Sunday, 4 August 2019

Saying goodbye.....

July started off well for us, we sold our house and exchanged contracts, and we got a date for completion.  After a pretty disastrous year things were looking up, well we certainly didn't think they could get any worse.

Then on the morning of Monday 22nd July, my little boy Chihuahua, Choco, (kennel name Baudouin) woke up a bit under the weather.  He was desperate to get outside where he started to vomit.  This in itself is not unusual, dogs often eat grass and other stuff that causes them to throw up, but it was very unusual for Choco.  Choco was the youngest of our five dogs, and only 7 years old.  We've had him since he was just 7 weeks old and he has never been unwell in all this time.  He was full of energy, and full of life.  He loved to 'strut' around with his ears held high and his tail curled proudly over his back.

But on this particular morning, things just weren't right with him.  When the other dogs had their breakfast he just stayed away from them, he didn't want to eat anything and I thought that was fine, as long as he was drinking.

By lunchtime he seemed quiet and a bit lethargic, we had to pop out for an hour but thought that if he was any worse when we got back, then we'd take him to the vet later when they reopened at 5pm after the siesta.

When we came back Choco was quiet and a little more lethargic, he didn't run to greet us but just looked at us from his position sitting on the sofa.  He then retreated to his bed and was sleeping there for a while before we went to the vet.  

By the time we reached the vet's surgery, Choco was floppy and really not showing any interest in anything.  I knew things were not good when other dogs in the waiting room came to sniff him and he didn't even react.  When the vet saw him she said "he really doesn't look good" and immediately took his temperature and put him on a drip.  His temperature was 2 degrees lower than it should be and he was not responding to anything, even his eyes were glazed over.  She felt that he'd had some sort of brain injury.  She said that we had to leave him with her overnight and she'd be in touch later that evening.

We were really worried about him but I was convinced that by the time she called us, she'd be asking us to come and collect him as he'd probably be barking his head off at being separated from us.  How little I knew.  

At 11pm that night, our vet rang and gave us the bad news, things were not looking good for Chocs.  He'd not responded to any stimuli and was in a really poor state.  She warned me "Sharon, Choco is really very sick" but still I thought that by the morning all would be well, I mean not Choco, he couldn't be sick, he was NEVER sick.

Sadly in the morning we got the call that I have always dreaded.  Choco had passed away during the night.  He hadn't been in any pain, they'd had him dosed up on all sorts of things in the hope that they could fight whatever it was that was making him so sick.  But no, the poor little fellow lost his very quick battle and had left us, running over the Rainbow Bridge to play, free of illness.

Brian and I went to see him to say goodbye.  It was just so incredibly sad, he looked so peaceful but naturally his eyes were blank, his little paws felt natural instinct was to rub them to warm him up.  But he was gone.  

The vet asked if she could do a post mortem because she had no explanation for what had happened to him.  The x-rays that she'd done the previous night had shown nothing untoward, his organs looked exactly as they should be, except that he seemed to have full bowels.  She kept asking "has he had an injury, did he fall, could he have been poisoned or eaten a snail" all things that we were able to reply to the best of our knowledge in the negative.

We agreed to the post mortem and she called us a little later that same morning.  Choco had what I think she called a 'colonic torsion'.  Part of his colon or bowel had twisted and caused a blockage.  The space was very narrow and nothing could get through and as a result the part had begun to break down, and toxins released from this had traveled straight to his brain and his organs had started to shut down.  Basically my little lad was being poisoned by his own body.  Our vet had only seen three cases of this in her working life and never had she seen it happen so quickly.  

To say we are sad is an understatement, we are heartbroken.  I never for one moment thought that Choco would be the first of our five dogs to leave us, so the shock was immense.  

We are just so glad that his suffering was minimal, he never showed any signs of being unwell beforehand, it was just all so very quick.  And he was gone.

I shall always miss him, he was such a mummy's boy, following me around if not physically, then with his eyes.  He's sit on the back of my sofa and lick my neck or he'd actually try to sit on my shoulder!  He was a bundle of energy and we'll never forget him.

Rest in Peace little Choco ......  9th December 2011 - 23rd July 2019


Thursday, 11 July 2019

A little bit of sewing......

As the interest in my dolls has started to come back, so has my urge to sew for them again.  Over the last week or so I've made a couple of dresses for the Little Darlings which I showed in my last blog post and now I've made a few outfits for my BJDs (ball jointed dolls) so I thought I would share the BJD outfits here.  

First of all I decided to make a summer dress for Angel, my tanned Ziya by Youpladolls, using a pattern that I've had here for many years as it came from a doll magazine back in about 2008.  I've used this pattern many times in the past but hadn't done so recently.  It is a pattern designed by Zozolala, the Dutch doll seamstress and I thought it would be a nice style for Angel.

I decided to add a frill to the bottom of the dress using a contrasting fabric which I also used for the shoulder straps. 

The bodice is a little loose on her but I like how it hangs.  The pintucks are a nice feature and add a bit of interest to the bodice.

Next, using a pattern from Tirin & Katten, I made a summer dress for my Eminor from Harucasting.  The pattern comes in many sizes and I decided to use the biggest size, designed for the MSD Imda 4.3 and increase it by 10% as Eminor has a slightly bigger bust than the Imda.  

I decided to leave the hem with a raw edge, just for fun and then to wet the dress and screw it up and twist it about a bit!  I love how this style suits her so much.  I've never thought of Eminor as a girlie girl,  but she certainly looks it in this style of dress with her hair loosely piled up on her head and her little brown Mary Jane shoes.  I think I need to make more dresses for her now!!!

Sorry about all the similar photos of her but I just couldn't choose as I love this girl so much!

And finally today, I made a dress for Anais, my Annic by Irrealdolls.  Anais is just 22 cm tall and very slim.  I decided to use the same pattern for her as I used for Eminor above but this time I would try the pattern for the Imda 2.2 size doll.  I measured Anais's chest and established that she had approximately the same chest size as the Imda 2.2 and went from there.

I think that next time I would slightly increase the size of the pattern before cutting it out....maybe by about 5 percent and also slightly increase the length of the bodice.  I think that a bodice that sits a little bit lower down rather than right under Anais's small bust line, would hopefully eliminate some of the bulkiness.  

The bodice in this size is quite tiny and fiddly to work with and being fully lined doesn't help, but I'm pleased with how it came out.  I used quilters cotton for this dress but the pattern does suggest that finer fabric would work well, so I might see what I have that's thinner for next time.  Also, I ironed the gathers down as suggested in the pattern, I think I'd want to do that a bit differently too as I don't like how some of the gathers are hanging here.

I also have another idea for an outfit for Eminor, this time using the bodice part of the pattern and instead of making it into a dress, using it as a summer top....and adding some shorts.  Hopefully I will make a start on that tomorrow.

Watch this space!!!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a little of what I've been up to on the dolly sewing front.  Thanks so much for visiting and I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Big hugs, Sharon in Spain xxx

Friday, 5 July 2019

An Update and some Little Darlings!

As some of you know from reading my blog, I had to sell a lot of my dolls over the last six months and, although I won't bore you with the details, things were not looking good for the rest of them either.  I managed to get rid of 54 dolls and sold all of Brian's trains (from his younger days!) on Ebay aswell...but finally things are looking up for us.  We have just this week sold our house, having signed the contracts on Wednesday night.  The house sale will hopefully be finalised in early September, so we will no longer have a home in Sevilla, but will live permanently on the coast here in Malaga Province.

On the one hand we are really pleased that the house sold so quickly as it's only been on the market for a couple of months, but on the other, so it is a very 'bittersweet' feeling, we have been really happy there and made some fantastic Spanish friends but needs must and we shall look forward to a new chapter of our lives starting from now.

Of course through all this, I've not only had very little time for my dolls, I've also been very lacking in interest....but just recently my interest is slowly coming back and so I decided to take some photos of the dolls who, luckily I was able to keep!!!  So first up are the Little Darlings and my one Boneka girl.  I changed them into summer clothes as it's so hot here and the poor girls were melting in their winter outfits!!  So without further ado.....

Left to Right:

Rory (Lana Dobbs), Reece (UFDC Factory girl enhance by me), Ellie (Dianna Effner), Gem (Dianna Effner), Nikola (Nellie Valentino) 

 The three number 1 sculpts:

The two number 2 sculpts:

A few close ups.....

I really love these girls' faces but I find their posing is really very, very limited.  They are elastic strung dolls but unlike the Sasha dolls, who are also strung with elastic, the Little Darlings do not pose very naturally, they are rather 'wooden'....I guess I just put up with it because the do look so sweet!!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the girls who survived my dolly cull, I hope to share some of the others who've stayed really soon.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and thank you for visiting!

Big hugs Sharon xx


Saturday, 8 June 2019

The Manikins

I mentioned in my previous post that the lovely little Toddler, Iona, was not alone in the parcel that came from my special dolly friend in the US.  Iona was actually accompanied by two very unusual (to me) dolls, and as soon as I saw them I thought they were worth researching a little. 

The dolls are actually called 'manikins' and from what I can find on the Internet, they were made by a company called Latexture of New York City, who produced these figures alongside Simplicity, (the pattern company who were also based in NYC) who produced the patterns specifically for this size of 'doll'.  The original 'dolls' would have come in a box which included a pattern, a wooden stand, a tape measure, some thread, a little pair of rounded end scissors, and possibly other sewing paraphernalia for the budding seamstress.

The box, as far as I can see, was made of hard cardboard.  I found the following couple of photos of what the complete sets probably looked like:

The two manikins that I received are without their boxes, they are from the 1940s I believe and that was apparent as soon as I saw them, the style of their hair is very 1940s.  When I say 'hair', they have molded on hair and it is painted a glossy deep brown.  The bodies are only jointed at the shoulders and apparently the arms pop in and out on 'pegs'....I think these pegs might have been prone to breaking as a lot of the dolls I've seen for sale, are missing one or both of their arms.  Both mine have their arms and are in quite good condition, although one has some pin pricks to her torso as well as a bit of damage to her face paint.   I'm guessing she was the one who was used by a seamstress to make outfits.  

Both girls are approx 13 inches tall and they have slim bodies with small bust and hips and not a considerable difference between their top and bottom halves in measurements.  This must have made it a lot easier for young seamstresses to work with, no need for masses of darts....I'm just guessing here as unfortunately I don't have the patterns.

Here are their basic measurements:

Height: Approx 13 inches

Bust: 13.5cm
Waist: 10.75cm
Hips: 14cm
Inside leg: 16.75cm

Although both of these 'dolls' appear to be the same sculpt, there are some subtle differences between them.  As you can below, one of the dolls has a slither of paint missing from the end of her nose so I will refer to her as 'girl A' (shown on the left above) and the other as 'girl B'.   In the photo above and below, you might be mistaken into thinking that the girl on the left, 'girl A' has a smaller head than her companion, I thought the same at first, but it is actually that her 'posture' is better and you will see this more clearly in my photos of them from the side.  Both girls faces are exactly 3cm long from the edge of their molded hair to the bottom of their chins. 

Also, it looks as if 'girl B' has a thicker neck, again this is because of her posture, both girls necks measure exactly 6cm round.
Both girls' faces are quite simply painted; their eyelashes, as you can see below, are all painted to one side of both eyes, so although one eye has lashes on the outside edge of the eye and nothing towards the inner eye, so the other eye has them painted so that her inner eyelid has the lashes, whilst her outer eyelid has nothing but blue eyeliner!    They both have blue eyes to match the eyeliner and red 'rosebud' painted lips which I think  probably reflect the fashions of the day.

'Girl A'

'Girl B'

Here, from the side, you can see that 'girl B' has a more pronounced 'slouch' than her companion.  I suspect that this was caused by age or maybe even warmth as at the base of her neck I can just about make out some very fine wrinkles in the plastic, but these were so fine that I couldn't really get them to show up properly in photos....

Seeing the girls full length from the side is interesting as you would think that the girl on the right, 'girl B' is slightly shorter than the other.  This is just an illusion though as they are exactly the same height.  I have measured both girls all over and there is only one difference that I can see in their measurements, and that is 'girl B' has slightly shorter arms!  Both of her arms are each 13cm long, whereas the other girl's arms measure 14cm.  Also 'girl B' has a bit of a 'problem' with her left leg in that the ankle is slightly curved, so causing her not to be able to stand up as straight as the other girl.

In the rear view you can see the damage to 'girl A', probably caused by sewing needles or pins.  

You can also see the makers mark.  Both girls are marked with the words 'Fashiondol' (yes just the one 'L' in doll...and the copyright ©️ across the small of their backs, nothing more. 

Also as you'll see above, both girls are 'wearing' painted on high wedged shoes.  I believe that these shoes would have originally had 'pegs' attached to them, so that they could be pushed into the wooden stands that the girls would have originally come with.

Apart from their posture, there are a couple of other differences that I want to mention.  Firstly and most obviously to me, are the differences in the definition of the molding on the girls.  'Girl A' has much more definition to her mold than the other girl.  Her hair is more detailed, her company name on her back is slightly easier to read as it's imprinted better and her ears in particular are far more detailed than 'girl B'. 

This difference in the two dolls is really easy to see on their hair, for example.....

Girl A

And 'Girl B'

And here you can see the differences in their ears.....with 'girl B's ears, on the right, being almost flat compared to the girl on the left.....

As well as those differences, their skin tones are also different, with 'girl A' having a more beige toned skin colour compared to the other girl's skin which has a more rosy tone to it.  Their hair colour though is exactly the same, from this angle the colour reminds me of lovely shiny conkers!! πŸ˜„

Apart from that, both girls more or less feel the same, their bodies are completely hollow so they are 'squidgy' and slightly pliable, although because of their age I've not squashed their bodies in too much as I don't want their surface paint, if that is indeed what it is, to get any further damage to it.

Well I hope you have enjoyed seeing these two 'manikin' dolls, I know that I have enjoyed receiving them and trying to find out all I can about them, which sadly hasn't been much.  I don't know if they'll stay as I am supposed to be downsizing further, (and my friend sent them to me with a note to sell if I wanted to) but we shall see....I mean they really don't take up too much room, do they? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

Have a great weekend and thank you for visiting!

Big hugs, Sharon in Spain xxx

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

An amazing surprise gift....

Some of you will have already seen this on Facebook but I had to share here.  I have a lovely friend in the US who I met through my blog.  Many years ago now, my friend, who I will call J, emailed me saying that she'd found my blog and had been reading all the posts.  We started to correspond via email and became good friends.  We share a common interest in dolls but we chat about all sorts of other things too. 

A few years back my friend had a stroke and her emails stopped for a little while.  Fortunately though, her husband knows of our friendship and he wrote to tell me that J had been unwell and I continued to email with news of the things going on in my life until J was able to write back to me.

J has often written that she wanted to send me things but I have always tried to discourage her as Spanish customs are so awful and the charges so excessive, and I've always felt that she was way too generous with sending me things, but out of the blue she wrote a few weeks ago to say that a package was on it's way to me and was currently in Madrid.  I felt slightly panicked that the parcel was in customs and I would be sent a hefty charge which I couldn't afford.  Then J wrote to say that the parcel had now reached my home town's post office and was awaiting collection.

Last week I went to the post office to collect the parcel, which thankfully, had not been caught by customs.  The box was big, it had cost a lot of dollars to be sent, but what was inside?

The first thing I saw when I got into the outer shipping box was this......(Please excuse my poor photos, they were taken on my phone!!) 

I was sure that J must have been using the tube as protection for what was inside, surely this could not be who was named on the label?

But sure enough, once I opened the tube, there inside was the most precious gift, the little Gotz Toddler Iona!!!!  I could hardly believe what I was seeing... 

My dear sweet friend had sent me her Gotz Toddler Iona as a gift "to cheer me up" as she knows I have been very 'down' over the last 5 months or so.  

I could hardly believe it, my eyes filled with tears that someone would send me such a gift.  

Iona came in her original tube, wearing Toddler Elke's outfit (minus Elke's sandals) and carrying her own canvas shoes, her original bag and beanie style hat!!  Plus a pair of lovely silky knitted socks that maybe come from another Gotz Toddler?  

She is in beautiful condition, with silky soft perfect hair!  I haven't undressed her yet as I have been busy with my mum visiting but I will soon take proper photos of her and maybe dress her in something more appropriate for our warm weather.  Recently I had to put my little boy Toddler up for adoption, so this little girl will be my model when I start making Toddler clothes, hopefully very soon!

There were two other gifts in the box which I will photograph and share with you here very soon.

I am truly blessed with the dolly friends I have, I can never thank J enough for such a generous and thoughtful gift.  

Thank you for stopping by, and for sharing my lovely present with me.  

Big hugs
Sharon xx