My New Year’s Resolutions

Last year, I didn’t have any resolutions, other than to survive my first year as a mum! The previous year my goal was to learn more about crochet, to try and learn how to read patterns. Well I did that, and my baby son is doing very well now too, so now its time to think of a new goal for the new year!

My goal for 2012 is to use up as much of the yarn that has accumulated around here as possible! I hope to make lots of useful items for friends and family, and perhaps try and sell some things on ebay. I really must try very hard not to buy any more yarn! I’m sure I have a lifetime’s supply here already!

My other goal is to sell a lot of other things on ebay, things that we don’t need or use and no longer have room to store. Our flat is pretty small and its made to feel smaller than it is with all the clutter. My goal for this year is to stream line my house, ready for a possible house move at the end of next year.

Of course, my other goal for the year is to be a good mum! I want to get Thomas into music lessons, and to take him swimming more. And we need to do some more socialising, too!

I think it’s useful to start the new year with a new goal, something that is achievable, and something that you will enjoy doing. A feeling of accomplishment is important as we look back over our past year, especially for people like myself who don’t work at a job. Even if you don’t achieve everything you set out to, it’s good to celebrate the gains you have made, even the smallest ones.

What are your new year’s resolutions?

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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!!!

Small Cream and Wine Hexagon Lap Rug

I’m not sure how useful this item I finished yesterday will turn out to be, it’s very small due to the amount of this wool I had. But it was so nice to make, I had to use it all up to make this small rug. It could be used as a baby rug, or maybe a small lap rug.

I’ve known for a while, I’d really prefer to make items using yarn that is locally grown, spun and dyed. This way, you can reduce your carbon footprint – its better for the environment if we use products sourced locally. Before I saw this yarn, any attempt to source something like that was way over priced in my opinion. But I found some assorted blends that were on special in Lincraft, which were from the Wangaratta Mill Shop. This may include synthetic fibres, so they are blended with local wool, but spun locally. I even found a local spinners site that sells drop spindles if I ever buy some raw local fibre.I’ve already made a beanie for Thomas using a sea green yarn from the same Wangaratta package.

This thick yarn has a nice, soft feel and it was a pleasure to make this small rug. But it is a bit small to be very useful, as I only had 3 balls of this type. I used a 7mm hook to make the stitches large and the rug quick to make up.

In other news, I sold my first item on ebay today, my old queen size mattress! We got a new mattress after Thomas was born, and my old mattress has been taking up room and had to go so I started bidding at .50c hoping someone would come and get it, and they did! The experience was a positive one, so I hope to sell a few other things from around the home that need to go. Who knows, maybe I can sell some crochet projects as well?!