Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The My Twinn Project Conclusion

Here, at long last, is the finale of the My Twinn Project!  Amidst back-to-school pandemonium, an emergency bathroom renovation and adventures with a sick parakeet, I finally found a free morning to take the My Twinn crew to a nearby state park for their final photo shoot.

My original intention was to re-publish all of the installments of this project as one big post--so you wouldn't have to click back and forth.  However, since the installments ended up being longer than I intended (big surprise), I will just link back to part one and part two for those who would like to see all of the details.  For anyone who has been following along, I'll simply supplement today's post with little reminders of what I've already done.

This project has been an incredible amount of fun. I gained a new appreciation for the My Twinn brand of dolls (at least the older ones) and learned a lot of restoration and cleaning skills along the way.  I feel like I had varied success with my results, though, and I'll talk about that in some detail today.  Are you ready?  I certainly am!  I'll jump right in with a sneak peek of my favorite (and the most dramatically improved) doll, Miss Tasha:

Restored Denver era My Twinn Tasha doll.
Actually, before I show you the girls, I have another saga to resolve.  Remember this little guy?


He's the Finn-faced My Twinn Baby that I used as practice for the eye replacement technique.  He ended up with some silicone eyes and a pair of baby eyelashes that I happened to have in the house.  

He's wearing the outfit he came in:


I'm not a huge fan of the My Twinn Baby line (for one, they're not in scale with the older child dolls) but I think this guy came out pretty well.  I'll definitely keep him around.


These soft eyes do not have as much clarity as hard acrylic eyes (and they collect dust like crazy...) but they were much easier to insert than the hard eyes.  They were a perfect beginner eye.


I want to thank everyone who offered a name suggestion for this fellow!  There were so many great options, it was a tough choice.  After passing over a few excellent names simply because they belong to family members, I decided to take Maricha and Amy's advice and name this baby Oliver.  I love the literary reference, and think the nickname Ollie really suits him.

Thank you for my name, Amy and Maricha!
Ollie was an inexpensive repair for me because I had all of the materials I needed in the house.  Even if I had purchased new eyes and eyelashes for him, the project would have cost under $10.  This was a quick, low-cost and high-reward restoration.

I have one more little aside that I want to mention before I move on.  You might remember my very first 23" My Twinn doll, a beautiful dark-eyed Adopt-a-Friend girl named Kalliope?  Well, at one point during this project I got her down from the shelf to dust her off, and I discovered that she looks like this:

Noooooo!

Her eyes have faded--just like all of the 18" My Twinn eyes.  It's so sad.  However, I feel armed with the skills to do something about this now.  It's very empowering!  I'll just swap her eyes out some afternoon when I have twenty minutes with nothing else to do.

Kallie's body tag dates her production to 2011, so I guess the eyes from this time period are not reliable:


I feel the need to mention (again) that the neck date has nothing to do with the date of production.  Kallie's 1997 date stamp does not mean she has a "Denver head."  Descriptions like this on eBay drive me nuts.  An actual Denver head would not have eyes that faded after three years.


With that off my chest, let's get this show on the road and check in with the four 23" My Twinn girls that I've been working on.

My first purchase (and the easiest doll to fix) was Audrey.  I bid $35 for her in an eBay auction.  The only things that Audrey needed were mild vinyl cleaning, new eyelashes, and a new wig.  

Here's how she looked right out of her shipping box:


Her face was unblemished, and she still had her beautiful original factory paint--including artist eyebrows and freckles:

restoration

I removed Audrey's wig and eyelashes, and cleaned her face with soap and water.


I replaced her wig with a 13-14" Monique Majesty wig in Ginger Brown, hoping that the new color would match her eyebrows a little better:

It matches pretty well.
Then I cut the wig a little bit and tried to get the ends to curl under.  Here's how Audrey looks today (wearing the My Twinn outfit that she came in):


Here's a before and after comparison:


Audrey's new wig is silky-smooth and tangle-free.  The slightly reddish color is certainly a better match for her eyebrows, but I prefer the shorter style of her old wig.  I could try to cut this new wig even more, but I don't trust myself to do a good job.

Another big difference is that Audrey's new eyelashes are much thinner and lighter than the original lashes.  I think this makes her look more startled and bug-eyed than she did originally:


Here are some extreme close-ups of her face before and after:



And here's a huge GIF so that you can see the shots together:


Audrey's face paint is still beautiful.  I love her eyebrows!


However, I have definitely lost something with this restoration.  Suddenly, Audrey's lovely thick eyebrows are not balanced by her eyelashes anymore, and her new wig lacks the youthfulness and face-framing benefits of the original style.

My hope is that I'll eventually get up the nerve to cut the wig to shoulder length.  I should also seek out some thicker, darker eyelashes.  For now, though, I'm reasonably content to enjoy Audrey the way she is.


Audrey's restoration was very straight-forward.  The hardest step was probably gluing the new eyelashes in place.  Here's a list of the materials I needed and their cost (items in bold are things I actually had to buy for this doll, non-bold items are things I already had on hand):
  • Audrey My Twinn doll $32.68 plus shipping: $52
  • Majesty wig (Ginger Brown, 13-14"): $24.95
  • Light brown eyelashes (upper): $2.75
  • Light brown eyelashes (lower) $1.36
  • Wig and eyelash glue (Aleene's tacky glue): $1.99 per bottle.  The cost per doll is negligible, but it still has to be purchased if you don't have it
Other optional things that I happened to use:
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (not essential for this doll, but I had it on hand because I use these to clean my bathtub)
  • Q-tips (for cleaning in hard-to-reach areas like the nostrils)
  • Toothpicks (to position the eyelashes)
The grand total for Audrey is $83 and some change.  I'll round up to $86 for the little extra expenses like toothpicks and shipping.  This is less than a brand-new My Twinn doll would have cost, but comparable to the fair market price for a Denver Audrey in excellent used condition.  So I didn't save any money, but I got a new doll and the entertainment value of a simple project.  I may not be 100% satisfied with how Audrey came out, but she's worth something extra to me because of her eyebrows.  She's the only My Twinn doll I own who has original artist-painted factory brows.

You only love me for my eyebrows.
My next test subject was the lovely My Twinn Danielle, who I've re-named Holly:

restoration

Holly arrived (undressed) with a ratty, dried-out wig, blocky factory eyebrows, and missing eyelashes.  She has amazing green-grey eyes, though:


My mission with Holly was to remove the wig, eyelashes and eyebrows, clean her up a little, and then give her new hair, new eyelashes...and paint her some new eyebrows.


It took me several attempts to find the right eyebrow-painting technique.  After several blunders...


I finally found the right mix of color and technique to give Holly eyebrows that I found acceptable:


These eyebrows were done with a mix of acrylic paints and watercolor pencils.  They're nothing like the beautiful My Twinn artist brows, but they'll do.

Next, I found a new wig for Holly.  This is the Monique Auburn Doris wig in size 14-15.  I like it because it has the same style as Holly's original wig, but it's a beautiful red color.  The fit of this wig is not very good, though.  It was hard to glue in place and the bangs are too long:


I gave Holly a bang trim, which felt like it was going to be a huge failure.  I was sure that I'd cut the hair too short and crooked, but it actually turned out better than I expected.  The bangs are definitely short, but this happens to mimic her original hairstyle, so let's pretend I did it on purpose.  

Here's Holly today, wearing a purple My Twinn dress that I stole from another doll:


For better or for worse, the short bangs also show off Holly's new eyebrows:


Here are before and after pictures of Holly:


I like Holly's new wig better than Audrey's new wig, but I still feel like the bangs aren't great (notice how they puff up on Holly's right side).  I also think that the overall length of the wig could be a bit shorter.  The scale of the curled ends seems off--hair curls all of the way up to touch Holly's cheeks.  I would find this hairstyle really irritating and itchy:


Here are some close-ups of Holly's head, before and after:



And here's the magic GIF transformation:


I think Holly has a lot more warmth and expression in her face now.

I see her as the youngest member of the My Twinn group--barely out of toddlerhood.


One of the reasons I like Holly in this purple dress is that it seems just a little too big for her--like she inherited it from an older sibling and couldn't wait to wear it.  This adds to the slightly naive and sensitive little kid vibe that I feel when I look at her.  She's a cutie, for sure.


Despite the imperfections that I notice, I like Holly a lot more now than I did when I first got her.

Here's a breakdown of the cost involved in making Holly look like this:
  • Danielle My Twinn doll: $60 with Buy it Now (I paid too much for this doll.  I hadn't gained any second hand My Twinn savvy yet.  And I'm a sucker for the Danielle face)
  • Monique Doris wig (Auburn, 14-15"): $21.60
  • Auburn eyelashes (upper): $2.75
  • Light brown eyelashes (lower): $1.36
  • Fine paint brush (Princeton Velvetouch 18/0 spotter): $2.99
  • Wig and eyelash glue (Aleene's tacky glue): $1.99 per bottle
  • Liquitex acrylic paints (raw umber and raw sienna): ~$12 for both colors
  • Watercolor pencil (burnt umber): $1.29
  • Used My Twinn outfit: prices vary, but usually around $10
Not necessary, but nice to have:
  • Q-tips (for cleaning)
  • Toothpicks (to position the eyelashes)
Again, the items listed in bold are things I had to buy specifically for Holly.  The other things I already had in the house.

So, if I add up the items I actually had to buy, I get about $89.  If I add in the things I needed for this project but happened to own (like acrylic paints and the outfit) I get more like $115.  Suddenly, I'm in the price range of what a brand-new My Twinn doll would cost.  At this price level, there's also a large selection of excellent used My Twinn dolls available.  I actually saw a few Danielle-faced dolls come and go on eBay while I was doing this project--many of which sold for less than $100.

I like little Holly--I do.  I also enjoyed the challenge of learning to paint eyebrows.  However, I don't think I struck a good cost balance with this particular doll.  Given another chance with $115, I think I'd rather go to eBay and take my pick of the lovely, all-original Denver dolls in that price range.

Sorry, Holly.
The restorations of these last two dolls--Ariel and Tasha--were the most challenging.  I'll summarize my experiences with Ariel first and save Tasha for last.

Ariel was a late arrival to this project.  I had a hard time weaning myself from eBay hunting (especially as I got better at it) and so when Ariel's sweet face caught my attention (and then I saw that she came dressed with extra outfits) I made an offer on her that was accepted.

She arrived filthy and bedraggled...which is kind-of exactly what I was looking for:

restoration

Her cloth body was covered in stains, her vinyl was dark with dirt, her eyebrows had almost completely faded away, and her wig was dry, tangled and thin.  She also had a big scratch on her cheek.


After some deliberation, I even decided that I didn't like her artificial-looking factory eyes.  So, this girl got the works.  First, she was beheaded, de-wigged, cleaned and sanded.  Then, I replaced her eyes and repainted her face.  Thanks to my experience with Holly, I even colored over her faded eyebrows. 

Here are before and after shots of the work I did on the head:


While I was working on Ariel's head, I was also dismantling and cleaning her body.  This was a great learning experience!


I washed the foam stuffing, soaked the cloth body slip in bleach, and even figured out how to get the armature to stop squeaking.


The biggest challenge with Ariel was re-assembling her body and re-attaching her head.


The last thing I did was give Ariel a new wig.  I bought another Monique Majesty wig for her because I knew it would fit perfectly.  I chose a color that matched her original wig really well (Sunburst Blonde).

Here's what Ariel looks like today (wearing some of the wonderful clothes she came with):


Here are the before and after shots of Ariel (the "after" shot is undressed so that you can see how clean her body is now!):


Ariel's lighter eyes make a huge difference in her overall appearance.  I think she looks more focused and alert:


One of the things I like best about Ariel's restoration is how I was able to preserve her original facial markings (moles?) as a part of her new freckle pattern.  She has the lightest My Twinn vinyl shade, so I'm also happy with how the enhanced color in her cheeks looks--she's not quite as ghostly-pale as she used to be.  

Here are some close-ups of her face so that you can see all of the changes.



And here's the GIF:


I admit that the choice I made for Ariel's new wig is a little boring--I just went with the color and length of hair she had before.  However, I really like this face with a pale complexion and blonde hair.  Most of the Ariel dolls I've seen have darker skin, eyes and hair.  This Ariel looks like a Scandinavian girl--especially with that sweater.


I don't like her eyebrow enhancement as much as I like her freckles, but I also don't tend to notice the eyebrows much.  My attention is drawn to other parts of her face.


I fell in love with this particular doll partly because I imagined her with a quiet, determined personality.  In my mind she's been through a lot--but she's tough and clever.  I'm happy that (to my eyes, anyway) this same personality comes through even after all of the changes I've made.


Here's a list of everything I used for Ariel's makeover:
  • Ariel My Twinn doll (with outfits): $50
  • Monique Majesty wig (Sunburst Blonde, 13-14"): $24.95
  • Eyeco PolyGlass 20mm eyes (Baby Blue): $9.25
  • Light brown eyelashes (upper): $2.75
  • Light brown eyelashes (lower): $1.36
  • WD-40 (to oil the armature): $5.00
  • Bag of cable ties (to seal the cloth neck): $1.50
  • Fabri-tac glue: $6
  • Gorilla Glue (to repair some ripped vinyl in Ariel's arm): $6
  • Fine sand paper (600-grit): I have no idea what this costs for one sheet. Let's say $1
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: about $1 each (and I only use a small piece for each doll)
  • Fine paint brush (Princeton Velvetouch 18/0 spotter): $2.99
  • Wig and eyelash glue (Aleene's tacky glue): $1.99 per bottle.
  • Liquitex acrylic paints (raw umber and raw sienna): ~$12 for both colors.
  • Watercolor pencil (burnt umber): $1.29
Not necessary for Ariel, but nice to have:
  • Q-tips (for cleaning)
  • Toothpicks (to position the eyelashes)
  • Hair clips of various sizes (to hold the foam body while the glue dried)
  • Panty hose (to hold the head in place while the glue dried)
The maximum price I get here is around $127-130.  This would be if I'd had nothing in the house and started from scratch.  In reality (based on just the supplies in bold), Ariel cost me more like $100.

Ariel was in bad shape when I received her, so I don't feel any guilt over changing her original factory appearance.  As a clean, refurbished, dressed My Twinn doll, I think she's probably worth $70-80.  The added educational and entertainment value of completely restoring her makes $100 a fair price.  To top it off, I've spent so much time with Ariel at this point, she's become very special to me--easily worth $100.  I don't have any regrets over this part of the project.  It was incredibly rewarding.


Last (but not least!), I'm sure everyone remembers my Tasha with her scratched face and glue-laden hair:

restoration

I purchased her for about $30 on eBay (closer to $50 with shipping).

This girl was the true inspiration behind the whole My Twinn Project.  If you'd ask me a few months ago, I'd have reluctantly said that a doll in this condition was worthless--headed for the trash.  But I would have been wrong.

You can save me!
Before I did anything else, I removed Tasha's head so that I wouldn't get water trapped inside of her body.

I painstakingly stripped off most of the glue reside on Tasha's head with my fingernails.  Then I scrubbed her face with soap and water, attacked the more stubborn stains with Mr. Clean...and even sanded her cheeks and nose to remove the scratches and gouges in the vinyl.


The vinyl on her face feels glass-smooth now.  It's amazing.

Then (thanks to my practice with Ollie...) I popped out her old eyes without too much trouble...


...and put in some new green ones:


Then I re-painted her face, adding auburn accents to her eyebrows and giving her some new freckles.  I also restored the missing paint on her lips.  After the painting was complete, she got new eyelashes:


I was so eager to try out her new red wig, I glued it on before I put her head back on her body.  


This was a mistake.  It messed up the wig and made it hard to get a secure connection between the head and armature.


Here's Tasha as she looks now (she came with a nice My Twinn dress, but I like how she looks in this outfit better--so she traded with another doll):


I almost don't recognize her as the same doll who showed up on my doorstep back in July:


I love this mix of red hair and green eyes--especially the hair.  This wig is my favorite of all of the wigs I purchased for the project.  It's a light ginger Monique Paulette wig that I found on eBay.


Here are some before and after pictures of Tasha's face:



And the GIF:


Tasha has some shiny areas on her face (particularly on that left cheek) and the scuffs and spots are not all completely gone...but I absolutely love her.


This doll really made me appreciate the quality craftsmanship of the earlier My Twinns.  The fact that I could heat her vinyl to replace the eyes, sand her face with honest-to-goodness sandpaper, and then clean and repaint everything to look brand new?  This is a very well-made doll.


Oh--and the dark purple stains that were on both of her hands?


These faded considerably with multiple applications of benzoyl peroxide cream and mild heat.


The stains aren't completely gone (there's some very faint purple on the tips of her fingers), but anyone who was seeing this doll for the first time wouldn't notice anything unusual about her hands at all.

Good enough.
To me, Tasha is fabulous.  She's a dream doll: a green-eyed redhead from the Denver era of My Twinn...with a charming, happy face.  I could not have asked for more.

Better yet, to watch her go from garbage to gorgeous right in front of my eyes, well--that's priceless.  But since we live in the real world, let's look at the price:
  • Tasha My Twinn doll (with dress): $31 plus shipping ($39 total)
  • Monique Paulette wig (Light Ginger, 14-15"): $23.50
  • Eyeco PolyGlass 20mm eyes (A255): $9.25
  • Light brown eyelashes (upper): $2.75
  • Light brown eyelashes (lower): $1.36
  • Bag of cable ties (to seal the cloth neck): $1.50
  • Benzoyl peroxide cream (generic): $3.50
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: about $1 each (and I only use a small piece for each doll)
  • Fine grit sand paper (600-grit): I have no idea what this costs for one sheet. Let's say $1
  • Wig and eyelash glue (Aleene's tacky glue): $1.99 per bottle
  • Watercolor pencil (Venetian Red): $1.29
  • Liquitex acrylic paint (raw umber for the freckles): ~$6 (I also used some other colors for her lip restoration, so it's hard to value the total paint investment here.  We could say $12-$18 to be conservative)
Not necessary but nice to have:
  • Q-tips (for cleaning)
  • Toothpicks (to position the eyelashes)
  • Panty hose (to hold the head in place while the glue dried)
This all adds up to say that Tasha cost me about $90-$95 on the high end--assuming I had nothing on hand.  She cost more like $80 considering what I did already have in the house.  For me, that's a steal.   Tasha is easily the best bargain of the bunch--and my favorite completed doll.


My studio lighting can do funny things to these girls' coloring, so I really wanted to get them outdoors for a few last pictures.  I chose a terrible day for this photo shoot in some respects--it was about 95 degrees and relentlessly sunny--but it was a beautiful-looking day, that's for sure.  I think a few of the girls wish they'd been in more summery clothing, though.

I wanted to photograph Tasha in the woods.  The mix of orange-brown fallen pine needles and bright green foliage was the perfect compliment to her new coloring:


We had a nice time strolling down the woodland paths, enjoying the relative cool of the shady forest.


I love how Tasha's hair and eyes almost seem to glow in this partially-lit wood:


I caught her looking out of the shadows and into the sun, and was struck by how the light illuminated her beautiful eyes:


Tasha was eager to explore--fascinated by her surroundings.


We noticed about five downy woodpeckers in the trees, not five feet from where we were standing.


I don't have enough My Twinn shoes for all of my dolls, but Tasha didn't seem to mind running barefoot through the woods--especially on such an unseasonably warm day.



Secluded in a bit of shade, Tasha noticed that this old tree has interior bark that almost perfectly matches the color of her hair!


She decided to sit on that log and take in the scenery, allowing me to snap a few photographs of her in some excellent natural light:



Audrey did not have as much patience for the nature trails as Tasha did--she was more interested in exploring the park's many playgrounds.


Give this girl something to climb, and she's happy!



She's definitely the monkey of the group.


After she ran around and tried everything on this smaller playground, Audrey agreed to sit still for a minute so that I could get a nice portrait of her out in a patch of sun:



I like her a lot with her hair pulled back like this--it helps frame her face better.

I'm still not completely happy with Audrey's look, but she's definitely growing on me!


Ariel is fast friends with Audrey, so she came along with us to the playground.  She wasn't interested in climbing on the structures, though.  Her attention was caught by an adjacent field:


Instead of grass, this whole field was carpeted with small leafy plants that make the ground look frosted--almost pale blue from a distance.

The little ground plants have fuzzy leaves, too, so they offered a perfect carpet for relaxing! 


Ariel's hair caught the light from this sunny field, showing off the different shades of blonde in her wig:



Ariel explored the whole field, even finding some tall grass and yellow flowers along one edge:


After her explorations, Ariel figured we'd use one of the picnic tables to have a nice lunch...


...except that I didn't bring any lunch (bad Emily).  Ever pragmatic, Ariel cheerfully settled for using the table as a lounge chair as she watched Audrey run around and tire herself out.



With Ariel settled on the table, I had a chance to get a few close-ups of her face paint.  I'm very happy with how her freckles turned out.



Holly--the youngest of the crew--was only interested in being on the beach, near the water.  She'd have been content to wade and build sand castles all day long:




Even when I was able to lure her away from the sand for a short walk, she gravitated towards the water, sliding down an embankment to look at the little fish that swam in the warm shallows:


She really wanted one of those fish as a pet.  And it's hard to resist that pleading face!


She waded out to climb around on this water-bound log, forcing me to hike up my skirt and follow along.  She's not the best swimmer and I was worried that she'd fall.


Hang on, Holly!


She must have lain on this log for more than ten minutes, patiently waiting to catch a little fish with her hand.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that it probably wouldn't work.


Our lovely park outing marked the end of the My Twinn Project...or at least it seemed that way at the time.  So, what are my final thoughts after everything I've been through with these dolls?

This project was fun and all-consuming, although some things that sounded simple at the start (like re-gluing wigs and attaching eyelashes) were more difficult than I anticipated.  Some things, like replacing the eyes and dismantling the bodies, were downright hard--both in terms of developing a technique and in pure physical effort.  The painting part of the project was the most creatively interesting, but also presented its own unique challenge.  The desire to paint things exactly right was stressful for me.  Face paint really cements the final personality of a doll.  The biggest lesson I learned about painting is that less is more.  Only when I used multiple layers of thin paint did I get the subtle results I was after.

For the other My Twinn collectors out there: I highly recommend investing some time in learning the eye replacement technique, especially if you've purchased several new My Twinn dolls in the last few years.  With the eye-fading epidemic, this is an extremely useful skill to have and is worth the effort to learn.

One reality that I've had to face during this project is that, contrary to what I assumed, fixing dolls myself does not necessarily mean saving money.  It feels great to get a My Twinn doll on eBay for $30, sure, but the restoration process isn't free.  There are surely talented bargain hunters who could do this kind of thing for way less money than what I spent, but my lazy approach (ordering missing supplies from online shops) produced dolls that all ended up costing close to $100--which is exactly what a new or like-new My Twinn doll typically costs.

I do feel like I've learned some valuable lessons about shopping on eBay, though.  I have a better sense for the fair price range of My Twinn dolls based on their condition, and I know how to tell an actual Denver doll from all of the wannabes.  It's possible to get a well-used, fully-dressed, Denver-era doll for $35 or under.  If your goal is to purchase a doll for a restoration project, I'd recommend not spending any more than this.  A fair price can also be influenced by a few factors that I haven't talked much about, like face mold and skin tone.  I've found that the lightest and darker skin tones are the best for photography.  The medium vinyl colors often look yellow.  The palest skin tone is best for painting...but it's also the most coveted and can be harder to find.  Some face molds are rare, and can be more expensive as a result.

The problem with all of this knowledge is that when I venture onto eBay for fun (or by accident), I often find dolls with exactly the qualities I like--at an excellent price.  And the condition of these dolls no longer scares me off, regardless of how bad they might look.  So, yeah.  I think I have a bit of a used My Twinn addiction starting here.  Case in point: meet Phoebe (a pale, well-worn, fully-dressed Denver Caitie)...who I found for $36.

Challenge accepted!
Ok, so basically the bottom line here is that fixing up My Twinn dolls is too much fun.  

This series of posts might be over, but for me, Phoebe is pretty good evidence that the My Twinn Project is never truly going to end.

What new look will you choose for me, Emily?

41 comments:

  1. i can tell you had a lot of fun, just because it was so fun to read your post. thanks for being such a wonderful blogger.

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    1. Thank you! It was a huge amount of fun. :)

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  2. Your made-over dolls are stunning. I'm biased towards Ariel since that's my favorite mold, but they all look great. Tasha's new eyes are glorious. Did your little parakeet pull through?

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    1. Ariel is wonderful--I agree! Thank you for asking about the 'keet. She's fine--just a benign fatty tumor. I feel like every time I take an animal to the vet, they miraculously recover. ;D

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  3. Ahhh they're gorgeous! I thought for sure Aubrey would be My favorite but I think it's actually Holly! Good job Emily! Tasha and Ariel look like completely different dolls. All these posts have been making me want my own My Twinn... I'm trying to stay strong since I can only find extremely expensive ones on ebay!

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    1. I'm so glad you like Holly, Caroline! She's a little under-appreciated around here. It's a slippery slope to get into these My Twinns, though. I admire your caution! Stay strong! ;)

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    2. Oh my you responded. Since she looks younger than the others I think that appeals to me! I'll try especially since I really do not have any space for them! Can't wait for your next review and I hope we get to see what goes on with Phoebe.

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  4. They're all amazing! This project was very fun to read and I'm truly shocked by the result, plus you made everything look so simple to achieve. I'm tempted to try my hand at it now... Great job :)

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    1. Thank you! It wasn't simple, but it's always empowering to realize that it's at least possible! I hope you will give it a try some day. It's very rewarding to "rescue" a doll!

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  5. You did an amazing job with all of them! I love Holly's new eyebrows! The project looked like a lot of fun too.

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    1. Thank you so much, BlackKitty. They're a jolly bunch, that's for sure. And it was a huge amount of fun for me. I'm glad that came through!

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  6. I love this project so much! i really want to try it myself! The results are so incredible!!! You've done an amazing job Emily :)
    -Lydia
    Lydia's Dolls

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    1. Thank you, Lydia!! I hope you will give it a try! I thought I'd bungle something up in an epic way, but it's a fairly beginner-friendly project if you're determined. Just don't spend too much on that first test subject...

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  7. I really like Holly's eyebrows, myself. It's great that all these dolls are being restored to excellent condition.

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    1. Thank you, Barb. That means a lot! I think I got too engrossed in the process to full appreciate Holly's final look. If I come back to her in a month or two, I might feel differently. :)

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  8. WOW! I'm astonished at what you were able to do with your restorations! The dolls all look better than new, I think.

    I wonder if you could take the dolls whose hair you're dissatisfied with to a stylist to be trimmed?

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  9. Holly reminds me so much of a larger Rowan, your custom Geri doll. Rowan is my favorite doll of yours, but something about Holly really grows on you.

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  10. Wow, what a beautiful bunch of little girls (and one little boy!). Tasha's transformation was the most dramatic and I think she is probably my favorite. Perhaps because she needed the most work and your makeover of her was nothing short of amazing. I wish I had your skills. Your photoshoot outside at the ends truly drew out each of their personalities. I loved reading your posts for this project. Thanks for inviting us along!

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  11. You did a remarkable job and practice makes it nearly perfect; in fact I want to say: practice made it perfect!

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  12. Great work on all of them. I'm really impressed with the eyebrow painting!

    I have the Doris wig on my Pukifee BJD and a Hannah wig on my Minifee. I thought that there was too much hair curled under on both so I cut them and they turned out much nicer than I thought they would. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jupeycat/27490924494/

    (Minifee with black hair and Pukifee in hat).

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  13. How rewarding though. You may not save in the short term, though long term you should have a lot of those supplies on hand (like the glue, paint etc) and the satisfaction of bringing a doll back from the brink is just SOOO good.
    I fully understand the addiction, and you've done a wonderful job with these girls. They look wonderful now, and so much happier.

    I have a certain fondness for tlc dollies, I just want to take them home and fix them and make them beautiful again, it's a huge challenge but feels so good when you get it done.

    Slippery slope, but you're gonna have so much fun hahah. Well done!

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    1. Haha, I am somewhat the same. I often even prefer tlc dolls to store-bought ones still in their boxes. For some reason it's easier for me to connect to them, most likely because of the time we spend together during fixing them. It's also a great possibility to do some customization and create something different instead of just restoring the doll's looks to look like the original did.

      Great work Emily! I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts about the My Twinn Project (and was very happy to see such a series coming in the first place! I'm looking forward to project-based posts in the future :) ), and the end resuls were well worth all the work invested - all dolls turned out to be lovely, I can understand your obsession with them :) I'll join the group of commenters who like Holly the most, I also find her the most adorable, possibly because of her younger-looking face :)

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  14. Awesome! They are all beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

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  15. Fantastic finish, Emily. Thank you so much for taking time to write this all up and posting such detailed photos. It's been nothing but a pleasure to read and learn.

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  16. Absolutnie piękne dziewczynki! Masz niesamowity dar i talent! Zdjęcia są prześliczne! Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

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  17. Oh wow! They're all so beautiful now! I actually laughed out loud at the line "garbage to gorgeous"- you should have your own doll makeover show. I think my favorite was either Ariel or Tasha. Ariel in that sweater reminds me of a lost member of the Brady Bunch. These posts were so much fun to read.

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  18. Wow! Amazing job! Ariel and Tasha are my favorites!

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  19. Hi, Emily!
    You did a great work with this dollies!

    I always enjoy so much read your blog. You're the best blogger ever!

    Regards from Spain.

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  20. They all look great, especially Ariel and Tasha! In the photo of Holly lying down on the log she could easily pass as a real girl.

    Thank you for sharing the process with us! I can live with the cloudy eyes on my 18 inch My Twinns for now, but this series will be a great resource for when I eventually have to replace them.

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  21. They all look amazing! If you keep doing this, please keep sharing your before/after pictures - they're spectacular!

    Any chance you could post a group photo of all the restored dolls together?

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  22. ::Delayed applause:: :) That was awesome!!! Ariel is simply stunning...and Tasha is gorgeous with that ginger hair! I couldn't choose a favorite--they're all so beautiful, especially when you took them outside! I can't wait to see what happens to Phoebe. :)
    <3 Grace

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  23. They look great can you review littlest pet shop? I want to see your opions on them.

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  24. My sister and I like Holly the best. She's adorable!

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  25. I have really enjoyed reading about the My Twinn Projects and seeing how you've worked such wonders on your dolls. This is the part of the doll hobby that I particularly enjoy, although not necessarily just working on older dolls that need restoring, but making new dolls 'my own', giving them new faceups and wigs, I just find it a lot of fun and enjoy the creativity.
    Thanks so much for sharing your girls, they really are great little works of art.

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  26. You did an amazing job on these dolls, especially on the eyebrows! I think it's so hard to get those to look realistic and yours are better than the originals. And while I can appreciate the work that went into restoring these dolls and that you made tasteful choices in paint, eyes, wigs, etc, I still don't care for My Twinn dolls. They epitomize "creepy" dolls to me. But to each his own. This was such an interesting project and as always, your photos are excellent! Fantastic job!

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  27. Oh wow! I love these. You really made a distinct personality for each and they really shone.
    I LOVE Holly.. she's adorable and definitely gives off the littlest vibe.
    Tasha is by far my favourite. I'm a sucker for red hair and green eyes as well. Plus her face mold is by far my favourite especially in the light skin tones.
    I'd love to see more of these posts if you get more My Twinn dolls to restore. They're one of my favourite kinds of posts. I really enjoy makeovers.

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  28. I loved this journey you took us on. I personally have a proclivity towards smaller scaled dolls, but what I adore about your reviews the most is that you bring out the beauty in any doll, even when I wouldn't purchase the doll myself (that being said; I have purchased some dolls specifically because of your reviews, in the past! n.n). It made me feel very happy, seeing you restore these dolls and give them a new life. You'd do excellent work at a doll hospital.

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  29. Do please show us what "Katie" looks like when you've finished restoring her. The transformations are all so wonderful, and you learned so much over the course of the project, that I'm sure she'll end up being the nicest of them all.

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  30. This series of posts has been so so useful, I'm trying to restore a childhood doll (I emailed you before about a mystery 18" doll, turns out she's a Creative Doll Ashley which is my name so, lol). She had bad eye and paint fade issues related to being left near a window, plus scuffs. I'm actually planning a full restoration from bare vinyl so seeing a better eye method and a resource on cleaning has been great. Thank you so much!

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  31. I love what you have done with your dolls, I have restored a number of smaller dolls, but never attempted to rework the paint. I will now have a go after seeing this. I have just bought a My Twinn from ebay that needs a little work. Living in the UK I have import charges as well as high shipping costs so I have to choose wisely. I am looking forward to seeing Katie when she is restoref.

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.