A scrapbook of whatever I'm making, collecting, or just obsessing about
at the moment.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One of my best bargain dolls...plus some cleaning tips

When I went out to take this picture, she had shoes on, but one fell off  and was lost in the grass on the way to the fence. I hunted all over, retracing mysteps ten times or more, but never found it... Until my husband joined the search, and found it almost right away. Yep, I lost my slipper, and my Prince Charming brought it back to me! 

I am so tickled about this Barbie I bought yesterday--what a treasure! She was lying there, unlovely and unnoticed, in a roomful of collectors' dolls at an estate sale, while the pristine Sashas and Madame Alexanders and antique porcelain dolls were all cooed over and snatched up for purchase.

She was the only Barbie there, a mod-era Twist 'n' Turn girl with bendable legs and a pretty "flip" hairstyle. She was wearing a light blue dress that a child must have made--just a piece of lace-trimmed double knit loosely wrapped around her and held together with a few snaps in back. Her legs were filthy, but her hair was holding up well, her coloring still very nice, all of her eyelashes present, and no face-rubs or bites to fingers or toes,

Her price tag said "$4"--but it was half-price day! That's how she became mine.

There's a couple of interesting points about her. First, her hair. The first TNT dolls had straight hair, then in 1969, this model came out with the same face but flip hair in blonde or a reddish-brown. The style must certainly have been inspired by Marlo Thomas and her very popular, family-friendly "That Girl" television show, which ran 1966-1971 and made famous her trademark flip.

Marlo, of course, had a "fringe," while Barbie has only a little spit-curl near the part of her hair. My girl's spit-curl had disappeared, but with magnifying glass and a needle, I managed to find and separate it and then style it with a little clear mascara.

Marlo's character, Ann Marie, was arguably Barbie-like--her theme song says "she's everything that every girl should be."  She played a single girl working as a waitress and a model but hoping to be discovered as an actress and doing well enough at it to dress exquisitely all. the. time.

And that was another reason "That Girl" was fertile inspiration for a Barbie--she's about clothes too, and so are many of the girls who play with her.

I loved to watch "That Girl," too, more for the fashion than the plot. Later on when I was older, in high school and beyond, I could actually sew her clothes for myself! McCalls introduced a line of "Marlo's Corner" sewing patterns that kept her look updated for us young girls to copy.

One leg cleaned and one not cleaned.
If Flip Hair Barbie isn't enough like Marlo Thomas to suit you, you could always treat yourself to the "That Girl" Barbie that Mattel released--I wouldn't mind one of those myself!

Second interesting point: How does it happen that a vintage doll is found with tidy hair, fresh-looking face, clean arms and body--but absolutely grimy legs?  Barbies with bendable legs are especially prone to it, as dirt likes to stick to them, but I have a Madame Alexander "Marybel: the doll who gets well" whose legs were filthier still.

The answer is, girls use doll legs for handles. Once you've dressed your Barbie and are ready to play, how will she move about if you don't help her? And how else do you move her about except by grasping her by the legs? Little girls who were made to wash their hands before touching the piano weren't made to wash them before playing with their own dolls. Even girls who were exceedingly careful with the hair and clothes, and kept the doll safely stored in her case, could still dirty up the legs with no special effort.

And I am glad of it, because other collectors look right past a grimy doll, never seeing her possibilities, and then I come along and scoop her up. With a little cleaning and combing, she is as beautiful as ever, and I have a glorious new addition to my Barbie Colony.

What is the best way to clean the legs? Plain bar of soap and a toothbrush. You don't need any magic cleaning power--soap has micelles that make dirt slippery. Slippery dirt slides off when you wash it. In theory, you can use any cleaner that comes in a plastic bottle instead of a glass bottle (because it wouldn't come in a glass bottle if it didn't damage plastic) but even then, I am cautious. I start with the mildest soap first, and if something stronger is needed I never use anything out of a bottle without testing it first.

For hair-styling, eyebrow/eyelash combs and brows are handy, as they can accomplish Barbie-size 'dos with their tiny, closely spaced teeth. I just tried clear mascara for the first time as a sculpting agent--seems to be working fine, but I'm just saying what I use--it's important to test products yourself.

I love to buy a perfect, mint doll once in a while, but there's just nothing like the joy of finding a bargain doll and then restoring her to something close to her original perfect, mint beauty.


Bambuc said...

What a beauty! I like her dress too!

Tricks and Manners said...

Thank you Bambuc, and thanks for visiting my blog1 I hope you will come back again! :-D