Sunday, November 2, 2008

Smokey the Doll

Lona Rachelle
Hi, Sasha says it is my turn to introduce myself. I told her she could it do it for me, as I feel a little shy about writing about myself to anyone who finds this on the intranet, but Sasha insists I write my own. I am a Sasha Brunette “Pink Dress”, #103, made in 1979-1982 by Trendon in England. Most likely I am a 1979 girl, because the dolls made in the 1980s had much lighter skin. My name is Lona Rachelle, which MamaT says is after a special little girl, although her name was Rachel. Also Lona is the heroine in a fairy tale by Dare Wright about a courageous and kind-hearted princess. In the storybook, Lona was portrayed by a Lenci boudoir doll and by Dare Wright herself (more well-known for her Lonely Doll books).

I was a birthday present for MamaT's last birthday from her husband. I needed restringing, but he had already helped with a couple of restringing projects, so he knew that could be done. I arrived exactly on MamaT's birthday. She was so excited she opened my box right on the front porch. It was a lovely spring day, and she sat down on the porch and gazed at my face in the sunlight and fell head over heels for me instantly. At least that's what she tells me. After a few minutes, she took me inside, and that was when she got a whiff of my hair, which reeked of cigarette smoke. The seller hadn't mentioned this. The seller picked me up at an estate sell, and later said she hadn't detected any odors, although she was a former smoker. I was also sold “As Is—No Returns.” MamaT got a lot of feedback from the SashaL list about this transaction so she learned a lot of lessons. In no particular order, some of these lessons were:
--If odors are not mentioned in the listing, ASK. If the seller says they can't smell, don't bid.
--Even if you didn't ask every possible question, it is still the responsibility of the seller to divulge major defects, and cigarette odor is a major defect. You don't have to take the “as is---no returns” clause entirely at face value.
--Contact the seller before attempting any sort of rehab on the doll. If the seller really wants to be fair, and realizes they made an error in divulging major defects, they should be willing to accept a return or make an adjustment in the sale price.
--Kitty litter, activated charcoal, fresh air and indirect sunlight are all effective at mitigating smoke odors.

Working under the assumption that a return was not an option, and since MamaT had already fallen for me, she didn't seek for a return, and she had no idea you even could ask for a price adjustment. So she set about cleaning me up first thing. Always before cleaning a doll, she reviews the do's and don't's of doll cleaning on Susanna Lewis' site (see self-help Sasha care). She washed my hair, and the first rinse water was disgustingly yellow. However, she was delighted to discover that I have naturally curly hair. She thought she was going to be washing out all of my lovely curls, but it turns out our hair has a memory, and tends to bounce back to its original form, even if our bangs have been retrained to stand straight up. MamaT also cleaned the nicotine residue off my body. With the surface cleaning accomplished, she did a search on the SashaL website for tips on cigarette smoke odor removal, and found several suggestions. She didn't think stuffing the doll with bounce or using Febreeze sounded like really good options, as that would only mask and not eliminate the odor and who wants to spray a chemical on their doll? Another suggestion that did sound good was using a negative ionizer, but those aren't conveniently available everywhere, so she didn't try that.

Here's what we did for my odor problem. MamaT got a plastic bin and covered the bottom with kitty litter and mixed in a jar of activated charcoal. I've heard wood charcoal briquettes for barbecuing could also work. I think near the end she also put a little baking soda in the mixture too. She put in some blocks and set a cooling rack on top of the blocks, and then she placed me and my shoes on top of the rack. I was all in pieces at the time. She then put the lid tightly on the plastic bin, and left me for a week. At the end of the week, she gave me an airing for a day. She put me outside in the fresh air on a sunny day, but not in direct sunlight (we dolls hate direct sunlight). She also turned my various body parts periodically during the day. After that I went back in the bin again. This went on for about a month or so where I'd spend one day a week in the fresh air and the rest of the week in the kitty litter bin.

Finally, MamaT determined that I no longer had such an offensive smell, and the other dolls conceded they would be willing to stand next to me after all. I have been out of the bin for about 4 months now, and MamaT just gave me the sniff test. She says she can't detect any odor in my hair at all, and nothing to notice on the outside of my body. However, if you pull my leg and sniff inside my body, you can still detect some odor, but it's not terribly strong. MamaT has never smoked and can't stand the smell, so I'm happy she thinks I'm tolerable now. She is really happy with the results of the combo kitty litter and airing treatment. I'll post a photo of the bin we used below. I was too embarrassed to pose nude so Sasha painted a swimsuit on me. Isn't that silly?

Lastly, I want to mention that we recently discovered there are two other Sasha blogs out there. How fun! One, Sasha Street, is by Ted Menten, known as Teddy Bear Ted, a long time Sasha doll and teddy bear enthusiast. MamaT has a copy of a very nice article he wrote for Dolls Magazine in 1983. See his post for 10/21/08.
The other blog is by Franberry, another avid Sasha doll collector. She was the first follower of this blog. Both of these blogs have more frequent updates than we do. Check them out!

Wishing all of you a great day from Lona Rachelle
P.S. Sasha recently added a hit counter to this page. She already had close to 1,350 hits to this blog and MamaT's blog before she added the counter. She figures easily at least 1,200 or more of the hits were for this page before the counter began.

my kitty litter box

Gregor & me


1 comment:

franberry said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog! It's mostly an outlet for my "doll documenting" energies, but I hope that others might enjoy seeing pictures of (and a few words about) my collection of Sashas.

As for poor Smokey, I'm glad that you managed to turn a sad situation into something tolerable. I too, received a doll with smoke smell from an ebay seller. Fortunately it wasn't particularly strong, so a shampoo and several days of airing on my screen porch seems to have done the trick. Your story makes me feel fortunate that it wasn't worse.