Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thrift Store Doll Rescue


Thrift Store find, Top Model Nikki

During a quick visit to a thrift store last week, waiting to be rescued, I found an extremely preloved Top Model Nikki.  Her ModelMuse body caught my eye first followed by her distinct head sculpt.

Like the other fashion dolls there, Nikki was enclosed in a plastic bag, stapled closed with a price tag that I initially thought read, 87 (cents).  Of course I snatched her from the rack for a closer inspection.

Through the plastic I could tell that some little one had really enjoyed hours of serious Nikki play.  Her hair was mess, as illustrated in the next pictures.  Can I salvage the hair? I wondered as I walked to the scarf section with Nikki in hand to look for silk scarves to use as headwraps for myself.  None of the scarf offerings interested me so I headed toward the register.

Top Model Nikki with hair all over her head, holds her $1.99 price tag

At the register, the cashier said, $2.15.  I asked, "What?"  She said, "$2.15."  I examined the handwriting on the price tag and discovered it had been stapled to the bag upside down.  Instead of 87 (cents), the price was $1.99 plus tax.  "Do you still want it?" the cashier asked.  "Yes, I do."  I said.

At home with Nikki removed from bag, I could see additional signs of extreme doll play.  In addition to the unruly hair, Nikki had several scuff marks on the sides of her arm and a few on one leg.  An attempt to mask these with Lemon Pledge furniture polish failed, but this did perk up her vinyl.  The scuffs are not too bad, but I know they are there.


Nikki's hair upon arrival was in rough shape.

Missing hair plugs
She had a few missing hair plugs in the front and on one side.  These were concealed with existing hairs that were pulled over the bald spots and rooted into the scalp with a felting needle. 

Missing hair plugs have been covered with strands of pulled over hair, rooted into her scalp with a felting needle.
After giving her a thorough body wash, I shampooed and conditioned her hair and was surprised by the manageability after the gnarled twists had been removed.


 

I finger combed and fluffed Nikki's hair into an Afro and used a single black ponytail holder to create a headband.


End result

I dressed Nikki in a simple black halter dress and zebra print pumps.  She holds a white clutch bag.  Her sterling silver earrings are a pair I wore many moons ago.  These had to be polished for Nikki using a silver tarnish remover recipe I found on the Internet that consists of 1/2 cup boiled water to which was added 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda.  A piece of aluminum foil was used to cover the bottom of the bowl that contained this fluid mixture.  After soaking the earrings for a few minutes, the tarnish faded! 


I added a white ponytail holder to extend the width of Nikki's headband and to complement the black and white theme of her fashion.  She's almost as good as new and not a bad find for 87... no wait, $1.99 + tax.

Below is one more photo with different earrings borrowed from Pop Life Christie (temporarily, because PL Christie would not permanently give them up).



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28 comments:

  1. This post is seriously making me miss the thrift store. Great find and I like how you fixed her up and hid the unfortunate bald spot.

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    1. LOL! You should visit, Muff. You are always able to find such great bargains in your surprise-box purchases. I think your finds and Ms. Leo's thrift store finds are what encouraged me to visit my local thrift store the few times I've gone this year after a several-year hiatus from going routinely.

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  2. Wow! Nikki cleaned-up beautifully! Congrats on your new doll friend. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Nikki did clean up nicely. I am very pleased with her appearance.

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  3. Amazing what wonders you can work with a little TLC. Nikki was very lucky you found her.

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    1. Rescuing and restoring dolls to keep or resale used to be my doll therapy, Paulette. Now I do more keeping than selling but I receive just as much therapy.

      The memories of selling my finds are still pleasant. I found a 1950's Madame Alexander Cissy in the late 1990s/early 2000s at this same thrift store. Cissy was a nude, bald, basketcase. The cost was $12 and change. I listed her as-is on eBay with photos illustrating her flaws. She sold for 240-something dollars!

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  4. I think she was waiting for you to find her. She looks sooo much better and happier now. Congrats!

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    1. I think so, too, Ms. Leo. I was traveling home from my mother's house the day I stopped in the thrift store. "Something" told me to stop in and check out the fashion doll section. I did and the rest is "herstory."

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  5. What an incredible find! You did a great job restoring her. My Nikki's hair looks similar to the before picture, but without the missing hair. I really need to work on that. I'm surprised you spent any time on her body. You know she needs to be able to move. After all, she's Nikki!

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. I'm sure Nikki would love to move, too. I might give her one of my extra SIS Baby Phat Kara bodies later, but sometimes, a girl just wants to stand and look glamorous.

      BTW, MattelShop has the BabyPhat Barbies on sale for $9.99. I guess if you need multiples, the slightly lower price might justify shipping.

      Here's the link to Kara's page.

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    2. I saw that sale, but after buying Coach Barbie, my doll budget is depleted for the month. Thanks anyway.

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  6. You did a great job bringing her back to life. I went to a thrift store a couple of weeks ago and picked up some goodies. I'm glad the extra dollar and change didn't stop you :O)

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    1. Thank you Dollz4Moi - I am glad I didn't allow the extra cash to prevent me from buyng, too!

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  7. I think I heard a sigh of relief coming from the after picture. LOL She looks really sharp! Great make-over!

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  8. LOL! You probably did TGM! I think I heard one from her, too. I imagine some of the other doll family members told her how much better she looks.

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  9. Love the doll. Where did you buy the dress? You have inspired me to restore old Barbies and Brats. I also go to thrift stores and flea markets searching for black Barbies.

    Brenda

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    1. Thank you, Brenda.

      I purchased the dress from eBay seller: goodday360 -- it is not of the best quality. I had to replace the white velcro that was poorly stitched to the back with black velcro, which looks so much better. It was inexpensive and the shipping was free (so I suppose I got what I paid for). There is another seller who does better work (even though her dresses are glued instead of sewn, but they work for me): barbie-couture

      I am always happy to hear that I have inspired someone in a positive way. Thanks for sharing that with me and good luck with your dolly restorations. You'll have to share photos with me on FB.

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  10. Reading your blog is always an inspiration! I learn so much from you with each of your posts. If it hadn't been for you, I would never have known about the wonderful World Peacekeeper men. Just found one who is probably one of the handsomest Black male dolls I've ever seen. Not only that - unlike GI Joe, his feet can actually fit into Ken's shoes which is so great. Your restoration of Nikki was very informative - I now will be able to attempt to fix one of my Black Barbie beauties who has a couple of plugs which have no hair. I can usually cover them with the hairstyles I create, but being able to fix them in what seems to be a fairly simiple way (any particular size felting needle or is there a standard size?) will really enable me to make this doll glorious. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. It is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Thank you so much Fiery Dragon Lady for sharing that I have inspired you, too.

      I'd love to see a picture of your WPK that can wear Ken shoes. I bet I know which one it is or the type feet he has. I returned a Navy Seal Special Ops gut that had flat, molded-on shoes designed to accommodate his fins without ever thinking that the smaller feet would have been perfect for Ken's shoes. So I've probably learned something from you!

      I am the queen of using items on hand, so for Nikki's re-rooting, I used a rooting tool I have had for years that I used when I tried my hand at reborning baby dolls several years ago. I purchased it from Prillycharmin.com -- it's one that she designed for rerooting dolls with larger heads and thicker vinyl than Barbie dolls. The felting needles come in different sizes and are inserted into the special handle she created.

      There are special rooting tools that can be purchased for rerooting Barbie and similar dolls, but I don't own these as I have never had a plan to reroot that size doll (but who knows what the future might hold). If you "google" "Barbie rerooting tool" or "Barbie rerooting," you'll find a wealth of information along with Youtube tutorials on how to actually do this and the tools to use.

      Here's a link to several Youtube tutorials on rerooting Barbie and similar size dolls. I hope this helps!

      Good luck!

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  11. Now thats what I call cleaning up NICELY!!!! She looks fab! Don't ya just love it when you find a doll for a few bucks thats worth more!

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    1. Yes, I do love finds like this. There was another fashion doll there that caught my eye, but I left her because of her $2.99 price. Awful of me to do that, I know, and I will probably regret it if she is not there today when I return. She was one that I am not familiar with, marked Chic (I believe). She was in much better condition but nude. With her light caramel complexion, she could pose as a multitude of ethnicities. I should have purchased her last week.

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  12. Que bonita ha quedado, sus zapatillas la hacen ver muy refinada. Hasta pronto.

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    1. Hola Linda Ivette - me gustó la restauración de Nikki a una condición más presentable. Ella y yo amo los zapatos!

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  13. Reading This Posting, We Have Once Again The Feeling That USA Is Really The Doll's Land (LOL!).
    Here it's almost impossible to find some NIKKI so so cheap in a thrift store.
    Love the final result,Debbie!
    You make awesome findings!!There are dolly angels by your way for sure!!
    I'm glad for that,this is magic!!

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    1. Hi Jorge,

      Dolls are plentiful here compared to other countries, but I know you hear some of us (me) complaining chronically about deficiencies. Compared to other places we have little to complain about. So I will say I am grateful for what is available based on that.

      Thank you for allowing me to realize my blessings and thanks for letting me know you enjoyed Nikki's transformation.

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  14. Wow - A great doll and a great price - now that is a super deal! You brought back into her full glory!

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  15. What a find! She looks great after you cleaned her up!

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!