Happy New Year, Dury

1 Jan

My New Year’s resolutions this year are the same as they are every year:

1. Buy less
2. Organise more
3. Do more sewing, re-rooting and restoration projects

I’m not sure how I’m going to get on with these, as this year I am studying for a qualification on top of my other rl commitments. Browsing, buying and deboxing are the quick and easy routes to dolly fulfilment and as we all know, sewing, re-rooting, painting and restoring are time consuming. Nevertheless, I’ve started the year off as I’d like to go on with a little warm-up restoration.

While I was rooting in a cupboard on a non-dolly-related mission yesterday, I came across this poor creature:


This doll arrived as part of a job lot I purchased on eBay when I first started collecting. Being a generic late eighties/ early nineties blonde, she wasn’t really the kind of thing I was after at the time. Plus, she was filthy, damaged and matted – and worst of all, she appeared to have a shorter neck and wider shoulders than normal Barbies. The sides of her face also looked distorted, giving her square-jawed look which kind of reminded me of the late Ian Dury:


Yes? No? Maybe its just me. Anyway, that was that – she was named. I don’t usually name my dolls, but I couldn’t help it with this one. Every time I looked at her I thought, “bloody Ian Dury, what am I going to do with you?” As I am secretly ridiculously sentimental about toys I could not throw her in the bin, and nobody was going to buy her. She irritated me and I had to get her out of sight, which is how she ended up shoved at the back of a non-doll cupboard for years.

Of course, I’ve learned a little bit since I started collecting and when I found her yesterday, I recognised that what looked like an insurmountable load of problems when I first started out were going to be pretty quick and easy to rectify. The problem with her broad shoulders, short neck and distorted face was simple to diagnose, really. Ian Dury had been “loved” to the point where her head had become detached from her original body, probably taking the anchor with it so that it couldn’t be reattached. Somebody (probably an enterprising Mum) had then found a clone body with a knob neck fitting and popped her on it. This hadn’t worked out well as the head was the wrong shape and slightly too small for the body, and the neck knob pressed on her cheeks from the inside making her look more square-jawed than she should. Fortunately I have been on a bit of a rebodying binge recently, and I had a spare belly-button body for her. Its not a perfect colour match, but its certainly an improvement on what she had before.

Her matted hair needed a condition, brush through, wash and boil rinse to sort it out, which is one of my favourite restoration tasks – it makes such a big difference its almost like magic, and pretty quick to do too. I boiled her sheepdog fringe as flat as I could while I was at it and gave her a little trim-up. Here she getting her hair washed (please excuse the teaspoons in the sink):


Looks happier already, doesn’t she? I gave her face a little scrub too, as it was thick with dirt. While she was drying, I gave some thought to her name. “Ian Dury” isn’t exactly accurate any more, but I felt that I should commemorate her roots. I decided “Ian” was too whimsical even for me, so I settled on “Dury” – after all, the world is full of Taylors and Jacksons, so why not?

So, she’s not perfect – she still has a couple of marks on her face that I’ve not been able to do anything about, and although I’m generally quite pleased with how her hair cleaned up, there’s more breaks and frazzles than I’d like. But on the whole, she’s turned out pretty well, I think:




Fussing over Dury has made me think. A long time ago, I think I wrote about why I gave up collecting in my late teens. Part of it was, in the pre-internet days I found it virtually impossible to source dolls that I found beautiful – dolls in the shops were all just like Dury, generic, smiley blonde-and-blue. I wanted my dolls more realistic, more classy, but these kind of dolls were nowhere to be found. So I gave up. But really, I didn’t give up – I just stopped buying. I still looked at dolls, even when I wouldn’t allow myself to buy. And it wasn’t really just beautiful dolls I wanted. Any old doll is fascinating to me, even generic blonde and blue smilers, and this was always the case. I have no idea why this is. But the truth is, if Dury was my only doll and I had no way of getting any others, I would fuss over her and redress her and be fascinated by her and ultimately, I’m not sure if it would really matter what she looked like.

Anyway, just to put the sentimental cherry on top of the sugary-sweet cake that has been this post, I took some Christmas themed pictures as well. I’m on holiday, after all – plenty of time for grumpiness, cynicism and general darkness on other days. Grrr!




17 Responses to “Happy New Year, Dury”

  1. bat6660 January 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    She’s “Plasticus Fantasticus”

    • barbielea January 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      Haha trust you to come up with that πŸ™‚

  2. thosj January 1, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    I love this face mold and her bangs, and think the pic of her sitting on the edge of the sink, fresh from her bath, is soooo cute! Lastly (well next-to-lastly) she is just stunning
    in the lovely blue dress! Lastly, Happy New Year to all! πŸ™‚

    • barbielea January 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks Tom, I’m glad you like her πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a great new year!

  3. Blackkitty January 2, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    For your resolutions to work, they have to look like this:
    1. Spend <X$/month
    2. Label drawers X, Y and Z; transfer stuff from boxes A, B, C into drawers; sort collection X.
    3. Sew X clothes/month; make a list of items to sew; restore dolls X, Y, Z; make a list of supplies to buy, buy them; restore X dolls by the end of the year.

    You're off to a good start! That poor doll looks like new after your treatment.

    • barbielea January 2, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Haha I am well aware of this! 1) I can’t commit to anything specific in the long term as I have no idea how much money I’m going to have available later in the year – but I’m not buying anything at all in January. I am doing OK so far … 2) Good point, I hadn’t thought of doing it this way. I commit to clearing out one doll drawer a month until they are all done 3). I will be remaking my list this year (I lost my last one when the computer crashed) – and I commit to try two projects a month. I might not have time to finish them, but I will try …

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  4. Xan January 2, 2014 at 2:41 am #

    That was a complete transformation, she went from looking like an old broken doll to a fancy holiday Barbie. Beautiful!
    Though I agree with you, if she was the only doll I had I would still play with her, even if she was broken and dirty.

  5. Taswegian1957 January 2, 2014 at 5:21 am #

    She does look much better, you did a good job with her. I too started with loads of Barbies like Dury and while they are not my favourite type of doll at the time they were what I could get so I loved them. I love the Ian Dury reference by the way.

    • barbielea January 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Haha thanks Taswegian! I am quite fond of Ian Dury*

      * (although I don’t really want my Barbies to look like him)

  6. Andrea January 2, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    You did a very good job on her and the dress compliments her very well. I am always amazed at what a little soap and hot water can do for a basket case doll.

    If I only had one doll it wouldn’t matter how worn she was, she would still be around until she falls apart. I have one childhood baby doll, that I can’t part with, probably never will, she looks worn and lost quite an amount of hair. But she is part of lots of happy childhood memories and she makes me smile when I see her.

    • barbielea January 2, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks Andrea … I still have a few of my childhood toys and I feel the same way about them … wish I had a few more!

  7. Heather January 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Excellent resolutions!!! Mine are along the same lines, LOL… and great restore!!!

    • barbielea January 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks very much Heather – haha let me know how you get on with them!

  8. April_n_Paris January 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    She looks so much happier (and a LOT better, too). I have one just like her (given to me as a gift) but she has the original hourglass body which is cracked at the neck. I permed her hair and pinned it up, then made her a black taffeta ball gown. Now, she’s happy too. Understand you completely…once they are in my possession, cannot bare to toss them out.

    • barbielea January 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Thanks April. So glad I didn’t get rid of her – I found her in the doll drawers a few days ago and it took me a minute or two to recognise her. Such an easy and satisfying makeover πŸ™‚


  1. Swimsuit Special 2014 – Colour Splash Barbie | barbiebeauties - September 5, 2014

    […] flaws, so I swapped her body for a new-style one I had lying around. Its a better colour match than Dury’s, which surprised me, but I’m not sure I like the result quite as much. Anyway, here she is […]

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