Sunday, April 30, 2017


This past weekend was the annual Chapter BL, P.E.O, rummage sale. Sisters worked hard and had a good time, returning to their respective homes Saturday afternoon to put their feet up.

I always come home with junk – er, stuff – er, wonderful finds! This year I just had to have this basket. If it wasn’t a sewing basket before, it is now. And I also “bought” a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker, which son Milo deems the most superfluous appliance ever invented. Apparently a lot of folks agree with him because no one bought it, despite the fact it was new in the box. However, I’ve consistently used one for more than 20 years, and so when it was left over, it became mine.

And something at least mildly embarrassing happens to me every year. This time someone called my attention to a book of doll clothes patterns. “Oh!” I said, looking it over, “I have to have this.”
“But Kathy,” said my friend, “I thought this was in the stuff you brought.”
“Probably,” I said, trying to sound cool, “but I have to take it back. Things have changed.” And they have!

And then, “Mandy,” a Fisher Price “My Friend” doll from 1977, stood looking over the edge of a cardboard box full of old toys calling my name each time I passed by. “No,” I told her, “I just can’t take you home. I’m already sewing for American Girls and Toni, and I also have a ‘patient’ in my doll hospital.” Her smile never changed, but I knew she was crying.

Old dolls seem to come in three general categories:
·       Pristine, new in the box, never played with. Much sought after by collectors, they nevertheless lead dull lives, in my opinion.
·       Gently loved. These dolls have been carefully played with, like my “Shirley Anne, American Farm Girl,” aka AG Kit. (Shirley Anne is pictured here with another of my rummage sale finds, a ‘distressed’ wooden chair – just her style.)
·       Much loved. Into this broad category, my favorite, fall all dolls that have had really good lives as someone’s favorite companion.
So, at the end of the sale, Mandy was in my car with my other treasured finds. I figured if nothing else, she would provide an opportunity to practice doll cleaning skills. These dolls were designed to be washed in the washing machine, and while some might not have chanced it due to her age, I had nothing to lose. I sprayed her with Oxy, wrapped her in a laundry bag, and put her in the washing machine with a few towels. Mandy is/was in bad shape, her fabric body stained by liquid, her vinyl parts showing “ground in” dirt, her facial features faded.

Still dingy
After Zout treatment
Well, she was still smiling bravely – and still stained – when she came out of the washing machine, so my next step was to massage “Zout,” an enzyme cleaner, into her body and then let her soak in a solution of hot water, dish detergent, and white vinegar. With that we made progress! Then she went outside to sun herself. She’s looking better all the time. KW


Hallie said...

It is so fun to get a "find". People pass things over that just need a teensy bit of care to be beautiful again. Although at my house, we often say, "We don't need another project," we can't resist a good bargain! For instance, we recently purchased a solid bronze Art Deco chandelier that needs to be rewired and was missing a shade. It was about a quarter of the price of one without the aforementioned needs, but for a small investment, it can be made perfect.

Glad you've found something to save!

Kathy said...

I'm sure that chandelier will fit nicely into your house -- or you can fix and flip -- whatever appeals to you.

Used to be we fixed toys and donated them to charity. Any more, toys must be new. They don't even sell well as rummage.

When Mandy finished sunning herself yesterday, I could still see the outline of the stained places on her body, so I treated her with Zout and soaked her again. Then I tied her in the laundry bag and put her through the "rinse and spin" cycle, thinking that would be a good way to rinse out the soap and also get her as dry as possible. It worked well. I didn't have any conditioner for her hair, but I found I could comb it anyway.

Chris said...

Ann had the Mandy and Jenny dolls and I loved sewing for them. I have patterns!! Unfortunately, Ann's dolls were the victims of a sewage backup in their basement a few years ago. The city had lost track of a cleanout in a neighbor's yard and said yard was full of willow trees. At least the city paid for all the cleanup including new drywall and carpet, etc. Sadly all her dolls were lost. I think I cried.

Your Mandy looks good! They are such cute dolls.

Kathy said...

That IS sad about Ann's dolls. I know the situation in her basement was overwhelming, and I suppose tossing was the best idea.

They are cute play dolls. Their body type is that of a rag doll, as you well know, and I picture her in old-fashioned dresses and nightgowns.