Recently a new project galloped into my house in the form of Kaya’s horses, Steps High and Sparks Flying. I have wanted these horses ever since I got Kaya so it was very exciting, but as you can see, I had some work to do before they were ready to meet Kaya. My sister gets the credit on this thrift store find; actually I am quite touched at her determination to get them home to me because it so happened that she found them at a thrift store halfway across the country from where I live. She was working as a camp counselor for a summer program through a college and happened to be doing some shopping with some of the other counselors. They went into a thrift store and my sister spotted these horses and was able to buy them both for $40. I probably don’t even want to know what sort of explanation she gave to her new counselor friends as to why she was buying them (I’m sure she said something to the effect of “my sister is really weird” but I don’t really care–I’ve never met them and never will, so no worries!). She even had to check her bag and use the horses as her carry-on when she came home, so talk about sisterly love! When she first gave them to me and I handed over the forty bucks I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure that they were really worth that much since they were in pretty questionable shape. The biggest issues were that Steps High has had her tail cut short and both have had their mane cut in the front (apparently on a horse this is called the “forelock”). They were both dirty and pretty marked up, too. Steps High also came with her saddle, though unfortunately it was missing several pieces, so I don’t know for sure what I am going to be able to do with it. I decided to jump right in with some restoration and am quite pleased with the results! I will show some pictures from my restoration project, starting with some before pictures:
Time for a bath!
They both looked a lot better once I had washed them. I took a magic eraser to Sparks Flying’s legs and muzzle, this worked very well for getting off the scuffs and marks. I didn’t use it on Steps High because I didn’t want her color to come off (magic erasers are pretty harsh). Then I had to do something about Steps High’s mane. I brushed through it the best I could and then decided to try some fabric softener. The “Downy Dunk” method supposedly works well on dolls, and even though the horse mane is definitely a lower quality hair than what the dolls have, I figured why not. I pretty much just saturated the mane and then let it sit for several hours before rinsing it out and brushing it. It seemed to help, but I decided I wasn’t quite satisfied yet. I saturated her damp hair with Argon Oil of Morocco (a really great conditioning product we have used on dolls with great success) and then blow dried it on the low setting. It helps to have a second person for this, so my husband sportingly held the hair drier while I brushed it through. This process helps to basically melt the hair back into a straight style. I used a wire wig doll brush at first and then switched to a toothbrush, which really helps to pull each strand of hair straight, eliminating kinks and frizz. This worked great! I had to trim the ends about half an inch or so, but once I did that I saw a huge improvement.
Here Steps High is getting ready to have her hair conditioned:
I used a black Sharpie to fill in the scuff marks on her ears and legs. I wasn’t sure if I would need brown or black, but the brown ended up being too light. The black was perfect:
As you can see, her ears look great here:
The other big issue was her forelock, so as you can see above, I just pulled a lock of hair from her mane and moved it to the front, like bangs. I used a needle and thread to put a few small stitches through it to keep it in place (it kept wanting to flop back, otherwise). I did the same for little Sparks Flying.
Steps High was missing her bridle that is supposed come with her, so I just braided her a new one out of hemp cord. It ended up being too thick to string through the hole in her mouth, so I just tied it around.
At this point, I’m not sure what I can do about Steps High’s short tail (I didn’t really get it in pictures, but it’s about six inches long) so she is just going to be short-tailed for now. Other than that, I am pretty tickled with how these guys turned out! I have been wanting them for my collection forever, so this really worked out great! Paying about a third of the cost of what they are new is nothing to complain about, either!
I think Kaya is pretty happy, too. 🙂 I should also mention that Kaya was a restoration project doll for me too, so this is actually pretty fitting. If you haven’t read about that saga, you can check it out here.
Below are the “after” pictures. It was about 100 degrees and about to thunderstorm when I took these, so I will try for some more another time. 🙂