Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taking Stock of Stock

This morning I decided to take an inventory of Barbie® DOTW* purchased over 15 years ago.  I photographed them in the order they were stored instead of year of release.  All are NRFB with boxes wrapped with saran wrap. 

The plan is to eventually find new homes for them.  I thought I'd share the list and images here in the meantime, but if you see a doll that you absolutely cannot live without, do not hesitate to let me know. 

Barbie® Dolls of the World™ Inventory - 01.29.10

Box Date/Name
1992 Native American
1993 Native American
1994 Native American

Box Date/Name
1987 Korean
1990 Malaysian
1993 Chinese

Box Date/Name
1988 Mexican
1989 Brazilian
1991 Spanish

Box Date/Name
1990 Eskimo
1992 Italian
1994 Polynesian

*This inventory does not include my collection's darkest skinned Barbie® DOTW,  but they are not for sale.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Out with the Old, In with the New

In an attempt to make room for the current year's stock, manufacturers are liquidating last year's overstock of merchandise to stores like Tuesday Morning.  It's out with the old and in with the new, often at a bargain for collectors.

Click to supersize the images

Tuesday Morning's next sale event begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, February 2, 2010.  Doll offerings include a variety of collector Barbies as shown in the above ad.  The dolls will be priced $19.99.  The outfits may be worth that.

This Tuesday Morning event will also include a variety of Madame Alexander 8-inch dolls priced from  $29.99 to $39.99.  Dark-skinned Madame Alexander dolls are absent from the ad, but I'll keep hope alive that some will be available in the store.

In the meantime, check out their online doll offerings by clicking the Shop Special Online-Offerings button and entering "dolls" (without the quotation marks) into their search box. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sasha Morgenthaler's Dolls for Everyone

Baby Cara, Caleb, Sasha, Cora, and Gregor ~ Dolls by Sasha Morgenthaler, Made in England

Sasha Morgenthaler (1893-1975) was a Swiss artist who began making one-of-a-kind (OOAK) dolls in the 1940s... Reflective of the world’s children, Morgenthaler’s dolls are reminiscent of the diverse people encountered during her travels.
The above is an excerpt from my article, "Sasha Morgenthaler's Dolls for Everyone" published in the January & February 2010 issue of Doll Castle News, pages 28-30. 

Doll Castle News is published bi-monthly.  Subscription to this publication, which covers all types of dolls, is $19.95 for 1 year or $5.95 for a single copy.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mall Fun

I found Olmec Toy's 1997 doll, Mall Fun Imani and two Menelik dolls when I retrieved another doll this evening that shared the same shelf.  After recently reading a Dolls of Color post about Mai, Kim, and Consuelo by Olmec, I wonder if the doll that accompanies Mall Fun Imani on the back of her box is Consuelo or could she be Mai or Kim

Unfortunately, the text does not identify the other doll.  Interestingly, my doll (Imani) is dressed in the outfit worn by the dark-haired, unidentified doll. 

I did a cursory search for "Olmec catalogue" and found a link to a PDF file about Yla Eason, the founder and president of Olmec Toys.  Readers interested in this now defunct company might find the information in the PDF file interesting. 


Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Beautiful 2010 Doll

I need $1295 plus the cost of shipping for this gorgeous, 30-inch doll, Jamina by Hildegard Gunzel.  (Not really, since she's resin and since I've learned to admire from afar.)  But still... < deep sigh >


DOLLS' Offerings in Paper and Wood

The February 2010 issue of DOLLS magazine features "Felicia's Fabulous Friday," a printable paper doll  by paper doll artist, Diana E. Vining. Felicia has one outfit in the publication, but extra downloadable outfits are available at the DOLLS website.

Also featured in the same issue of DOLLS magazine, is an article I co-authored with renowned, master doll artist, Floyd Bell. Bell discusses his "Fabulous Entertainers" captured in wood. (At left is his Las Vegas Showgirl doll.)

DOLLS magazine is presented in the traditional hard copy format as well as a digital version via subscription. Individual copies can also be purchased at major book stores.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Initial efforts by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. immediately post the April 4, 1968, assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were followed by combined efforts of countless others for a national MLK holiday.  Finally, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law and the first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was observed on the third Monday of January 1986.  (Time Magazine)

Always keeping this blog doll-related, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a holiday but very few dolls honor this remarkable, selfless man.

As a result, doll tributes in my collection of Dr. King total two:

Martin Luther King, Jr., Our Powerful Past Leader figure with 18-minute audio cassette and printed transcript of the original Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech by Olmec Toys, 1992

Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Family Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney (Dover Publications, Inc., 1993)

But I don't really need dolls to remind me of his greatness, his efforts toward promoting civil rights and equality for all Americans.  I witnessed his efforts, his eloquent speeches, and unfortunately his and others' beatings, hosings, and other physical attacks and deaths (via black and white television).  Because of the latter, my impressionable 1960s mind always wondered, "Why?"

I also sat on the back of the bus and didn't realize why until much later in life. 

I recall a 1960s bus "sightseeing" trip with my mom and one of our neighbors.  Mama and (I'll call her) Dorothy (because I honestly do not remember her name) sat together on a bench bus seat.  Alone, my 5- or 6-year-old body occupied the bench seat in front of them with enough room to seat one more next to me.  A few stops later, a white family of three (father, mother, and tween son) entered the practically full bus that had one empty bench seat left and the space next to me.  I remember thinking how very silly the boy looked with his long legs dangling from his father's lap where the father preferred he sit instead of next to me.  The boy, who initially approached the empty seat next to me, probably felt as ridiculous as I thought he looked and perhaps as bewildered by his father's venomous, proof that racism-is-taught -command, "You'd-better-not-sit-there!"

At 17, in a half-day MT-training class at Baylor University Medical Center

Fast Forward:  In the early 1970s, as a product of recently desegregated schools, I was bused to a predominantly white high school in grades 11 and 12, having to reluctantly leave the all-Black school I had attended since 4th grade with the exception of the year and a half, 7th- and first semester of 8th-grade out-of-district school attendance interruption orchestrated by my mother (but that's another story).

In grade 12, I became an affirmative action token during subminimum wage-paying training as a high school senior vocational education student.  I attended regular school classes for three hours in the mornings and trained at Baylor University Medical Center in the afternoons.  Daddy would pick me up from school, drive me home where I would quickly dress myself in appropriate business attire, and then he would drive me to Baylor for the four hours' training.  I would ride the city bus home afterward until I met a certain car-owning someone who worked there (but that's another story, too.)

In a classroom of eight girls to learn what would eventually become my vocation, there were six white girls, one Latina, and me.  Of course my academic merits as well as my African American ethnicity played a role in my acceptance into the nine-month course that I left after eight months.   After eight months of studying human anatomy and physiology and the rest of the curriculum which led to transcribing actual patient records, the instructor recommended me for a permanent position in Baylor's pathology department because she felt I was more qualified than the others for it.

Token or not, affirmative action or not, I as well as countless others have benefitted from Dr. King's law changing efforts and dedication to humankind.

I remember him today and thank him for his life-sacrificing dream. 


Caribbean Folk Doll a Cherished Gift

Terri Gold's comment and question, "Do you know who made her?" referring to my circa 1940s Miss Haiti doll, prompted me to do my own Internet search for dolls made in Haiti.   I was pleasantly surprised to find another doll in my collection included in the search results. 

One website identifies my doll (pictured above) as a Haitian Yo-Yo Doll.  According to the website:

These dolls are created by multinational group of young entrepreneurs. The company works to promote employment in Haiti by teaching unskilled workers trades. They also help independent artists find new markets. The company currently employs about 400 people, half men and half women.  Doll measures 9" T (22.9 cm). Made in and fairly traded from Haiti.

My doll was a gift from a dear friend, who purchased it during an October 2005 Caribbean cruise with ports including St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, and St. Lucia.  The manufacturer's card attached to the doll's neck with string identifies her as Caribbean Folk Doll.  The inside of the card reads:

In simpler days, Caribbean children enjoyed playing with homemade dolls crafted from fabric remnants and scrap materials. These much loved dolls depicted people from everyday life dressed in typical local costumes.  Their homespun, honest charm has remained intact through today's fast paced, high-tech times.

This doll has been hand made for you using traditional Caribbean designs, madras textiles and decorations.  Each doll is an original design inspired by historic examples of early Caribbean folk dolls.

Drexco Crafts (There is an image of a mouthless, island woman with side-glancing eyes who holds a huge paint brush in one hand and a pallet of artist paints in the other.)
The back of the card also reads "MADE IN HAITI" .  A remnant piece of the original price tag remains (where my friend removed the portion containing the price).  She wrote, "From the cruise ship." 


Friday, January 15, 2010

Miss Haiti

This morning after wondering whether or not my collection includes dolls made in Haiti, I recalled one.  She is a circa 1940s, 30-inch boudoir doll with heavy celluloid head and breast plate and straw-stuffed, mature cloth body. 

I purchased Miss Haiti from a doll dealer in approximately 1998.  I know it was prior to my Internet access years, which commenced in 1998.  Lynn sent pictures of the doll via snail mail to me after which I finalized the purchase.  A similar doll had been valued at $400 in Myla Perkins' Black Dolls An Identification and Value Guide (Collector Books, 1993).

Miss Haiti, whose red sash now only reads "Miss H," has graced my master bedroom for several of the 15 or so years I have owned her.  I included her identification and value information in my first black-doll reference book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (Hobby House Press, Inc., 2003).

I often wonder how many hands have touched vintage, previously owned dolls like Miss Haiti...  how many people's lives has she touched before touching mine? 


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Five words

I love these two dolls!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

International Black Doll and Gift Show - Videos

I received the following video links from one of the talented doll artists (Tanya Montegut), who participated in this past December's International Black Doll and Gift Show hosted by, held at the Riverside Church in New York.  Artist participants were interviewed by Chuike Anderson, whose interviews are contained within the following three videos.  I thoroughly enjoyed these.  I hope you will, too.

Thanks again, Tanya!

Conversations with Chuike, Part One:

Conversations with Chuike, Part Two:

Converations with Chuike, Part Three:


Monday, January 11, 2010

They Don't Unscrew...

...Moxie Girlz Sasha's lower legs pop off. 

I retrieved my site-to-store order for Art-Titude Sasha from Wal-Mart yesterday.   I opened the box this morning to see just how in the world her feet could possibly screw off, as I previously reported in Goodbye Sasha, Hello Bria

I was surprised to discover the doll has peg legs with pop-off boots that serve as the lower legs and  feet, as illustrated above. 

My opinion that Sasha's eyes are alien-like still stands. 


Friday, January 8, 2010

VOW Inspired

I am the grateful recipient of the VOW Inspired Blog badge.

What did I do to receive it?  Here's what Janet Walker, of Vine of Words said:

"Hi Debbie your love of black dolls has inspired me in more ways than one. I would like to present you with an Inspired Blog Badge. I give them to blogs that have inspired me in some way or simply made me smile."

I am honored to have inspired Janet and even more honored and grateful that she took the time to inform me and feature me on her blog

Thanks again, Janet... you-made-my-day!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Urban Repaints!

Formerly Esme

Last week after reading a brief introduction of new Black Doll-E-Zine Yahoo! Group subscriber, Twoonia Sykes, and viewing pictures of her work, I wanted to know what inspired her entrance into the world of repainting and trolling. The results of my inquiry follow:

DBG: What inspired you to become a repaint artist and how long have you been doing this?

TS: A lot of things inspire me to be creative, but repainting is something I discovered by accident. Being a stay at home mother I have a lot free time on my hands. I have always had a fascination with dolls, dating back to when I was a little girl. One day I was shopping on eBay for Christmas gifts and I saw these dolls that I had never seen in stores or advertised for purchase anywhere. I noticed that these were dolls created by different people who were artistic. So I did my research and said, "hmmm I can do that," and I have been repainting dolls ever since, on and off for the past 6 years.

DBG: Please explain the term trolling, and without divulging your personal style or technique, also share a few steps of the repainting and trolling processes?

TS: In the world of repainting, "trolling" means the removal of all factory rooted hair and re-applying some sort of fiber that resembles hair; it could be yarn (spun wool), mohair, or any type of fiber that can easily be hot glued with a glue gun to a vinyl doll’s head, which sounds easy, but it takes practice to get it right.

The obvious first step in the trolling process is removal of all factory hair (you'll need scissors for cutting and tweezers for plucking the smaller portions out). Once done, you’re pretty much left with a head with tons of tiny holes in it. You will need a small hot glue gun, a hot glue stick or Aleene’s Tacky Glue for beginners. If you want the hair to stay, the hot glue gun process is better. After deciding what type fiber you'd like to use to troll the head, apply it around the crown of the head in a circular manner, making sure the hair faces outward, and continue going around the head until it's complete. If this is something you'd like to try, I suggest you use a smaller doll’s head for practice because you can easily burn your fingers and get hot glue everywhere in the process.

There are step-by-step instructions online for novices, which are easy to follow. Once you get the hang of it, substitute the white glue for hot glue for a permanent fix.

For repainting I use artist grade liquid acrylic paints and sealers with a matte finish, such as Golden and Liquitex paints. I also use Folk Art and Americana Liquid acrylic paints. I also use Flow-Aid to thin my paints and prevent it from drying out so fast. I use sable hair paint brushes, sizes 3/0 round, 0/2 round, and 0/0 round. You'll need 100% acetone nail polish remover and Q-Tips to remove the factory face paint from your doll’s face. A baking soda and water concoction rinse after paint removal prevents damage to the vinyl.

There is no specific destination on where to begin when repainting. Sometimes, I start on the lips and then the eyes or I'll start with the eyebrows. I bounce around a lot when I am repainting, but I always try to apply three layers of paint. Once it dries, apply one coat of matte varnish. After it dries you can move on to the hair, which you can either leave factory, cut and style, or troll. I always do the hair last. For a great walk-through on the art of repainting, I suggest purchasing Laurie Leigh’s DVD.

DBG: Which doll was your last repaint/trolling candidate?

TS: My last repaint and trolling combination was a Tonner Jac doll that I transformed into my version of Rihanna [inspired by this photo of the real Rihanna].

Tonner's Jac D'Argent (before repainting and trolling)

Jac as Rihanna, after repainting and trolling

My last repaint was Tonner’s Twilight Saga doll, Bella Swan.

DBG: Your transformations are phenomenal. After viewing your "Lisa Bonet," I viewed an online image of the real Lisa Bonet.   This is another superb transformation.  Were your intentions to transform Tonner's Jac D'Argent into Lisa Bonet or did the doll transform itself?

Jac as Lisa Bonet

TS: Thanks! During the time that repaint was done, Lisa Bonet had just done a spread in a magazine and I happened to come across the pictures online. I’ve always thought she was a gorgeous girl. I hadn't seen too many African American repaints at the time. Tonner’s Jac was only one of two African American sculpts available then and the idea was born to create her in dolly form. Lisa was my first trolling job.

DBG: Again, I’m impressed! What's next for you and how can those interested in your services contact you?

TS: Next up for me… I will attempt something I have never tried before which involves sculpting along with the repaint and trolling processes. If you have seen the movie, Avatar, then you'll know what I am talking about. I think it’s a great movie. I will be creating the Na'vi peoples’ deity or Goddess Ewya. Stay tuned.

My commission book currently has 5 openings for trolling and repaint services. I can be reached at  or directly through the contact page of my website.


Thank you, Twoonia, for sharing such in-depth information about repainting and trolling.  Remarkable, creative genius like yours present in the doll community needs to be fully tapped for the world to appreciate!


The above OOAK Female Humanoid Alien Repaint Art Doll has been listed on ebay.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

S.I.S. Chandra and Zahara

Click image to enlarge

Chandra's deep complexion is what caught my attention while browsing the doll aisle at Target this afternoon.  This was the only Chandra and Zahara (Chandra teaches Zahara some ballet moves) gift set available.  The box is severely damaged (has slits on both sides) and would not scan for a price.  At the customer service counter, I was told this is a salvaged item no longer in their system or something they never carried (?).  Perhaps someone received it for Christmas and returned it to that store.  Lucky me.  I asked for a reduced price due to the damaged box, which was granted. 


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goodbye Sasha, Hello Bria

On December 26, 2009, "Sarah" commented on the blog MIA Moxie Girlz Sasha.  Sarah informed that MGA Entertainment has discontinued Sasha from its Moxie Girlz (MG) line.  This explains the various inconsistencies that I noticed about Sasha when compared to the other MG dolls. 

First of all, Sasha is MIA on the Moxie Girlz home page.  (This was one of the first things that made me go, hmmm.)   During an in-store visit to Target earlier this year to see the dolls up close and personal, I noticed that Sasha was not included as a basic doll (hmmm #2).  In September, Toys R Us discounted all dolls except Sasha (hmmm #3). Even though I had no desire to purchase any of these dolls during the sale, I ranted and raved about hmmm #3 via several phone conversations to TRU, to no avail.  Sasha's price was never reduced online.  I made a special trip to TRU and discovered the dolls scanned at the advertised sale price (hmmm #4).

After reading Sarah's comment, I googled the phrase, "Moxie Girlz discontinued Sasha," and received hits from reliable web sites that confirmed, "Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes," and "This item is being discontinued."

With verification of Sasha's discontinuation, the collector in me, hurriedly ordered the Art-titude version (pictured above), as she was the only one located at the time via merchant website that had not sold out and whose independent-seller price had not tripled or quadrupled.  I did note this morning that has MG Jammaz Doll Pack Sasha in stock. I added her to my cart, but have not completed the order. Do I really need two? (hmmm #5).

Before discovering the discontinuation of these dolls, I had no intention of adding any version of MG Sasha to my eclectic black-doll collection.  While their faces with noses and attitudes are sweeter than those of Bratz dolls, their alien-like eyes bother me, and still do.  But the collector desires at least one discontinued Sasha.  So I guess I'll remove MG Jammaz Doll Pack Sasha from my cart.  The more popular, Art-Titude Sasha will serve as my "at least one."

Sarah's comment names Bria as Sasha's replacement.  Moxie Girlz Hair Magic Makeover Torso Bria is currently available. I suppose MG Bria with legs and feet that unscrew pop off will follow.