Do you know what an aglet1 is?
This term and other doll refurbishing vocabulary came up during the recent gathering of volunteers devoted to American Girl doll makeovers and prepping for sale at the Girl Again boutique. Wendy Biscobing, Aliza DeMasi, Barbara Kennedy and daughter Julia, and Yes She Can board member Jessica Markowitz and her stepmother Teri, joined Yes She Can founder Marjorie Madfis and her daughter Izzie on Sunday October 8th at the store in White Plains, NY.
Oh, and there were also delicious assorted fresh bagels and Bloody Mary makings for the volunteers to enjoy.
Meanwhile, this crew of eight volunteers (some members of the Yes She Can board and several individuals who love working with dolls) were busy restoring dolls who’ve been “well loved” or lovingly “altered” by their previous owners. In some cases bodies and heads are being switched to make one whole recoverable doll.
The How To:
Marjorie has a step-by-step simple visual guide to restoration available for volunteers to follow:
- Remove head and unstuff the body
- Tighten limbs by winding hair ties to fill the gaps tightening the joint between the limb and the body
- Re-stuff the body – the handle of a large wooden spoon is an excellent tool for tamping down the stuffing firmly and completely – this also results in tightening the limbs.
Now here’s the test — once you have reinserted the head — will the doll stand on its own? If yes – great! If not, more tamping down of stuffing is needed – also, or further tightening of the limbs.
Another tool available to the team is a locking forceps (aka tweezers) to assist fingers with grasping the small elastics. Doll restoration and doll-making has a vocabulary unto itself.
Now on to the cleaning station – there are several dolls waiting here for a good cleanup. Baking soda works well and is gentle – a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is another good option for cleaning dolls. And sometimes pot cleaner Bon Ami is used on tough grime.
Once the dolls are clean and the hair is dressed they are moved to a separate table to wait for an appropriate outfit – Izzie is taking care of that very important step – pulling together all the right outfits (which have been washed and ironed) with accessories, and dressing the dolls.
Amid the hub bub, two Kit Kitteridge doll heads with beautiful bobbed hair sit side by side gazing wordlessly at the goings on; they’ll be called into play shortly. Perhaps Kit (a 9-year-old girl in 1934) is hoping that her favorite baseball team – the Cincinnati Reds — will make the playoffs next year.
Merchandise donations to the non-profit have been plentiful recently. This “refurbishing party” is part of a push to prepare merchandise for display at Girl AGain and then out the door with their new owners. Yes She Can funds their job skills development program through sales from Girl AGain boutique. NOTE: The organization is looking for a location to host a pop-up store during the holiday season.
Just to the right of this treasure trove is a tiny blue American Girl microscope2 – can you guess the origin of this accessory? It can be found on a fan wiki.
Meanwhile, Marjorie is guiding the two tables of doll restorers while Izzie is waiting on customers. Grandparents brought their grandchild to Girl AGain so she could select something for her AG doll – Izzie has the answers and uses her knowledge and customer service skills to come up with a super find that meets all requirements! A Super Girl outfit for the little girl’s doll – now girl and doll will be wearing identical outfits for Halloween.
We continue to be thankful for Yes She Can’s mission: Collaborating for the greater good while giving girls and young women opportunities to be part of something positive, something larger than themselves.
If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to info@YesSheCanInc.org
- Aglet – the metal or plastic tip at the end of a shoelace
- The Science Lab Set is a My American Girl accessory set released in 2013 and retired in 2015
About the author: Regina Poltrack enjoys writing and has been volunteering for Yes She Can for over two years.