Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Unusual Patients in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic

Hello Everyone - Cy Bear calling in to see how you all are, as well as to tell you about some unexpected Patients in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsty Listing 79124185) who have been occupying Isobel for the past few days.

 While the job is now satisfactorily over, have to tell you that her mood has not been as happy as normal, because - as I think she has made plain in previous posts, as well as in her listing for the Shop at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com - she's not really "into Dolls".  However, an acquaintance here in Heytesbury heard about her Clinic, and the fact that she's a Toymaker, and kept pleading with her to help her special doll friends to get some new boots.  Eventually Isobel had to agree and so the Chad Valley Dolls came to visit.  They are called that because the label under their skirts says so.

There were 10 of them in the end, and these are the first two.  All of them had names, which could be found on the aforesaid labels under their skirts (on the flip side), but Isobel did not really get to know them, and just dealt with them one at a time.  We took these two back, and once they were completed got three more and replaced their boots. Then Isobel went to collect what she thought were the remaining four.  However, in the interim, an extra doll emerged from the pile of other toys which the Lady, who I shall refer to as MrsP, collects, so she came back with the remaining five, finally completing the task on Sunday afternoon.  They were returned Monday  morning and are now happily ensconced  in their usual place on a bed in MrsP's home.

This photograph clearly illustrates the problem:  the boots with which they were supplied when originally purchased (we're not sure exactly when) had just simply fallen to pieces, and the Dolls' legs were all covered with socks belonging to MrsP's husband, MrB (shown in the foreground).  He wanted his socks back - understandably - so Isobel got to work. The Doll at the rear has had the plastic boots removed, and in the process Isobel discovered that the legs are made with stockinette and stuffed with nylon fibrefill.  Now she's not too keen on the latter - it can be somewhat inflammable - but as she had not been asked to re-stuff them  (they didn't really need it) and she wanted to get them home again as soon as possible, she left that bit alone.

While stripping off the already disintegrating bits of boot was quite easy, actually unpicking the seams to get rid of the turnover at the top of each boot was a nightmare, as Isobel found out with the first foot - as was removing ALL the plastic bits - demonstrated here.  Being stockinette it ladders very easily - with the result the first foot looked this when the treatment was completed. You can see there is little, if any, plastic covering left - but it was actually keeping the seams in place.  So, after this first attempt, Isobel left a little plastic in each seam, and so stopped the laddering taking place quite as badly.

As time went on, Isobel also became more adept at removing the plastic turnover which was very tightly sewn in with red cotton and a thicker white twine, but the first one was a bit of a disaster. Also, she had to sew the seams up as she went along, otherwise the stuffing would come out and the foot would become separated from the upper leg.  In all, each boot took about an hour and a half to take to pieces and sew together again, and then have the new brown boots sewn in place.  After the first two or three Dolls, this became a somewhat repetitive process:  so while to begin with, Isobel made them one at a time, by the time the last group of five arrived, she made ALL  the boots together, and somehow it made the process seem a whole lot faster!

Here are the first two with their new boots - I think these two were called Susie and Debbie - and one had white ric rac trimming round the turnover of her boots and the other had some yellow trimming.  Isobel also used light green and dark green ric rac trimming, and in the end three dolls had the light green and yellow decorations, while there were two each with white and dark green.  Isobel has now exhausted her supply of all her ric rac, so will be replenishing when she comes back from France in about ten days' time (or she might see what she can find while in France!)

The boots themselves were made with the fabric  Isobel normally uses for the paw pads for us Bears, of which - fortunately - she has quite a large stock.  Despite the amount used for this task (enough for 20 separate boots), we still have plenty left for future Bears, so there's no problem there.

Before being returned, the final five Chad Valley Dolls were lined up on Isobel's bed, leaning against the pillows, with me perched in the middle just to see that they behaved themselves.  Actually, they were all impeccably well-behaved I am pleased to report, and we hope that they will be comfortable in their new smart boots - as well as MrB being pleased to get his socks back!

(  Isobel intervening here:  Everyone is allowed a change of heart - and I'm no exception.

 Having completed this task, despite the drawbacks listed by Cy Bear in this post, I have taken the grand decision of being prepared to accept some Dolls as future Patients in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic - suppose a change of title will now be required:  I'm open to all reasonable suggestions.  The point has been made that there must be many dolls of a similar vintage as the Chad Valley Dolls who may be requiring re-stuffing or a makeover similar in content to these girls (Cabbage Patch Dolls spring to mind).  It seems a silly stance to take if I can help put them right and make them last for some more years - so they give pleasure to another generation. 

 So - henceforth:  Dolls with ATTACHED  stuffed arms and legs,  but NOT those with the difficult joints involved in keeping them attached to their torso, or those with china heads etc., will be welcome to visit the Clinic.  I look forward to meeting them - but just hope they don't invade in quite such numbers! 

Similar pricing arrangements will apply as those currently used for Bears and Co. - namely 

 Minimum charge = USD 38.25 (GBP) £25.00 (a.k.a Consultation Fee), plus cost of materials and labour - latter being VERY reasonable!

Postage - customer responsible for sending Patient:  ColdhamCuddlies responsible for the return journey. )

Now, this post will be the last, from either of us I think, until Isobel returns from France on May 23:  she's going to visit Peter's brother and his wife in Normandy (as she did in October last year) and we both hope the weather will be better this time than it was then.  She's going as a foot-passenger on the Catamaran (whatever that is!) service from Portsmouth to Le Havre - and has to be at the dockside by 0600 BST on May 16.  That is early, and no train would get her there from Warminster for that time, so she is leaving the afternoon before, and will be overnighting with a niece whom she has only met once before - and that was 40 years (almost to the day!) ago.  I'm looking forward to hearing all about that meeting, as well as the trip to France.

So, until the next time, take good care of yourselves.  Cy Bear!