Vintage TLC: Detangled

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Buying vintage Barbie dolls is especially fun when I get the chance to fix up what would otherwise be a disaster of a doll. Recently, I got my hands on a Ponytail #6/7 with a number of problems. If something can go wrong with a doll, it’s happening to this poor girl! Matted hair, a split neck and hairline, hot pink dye stains, dirt, worn face makeup, etc. I’ve got my work cut out for me!

pontyail-6-face-neck-splitIt’s hard to know where to start with a doll in need of so much TLC! So, I decided to just start at the top and work my way down. Fixing the hair on this doll will at least make her displayable, (with the right outfit that covers her problem areas).

On the up side, this doll’s bangs are perfect. The curls are soft and styled correctly. The rest of her hair, however, is a total matted mess. To make things worse, someone along the way put baby powder in her hair which created a paste-like substance on her scalp. A kind word of advice: Don’t put baby powder in vintage hair to dry out the oily buildup that sometimes occurs. It doesn’t work!

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The first goal is combing out this rat’s nest! Detangling comes down to just a few steps:

  1. Remove all rubber bands. Sometimes the rubber dries out and is stuck in the hair. Try to remove as many of the pieces as possible.
  2. Divide the hair into small sections and work one section at a time.
  3. Use a small plastic comb or Barbie brush to gently work through the tangles. Start at the bottom of the hair, not at the roots! Work your way up to the scalp.
  4. Don’t pull too hard. It might take longer to slowly pick through tangles, but it’s better than pulling out a clump of hair. Re-rooting is a much more difficult repair!

Once I got the tangles out, it was time for a shampoo. The baby powder “paste” had broken apart during the de-tangling process, but the residue was still clumping near the scalp and it left the hair looking very dull.

Vintage Barbie hair can be fragile and has been known to react to shampoos, conditioners, and soaps in various unpleasant ways (most notably hair color can change). For this doll, I used 7th Generation Free and Clear dish soap. A little bit goes a long way and its a gentle cleanser.

Then, let the hair air dry. DO NOT use a hairdryer. Barbie hair is essentially made of plastic, acrylic, or saran. It’ll frizz or melt under heat.

I ran a comb through her hair once more and ended up with what looked like a giant ball of frizz. No worries, though. I expected it. As a ponytail doll, she originally had set curls. They don’t just go away, so when they are combed out, they poof out.

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It’s not a good look! However, it is easy to fix. All she needs is a simple reset. Using a fine-toothed plastic comb, I smoothed out the hair from root to tip the best I could. Then, I put her ponytail back into place. I’m not going to lie – this part took forever! Through multiple trial and error attempts, I finally got the height and placement of the ponytail just right. I secured it in place using small, clear plastic rubber bands I found in the hair care aisle at Target.

With the ponytail in place, it was all about resetting the curls. I used a spray bottle to soak the ends with water and then I wrapped five separate curls around small pipe cleaners. I folded up the pipe cleaner ends and let the set air dry for a few days.

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The end result was far better than I expected. The frizz factor is non-existent and there’s even a bit of shine back in her hair. Once again, a little TLC goes a long way!

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Work continues on this doll as I research techniques for repairing splits, removing dye stains, and touching up face paint (I’m still deciding if I want to do this).

For now, she’s looking good with the rest of my vintage girls!

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c.b.w. 2017

The Annual Trek To Book Heaven

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There’s nothing more a bibliophile loves more than a HUGE used book sale. Every year, I get to bask in the largest book sale in the state and it never gets old.

I arrived with empty bags and a lot of hope that I’d find something good. However, I had to somewhat behave this year given the fact that I just decluttered my bookshelves. I didn’t want to just fill them right back up again and undo all of my decluttering progress!

My first stop was the craft section. Over the last couple of years, I’ve come home with some amazing finds in knitting patterns – especially vintage. This year was no different. I found a great array of knitting magazines, but also a sweater pattern book and needlecraft how-to guide from 1945. The patterns in these books are pure gold as they are simple and timeless.

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The selection of knitting books was a little more sparse this year, but I still found a few good ones. My favorite is, Knit Your Own Dog. I’ve seen this book before and always wanted it.

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While I was combing through the rest of the craft section, my mom was in the collectibles section. She spotted this great visual reference guide for collectible Barbie and held onto it for me. It is beyond amazing!

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I hit the fiction section next. This is where I really had to control my inner urge to snap up any book that looks remotely interesting. That’s tough to do when most are only $3 or less! I decided to only pick up books that are on my to-read list or can pass the first page test (i.e. I can’t fight the urge to turn the page and keep reading). I ended up with small, yet intriguing group of books.

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Last, but not least, I hit the poetry section. My goal is always the same: haiku anthologies. They are tough to find! At the same time, I was looking to find anything inspiring or interesting in short verse poetry. Two of the books I found are pictured above with my fiction finds. Art and Wonder pairs poetry with famous works of art –  I can’t wait to read it!

In the haiku realm, I managed to find two anthologies and a couple of interesting takes on modern Japanese poetry. Flipping through them, I can see they are inspired by haiku, but other forms as well. I’m looking forward to exploring them.

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The grand total for my treasures? $24.25. All in all, it was a great day at the book sale!

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c.b.w. 2017

Music Drought Averted

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The last few months have been quiet for my iPod. I was so bored with my music collection, it just sat unused in my work bag. This is weird for me, because I usually have a soundtrack for everything. Whether its for writing poetry or grading papers, I have a playlist for it!

However, even the best playlist can grow old without a fresh infusion of music. It’s been a while since any of my favorite artists have released new music and I haven’t really heard anything good on the radio. It’s all the same stuff!

Then, as luck would have it, I started watching Shadowhunters on Freeform. I’m a die hard fan of the book series, The Mortal Instruments (by Cassandra Clare), so when I found out there was a television series based on the books, I was all over it. Not only do I love the show, but I started to notice it has a great soundtrack.

Thanks to the magic of the online fangirl community, I was able to track down a number of my favorite songs from Shadowhunters. It’s amazing what just a few new songs can do for a music drought.

Here’s a selection of what I’ve dug up so far …

Artist: Ruelle

  • This is the Hunt
  • Monsters
  • Where Do We Go From Here
  • War of Hearts
  • Storm

This artist is my favorite find. I’m busy exploring all of her albums and I’m continually blown away. Her music can be both ethereal and hard hitting, but the lyrics are quite poetic.

Artist: Metanoia

  • Faux Tales

This is a really cool piece of electronica. There may not be any lyrics, but it is intensely moving. Rather than stir excitement on the dance floor, it invites contemplation of deeper emotions. Plus, it’s attached to one of my favorite characters on the show.

Artist: Majik

  • Save Me

A great little indie song that stirs all the “feels” and pitfalls of love. As I write this, it’s on repeat on my iPod. I’m thinking of adding it to my playlist for my current novel project.

Artist: Allman Brown

  • Between the Wars

A stirring song that brings another round of “feels,” but in a different way from Save Me. It’s all about wanting to stay safely ensconced in love, when everything seems to be falling apart. Deeply melancholic, with an incredibly beautiful melody.

Artist: Dream Folk (Extreme Music)

  • Light Comes Back

Another indie song that skirts the border between ethereal and folk. It’s an uplifting reminder that better days are just around the corner.

The more I dig into these artists, the more amazing new music I find! It’s such a simple thing, but music really does wake up my muse in all aspects of my life. Thank goodness, the music drought is officially over!

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Are you listening to anything good? Please share!

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c.b.w. 2017