Thursday, June 30, 2011

Franklin Mint's Michelle O. Looks Great in (Almost) Anything!

With extra time on my hands, I decided (hesitantly) once again to redress my Michelle Obama doll.  I say hesitantly because I love her in the "Vive Jacqui" fashion by Franklin Mint  made for their 14-1/2-inch Jackie Kennedy doll.  But I wanted to see how well or not the doll looks in the other three Franklin Mint (FM) fashions I purchased some time ago.

FM's Michelle Obama in Princess Diana fashion

First I tried on  a purple gown made for Franklin Mint's Diana, Princess of Wales Portrait Doll.  I was pleasantly surprised at how stunning the Michelle doll looks in this fashion.  More images follow:

The shoes fit well.

The gown nicely hugs the doll's curves.

Fashioned after a Gianni Versace purple silk crepe gown that Princess Diana wore at a breast cancer benefit at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois in June1996, accessories include a matching clutch and shoes, pearl and faux gem choker, and drop earrings.  This redress helped formulate the opinion that "she [Michelle] looks great in anything!" Until...

FM's Michelle Obama in red ensemble
...I located a red two-piece suit with matching pill box hat of bouclé fabric by Franklin Mint.  This had been stored in one of my doll trunks.  In the past, Robert Tonner's Basic Esmé wore this fashion with her original black faux suede shoes because it did not include shoes.  On Esmé, I realized the skirt was a little short and slightly big at the waist, but she was able to pull it off with grace.  I assumed Michelle could, too.  I tugged at the top, attempting to lengthen it and completely cover the doll's midriff.  I tried unsuccessfully to ignore the mini length of the skirt.  Confused about the improper fit, I thought:  Jackie didn't wear mini skirts.  So I removed the jacket, read the tag, and discovered the fashion was made for the Franklin Mint Jackie Collector Bear! Oh-my-goodness, I thought.  All this time, I incorrectly assumed this fashion was for a doll. 

This discovery prompted a Google search for more information on the fashion... and the bear.  Search results from reliable websites disclosed that the outfit replicates the 1962 Valentine's Day fashion worn by Jackie Kennedy for a televised tour of the White House.  This was the first time a First Lady of the United States had been given air time.  Search results also included a $195 Buy-It-Now auction for this fashion!  I think I paid, maybe $14 for it at Tuesday Morning.     

In Rob Frydlewicz's article, Jackie Kennedy's Televised Tour of the White House (February 14, 1962), he interestingly states, "...her outfit resembled something First Lady Michelle Obama might wear today..."  I agree.  Had the replicated fashion been scaled for a doll, it would be perfect for mine.  The bear fashion includes gold-encircled pearl stud earrings.  These remain on the original card, which the doll holds in the above image.   

FM Michelle Obama in "Forever Love Collection" fashion
Finally, I redressed Michelle in a shimmery lavender gown with rhinestone accents at neck, rhinestone drop earrings, lavender and silver clutch with rhinestone closure and strap, and lavender shawl with rhinestone embellishments that dangle from each corner.  From the Franklin Doll Finery "Forever Love Collection," this fashion was made to fit their 15 to 16-inch dolls.  In it, Michelle looks gorgeous; however, the outfit's lavender, ankle-strap high heels are too small for her.

After placing the Franklin Mint outfits back on the dolls that were wearing them initially, before returning the dolls to their areas of display, and storing the two-piece red bear fashion in the doll trunk, I took one final photograph.

Madame Alexander's Leslie (1970s), Tonner's Ready to Wear Esmé, and Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama look fab-u-lous in these Franklin Mint fashions.
With black knee-high boots and a black bodysuit underneath, FM's Michelle might even be able to pull off the two-piece red bouclé bear ensemble.  But looking great in her original dress as well as three out of four deeply discounted designer replicas of fashions worn by other historical women gives her a few options.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liv Dolls at McDonald's

Liv dolls and styling heads, current McDonald's Happy Meal toys (screen-captured image)

If you collect McDonald's Happy Meal dolls or toys or have a little one who enjoys these, their current promotion includes Liv dolls

One doll or styling head is included in Happy Meals for girls or by request.  In my area, the available dolls can be purchased separately without the meal.  The price for the doll alone varies in different areas and at different locations within areas.  You can also request to purchase specific dolls, if they are available.  I have done this in the past with other McDonald's Happy Meal dolls.

View the dolls and click on each one to see what it "does" here.

View the commercial here

Happy hunting!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Betty's Lament

Doll collector, Betty J. Miles Ativie, recently read my blog about duplicate dolls in my collection that I affectionately refer to as twins.  That blog prompted her to share her delightful poem along with images of dolls that so adequately illustrate it.  With her permission, the poem and illustrations are shared below.

The Lament of the Displaced Doll Collector
by Betty J. Miles Ativie

They start out one,
Then tell their friends
It won't be long
You're housing twins.

Watch out for them,
They'll do you in
Those little tykes
With childish grins

Before too long
Whole families come
And you are stuck
Nowhere to run

Your little place
Once full of peace
Is all filled up
You're out of space

I'm warning you
I know the score
They took my place
and closed the door.

If you are wise
You'll leave them be
Save cash -- run fast, shout liberty.

They start out one, then tell their friends
It won't be long before you're housing twins

More twins from the collection of Betty J. Miles Ativie

Even more twins from the collection of Betty J. Miles Ativie

Before too long whole families come
And you are stuck
Nowhere to run

Even though they multiply, sometimes create families, and may appear to overtake a dwelling, there's always room for just one more. 

Dolls are a doll lover's joy, a delight to the soul.  Thank you, Betty, for allowing your poem and dolls to delight mine!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Patience Gets Glasses

18-inch Friends Boutique Doll by Madame Alexander (Patience)

After recently reading about Kerri and her new glasses, thinking how adorable she looks in them, and finding a pair of wire-rimmed glasses on my computer hutch yesterday, I decided to try them on my doll, Patience. 

I think she looks adorable.  Her twin, Passion, who is looking on in the background, agrees. 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Model No. 02 — Collection Red | Barbie Collector

I am not impressed enough to place Barbie Basics Model No. 02 from Collection Red on my wish list.

Likes:  Her hair  texture (even though it is described as an Afro, when it is not).  The fashion is okay.

Dislike:  I am bored by the continuous use of the fused, ModelMuse body.  These dolls need to do something other than just stand there and pose. 

Read more, see more, here.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Michelle O. in Vive Jacqui!

A few years back, Tuesday Morning offered doll outfits at 50% below retail for Franklin Mint's 14-1/2-inch Jackie and 16-inch Princess Diana dolls.  I scooped up four.  Even though I did not and still do not own the aforementioned dolls, I knew the fashions would eventually come in handy for others already here or yet to come.

Robert Tonner's Ultra Basic Esme and Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll
Basic Esme and Ultra Basic Esme have both worn the yellow two-piece, taffeta, Vive Jacqui! suit, which, according to the fashion's certificate of authenticity, is "a replica of the actual ensemble that Jackie Kennedy wore on the State visit to France in May 1961."   This Franklin Mint fashion was authorized and authenticated by fashion designer, Oleg Cassini, who designed the original suit worn by Jackie Kennedy. 

Fashion swap:  Michelle O. wears Vive Jacki! fashion
A recent glance at Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama doll influenced the above illustrated fashion swap.  Ultra Basic Esme now wears Michelle's black sheath and black pumps.  Michelle now wears the yellow two-piece suit, matching pill box hat, white elbow-length gloves, taupe handbag, and beige shoes of the Vive Jacqui! ensemble.  The doll made in First Lady Obama's likeness is a little taller than the Jackie doll, resulting in a slightly snug fit of Michelle's new suit and shoes.  It is, however, a pleasant change.  See her smile... she loves it?!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Healthy Doll Collection in Sugar Land, Texas

I need to place images in front of African American girls in order for them to see themselves in the best light. - Phyllis C. Hunter, Founder, Dolls Like Me Museum - Sugar Land, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas is located approximately 20 miles southwest of downtown Houston, and is the home of  the Black Like Me Doll Museum.  Former educator and Houston Independent School administrator, Phyllis C. Hunter, uses her well-organized collection of 6000 dolls, many of which represent historical figures, to teach Black history and promote self-esteem in African American children.

Visits to Ms. Hunter's museum are open to groups by appointment only.  Get a glimpse of Ms. Hunter's healthy doll collection/museum in the February 2011 KTRK-TV video news story by Katie McCall...

... and read more here.


Doll Hoarding, The Video

After watching the Doll Hoarding episode on A and E this past Monday (June 20, 2011), it was obvious that, for the hoarder, her dolls provide joy.  Unfortunately, there is an obvious disconnect between the perceived joy and reality.  Phyllis's obsession with dolls created a dangerous living situation for her and her adult, mentally-challenged son.

If you were unable to watch the episode when it aired, the link to the 44-minute video is provided below.

A and E Doll Hoarder, Phyllis 

Also profiled in this episode is another hoarder, Janet, whose living condition was even worse than the doll hoarder's.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hot Looks Dolls Were Paper Dolls, Too!

Hot Looks Paper Dolls, (A Golden Book), Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1988
Mattel's 1986 Hot Looks dolls: Chelsea, Zizi, Mimi, and Stacy were crafted as A Golden Book paper doll book by Western Publishing Company, Inc., in 1988.

Zizi and Chelsea
Zizi's punch out doll is on the back cover of the paper doll book.  Chelsea's is, too

Zizi's fashion page
 Zizi's and the other dolls' precut, vibrantly colored fashions with ruffled hemlines, screen-printed tops worn over leggings, animal and geometric-print fabrics, slouch socks, big hair and huge hair bows scream 1980s.  Think early Madonna. 


Hot Looks Zizi - Looking Back

"I'll buy almost any black doll that is not nailed down." 

In my black-doll-buying infancy, the above quote was my basic motto.  My collection suffered severely as a result.  I purchased black dolls of all types until the eventual elimination and exclusion of certain ones commenced in the early 2000s.  We collect and we learn.

During my early 1990s, black-doll buying frenzy, I purchased a preloved (played-with) Zizi made by Mattel in 1986.  Zizi, from the Hot Looks collection, was still in relatively good condition, but her clothing and shoes were missing.  The original doll wears a "hot" pink and black, zebra-print jacket and pants, a white blouse, and black shoes.  Underneath the zebra-print fashion, Zizi wears a sewn-on yellow bra and panty.

An original Mattel Hot Looks Zizi, source: Black Doll: An Identification and Value Guide, p. 204,  M. Perkins (Collector Books, updated values 1995)

Preloved Hot Looks Zizi
My daughter was about 13 or 14 at the time Zizi arrived and exclaimed, "I wanted that doll (news to me), let me have it."  As an admitted, self-absorbed collector, I told her I would find a Zizi for her.  A year or two later another Zizi surfaced that was mint in box. 

Mint-in-box Hot Looks Zizi
Instead of doing the right thing and giving the boxed doll to my daughter, the still self-absorbed collector gave her the preloved doll!  Yes, I did that.  At 15 or so and very vocal about her opinions, Dear Daughter accepted the doll after chiding, "Oh, so you're giving me the played-with one, huh?"

Zizi, the preloved doll, and I reunited a couple of years ago when I inherited my daughter's childhood dolls.  My immediate plan had been to find clothing and shoes for Zizi because the boxed doll is still boxed. Using a colorful scarf, copper bracelet, and copper wire, I finally accomplished this goal without sewing a stitch.

Preloved Zizi wears a scarf dress and headdress, copper belt, and copper bracelet

 Looking back, if I had it to do all over again, I probably would not have purchased the preloved Zizi or the boxed version.  This type of doll has long been eliminated from the types I currently desire.  Still looking back, had the purchases occurred, I am not sure if I would have given my daughter the played-with doll at the time she asked for it, or if the self-absorbed collector would have held on to it until upgrading to the boxed version.  The latter is the most likely scenario.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Twists and 'Fro

My initial plan was to use the black twists wig purchased from Limbe Dolls on GI Joe Heavy Duty, a.k.a. Lamont A. Morris (inherited from my son, seen on the far left in this image).  However, since I have decided not to redress Lamont in civilian clothing, for now, the twists wig would not be appropriate for his current military status. 

After scanning the doll room for a playscale male wig candidate, I spotted Rocawear Darren and tried the twists wig on him.  He and I both love the look.
Rocawear Darren with new black twists wig by Limbe Dolls

In addition to acquiring the twists wig from Limbe Dolls, I received from her a short Afro wig and two pairs of sandals sized to fit Power Team figures.  The sandals also fit GI Joe and Ken, specifically Sunsational Malibu Ken, a.k.a. "Afro" Ken. (A mint version of "Afro" Ken is seen on the right in this image).

Played-with "Afro" Ken

I inherited the above played-with "Afro" Ken from my daughter, who inherited him from my niece. I'm not sure which of the two girls converted his original curly Afro into this wrapped-looking perm. To add to his "to'e up from the flo' up" appearance, poor Ken was also dressed in outdated clothing when I retrieved him from my daughter's remaining box of dolls and incorporated him (as is) into my collection some time ago.  He's been in the doll room ever since, looking quite pitiful. 

"Afro" Ken in Afro wigged and redressed. I also made a bracelet and necklace for him.  The Afro wig and tan sandals are courtesy of Limbe Dolls.

Close-up of "Afro" Ken

Ken looks so much better with his Afro back and new clothes.  The formerly worn off-white V-neck sweater, brown corduroy high-water cuffed pants, and white shoes were not working well for him, at all.

"Afro" Ken and Darren extend their heartfelt thanks to Limbe Dolls for her creativity and so do I!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad Dolls

In honor of Father's Day, today's entry includes dad doll images taken throughout the past few months-to-years.

The original Happy Family by Mattel, 1974, includes father Hal, mother Hattie, and baby Hon.  The Happy Family grandfather and his better half are on the right.

1980 Mattel, Littles Family Dad (Mr. Littles), baby, and Mrs. Littles

Heart Family Dad with Baby Girl, Mattel 1986

The Heart Family Dad (different head sculpt) visits Disneyland with son, Mattel 1989

1992 (Judith Corporation) Father-to-Be with wife, Mommy-to-Be

Family Corners Dad (Kurt) and wife Nichelle, Mattel 1994 (a baby is included in Kurt's box).  Mom and Dad are 6 inches (baby is 3 inches).

The once controversial, Happy Family Alan and son Ryan; Midge and Baby, Mattel 2002

I created the First Dad and his family using Hot Toys' TrueType AA Male (President Obama), Mattel's Barbie Basic Model 10 Collection 01 (First Lady Michelle), and Ty's Lil Ones Marvelous Mariah (Malia) and Sweet Sydney (Sasha).  The first dog, Bo, is also included.

More First Dad Dolls by HotToys on left and by DID Corporation (center and far right)

Do you have any dad dolls (manufactured or created) in your collection?


Friday, June 17, 2011

Doll Hoarding

Screen-captured mound of hoarded dolls and stuffed animals

I have never been able to watch an entire episode of Hoarders.  The mounds of items contained within a household that Hoarders exposes is too unsettling for me.  I wonder how and why people cannot let go... how they can live in the midst of what appears to be contaminated garbage... why they accumulated so much clutter in the first place.

Because it involves dolls, I am going to try to watch the entire 60-minute episode of Hoarders that will air Monday, June 20, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET.

Have you ever been accused of being a doll hoarder?  Well, if your "collection" looks like the woman who will be profiled on Monday's episode of Hoarders, you are.

See the preview here


American Idols...

... as paper dolls by Gail. 

Second and third-season American Idol winners Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Monique Barrino were captured as paper dolls by Gail some time ago.  View the dolls here and here

Thanks again, Bonnie Lewis, for sharing the links, which are located on Gail's Rock Star - Pop Star paper doll page.  Among others,  Kimberly Locke (a 2003 American Idol contestant) and Bow Wow are also included on the Rock Star - Pop Star page.

My 3-dimensional dolls are begging me to resume blogging about them.  I will soon.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catherine "Katy" Ferguson Paper Doll by Gail

Fellow paper doll enthusiast, Bonnie Lewis, shared the link to the Catherine Ferguson paper doll by Gail.  I had overlooked this one at Gail's paper doll website, where I found the Condoleezza Rice paper doll shared in yesterday's blog, because, until now, I did not "know" Ms. Ferguson and her remarkable story.  Now I do and you can, too.

The paper dollHerstory.

Thanks again, Bonnie, for the share!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Condoleeza Rice Paper Doll by Gail

I ran a quick search this morning for "Condoleeza Rice doll" and found a free printable paper doll here.  The paper doll looks like the former Secretary of State and comes with a fashionable wardrobe.  I copied and pasted the paper doll and fashions into a Word document and saved it as a PDF file for future use and to share with a couple of other paper doll enthusiasts.  

Visit Gail's main page to view the categories of other notable figures she has captured in paper doll form. 

It appears that no one has made an actual doll of Ms. Rice.  The action figure  by (which did not come with weapons) could be redressed in more fashionalbe attire (but I am not sure what could be done about those hideous shoes/feet).  Maybe the feet are removable.


Monday, June 13, 2011

I Had No Plans...

... to buy a doll today.  Honestly and truly I didn't.  But I had no choice.

Husband and I went to Walmart to pick up some household things, specifically, replacement fluorescent bulbs for my doll room/office.  I worked in extremely dim light most of the day as a result of the other bulbs' unexpected end of life. 

At Walmart, on the way to the hardware section, we had to pass the toy section.  After slowing my stroll, I said to Husband, "Go ahead and look at model cars while I look at dolls."  Model cars are his passion.  He said, "I sure will." 

On the first doll aisle, I briefly glanced at the Monster High dolls and quickly moved to the next aisle and stopped dead in my tracks.  There she was, the 18-inch Madame Alexander poseable doll from their Friends Boutique collection, dressed in an updated, summer fashion. 

18-inch poseable Madame Alexander Friends Boutique doll

This past winter, I began looking for the original AA Friends Boutique doll after a fellow collector shared images of hers.  Walmart had the blondes and the brunettes but not one African American in stock, not one.  After I read a blog that includes live images of the AA doll, I wanted her even more and continued to check Walmart periodically but without any luck.

After exhaling today, I examined the doll and was about to leave the aisle, with the box cradled in my arms, to head toward the model car section, when I stopped and asked myself,  Do you really need another play doll?  I put the doll back on the shelf after answering myself, NoShe has the same face as Passion and you don't need two dolls with the same face. (Passion is my non-poseable 18-inch Madame Alexander doll from the Friends 4 Life collection.).  Proud that I maintained enough willpower to replace the doll on the shelf and leave without buying it, I attempted once again to head toward the model car section, but first decided to see how many African American Friends Boutique dolls were on the shelf.  Thinking this:  If the quantity is sufficient I can always come back and get one later. 

The back of the box illustrates the poseable dolls from winter:  the AA doll in the lower left-hand corner; a blonde ballerina (above her), a brunnette above the ballerina, and the Asian doll is on the far right.

Of the 19 dolls on the shelf today, the doll I purchased was the only African American doll there!  There were three brunettes, one Asian,  and the remaining 14 had light blonde and honey hair with blue eyes.  Unbelieveable!  I grabbed my doll and then went to the model car section.

What is really going on?  Why in the world would either Madame Alexander ship the dolls in this quantity or why would the store's buyer order them in this quantity?  I should have demanded an answer before I left the store.

Will this doll-stocking disparity ever end? 

Passion's twin is now home where she belongs.  She and their other sister, Gabbi, an earlier 18-inch Madame Alexander doll with a different face mold, happily greeted their new sister, who remains unnamed for now.  I took several photos to illustrate her pose-ability and her union with her sisters.

Seated like a perfect little lady, her legs bend at the knees, and arms at the elbows.

I removed her pants to illustrate the legs.  There aren't any visible joints.  The vinyl is soft with a bendable armature within.  The vinyl flattens when the knees and elbows are bent, which looks a little weird.

We are family... I've got all my sisters with me.

She needs a name... any suggestions? 


Condoleezza Rice Action Figure: An Excerpt from The Doll Blogs...

... When Dolls Speak, I Listen, page 52 (copyright 2010-2011).

At the request of Vanessa of Fashion Dolls at Van's Doll Treasures, I am sharing the image and associated text "written by" the Condoleeza Rice action figure purchased from in 2008.  This was to be a birthday present for my BDFF (my best-doll-friend-forever), Debra.  However, the doll arrived too late.  After arriving, Condi wrote the following entry in my third book, The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I Listen:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Debbie seems to be the type who always plans ahead. I am a celebrity or personality doll/action figure ordered to give Debra for her birthday due to the presumed late arrival of the Lorna Paris cloth doll Debbie had custom made for Debra. Well as misfortune would have it, both of us arrived late and I arrived even later than the Lorna Paris cloth doll. Because of my late arrival, Debbie decided to hold me here in Texas until December at which time I will be sent with Debra’s Christmas package.

She photographed me this morning with the backdrop of an American flag. The picture is most appropriate for me, the 66th United States Secretary of State and first African-American female to hold this prestigious political position during President George W. Bush’s second term after General Colin Powell resigned as the 65th United States Secretary of State. Before becoming Secretary of State, I served as National Security Advisor during President George W. Bush’s first term.

I was made by Vicale Corporation as part of their Hero Action Figures line. I am dressed in navy blue pant suit, powder blue blouse, faux pearl necklace, and molded-on black shoes. Debbie thinks my likeness was adequately captured. She doesn’t like my clunky black shoes, however.

Condoleezza Rice


The Condoleezza Rice action figure is one of a multitude of dolls allowed to "blog" their experiences in my third publication, The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I Listen. The blog entries date from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009.   One of the book's objectives was to encourage my appreciation for existing dolls by interacting with them and documenting the interaction.  Existing dolls, new arrivals, and those that were only here on a short-term basis (like Condi) did give a written account of our interaction.

In The Doll Blogs, each doll-collector exchange was recorded as a journal (blog) entry written in the voice of the doll.  The dolls used me as their facilitator.  During this process, the dolls unveiled their true "character."  Some were more animated than others, while others were more straight forward and to the point as they provided the details of our interaction, or described how and from where they arrived, or how long they have been in the collection.  A few dolls reported the length of time they had gone without attention and some even played antics and poked fun at me. 

Another objective of The Doll Blogs was to decrease doll spending through the enjoyment of existing dolls. The reader (who must possess a vivid imagination and overall love for dolls) will discover how well that worked out.