Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Barbie Dolls (Including Contest)

ADDITION: 06/25/08
Sometimes you do things right, sometimes you do things wrong. When I posted my contest around Christmas lots of people enjoyed guessing what my silly kitschy deer head was originally made for. I thought my Barbie dolls would entertain you as much, but from the few replies I've had so far I take it I'm wrong. So I've decided to make things a bit easier and make a statement as well. Please read:
1. I do NOT think Barbie is a good role model for girls (or any woman, for that matter), but fashion dolls DID help develop my creative skills when I was a kid and though I found them pretty, I don't think I ever tried to, or thought I had to, look like them.
2. I collect these dolls because other people throw them away and I'm proud to show what I rescue.
3. Of course I want to attract extra visitors to my blog and create awareness, but other than that the contest is only meant to entertain and with the above in mind, I hope you see the irony of it too.
4. Rules change: Any entry that has two out of four guesses right (three imitation dolls, one vintage doll) is in for the prizes. I do need your critique of my designs, so please visit my Etsy shop and tell me what you like (or not).


Finally summer is almost here! To celebrate I cooked up a little guessing contest again. Entries must be posted before 01 July 00.00 CET. It may sound difficult at first, but it is absolutely not! Clues are in my Etsy Shop and in this post, so I expect only correct answers!!

But before I continue bear with me and let me explain why I collect Barbie dolls. Because I'm not one of those who spend money on latest editions and official Mattel clothing. None of that, Im not a Barbie girl, but they just come to me and I still love making clothes for them (sometimes). You can read a little more about that and how Barbie helped me develop my creative skills when I was a kid here on my official designer's website.

My mom bought me my first Barbie dolls when I was four or five, so around 1967 or 68. Little did I know then that the 'modern' dolls with the rubber legs with a knee mechanism were on the market since 1966 and my mom bought me cheap leftover stock with the stiff legs on the street market. No matter how I begged later on for a Barbie with bendable legs, I never got one. She always claimed she found the new Barbies had ugly faces with to much make-up on, but obviously she found them too expensive as well.

Now my two old dolls are classified vintage and worth money and I'm so glad! I'm also very glad my parents never ever threw out toys and waited till we were adult to decide ourselves what to keep and what not. I left my dolls in their house for my nieces to play with. Only when they were getting to old for it too I took the whole lot including clothes (many of them hand made by mom) with me and then, just for fun picked up my child's hobby: dressmaking for Barbie! But then I started wondering if my dresses would fit the modern Barbie dolls, so I went to the thrift shop and found one very ugly one with inked hair and only half a foot for one euro or so. But as she only served fitting purposes she was good enough. I cut off her hair and gave her boots to make her a bit more presentable. But not good enough for pictures so I browsed the internet and bought some more second hand ones after all. Got a good deal and found there were many special edition dolls around and got one very pretty doll with a different body than the standard ones with them.

But I should have known then that I could have even saved that money. Soon after we switched from occasional curb shopping to really regular scouring the streets two years ago I started finding dolls. Some were damaged or had ugly hair, but some were just gorgeous and in mint condition. A clean-up and hair wash and combing made them all presentable enough for me. So here's the whole lot, believe it or not 14 in total (plus one of my own in the photo here)! I undressed them all, so the experts among you can recognize the various types. The accessories came with the finds as well.

There's a little catch here. Not all are real Barbies. There are three imitations, Simba dolls, in my collection. Do you recognize them? Well, that's my first contest question. As said, clues in my shop, you don't need to be an expert!
Here are five close-up shots to see better. Use these for your answer. There is no logic in the grouping of the dolls, I picked them randomly by three for the photo's. That left me with an empty spot of course, so I added one of my vintage dolls. Question two: which is she? It should be easy, there are two clues in what I wrote above. For your answer just give me the picture number and tell me if the Simba doll and/or vintage doll is left middle or right.
There's one more thing I want you to do for this contest. Go to my Etsy Shop, pick the item(s) you like best (not made by me category excluded) and explain why. Of course I'm doing this for marketing reasons, but your comments will be very useful for me. And you may end up winning that item! Maybe one of the Barbie dresses themselves? Your pick is by no means decisive and I can't give away the larger items for reasons of shipping costs, sorry for that, but feel free to comment on them if you like. If you win you get to pick any item up to 15 dollars that ships as a letter.

Like last time, there will be a lovely curb found second prize as well. Isn't this silk scarf gorgeous? It comes from the bags I wrote about in this post.

To sum up the contest rules:
-Find the three Simba dolls.
-Find the vintage (before 1966) Barbie doll.
-Browse my shop, choose a handmade item (name the title of the piece or post the link) and explain what you like about it (it doesn't have to be a page full, but please try to use more than one word).
-Send your answer as a comment to this post. I will hold the comments back for publishing until the drawing date, 01 July 00.00 CET.

Make sure I can contact you through your blog or blogger account. If you don't have one leave your community ID (HGTV, Craftster, Getcrafty etc) or just tag the option to receive replies in your private email (address wil not be visible for me or others). Only if none of these options work for you leave your email address in the comment.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Craft Fairs

I don't often sell my wares at craft fairs because I usually don't even get back the costs, but once or twice a year it's worth it because of the contacts I make and the selling experience as such (what items attract attention for example). Let me show you how I gear up for it without much extra costs (apart from traveling and the fee), using mainly curb finds and hand me downs. I use the few second hand items I bought for my Etsy shop as well, so those are worthwile investments.

Because I don't have a car and don't even drive I depend on public transport or a lift of others (and for this one, thanks to Julia Lomoro, check out here beautiful artwork here) to go to wherever the fair is (usually far out of of town) and I have to travel lightly. That limits my choice of display materials a bit and I can't take my dummies for example, but in the end I always manage to pack up everything in my two curb found super handy trolleys. Notice the one on the left is a real Samsonite, but the other one carries double the content.

This is just half of everything that came out of those two little suitcases! I'm not too happy about the polka dotted sheet I used as a table cover, as you can see all the stuff I have is such a splash of all sorts of colours already. It's a piece of cloth I took years ago from my mom's stock and the only one I could find that was four meters long! And I know I have a huge piece of purple viscose silk somewhere, but of course on the crucial moment I couldn't find it.
Never mind, let's move on. A pocket calculator is of course one of the things a salesperson can't do without. Not that I needed it for this market, but you never know, someone could just buy five items at once. Even if they don't cost much these days, every investment I don't have to make is one. I found this one in a box of toys.

For displaying earrings and necklaces I cut up a discarded conference presentation board up to fit in my suitcase and covered it with a piece of a curtain sample, also from my mom's stock. The board is made of a sort of hard foam covered with paper, so perfect to stick pins in to hang the pieces on.
To make the platform for my tea cozies, I simply covered the shoe boxes that I transport all the small stuff in with a nice piece of cloth. This is actually a small curtain from the fifties or sixties that a friend gave me a few years ago. Funny thing is the shoe boxes themselves are curb found! You see, I never buy new shoes. I usually get them from the thrift shop, but occasionally I find perfect fitting ones, just my style even in the trash. You can find a picture in this post. The pretty white teapot that goes with the red cozy is an original sixties Melitta pot in mint condition that I bought in a thrift shop for next to nothing.
Here's that curtain as a background for my new felted brooches.
To attract extra attention to certain brooches, I display them on sweaters or tops.
All reclaimed from the trash, some of which I also use for photographing my items. On top this nicely fills up the four meters of booth space!
You know funny thing is last year I even sold one of the sweaters (without the brooch)! I didn't mean to but the lady simply was in love with it!
But I actually sell some of the finds on purpose. Any really nice item that I can revamp somehow becomes 'handmade' and a proper item for my shop. Here's that cute clutch again I found on Queensday. I just exchanged the flower from the last photo.
This is the second used item I bought. I found it on Etsy. Being inked on the display head was so cheap it was even worth paying the fairly high shipping fee, which with the profitable dollar exchange (for me) made it still a better deal than I could get locally.
But all this Suzy Kin needed was a bit of (curb found) paint to be pretty again.
If you sells hats, earrings, necklaces and such you should have a mirror on your table. I would love to have a pretty hand mirror, but this ugly old make-up mirror serves the purpose just as well. And how do I make those dolls stand up? I just place them with one leg in a small glass soda bottle. The fashion dolls are curb finds as well. Like the clothes, I will sell them with the doll dresses if people are interested. These two are just some of the average models (and only one is a real Barbie) and I don't really mind parting with them. Which brings me to my upcoming guessing contest. The other day I counted all my found dolls, photographed them all together and came to the stunning number of 14 pieces! So I thought it would be a real fun idea to set up a little contest around them. After all, even if you're not a total Barbie fan (believe me I am not that type of girl at all), which girl has never played with them? I plan to post this coming Sunday, promise!