Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!

Celebrate Disco Barbie believes "a party of one can still have fun!"

After recently viewing Clicking Dolls' blog and noting his doll's loveliness, I decided I would eventually free my doll from her box.  It took about a week to do this. 

For this blog, I briefly thought about which doll or dolls I could photograph to illustrate a celebratory theme. Celebrate Disco Barbie was the chosen one.  I deboxed her just yesterday; she is happy to be free.

To all:  May the new year bring you health and happiness, friendship and love, peace and prosperity, your heart's desire and, of course, more dolls!


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lars Barbies ReBlog

Charmaine King Barbie by Byron Lars 2010 Gold Label

The post of October 13, 2009, has been updated to include Lars' stunning Charmaine King Barbie, introduced earlier this year (2010). 


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ken-Jacob, Ken-Darren, Ken-Ken Comparisons

Reader, what say you?  Do you think Denim Ken (left) from the Barbie Basics Collection 002 shares the same head sculpt as Mattel's Twilight Jacob (right)?

The following images are complexion comparisons between Denim Ken and So In Style Darren; Denim Ken and Bath-Play-Fun Ken; and a final image of the three together to illustrate their complexion variations.

Denim Ken, S.I.S. Darren

Denim Ken, Bath-Play-Fun Ken

L-R:  Denim Ken, S.I.S. Darren (redressed), Bath-Play-Fun Ken


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Barbie Basics 002 Denim, A Lucky Find

Barbie Basics Models 08 and 17 from Collection 002

I found this pair at Target today.  It was as though someone had haphazardly placed them there for me.  I noticed Model 17 first lying flat on top of other doll boxes.  After grabbing his box with excitement, I looked for others and found 08.  These were the only two dolls from this collection in stock.  I scanned their boxes, which resulted in the message, "Item not in system," a déjà vu  moment.  The same thing happened to me last year when I found a lone So In Style Chandra and Zahara gift set at Target after Christmas.

After consulting two store associates and leading both individually to the previous Barbie Basics collections, the second associate determined, "since the collection is assorted, these are probably new but will still be the same price as the others."  Associate #2 rang them up for me in electronics for $19.89 each along with the rest of my carted items.

From the side, 08's haircut is jagged and lies completely flat in the back.  I am pleased with Ken's new head sculpt; and other than 08's jagged and flat haircut, I like both dolls and will eventually debox. 

The back of the box illustrates the entire collection. (Click any image to enlarge in a new window.)


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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Kwanzaa 2010!

KWANZAA is derived from the Swahili word, Kwanza (note the original spelling contains only one "a"), which means first fruits.  The African American holiday, Kwanzaa (with two A's) is a celebration of family, community, and culture.  It begins on December 26 and ends  January 1 each year. 

This blog focuses on images and links to Kwanzaa dolls and additional Kwanzaa information. 

Festivals of the World Kwanzaa Barbie with Kwanzaa Keeya

Kwanzaa Keeya

 Possible Dreams Kwanza Santa (includes dashiki and kufi-clad lad who lights a kinara candle)

Nomsa Celebrates Kwanzaa by Madame Alexander looks quite elegant in gold lamé gown with earth tone coat and head wrap.

One of my favorite Mahogany holiday greeting cards features a trio of angels wearing Kente cloth-trimmed gowns.  One angel has a crooked halo.

Kwanzaa Links:
Doll Shopping for Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa Paper Dolls
The Official Kwanzaa Website
Robert Tonner's 15-inch vinyl Kwanza doll from 1997


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

After the Play

Click the "play" arrow to watch the video through to the end. Then read the doll story below.

Several hours post rehearsal, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Christmas Cheer Dru, Country Christmas Wendy, and their parents attended Gingerbread Dru’s school Christmas play. Gingerbread Dru performed well along with the other “ornament characters” that came to life during the play.

After the performance, the girls’ parents took them to the mall to visit Santa. Gingerbread Dru wore her costume.

The line to Santa was exceedingly long. The girls eagerly awaited their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and place their Christmas wish orders. Gingerbread Dru was as nervous then as she was during her performance. She, more than the other two girls, thought Santa was a bit intimidating.

During the ride home, they were all relieved at having remembered to share all their wishes with Santa and wondered whether or not he would grant them.

In less than 48 hours, they will know.

Merry Christmas everyone!


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New S.I.S. Friends

I found Janessa alone at Walmart yesterday.  Julian and Zahara were nowhere to be found.  In fact, with the exception of Janessa, the two display racks for the new S.I.S. Friends were bare.  After examining Janessa and explaining to my husband that the others had probably already found homes (to him I said, were sold out), I decided I couldn't leave Janessa there.  She needed a home, too.

The back of Janessa's box (as shown in the above scanned image) illustrates the active friends.  Julian wears a basketball uniform with his name and the familiar #23 on his jersey.  He snugly holds his basketball. Janessa (up front and center) is ready for fun at the beach or in her backyard swimming pool.  Zahara chooses to burn some carbs by jumping rope.

View live pictures of Julian here and Zahara and Janessa here.

Two words:  Too cute!


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday's Child, A Gift from Me to Me

Meet Monday's Child Daria sculpted by Dianna Effner in 2008 for Boneka Puppenmoden GmbH.  This German manufacturer is well known for their fine doll fashions and accessories.

I fell in love with Daria during the first quarter of this year after first viewing images of Indonesian twins offered on eBay that use the same sculpt.  I postponed Daria's purchase until I found my gift to me priced lower than retail.

My little girl arrived this past Friday along with her certificate that indicates she is number 14/100.  The certificate informs:

We are proud to deliver your healthy new doll in an unbleached cotton bag.  She has been spared from the usual chlorine-laden shipping box and solvent-based printing inks and packaging materials.

When she is not on display you can maintain her good health by storing your doll in this original chlorine and solvent-free bag.  Lavender will help keep moths and other insects away.
Daria's too beautiful for me to store away.  I love her adorable face (the Monday's Child sculpt) and her warm brown complexion.  Some websites identify her as Indonesian, but the merchant from whom I purchased ethnicized her as "Black." 

Daria wears a white linen dress with attached cotton lining, the hem of which is bright green as are her underpants. The dress is hand painted with a wild flower motif that includes two rabbits.  I had to really look to locate the rabbits (they're attempting to hide).  The dress ties at the shoulders.  White anklets and green shoes that match the hem of the lining and underpants complete her outfit. 

Daria has painted brown eyes and a black, straight-with-bangs synthetic wig.  She stands the perfect size, 10 inches. 

Indonesian, African-American, Black, whatever Boneka's intention was for her ethnicity, I-love-this-little-girl!


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

P.S. Where Are the Dolls?

Scanned image of envelope that contained a Christmas card from a long-time colleague

I began creating annual photo Christmas greeting cards using dolls dressed in Christmas attire in 2003.  Initially, these cards were sent to fellow doll collectors, family, and friends.  In the past couple of years or so, I only sent the doll greetings to fellow doll collectors, while traditional Christmas greetings were sent to family and friends. 

The annual doll greetings ceased with this year's mailed Christmas greetings.  I did not feel the need to create these special greeting cards feeling that no one really cared.  I opted instead to send everyone traditional boxed cards that contained a mixture of African American Santas and angels, and doves of peace.  I know that at least one person, who is not a doll collector, cares or at least noticed the absence of dolls based on my colleague's question, "Where are the dolls?" 

My "bestest" doll friend confirmed that she always looks forward to my doll greetings and has kept all past greetings from 2003 through 2009.  She shared that she, too, would miss a doll greeting from me this year.

After attending Gingerbread Dru's Christmas program, Christmas Cheer Dru, Gingerbread Dru, and Country Christmas Wendy visited Santa.  They enjoyed the visit as much as they enjoyed the Christmas program. 

Because at least two people cared (a non-collector and a collector), I created a greeting especially for them, which is shared above.  The broken tradition is now officially unbroken. 


PS Dolls remain a constant in my life.  The card my colleague will receive within the next few days will confirm this.

2003 through 2010 greetings

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Four Words: They Got It Right!

The above image is an actual photograph of Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll, courtesy of fellow Black-doll enthusiast, Dawn Spears.

Dawn  also shared the image to the left, which compares the doll's sculpt with the official White House portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama (click the images to enlarge them in a new window).

I think Franklin Mint did an excellent job capturing First Lady Michelle Obama's likeness.  What do you think?


PS:  Dawn is also a Black Americana enthusiast/historian.  Visit her website.

Visit Franklin Mint's website for more information about the doll they got right!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who Does This Doll Look Like?

The postman met me with two packages this afternoon after I returned from picking up Grandson #2 from school.  I immediately recognized the Ashton-Drake logo'd box and knew it contained my long-awaited, First Lady of Style Michelle Obama doll.  The other box was non-doll related.  After entering the house, I had to decide if I wanted to open "my" box or wait until I returned from picking up grandson #1 from school. 

I couldn't wait.  I knew it would not matter to Grandson #1 if I were a few minutes late picking him up.  This would give him more time to fellowship with his classmates in the secure, teacher-supervised setting.

After retrieving a sharp kitchen knife, I opened the box and was met with immediate disappointment.  "This doesn't look like Michelle Obama... it barely looks like Ashton-Drake's prototype."  I closed the box and drove the 10 miles minutes where Grandson #1's chatter about one of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books ended.  During the drive to get him, I decided I would share pictures here to allow potential buyers to make an informed opinion using actual photographs.  

After returning home, I removed the doll from the box to examine her with greater attention to detail and to photograph. The results of the examination and photos follow:

  • The face is indeed beautiful.
  • I like the wig and its style.
  • The dress is nice (although I would have preferred silk lining over one made of white jersey knit).
  • As illustrated in the first image, the eyes and arched eyebrows are similar to FL Michelle Obama's, but that's where the similarities end.
  • The exposed joints make her look like a glamorous and very tall action figure.
  • My doll's left elbow joint is frozen -- her arm will not bend in this area as it should... at all.
  • The wrists and ankles are not tapered.  She has wrankles and cankles!
  • The ankles are jointed, but her feet can only move from side to side.
  • The shoes are not a proper fit, especially the left shoe.  After working with it for a few minutes, I was able to get the shoe to remain on her foot, but the toe of the shoe curls up.
  • Her manicure has paint rubs.  I didn't bother to examine her pedicure as that would have required removing her black "silk" hose.
Since the cons outweigh the pros and because this particular doll is flawed, her time here is limited.  For $129.99 the doll needs to be:  #1 flawless, and #2 needs to look more like the First Lady if not exactly.

I am keeping hope alive that Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll will be "the one" I keep. 

Oh... while editing the images used for this blog, my non-doll-collecting daughter arrived to pick up her boys.  "Diana Ross?" was her puzzled reply to my question, "Who does this doll look like?"  After I laughed at her answer she said, "Michelle Obama... I said Diana Ross because of her gown." 

Who does this doll look like to you?

Glamorous action figure
Pretty face

She looks like someone, but I can't figure out who.

Nice wig from the front and back

The nail polish/paint rubs may not be visible in this image (click to enlarge), but they are there.

The left elbow joint is frozen -- note the nontapered wrists. 

Cankles and curled-toe shoes


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Friday, December 10, 2010

Never Too Old, Ever!

Me in the late 1990s enjoying fewer dolls than I own now

I always cringe when I read or hear a misinformed adult tell a child, "You're too old to play with dolls!" 


I cringe even more when an adult's sanity is questioned because they possess an exuberant passion for dolls or other things incorrectly considered only a child's toy.

Let me make this perfectly clear:

Contrary to these widespread misconceptions, anyone who enjoys the company of three-dimensional, inanimate figures, is never too old to enjoy, collect, play with, or otherwise find delight in dolls.  This includes other items considered playthings:  action figures, model cars, teddy bears, and the like.

If children were not rushed into adulthood by adults or by peers who have already left behind the carefree wonders of childhood, our world would be less troubled.  Girls and boys need to remain children as long as possible.  If holding on to childhood playthings while traveling the road to adulthood gives them pleasure, allow a child the freedom to do this without admonishment.

For those who entered the realm of adulthood prematurely, it is never too late to recapture the pleasures of childhood or recreate missed ones by incorporating doll or action figure collecting into your adult world.  Just do it and have fun in the process regardless of what others say or think.  (Nine times out of ten, the critics are miserable and need a passion, too.)


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Monday, December 6, 2010

Country Miss Ginny - New Doll from Vogue Doll Company

Stock photo of Country Miss Ginny by Vogue Dolls

Authorized Vogue doll dealer, Judy McGrail, shared the above image of Country Miss Ginny, a newly released doll by Vogue Doll Company.  Country Miss uses the vintage Ginny mold.  If interested in adding this 7-1/2 inch (19.05 cm) toddler to your collection, please contact Judy

Scroll down a bit and take a look at other new dolls offered by Vogue here

Hint-Hint Vogue:  An AA Christmas Ginny is long overdue.  So please consider adding one to your line next year or at least an extra boxed Christmas fashion for collectors like me who enjoy redressing their dolls in themed fashions.  

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Mail for Heroes (Non-Doll Related)

May the miracle of Christmas
fill your heart with peace.

"God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God."
-Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
D. Garrett

After addressing the above Christmas greeting to go out in today's mail, I thought I'd share the following email that long-time cyberspace friend, Karen Kilburn, CW3, (R) shared with me:

Holiday Mail For Heroes is back for a fourth year! The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will collect holiday cards from regular citizens all across the country and distribute them to service members, veterans, and their families. Many active service members must spend the holidays apart from their family. Give back this holiday season by sending a card to thank those who have given a great deal to their country.
Send cards to the address below, and please read the guidelines carefully!

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD

All cards must be postmarked no later than Friday, December 10th. Cards postmarked after this date will unfortunately be returned to the sender. This deadline ensures enough time to sort and distribute cards before the holidays.

After the mailbox closes, the cards we received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Learn more about the screening process here.


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Thursday, December 2, 2010

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Photo-of-Prototype photo of Gift of Faith by Laura Tuzio-Ross

Based on the appearance of the doll in the above image, I relented and subscribed to Ashton-Drake's "Gifts from the Lord" miniature doll series by Laura Tuzio-Ross (a series of five different dolls with wicker basket).  The first doll in the series, "Gift of Faith," arrived today.  In the above photo, the doll is precious... absolutely adorable, such a happy, sweet baby, is what I thought and I thought I needed her. 

Unfortunately, and I know this to be true from several past experiences, Ashton-Drake is well-known for mass producing dolls that often only vaguely resemble their prototypes.  Their record in this regard remains impeccable based on the actual appearance of the first doll in this series.

Photograph of actual doll, "Gift of Faith"

Here's a close-up

Because one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong... here in my collection. 


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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mixis Fashion Review

Mixis Fashions:  Piao Liang and Bollywood

After the heads up from D7ana about the Mixis holiday sale, I "ran" to their website and ordered the above two Mixis fashions.  Both are very well made and nicely packaged, as are all other Mixis fashions.  I appreciate the coordinating accessories,which are also well made. 

My favorite of the two is the India-inspired, Bollywood outfit that I believe Rosa will enjoy wearing.  I imagine Emerald will look fabulous in the Piao Liang fashion.  I look forward to redressing them soon.

Had I not already owned the two denim fashions, Rockabilly Girl and Apres Ski Outfit, they would have been included in my most recent Mixis order.

Even if you do not own Mixis dolls (but now is a good time to purchase at least one during the sale), consider the fashions for similar-sized dolls in your collection.


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeing Color

Internet-captured photo

My blog entry of November 19, 2009, "Prince Naveen -- Too Lukewarm for Some," written a little over one year ago, continues to receive multiple page views and additional comments.

The gist of the blog was my concern about the opinions young minds (both male and female) would form as a result of Disney's first animated, African American princess sharing her crown with someone other than an African American or male of African descent.  The text of the original blog also includes an African American male's commentary on Prince Naveen's ethnicity and the roles portrayed by other characters in last year's Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog

Neither commentary (mine, a female's perspective, nor the male's perspective) was a statement against interracial relationships.  Mine, personally was more of a concern over Disney's prince selection, the film industry's perpetual vilification and exclusion of positive African American male characters, and the opinions children might form as a result of viewing this particular movie.

The blog was also written prior to my seeing the movie and now understanding why, for Disney, Prince Naveen had to be someone that would appeal to both Charlotte (Princess Tiana's white BFF) first and eventually to Princess Tiana.  Moviegoers' tempers may have been more than lukewarm if Charlotte wanted to marry an African prince (even if it was only for his money and the status she would gain).  As I initially suspected, Prince Naveen's lack of true ethnic background was also Disney's way of capitalizing on a wider audience of movie-goers and merchandise consumers, wherein the only color of interest is green. 

Did it have to be this way?  No, the plot could have been different.  Princess Tiana could have had a prince of African descent and a happily-ever-after status, too.  But when you see green and already possess enough to write your own stories, you pen them with expectations of "growing your green."  Wider appeal equals "bigger bank," more money, more money, more money. 

According to my blog's statistics, the above-mentioned blog entry ranks a constant #1 in popular posts read, with 484 page views this week; 6,820 page views since it was written; and 28 pro-to-con comments regarding Disney's characterization of Princess Tiana's prince.  Of all the blog entries I have written over the past year, I find these statistics quite interesting. 


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Additional Heads are Sold Separately

Thanksgiving Eve at Target, while browsing the toy aisle, I found and purchased this additional head for Barbie Fashionistas Swappin' Styles Artsy.  Regularly priced $4.99, it rang up a dollar less with their in-store discount.  I have not deboxed it or tried it out, but thought I'd give a quick share that an additional head for Artsy does exist.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Photograph courtesy of master carver, Floyd Bell

Be thankful, be blessed, be a blessing... always.


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Journey Girls - Taryn

Taryn is an18-inch, vinyl doll with cloth body below her vinyl torso.  The vinyl torso and full vinyl arms allow dressing in a variety of fashions from short sleeves to sleeveless.

She has mounds of curly black hair that is closely rooted. A black headband keeps her hair out of her gorgeous rich chocolaty brown face.  Her hazel eyes are stationary with applied eyelashes. A gray knit shirt with white long sleeves; tartan plaid necktie*, blue denim skirt, white knee socks, and blue vinyl sneakers with molded laces complete her casual outfit.

One of four dolls in this Toys R Us-exclusive line, Journey Girls (JG), Taryn and the other dolls each have unique head sculpts. No two dolls are alike. Each doll also has a separate set of interests.

Taryn's headshot and her bio from side panel of box

Bio/Interests:  Taryn is a multitalented performer who loves to travel and experience the local music scene. She aspires to perform at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

Taryn and the other JG dolls are $29.99.  Extra boxed JG outfits are available for $12.99 each. This week at Toys R Us, the purchase of one JG qualifies the buyer to receive a free JG outfit.

Initially, I had no plans to purchase Taryn, but this was the only Taryn left at the TRU I visited yesterday.  There were multiples of the other JG dolls.  Taryn's lone status coupled with the free outfit offer enticed the purchase.


After easily removing Taryn from her box, I redressed her in the above fashion, which is very well made. 

Next, I pierced her ears using a push pin and inserted yellow stud earrings to match the yellow stripes in her tunic.

She can wear her extra fashion with or without the gray hoodie.

*The only con I've encountered is the need to  untie Taryn's necktie for redressing her.  A snap in the back of the tie would have prevented this.  Otherwise, she's perfect... so much so that I am seriously considering a return trip TRU to purchase a BFF for her, Alana.   



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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can't Get Enough Princess Tiana Dolls

My First Disney Princess Baby Tiana *

I was surprised to discover the newest-to-me Princess Tiana doll yesterday while thumbing through the pages of the Holiday 2011 issue of DOLLS magazine.  The article, "Babes in Toyland" features six Disney Princess babies manufactured by Tolly Tots.  My First Disney Princess Baby Tiana is a 12-inch, soft-bodied doll.  She's dressed in a cute romper and wears her very own tiara.  The lowest online price I found for the baby is $10.99 at FAO online.  Elsewhere, prices vary from $12.99 and often much higher.

My First Disney Princess Baby Tiana*

After searching for images of the baby, I found a new, 15-inch toddler.  My First Disney Princess Tiana is also by Tolly Tots.  She's cute, as was the original toddler by Mattel, but she's much cuter than the one offered at  Priced much higher at other sites, Tolly Tot's todder is $19.99 at Toys R Us online.  Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the doll is not available online.  Check local stores if this one interests you.

Disney Princess and Me - Tiana*

The 18-inch version of Princess Tiana by Jakks Pacific has been available for a few months.  Size wise, little girls who own other 18-inch dolls may enjoy this one for redressing in everyday clothing.  The best online price that I have seen for this one is again at at $49.99.

I am happy about the selection of Princess Tiana dolls available in a variety of price ranges for collecting and for play.  I am particularly enthused about these new playline dolls.  They affirm that princesses and other fairy tale characters, whose stories usually end with a positive note, come in all colors… something all little girls need to know, especially those with similar complexions.

*Camera-captured images

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