Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rhetta's dolls

Rhetta is a return customer. She was once my mom's upholstery customer. But I guess I am her go to doll person.  These are the latest two she has brought to me and they are ready to go home now.

World War II era Italian character doll.
 the biggest thing was dirt, but her clothes would not take washing so I didn't try. I used a barely damp cloth to wipe down her clothes and face

 Her arms are in bad shape. The fabric dry rotted and perhaps rodent damage.
 this "boat" is a rattan basket and what she was  brought home from Italy in.
 the "hat" she had was not salvageable. So this is a more modern version but suits the look
 She was given a bow of vintage grossgrain ribbon to match her skirt
Her arms were sewn then painted over. The paint served to keep the stuffing from escaping and stiffened the whole surface of the arms so that they cannot degrade further. Pretty roses added to her bodice and in her basket of goodies and pretty blue bow to set it all off and a lining for her basket to cover the original piece of sheep's wool that lined it.

this Next doll is one of those character dolls about 10" tall that has a solid body/head with strung arms and came with mohair for her wig. This particular one was a nurse
 dirt and some dry rot and dampness damage. Poor thing

 Everything was removed and her body cleaned. The arms needed new rubber to hold them on. Then she was redressed from the bottom up. A slip of netting and some "unders" , the skirt was shortened one inch to remove some of the damage and all was pressed after washing and soaking. Then glued back on. Originally it was stapled on and that left rust marks and tore some of the fabric from pulling.
 Her cape was pressed lightly and due to fading was a purple instead of its original navy color. Ribbon tie applied to top of it, a little cross of rhinestones was put on the bodice, "wig" was made from left over hair extensions and a tiny little nurses cap was made to complete the look.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mary Ellen's Doll

Compostion toddler doll needing a complete restore. Someone had previously did a restore. They used EXCELLENT materials but their artistic skills left something to be desired. I found dried up mud in both the legs. You can tell it is a toddler style because the legs are straight for standing. Change the legs to the bent and you have a baby type. This head was used by different companies for various dolls. NO markings.Previous work may have removed the letters. Current guess is Arranbee's Sugar Baby. 1930's to very early 1940s .

I was hoping I would not have to strip it all down. But as I could put a straight pin under the paint it would flake off too easily. That means the adhesion is breaking down. So I am going back to bare compo and will build up from that. I can do the repairs before I start a new paint job. Fingers had been repaired on one hand and the pointer finger was TOO wide and did not look natural. I am not the greatest sculpture but I did get the base smaller and closer to matching the others.
So she is in her very rough stages.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ugly doll

I was on Etsy looking at old dolls. This one said Vintage 1940s, but no way. I bought it cause it was so ugly and I knew I could make it pretty.  It is a ceramic doll. I judge maybe 1980s. It is made from a mold that was taken from an old composition doll. The person who made it did well on the body and construction but the painting left alot to be desired.

She is about the size of a Bitty Baby.  So clothes will be next.
Ta da!

Rhetta has another doll.

When Rhetta arrived to pick up her doll and Jackie's, she had a bag with her old doll from childhood. She said the legs came off when she took it from the shelf... She thinks it is a Toni but I don't. I think it is an early unmarked Mary Hoyer.

 After washing the fading showed up so eye lashes which were half on and off were removed too.
light coat of paint, blush , lips renewed and new lashes, and brows. The body is ready to put back together and her clothes are soaking.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Terri Lee

You can read about this doll here:  http://dollreference.com/terri_lee_dolls.html
and the current owners of the business:
Youtube Video about the Terri Lee Doll
the official Website of Terri Lee Dolls today

Her face grew on me.  I bought this off ebay with the understanding she was reproduction and had a cracked neck. Okay with me...but when I got her it was more then the neck. Seems the new reproductions had problems with the seams not holding. Poor glue job. So she got a GOOD glue job.
This is how she looked when I got her and the stages to her fixed self.
 She looks kind of "short" with no neck at all

 the legs were cracked too and I took them apart as well and reglued them. I didn't want to have to do it all over again.
she is marked 719 of 2000
today 12/30/2105 My #3 daughter brought me another Goodwill find.  ANOTHER TERRI LEE!.
This one I think is meant to be an AA version but I think she looks more like she is mixed. So after cleaning she got her eye color changed then dressed in an AG outfit I had made. She was made in 2006.

Rhetta's doll

I have done sewing for Rhetta for a couple years now. She was once my mother's customer. 
She brought to me HER mother's doll.  The doll was made from what I can see, sometime between 1905 and 1912 possibly by Butler Brothers. It can be male or female, and has a composition head with painted on features.  The short arms are compo as well but of a different sort then the head. The body is a cheap cheese cloth type fabric and has exposed wire joints on the arms and the legs. I will slip cover the body and restore the compo where chipped and maybe do minor touch ups on the paint. The dress is one of Rhetta's will be restored.

 head removed and first cleaning.
the body is filled with excelsior (wood shavings that look like straw). I am guessing cedar as there is no bug damage and cedar deters them. 
half of the body is slip covered so far.
Updated. Done and Done.