Sunday, February 26, 2012

The New Doll

I am co-owner of a new doll. I think my partnership will dissolve soon into official doll dressmaker, however. Nonetheless, I feel that I have finally reached a lofty goal of my girlhood: to own an 18" doll. 

Many of you will recall "The Pleasant Company" dolls that have become the "American Girl" brand. I first saw those dolls in an advertisement in Victoria Magazine as a girl, and wanted one so badly. I used to get the catalogs and cut out all the things I wanted, Samantha and her delightful tea table of course topping the list. Kirsten would make a nice neighbor, with all of her accessories, so I wanted her, too. And when Felicity came out I was all the more happy to add her to my wish list.
(Now of course, I wish I had those first catalogs, in tact!)

Unfortunately for me, $80 happened to be the family spending limit for dolls. It still is--I of my own accord will not spend that much on a doll. Even $25 is a stretch. However, one does make exceptions on Christmas, and a couple of years ago I thought I had at last found "my doll." She was a good-quality, name brand doll, and had a pleasant face. I am particular about doll faces, and dislike big goofy eyes and wide plastic grins (preferring a nice, sensibly happy smile). 
 Here she was, out of the box and standing on her own. I got her into a pretty homemade dress, and was quite pleased with her, except for...
...the smell. Now I have had a fair amount of dolls in my time, and they all tend to have a "new doll" smell. This doll smelled strongly of something that was not like a "new doll" smell. I just thought she had been in the packaging too long, and so I discarded that and decided to give her a few days' airing out. 

Not much later, I gave her some soap on a wet rag. 

After that, I put her up on a shelf where no one could reach her, in hopes that she could "air out" over time.

She smelled like she had fallen into the chemical vat at the vinyl company. I have never, ever had a doll that I could remember reeking like she does. "Stinky" is her nickname, and I hate to say it but "skunky" is probably another good one. I should have returned her but I waited too long-- perhaps was too hopeful.

This past summer, I took her outside and sit in the heat wave for a few days, on the porch. It did help quite a bit, but I suspect she'll have to sit on the shelf in the store-room for the next ten years.

In the meantime, I was still on the lookout for an 18" doll. I saw one at the craft store, and with a coupon the price was right (how about $11.99?). I had read a review about this particular doll, so I knew ahead of time that she was mostly bald with paint under the hair, but I thought I'd give her a try anyway. But before I bought her, though, I opened up the top of the box, and put my nose in. 

And there was hardly ANY smell. Not even a "new doll" smell. My shopping companion (the doll's co-owner) said the doll smelled faintly of tea.
 Yes, she has a plastic grin-- but this particular doll's head was attached at a slight cock, so it gives her character. No, she isn't as good quality as the other one, but she is good enough, and I am very pleased with her. 

She came dressed in an ugly little sleeveless shift, which I found a quick fix for (sorry I forgot to take a "before" photo!):

I had some large swatches of quilting fabric, which I sewed on to the shift, making it a cute sundress. 

Now I can get to work on all those 18" doll clothing patterns I have been stashing away for years!

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