Monday, February 29, 2016

American Girl Wellie-Wishers

Wellie-Wishers, a new doll line coming soon from American Girl

On March 13, 2015, a trademark was filed for American Girl for the name Wellie-Wishers.  The trademark was published for opposition on January 5, 2016.  As of yet, the trademark has not been registered.  However, images of a new line of dolls (one image of which is seen above) planned to use this name have been circulating on the Internet via blogs, a wiki, logos, and other sources.

The dolls are described in a blog post by Welcome to Mommy N Me AG as smaller-than 18 inches, larger-than-Barbie (see link to blog post below).  One source describes them as Barbie-sized, 15 inches.  Their thinner bodies must have warranted the "Barbie-sized" description.  Although there is no official description of the dolls, according to their wiki page, "The line is named after 'wellies,' a term for Wellington boots/rubber rain boots popularized in the UK."  Note that all dolls wear cute rubber footwear in the above image.

I wanted to share the information here for those who, like me, were unaware of the company's plans to release these refreshing-looking dolls.

See more images in a post by Welcome to Mommy N Me AG.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How I Know I Am Getting Over

Internet-captured photo (this one and those that follow) of Tillie, a coffee complexioned BJD by Kaye Wiggs
I have wanted a BJD (ball-jointed doll) by Kaye Wiggs for quite some time.  JpopDolls introduced preorders for Tillie several weeks ago with a deadline to order of February 26, 2016.  I decided to give myself until the deadline to make a decision to order (this was before I gave serious thought to curtailing my doll spending).

How adorable is this big brown-eyed cutie?

With plans to use Paypal Credit in order to spread Tillie's cost over six months and having recently discovered an Etsy seamstress who makes clothing for Wiggs' dolls, things looked promising toward my eventual ownership of a Wiggs BJD.  At only 28 cm (roughly 11 inches), Tillie is the perfect size for my collection.  The price, although still steep, is a little less than the cost of larger BJDs by this artist.  So price-wise and size-wise Tillie is perfect for me.

After receiving the deadline-to-order reminder, it did not take long to fight the urge to do so.  Would I love to own Tillie?  Absolutely, but I can wait.  There will be other 28 cm dark skinned Kaye Wiggs offerings at a time when I am more comfortable that this doll buying frenzy is really under control.

How can anyone refuse those big brown eyes (even though they may or may not be that color when she arrives nude with random eye color, in need of a wig, clothing and shoes to new homes other than mine)?  My answer at this time:  I can.

But isn't she adorable?


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Monday, February 22, 2016

American Girl Melody Ellison Debuts on CBS This Morning

Internet-captured photo
of Melody Ellison

Scheduled for release this summer, Melody Ellison, a post Civil Rights-era American Girl doll in the BeForever Historical line, made her debut on the CBS This Morning show (this morning). The reporter, Jerika Duncan, asked some very valid questions of American Girl Vice President of Marketing, Julia Prohaska:

In the 30 years you have designed over 20 character dolls but only three of them have been black.  Why is that?  

And, 

Why did it take til 2016 to see a doll representative of one of the most important periods for African Americans today?

There is a link to the interview segment along with a link to a photo gallery below.   

It appears American Girl is using an existing head sculpt for Melody and not a newly fashioned one that would be unique to the doll, but not being an AG enthusiast, I am uncertain if this is fact.  Perhaps more informed American Girl collectors can let us know by placing a comment as to which head sculpt Melody uses.  

Watch the interview here.  A gallery of 17 photos of Melody, accessories, and other American Girl products can be viewed here.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Confessions of a Black-Doll-A-Holic


Black doll enthusiast is how I usually label myself as a collector, but I will openly admit that I am truly a black-doll-a-holic.   My name is Debbie Garrett and I love black dolls.  They say the first step to recovery from an addiction is acceptance.   I have accepted the fact that my love for black dolls is intense.  I won't call it an obsession but it's bordering on that.


Seated in a sea of dolls in this cartoonized photo from 2006

What is it about dolls that has me so enthused?  The fact that I did not own them as a child is not reason enough for me to desire them as much as I do.  Black dolls are affirmations of black beauty when accurately created to represent the people they portray, is another reason I purchase dolls that are aesthetically appealing to me.  Filling a void and the affirmations of black beauty they provide are the three main reasons I have collected black dolls in all shapes, forms, fashions, media, and complexion hues for the past two and a half decades.

Additional confessions:
  • I spend too much money on dolls.
  • My doll room is crammed packed and I am literally running out of space.
  • I'd rather buy a doll than anything else.
  • I realized the extent of my problem when I recently bid $5700 for a doll (by mistake, the bid was supposed to be $57.00).  I saw the error before I pressed the submit bid button, but knew no one would bid as high.  The auction ended at almost $200 because someone else wanted the doll as badly.  I won the auction, but was graciously allowed by the seller to cancel with no questions asked.  Lesson learned.   Me to self:  Are you crazy?  Don't ever do that!  It's not worth it!  There's another one out there for far less and did you really need that one? Answer to self:  Absolutely not!

In addition to the last confession above, at the end of 2015, after evaluating the total amount of dolls purchased during those 12 months, and looking back on prior years and noting the excessive amounts of dolls purchased in those years confirms the importance of making a conscious effort to control spending.  I can and will admire dolls from afar more than I have done in the past.  For this reason I have established the following goals:
  • I will not add additional dolls to my mental wish list.
  • I will delete most of my saved eBay searches.  Let's face it, I have a couple of hard-to-find dolls in saved searches that I don't want to miss if they show up.  (Don't judge.  I'm taking baby steps here.)
  • I really will not repeat past purchasing behavior. 
  • I will focus on finding new homes for the less desired dolls.
  • I will organize the doll room and 
  • I will reconnect with long forgotten dolls in the process of completing the previous goal and
  • I will enjoy what I have and while doing that I'll blog about it.  So don't think I am abandoning the blog because I am not.  
  • Any additional doll purchases will be well thought out and not impulse buys.  
  • I will try to limit doll purchases to no more than two per month or less.  Seriously.  I will.  I said try.
  • I need a running start for this one:  In April, I will go 21 days without purchasing a doll. (I stopped to scratch my right shoulder with my left hand as I typed this, and as I proofed this post, at this point I scratched the inside of my right leg with my left hand.)  Is that why drug addicts are always scratching themselves?  Well they say you can beat a habit if you can do without it for 21 days, or is that 30 days?  Hmmm... well, 21 is my plan and I'm sticking to it.
I must give myself credit for being more conservative with my 2016 spending thus far.  For January I have four entries on my doll inventory spreadsheet.  Two of the entries are for dolls purchased in 2015 that did not arrive until 2016, so these don't count as 2016 purchases.  One entry is for two separate thrift store doll finds for a total of four dolls (three were purchased during one visit and one during another).  These are counted as two purchases.  There is only one entry for February with no additional plans to purchase dolls this month.

Patting myself on the back:  This past weekend I stopped in Big Lots to see if they had printer paper. They did.  After picking up a package, I found myself walking toward the toy section.  I was on the doll aisle before I realized it and said to myself.  "Get out of here!  You don't need a doll!"  So I paid for my two items, the paper and a package of  $1 facial wipes that was left at the counter by another shopper.

I can do this.  I am finally determined.  It's in writing, so I have to follow through for the sake of not adding to an already overpopulation of black dolls.

The question, "What's it all about?" brought the first few lyrics of the song written by Burt Bacharach for Dionne Warrick to my head:   "What's It All About Alfie?"

What's it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind, and if...

In the video below, listen as Warrick sings this beautiful song, released in 1967 when I was 12 and still playing with my family of all white dolls.




What are your doll-collecting confessions?  Share them in a comment or just share some words of encouragement for me, please.  Trust me; I will need all the encouragement I can get.


dbg

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Repost: Every Fashion Doll is NOT Barbie and...



...every doll is not made for children.

This was originally published February 17, 2013, but since I have been on a semi-blog-writing hiatus, I wanted to offer something until writing resumes on a more regular basis.

Do these all look like Barbies to you?  From left-to-right they are, I can be President Barbie; repainted one-of-kind Barbie by Chynadoll Creations (meant for the adult collector); High Brow Adèle by Integrity Toys (an adult collectible doll); and Esmé, a 16-inch fashion doll by Robert Tonner (adult collectible).


I was prompted to sit down and compose this post after reading an article dated February 16, 2013, that refers to an Integrity Toys Adèle from 2004 as a Barbie, designed for child's play.  In the article, entitled,"Image of New Black Barbie Doll Sparks Outrage," the author writes:

An image of a brown Barbie doll has surfaced on the Internet, causing people to question whether or not it is supposed to be the next African-American Barbie. The doll is sporting blonde hair, gold chains, cleavage, and two bags that are strikingly similar to the Louis Vuitton monogram multicolor collection.

The doll and the author's opening statement as well as many of the comments (excluding a few), which were apparently posted by non-collectors, caused me to wonder why the non-collecting community is so misinformed about dolls in general and why every fashion doll is incorrectly identified as Barbie.

First of all, there are many doll categories.  Some of these are listed and defined below:
  • Antique - According to the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC), a doll of at least 75 years; other authorities define antique dolls as dolls of at least 100 years.
  • Art -  Dolls created by artists and intended as expressive and unique art objects rather than children's toys. 
  • Artist - Dolls made by doll artists, usually in limited editions or as one of a kinds (OOAKs), for adult collectors
  • Collectible - Dolls designed for adults who collect dolls as a hobby.
  • Fashion - Dolls dressed in trendy or haute couture-like fashions, made for children as well as adult collectors.
  • Modern - Dolls made from 1960s through present (this definition can vary).
  • One-of-a-Kind (OOAK):  Dolls made in an edition of 1 by doll artists; can also be an artist or manufactured doll repainted by a repaint artist; in essence only one of the doll in its present state exists.
  • Playline - Dolls fashioned as a child's toy.
  • Reborn - Dolls that originated as baby dolls sculpted by a doll artist which are later fashioned to look like real babies using painting, hair re-rooting, and other techniques developed by reborn artists.
  • Repaints - Artist or manufactured dolls used as a canvas by repaint doll artists who add realism through repainting the facial features and skin tones, and/or changing the hair by re-rooting or re-wigging, resulting in one-of-a-kind dolls because no two will ever look alike.
  • Vintage - Dolls made prior to the 1960s (this definition may vary based on doll type).
For the purpose of this post, I will focus on fashion, collectible, and playline dolls.

While Barbie maintains the highest profile worldwide among fashion dolls, not every fashion doll is a Barbie.  I might also stress that while Mattel (the manufacturer of Barbie and her host of friends) creates dolls for children sold by toy retailers and through their own online website, every Barbie is not designed for child's play.  There are playline Barbies as well as several collectors editions.

For misinformed non-doll collectors and parents who often display a knee-jerk reaction to dolls designed for adults, please relax-relate-release.  Just because you see a fashion doll that you think is a Barbie made for children that portrays an image that you deem inappropriate for a child, in most situations the doll was fashioned for adult collectors by a manufacturer or doll artist other than Mattel.   There is no need to start a campaign against the doll or manufacturer or to create an otherwise pseudo-controversy, as in the case of the Django Unchained movie-memorabilia-action-figures-made-for-adults fiasco.

No, we are not all Barbies and only one of us is a child's toy!

The bottom line is this:  Just because a three-dimensional, inanimate object is defined as a doll does not mean that object was intended for child's play.  If you are not a doll collector and you see a doll that raises your eyebrows or causes you to wonder what the doll maker was thinking, ask an authority on the subject before jumping to an inflammatory (and often incorrect) conclusion.

Click here to view the doll (Perfect Skin Adèle Makéda) designed by Jason Wu for Integrity Toys in 2004 and the article that sparked this post. 


Doll Terminology Resources (other than my own): 
Art Dolls
Doll Glossary: Words About Dolls and Doll Collecting by Shirley E. Childers (Kindle book)
What is an Antique Doll

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

My Little Sweetheart Wendy by Madame Alexander, a 1992 store exclusive for A Child at Heart; and  Vogue's Ginny both encourage you to:

Live 
well
Laugh 
often
Love 
much


Happy Valentine's Day!

dbg



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Friday, February 12, 2016

Lammily Photographer Production Images Revealed

The following is the contents of an email received from Nicolay, Founder of Lammily, dated 02/11/2016.  The email contains images of the final production sample of the Lammily photographer along with additional details.

Meet the NEW Lammily Photographer Doll!

We are super excited! The Lammily family is growing.

Many of you already preordered our new Photographer doll — thank you! Your support helped us bring her to life.

We are now more than happy to share with you the very first photographs of the final production sample that just arrived from our manufacturer.

After months of designing and developing, she is here!


The Photographer doll comes with a vintage camera accessory. From an illustrated booklet, included with the doll's package, you'll learn the story of this camera and how it changed this young woman's life.

We've been working hard to make our new doll unique and truly original. And we are thrilled with results!

Her hair is naturally curvy [sic], with two little clips you so can add more style. A completely new head mold was made from artwork of world renowned sculptor, Susan Wagner, who designed it specially for Lammily!

Read about this amazing behind-the-scenes process in our blog.


Her facial features were designed to match her unique character. She has a kind expression, soft smile, and minimal makeup.

Lammily Photographer's outfit is bright and elegant -- with a snow-white cap-sleeve cardigan and an A-line skirt print-pattern skirt, designed exclusively for Lammily by pattern artist Jane Popovich.

All Lammily Traveler clothes will fit Lammily Photographer as well!

Here are the two besties side by side!


Ariana, whom you may remember from our 2nd Graders React to Lammily video, was the first child to meet our new doll and they became instant friends!


We had a small focus group to see what kids thought about the new doll and we videotaped their responses. Needless to say, they loved her! Stay tuned for the new video we will share with you soon!


You can preorder the brand new Lammily Photographer doll below...
 


We are working with the factory to make sure the production goes smoothly, and we'll update you on the expected shipping date.

Thank you so much for your support to make this new doll part of the Lammily family!

Best,

Nickolay

Founder

Lammily
05/10/16 Shipping Update:

We have exciting news! The Lammily Photographer dolls are scheduled to arrive to our warehouse in Los Angeles between May 25th and May 30th. As soon as they are there, shipping will begin immediately. 


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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two Souvenir Dolls from Jamaica

Jamaica souvenir dolls

In the summer of 2015, I received the following email from a blog follower:


Hello Debbie,
I have two Caribbean dolls and could freely send them your way if this interests you.  I think that my grandfather who was born in the late 1800's bought these dolls on a trip.  The aprons on the dolls say Jamaica on them.  I have no idea about how old they are.  They seem old to me.
Let me know.  Your blogspot site is amazing.
All the best,
Lesley from Canada

I offered to pay shipping, but Lesley insisted she would send the dolls to me free of charge and she did.  They arrived shortly thereafter.  I believe the two probably date back to the 1940s, possibly earlier.


Almost identical, these approximately 12-inch dolls have hand-painted facial features.  The clothing and bodies are machine sewn.  Faded, but still visible, "Miss Jamaica WI" is written on their aprons. A combination of black twill, muslin, or silk was used for the heads and extremities of both.  It appears their makers used what was available, mixing and matching these black fabrics to create the dolls' complexions.  One wears two gold-tone hoop earrings.  The other wears only one, having lost the other as evidenced by the remaining straight pin that once held the missing earring in place.


They are both well endowed and have baskets of fruit made of ball-shaped materials wrapped with colored corn husks.  One basket also includes multicolored pieces of straw or raffia.

As I prepare dolls for an upcoming event, I have decided these two Miss Jamaica souvenir dolls will be included.

I would like to express a long overdue public thank you to Lesley for sending them to me and making their debut at this event possible.  Thank you, Lesley!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Black doll exhibit scheduled in Randallstown

An array of black cloth dolls in Deborah Johnson’s collection. (article-captured PHOTO)

Black doll exhibit scheduled in Randallstown: Growing up in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore in the mid-20th century, Deborah Johnson remembers when the local hardware store was transformed during the holidays into a Christmas wonderland.

Deborah and a group of other members of the Charm City Dolling Club will exhibit black dolls from their adult collections.  The exhibit will be Saturday, February 16, 2016, at the Randallstown Library on Liberty Road from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Read the rest of the article here.



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Monday, February 8, 2016

Tall and Curvy - Three On My Want List


This tall redhead is on my want list because of her short curly 'fro.  Gotta have her!


This curvy girl, seen here and immediately above, is on my want list solely because of her curves.

The one I desire most of all is this curvy girl with glasses and two extra outfits.  See close-up photos and a 360-degree video of her below.



video

One of these can be preordered.  The other two are in the "coming soon" status at ShopMattel.com.  I am waiting to order when all are either in the preorder or in-stock status.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Giving Them Life

Paris Williams, the center doll in tan jacket, was part of Onlyalisa's recent thrift store haul (Photo courtesy of Onlyalisa)*

A couple of weeks ago after a fellow collector shared her thrift store haul from an East Cost store that included a Madame Alexander Paris doll (what?) in near mint condition for $9.99, I trotted off to my local thrift store to see if I would be as lucky. Nope. No such luck here, but I did find two So In Style dolls and a Fashion Madness Denise. All were in preloved condition at $1.99 each, with one of the SIS girls qualifying for a 50% discount due to her tag color being the "color of the week." So for a little over $5 (including tax) I received an inexpensive doll fix.

So In Style (SIS) Grace, Trichelle, and Fashion Madness Denise are as they were when found in this and the next two photos.


Grace's hair required the least work to tame.  Denise's took lots of elbow grease to restyle.
I soaked the trio in Pine Sol and gave them a good rinse before washing and conditioning their hair.  I used a dab of Elasta QP Liquid Styling Gel to comb through Denise's matted tresses.

After washing, the hair was allowed to air dry.

What a difference!

After returning the SIS girls to their original hairstyles and giving Denise a faux fishtail braid, the girls were dressed in a combination of Sparkle Girlz and Barbie fashions and shoes  Before Denise posed for the above photo, her pale white lips with painted illusion of teeth were enhanced to enlarge the lips and cover the fake teeth.  See before and after photos next.
Denise's thin lips before the enhancement

I used white dimensional paint to both enlarge the size of the upper and lower lips and to add dimension to the painted-teeth area.  See profile photos next (before final color was added).




I mixed a couple of colors of brown, tan, a touch of red, and white acrylic paint to achieve a neutral lip color, shown below in Denise's final photo.



This is the second lip enhancement I have performed on a Fashion Madness Denise.  The result of the first one, seen here, is not as appealing as this one.

*The other dolls in the first photo found by Onlyalisa are an International Fulani Tribal Doll, Naber Kid, Bratz Dylan, Effanbee doll possibly from the Grandes Dames collection, and an 18-inch Our Generation Girl.

I wasn't as lucky as Onlyalisa but I enjoyed giving these three life and Denise more lips.

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