Tag Archives: Thrift Store

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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Who Will Join the Oodkind?

Today was a rather slow day, so I decided to get all of the dolls out to decide which one will become an Ood. Crocheting the mask has hit another road block, and I need a good distraction from that frustration. I also think that it will be better to decide on a doll now so that I can make 100% sure the mask will fit. Honestly, I am amazed by how much size varies between different dolls. This will also give me the freedom to make other pieces of the outfit as the mask continues to frustrate me. Overall, a good direction for this project to go in.

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Originally, I played with the idea of using a cheap generic dolls. You know the type; they have hollow plastic bodies and badly rooted hair. I thought about using them because this doll will be completely covered in clothes and a mask, so you won’t be able to tell what type of doll is underneath. Then I remembered that I have more than enough quality dollsI could use. I can always switch out which doll later on, if needed, so I may as well go for a nicer doll to begin with instead of settling for a lesser item. That led me to look through all the dolls and pick out who would be the best candidate to become an Ood.

As I started looking through dolls, I realized that some of my dolls have more problems than I realized. I found two dolls with head issues, and I chose them for this project. Since the Ood doll is designed to wear a mask, they’re the perfect choice. I decided to create two Ood because I am creating my own pattern for the mask. This means that the first mask will be a prototype and the second will be the final product. This will give me the opportunity to make an Ood with white eyes and one with red eyes. It will be fun opportunity for two dolls that I would not have otherwise used because of their defects.

First we have what I believe is a Teresa doll. I think she is a Teresa doll because of her brown hair. I looked at some Nikki dolls with brown hair, but the nose doesn’t match. This makes me fairly confident in saying she is some type of Teresa doll. She has the same sized feet as the 2006 Beach Glam Barbie I used for Cofelia. However, every beach glam Teresa doll I could find was wearing blue earrings. This doll has no earrings or holes near her ears where earrings were pulled out, so she isn’t a Beach Glam doll. I have no idea who she is beyond just a Teresa doll. She has a 2003 head and a 1999 body, so she is a fairly new doll. Any ideas on who she looks like is appreciated.

**Update**
After talking to my friend Gwendolyn, this doll has been identified as Barbie in a Mermaid Tale Teresa. This doll has the large feet, no earrings, and the same hair. Thanks Gwen! I couldn’t have tracked it down without your help.

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As you can see, her big problem is that somebody took a Sharpie marker to her face. I tried cleaning her with soap, a magic eraser, and some goo-gone, but it didn’t fade the stain at all. Since the stain is right next to her lips, I don’t want to use acetone for fear of wiping away her lipstick. At first my inability to clean her was disappointing, but I am making the best of the situation. She has knees that snap into 3 positions and five points of articulation. Overall, she is a nice doll for this project.

The other doll I chose to join the Oodkind is a Barbie doll. Which one? Your guess is as good as mine! She is an unknown Barbie doll with a 1998 head and a 1966 body. Her arms have articulation at the elbow. and she has a nice hair color. It isn’t the platinum blonde that you see with most dolls; it is a more natural blonde color.

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It is a bit hard to see in the picture above, but her big flaw is her hair. I believe my baby pulled the hair right out of her! I don’t remember buying any dolls with this type of problem. To be honest, it is something I normally would have passed on if I had noticed. I am not at a point where I want to consider rerooting hair. Considering she made her way into the mix, she was a natural pick for this project.

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She also has a slight bend in her right foot. It isn’t as obvious in the pictures, but it is more pronounced when you’re holding her. It isn’t a big enough flaw that I feel like it needs repairing, but I may try a hot water technique for bending it back just for the experience. We shall see! I’m not sure how ambitious I am about it at the moment, but it is a possibility.

I don’t remember exactly where I bought these dolls. I know it was a thrift store, and I also know it wasn’t GoodWill because they don’t have a price written in marker on their feet. I believe these were among the earlier dolls that I found before I started blogging. Sorry that my memory is failing me! I am usually fairly good at remembering where I got dolls and how much I paid. Based on my habits, I can tell you that each doll cost less than $1.00 and were bought second hand.

That is it for today. I feel good about having the dolls chosen for this entry in the blog. Now I know that I can make clothes for them. Luckily, both are the belly-button type of body, so clothes should transfer fairly well between the two of them. I will continue working and re-working the mask, and I do plan on releasing the pattern so that any other ambitious crocheters can make one, too. Keep your eyes out for the next update!

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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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Peri’s Plants

Ever since deciding to do a Peri doll, I was hard pressed to find a fun accessory to go with her. Cofelia has her Adipose, so I had to find something similarly iconic for Peri. My biggest problem was finding something that is not a piece of clothing. Nothing really stood out, even after watching a few episodes, so I decided to look at her entry on the Doctor Who Wiki to see if that would spark anything. Thankfully it did! I read that she was an American botany student. Botany is all about the study of plants, so I decided to make a few plants to go along with the Peri doll.

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To create the plants, I searched Pinterest for plastic canvas plant patterns. I am not keen on buying fake plastic plants from craft stores because I am going for a different aesthetic. I like to think of fake plants as being in the uncanny valley of plants – they look kinda real but not quite, so it makes me uneasy. I briefly considered using something dried, but it would be much too fragile for a child to play with. A big part of Barbie Who? is to create something that my daughter can play with, and I do my best to keep that goal present when creating items. Another aspect I considered when looking for plant options was how I wanted to make something myself. After searching Pinterest for inspiration, I was lucky enough to find some plant patterns in plastic canvas. It took several hours of searching to find the free patterns I used to create these plants. The website that hosts the scanned pages is not in English (Spanish or Portuguese, maybe?), and that made it a challenge to search through their blog posts. Luckily, the scanned pages are in English, so I was able to make them with little trouble. The first pattern I created is a cactus in a round planter.

This pattern comes from the Labores de Esther todo para Barbie blog. This blogger has posted many awesome vintage patterns, including this one for a condo and snowmobile set you can create in 7 count plastic canvas. One part of this set is a plastic canvas cactus. I used the pictures template to create my cactus, but I ad-libbed the flowers. When drawing the outline of the cactus on the plastic canvas, I tried a new tip that I read about on Pinterest. I used a dry erase marker to trace the outline on the plastic before I did any actual cutting. It worked great! I didn’t make any cutting mistakes for either side of the cactus. I remember making mistakes when I was cutting things out of plastic canvas as a child, and I wish I had known this trick back then. I did have to run the canvas under running water to get all of the marker off afterwards (a wet cloth didn’t get the bits in the holes), but it was a small price to pay for the perfect cut. Little things like this are why I love Pinterest.

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Once they were cut out, I used some leftover worsted weight yarn to fill it in. The green yarn was some wool that I purchased at a thrift store. I used about half of what I had bought on a baby hat, and the rest was in my remnant yarn bag. I felt a bit weird using wool for a plastic canvas project, but the only other shade of green I had available was a bright, neon color that would look rather unnatural for a cactus. They’re desert plants, and in my mind they are a darker shade of green. In the end, using the green wool worked out very well on all counts. I added a few pink flowers at the end before whip stitching the two sides together. When I finished, I asked my husband how it looked. He just looked at me like I was crazy and said it looked okay for a weird cactus thing. It was recognizable, so I took that as a win and started on its planter.

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I created my own design for the planter. I used the same dimensions as the one pictured on the original pattern, but I created my own pattern for the outside of it using Microsoft Excel. I just used simple shapes to create stitches of different lengths, and I played around with it until I found something I liked. I decided that using the colors of the TARDIS would be the most appropriate thing for this planter, and I tried to make a pattern vaguely reminiscent of a police box. This is what my finished pattern looked like in Excel.

Circular Planter

From there, I just stitched it onto the plastic canvas. It stitched very quickly; the planter only took a few hours to finish. After finishing the design, I whip stitched the sides together to create the round shape. For the bottom, I used a piece of circular plastic canvas I bought at the hobby shop. I cut it down to the proper length, put a few dummy stitches around the edge to keep it evenly spaced, and stitched everything together. It is a bit hard to see the black stripe in the finished planter, but I don’t mind that too much. It is the price you pay when you work with rich colors. Overall, I am very happy with how the design turned out! It fits the cactus very well.

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The second and third plants come from the same blog: Labores de Esther todo para Barbie. On this post, she has scans from a patio set that includes two leafy plants. I really fell in love with this pattern, but it did pose more problems than the first. The pattern called for green 10 count plastic canvas. Finding 10 count canvas isn’t hard, but finding 10 count in a green color is nearly impossible. I couldn’t even find the stuff online! It was so, so frustrating. I had two options: I can either use a Sharpie to color some clear plastic canvas the color I need or buy 7 count plastic canvas and call it a giant species. I went with the latter. It looked to be within the proper scale after outlining the patterns, so I roll on with making these giant plants.

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2015/01/img_7483.jpgCutting these plants out was harder than the cactus. Both were much more intricate, and it had multiple thin areas between the leaves. Luckily, plastic canvas is fairly durable and I was able to get through it without cutting myself or ruining the piece. I also chose to deviate from the pattern by sewing the edges with green crochet thread. I used the deep, emerald green thread I bought at a thrift store a few weeks ago for one plant and a lighter green that I purchased from a thrift store ages ago for the second. I like how the thread edging softens up the edges, but it took about an hour to sew around each leaf. I really prefer the more polished look, so it was worth the extra effort. The crochet thread I used looks like size 10, and it took three to seven stitches in each square of plastic canvas to get good coverage around the edges.

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For their planters, I decided that I wanted to do something different. The pattern on the website called for another circular planter, but for visual appeal I decided to create my a square planter of my own design. I went with TARDIS colors once again, and these are the patterns I created in Excel for them. In addition to these four sides, I cut out a fifth side for the bottom that I filled in with simple diagonal stitches. I whip stitched the edges together, and added the plants.

PlanterPattern2

I know that you can design patterns for plastic canvas in paper or with other software, but I find that this helps me visually see how to stitch the plastic canvas. I am very visual when I am doing these patterns, and sometimes the square-based patterns are hard for me to work with. Each design took about an hour for me to create. Much of that time was researching different stitches and textures; each side of the second square planter has a different texture. The first one also has a small tribute to the two doctors who had Peri as a companion with by using roman numerals. I thought it would be a fun touch to an otherwise simple design.

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The planters took two to three hours to stitch and assemble. I used worsted weight yarn leftover from a Doctor Who themed commissioned hat I made last year. The worsted weight yarn was much easier to work with than the size 10 crochet thread. It tangled much less than the thread, and it was easier to work in the ends once I had finished using a piece of it. Still, it was interesting to work with different yarns while making these. I now have a better grasp of the limitations different yarns have when I work with plastic canvas in the future.

With all three plants, I anchored them in their planters with a square of brown felt. I had originally planned on using rice or a small rock to anchor the plants into the planters, but the felt was able to keep the plants in place without needing the extra weight. I took a standard sheet of felt and quartered it. I put one quarter into each planter, then folded the extra bits in on itself. This left the perfect spot in the middle to place the plants. It was an easy way to simulate dirt without making a giant mess. Win-Win!

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Overall, this was a fun way for me to work with plastic canvas. It is an interesting medium to work with, and I hope to use more of it as I continue crafting for the blog. The hardest part of using plastic canvas was finding the perfect length of yarn/thread to use when stitching. I found 18″ was a good length for worsted weight yarn. Any longer and the yarn would unwind and be more frayed towards the end, and anything shorter wouldn’t last very long (it is frustrating when you feel like you’re changing yarn every three minutes). The thread was a but hardier; it tended to be hardier than the yarn, but it would tangle more if it was too long. I used 24″ lengths without running into big problems, and I had to change string about four times for each leaf.

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With these plants, Peri is complete! I will do a quick write-up for her and then choose a new subject over the next few entries. This should be an eventful week! I hope this little project was worth the wait, and I will see you all shortly.

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Post-Holiday Shopping

I finally managed to dig my car out of the snowdrift it has been encased in this last two weeks, and to celebrate we drove into the city! Yay! We mainly went there so that my husband could go to the library, but I did manage to stop at a few thrift stores and the local craft shop while we were out. It was a very long and productive day.

Remember that mismatched doll from last post? The one that was packaged with a Merida doll who had vinyl head and plastic body? Well, her head may have been meant for that weird, hollow body after all. I found seven more dolls just like her at the same thrift store (sorry that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture). Well, not just like her; each one was dressed as a different Disney princess. There were variations on hair, but the head molds and face paint were identical on all of them. To steal a Simpsons joke, we’ll call them Diz-Nee Princesses. They are dolls, they vaguely look like Disney Princesses, and they are much lower quality than the real thing. I was tempted to buy one of them for her dress, but I decided that I really shouldn’t buy a doll just for its clothes. Even if I just donate the doll back afterwards, the dress is likely the same quality as the doll and not worth my money. I will leave them for whomever thought that cruddy Aladdin doll was worth buying. Seriously. He was gone, so somebody mush have bought him in all of his broken, sharpie-covered glory. I can only imagine why they thought he was worth buying.

Anyways, as I was looking at the Diz-Nee Princess dolls, an employee at the store brought a new bin of toys out from the sorting area. I was excited to see a few more dolls in it. One was another pack of Diz-Nee dolls, but the other was an awesome bag with three Barbie dolls in it. They cost only $3.00!

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The first doll is Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie from 1995. She is missing her hair jewels and her fin, but her hair is in remarkable condition. She also has her top, crown, earrings, and ring. She is a really fantastic find! I remember this doll from when I was young. I believe my friend Katie owned this one. I remember that the hair jewels never stuck very well to her hair, but they always managed to get stuck to our clothes. Overall, she is a cool and nostalgic doll to add to the mix. I doubt she will be used for Barbie Who? because I am already quite attached to her as-is. I put her with the Dance Club Kayla doll where they can do their own thing.

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The other two dolls are Wedding Day Midge and Alan from 1990. Neither has their wedding attire (neither had any clothes; I put them in what I had on hand), which is a shame because those outfits are awesome. Check out those links above; I just love the polkadots on Midge’s dress. Alan needs some touch-up paint on his hair, but otherwise both are in very good condition. Midge even has rings on both fingers! She also has a earrings and a nail in her head (I assume it is where her veil attaches). Because of the wedding connection and her lovely red hair, Midge may have to become Donna Noble. Donna is one of my favorite companions, and this doll strikes me as her Barbie Who? counterpart. I also think that she and Cofelia would make a wicked pair together. I am already scouting out tasteful wedding attire if I decide to go that route for the next doll I create for the blog.

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I am excited that the knit pants also fit Alan well; his legs are a bit bulkier than Ken’s, but the pants have more than enough stretch to fit comfortably. Alan is much different than the previous Fashionista Cutie Ken doll I found. Ken’s body is much less substantial and isn’t nearly as muscular as the Alan doll. Ken’s body also seems to be hollow. I like the overall look of Alan more than that of Ken. However, Alan doesn’t strike me as anybody from the Whoniverse. This bothers me somewhat, but I am sure that I will watch an episode and the lightbulb will come on. I just need a bit of time to mull it over. Until then, I have plenty of dolls and inspiration to keep me busy.

After those amazing finds, I went to my favorite thrift store for happy hour. I didn’t find any cool dolls or toys, but I did find some yarn. I bought three skeins of size 10 yarn – blue, green, and gold. I bought the blue and green because I absolutely love the bright, vibrant color of them. It may not be sparkly, but it certainly is eye catching. I bought the gold because of the Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie I found above. I can use it to make a tail that matches her top. I can also use the gold to create a belt and crown for the Merida doll (if I can ever find the time). It is nice to have a plan for the yarn I bought. The three skeins of yarn cost $2.00 total, which is a great because they have so much yarn on them.

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After that adventure, we made our final stop at the craft store. I spent way too much time browsing all of their cool stuff, but in the end I only bought a single sheet of green plastic canvas. Why? Great question! I want to create an accessory for Peri, and this sheet of plastic canvas is the key to my plans. I want to make some plants to be Peri’s accessory. It will be fun to see how it turns out. I haven’t use plastic canvas for crafting since I was a child. I have fond memories of making Loony Tunes coasters with my mom from a book she bought for us. It was always fun, and it taught me how to read patterns and use a needle. I look forward to working with it.

Well, that is everything for today. Peri’s outfit is coming alone quite well! I am almost finished with the body of it. If it fits the doll, I will just need to knit or crochet arms onto it and it will be finished. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it and knock it out, but sometimes life just gets in the way. This isn’t entirely a bad thing; my wrists aren’t complaining about the breaks. I am getting slightly better at working with the tiny needles, but I still need breaks every half hour to prevent wrist pain. I also realized that I spend more time working on these projects than I registered. I have already spent six hours working on this suit, and I’m sure that the sleeves will take an hour each to create. For my next big project, I may have to use the stop-watch function on my phone to get a more accurate number. Regardless, I will carry on and finish Peri’s outfit.

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Filed under Barbie Who?, Shopping