Category Archives: Shopping

A New Frontier: Sewing

Wow, what a summer it has been for us. As I have said before, my family recently moved south. Moving is always a challenge, and there are always casualties along the way. This time around, my sewing machine was the biggest loss. It was a Europro I had bought at a thrift store. I think I spent $25 for it and another $35 to have it serviced and a part replaced. The people at the repair shop said it was a fairly new machine and would have cost $350 if I had bought it from their shop. I rolled the dice and would up winning with this thrift store find. It was a solid machine and it served me well for many years; I was sad to see it go. The movers did pack it well, but the box it was packed in was crushed under something heavier. This caused some bending of the case and some of the machinery inside. It made a terrible crunching sound after I powered it back up, and it was at that moment I knew it was beyond repair.

The moving company paid out a little over $100 for the value of the machine. Isn’t it fun how insurance works? It pays for how much they think the item is worth and not how much it would cost to replace it. While I certainly got my money’s worth out of the machine, I was shocked by the various options and prices for a replacement. Do I want to spend $1,000 for a good quilting machine? Do I want to thrift a new machine and roll the dice again? What brand do I want? Mechanical or computerized? Where will I get the best deal? There were so many considerations.

I didn’t take this decision lightly. I researched different types of machines, different brands, and other factors. I decided that I didn’t do enough sewing to buy an extravagant machine. I didn’t want to spend a large amount of money on an expensive new machine because we will likely be moving several more times during the lifetime of the machine (it’s just a reality of my husband’s career). I wanted something that meets somewhere between quality and affordability. I narrowed it down to a few machines I was interested in, and then I went to a local sewing shop.

The lady at the shop was very nice. She showed me several machines and gave her opinion on them. I told her my needs, and she said that a Brother machine would probably be best for my needs as an occasional seamstress. She showed me several models, and in the end I spent $150 on a Brother CS-6000i. This model has been out for several years, and it seems reliable. It has so many positive reviews; people seem to enjoy it. The lady at the shop said that she often sells this as a starter machine because it travels well (for going to and from sewing classes) and it can do a little bit of everything. She said she wouldn’t recommend making a large quilt on it, but it can do smaller projects. This fits me very well. I was impressed with the various feet and accessories it came with, too. I have used exactly 2 of them, but it’s nice to know they’re there if I ever need them. I saw a beautiful quilted pot holder on Ericka Eckles’ blog, and I would love to tackle that type of project with this machine. I am currently making drapes for our new home, and I hope to use scraps from that project to attempt a potholder of my own. We shall see how it goes!

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Over the last few weeks, I have used the machine for some minor hemming and curtains. It is a nice machine, and I look forward to using it in my home and beyond. One thing I learned from chatting up other bloggers is that you can buy sewing patterns for 11-1/2″ fashion dolls. I looked online, and I made a short list of the different patterns currently offered by the main pattern manufacturers. Then I waited. I have been around craft stores long enough to know that most patterns will go on sale for $1-$2 every few weeks, so it is just a matter of time for them to become affordable. Last week, my luck struck! Hancock Fabrics had a 5 for $5 sale on Simplicity patterns, so I went there to stock up! It was my first time at their store, and I was happy with the experience. I was able to pick up all the patterns I wanted at an excellent price.

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Simplicity 1242 (MSRP $18.95)
Simplicity 5785 (MSRP $13.95)
Simplicity 4702 (MSRP $14.95)
Simplicity 4719 (MSRP $14.95)
Simplicity 1955 (MSRP $16.95)
Simplicity S0734/1234 (MSRP $16.95)

That is a total MSRP of $96.70, and I paid $6.00 for them all. That is a 94% savings. I feel like a savings ninja! Pattern sales truly are the only way to buy patterns. I don’t see how any seamstress could afford them otherwise.

As of right now, I plan on using the pants and jacket from Simplicity 1242 for the second Ood outfit. I think that it would be interesting to have two outfits that are stylistically the same but made from two different mediums. It should also be much faster to sew an outfit than it is to knit an outfit, too. This will help me finish the Ood dolls and move on to something else. Right now, I feel like a wedding is calling me. I have many patterns from my mom that could apply to a wedding scene…. It is so, so tempting. I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself, though. I need to focus on one character and one outfit at a time.

Currently, I am making solid progress on the knit Ood jacket. I hope to have it finished this week! With some luck, I should have it posted next week. I am excited for how it looks, but I also know that I am about to tackle the hardest part of the pattern. Hopefully the sleeves and the neck area will go smoothly. I look forward to sharing the next update. Until then, I hope you have a fantastic day.

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Lucky Day of Shopping

Moving day is near! Everything is boxed up and ready to go. We leave next weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. The bulk of my workload is over, and now I just need to survive a week in a hotel before we hit the road. Luckily, our toddler loves where we’re staying and there is a pool. Needless to say, it has been a well-earned change of pace from my hectic life as of late. The only thing I want to do right now is work on the blog. I feel like I actually have time for it for the first time i ages!

I think I’ll start with a funny little story. While packing, we purged a fairly large amount of stuff. Some went into the trash, some we recycled, and some we donated to various thrift stores near where we live. Our general rule was to drop stuff off at the nearest store when we ran errands, and doing it in little chunks helped keep us organized and on track. Since moving went into high-gear, I haven’t had time to go shopping at any thrift stores (or regular stores for that matter, save for getting groceries). However, I did have an exception last Monday.

We drove into the city to drop off the recycling and a box of clothes we needed to donate. While my husband and I were putting our recyclables in the proper bins, my daughter unscrewed her travel cup and spilled grape juice all over herself. I wasn’t happy because I was unprepared; for once I didn’t have an extra outfit in my bag to change her. We couldn’t leave her in a wet outfit for the entire ride home, so we decided to spend a few bucks to get her something at the thrift store. It was my first chance to shop in about 2 months. I gleefully went in to find her an outfit while my husband unloaded the donation box. It was nice to have a few moments to myself. I’m sure any mothers of young children can relate.

Now, the casual reader will wonder what in the world any of this has to do with the Barbie Who? blog. Well, your patience with my log-winded story will answer that question shortly, I assure you. While looking at shirts for my toddler, I noticed a pink box on a shelf above the clothing racks. Upon closer inspection, it was a Barbie carrying case. I was immediately intrigued. Thus far, I have had all of my dolls stored in shoe boxes, and this could be a big upgrade.

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It is basically a rolling suitcase designed to hold 8 Barbie dolls and their accessories. I inspected it, and it is a bit rough around the edges. An over-zealous child took a marker to the outside, and the plastic doll holders are slightly bent on the inside. On the other hand, the hinges look great, it closes perfectly, the wheels work, and the lovely sticker on the front is mostly intact (the foot is coming up a bit, but she doesn’t have any marker scribbles on her – I think she is salvageable). Functionally, it can do everything I could ask of it, so I splurged and bought it. It cost a whopping $1.99 plus tax. You read that right, somebody priced this gem at just under $2.00 – for the record I feel obligated to say that the outfit I bought my daughter cost more than the suitcase did. This is why thrift stores can be so much fun.

When we got it home, I bent the doll holders back into place and added the blog dolls. I am so glad that I can keep everything together in one place. Before, I had the dolls in one box and their accessories in a separate tin. Plus, the dolls I’ve been working on have been floating around the house as I try to finish work on them and my toddler tries to play with them. It is exciting for me to have everything together. Plus, now they can all travel in style.

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On the left, I put all the accessories in the handy storage bin. The top latches and keeps everything from falling away. Behind the storage bin, I slid the collapsed plants. There was just enough room for everything. Horray! On the right, I secured the two dolls I’ve finished and the two Ood I am working on. They fit surprisingly well. When I put the first doll in, I thought ‘How can you fit 4 dolls in this?’, but once I started adjusting their arms it became much easier to manage.

This new case has stayed with me since I bought it. It is traveling with me in the car so that I won’t lose everything I’ve made thus far and face a true blog crisis. You really have no idea how terrified I was of losing blog-related items during this move. I really had to pick and choose only a few of the most important items to stay with me – everything else is boxed up and on a truck. I honestly feel very lucky to have found this suitcase at all. I appreciate how everything came together for it to happen.

In other news, I finished the knitting portion of my second take on the Ood pants. I just need to sew it together and see the results! Hopefully it works out well and I can post a pattern along with pictures of the finished product. It looks pretty good so far. The legs are much more even than the last pair of pants I knit. The pant legs are longer, too, so they will better fit the Ood aesthetic I am going for. I plan on getting it finished and pictured before we start traveling, but I’m not sure if I will have enough time to write about it and post something before that time. Just be patient with me! I promise I will have a bit more time this week and a moderate amount of time as we make our way down south. The kiddo and I are going to have an extended stay with my family, and I hope to have enough down-time to knock a few posts out. I am making a real effort to work on this blog. My heart is still very passionate about this project, but other constraints have been working against me lately.

Also…. My mom says she has a surprise for us when we visit. She won’t say exactly what, but I am sure it will be interesting! She has quite an impressive Barbie doll collection. A real collection – literally every doll is still in the box. I think I got my love of dolls from her, but we take two slightly different routes on how to express it. Fingers crossed that it is something fun for me to share with all of you.

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Giant Bag of Clothes, Part 3

The blog is back! I apologize for my absence these last few weeks. Due to family circumstances, travel, and illness I was unable to post anything (or get much work done, either). I will do my best to get things posted these next few weeks, but we are moving for my husband’s job in two months. For anyone who has moved on their own with kids (we’re putting all our junk in a rental truck and driving it ourselves – eek!) you know that two months isn’t much time at all to get everything in order. Much of my free time will be dedicated towards that cause. Still, I promise to do my best to have something to post during this turbulent time – hopefully something along the lines of once per week between now and when we get settled at our new home. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated during all of this craziness.

Now that I have that out of the way, I can focus on more important things. Today, we are finishing up something I started a few posts ago. I will post pictures from the last few outfits from the giant bag of clothes I purchased before my absence. I hope you enjoy it!

IMG_7346 This doll/outfit combo is one of my favorites for the entire bag! I love Taylor Swift’s music, and her doll is absolutely lovely. I like how the colors of the top and pants compliment the softness of this doll’s face and hair. I originally bought this doll to make a weeping angel craft, but luckily I never found the textured spray paint needed to complete it. I now appreciate how nice this doll is and I am happy that she gets to wear this instead of angelic shrouds.

IMG_7347 Mulan was one of the last dolls that I clothed, and finding an outfit that fit her hips was not easy. They are a bit bigger (belly-button body type) than most of the remaining pants could fit. Luckily, these black pants worked perfectly. I like how delicate the shirt is and how it compliments Mulan’s sly smile. I also like the chunky Mary-Jane shoes that match the pants. I wish that I could walk in those things! I am notoriously clumsy, and heels like that would be downright dangerous on my hooves. Oh Mulan, you’re living the dream.

IMG_7348 This outfit may win the award for most ironic doll/outfit combination. This is a Flavas P.Bo doll in a pink, flowery dress. For those who aren’t familiar, the Flavas dolls were supposed to be the hip, urban counterpart to Barbie. If Barbie was The Sims, the Flavas were The Urbs. Unfortunately, this line of dolls never caught on, so not many were produced in the line. Having unknowingly found one was lucky on my part, and having her in this decidedly yuppy attire brings a smile to my face. Sometimes, we have to appreciate the little things.

IMG_7349Varsity Barbie! Well, not quite. I’ll be honest; this outfit is from the bottom of the barrel. I was nearing the last few single pieces of clothes, and I had to figure out which pieces matched well enough to wear. This is what I came up with! I found another cute pair of slip-on shoes that match the jacket, and that pulls it all together. I feel lucky that the bag came with so many shoes.

IMG_7350 This outfit is torn quite extensively, but I did my best to put it on the doll and take a picture that minimizes the damage. The entire left side of the dress is ripped from the neck, through the arm, and into the back. I really wanted to show you this outfit because I like the pattern of the dress and the matching accessories. This hat rocks so, so much! I want to mend it just to keep the set intact, but I am not sure if it is salvageable. I will only know when I get in there with my needle. It is another project to add to the queue.

IMG_7351 This outfit confused me at first. The sleeves were folded in on each other, so at first it seemed more like a straight jacket than a dress. Once I untangled it, I realized how it fit. I like the colors and the unique design of the outfit. It works well with this doll, which I affectionately call Meg. She reminds me of Megara from that Disney Hercules movie, but she is not a Disney doll. She is a random generic doll who is missing a leg. Yep, toddlers are hard on dolls, and this one has paid the price.

**Update**
Thank-you Audrey B. for telling me that this dress comes from the Star Wars Episode 1 Hidden Majesty Queen Amidala doll. You can see a picture of it here! I had no idea it was from a Star Wars doll. Very cool, and thank you again for recognizing this dress.

IMG_7352 This is the bendy Cheer Leader Barbie in a pink bride’s maid dress. Perhaps she wants to be invited to Donna’s wedding? If she does get the invite, she’ll have to find a pair of matching shoes. I’m sure that I can help her with that, though. I still have high hopes for doing Donna after I finish the pair of Ood I am currently working on. If I don’t find the skein of white thread, I will buy a new one. The one good thing about moving is that you take inventory of everything as you pack. I’m hoping this will work to my advantage.

IMG_7353 This dress is so delightfully retro, so of course Snow White had to wear it. The colors remind me of the 60’s and all of the cool clothes we see on Mad Men. I adore it! I also like the shoes that I chose for it – a pair of chunky pumps that fit perfectly on her dainty feet. Overall, this outfit is another awesome and functional find.

That’s it! Wow, it is hard to believe that one single bag had over 23 complete outfits. I am so happy that I don’t have to keep rotating the same few outfits between my dolls when taking pictures of them – finally some variety! This is the single best thing I have bought since starting this blog. To recap, here is a picture of all the dolls wearing all the clothes from the giant bag of clothes.

IMG_7330It brings a smile to my face to see them all together, especially after being away for so long. I am currently making progress on the pair of Ood pants. It is slow going because I have been ill this last week, but I am doing my best to make a few rows of progress every day. Hopefully I will have them done for next week’s post. If I don’t finish the pants, I will do a blog post about something else – perhaps doing their hair so that it will fit under the mask. We shall see! Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic week.

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Giant Bag of Clothes, Part 1

I am so excited! I have this awesome new find to show you all. I was at the thrift store on base yesterday. We were doing our normal shopping, and in the consignment area I saw a gallon sized bag of Barbie clothes. At first I wasn’t sure if it was worth the price, $5.00, but then I realized that some thrift stores charge $1.00 per outfit and this bag clearly has more than five outfits. I ended up buying it because the Rapunzel dress was calling to me, and I am incredibly happy that I splurged. This bag has so much cool stuff inside of it that I can’t believe I ever hesitated to buy it.

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I was so excited to open the bag when I got home that I didn’t take a picture of it until after I had cut the top off. Oops! I haphazardly put the stuff back inside of the bag and took a picture for posterity, as you can see above. After that, I started sorting through everything in the bag. I was not disappointed by the contents. It contains 23 outfits, a few miscellaneous pieces of clothing, 20 pairs of shoes, 9 brushes, 2 handbags, 5 hats, 5 Barbie hangers, 1 mirror, and 1 pair of purple glasses. This bag of clothes was able to single-handedly solve the problem of naked dolls without me having to make them all myself. Well worth five bucks!

The one bummer is something that happened to the purple glasses. They were bent, and I broke them when I tried to bend them back into place. It was my mistake; I should have warmed them up before I tried to mess with them. I may try to glue them back together, but that is a topic for another time. For now, I will go ahead and show you the most complete outfits. There were a few miscellaneous single pieces of clothing that I didn’t picture (a few pairs of shorts and a broken halter top, to be exact), and they may show up randomly another time. This is the vast majority of the contents of the bag. Because it takes time for me to upload and write about the pictures, I am breaking this up into two or three blog posts. I will work on them and get them published as quickly as possible.

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First up is an awesome cape! I love the color of it. The deep red is stunning and matches the Merida doll perfectly. It can even tame her hair. I don’t know what doll the cape is from. It doesn’t have any tags or marks, and I don’t recognize it from anywhere. It reminds me of something worn in The Lord of the Rings, but I wasn’t able to find anything online with the same color (their capes were all green). Even if it is unidentifiable, I think it is a lovely piece and I am very happy to have it as part of the collection.

**Update**
A giant thank-you to Audrey B. for telling me that this cape comes from the Star Wars Episode 1 Hidden Majesty Queen Amidala doll. You can see a picture of it here!

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This is a generic doll in an oversized sleeping shirt. For this outfit, the accessories make it awesome. She has a towel on her head (held on by a clear band) and a blow dryer in her hand. She also has a pair of cute white flats on. I’m not sure if I love the oversized pajamas, but everything else about this is a lot of fun. It certainly makes this less-than-stellar doll look as good as the real Barbies. My favorite piece from this outfit is the towel. I wan’t able to find out what doll(s) the outfit and accessories are from.

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This outfit is amazing! It is a paisley halter top bikini with a pair of red sandals. Splash n’ Color Kira pulls it off better than any other doll I own. I tried to find out what set this bikini came with, but that turned into a wild goose chase. I found a picture of a fashionista doll wearing the same top and a Ken doll wearing a pair of trunks in the same pattern, but I could not find out what this outfit was called or what doll it came with. Oh well; you win some and you lose some.

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This outfit is adorable, and it matches the doll fairly well! When I first picked her up, I thought she was a Taylor Swift doll. Once I researched her, I realized it was actually a Hannah Montana doll. I would like to think it is because the bodies for Jaaks dolls are similar, but in reality it is probably just because I need to listen to more contemporary music. But enough about the doll, we are here for the clothes. None of these pieces for this outfit had a Barbie tag, and none of them came from a set I am familiar with. Either way, I think this is an adorable outfit that is well made. The jeans have really grown on me; I may need to bleach and sew some tassels onto a pair of my jeans to match it.

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Here is Belle in a pink dress! This dress is adorable, but the clear straps on it are broken. I am not sure if I can fix it… I know that I may be able to sew it back on, but I have had terrible luck sewing these plastic bands back onto clothing. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do. It doesn’t stay up very well without the straps, so I do need to figure something out. I may end up adding a piece of lace or ribbon to the top in order to make the dress stay up properly.

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I LOVE this outfit. This outfit is the hidden gem that I found in the bottom of the bag. It is bright, beautiful colors that fits perfectly on the Fashionistas Nikki doll. I also found this awesome handbag for her to wear with it. It matches the outfit perfectly and the entire outfit has a fun attitude. I gave her a pair of tall boots and now we are ready to go out on the town!

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Just for fun, I had to dress up the Flower Power Teresa doll I used for Peri in something fun. It is a lovely and light yellow outfit. I think it is missing an under-skirt or bikini bottom because of how transparent the lace skirt is. I really like the hat. It needs to be ironed for it to fit really well, but it is adorable. I also like the cute yellow heels I found; they match the top perfectly. This is a fun spring outfit; I may use it for Easter this year.

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This is a Disney Aurora doll in a short dress. I was surprised by how well the dress fits; the fabric is stretchy and doesn’t fall down like some of the other dresses. It is a great piece that could work well with any number of dolls. This picture also shows one of the two head scarves that came in the bag. They have the Barbie tag in a really awkward place, but otherwise they are lovely scarves.

That is it for today! I had a lot of fun dressing up the dolls and being able to share them with everybody. The revised pattern for Ood trousers is taking longer than expected. I also have a few Easter commissions that have taken center stage this week, so it is hard to find time to work on them. I will do my best to carve out an hour or two each day to get the pants knocked out and the next Whovian update taken care of. Until then, have a fantastic day!

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Shopping Away from Home

I am very happy to be back home. Things are starting to get back to normal, and I have made more time for crafting now that I have caught up on travel laundry. Since I don’t have anything substantial to show for the last few days (the cat literally walked off with the pants I am trying to knit), I am going to talk about some cool things I bought while traveling.

One fun activity we did while away was visit a flea market. It was an interesting experience! I have been to rummage sales before, but this flea market was like nothing I have experienced before. It was a metal building with long, winding halls. Each and every wall was filled with booths and vendors. They sold beautiful clothes, scarves, fabric, toys, and food. One stall even had air plants! They’re succulent plants that don’t require dirt to thrive – you just need to mist them. It was really cool to see such a variety of random items under one roof. I wish I had my camera; they had some knock-off dolls that were positively hilarious and would have been worthy of their own blog post. Oh well, c’est la vie.

I made a few purchases at the flea market. One vendor had many boxes of seemingly random wares in her stall. She was a nice Asian lady and played with the baby as I paid her – she even gave her a little drum toy. Next to a box of bras, he had a variety of crochet and knitting supplies, including some really nice looking bamboo needles. She had regular bamboo needles and carbonized bamboo needles available for sale. I decided to purchase two sets of carbonized bamboo needles. The first set is a standard set of single pointed needles.

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These needles are so cool! There are 18 pairs of them, ranging from 2.00 mm to 10.00 mm. The size is pressed into every pair of them, so they are easy to identify. I’m optimistic that these markings will last better than my previous set of bamboo needles.  They cost $10.00, which is a fantastic deal for so many needles. The second set of needles I purchased was a set of double pointed (DPN) carbonized bamboo needles. They look just as great as the single pointed needles.

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This is a group of 15 sizes of DPNs. Each size includes 5 individual DPNs – this is awesome! Half the needles at the hobby shot only include 4 individual DPNs, but some projects just need that fifth needle. It cost $10.00 for the lot. They, too, have their size printed onto them, but I don’t expect those markings to last as long as the other needles because they are in an area that will see more wear. These needles range in size from 2.00 mm to 10.00 mm. I absolutely love them! I don’t know if I will use them much for the blog because the smaller sizes are so dainty (my big hands would probably snap them), but I am sure they will come in handy for the hat commissions I receive. I am tickled pink to have them. The two sets of needles are a perfect for my needs.

At another stall, I met an lovely woman who had a complete set of boxed Disney dolls. They ranged in price from $20.00 to $40.00, so it was out of my price range. Still, it was very impressive because she had princesses, princes, and villains. I didn’t even know they made a Barbie sized Ursula doll, and there she was! It was such a cool thing to see. It also makes me wish that the non-princess Disney dolls were more popular. I see princess dolls fairly regularly (I even have a few), but the only Disney prince I have ever seen was that broken Aladdin doll. It would be nice to see Prince Phillip or Kristoff in stores. Now that I think about it, I don’t even think they have the Prince dolls at most retail stores. I remember seeing Prince Eric at Toys-R-Us when I was doing Christmas shopping, but I can’t think of any other time I’ve seen a prince from the other movies. I’m sure it is all due to popularity, but I can dream.

Among the most interesting vendors at the market had a variety of baskets, tins, and jars in their stall. It was so interesting to see the variety of items this man had collected. He also wove baskets, and his work was beautiful. I would have bought one if I thought it would survive the trip home. Many of his tins had foreign writing on them, and there was a wide variety of shapes and styles. One of his tins caught my eye. It was long and originally held spaghetti; it was the perfect height to store my newly purchased knitting needles. I had to buy it, if for no other reason than to ensure my new needles would have an extra layer of protection on the trip home. I am happy to say that it worked! My needles arrived home intact. It is also a perfect fit for all my miscellaneous needles in the house. It was $2.00 well spent.

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The final stall of note is where I purchased one final item. It was run by a husband and wife, and they were delightful. The two of them mostly sold clothes, but they also had some jewelry, scarves, and a set of circular knitting needles. I absolutely had to indulge and buy them because they came in tiny sizes that my local hobby shop doesn’t carry. I also liked how they each had a darning needle included with them. You can never have too many finishing needles.

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These are a set of small metal circular knitting needles. I haggled the price for them from $20.00 down to $15.00, which is completely reasonable for a set of 13 needles. The needles are metal and have a plastic coated coiled steel cable between them. They are a bit stiff, but they feel sturdier than previous circular needles I have owned. Also, the joins between the needles and cable is very smooth and doesn’t feel loose at all. In addition to the circulars knitting needles and darning needle, they come with a weird little plastic sizing thing. I believe the numbers on it show UK sizes. After taking this picture, I wrote the millimeter conversion on the packaging in marker to help myself keep it all straight. Their sizes include 1.00 mm to 5.00 mm, and five sizes are 2.00 mm or below. This will allow me to venture into more micro-knitting. I have seen some amazing work by other knitters using tiny needles and size 30 crochet thread, and I will now be able to try it for myself. I bought these needles specifically for the blog. You will see items produced from them in the coming weeks because I am so excited to break them in.

I hope you enjoyed this little venture to the flea market. I totally splurged, but given the circumstances it was well earned. I plan to put all of the needles to good use, wether it is for the blog or my commissions. The three new sets of needles make up for all the needles I lost the last time we moved, and they cost a fraction of what I paid. Overall, I am very pleased with these needles and the other things we purchased at the market.

I am currently working on a pair of pants for the Ood outfit. It is slow going because my daughter keeps getting her hands on my work and unraveling it. So frustrating, but my own fault for not securing it better at night. I hope to have something to show by this weekend, and I am crossing my fingers that it will turn out better than the last pair. My only fear is that they’ll be short for the Barbie doll, but I won’t know for sure until I sew them up. I look forward to sharing the results with you.

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It’s Raining Men

I hit the jackpot! I feel like the planets aligned and somebody smiled down upon me from on high when I went into town yesterday. We had errands to run, and while out and about I went to two thrift stores. At the first one, I found a modern Ken doll. At the second, I found two vintage Ken dolls and a random generic guy doll. The best part? I only spend $2.25 on the four of them. Score!

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I will start with the first Ken. I went to the thrift store on base, and while there I browsed their Barbie area. They had some new dolls for the first time in weeks! Most of the new ones were vintage dolls with stains or flawed limbs, but hiding at the back of the drawer was a blonde Ken doll! He even has a complete outfit and shoes. I was so excited! I bought him for $1.50 and I thought my day couldn’t get any better. It almost makes me forget about the Headless Ken incident. Almost.

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He isn’t perfect. It looks like somebody tried to pain his lips and nails, but I feel pretty good about my ability to clean him up. Worst-case scenario, I will have to do some repainting on him. As for his identification, it gets a bit tricky. According to Kattis Dolls, this doll is a generic Ken from a 2007 mold. He didn’t have a specific ‘identity’ beyond things like Prince or Groom. This is a bit of a bummer, but in a way it is a good thing. I can reinvent him into whatever I want. What an exciting prospect!

After spending the day in town, we stopped at my favorite thrift store downtown. While there, I managed to find three more male dolls! Best of all, they were only $0.25 each. Seriously! I spent less than a dollar for these guys. I am just so excited that I managed to snag them. You see, when we first got to the store I spent half an hour in the car while my daughter to napped. After she woke up, we went into the store and started shopping. As I was looking at a jogging stroller, an employee came over with a big trolly of toys for the toy area. Right on top, there were some Barbie dolls. Much to my surprise, three were male! Another lady found the brown haired Ken first, but she put it back after examining him and I snagged him up (more into that later). I am so happy things worked out so well. If she hadn’t been napping, we may not have been there as the employee was bringing out the dolls. It is so exciting when timing works out! Luck was really on my side that day.

The first of the three dolls I found at this store is a generic male doll. For some reason, his face reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch. I don’t see any marks that say who he was made by or when he was created. The pain on his face is very faded, and it is something I will need to repaint before he becomes a part of the blog. Still, I am glad to have him onboard. With the right repaint, he could be any number of exciting people from Doctor Who.

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The next doll I bought there is a blonde Ken doll. He looks vintage! I say that because of his weird head and his lack of a year on his head. His looks remind me of a Goomba from that awful live-action Super Mario Brothers movie. His body mold is stamped with 1968, and according to Kattis Dolls, he is a MOD Ken. This means that he was made sometime between 1968 and 1976 for any number of sets. He may be a Malibu Ken; he certainly does resemble the 1974 Malibu Ken pictured on the Kattis Dolls website (as well as others I saw with an image search). He is wearing a yellow outfit that matches his blonde hair and bright smile. I wasn’t able to ID the outfit, but I am glad that he did come with such an interesting outfit. Overall, he rocks!

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The final doll I found at this store is a brunette Ken. He also looks like he has the MOD Ken body and head like the blonde doll above. He comes with a pair of swimming trunks and a bath robe . The robe has seen better days, and so has the doll. The first flaw I noticed about him was a dis-formed foot, but once I got home I realized that his torso had popped out of its joint. No wonder the other lady didn’t want him! He certainly has more flaws than most dolls, but not as many as that Aladdin doll I saw last month. I see his potential, though, and I don’t regret buying him in the slightest. We’ll see if I can rehab him and get him to a usable state. The way I see it, I can’t break him anymore than he is already broken, so I can do some new techniques. I have heard that putting the body in boiling water makes it easier to pop in broken joints. I may try that or just using a hair dryer to fix his body. As for the problems with his chewed-up features, I have heard of people using liquid vinyl (for fixing boats) to do rehab. I don’t know if I’m that brave, but it certainly is something to consider. Even if it is a hot mess, it would make an amusing blog post.

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In the trolly with the guys, they had a few generic lady dolls that I didn’t bother with. There were also three damaged Barbie dolls in the mix – they all had bite marks and puncture wounds like a cat had clawed and bitten them. While I may overlook some flaws with the guys, I have higher standards for the gals because I see them fairly often. I may not have gotten any of those dolls, but, overall, I consider it a winning day because I found these guys.

In other news, I have been making solid progress on the Ood mask. I have been using two different dolls while sizing it – my red haired Barbie and a generic doll without markings. I will go into more detail in another post, but for now I will say that I have to make an entirely new pattern. This will make it take longer than making somebody else’s pattern, so be patient with this one. I am getting frustrated, though, so I may make other parts of the outfit as I continue to fiddle around with it. I’m sure I could knock out a pair of pants in a day or two….. Eh, we’ll see what happens. I also need to decide on a doll to use for it before I start on clothing. The fit varies depending on the body type, and knowing my luck I would make an outfit to fit the belly-button type and end up choosing one with an older body.

That’s it! Like the title says, it is raining men here at Barbie Who! I am very excited that the number of male dolls in the collection has tripled. Tripled! I just can’t believe it. I have been collecting dolls from thrift stores for about a year now, and this is the first time that I have found more than one male doll in a day. They may have a few flaws, but I can work with that. I am very excited for the future possibilities these dolls bring with them. Now I feel obligated to make a gentleman be the next entry on the blog. The only question is who….

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Supplies Shopping

Today was a pretty good day! I went into town for a doctor’s appointment, and while there the kiddo and I went shopping. I have to make the best of the long drive, after all.

I wound up going to a few thrift stores, but we didn’t find any new dolls. My husband thinks this is a good thing, but I was bummed. I had such good luck finding dolls last year! Where are they hiding in 2015? One fun thing we did find were a few board books. My daughter enjoys looking at the pictures and having me read them to her. I was happy to find something she gets so much joy from. The books kept her occupied as we ran errands in town, and that alone was worth the dollar we spent on them. Plus they will continue to entertain at home. Everybody wins!

My last stop of the day was to the hobby shop. I spent waaaaay too much time just browsing the shelves for fun new things. I was very tempted to buy a yarn winder. I keep seeing them on Facebook and everybody seems to love them. I couldn’t really justify spending $50 on an accessory, so the yarn winder is still on the shelf. However, I did spend $4 on a new set of knitting needles. I wanted to buy a standard pair of 2 mm knitting needles, but the smallest size our local hobby shop carries is 5 mm. Luckily, they did have a set of double-pointed needles in the size I need. Because the things I create are generally small, I don’t see the DPNs being a problem. The needles I bought are made out of aluminum and are in a fun red color. I can’t wait to break them in!

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I plan on using point protectors if my work slides off. Right now, I don’t have a set that will fit well on these tiny needles. It is on my wish-list for the next time I made it to the hobby shop. Now that I have a proper set of needles, I really want to knit something with them for the blog. I have been looking at different knitting patterns, and I am very close to deciding on the next doll for the blog. I have narrowed it down to two candidates. My first choice is to do Donna in her wedding dress, and right now the only thing keeping me from choosing her is my inability to find my size 10 white thread. I found some size 30 white thread, but I can’t see myself making something that large with such fine thread. If I don’t find the proper thread by tomorrow, I will just go with the other option and wait for the thread to turn up on its own. Trust me, nothing makes a lost crafting item appear than moving on to the next project. Anyways, I will make a decision and post my plans very soon. Until then, cheers!

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