I'm a jack of all trades who loves crocheting, dolls, thrift shopping, and coffee. My degree in art history was totally worth all the debt when I understood the symbolism of Frank N Furter in the pool in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. When I'm not imagining life as an eccentric art gallery owner/famous novelist, I'm loading up my Pinterest boards with projects that I will forget about within a day and combing through thrift store racks to find dolls to rescue. My greatest aspiration is to live life doing whatever keeps me entertained and makes me happy.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Life has a way of doing that! How is it August already? We are coming up on the last two dates for the seasonal flea market I mentioned in my last post, & I am hoping that the inevitable change in seasons will help me make more sales. Recently I haven’t been so successful, but with Autumn quickly approaching I hope more folks will be in the market for crochet goods. My partner & I are also preparing for the first of three First Friday events; First Friday is an event that happens every month & during the warmer months there are spaces for outdoor vendors. August’s First Friday also coincides with the Football Hall of Fame festivities, so we are hoping for extra foot traffic! First Friday has been successful in the past so we are hoping this year will be even better.
I’ve been getting back into the swing of crocheting this week, but recently I’ve been trying to focus more on my doll collection. I purchased a Pleasant Company Molly a few months ago who has been waiting patiently for a makeover, along with a TLC Marie-Grace who really needed some work. I finally made time to sit down & work on these dolls, & I’m pretty pleased with the results! Now all I need is to finish Sam (#26’s) hair & restring her & restring Elina (#3) & I will be in business!
Marie-Grace was a shopgoodwill find who was in rough shape. Covered in nail polish with her hair chopped short, she was in desperate need of a makeover. Instead of turning her back into Marie-Grace, however, I decided to make her a new character. I removed the nail polish from her vinyl, re-positioned & trimmed her wig, & voila! Meet Charlie!
Molly & Charlie both needed their lips repainted, plus Molly needed a little color in her cheeks. I scoured the internet for tutorials & finally found one that made sense to me. The trouble then was mixing the right color. It seems so simple but mixing paints to achieve that perfect shade can be a struggle. Finally I got it just right & was able to give these dolls the spruce-up they deserve. Molly’s cheek coloring is a little uneven, but I am pleased with it for now. Don’t they look so much better?
I also made some furniture for my doll dorms! A chair & couch from old foam, fabric, & cardboard boxes! For my first attempt I’m very pleased with the result. I’m hoping to make more furniture (plus repaint some that I already have) in the near future.
One last photo: I walked into the spare bedroom (aka my doll/craft/sewing/etc room) & found this scene. Wrestling match? Or perhaps a certain cat hopped into the shelf & knocked them over? Either way, at least you can see the couch & chair I made in action, haha!
For weeks now I’ve been planning a new blog post. I’ve been mulling over topics and half-committing to one or another, but never enough to actually sit down and write a post. I thought about revisiting a craft project I did for my brief guest blogging position but never got around to working on it. I thought about documenting some of the crafty projects I have been doing in preparation for flea market season, but I didn’t have much to write about that either. I thought about writing about my dolls again, but decided against it for fear my blog would become too much of one thing. So, I just didn’t write anything.
Spring has finally decided to show its face for more than a day where I live and I am eternally grateful for some sun and greenery. We had some warm days then got hit with snow at the beginning of April. Finally the grass is growing, the trees are starting to bud, and my allergies are in full swing. The temperature doesn’t want to stay warm, but I’m sure it will improve now that we are into May!
Our first flea market event was the third Saturday in April and it was a success. This market just started last year and took a while to gain momentum, but this year it has already gotten off to a great start. It takes place in the downtown area of where I grew up, a place that has experienced incredible growth over the past few years. Where there once was nothing, a new arts district has taken shape, bringing in lots of new events, shops, and opportunities for creative types. I’ve been able to intern at an art gallery for my bachelor’s degree, participate in the monthly art walks as a vendor, and sell my wares at the new flea market as well.
If you thought I wasn’t going to mention dolls at all in this post, rest assured I wouldn’t let that happen! I’ve actually been downsizing my doll collection recently; I looked around one day and realized I really had gone overboard. Some of the dolls have already been re-homed and I am considering doing that with a few more. I love my dolls but I realized I had too many and someone else would probably be able to appreciate them more than I was. The trouble with having so many dolls is I never seem to have enough stuff for them! I have very little furniture and clothing, and my original plan was to build a dormitory for them in the closet of the spare bedroom (that is soon to be my crafting room). By downsizing how many dolls I have, I can make room for the other things I really want (I’ve been eyeing that My Life As desk every time I go to Wal-Mart…). I even found the Our Generation laundry set and bathtub set at Target! I also won a Shop Goodwill auction for a PC Molly and finally got her cleaned up and restrung. She still needs some color added to her face (if you’ve seen the older Pleasant Company dolls you probably understand exactly what I’m saying) but she is looking great otherwise. I was planning to sew her some outfits but haven’t gotten to it yet, so in the mean time I am hoping to find a premade outfit that suits her. I also have a JLY 26 that my partner bought me for my birthday who needs restrung and her hair fixed (her curls are a mess!), so there are plenty of things to keep me busy in doll world!
I have so many things I want to work on, hopefully I will have more to share soon!
Looking back through my life, I realize I’ve always been a collector. Maybe not in the “pristine packages, all originals, neatly stored in an expensive glass cabinet” sort of way, but in the “I love this thing and I want as much of it as humanly possible” way. I’ve collected Barbies (for play and for display), Barbie ornaments, Beanie Babies, Muppets, Sailor Moon merchandise… I actually still have all of these. They mostly live at my parents’ house, where I can access them if I want, but otherwise I don’t worry about them too much. Sometimes I think I should just cut the ties, let it all go, but then I get nostalgic and can’t bear to part with my precious collection.
Collecting is never just about the collection for me. It’s much more of an experience. I didn’t just collect Sailor Moon dolls and wands, I obsessively read Sailor Moon fan fiction, drew Sailor Moon fan art, dreamed of doing Sailor Moon cosplay, etc. Eventually time and money and waning interest caused me to set aside the collection, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still casually waiting for a Sailor Saturn doll to pop up on eBay in my price range.
I should have known a few short months ago when I was reintroduced to 18″ dolls that this wouldn’t be just a casual interest. My cousin’s family came to my parents’ house to swim, and his twelve-year-old daughter had one of her American Girl dolls with her. I had a fleeting fascination with the dolls when I was about her age; a coworker of my mother’s gave me a couple of catalogs and I was immediately swept up in the magic and excitement of these dolls’ worlds. The clothes, the accessories, the tiny food! It was all so fascinating! But the dolls were expensive and I was told it was out of the question, so as time went on I all but forgot about the world of American Girl. I acquired two 18″ dolls over the following years; a barely used Penney and Friends Jamie doll and a pre-stuffed Springfield Collection doll from a Jo Ann Fabrics. I was older at the time and didn’t play with these dolls much, so they ended up in the basement with everything else. But when I held that American Girl doll in my hands during the summer of 2015, a light bulb went on in my head. “I bet I could crochet accessories for these!”
I decided to find a used doll, comparable to AG but much less in price. I remembered the Springfield doll from years ago. She was in my parents’ basement and all of her hair and completely fallen out (after reading more about these dolls this seems to be fairly common with the older style dolls) plus she was completely not poseable. Still, she was the right size and I took her home to use as a model. I started researching inexpensive 18″ dolls. I found Our Generation, Madame Alexander, Journey Girls, the revamped Springfield Collection…I was intrigued. My mom bought me a used Our Generation doll whose hair I cleaned up and trimmed. I had my models, I could start crocheting! But…my Springfield doll still wasn’t poseable. She was still bald. I bought a plastic armature from eBay and inexpensive hair wefts to glue to her head. She underwent “surgery” to have the armature inserted; it didn’t fix the problems of poseability, but it was something. I glued the hair wefts to her head, giving her thick dark hair. I made a couple crochet pieces. I kept researching. There was so much variety when choosing an 18″ doll! The differing face molds among the brands was only one huge difference; each brand had its own body style. Not all the dolls could easily share clothes! Clearly I needed more models! If I could just find one from each brand, then I could be sure the things I made would fit everyone…right?
The next thing I knew I had fallen headfirst into doll collecting. Every thrift store trip I was hunting for dolls to restore. I scoured shopgoodwill.com and eBay for deals. My doll family grew exponentially. I couldn’t turn away from a deal! I rescued dolls who had stains, ratty hair, worn face paint and restored them to their former beauty. I even fixed up a few dolls for my cousins. It was undeniable: I was hooked.
At last count I have nearly twenty 18″ dolls. A few are all vinyl, some have stuffed fabric bodies. A few were bought new, most were bought used. Some needed a lot of work, some were in pristine condition. Some I intend to keep forever, some will eventually go to new homes. These dolls have become an incredible hobby; not only do I love finding and fixing dolls that are well-loved, I also love finding furniture and other pieces to repurpose. I crochet accessories for them. I am trying my hand at making clothes. I started sculpting doll food to sell in my shop. I’ve been planning a doll house in our spare bedroom for some time now. I have a secret doll pinterest board with over 300 pins.
The best thing about this hobby is knowing that I’m not alone. Even though there is a multitude of youngsters blogging and instagram-ing their dolls, there are quite a few adult collectors as well. Adults who write cool photo stories on their blogs. Adults who make youtube videos of their collections. Adults who are just as excited about their dolls as I am about mine.
I never really outgrew dolls; I just stopped playing with them because it was no longer “cool.” Life eventually got too busy and I forgot about the little things that used to bring me joy. Now that I’m a grown-up (at least, that’s what people tell me) I realized I can pursue these passions again! They say it’s never too late to have a happy childhood (or in my case, continue to have a happy childhood!). Maybe I’m obsessed, but that’s just the way I am. When something excites me, I throw myself into it full force. As Ron Swanson says,”Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
I have so so so many doll projects I want to work on and I can’t wait to post about them!
A new blog is a lot like a new notebook. Blank pages, a fresh start; just waiting to be filled with ideas, thoughts, sketches…exciting, but also intimidating. Whenever I buy a new notebook or sketchbook, there is always that moment of trepidation where I freeze; am I really ready to put my mark on this fancy new paper? Are my ideas really worth recording? That’s probably why starting this blog has taken so long. Starting a new notebook is one thing but a blog that will be read by other people? That’s a whole other level of intimidating.
I tried blogging briefly a few years ago, but I realized quickly I didn’t have much to say. I was busy with college and work, not to mention trying to have a social life, so my creative endeavors ended up on the back burner. Now I’m a little older and a little more balanced. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Art History, left my retail job, and started focusing on the creative things that bring me joy. I took up crochet and opened an online shop. For the past year and a half, I’ve been unemployed; most of my focus has been on crocheting and finding other enjoyable projects that I can incorporate into my shop. I recently fell headfirst into the world of 18″ doll collecting and have started seeing the endless project possibilities not only for my shop but for my own enjoyment as well. To fund all these new project ideas, I’ve started a part time job at a local coffee shop. I’m just finishing my second week, and it’s kind of intense but really great.
Despite my initial nervousness, I’m really excited to try my hand at blogging again! I’ve already been brainstorming a few posts. I’ve always enjoyed writing and doing it for an audience is going to be an interesting experience!
A little about yours truly:
My name is Renee. I’m a Pisces, an introvert, and my Myers-Briggs type is INFJ/INFP.
I’m married and together with my wonderful partner Mike we have one very rotten fur-baby: a cat named Radar.
I majored in Art History and minored in Fine Art while in college. I joke that my college debt was all worth it when I finally understood the symbolism of Frank N Furter with the Creation of Adam behind him during the pool scene in The Rocky Horror Picture show.
I’m vegan as of December 30, 2015. Prior to this I was a pescetarian and vegetarian for two years, with periods of veganism interspersed.
I spend a LOT of time crocheting, though I am teaching myself to knit.
My favorite holiday is Halloween and I start planning for it early (as in…January/February/March) only to get overwhelmed and lose steam by October. (I’m planning to change that this year!)
I once rode Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point and am convinced my soul left my body for .5 seconds. Having conquered that I am now virtually unafraid of any roller coaster but I am still petrified of Ferris wheels.
Thrifting (thrift shopping) is one of my favorite hobbies. I live 5 minutes from two thrift stores, and there are three more within a 15 minute drive. It’s a dangerous situation that I take advantage of as often as possible.
Someday I want to own an art gallery/coffee shop/studio space in a cool city where I can rent space to artists and drink lattes and sell all the miscellaneous things I like to create.
Why is this blog called The Pineapple Hippie? For a few reasons. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits (second only to mango) and holds a place of honor in the name of my shop, Black Pineapple Creations. I often get called a hippie since I don’t eat meat (and I’m sure my interest in natural health and beauty, hooping, and 60s/70s music has something to do with it as well). Ergo, I’m the hippie who runs Black Pineapple Creations!