My Little Pony cleanup tutorial

I love finding cool vintage items, and one of my favorite finds are old toys. Most toys get broken and destroyed by their owners, but a few types show up fairly often in decent shape. One toy I always grab when I see it are My Little Ponies! MLP began in the early 1980s, and was huge throughout that decade. These old pony toys are very collectible, and have a big fanbase of aficionados and collectors.

These ponies are usually intact, but are often dirty, marked with pens or crayons, and have terribly tangly hair. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to clean up and get them looking presentable again. 🙂

I found these two ponies at Goodwill last week. The first one is a So Soft pony named Paradise. She’s a white flocked pegasus, with soft, fuzzy fibers covering her entire body. The mane was tangled, and the tail had been double braided (three regular braids that are then braided together into one). The “fur” was dingy, with some yellow discoloration around one of the wings.

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The second one is an Earth Pony named Sundance, who is white with pink hair. She was dirty and had red crayon on her neck, and two pen marks near her cutie mark. Her mane and tail were also tangled.

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The first step was to unbraid Paradise’s tail. Who knows how long the tail has been this way…possibly years! Don’t try to do any brushing at this point; it’s hopeless and will only cause damage.

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Let the cleanup begin!

The next step is a nice bubble bath. I use warm water and a small amount of dish detergent, and submerge the ponies completely. An old toothbrush is used to gently scrub the bodies to clean off the general dirt. The flocked pony can also be cleaned with the toothbrush…VERY VERY GENTLY! I scrub very lightly in circles until the whole pony is sudsy and clean.

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After a good rinse, the next step is de-marking. Spots like pen marks, crayon, sticker residue, etc can often be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol. I like to take a Q-tip and gently rub the spot until it comes clean, being extra careful around paint applications like the eyes and cutie mark. Unfortunately not all spots will come off, but a good percentage will.

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The red crayon mark on Sundance’s neck did come off with the alcohol, but the blue pen marks on her rump didn’t.

After as much cleanup as possible has been done, it’s time for the most fun part: detangling! (Yes, it’s fun!) Take a small amount of liquid fabric softener (hair conditioner will also work) and saturate the mane and tail with it. I like to put the toys on a large dinner plate as a work surface.

Once all of the fibers are wet and slick with softener, I take a fine toothed comb, which in this case is my cat’s metal flea comb, and gently brush out the hair. I find it easiest to lay the toy down, stretch out the hair, and brush against the surface of the plate. Start at the ends and untangle a centimeter or so at a time, slowly working up the length of the hair to the body. For super tangly knotty hair, you may have to do this strand by strand.

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After some patient and gentle brushing, the hair is untangled! As you can see, Paradise’s hair still has some waves in it from the braid. These will straighten out over time.

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After a light rinse to remove the excess softener, the ponies are set up on a shelf to air dry. After they are completely dry, the hair is smooth and untangled, and can be easily brushed!

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And here are the final results:

Sundance:

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And Paradise:

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Here are some before/after comparison shots:

sundance_beforeafter

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Pretty cool, huh? 🙂

These two were actually in fairly good shape for their age. I’ve seen some toys with hair so tangled it’s literally just a ball of knots! But this method has worked every time.

I’ll be ready the next time a pony or two shows up!

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

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Homemade Yogurt

My mother and I decided to do an experiment in the kitchen: making homemade yogurt! I love yogurt, but in the last few years they’ve all switched over from natural sweeteners to artificial ones, which I find awful. But a quick trip to MakeYourOwnYogurt.com, and we had directions to make it ourselves!

This was our setup: a big stock pot for sterilizing, a homemade double boiler made with two nesting pots, a coffee pot, a candy thermometer, and a spoon. And of course a half gallon of whole milk from a local dairy, and a package of store bought yogurt for a starter culture.

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The first step was to sterilize all of the equipment. This is to kill random bacteria that might be lurking around, which could interfere with the specific kinds of good bacteria needed to make the yogurt. We boiled a big stock pot of water and dipped the coffee pot, spoon, and other tools in for a few seconds.

The milk goes in the top pot of the double boiler. We used a metal pan with a handle, which fit down into a slightly larger pot (actually the bottom of an ancient pressure cooker). The candy thermometer goes in, and we let it slowly heat up to 185°F (85°C). Interesting note: the burner on the stove is actually bright red, but for some reason it shows up as blue in the photo!

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Once the milk is at the correct temperature, it then gets transferred into a cooling bath; in this case, a large pot filled with ice water in the sink. Using the thermometer, the milk gets slowly cooled down to 110°F (43°C).

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The cool milk then goes into the coffee pot, and 2 tablespoons of plain store bought yogurt is added. I made sure to get a brand that guaranteed live cultures, since the bacteria are necessary to convert the milk to yogurt. Those lovely hands in the pic belong to my mother, Linda. 🙂

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Once the starter blob is mixed in, the coffee pot goes on a heating pad. It has to sit at 100°F (38°C) or so for 7 hours, to allow the bacteria to multiply and do their magic. We wrapped the pot in the pad and clipped it, then nestled the thermometer beside the pot to make sure it stayed around the correct temperature.

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Seven hours later…yogurt! Ta da!

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The final step is to mix it well with the spoon, because it was more liquidy at the top then at the bottom (my research tells me that this liquid is whey). Then it goes into smaller containers and into the fridge to chill overnight.

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The result: …..*drumroll*….a half gallon of tasty yogurt! I’m happy to say that our first attempt was successful. We sweetened the plain yogurt with some shredded coconut, and it was delicious! They say you can also use sugar, honey, pudding mix, or jam, though I haven’t tried any of these myself. The finished product was thinner than the commercial kind, but I didn’t mind.

We’ve actually made another batch since then, and it turned out perfectly as well. I don’t think I’ll ever eat store bought yogurt again! The homemade kind is delicious, and doesn’t have horrible tasting fake sweetener or a bunch of chemicals like commercial brands do.

I might have to look into getting some bigger pots, so we can make bigger batches! 🙂

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Amazon Handmade!

Handmade-at-Amazon

Big announcement: my shop is now live on Amazon Handmade! In case you haven’t heard, Amazon has created a handmade division, which features creative small business artisans and seems to have better protections against factory made items than some sites. I applied and was accepted, and my shop is now open for business! 🙂

Please check it out here: PeachPod Handmade

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Thrifting finds 10-3-15

I found a few cool things while thrifting today!

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The best find was a set of 2 original 1980s My Little Ponies. One of them is a white Earth pony with pink hair and a circular heart cutie mark, and the other is a white flocked pegasus with bright red hair and palm trees on her butt. I’ll have to hit up the collector sites to figure out their names and dates.

I love the finished cross stitch of the name KELLY, accented with cute Precious Moments style characters. I’ll get it cleaned up and nicely framed, and maybe it will make a cute Christmas gift for some little Kelly out there. 🙂

The purse is a cute beaded clutch from the 60s-70s. It has a small stain on the back, but I’m pretty sure it will clean up just fine. The three hearts are 80s Syroco style plastic wall hangings. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll sell them vintage as-is, or repaint them in prettier colors (perhaps pink and white, or two shades of pink?).

I also found a little pack of glue sticks for 10 cents. I love finding crafting supplies for next to nothing!

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty