolls in an auction for 8 dolls, the seller did not know what any of them were, other than to say some were Barbie dolls. I recognised the ballerina as also being from my childhood, and decided I needed to win the auction! I bid far too much, plus postage it cost me over $51! But now I have these beautiful dolls, and because they started it all off, I’m thinking I’m not sure I want to sell these two. As guilty as I feel for wasting money on such a silly thing, they were the reason why I spent the money, so maybe I should keep them afterall?!

When the dolls arrived in the mail, I was horrified. Their hair was terrible, they were very grubby and had a very strong ‘old’ smell. There were only 3 Barbie dolls, not 4 like the seller stated, and one Ken doll, and I didn’t know what the others were. I have since identified them all, which has been a very satisfying experience! It’s been a bit of a thrill to discover the proper name for each doll. I’ll hopefully find time to blog about the other dolls soon. But I’ve started with these two, as I knew from the start who they were.

I practised cleaning hair on some other dolls before cleaning these two. The Beauty Secrets doll’s hair was stiff and hard, like it had been ruined with some substance, I was sure it could not be saved. The Ballerina’s joints were limp and she sits delicately in your hand, her limbs are still attached but do not hold. Both their faces were incredibly grubby and dirty, I wasn’t sure I could clean them. But I used a toothbrush and some baby shampoo and gently scrubbed their faces and they came up very nicely. I rinsed the Beauty Secret’s hair and the stuff came out as if were aged hair conditioner, and her hair came up soft. The Ballerina’s hair is frizzed, perhaps as if someone has used a hair dryer on it, so I couldn’t do anything with it and now have it tied back with a band, inside the snood I made a while ago. I think I’ll practice on some other dolls before I try an intensive conditioning treatment on her hair. To wash their hair I first used hair conditioner, then shampoo, then carefully combed out the knots holding the hair firmly at the scalp, then more conditioner and left it in for a few hours, then rinsed thoroughly. On the hair of these dolls I didn’t put any baby oil like I might on younger dolls.

I washed the clothes, and because I don’t have the Ballerina tutu, I put her in a gown that came with these dolls, but was worn by another Barbie. My guess was it was a ‘proper’ Barbie dress, and my hunch turned out to be right! Its the dress worn by the Happy Birthday Barbie from 1980! A very fitting dress for my 1975 Ballerina with a missing tutu, I think! Because these dolls are special to me, I put some genuine Mattel Fashionista shoes on them, the Beauty Secrets even has some extra Fashionista accessories I had spare, too! I had to really squeeze the feet into the pink shoes, which is not a good idea as this could damage the feet. I’ve heard serious doll collectors remove the clothes and shoes for storage, to minimise damage over time. There is already some metal poking through the soft plastic of her legs, which can not be fixed and will continue to deteriorate. Inside the purple makeup case that came with the doll in 1979, are a hairbrush, comb, mirror and compact I found in the other auction I bought. I’ll write more on that ebay buy another day …

My Early Ebay Adventures

There’s so much I’m doing at the moment that I’d like to blog about, but time is so precious right now, it’s been a matter of choosing between the doing or writing about the doing, so the doing has been winning out!

When Thomas was still in the hospital nursery, David and I decided we needed a new mattress on our bed, as my old one was starting to feel uncomfortable. Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t take the delivery guys offer to remove the old mattress! Why did I think I still needed the old one? We had no room for it, so for the next 10 months, it stood up on it’s side in our spare room which cast a very gloomy atmosphere over it, and it couldn’t have been doing the mattress any good leaning up against the wall like that. I couldn’t think what to do with it, as most charities say they don’t like to accept donations of mattresses, so would they come and pick one up? Like most things around our small rented 3 bedroom town house, our possessions seemed to be taking over, crowding me in. I just didn’t know what to do with all this extra stuff we had accumulated over the last 4 years. Then it finally occurred to me that I could try and sell the mattress on ebay.

I had bought a couple of things from ebay in May 2010, including a beautiful cane doll’s furniture set that has featured on my blog before. But I had never sold anything. My overwhelming feeling was that I was too afraid to sell something in case the buyer would be unhappy, I imagined them harassing me for their money back, which would make me feel terrible! This was yet another avoiding behaviour of mine, while living like a hermit for 3 years, hiding from the world. But ever since David and I decided to start a family in early 2010 I’ve been getting braver, so I’ve been changing the way I live my life, the benefit of my child being the main motivator. So I had a go, and listed the queen size mattress on ebay!

I started bidding at $0.99 thinking I really just needed someone to come and pick it up. Oh, please won’t someone come and take our old mattress away? And sure enough, bidding started that night, and by the end the auction closed at $10.50! More than I expected, that’s for sure. And the sale went just fine, the lady came and pressed the money into my hand and took the mattress away in the back of her station wagon. We were worried that she didn’t have enough room, she had 2 teenagers with her, and one had to crouch down below the mattress in the back seat! And then later that night, I had some positive feedback! I was on my way to becoming an ebay seller!

Since then I’ve sold David’s old fish tank, which sold at an amazing $52 from a starting bid of 99c, a near new blender for $16.50, a wok for $5.50 and a plastic cheese grater for $3! Its surprising when these people came to pick up their items that most were under prepared. The fish tank ended up being put on her sons lap! But I’ve also made a couple of reckless purchases which I now regret and promise to be more careful of in future! I got it into my head that I wanted to buy a doll that I had from my childhood that I had lost. I saw a picture of her on facebook, and now I knew what her name was so I could find her for sale, she was a Beauty Secrets Barbie from 1979. I saw a listing for a group of 8 dolls, most I didn’t recognise, but there she was, as well as the Ballerina Barbie from 1975, which I also had as a little girl. So I bought it, and after postage, it cost me $51.56! /gasp! But it gets worse, I also bought some doll furniture which I recognised, which included some dolls clothes, for about $55! So feeling guilty, I now need to clean it all up and sell it, to try and get my money back for making such frivolous buys! Oh, ebay how yee tempts thee!! I hope to find more time soon to blog about what I’m doing with these vintage dolls and clothes from the 1970s, and the journey I had learning to identify them!

My goal at the moment is to get rid of possessions we no longer need or use, which in this place we just don’t have the room for. I’ve now learned its far better to offload these things sooner, rather than to keep carting them around from place to place for years just in case we might need them one day. I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel that was an incredibly disorganised and cramped house. Now I dream of a streamlined, Spartan home that is easy to clean, and most importantly, easy to move when the time inevitably comes to do so.

How did this happen?? 1 Barbie multiplies to 34 in less than 2 years!

How did this happen? In less than two years one Barbie has multiplied to 34 individuals! I think they must have accumulated in the same way stray cats often do …

At the beginning of 2010, I was reconsidering my choice to be child free, I was also grieving the loss of my old life. In some ways, the loss of my childhood Barbie when I was moving around after my divorce symbolised this. It suddenly occured to me that I wanted to buy a new Barbie! It was a very strange inclination I agree, but for some reason I just wanted a new Barbie to replace the old one I lost, to start over again a new life, and I had the excuse I needed it to make clothes for to practice my crochet and sewing! David didn’t think it was too much of a crazy idea, so he took me to the K-Mart store and I chose a Fashionista doll. She isn’t a collector doll, but not the bottom of the range either. I chose a brunette doll, because when I was a child all my Barbies were blonde and I didn’t even know you could get brunettes, so it was nice to get something different and new. Opening the box and taking her out was like being a child all over again!

Then somehow, the hobby grew from there and now I have 34 dolls! Some were given to me by my mum, a couple of old dolls she found in thrift stores I think, and my sister sent me her daughter’s old and broken Barbies. Some others I found in thrift stores and markets for a dollar each, five came with clothes which I got for $3 each, one is in his original outfit. I bought a set of 8 on ebay recently, that included two dolls from my childhood including the one I had to throw in the bin because it got damaged (so sad, especially as I had kept her for so long, until I was in my early 30s). Last year before I got pregnant I was feeling clucky and bought a little mini baby born, and recently I bought a brand new Ken fashionista doll. I think I’d like to keep the 3 dolls I’ve bought new, and the two vintage dolls I’ve acquired that are the same from my childhood, so that leaves 29 to find new homes for!

I was planning on giving some to charity, but I’m now thinking I’d like to clean them up and make clothes for them all, and see if I can sell them on ebay! I’m not sure I can sell them, but surely a few might? I guess I’ll have to try and see! Seeing as I definately do not need 34 dolls!!!

Green Dress for a Doll

I thought I’d make a post today as I haven’t written for a while. It’s been challenging to do everyday things and feel normal again. Even though Thomas is being a perfect baby it’s still hard, I wonder how we would cope if he wasn’t!

I recently made this green cotton dress for a doll on an impulse. No reason really, just felt like finishing something quick. I have several projects on the go at the moment, and they are all rugs so are taking me a while to finish. For this dress I used a 3mm hook and some light green cotton that took my fancy. The doll is one of three I got in a bag for $2. I haven’t restored her hair because it’s too much of a big job, but she needed a dress all the same.

Another thing I did today to feel more ‘normal’ was to paint my toenails bright pink while I sat on the deck and worked on my vitamin D deficiency. When I was an early childhood teacher in Darwin, I wore open toed sandals so painted my toenails bright colours like green or pink and topped them off with some glitter. The children sitting at my feet would notice, it was all a bit of fun and seems like a life time ago. It seems like another life completely, but remembering nice things like that helps me feel more ‘real’.

Pink and Purple Dolly Blankie

It’s my niece’s 4th birthday today, and on her wishlist was a ‘Barbie Doll Blanket’, so I hope this is what she had in mind!

The rug should be pink and purple, apparently. Luckily I had just enough of these colours in my scrap bag to make it. I used up the tiny bit of variated white wool left over from my flowers baby rug, and the bit left over purple dimples yarn which I also used for the purple baby jacket. For the pink flowers, I had a small bit of yarn left over from my childhood when my mum had taught me how to crochet, so that wool is very special, as I’ve been carrying it around with me for a very long time! For the jazzy edge I used a bit of fluffy yarn my mum gave me last year some time. All of these yarns are probably acrylic. If this rug needs a wash, it would need to be gentle or it might fall apart.  It would be best to spot clean it, or a gentle hand wash in cool water and gentle detergent, drying flat in shade should be ok.

It took me a couple of hours to do up the 24 tiny granny squares, then a couple of hours to stitch them all together. I find stitching granny squares together the most tedious, there doesn’t seem to be a quick enough way to do it. I used some cotton and a big needle and tried to get it done in an efficient time. Putting the cute fluffy edge on it only took a few minutes in comparison. I used a 3.5mm hook and the end result measures 18cm x 28cm, just big enough for a Barbie to be able to use as a blankie!

I hope my niece enjoys the things I’ve made for her this year, which includes everything I made for yesterday’s post, as well as the child’s cotton sun hat and the pretty pink and purple bag!
❤ ❤ ❤

How to make shoes for a flat-footed Barbie

My niece is turning 4 soon, and an order for new shoes for her flat footed Barbie has arrived so I set to work!

These are now the 3rd and 4th pair I’ve made for flat footed Barbie dolls. The shoes for these flat feet are very hard to find, and when you do find them, they are overpriced. So I make my own, and it’s very easy. The first pair of flat-footed shoes I made were these slip on pink shoes which went to Darwin with my niece. The second pair I made were these orange sandals with ankle strap, which were for a flat footed doll I picked up at an op shop for $1. I’m most happy with those ones, they worked out quite well.

To make these doll shoes, I use some recycled black vinyl, I can’t even remember where I picked it up from. You sometimes can find this on packaging or old things you might throw away, so keep an eye out for it, you don’t need much. Any kind of flexible plastic you can pierce with a needle will do. I trace around the soles of the doll’s feet to make a paper template, then trace that with white crayon onto the vinyl, and cut out the soles with sharp scissors. Then I pierce the plastic with the largest needle I have, pushing it all the way through, 3 times each side where the shoes strap will go.

I then use my 1.25mm crochet hook, and push that through the needle holes to make sure they are big enough. Then using fine crochet cotton, the first row is three single stitches (UK dc), then 4 rows of 2 ch 3 dc (UK trbl). The last row is some slip stitches and singles again to attach to the other side. Sometimes I’ll add an ankle strap of chain stitches like I did with these red ones. I always put the shoes on before finishing the final stitch to make sure they’ll fit. They don’t take long to do, especially as I chose not to spend too much time fiddling on these ones.

In the package I’m sending to Darwin, I’m also popping in some doll knickers which I made ages ago using a pattern I found at crochetville. I’m not happy with them, they have ties but I’ll pop them in the package none the less.

So I had a go at making my own Barbie doll knickers, they are ‘boyleg hipsters’ so very easy to make. They simply pull on and sit on the hips, which will be easier for my 4 year old niece to dress her doll.

My own pattern for Barbie doll ‘boyleg hipsters’
1. ch 28, sl st to form ring, treble into ea ch (US dc), sl st, do not turn, 28 stitches
2. ch 2, treble into ea treble (US dc), sl st, do not turn, 28 stitches
3. ch 2, treble ea into next 5 treble, turn
4. sl st into next treble, ch 2, treble into next 2 treble, turn
5. ch 2, treble ea in next 2 treble, sl st into 3 trebles on opposite side of ring to form two leg holes
fasten off and turn inside out to hide the seam at the crotch.

Then I just had to make a simple pull on party dress, didn’t I?
My own pattern for a pull-on dress for Barbie
* using 3.5mm hook, gauge depends on the yarn and how many stitches it takes to go around the chest, check every few rows to check fit.
1. ch enough ch to go around chest, sl st to form ring, pull on over hips up to chest to check fit, ch 2, trb in ea trb (US dc), sl st in 1st trb, 23 trb
2. ch 2, trb in ea trb, sl st in 1st trb, 23 trb
3 – 8 repeat row 2
9. ch 2, 2 trb in ea trb, sl st in 1st trb, 46 trb
10. ch 2, 2 trb in ea trb, sl st in 1st trb, 92 trb
11. ch 2, 1 trb in ea trb, sl st in 1st trb, 92 trb
12. in bottom of row 1 using contrast yarn, ch 1, dc (US sc)  in bottom of ea trb, sl st in 1st ch, fasten off

 

Three Small Things – coaster, ornament, beanie

<<< Here is a quick spiral coaster I made in pink following the coaster pattern at crochetspot. This coaster is currently under our water bottle at our pcs to soak up any condensation.

>>> After a discussion at crochetspot about the first thing you ever made, I remembered these things I used to make as a child. I don’t have any of the originals left, so made this one recently. When my mum taught me how to crochet, she first taught me how to chain, then how to crochet into a circle. I have a memory of continuing the first round for as long as I could fit the hook into the centre, making the stitches over and over on top of each other, as I didn’t know how to start the next round! I didn’t know what else to do with them at the time, so I made a chain handle and decided they should be Barbie doll handbags! Now this one is hanging off my pc with the purple premmie booties I made!

<<< After spending a couple of hours window shopping for babies things on the weekend, I was inspired to whip up this little beanie while I recovered on the couch! It was amazing that I had the EXACT amount of yarn left for this, which was great as I wanted to use it all up. This was the last of the arcylic baby yarn from Lincraft. I used the lincraft pattern and a 4.5mm hook. This is the same pattern as my green and orange baby beanie and my purple and white baby beanie, but this one is the bigger size for a 6 month old, as my baby is due in summer and should be in winter clothes by then.

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