Rescue Dolls Again

I’ve had a few dolls sitting around for quite some time waiting to be worked on and I finally got around to doing it recently.  I haven’t been very enthusiastic about the job because most of them are larger dolls with really badly tangled hair. Fashion dolls don’t take so long to do but often these larger ones are a lot of work for little reward because they go back to the shop and get mauled by children before they are even sold. One day a small child broke the windscreen of a Barbie car and we had to throw it away because the sharp plastic might have hurt someone. I may be old fashioned but I really wish some parents would teach their children how to play with things properly. I know that it’s just an Op Shop but I still think that parents ought to supervise their children and teach them to respect property. The attitude seems to be “Kids break things, that’s just how it is.”  If Naomi or I had taken things off a shelf in a shop as children mum would have been very cross with us but then she would never have left us to wander about by ourselves while she shopped anyway.

The latest rescue dolls.

Alright, rant over. What about the dolls?

I’ll start with the larger ones. Dora the Explorer is a popular doll, we often seem to get Dora related stuff at the shop. Dora had coarse matted hair which I washed, conditioned, combed and put back in bunches. I could have spent more time on her hair to try to make it smoother and shinier but as I mentioned it was not very nice to work with. Dora also has some biro marks on her body which I am treating with Oxy 10.

Dora before
Dora after her hair was done.


This next one is My Friend Cayla by Toy Quest. I have read that these interactive dolls can be hacked and Cayla has certainly had her hair hacked. I’m not sure if she still speaks, perhaps it would be for the best if she didn’t. I have washed and conditioned her hair. Her eyes are cloudy so I will try drying them with the hairdryer to see if that helps. I may also open her up and remove any batteries to prevent corrosion.

My Friend Cayla, interactive doll

Mattel’s Baby That-a-Way has been here for a while as I tried to find something for her to wear. Her hair just needed a tidy. I don’t know if she works or not.

Baby Thataway didn’t need much work.
Baby Thataway after

Disney dolls are also very popular with the younger kids, here’s another Frozen Elsa. She is marked Jakk’s Pacific. Her hair is very flyaway so I may plait it to keep it tidy. I did a little repair on her dress too.

Disney Princess Elsa from Frozen.
Elsa after her hair was washed and conditioned.
Elsa with her dress mended and her hair in a pigtail.

This next doll looks like Tyco’s Cathy Cut’ n’Curl but she only has painted on panties while the Cut’n’Curl doll looks as if she has a molded plastic torso too. She has also been around the house for a while as I haven’t had a dress for her to wear. She just needed her hair washed and conditioned.

Doll made by Tyco and dated 1994


Here is a soft-bodied baby doll with a good head of hair that was very tangled. I managed to sort it out and found her an outfit that more or less fits although it was not meant for her.

cloth body doll with rooted hair.
After her hair had been done.

Most of these dolls went back to the shop a couple of weeks ago and several of them were bought by a lady who said she loves dolls so I guess she is going to keep them herself. The doll in the picture above had already got messy hair from being in the shop but I am sure her new owner will sort it out.





  1. I think part of the problem is marketing dolls to children that they are too young to treat properly. I’m guilty of giving a 3 year old a set of fashion dolls representing his family and deliberately chose dolls that were cheap and could withstand some abuse, but also with the idea that they might end up headless. I’ve watched him play and he’s very gentle though. But we were given cloth dolls at age 3 in my family. I had Floppy Flo and Raggedy Ann. I still have Raggedy Ann over 60 years later but she’s now covered in patches to keep her stuffing in and a dog chewed off one of her feet years ago. Once we got hard dolls we were still very careful with them. I still have lots of stuffed animals from my childhood but my mother got rid of the dolls, sadly.

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  2. I totally agree with your rant about children being left unattended at the Op Shop. I see that all the time at thrift stores here. Some parents seem to view the toy section as a personal playroom for their kids. And even when they do come back for the kids they don’t make them put the toys/dolls back on the shelf. Sigh …
    Congratulations on taking the time and making the effort to untangle hair and make these dolls presentable. What a difference clean, tidy hair makes! I chuckled over the comments you and Naomi made about Cayla. Poor Cayla – scarred for life!


    • If we had a bigger shop we’d probably make room for a play area and put a few toys in there for the kids to play with instead of them running amok in the toy section. I’d say about half the parents pick up the toys or make the kids do it. I usually say to kids. You are going to pick those toys up when you finish playing with them aren’t you?” They probably thnk i’m a weird old lady.


  3. The dolls looked so much better after you did your work on them. It used to be people were made to pay if they broke or damaged things, or their children did. And people don’t like to do that, so they are a little more careful. And it shouldn’t matter where they do it, they should be held responsible. If they are too young to know better, their parents aren’t!

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  4. Some people are more direct at the swap meet..with signs that say “you break it, you buy it”.I have removed windshields from cars both before and after I bought them. I used to carry plyers with me to Fix something around the sellers so they could see how easy it was. But both my kids were hard players full of adventure. I did NOT let them roam, I made them put away things but not nessisaril;y at home. If they missed something from a cousin breaking it, we offered it to the one who broke it.I STILL have several dolls from my daughters collection.I love thrift shops, and tell kids/parents/whoever how great the stuff is there. I’m brash enough to ask if they are buying something, if not to put it back nicely. Some ask if I work there, and I say no but I would gladly buy/ rehome a toy I see is being abused. Sadly so few toys are landing near me at the local thrift shop.Sorry for the rant.

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    • We sometimes accidently broke a toy at home but I feel that kids should be taught that things in a shop don’t belong to them till they are paid for. When I first worked there some small children used to grab china off the shelves as well as toys, some even had tea parties on the floor with it, It might be cute but they were in the way of people trying to walk through the shop. Gradually we managed to remove all the china to shelves too high for a pre schooler to reach so it doesn’t happen so much now.


  5. It is true. Until you by it, you can’t use it. Parents are being remiss in not teaching their children better. Accidents DO happen now and then, but if it isn’t yours and you break it, you should apologize, at the least, and offer to pay for it.

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  6. I totally agree with you about the kids. It doesn’t matter what kind of shop it is. Those things don’t belong to them and if they break them they should have to buy them. They need to respect other people’s things. I hate it when parents leave the store to be their kids’ baby sitter. I was really pleased to see a family at a local thrift store recently,who made their kids put every toy back on the shelf that they had gotten down,and tidy things back up. It turned out that they weren’t even their kids. They were foster kids,and they were apparently having to teach them manners and responsibility their parents never had.

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