Friday, January 2, 2015

Second, my mother experiences her first full-body transplant.

During my Christmas break, my parents introduced me to Orphan Black, which we binge-watched, and then I taught my mother how to swap heads onto more appealing bodies.

At long last, I can bend my elbows.
To explain the unusual young woman above, it's necessary to rewind a bit, all the way to a different doll. We had gone thrifting rather extensively and adventurously (Dad kept taking Neglected Fashion Dolls out of my hand and saying "oh, I'll get that for you"), with the result that I'd acquired a Hayden with incredible eye shadow (and her original wig!), only to discover that she was from a late Liv wave that didn't have articulated knees and couldn't sit!

This is the unfortunate Twist and Dance wave, in which doing the dancing thing was all the dolls could do. As it happened, one of my first acquisitions during the trip had been a Sophie that I intended to body-farm since her face-up wasn't great, so I asked my mother if it would bother her if I just did the body-swap right then.

The one on the left can't kneel, can't sit, can't really pose!
That was totally fine because my mother had an agenda: she wanted to body-swap an older doll of her own onto an articulated body, so she needed to see how it was done.

So here we are at the kitchen counter, where the concept of "go soak your head" takes on new meaning. It's hot water.

Glub glub glub.
Fancy-eye-make-up Hayden's head came off fairly easily. Sacrificial Sophie's head was giving me a fight, and there's my mom doing the doll's voice: "No! No! I don't want to lose my head!"

The first operation was successful. Here, Hallie comes out of the anesthesia.

I can sit... are you all staring at me?
A consensus was reached that the unneeded head should go on the unneeded body, so that the resulting parts would have a better chance of finding a home when re-donated.

I really appreciate your body. I'm sure you'll have a future somewhere.
Since the water was hot and the night was young, I determined upon doing the second full-body transplant right away. The head-to-be-transplanted belongs to "Trendy Watch" Elle, by Jakks Pacific, circa 2000. In her original form, she's a 15.5" doll who seems strangely burly and small-headed by today's standards. Our donor is a Barbie Fashionista obtained on a particularly adventurous thrifting junket, as we saw not a single Fashionista in my hometown.

I wrapped hot, wet paper towels around Elle's neck until I could pry her head off a massive neck stem.
Yup, that's a massive neck stem.
Her head proved a bit large for a Fashionista neck, so I finally figured out the correct way to wrap athletic tape around the very bottom of a neck spike --- I'd been doing it wrong. It's supposed to go around the bottom ring of the spike, not the top of the neck stem. I probably could have forced tiny rubber bands to work, but those things were fighting back.

For an encore, I got the doll's tiny braid re-braided evenly -- for some reason, after deciding not to take down her hair and boil-wash it, we took it down and boil-washed it because there's no resisting the urge to boil-wash. I'm still startled that I managed to redo the braid. She has rooting that was intended always to be in two high pig-tails, but it actually works "down" without visible bald spots.

An insouciant day-to-evening look.
The thrifting loot had included the alarming discovery of a Skipper head on a Barbie body (somebody else had been body-farming!), but we can do that one better. [Belatedly edited for clarity: we put the extra Barbie Fashionista head on the Elle body.]

I am frankly disturbing.
"What should her name be?" my mother asked as I posed the newly reconstructed and re-dressed doll with the shopping bag containing as-yet-unsorted thrift-store dolls from the trip to find this one her new body.

She's now officially named Helena, for the Ukrainian clone in Orphan Black. What could be more appropriate for the product of diabolical scientific experimentation?

It's a new day.


  1. Heh, that Skipper-Barbie hybrid really is a little disturbing! LOL.

    Loved seeing your body-swapping process - it's always fun to see what people do with their project dolls. :)

    1. Thrift stores in my parents' region are apparently full of nightmares and, thanks to my influence, getting fuller.

  2. Frankendolly is more than disturbing, it's scary!
    you did a great job at body-swapping, Helena is very beautiful!

    1. Thank you! I was thrilled that my mother was willing to hop on the body-swapping bandwagon.

      The family that does illicit doll mods together stays odd together!

  3. Helena is a beauty with great hair! You did some great doll surgery!

    1. Thanks! She seems happy to have sparkly clothes to wear and potential friends among my mother's Teresas.

  4. Love that you converted your mother to the body swapping camp. It always opens up so much more possibilities for the dolls. I just know they are happier when we do it!

  5. I love to read about your mom falling further down the rabbit hole with this hobby and now you two can enjoy the fall together.

    1. Thanks! There is also an upcoming post about how we corrupted one of my younger sisters... but that one is waiting on a little more research to answer a couple of her questions.

  6. It's cool that your mom was involved enough to do voices for the dolls, lol!

    1. It's alarming when you're the person trying to yank the doll's head off! Bear in mind, we'd just turned off Orphan Black -- scene of mysterious threats against the bodily integrity of women clones -- so it already seemed a little creepy to be doing this.

  7. I enjoy the body swapping and do it often, I use my hair dryer for most swaps. I wish I knew about swapping years ago before I got rid of some dolls :O)