Vintage TLC: Detangled

Standard

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!

pontyail-6-hair-right-side

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.

20161203_102619

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.

20161228_130442-1

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!

barbie-ponytail-6-hair-after

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!

20170126_164309-1-1

– – –

c.b.w. 2017

My Vintage Gals

Standard

I’ve been collecting Barbie Dolls since I was a teenager. It started with Special Edition Holiday Barbies and then grew to include more exclusive limited edition dolls. In recent years, I find myself fawning over vintage dolls or vintage inspired style. I love the Barbie Fashion Model Collection for its elegant nod to vintage fashion, while also leaning towards a modern aesthetic. It’s a nice substitute for actual vintage dolls and clothing which can be very expensive.

While vintage is usually out of my price range, I’ve still managed to collect three beautiful vintage dolls. Condition-wise, they are far from perfect, but I love them just the same.

My first ever vintage doll is a Bubble Cut Barbie, (1964-67). I found her on eBay almost 15 years ago. Some of her face paint was gone, her body was dirty, and she’s missing a pinkie finger. However, she doesn’t have green ear and her hair is perfect! Because of her faults, she was the perfect starter doll for a new vintage collector. I paid just $40 for her and the seller threw in a vintage yellow dress for free.

All she needed was some TLC. A little soap and water cleaned off the dirt. I touched up her face with some latex paint and made her some new clothes (using actual vintage Barbie clothing patterns I had in my sewing chest). Before I knew it, I had a pretty nice looking doll!

Bubble Cut Barbie

Bubble Cut Barbie, 1964-67. Handmade dress, vintage pattern.

It was at least seven years until I got my next vintage doll. While perusing tables at flea market in Northern Wisconsin, I came across a Midge Doll. She was buried under a bunch of other well played with Barbies (likely from the 80s), but as soon as I saw that distinctive flipped hair and vintage body style, I knew she was something special. A quick check of her markings told me she was an original 1964-67 Midge Doll. The seller and I haggled over the price until we arrived at $45. Her face paint is nearly perfect (only her lips are a bit faded), her hair is intact, there was a little dirt on her body, all limbs and fingers are perfect including toe and nail polish. All in all, I got a great deal.

Midge cleaned up beautifully and stands proudly next to her Bubble Cut friend. I made her some vintage style clothing as well.

Midge Pic

Midge Doll, 1964-67. Handmade shorts and shirt, vintage pattern.

While on vacation this year, I was lucky enough to receive a Twist & Turn Barbie (1966-67) as a gift. She was a little rough around the edges at first – her face and arms were greasy, the rest of her body had stains, and she’s missing some eye lashes. However, her hair and face paint are absolutely perfect. A little diluted rubbing alcohol took care of the grease, while soap and water took care of most of the stains. A cute modern dress finished off her new look and she’s absolutely beautiful!

Twist and Turn Barbie

Twist & Turn Barbie, 1966-67. Modern dress.

I’m in the process of making her a dress of her own using vintage fabric and patterns. I’ll post pictures when its done!

The doll case behind each of my dolls is another new addition to my collection. It too was a gift. After doing some research, I found out it’s from 1965 and the graphics depict American Girl Barbie wearing the outfit Fashion Shiner. Since these pictures were taken, I cleaned the case using warm soap and water and a toothbrush to wash the dirt out of every groove. Sadly, the case cover is almost completely detached, (one small piece of vinyl is holding it on). I used some sticky white auto vinyl to temporarily repair the damage. The clasp still works, so I’m using it as storage for Barbie Clothes and as a display piece.

Group Picture! Here are my vintage gals hanging out together…

Barbie Pic 1

My vintage gals hanging out with their handmade vintage style wardrobe. What will they wear??

Aside from new clothes, they are in for another surprise. Yesterday, I won an auction on eBay for a vintage brunette Bubble Cut Barbie, (only $19!!!). She’s on her way and I can’t wait!

– – –

c.b.w. 2016

Favorite Thing Friday: Pink & Pretty Barbie

Standard

It all started 33 years ago, when I asked (well, actually begged) for a Pink & Pretty Barbie. I was three years old and knew exactly what I wanted. My mother had no way of knowing I was not your average fickle little girl. I held true to my heart’s desire and every year around Christmas my desire for a Pink & Pretty Barbie never waned.

My undying Christmas wish has even been documented on this blog on multiple occasions, (here, here,  and here). Never mind that I’m in my mid-thirties and don’t really play with Barbie dolls anymore. I do, however, collect Barbie dolls, (see The Barbie Shelf) and my collection will never be complete without one Pink & Pretty Barbie.

As the years (and years and years …) went by I never gave up hope, even though the situation was looking bleak. Over the last few years, the collector’s market has heavily favored play dolls from the 80s. Dolls like Crystal Barbie and Peaches n’ Cream Barbie started to soar in price as collectors sought to regain childhood memories.

Pink & Pretty Barbie fell into the same ranks sending her price through the roof, especially if she was still in her box. She was going for as much as $250. Yikes! I would’ve seriously been mad if my mother or anyone else spent that kind of money on a gift for me.

Still, I kept wishing. I had to believe that one day Pink & Pretty Barbie would find her way to me. Somewhere out there she was sitting on a shelf or inside the closet of a person who no longer wanted her.  I should mention that this amount of wishing over such a long time takes an extreme amount of faith and persistence.

This year, a Christmas present wrapped in pink and white polka dots had my name on it. I wanted it to be her so much, but I was too afraid to dare to believe that Pink & Pretty Barbie could really be inside that polka dot box. I ripped open the paper and found ….

PINK & PRETTY BARBIE!!!!!

100_4980

My Pink & Pretty Barbie!

 

I’m pretty sure I squealed, jumped up and down, and hugged her. Then, I hugged my mother, who quite possibly gave me the most perfect Christmas gift ever. Aside from the doll itself, the fact that it came from my mother makes it all the more meaningful. She never forgot and had been looking for this doll for as long as I’ve been wishing for her.

My Pink & Pretty Barbie is pretty amazing. She’s never been removed from her box. The wire twist-ties and plastic fasteners are still factory mint. The box has one dent and one tear, but is still in pretty great shape – the plastic front is still crystal clear (no yellowing), and the top and bottom flaps stay closed. Not bad for a 33 year old box! However, the best part of the box is that fact that it has an original price sticker of $10.60.

I cleared out a space in my curio cabinet where Pink & Pretty Barbie can sit in the front. In many ways, it is surreal that she is sitting on my shelf. Sometimes I touch the box just to make sure she’s real and not just a figment of my imagination.

It’s funny how one little thing can mean so much. To most people, she is an old doll that isn’t even that pretty, but to me she is a reflection of my childhood and an incredibly special and thoughtful gift from a mother I love very much.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Turn

Standard

Counting off,
one by one
Here we sit,
neat in rows
All the same,
empty stares

Wooden souls,
polished smiles
Held by rules,
stuck in place
Prison cells
left unlocked

In plain view,
rebels stir
Sideways glance,
about face
Broken line,
open door

– – –

Photo: Traditional wooden toys, Prague, Czech Republic, c.b.w. 2008
Words: c.b.w. 2014
Inspiration: Prague’s history of oppression coupled with the fact that two little critters are breaking “the rules.”

 

Favorite Thing Friday: An Unlikely Pair

Standard

Every once in a while I’ll buy something silly for no reason other than it’s really cute and I can’t resist. In this case, I came face to face with a plush toy of Grumpy Cat. My credit card was out of my wallet before I could rationally understand that I don’t need this incredibly cute cat and that I should save my money for something else (like yarn).

After searching through about twenty-five Grumpy Cats on the shelf, I settled on the one that had both the best likeness to the real Grumpy Cat and the cutest face. No easy feat to say the least, but I ended up with a fantastically crabby stuffed animal cat. Yes, I realize how ridiculous this is, but rational thought never kicked in while I was at the store.

On the way home, I decided I had the perfect place for him to sit. Not only would he be warm and comfortable, but he would also have a friend. At the foot of the bed in the guest room there is a thick knit wool blanket (yup, I made it) and one very adorable plush Simon’s Cat.

The two look like enemies with one grimacing at life and the other with wide eyes and that goofy grin, but they seem to share their space quite nicely. Aren’t they just the sweetest pair?

100_4241

Grumpy Cat and Simon’s Cat hanging out together!

It’s hard not to smile whenever I walk into the guest room to grab my laptop!  I guess I’ll never be too old for toys.

– – –

What’s your favorite thing this week?

– – –

c.b.w. 2014