Ralph’s Dots for Barbie and friends

I just finished the prototype for a new sewing pattern I’m planning to publish soon. Inspired by a 1950’s sewing pattern, this dress was made from a vintage Ralph Lauren handkerchief. Available now in my Etsy shop. Hat included. Notice the puppy in a bag in the background … it’s a Christmas ornament.

Hat making fun for Barbie

While I was at the GAW Barbie convention last month, I visited with Pam Seeman of Paintbox Designs. She had some adorable hats for sale, which she said are made by her sister. I bought a couple hats for inspiration and proceeded to buy some supplies when I got home. Since then, I’ve made about 10 hats, and have learned to better manipulate hat straw to get the shapes I want … sometimes incorporating happy accidents. Took me about 8 hats before I realized there’s a thread in the straw you can pull to help shape it!

I remembered browsing a Barbie Bazaar magazine at GAW room sales that had instructions for making a variety of hats from hat straw, so I started looking up old issues on eBay and Etsy to find applicable articles and just received a few issues I purchased.

The February 1999 issue has the most detailed instructions, including where to purchase hat straw. The US supplier mentioned, Sandy’s Victorian Trims, still seems to be in business and has a website, sandyslace.com. I purchased hat straw on Etsy from grosgrainribbons.etsy.com and from a couple of eBay shops, so it seems to be readily available.

February 1999 issue of Barbie Bazaar magazine

The April 2000 issue of Barbie Bazaar has more hat-making instructions, using a variety of materials and techniques.

April 2000 issue of Barbie Bazaar magazine

I even found an article about using hat straw to make purses.

April 1999 issue of Barbie Bazaar

Here are some of the hats I’ve made so far.

Where to find cameo necklaces for Barbie

I’m often asked where I find the adorable pearl and cameo necklaces I feature with many of my fashions. Several years ago, my mom picked me up the 2000 Wedgwood Barbie doll (dressed in blue) at a garage sale, and I fell in love with the necklace. I then found the pink Wedgwood Barbie necklace on eBay and added it to my collection. The clasps are a bit challenging to fasten and unfasten because you have to hook them in 3 places and I thought the cameos were a tad large for Barbie. So when I stumbled across an Etsy shop with smaller cameos on little chains for Barbie, I contacted the shop owner and asked if she’d be interested in trying to recreate the Wedgwood Barbie cameo necklaces with 3 pearl strands, but with easier clasps. I sent her pictures of the necklaces and she agreed to give it a go. Since then, she’s been offering the necklaces in her Etsy shop in a variety of cameo and metal colors, and in different sizes. She makes chokers and necklaces (which I prefer), with and without a pearl drop. I think I may have almost every color now. If you would like a cameo necklace for your doll, visit DollJewelsByApril.Etsy.com. You’ll be glad you did!

Susy Goose Barbie piano makeover

It’s becoming rather difficult to find Susy Goose Barbie pianos, so when I can, I snatch them up. Manufactured in Jonesville, Michigan, in the early 1960’s, these little gems have charming details. Often, however, the music box no longer works, the flocking inside has disintegrated, and accessory pieces like the photo frame, candelabra, and music stand are broken or missing. So I enjoy fixing them up and giving them new life.

I’m not exactly sure how many of these pianos I’ve repainted, but this is the definitely the most colorful. After a good soak and scrub in hot soapy water to remove the flocking, I started with a base coat of green chalk paint for primer. Chalk paint will stick to practically anything! Then I painted a couple coats of my base color of ocean green. The carvings are accented in gold, metallic emerald green, and metallic raspberry with a pearl white overcoat. I added green cameos in the oval frames on each side of the piano where the stickers were. I made a new music stand from wood and brass stampings, since the original was missing. Then I sealed the whole piece with Minwax polyacrylic sealer. I replaced the beat up mirror above the keyboard and the missing mirror inside the lid. Then I added a new silk cushion to the bench. Some sheet music, a picture frame, and candelabra complete the piece.

This beauty is available now in my Etsy shop.

Susy Goose Barbie piano, before and after refurbishment

2022 Hankie Chic calendars now available

I know it may seem early, but for those looking for inexpensive gifts for doll club members, doll conventions and more, I’ve just published my 2022 Hankie Chic calendars.

This original 2022 Hankie Chic calendar was designed by me. Each month features a photo of an original Hankie Chic fashion that was hand-stitched by me and modeled by 12″ fashion dolls, such as Silkstone Barbie, in a unique diorama setting.

This calendar will fit nicely in your purse or pocket — it’s just 4″ x 6″ — and the spiral binding makes it easy to flip through the pages. It’s professionally printed on high quality heavy card-stock. And when the year is done, the photos can be framed and placed in your doll dioramas. Available now in my Etsy shop. (Where you’ll find my 2021 calendars are half off!)