Friday, August 9, 2019

Trunk Sale Sadie

I've had a wonderful few weeks with a full house and great summer adventures, during which time the dolls had to take a bit of a backseat, but now I'm ready to share the last few girls from my second collection!

The first is a 2001 Audrey who I've been calling Trunk Sale Sadie.  The "trunk sale" part of her name is because she was from a large group of My Twinn dolls that someone was selling on eBay--all photographed in the trunk of a car.  I have no idea what the story was there, but nobody else bid on this sweetie, so I was happy to get her for $20 plus shipping:

2001 My Twinn Audrey.
Sadie came with a loose neck joint, a slipping wig, and some faded green eyes:

The wig actually looks quite nice, especially if it's original to 2001:

That's a keeper.
The biggest problem with the wig was that it had been re-glued to the head with a super-sticky (and completely ineffective) type of glue.  I'll have to give the wig a serious washing, but I'm hoping I'll be able to use it on another doll someday.

I needed to use a different wig for Sadie, for reasons I'll explain in a bit.

Sadie's body came in good shape, with no obvious stains or marks and very few pulls.  There was evidence that her back seam had been re-sewn at one point:

Here's the tag to verify that she's a Denver doll:

Sadie's bonus feature is that she has artist eyebrows--albeit really faded ones:

I love the pattern of the eyebrow hair:

My hope was to keep the shape and original paint of the eyebrows and just darken them a bit:

The left eyebrow had a scuff and some missing paint towards the outer edge, so I knew I'd probably have to sacrifice at least some of the original eyebrow to fix that area:

Sadie also had faint red marks all over the right side of her face.  These are hard to see in pictures:

Two of the red marks were on Sadie's upper lip and at the corner of her mouth.  I was not able to remove these without rubbing away some of the underlying lip paint.  

I didn't specifically take a picture of these blemishes, but here's a cropped shot that shows them fairly well:

Sadie's neck was also horribly loose (hanging by a thread) and had evidence of a previous repair attempt:

I have no idea what kind of glue that white stuff is, but it was very hard to remove.

I eventually stripped away all of the old glue and got Sadie's head free.  I also removed her extremely sticky wig and put it in a bag for later.

Here she is.  She looks a little scared of me:

Not the eyes!  Don't take my eyes!!
I couldn't do much to Sadie at first because every time I touched her head my hands would get a coat of perma-stick on them.  It was gross.  So, before I did anything else, I had to wash her head thoroughly under the sink. 

The clean-up was not an easy process, though.  My first cursory wash yielded practically no improvement.  I had to dig in and bring out the dish soap and Goo Gone, but I also had to be really careful not to get any of these chemicals on Sadie's beautiful eyebrows.  It took a while, but I eventually got the scalp to a point where my fingers didn't stick to it.

Once the head was reasonably clean, I removed the old eyes (sorry, Sadie).  They were probably a beautiful green at one point, but they'd faded quite a bit and the scleras had taken on a sickly blue tint.

With the eyes gone, I washed the head several more times and then set it aside so it could dry completely.

After the head was dry, I set about sanding away some of the more obvious red marks.  I also sanded the left eyebrow with an extremely light touch--trying to reduce the scuff without losing too much of the original paint.

Once the sanding was complete, I gave Sadie some Secrist acrylic light blue eyes:

I can see clearly now!
Next, I stripped away her lip paint...

...and gave her a rosy complexion:

I added a bunch of light freckles, too:

Maybe you can see in the picture, above, that about half of Sadie's left eyebrow is missing.  Here's a cropped version of that picture so you can see it a little better:

This is because I had to break out the sandpaper again in order to completely remove the eyebrow scuff.  I actually tried to paint the new part of the eyebrow while the scuff was still there, but the paint wouldn't adhere properly, so I had to start over and sand more aggressively.

After this hiccup it occurred to me that if I made any mistakes during my enhancement of the eyebrows, I'd run the risk of erasing the original brows when I erased my mistakes.  I really wanted to keep as much of the original brows as I could.

So, I got out my Mr. Super Clear sealant, covered Sadie's eyes and forehead, and sprayed a light strip of sealant over just the eyebrow area.  This protects the paint from something like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Feeling more confident about not causing irreparable harm, I painted over the original eyebrows, doing my best to replicate the missing half of the left brow:

I think the new paint came out ok, but I was bothered by the fact that I could still see a shiny strip of sealant just above Sadie's eyebrows--even though Mr. Super Clear has a matte finish.  Maybe you can see the faint shine above the eyebrow in this photo:

It makes the eyebrow look like a temporary tattoo.
So, I sanded the area above the eyebrows very lightly, and then put a single quick coat of sealant over the whole face, to see if that would make the texture of the face more uniform.

It worked pretty well:

No more shine.
Sadie's facial makeover was a bit more challenging than I'd anticipated.  I don't think her lip paint is the best I've ever done...

...but her freckles and eyebrows are nice, and I guess the sealant will keep her new face extra-safe.  At this point all she needed was her wig and her eyelashes!

However, before I show you Sadie's finished face, I want to get back to this little mystery:

Who am I?
As Cami correctly guessed in the comment section of my teaser post, these are the eyes of a My Twinn Cuddly Sister doll.  The Cuddly Brother and Sister dolls are 14-inch, bean bag-bodied dolls with the same wonderful high-quality vinyl head and limbs as their 23-inch counterparts.  The Cuddly dolls were discontinued in 2003, so they're all fairly old.

I'm not much of a Cuddly expert, so I don't know which character this doll is, but here's her full face:

I have a few older My Twinn catalogues that I purchased for research purposes.  Here are the Cuddly Brother and Sister pages from my 2001 catalogue:

My doll did not have her original hair, but her face mold and dark lips made me think she was either Jennifer:

I love how Kayla is photobombing this picture.
or Madeleine:

The problem is that Jennifer has green eyes and Madeleine has brown.  So, I'm pretty stuck in figuring out which doll I got.  Please chime in if you recognize her!

Whoever she may be, I'm going to call her Wren.  I love how the names Sadie and Wren sound together.

Anyway, my whole plan with this last group of dolls was to make matching pairs of 23-inch and 14-inch My Twinn dolls.  I've made three pairs in total.  This plan was inspired by the matching Sisters Collection pairs that the My Twinn company released in 1998 (you can see photos of those dolls at this link).

I chose this particular Cuddly doll to pair with Sadie because her eyes were already a blue color that I knew would match the Secrist light blue eyes almost perfectly.  She also has artistically-painted eyebrows, just like Sadie.

Here's Wren without her bedraggled old eyelashes (and with a small scuff on her nose sanded away):

In order to match the style of Wren's face paint to Sadie's, I removed the dark lip paint and replaced it with the same color I used on Sadie:

Wren has molded lines in her lips that change the overall appearance of the paint slightly, but the match is still better than it was.

I also gave Wren some light freckles and patched up her eyebrow paint just a tad...although for some reason I didn't snap any close-up pictures of that process.  Lots of distractions this week.

Here are the two girls with their faces fully-painted:

I wasn't sure exactly what kind of eyelash to use for Wren, so I ordered a set from Monique that I figured I could cut down to size.  

Here's the new set next to one of Wren's old lashes:

As it turns out, Monique lower lashes are almost exactly the same size as the Cuddly upper lashes:

So I just used the lower strips for both Wren's new upper and lower lashes.

The last thing I had to do was choose a wig that I could find in size 13-14 (for Sadie) and in size 8-9 (for Wren).  As luck would have it, my favorite custom wig shop, Doll of a Kind, has most wigs in both sizes!

Here's Wren with her thick, shiny, heavy, long, glorious chocolate brown wig from Doll of a Kind!

I didn't comment on Wren's body earlier because she came to me in near-perfect condition.  I lightly cleaned her vinyl limbs, but the bean-bag part of her body did not require any work:

She has a few very faint marks on the lower left side of her body:

The cloth in the seams and near her vinyl parts is just slightly darker in some places, but overall she's in extraordinary shape given that she's almost 20 years old.

Wren's body is very floppy, so she doesn't pose super-well...

I'm melting...
But she can sit upright if she's given a perch:

Cheep, cheep!
I think this is the most common Cuddly face mold, but I really like it.

In fact, I just love everything about the Cuddly dolls.  I think all of the faces are incredibly sweet, and their size makes them excellent little companions for the 23-inch girls.  They're essentially My Twinn dolls for the My Twinn dolls!

But let's not forget about Sadie.

Sadie got the exact same wig as Wren, of course, and I love how it looks on her.  You know what a sucker I am for that light eye/dark hair combination:

I'll give you another quick look at Sadie's body before she's dressed:

She has some glue staining on the inside of her cloth body from her previous neck repair.  These marks can just barely be seen around the neck of the doll.  I could not photograph them.

I re-sewed Sadie's back seam again because it looked like the old stitches were coming undone at the top.  There was also a lot of loose, dry glue residue stuck between the foam and the cloth, so I wanted to clean that out a bit.

My stitches always look like Frankenstein stitches.  I need to work on that.

Now, we can focus on Sadie's face!

She reminds me of the first Audrey doll I worked on, way back in my Toy Box Philosopher days.  That doll also had beautiful artist brows:

Sadie's sister?
Here's Sadie again:

From some different angles...

And some well-lit close-ups of her face:

Now Sadie and Wren are patiently waiting for their new clothing!

For Sadie, I chose the rose pink knit dress from Doll Clothes by Carole.  This color matches the hat particularly well:

Sadie looks yellow in many of these shots, but she's definitely not an Oompa-Loompa.  Her skin tone is what I consider the "typical" My Twinn shade--an 03, I would guess.  Whatever this skin tone is, I see it more than any other complexion.  The nice thing is that Sadie's coloring matches Wren's really well.  I wasn't able to do that with all of the pairs.

I'm going to miss having these sun hats to use on the dolls when the collection is complete.  I'll have to think of a way to incorporate more hats in the future!

I think this is my favorite picture of Sadie:

I like the contrast of her intense stare and soft smile.

I imagine that Sadie is a very kind and soft-hearted girl, but also wicked smart and observant.  Nothing gets past her!

She's also a bit easier to photograph without her hat, so she took that off for a while.

I love to show off this beautiful wig.  I've raved about this particular wig before--it's the same one I used for Jenny.

Here's a sedate portrait shot of Sadie... that I can do the ubiquitous comparison GIF:

While I'll admit that there was definitely something waifishly appealing about the original doll, with her wide eyes and hopeful smile, I do think Sadie seems a bit more confident in her new look.

Here are just a few more picture of Sadie relaxing after her portrait session:

I love her eyebrows, but I can't take credit for them!  I wish I knew who the original artist was.  They look very Connie Marshall-esque.

Wren was a bit difficult to photograph on her own, both because she can't stand up and also because it's hard to get enough light on her face.

Instead, here's a collection of photos of the two girls together, Wren sporting her coordinating tee shirt and shorts outfit:

I really enjoyed the challenge of coordinating these two dolls.  They don't match as well as the Sisters pairs that My Twinn manufactured, but they capture some of that spirit.  I've also really loved the experience of fixing up a Cuddly Sister doll.  These little ones are a true joy to work with, and many of the techniques I learned with the 23-inch dolls are applicable.

Sadie required a lot more work than Wren, so here's a list of everything that was done to her:
-her head was removed and all old glue was cleaned away
-her cloth body was spot cleaned and vinyl was washed
-small scuffs and red marks on the lips, cheeks, and forehead were sanded away
-eyes were replaced with Secrist acrylic light blue eyes
-face was repainted, including lips, freckles, and eyebrow enhancement 
-the outside edge of the left eyebrow was completely repainted
-the original eyebrows were sprayed with Mr. Super Clear sealant to protect them during enhancement
-the whole face was given a light coat of sealant to make the texture of the vinyl uniform
-new eyelashes were placed
-a new chocolate brown wig from Doll of a Kind was glued at the front and back of the head only
-Sadie is wearing a dress and hat outfit from Doll Clothes by Carole

*Sadie has "4" written on the bottom of her left foot in ink (Sharpie?).  I didn't bother to try and remove it (beyond scrubbing with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser).

Little Wren only required light sanding, new eyelashes, new face paint (including lips and freckles), and a new Doll of a Kind wig (also only glued at the front and the back).  She's wearing a coordinating tee shirt and shorts outfit from Doll Clothes by Carole.

One final note: while I was photographing Sadie I noticed a small spot on her pink dress.  I have since washed the dress (the spot came out), but before I knew if the spot would come out or not, I ordered a new light blue dress (and matching tee for Wren).  I think the blue will look pretty with these girls' eyes, so the extra items will be included.

Sadie and Wren have found a wonderful new home!  Thank you so much.


  1. I love that you're doing big/little sister sets! I can't wait to see what's next :)

    Audrey's wig is interesting if it is the original. It's just way too dark for her eyebrows and eyelashes. Good call on giving her lighter hair!

    It's hard to say, but I think Audrey's original eyes were maybe not all that faded. She had glastic realistic D17 (natural gray) eyes, which are actually still available (link below). I have two Twinns with these eyes: one pair still has a pretty green hue, and the others have faded to a nondescript gray. Blue suits her as well!

    1. Wow--you're so right, Cami!! That's crazy. I've never even looked closely at the Glastic eyes, but they're an exact match! They're pretty, too. I've seen this color of My Twinn eye several times before, and I don't know why I always assumed that they were faded. Now I know!

  2. Another beautiful rescue job! Sadie turned out particularly well, but I feel like Wren's sweet self is lost in a sea of hair. Have you considered shorter, more child-like wigs for the smaller dolls? The colors you selected suit both perfectly, and it's just wonderful to see these well-made dolls fixed up to be enjoyed for a new generation.

    1. You have an excellent point! Wren's wig is crazy-long, but I'm not the best at haircuts, and I wanted to buy these particular wigs so that they would match perfectly. But yes, I totally agree! The little dolls in this series will *all* have hair that is way too long. If I did this again, I might try to coordinate colors through the Monique line but not match the style of the wigs exactly. That might have worked better overall. Live and learn! ;D

  3. Unrelated to the post, but i'm so glad you have this blog! I read the Toybox Philosopher for about 4-5 years, and really missed it.

    1. Thank you so much!! I've missed blogging, too, and am glad to have this little compromise site. ;)

  4. What a transformation!

  5. I am SO GLAD I FOUND THIS BLOG. I followed Toy Box Philosopher back before I had double digits, and I did a guest review when I was... 10? 11? It's so amazing to see you're still posting doll photoshoots. So much has changed for better and for worse in my life since I last checked out your blog. Now I'm looking for colleges, but you're still here with the dolls, all passionate and wonderful. Thank you for that :)

    1. Noelle! You did the American Girl tent set review! It's so great to hear from you!! And you're looking at colleges now? Wow, wow. What a big year it will be for you. That time for my kids was like the best of times and the worst of times! Definitely memorable. I'm so glad you stopped by this blog, and I hope you'll take a little bit of that doll-loving kid with you as you head towards future challenges and adventures! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. :)

  6. Your mystery cuddly is Savanna! She wasn't available until later; I found her in the holiday 2001 catalog.

    1. oooh! You're right! Great detective work! Thank you--I don't like unsolved mysteries!