Wednesday, February 21


Momma is in tears . . . or nearly so. 

While going through stuff tonight she found a bag filled with Doll Clothes she made before the fire for her Greta Garb-Oh! shop. 

Skirts and dresses She thought had literally gone up in flames. 

They're a little smoky, but they should be fine after washing and airing. 

Momma does not feel comfortable selling items that MIGHT smell a little smoky, so We are offering them to You for Free. 

The nine Mexican-style skirts only need a waistband closure and they are ready to go. (They were made with Josefina in mind.)

The three Nancy Drew fabric dresses need their linings sewn down, then snaps or buttons attached to the back. 

Please let us know if you are interested in a skirt or dress in the comments and we'll make arrangements. 

Thank you for all of your support: for Me, for Momma, for Momma's Etsy shop, and for the Entire Family after the fire. 

Sunday, February 18

Wakanda forever!

I am really, really hoping that Momma will take my Big Sister and I to see the new Marvel Comics moving picture, Black Panther, tomorrow. 

In Black Panther, T'Challa returns home as king of Wakanda, but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict with Global Consequences.

I am excited about the new moving picture, but I am thrilled that I discovered a new Seamstress and Metalsmith for 18" Vinyl Americans because of it!

Not only does Nina make amazing (and sassy!) items for her Etsy shop, Small Scale Styles, but her dolls are sassy, too

For example, check out this dialogue two of her dolls (in the photo above) had Thursday on Instagram:

Cedric: I've got on my tshirt and I'm ready. Are you ready for the Black Panther premiere tonig...ok...You're more than ready.

Brown Betty: Wakanda for life!

Cedric: I don't think they're going to allow that spear into the movie theater, Betty.

Brown Betty: But it's for your protection, my king. And my name is Okoye.

Cedric: ...

Stayed tuned for more posts this week about Nina and her Etsy shop.  (You can get Cedric's Black Panther inspired graphic T-shirt there!)



Tuesday, February 13

An ounce of prevention

Someone once asked Me for recommendations on what to do, and what not to do, before and after a fire. 

It has taken a Long While, but I think I am Ready to post My Observations. 

First of all, Get Fire Insurance!

Sadly, Momma's parents had let it lapse after they paid off the mortgage. Get fire insurance and keep it up to date. 

Secondly, I'd double whatever you have. Most apartment complexes in the Phoenix area require (or request) each tenant to have at least $100,000 coverage. Talk to your insurance agent, but I do not think that's enough - especially if there is more than one person in the household. 

That amount might sound like a lot, but you would be shocked how quickly that disappears. You have rental deposits and new Everything. 


Some things might be salvageable, but that takes time and cleaning. 

One of Momma's oldest friends also had a house fire only One Month after Ours. They had a $100,000 policy. All of the professional cleaning and repairs came out of that $100,000. 

All of it. He thought he'd have $100,000 to replace things. 


He and his Husband were left with about $10,000 to replace all their clothes, food, toiletries, medicines, towels, sheets, beds, furniture, etc.

Trust us, that doesn't go far. 

And that doesn't even begin to cover things that can't be replaced such as photographs, antiques, and Dolls. 

If you are serious about your doll collection, look around. Vinyl Americans, such as I, and our things do not fare well during and after fires. 

Vinyl can melt, and it absorbs the smoke and smell. Momma was not able to find anything that could save any of her vinyl dolls. She had collected dolls for nearly 50 years and within hours they were all gone or damaged beyond saving. 

Clementine and I only survived because we were still in our TARDIS backpack. We were smoked and wet but salvageable. We still smell a bit though when warm or sniffed closely. 

Momma was able to save only three smoke-damaged dolls:

A 30-year-old apple-headed doll is now darker and under a new glass dome. 

A clay santons de provence doll her great-aunt sent her from France more than 40 years ago is damaged and darkened but will go in a shadowbox. 

Finally, her aunt's 70-year-old composition doll, Belinda, was temporarily stored face down in Momma's dresser which saved her front half. The back is blackened, but the front is okay. Belinda is resting in my old, smoked and darkened bed. Momma will eventually put a small bonnet on her which will hide most of the visible damage. 

Finally, a word about doll storage. Everything that was on a doll hanger in a closet was destroyed. Polyester and plastic melted and the fire and smoke damaged everything else. Plastic dry cleaner bags over clothes melted and bonded with the fibers. 

Some of Momma's cotton clothes could be saved with minimal damage, but minimal damage on her outfit was complete on mine. 

What worked the best? My outfits that were stored in sealed plastic zipper bags inside a plastic tub survived the best. Some smoke still invaded the plastic tub, but the zippered plastic bag was the final protection. Some shoe soles curved in the heat but were deemed useable.

Afterwards, Momma carefully emptied each outfit from its smoked bag into individual piles on a clean bed, WASHED HER HANDS, checked everything, then put everything back in new zippered bags in a new plastic tub. Used dryer sheets helped with any lingering odors. 

Items stored in cardboard Pleasant Company and American Girl Boxes were useless.

Smoke got in every single doll trunk

Kirsten's trunk and its contents were destroyed. 

My trunk survived. It's darkened and a bit smoky, but most of the contents were salvageable. 

Samantha's trunk protected some of its contents (with cleaning) but the trunk itself was tossed. The fabric cover absorbed everything. 

Kit's leatherette trunk was severely darkened, but most of the contents could be saved. 

The outside of Molly's metal trunk could be cleaned, and most of its contents saved, but the trunk was tossed due to too much interior smoke and water damage to the cardboard. 

Make sure you have a fire AND WATER proof safe for important documents. 

Have a neighbor that you know you can go to and make sure everyone knows who, what, and where. Another doll friend had a house fire a few months before ours, but the neighbor they went to closed the door in their faces and refused to help them! 

In summary, get insurance, have a good safe, and put everything in plastic. Twice. 

I truly hope you absolutely never, ever have to learn these lessons the hard way. Hopefully you can

Learn from our Mistakes.