Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dolls in Their Sunday Best


I am not sure how much, if any posting, I will be able to do this week.  So in the meantime, I will share a link to a Facebook photo album of dolls dressed in their Sunday Best attire, many were redressed for Easter in years past.  Most are artist and manufactured collectors dolls -- no playscale or fashion dolls included.

Easter and Sunday's Best Dolls

Hope you have enjoyed this Resurrection Sunday and will enjoy the pictures.


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tips on Collecting (Black) Dolls


I have often voiced a desire to "put Black dolls on the map," i.e. make a resounding noise for manufacturers and artists to realize the need for their lines to be inclusive... to understand that Black dolls are relevant... they are needed.

It seems the world has been notified.  In the past few months I have been interviewed on four separate occasions regarding Black-doll collecting by domestic as well as global reporters.  Links to the first three interviews, which have previously been shared under separate posts, are repeated below:


The fourth, and most recent interview was also published on March 28, 2013.

Ms. Ann Brown asked me to give advice on collecting Black dolls for The Network Journal (TNJ.com) article, "Beyond Barbie:  Tips on Black Doll Collecting".


Black dolls are trending in print.  I hope this results in an increase in their three-dimensional presence and appreciation across all genres.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

BFab Africa's: You've Come A Long Way Baby

Photograph courtesy of Bfabafrica.com

Shaheera Asante, Founder and Editor of bfabafrica.com (a website promoting all things fabulous about contemporary Africa) has published an article on Black fashion dolls.  She focuses on dolls manufactured by Integrity Toys. 

Click here to read this wonderful article and enjoy the beautiful doll images.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

18-inch Starpath Dolls

Recently, blog follower, "Emma," shared information about a new set of 18-inch, vinyl dolls that were introduced at Toy Fair 2013.  They are called Starpath Dolls, described by the manufacturer as:  A unique doll and book combination where girls star in their own adventures.

Internet-captured image of 18-inch, vinyl Starpath Dolls: 

As seen in the above Internet-captured image, I agree with Emma that the African American doll (Wandering Star) looks very similar to Magic Attic Keisha.  The dolls, however, were designed by talented doll artist, Linda Mason.

According to the company's website, the dolls will be available in July 2013 in select stores and at the Starpath website.

Learn more about the dolls here and here.  Click the play arrow below to view a video of their Toy Fair 2013 debut.


Thanks again, "Emma," for sharing the information about the Starpath Dolls. 

dbg

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Seeking Info on Doll Artist Elaine Lim

Recently a fellow collector shared images of dolls she purchased in lots that she desired to sell.  Most of the dolls were artist dolls dating back to the 1990s, possibly some more recent or older.  Of the dozen or so doll images viewed, I saw and purchased one that interested me.  The doll arrived last week and is a quite interesting.


Elizabeth by Elaine Lim ©1996, one-of-a-kind cloth doll

Elizabeth, according to her hang tag, was made in 1996 by Elaine Lim.  I was unable to locate information about the artist online, but I did locate the auction site where the doll was purchased.  I would love to know more about the artist.  If anyone can provide additional information about Elaine Lim, please share so I can include it in my 2013 doll database along with the information I entered after Elizabeth arrived.  Some of the database information, excluding price paid and current value, is outlined below:

Month-Year of Purchase Manufacturer/Artist/Year Made Name Description


March Elaine Lim, 1996 Elizabeth 7-inch doll (in seated position); 11-1/2 inches with legs extended; cloth with painted cloth face, molded/painted features (couple of paint rubs on nose and mouth); has black mohair wig, brown painted eyes, wears mauve jersey knit shirt, hand-knit mauve pullover vest with pastel knit balls on front and a white kitten pinned to vest; multicolored swirls of mauve, green, and peach patterns on cloth skirt; legs are made of green floral print fabric; wears a half slip, panties, and beige patent leather slip-on shoes.  Fingers are delicately separated with the palms of hands a lighter color than the dorsal surface.  Dark brown cloth used for body onto the front of which is sewn a black satin cloth bearing the artist's hot air balloon logo and name:  Elaine Lim.  Attached price tag reads:  $212.50; outside of hang tag reads Elizabeth ©1996; inside of hang tag reads:  Handmade contemporary fabric dolls Elaine Lim

Thanks in advance for any additional information that is offered.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Ashton-Drake's: Michelle Obama Fashion Doll: Inaugural Ball

Michelle Obama Inaugural Ball dolls by Ashton Drake (on left) and Danbury Mint (on right)
Except for her 14-3/4-inch height, Ashton-Drake's doll appears to be almost identical to the prototype advertised by Danbury Mint.  Ashton-Drake has failed to identify their doll's medium in the information provided on their website.  This information is also omitted from the mailed literature I recently received.  So I sent them the following e-mail:

Your website and the mailed literature I received regarding item #302035001, First Lady of Fashion Michelle Obama Inaugural Ball Commemorative Doll does not indicate the medium used.  Is this doll vinyl, porcelain, or other material?  Thank you!
The price is $129.99 or 5 installments of  $26 + S and H of 14.99US, which is slightly less than Danbury Mint's price of 4 installments of $39.50 US.  Danbury Mint's price includes shipping and their doll is vinyl.

Ashton-Drake is not as notorious about producing dolls that are far unlike the advertised doll, but they have been guilty of this in the past.  I would really like to see their production version of  First Lady of Fashion Michelle Obama Inaugural Ball Commemorative Doll before ordering.

I will post an update regarding the doll's medium if AD provides a reply.

***
Updated:  1:00 PM CST:
Reader, Dawn S. pointed out what I missed in Ashton-Drake's description:

"Expertly handcrafted in artist's resin and hand-painted by elite artisans to create a stunning likeness of the First Lady, from her dazzling smile to her chic new hairstyle."

My eyes were looking for porcelain but hoping for vinyl in the AD description.  I never considered this doll would be made of resin, which could be porcelain-like or vinyl-like, depending on the resins used. 

dbg

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Friday, March 22, 2013

First Lady Michelle's Wired Cover Up

The last time she was seen, my Official White House Portrait Michelle Obama doll by Franklin mint was redressed in a Franklin Mint Princess Diana red gown, as shown here.  The dress is lovely, but the spaghetti strap style exposes too much "skin" in my opinion.

To add a more modest, elegant appeal, I creating a shawl using a wired sheer red ribbon that complements the shimmery red fabric of the dress.  The ribbon measures 1-7/8 inches x 18-1/2 inches (width x length).  To prevent fraying of the ends, I sealed the edges with a thin coat of clear fingernail polish.

The new shawl can be worn in either of the two ways illustrated below.



I like the second look better.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Molly's Doll Stand Misfortune


20-inch Molly by Virginia Erhlich Turner from 1993 had sustained vinyl damage from pressure caused by doll stand waist prongs.

I recently discovered the above illustrated damage to Molly's torso after attending to her best doll friend forever, Buttercup

The waist prongs of the doll stand on which Molly had been positioned for some 20 years caused the unsightly indentation in her vinyl.



Using a blow dryer, I warmed the vinyl to soften and reshape it to its near-original form.

"I'm all better now!"

After the repair, Molly was redressed and her hair was combed and refreshened with lemon Pledge furniture polish (it adds sheen to synthetic hair).  She is back on display where she stands without the aid of a doll stand. 

A quick share:  After taking the before picture, while I viewed the images to be certain the damage was clearly captured, I temporarily laid Molly on the kitchen counter.  She was there long enough for my husband to see her and to hold a one-sided conversation.

Husband to Molly:  What are you doing lying there smiling at me with that massive trauma to your chest?

Through it all, the repair and one-sided conversation, Molly just continued to smile.




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Monday, March 18, 2013

Enjoyable Female Gathering for Midge's 50th

So in Style Kara, Grace, Trichelle, Marisa, and Chandra after the party.
This past Friday, these newest Barbie friends, minus a little one, Zahara, gathered to celebrate my childhood Midge's 50th birthday/anniversary.  They stand atop the edge of my cluttered desk waiting to be placed back into their usual doll room locations.  Zahara had been returned to her display area at the time this photo was taken.

I had lots of fun creating a party room and adding the accoutrements for the ladies and Zahara to celebrate Midge's 50th birthday/anniversary as Barbie's first female friend.  The celebration was created as part of a So In Style group event, but I wanted to also share the results of my Friday afternoon doll play here in photos and captions.

Zahara (standing in chair), Kara, Marisa, Trichelle, Chandra, and Grace (seated in corner) all gathered to celebrate Midge's 50th anniversary. 
The ladies bear gifts, cards, and/or balloons for Midge.  The yellow wall banner urges Midge to have a So In Style birthday.
Trichelle wishes Midge a happy 50th birthday/anniversary while Chandra looks on, holding a birthday card and gift bag made using a full-size gift bag. (The curtains are a printed image, taped to the side "walls.")
Grace wears a white jersey-knit dress with an image of Malibu Christie and Midge on front.  With Midge being the first friend of Barbie, Malibu Christie is also an early Barbie friend who resembles Midge.  (Tiny square and rectangular-shaped items were gift wrapped to serve as Midge's wrapped presents.  These include an unopened Happy Meal sweet and sour sauce container -- my grandsons were here and Granddaddy purchased a Happy Meal for the younger of the two.  Before wrapping it, I trimmed the edges of the sauce container to create a better rectangle.  The striped "personalized" gift bag belongs to Vogue Jill.  I printed out the green "M" and taped it over the "J" that's on the bag.  A micro mini cassette tape cover also serves as one of Midge's wrapped presents.  The presents are stacked in the corner alongside Grace's chair.)
Midge and Chandra chat.
Trichelle shares with Midge how much she loves her classic style.
Zahara holds a beautifully wrapped gift for Midge (borrowed from a Happy Birthday Wendy doll by Madame Alexander as Marisa holds plastic balloons that also belong to Happy Birthday Wendy). 
The birthday cake, created using the caps from a lactose-free milk carton and a water bottle, were painted with pink and white acrylic paint to create the icing.  The top cap is slightly smaller than the bottom.  The happy 50th birthday wish on top of the cake was printed on card stock paper and positioned on top of the first "layer."  The birthday cards contain images of full-size birthday cards that were scaled down before printing on card stock.  The table cloth is a coffee filter.  I used a cut-out circle of card stock to reinforce the inside of the filter.  The filter was then inverted over a glass spice bottle that serves as the center base of what appears to be a table-cloth covered table.
Midge, Chandra, and Grace pause their partying to take this photo.
Midge wasn't familiar with the African American tradition in some regions of the US of pinning money onto the clothing of birthday celebrants, but she eagerly allowed the first $50 to be pinned to her faux mink wrap in anticipation of others adding additional dollars before the party ended.  (The $50 is a scaled down image of a $50 bill that was then printed and pinned to Midge with a tiny brass safety pin.)

Only items on hand and scaled down printed images from the Internet were used to create this gathering to celebrate Midge's 50th, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants, including me!    
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Sixy-Nine Cents Thrift Store Find

Damita, a beanbag doll from Save the Children Collection

Damita was found recently at a local thrift store where I was in search of articulated, dark skinned, playscale bodies.  She stood out among the other small dolls and stuffed playthings as I walked toward the toy section.  Her 0.79 cents handwritten price tag coupled by her mint condition with still-attached booklet were the deciding factors that prevented me from leaving the store empty handed as not one articulated doll was found.

At the register, the cashier gave me a total of $1 and some change.  Frowning, I asked, "How much did you charge me?"  She looked at Damita's 0.79 cents price tag and said, "0.99 cents; that's supposed to be a 9" as she pointed to the "7," on the price tag.

Unsure of herself, she asked me to wait a second while she called to confirm the price.  The person with whom she spoke instructed her to charge me 0.69 cents.

After making the proper register adjustment, 0.69 cents plus tax is what I paid for this cloth beanbag doll from Save the Children Collection by Cavanagh Group International; Roswell, GA, USA, ©1999.   While my purchase did not benefit Save the Children, original sales of Damita and the other dolls in the line generated donations to Save the Children Federation, Inc. of between 4 to 6% of the retail price.

Each Save the Children beanbag doll also features an exclusive pattern designed by Children for Save the Children. The patterns can be found in elements of the clothing design.  According to Damita's booklet, the artwork found on her shirt was drawn by Andre, age 10, and is appropriately named "On the Trail."

Damita's booklet also tells the story of the child she is crafted about.  A snapshots of the child's story can be read below (after clicking to enlarge the images):
 


Additional beanbag dolls from Save the Children Collection can be seen here.  Information about Save the Children and the work it continues to do on behalf of children in rural America and over 120 countries around the world can be read here.

By the way, I would have paid the $1 and some change had the cashier insisted, but the 7 clearly looked like a 7 and was not at all similar to the 9 that followed it.


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Thursday, March 14, 2013

American-Made Dolls: A Rarity These Days

Artists Collectibles distributed dolls for artists such as FahZah Spanos and Virginia Turner during the late 1980s and 1990s.

I had to navigate to a doll-dense area of the doll room recently which required moving some larger standing dolls to create a pathway.


Buttercup by FayZah Spanos is one of the dolls obstructing the clearance.  After lifting her up from her standing position, I noticed what appeared to be rust stains on her ruffled yellow dress and that the glue holding her wig in place had weakened.  I undressed her to hand wash her dress, pantaloons, socks, and her shoes, which are faux leather.  Some of the stitching on the shoes had turned a rust color as well.  I also freshened her wig and secured it in place with Aleene's Tacky Glue.

Buttercup by FahZah Spanos, ca. 1992 is a 20-inch, all-vinyl doll with brown stationary eyes, cherry cheeks, and a smiling, open mouth that exposes her two upper and two lower front teeth.

Undressing Buttercup revealed her super cute, all-vinyl toddler body as shown in the image above.  Finding a doll, playline or artist, with an all-vinyl or all-anything construct and MADE IN AMERICA is a rarity these days.

Recent shortcuts in artist doll manufacture in addition to cheap off-shore labor has diminished the doll quality collectors often took for granted 20+ years ago when Buttercup was made.  Many doll artists and manufacturers have opted to lower the cost of production thereby increasing profits by using non-American labor.  Unfortunately, the consumer suffers twofold:  the savings from cheap labor have not been shared and the quality of the product often suffers resulting from inferior materials and craftsmanship.  But we, doll-addicted collectors, continue to consume.  Stepping off my soapbox...

I am happy I ruled out selling Buttercup after contemplating doing so in early 2012 when I began finding new homes for many of my older artist dolls.  Had I done so, her long-time best doll friend forever and display companion, Molly, who had not been one I had considered selling, would probably look out of place here.


Buttercup and Molly (the doll in pink standing next to Buttercup) can be seen among other dolls in the following photo, taken after Buttercup was redressed in her so-fresh and so-clean fashion, socks, and shoes.

Buttercup and Molly, the center dolls, are happy to remain on display together and plan on doing so for another 20+ years. 
Molly was sculpted by Virginia Erhlich Turner and has a copyright date of 1989 marked on her head.  She, too, has an all-vinyl toddler body, identical to Buttercup's.  Both dolls were distributed by Artists Collectibles, an American doll company from the past.  This is probably the reason for their identical bodies.  I know their well-made construct can be attributed to their American-made origin.
 

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Need for Black and Brown Dolls is Global

I received an interview request from Theodore Kermeliotis, a London-based digital producer for CNN.com.  His interview questions involved the significance of children seeing positive depictions of their own image.  At the time, Mr. Kermeliotis was putting together a story on Rooti Dolls.  

The article also discusses the lovely Queens of Africa dolls, which were featured in a post I published on July 18, 2012.

The CNN.com article on Rooti Dolls can be read here.



Thank you again, Teo, for allowing me to contribute!

dbg

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Non-Barbie Playscale Dolls from 1960s to 1986

Along with Crystal, featured in yesterday's post, the dolls shown below were shared recently with one of my online doll groups.  I am compiling their information here in one location to use as a quick reference as well as to share their information with the readers of this blog.  Please forgive me for not listed them in copyright date order.  I had already inserted photos and written text before realizing I was not listing them chronologically.  


Skye by Kenner, 1975, is a "fashion-action" all-vinyl doll with spring-loaded arms and torso, bendy elbows and knees with jointed wrists.  She and her counterpart, Dusty, are sports enthusiasts.  Both dolls are shown on the back of Skye's box in the image above.  Skye was on the market for 2 years only; the 1976 version did not have the spring-loaded arms and torso or jointed wrists.  That version wore a yellow bathing suit.  Both versions have flat feet.  Below is a close-up of Skye's face which features brown eyes and an open/closed mouth with teeth.

Close-up of Skye by Kenner, 1975; she has short black curly rooted hair.



Full and close-up views of Mini Mod dolls by Shillman ©1978

Full and close-up views of Maxi Mod by Shillman circa 1960sNote that the boxed doll in the yellow bathing suit has rooted eyelashes; the other does not.  The boxed version has what was probably the then new "twist and turn" waistThe doll in the lavender hand-knit coat dress does not enjoy waist movement.   She is probably the older of the two.

Poor quality scans of side panels of Maxi Mod's box illustrate fashions that were probably sold separately for the doll.
Coca-Cola 11-1/2" Fashion Doll, ©1986 distributed by BBI Toys International Ltd.wears Coca-Cola logo red bathing suit with floral print wrap skirt; also has pink Hawaiian lei.
  
Back of Coca-Cola doll's packaging illustrates several different dolls dressed in sports fashions and active wear (click to enlarge for a slightly better view).


As part of my love-hate relationship with Barbie, during the 1990s when these dolls were purchased, I had a fleeting interest to add non-Barbie fashion dolls and Barbie clones to my collection.  If the doll was playscale in size, was not Barbie, and had dark skin, it interested me.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Crystal Uses the Same Sculpt and Cammie


This 1990s 11-1/2-inch doll was purchased from K-Mart for $1.99.  Not a fashion doll collector at the time, specifically not a Barbie collector, I was, however, drawn to Crystal, because of her facial features.  I appreciate her fuller nose and lips, which set her apart from other generic Barbie wannabees.

Dressed in a simple off-white floral-print dress, Crystal has brown rooted hair, beautiful brown eyes, and darkly painted lips.  Her only accessory is a pair of white high-heel pumps that remain enclosed in the plastic pouch which is attached to the box liner.  



Crystal has the same head sculpt as Cammie Goes to College.  Made in China, this doll was also distributed by a Detroit, Michigan-based company, Starlite, Inc.

Several versions of Crystal were manufactured, dressed in different fashions with possibly different hairstyles.  I owned more than one, but eventually gave the others to nieces as I downsized and eliminated multiples.  Although Crystal is not articulated, I am so glad I kept one for myself!



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Friday, March 8, 2013

Cammie Goes to College

Circa 1992 Cammie Goes to College
This United Negro College Fund (UNCF)-endorsed 11-1/2-inch fashion doll is Cammie Goes to College.  Several dolls in a variety of fashions were introduced during the early
1990s, manufactured in China for College Bound Dolls, Inc., which was obviously a subsidiary of Diversified Educational Services.  According to online research, "On Wednesday, July 08, 1992, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for CAMMIE GOES TO COLLEGE by Diversified Educational Services, Detroit, MI 48235."


I once owned at least four of the different Cammie dolls.  Regrettably, I sold all except the featured doll. 

My Cammie wears a navy blue jacket, pleated skirt, and navy and white polka dot blouse with black pumps.  An extra gray jogging suit and pair of white vinyl sneakers are included along with diploma and an informative parent guide and reading list, which is described below in the next set of images. 

A certificate of admission is shown on back of box which also illustrates names of several American colleges and universities.


The side panels also illustrate a host of colleges and universities.

Cammie enjoyed freedom from her box for the length of time it took to snap this photograph.

The familiar UNCF slogan is illustrated on the front of Cammie's box.

Cammie has black rooted hair styled in a side-swept ponytail with bangs, brown painted eyes, and appealing facial features that are unmistakably that of a beautiful African American girl.

The Cammie Goes to College Parent Guide and Reading List has a copyright date of 1991.  The copyright page contains the final verses of the poem, The Reading Mother by Strickland Gillilan:
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a mother who read to me.



The sections of the parent guide and reading list booklet are as follows:

  • Guiding Your Child to Academic Success
  • Health and Well-Being:  Parent and Child
  • Your Child and Others:  Building Good Relationships
  • Home and School: A Partnership for Success
  • Parent and Child Together:  Quality Experiences

Reading: The Key To Success is the final section of the booklet, which encourages parents to read to their children.  When the child is old enough, parents are encouraged to have their children read to them.  Scans of the grade-level recommended reading lists are shown below (click on each for a better view of  these impressive lists):







Designed for ages 3 and up, Cammie Goes to College and the accompanying parent guide and recommended reading lists served little recipients well by promoting their academic success and future admission into an institution of higher learning.


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