Friday, April 30, 2010

Too Cute!

A trip to Wal-Mart, Target, and/or Toys R Us is in order this weekend. I need to add the befreckled face Julian to my So In Style doll collection and possibly the individually sold Zahara, if she's available.  Interestingly, Julian's accessories are marked "Jordan" for some odd reason.  Hmmm....


Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Doll For Mom

My mother accompanied me to a doll lecture several years ago to help set up the exhibit dolls. As a result of her "oohing and ahhing" over one of the reborn dolls included in the exhibit, I had an identical doll made for her. It was part of her birthday gift from me that year, which was 2004.

Reborn dolls have come a long way since then, but these two were nicely done, and my mother does not realize the progression of this doll art form.

Emberlynn (my doll) and Amberlynn (my mother's doll)

With Mother's Day 2010 right around the corner, why not buy your mom, or someone else you hold near and dear, a doll for Mother's Day? It does not have to be a reborn doll or an expensive doll, but lifesize baby dolls work best for those with maternal instincts whose nests have been empty for a while.

Being a collector is not a prerequisite for the recipient to receive a doll as a gift. My mother certainly is not a collector and, until now, never displayed any interest in dolls except those purchased for me and my younger sister when we were children. She loves Amberlynn as much as the collector in me loves Emberlynn. She enjoys changing Amberlynn's outfits on a seasonal basis, too... so think doll, and think extra outfit for it as well.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Juan, Romance and Roses

An Integrity Toys hybrid, Juan has been a master bedroom nightstand staple for over two months.  He planted himself where I placed him immediately after opening the package.  Today I decided to photograph him and pair him with one of my dolls in need of male companionship. 

Even though my husband begs to differ*, I think Juan and Romance and Roses Coquette Cissy are indeed a handsome couple.


*"That doll couple doesn't match.  The man has a character face; the doll has a doll face." (He's right, but I'll never tell.)

Awesome Dolls

The following information is from a flyer received from Barbara A Whiteman, Director, Philadelphia Doll Museum.

The Philadelphia Doll Museum and Dark Images are excited to present the International Black Doll Show and Sale. Doll enthusiasts and doll collectors from across the country will [merge] in Philadelphia to enjoy the art and beauty of black dolls. Join us for doll camaraderie and fun. Your favorite doll artists or dealers want you to know that he/she will be here...

and Dark Images

"Awesome Dolls"

International Black Doll Show and Sale

Saturday, May 29, 2010
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Pennsylvania Convention Center
12th and Arch Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission:  $7 adults
$5 Seniors and children under 12

Show Events and Activities
Doll Making Workshop
Doll Competition
Doll Raffles and Prizes

Amazulu Gift & Craft Shows
Joins International Black Doll Show and Sale
For the first time, under one roof, collectors will discover the most comprehensive group of doll and craft vendors with the latest they have to offer!

Attention:  Doll Artists, Doll Makers, and Crafters; Doll Collectors and Doll Lovers:
We need you to share your doll making skills or doll knowledge with others with a doll workshop, demonstration, lecture or presentation. (One hour minimum)

Do you have information on how to start a doll club or doll museum?
Can you or your doll club evaluate, appraise dolls?
Participate or Moderate a Panel:
"Black Doll Market 2010"

Call the Philadelphia Doll Museum so we can discuss and schedule your workshop or presentation.  We need your input and service.

Contact/Info:  Philadelphia Doll Museum
2253 North Broad Street
For Hotel Info:  Hilton Garden Inn 215.923.0100

"The largest and best showcase and sale of black dolls in the nation"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Celebrating 30 Years of Black Barbie

Initially, I was on the fence as to whether or not I would add Mattel's reproduction Black Barbie to my collection.  "She's exactly like the first doll; so I don't think I need her," was my thinking.  After eyeing the doll in various local stores on multiple occasions, I decided as soon as someone substantially reduced the $45 retail price, I would relent.  An online vendor recently reduced Black Barbie to $29.

As a routine, after new dolls arrive, they are photographed and entered on my Doll Inventory spreadsheet.  Black Barbie's spreadsheet entry is as follows:
Celebrating 30 years of Black Barbie, this reproduction doll wears a red shimmery dress with gold collar, red ankle-strap shoes, red dangle earrings, and has an extra; gold-trimmed white tuxedo-style pants suit, reminiscent of the Saturday Night Fever suit worn by John Travolta in the movie of the same name. Accessories include gold shoulder bag, white ankle-strap shoes, red hair pick, red choker, and extra red hoops. There are face cards of SuperStar Christie Fashion Face and Sunsational Malibu Ken (a.k.a. Afro Ken) with Sunsational Malibu Christie at his side. Another card illustrates how to use Black Barbie's hair pick and how to transform the dangle earrings into hoops. The back side of each card describes the dolls' attributes in reproduced text from the original packaging. Also included is a reproduction Barbie World of Fashion booklet, which illustrates Beauty Secrets Christie, several other Barbies, and an array of fashions available for the dolls in 1980.

I am delighted that I added reproduction Black Barbie to my collection.  Her box still proclaims, "She's Black! She's Beautiful! She's Dynamite!" And as I wrote in a Black Barbie article (that incidentally is being sold by an eBay seller), she's not dynamite, but “off-the-chain, hot!”

View a slide show with comparison views of the 1980 and the 2010 dolls here and maximize the new window.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Want a Black One!

Madame Alexander’s 2005 Stiletto’s dolls included Kikki and Sami. A blonde doll, Nikki, was also part of this 9-inch, all-vinyl, play doll line.

In late-2006/early-2007, I purchased Kikki and Sami for $5 each specifically to deepen their complexions.  Using a mixture of tan and cocoa brown Rit dye and boiled water, I accomplished this task to my satisfaction.  It took only 5 minutes or so for the dolls' complexion to deepen in the dye bath immersion.  Surprisingly, Kikki's hair color did not change.  Sami's original, near-black hair is now brunette.  The whites of their eyes darkened.  I repainted that area with white acrylic paint and reblushed heir cheeks.  Nothing else was required to achieve their new warm brown complexion.

Kikki and Sami after their dye baths


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dolls and Good Music-Related Memories

Recently I found hard copies of photographs taken at a 1990s family reunion. In these were images of elders who have unfortunately passed away. Children, captured in time as they gathered, watching cousins, brothers or sisters forcefully strike a Big Bird piΓ±ata in hopes of rupturing its outer shell; and, finally, dolls photographed on the same roll of 35 mm film were the focus of the other found photographs.

I was amused at one particular doll photograph of the above three Baby Come Back dolls made by Mattel ©1976.  They were on the market by Christmas 1977. I fondly recalled how these three came to live with me in the 1990s.

The redressed black doll on the far right and the white doll were separate thrift store finds. I paid less than a combined total of $5 for both. In the 1990s, I thrift store shopped for dolls and provided TLC for those I rescued. I usually kept black-doll finds for my collection and sold others to help fund future doll buying. I recall finding a 1950s “basket case,” bald and nude, Madame Alexander Cissy at a thrift store for $12! It sold “as is” on eBay for 21.5 times that amount! Those were the days of eBay’s seller’s market climate.

Back to the Baby Come Back trio: The all-original black doll was purchased from another collector/doll dealer for about $15. She confessed having found it discarded in a trash can! As she drove by, she saw the brown legs of the doll, stopped her car, and retrieved it.  Other than its outer layer of grime, Baby Come Back was perfect in my eyes. I brought it home, gave it a much needed head-to-toe bath, and hand-soaked and air-dried the clothes. The other two have found new homes, but the formerly discarded doll remains in my personal collection.

Since finding the photograph of the dolls, the chorus of “Baby Come Back” by the 1970s group, Player, has been intermittently playing in my head. This morning I viewed a YouTube video of the group performing their 1978 breakthrough single. I briefly wondered if the doll inspired the title of the song, but surmised that the inspiration was most likely true heartbreak.  Listening to Player’s song brought back my six degrees of separation association with The Steve Miller Band.  In 1977, I worked for Steve’s father, a former local pathologist. I also gave birth to my first born, a daughter, in 1977.  Memories… good ones.

I attempted to find a Baby Come Back doll commercial, but only found  pre-Christmas 1977 print advertisements for the doll priced from $6 to $12. In the commercial search results, I located a home-produced YouTube video of Baby Come Back  toddling upon a table.  Watching it made me laugh out loud and smile.

The photographs, dolls, and song, along with the times in which they were produced conjured up pleasant memories of former activities, special events, people, places, and things.

More Links:
Mint-Looking with Box Baby Come Back on Ruby Lane (I am not affiliated with the seller.)
The Steve Miller Band
Additional Pre-Christmas 1977 Baby Come Back and other vintage toy ad links


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is It a Boy? Is it a Girl? Poll Results

The "Is It a Boy? Is It a Girl?" poll is officially closed.  12 of 17 voted boy; 5 voted girl.   This should please the doll's owner, who is partial to boy dolls.  As "Hugs," who likes the baby both ways, commented, "Maybe another doll is needed so there will be a boy AND a girl..."

Thanks everyone for voting!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's a boy; no wait, it's a girl!

After several weeks of anticipation and expectation, a fellow doll enthusiast received a new bundle of joy, a reborn doll made using the Ava Raine doll kit by Laura Tuzio Ross <---(scroll down at this link to view).

In order to help this new mom decide on her baby's gender, she's allowed me to share dressed-as-a-boy and dressed-as-a-girl images. 

Is it a boy, or ...
... should it be a girl?

What do you think?  Please share your opinion about this baby's gender using the special poll I created.  Vote "It's a Boy" for boy or "It's a Girl" for girl.

Thanks for voting.


(Thanks Phyllis for sharing the images.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Staying Power or Not

After seeing the prototype photo of Integrity's Darius Reid, I did not see a "specimen of masculinity," as he is described.  His implied swagger was also absent, and I did not think a sway of his hips would make me swoon.

After seeing Romona J's photos of Darius, I'm still not swooning, but I immediately shifted from lukewarm in my opinion of Mr. Reid to "like a whole lot" mode. 

Check him out!
According to Barbie Basics Model 004, Darius Reid indeed has staying power...

...and enough swagger to make her swoon.

Photographs courtesy of Romona J.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Show and Tell - Leanne's Beautiful Collection

Antique and vintage black dolls

This is the first Show and Tell blog about beautiful dolls owned and/or made by others.  I plan to share a series of these as the spirit moves me.

After "meeting" her in September of 2009 by way of cyberspace and as a result of our shared passion for black dolls, Leanne S. of Australia, readily shared photos of some of the dolls in her collection.  I was amazed at her  huge collection of mostly antique and vintage black dolls with a few modern dolls interspersed.

When asked, Leanne readily agreed to allow me to share images of her dolls here.

Baby Clap Hands by Horsman, circa 1970s, an Irene Szor design; claps and recites Pat-a-Cake poem

Antique and vintage black dolls

Norah Wellings, rare, 36-inch doll

Leanne also shared the reason she developed such fondness for black dolls.

I was always a very spoilt child, my grandmother (on my father's side)
bought me beautiful (white) dolls, walking dolls, baby dolls etc

and my other grandmother was a dressmaker, so she made me

great doll clothes! I have been collecting black dolls for 20 years.

I don't really know why I started collecting only black dolls, probably

because I never had a black doll as a child!!

I used to run a retro clothing stall in our local market and was always

op-shopping, garage saling etc... so every little black face came home with

me!! And of course once I got the ebay bug my collection took off.

These days I only ebay, finding black dolls anywhere else now is a rare thing.

And of course with over 1000 dolls in my collection, I am only looking for particular

dolls these days.  And making computer friends (like yourself Debbie!!) has increased

my collection, with black doll collectors selling their collections to me.


Johnna oilskin art doll

View additional images of Leeanne's beautiful doll collection here.

Thank you again Leanne for sharing and for allowing me to share your dolls here.


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