Monday, February 10, 2020

Aurelia, the Gold Fairy

I'm sharing the last fairy with you today!  I'm a little sad that this foray into the fantasy realm is coming to an end, but I'm also really excited about the girls that I'll be working on next.  Among other things, I have some beautiful new wigs to show you, some glorious dresses, a few familiar faces from a popular story, and more unicorn fun!

But I'm getting way ahead of myself.  For today, let's focus on the gold fairy, Aurelia.  I chose this name because it means "the golden one," but also because Mr Darcy Colin Firth's character in Love, Actually falls for a beautiful woman named Aurelia and I adore their awkward, epically romantic story.

This is how Aurelia looked when I first got her:

2002 My Twinn doll with the Michelle face.
I was excited to find this doll on eBay because the Michelle face is rare.  I have a doll with this mold in my own collection (a boy called Mitch), but I've never seen another one in person, and I've never had the chance to paint one.

Michelle looks a lot like Lenora, and they have similar identifying marks, but I can convince myself that Michelle's features are slightly different.

Here's a Lenora doll that I worked on a few years ago:

And here's Aurelia again:

Michelle's head looks more rounded to me, and her eyes are bigger.  Here's a side-by-side look at the two photos:

The Michelle mold is lovely and serene and I wish it was easier to find.

Aurelia came to me in clean, excellent condition.  She even came with a wig, as I recall, but it wasn't attached (which means it quickly got lost around here).

She has 03 vinyl.  There's been huge variety in this particular skin tone over the years.  According to Logan's Ladies, the 03 dolls from 2002 had more orange in their vinyl than 03 dolls from other years.  Even among the 2002 03s, some of the dolls were especially bright, leading collectors to give them their own name: Outstanding Orange Blossom or OOB.  Aurelia has this OOB complexion.

I hoped this coloring would be a good match for a golden fairy!

Her 2002 body is virtually free of picks, and her joints are very sturdy and quiet.

Here she is from the back:

Aurelia's biggest flaw is that she has dark stains on both arms--the most pronounced of which is on the back of her right arm:

Here are both arms (I'm not sure why I used this pose--it's a little strange):

Don't look at my bum, Emily!
And the left arm:

She had some ink stains on her fingers, too:

I still find deep stains to be the most difficult thing to fix on a My Twinn doll.  I always let these sit with some RemoveZit for a few weeks, but when the vinyl starts to swell, I clean the RemoveZit off and just hope for the best.  It's never a perfect repair.

Aurelia's head was firmly attached to her body, so I treated the stains on her arms and then wrapped the arms in plastic so that I could work on her face without getting RemoveZit all over myself.

Here's how her face looked up close:

She had a shiny blemish across her right cheek:

She also had eyelashes that do not look like My Twinn factory lashes.  Somebody must have taken the time to replace her eyelashes at one point:

I pulled the lashes off so that I could clean her eyes with Q-tips and get a close look at them.

Aurelia has really beautiful dark brown My Twinn eyes with no signs of fading.  There's nothing like this in the replacement eye market, so I definitely wanted to keep them!

Aurelia's eyebrows were faint to begin with and they got lighter after I cleaned her face.  I was fine with this, though, because I knew I wanted to give her new brows.

Her lip paint was in pretty good shape, so I originally figured I would keep that, but on closer inspection I found an area of worn paint at the top of the mouth:

I also didn't like the pointy shape of the upper lip, so I decided to rub the lips clean and start from scratch.

While we're looking at the head, here are the markings that distinguish this as a Michelle mold.  First, "Molly" is written all by itself on her pate (Lenora would have "Molly IM(2)" written here):

Michelle also has a dateless stamp on her neck:

You can see that this doll also has a small nick in the vinyl at the back of her neck.  

It's a good time to point out that I cut Aurelia's cable tie and opened up her neck seam to check the integrity of the joint.  It looked fine, but I added a bit of glue at the front just to be safe.

I cleaned away the lip paint and blush, and I lightly sanded the right cheek to remove the shiny scuff:

Here she is, squeaky clean and ready for new paint!

I painted Aurelia's lips first.  I tried to give them a softer shape, a bit of texture, and the hint of a smile:

Next I gave her some light blushing:

And then I painted in some new eyebrows that match the color of the wig I'd chosen for her:

I added gold eyeshadow:

And then applied some new light brown eyelashes:

Here's the completed left eye (with the eyelash glue still wet!):

I decided not to tint Aurelia's eyelashes because the gold from her eyelids shines through well enough, and I didn't want to further detract from her pretty brown eyes.

While all of this was happening, the RemoveZit was quietly lessening the stains on Aurelia's arms:

The biggest stain is still quite visible, but I'm hoping that it will continue to fade over the next few days:

The last thing I did was assemble Aurelia's fairy outfit!

I made her a beaded crown:

But she didn't get a matching necklace because I didn't have any leftover gold beads.  Unlike Sterling, Aurelia's cloth torso is a good match for her vinyl, so she doesn't actually need anything to hide her neck joint.

I tried out the dress that Julie made for Aurelia, and noticed that some irregular stitching was showing along one sleeve.  This is only obvious when the fabric is stretched, and since the bodice has a very tight fit, the stitches were showing a bit too much for my liking:

It looks like the sewing machine just skipped a few anchor points here and there:

This seam was never going to fall apart, but I added in some small hand stitches to make it look more uniform from the outside:

Before I dressed Aurelia, I took some more pictures of the remaining stains on her arms:

Some of the marks are still visible, but they've faded a bit:

It almost looks like lettering on her right arm, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying (unsuccessfully) to read what it might have said.

The left arm has several smaller, round spots of staining:

Now, let's see how everything came together.

Meet the golden fairy!

I'm really happy with this outcome!  I've had so many ups and downs with this doll and her sister, it was a massive relief to see all of the elements finally come together!

I think she's radiant:

Here she is from the back so that you can see her wings:

These are exactly the same as Sterling's wings.  They attach into the velcro seam of the dress with a little wire hook that I made:

But let's go back and take a closer look at Julie's beautiful dress!

This dress has a skin-tight metallic gold bodice:

The bodice has a small crease on the right side of Aurelia's chest that shows up even when the fabric is pulled tight.  In addition, because the sleeves are so tight, you can see the seam between Aurelia's cloth arms and her vinyl arms.  If the sleeves are scrunched up a bit, this becomes less pronounced.

In the picture, above, you can see that the arm seam is more obvious on Aurelia's left side where the sleeve isn't pushed up as much.

The dress doesn't completely cover Aurelia's neck seam, but I think this looks fine:  

There are a few small stitching defects along the neckline, but I didn't want to mess with those!

The skirt of the dress has a beautiful antique gold underskirt covered with tulle petals that are decorated with little golden glitter dots:

I paired this dress with some cream-colored tights and some original My Twinn gold-accented sandals.

The wig I chose for Aurelia is the Caramel Latte wig from Doll of a Kind.  I've used this wig before (on Stain Calamity Kate) and I think it goes beautifully with this My Twinn complexion:

The wig is rich, golden brown on top and in the front, and then fades to mostly super-pale blonde at the back, with caramel highlights mixed in throughout.  It literally looks like it's streaked with gold and is one of my very favorite wigs:

Here are a few snapshots of Aurelia:

Unlike poor Sterling, Aurelia is a very photogenic doll! 

She has no trouble looking straight into the camera with those heart-melting brown eyes:

This is my favorite portrait of Aurelia:

So I used it for the comparison GIF!

I like the change in her mouth, and I think the wig makes her eyes look especially nice.

I really love playing with this wig, too.  It's so fun to flip around the loose curls and expose all of the different colors:

I tried clipping some of the hair back away from Aurelia's face.  Apparently this brings out her playful side!

It also shows off her face a bit better:

For some reason this hairstyle makes her complexion look more pale than it is in real life.

I think I prefer Aurelia with her hair down:

She likes to swish it around!

I tried to parallel a few of the photos I took of Sterling--the ones where she was lying on the ground showing off the colors in her hair:

Speaking of Sterling, let's look at a few pictures of the two fairies together!

Here's how they looked when they first met:

And here they are in full fairy mode!

The whole time I was working on these dolls, this rhyme kept running through my head:

Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other is gold.

What does that even mean, though?  My kids were saying that it's a value judgement on old vs. new friends, but is gold really better than silver?  The opposite?  I'm not sure.  All I know is that I like both of these girls...but I do have a favorite.  I won't say who.

Here's a closer picture of the two of them:

And another after their makeovers:

They are so different!  And posing them together definitely highlights their individual coloring.  The ability to achieve so much variation from common elements is one of the things I love best about the My Twinn brand.

I'll end with two final shots of Aurelia by herself.  

She has such a lovely profile!

I wasn't sure about Aurelia's potential when I first got started with this makeover.  I've never worked with the Michelle face before, and this doll has a vinyl color that I don't encounter very often.  I'll also admit to feeling a tiny bit of "fairy fatigue."  I had to push myself to make one last fairy...but I'm so glad I did!  I absolutely love Aurelia's final look.  I think she's a glowing girl with warm eyes and a beautiful, rare face mold.  She brightens any room she's in.

Here are the steps in Aurelia's makeover:
-her vinyl parts were cleaned using Mr Clean Magic Eraser
-her neck seam was opened and some extra glue was placed at the neck joint
-stains on her arms were treated for 2 weeks with RemoveZit and then cleaned using Formula 9-1-1
-her lip paint was stripped and her eyebrows were partially removed with heavy scrubbing
-her face was repainted, including lips, eyebrows, and blush
-her eyelids were accented with metallic gold acrylic paint
-she was given new eyelashes
-she was given a new Doll of a Kind custom wig
-she was redressed in a fairy dress from Fairy Tale Blessings.  This dress was paired with wings, tights, gold My Twinn sandals, and a handmade (by me) beaded headpiece

Aurelia's biggest flaw is that the stains on her arms are still visible.  Otherwise, she's about as pristine as a doll from 2002 can be.

Thank you for reading about this pair and sharing their magical makeovers with me!

Aurelia has sold.  Many thanks!


  1. I LOVE THAT WIG!!!!I think this is one of the prettiest makeovers you have done yet.

    1. Thank you very much! I love that wig, too!! It always surprises me.

  2. Thank you so much, Linda! Aren't the eyes beautiful? I wish I could find replacement eyes that were that same dark brown!! She's going to be a hard one to let go.

  3. She came out so beautiful. You really are so talented!
    When we used to sing that rhyme in girl scouts, I took it to mean that old friends and new friends are both precious even though they're different (not that one is better than the other).

    1. That's what I thought, Willow! It never occurred to me (especially as a kid) that there was judgement in that rhyme. Thank you for corroborating what I still want to believe! :)

  4. She looks gorgeous, I love her warm coloring and the wig you chose for her! Thank you for the tidbit about the markings, it helped me confirm that my doll's face mold is indeed a Lenora. I was wondering, have you ever done bold or blocky eyebrows on a doll before? I want to redo the eyebrows on mine but I want to keep that bold heavy shape without mucking it up too badly.

    1. Thank you! I love the Lenora mold, too! She's such a pretty doll. I tend to be timid with eyebrows, although I'd love to branch out and do darker, bolder ones at some point. Probably the most interesting brows I've ever done are on Teresa. It's definitely something I'd like to be able to do! My own eyebrows are very dark and thick and (after hating that as a kid--of course) I love it now. I have a doll that I'm getting ready to paint, and she's going to need dark eyebrows, so I'll try to make them a bit bolder and see what happens! Maybe we can try this together. :)

  5. Ooh, I love her! She has such a sweet face! And all of the elements of this makeover came together so beautifully!

    1. Thank you so much, Stevie Lou! It's always a bit of a dice roll with these projects, and it's so nice when everything works!

  6. Yo, it's astonishing what a difference the right wig makes. Aurelia looked bad-spray-tan orange without the wig (and without the new eyebrows and mouth), but with that wig and the new face paint, she looks glowing instead. And that face mold is sooooo photogenic. Maybe some time you can post photos of your My Twinn collection so that we can meet Mitch - I'm really interested to see how that mold translates to a boy doll.

    1. I'd love to share Mitch! He's SO cute. He was painted by Peggy Foggio of Logan's Ladies. I'll take some quick pictures of him for next time. Eventually I'll share all of my "keepers," I suppose, but many of them are still waiting for their own makeovers!

  7. Amazing as always. I love the wig. Also, quick question: In Toybox Philosopher how did you set up that studio where you photographed your dolls.

    1. Back then I had a table with a full portrait-studio style paper backdrop that hung from a frame, and then some umbrella lights on each side. Sigh. I miss it. It was nice, but the lights were really hot to work under, and were expensive to replace (about $6 per bulb).

    2. So what do you use now to photograph your MyTwinn dolls?

    3. Oh, now it's just some white foam board, the regular lights in my house, and my phone camera! A pretty big step down, but it gets the job done--unless it's too sunny or too dark outside, then I have some trouble getting the lighting to cooperate. :/

    4. Well, your photographs are beautiful :)


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