Monday, October 31, 2011

Daughter's Perfume Giving Ken Gets Redressed, Too

Decent-looking Ken Fashionistas fashions and Perfume Giving Ken from 1988

I had no immediate plans to bring Daughter's Perfume Giving Ken (PGK) up to date until yesterday's trip to Wal-Mart.  I was pleased to find and purchase the above two Ken Fashionistas fashions that actually look decent enough for a male doll to wear.  The fashions are from assortment N8329, #'s W3162 (blue sweater) and W3160 (striped tank and straw hat).

Since fall is here, I decided to redress PGK in the blue sweater and gray corduroy pants. The other outfit will be saved for warmer weather; or for another male doll that might surface in need of something to wear, who does not mind dressing out of season.

PGK holds the gray corduroys

After opening the fashion, I was in for a surprise.   Made for the slim, Fashionistas male body, the only thing muscular PGK can do with the pants of this fashion is hold them!  Maybe Barbie Basics Model 17 can wear these or maybe... just maybe, Mattel will add a dark skinned male to the Fashionistas line.  With this discovery, it retreated to the on-hand male doll/clothing stash.

After playing Musical Chairs with several fashions and shoes worn by other male dolls, I found a combination that fits PGK that did not leave anyone else fashion-less or shoe-less.

From left to right:  PGK wears another Ken fashion formerly worn by Terrence Howard who now wears Rocawear Darren's shirt and a pair of Old Joe Infirmary jeans.  Terrence wears a World Peacekeeper's (WPK) shoes.  WPK wears sneakers purchased from Old Joe Infirmary.  Ultra Corps guy wears Rocawear Darren's shoes.  Rocawear Darren wears Ken gray and turquoise jogging suit.

Finally, Daughter's PGK is back with the ladies that have kept him company for some 23 years, looking oh so fine.  In unison the ladies said, "We agree!"


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Daughter's Dolls Redressed and Heads Done, Finally!

In a February 2010 post, I shared an image of my daughter's remaining childhood Barbies. My plans then were to bring the dolls up to date with current hairstyles and fashions.  Last weekend I finally began the process by first restyling the dolls' hair.

From left to right the dolls are Teresa, Steffie #1, twin Christies, and Steffie #2.  

As illustrated in the image above, I nervously gave Teresa a buzz cut in preparation for the new hairstyle she would receive. (I have never intentionally cut a doll's hair in this fashion... how scary!)

With plans for four different hairstyles, I used pipe cleaners for Steffie #1 and the two Christies, and the tiniest of rod rollers for Steffie #2.

Steffie #1 was designated for a larger-than-life Afro because I refused to cut any of her long black hair, including her bangs. All of her hair was rolled from ends to roots, and I used a modification of Kristl's Rotini or Hair Halo tutorial to achieve the desired effect.

Christie #1's hair was pulled back into a ponytail before rolling the ends. The ends of Christie #2's original layered cut were rolled so that only the ends would be curly.  I tied a scarf around the top of head to hold the unrolled portion down.

I braided a section across the front of Steffie #2's head to frame her face and rolled the ends with rod rollers.

For a few seconds, each rolled head was dipped into a cup containing boiled water followed by a second dip into a prepared cup of ice cold water. All were allowed to dry overnight before the final styling took place.

While I waited for the heads to dry, I toned down Steffie #2's eyeshadow using a tan Sharpie marker. I worked around her existing upper eyelashes with the marker to only cover the eyeshadow.  Next, I applied Mendocino Red acrylic paint over her original bright orange lip color. I failed to update Christie #1's eyeshadow, which still screams 1980s, but she'll be okay.

I retrieved all pieces of a 2007 Barbie Fashion Fever ensemble and located the Bollywood outfit made for Mixis dolls, ordered months ago.  (This fashion is still on sale for $10.99, a great price for such a well-made doll fashion.)

After all dipped heads dried overnight, I removed the pipe cleaners and rollers and styled each individually.  The dolls were dressed in the most appropriate fashion based on their body type and accessorized with a combination of on-hand earrings and other people-jewelry fashioned into doll jewelery. After Teresa's brown Limbe Dolls braided wig arrived, they were ready for their photo shoot.

Frontal head-to-knee shot

Head-to-knee shot from the back

Teresa loves her Limbe Dolls brown braided wig.  Her Barbie Fashion Fever (FF) ensemble is nicely accessorized with faux diamond stud earrings and matching ring.

Steffie #1 also wears Barbie FF, a pair of my brass-tone arabesque earrings, and a toe ring as an arm bracelet. Sister Girl is rocking that Afro and makes me want to sing the chorus of Curtis Mayfield's "Miss Black America."

 The two Christies, also dressed in FF, wear gold heart-shaped stud and hoop earrings, respectively.  Christie #2 wears Barbie Basics shoes and a pendant necklace made with a gold earring and gold elastic.
Finally, the lovely Steffie #2 wears Mixis Bollywood with faux diamond earrings and ring. Her Barbie Basics black open-toe mules have a pink bow on the vamp that matches the color of her ensemble.

The redressing and hairstyling took several days to complete, but I had lots of fun throughout the entire process.

Dear Daughter has a birthday within the next few days.  The good mother in me briefly contemplated re-gifting her with these dolls.  Because she no longer has any affection whatsoever for dolls, the doll collector in me thinks it is best to just show her the dolls and give her something else for her birthday that she will genuinely appreciate.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

More on Here Comes Niya and Niya Kids

The original 22-inch Here Comes Niya from my personal collection

I have a personal story to tell regarding the Here Comes Niya doll and Niya and Friends. As I have written numerous times, I began collecting dolls in 1991 by pure accident after I ordered a so-called “collectible doll” for my daughter, who was 12, soon to be 13. The doll was to be a gift for Daughter’s upcoming birthday. After the black porcelain doll arrived, I kept it for myself as I had never owned a black doll in my then mid-30-something-year-old life.The mad dash to acquire other black dolls for myself ensued.

In 1991, I had also been a continuous, faithful subscriber to Essence magazine since the 1970s. A 1991 or perhaps 1992 issue of my then favorite women’s magazine contained a colorful cover image of the then hottest female group, En Vogue. This issue also contained an advertisement for the Here Comes Niya doll. A trilingual doll made in the likeness of a real little girl that speaks in the voice of the little girl in English, Spanish, and Swahili was a novel idea, I thought. I had to have it… not for Daughter, but for myself!

I dialed the phone number included in the Essence ad and spoke with Niya’s grandmother and the real Niya herself, who I believe was about 7 years old at the time. I asked Niya if she would hand-sign my doll’s tummy. I imagine she did not understand this unusual request, but she honored it.  (A funny thing has happened throughout the years.  This morning I was prepared to photograph my doll's cloth tummy to illustrate young Niya's signature, but it is no longer there!  There is a small trace of what might be faded ink, but not large enough to have been the entire signature.*)

Back to my story.  In the Summer 2002 issue of Black Doll-Ezine, my Niya is featured along with other dolls manufactured by black owned and operated businesses.   Here Comes Niya appeared at least one additional time in Black Doll-E-Zine in the Dolls in the Spotlight column to inform readers of the widely distributed second version of the doll.

In late-2004/early-2005, I purchased the second version of Here Comes Niya from K-Mart (two, in fact) and kept these in their original boxes until both were eventually sold on the secondary market to fellow collectors. The dolls only have subtle differences.  The first doll's eyes are black; the second doll's are brown.  The second doll's vinyl coloring has more red undertones.  This version also came with the book, Here Comes Niya.  Both came with a hairbrush because as everyone knows, little girls love to comb their dolls' hair. 

In 2006, I was excited to learn about the next generation of Niya when the doll’s creator, Darla Davenport-Powell, became a finalist on ABC’s American Inventor. As I was in the process of writing my second doll reference book, I contacted Davenport-Powell and asked permission to feature the prototypes of Niya and Friends in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.

In Chapter 4 (Modern Manufactured and Collectible Dolls from the 1960s-Present) on pages 170-171, I wrote:

Illustration 342 - HCN Enterprises, Inc. – Niya and Friends (Prototypes)

The Niya and Friends line is an extension of the original, 1990, Here Comes Niya doll by HCN Enterprises (see BD book 2, page 188). The creator of the doll, Ms. Darla Davenport-Powell was a contestant on ABC’s “American Inventor” show, which premiered in March 2006. Her doll invention ranks as one of the show’s top-12 finalists. The revised line, still in production at the time of this writing, now includes 10 new global dolls – Niya and Friends from Africa. According to Ms. Davenport-Powell, “the back story is that Niya is on a world (singing) tour... first stop is the continent of Africa where she meets Ife from Nigeria, Yoliswa from South Africa and Amira from Egypt. They all are 11-inch [27.94cm] collectibles and quite adorable.” Ms. Davenport-Powell explains, “I envision traveling to countries all over the world... sharing stories and delivering dolls to children of whom I look forward to hearing say: ‘She looks like me!’”

Value: N/A

Photograph courtesy of Darla Davenport-Powell
Niya Kids will be a multicultural line of dolls to include a now 11-inch Niya and dolls representing other ethnicities.  Still a vision for Davenport-Powell, but with her perseverance and help from within and outside the doll community, I remain hopeful that the dolls will soon become a reality. I look forward to the day when “the kids” can join my original Here Comes Niya, a baby doll that will forever remain part of my collection.

Don’t forget to download the free Niya Kids paper doll on facebook, “like” the facebook page, and share information about the dolls and the creator’s endeavor to bring them to market with your facebook friends. Encourage your friends to “like” the Niya Kids' facebook page, too. 

Your support is greatly appreciated. 

*My doll's vanished signature had me scratching my head for a while before I published this post.  I still cannot explain why it is no longer there.  My best guess is that during a doll room ceiling leak in an area of the room where Niya was formerly displayed, some of my dolls got wet,  but not enough to damage any of them, thank God!  Perhaps young Niya used a washable marker to sign my doll.  This could explain the mysterious disappearance of the signature that I know was once there.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Celebration of Niya's 20th Anniversary

Original Here Comes Niya dolls... hundreds of them -- Photographs courtesy of Niya A. Cotton and Darla Davenport-Powell

Because the original Here Comes Niya doll turns 20 this year. I was inspired to invite the doll's creator,  Darla Davenport-Powell to be a guest blogger to share the doll's story.  Darla did one better by allowing the person who inspired the doll's creation, her daughter, the real Niya to conduct the guest blogging honors.  

My Double Life—A 20-year journey as the Niya Doll

--Niya A. Cotton 10/27/11

There is a saying that goes: “You only live once.” Well, in my case, I've lived twice. For as long as I can remember, I've had two lives. By day I went to school, dance classes, choir rehearsals and acted in plays. By night, I shrunk several feet, spoke three languages and became a best friend to thousands of young girls all across the world. I became...THE NIYA DOLL!

This 20 year journey of The Niya Doll project has had many ups and many downs. It's not easy walking a path that hasn't been paved. It's not easy getting people to believe in your vision. It's not easy to be a light in total darkness. But has that stopped my mom, Darla Davenport-Powell, the creator of the Niya Doll? NOT A CHANCE! I have never seen someone so adamant and ferociously tenacious about something that they believe in wholeheartedly. My mom created a doll that looked and sounded like me. She couldn't find any toys that represented our experience, so she did what she knew to do...she created one! At one point, I remember that there were hundreds of "me" in our basement!!! My mom has driven this Niya Doll project to schools, churches, conferences, seminars, radio shows and even to the ABC hit television show, American Inventor. She showed America how desperately important it is for our children to be affirmed through products and images that look like themselves. It's my belief that everyone just wants to belong somewhere and if our children don't get a positive push toward their purpose...they will take it upon themselves to find a place to belong.

Some would think that after becoming a finalist on American Inventor, everything would fall into place. Companies and manufacturers would call incessantly to be the first to catapult this dream to the next level. Millions of dollars would be offered because distributors would see how financially beneficial this idea would become...NOPE! It's not easy getting people to believe in your vision. It's not easy to be a light in total darkness. This has been a slow and steady taxiing of yes's and no's but I believe with all my heart that lift off is up ahead!

The Niya project is just getting started! I have a dream that one day young school children will be able to join Niya's paper doll collection (oh yes, there are paper dolls now) and create their own paper doll that looks like them! I have a dream that one day Niya and her amazing friends (oh yes, she has friends now) will take their wonderful world of imagination to the small and eventually BIG screen! I have a dream that the innocence of children all over the world will be restored and celebrated. And my last dream is that all of my mom's dreams will finally come true!

I've lived once, I've lived twice, but this third the charm! Happy Anniversary NIYA!

Visit: and Follow us on Twitter @NiyaKids  and

Thank you, Darla and Niya for sharing the journey of the Niya doll.

Readers:  One of their goals is to get 100,000 people to like their facebook page (  Please join me in "liking" Niya Kids on facebook to help ensure that the next generation of multicultural Niya Kids becomes a "lift-off" reality.   Thank you in advance!


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Doll Saves Family From Fire

Baby Think It Over* Girl and Boy

A doll like the ones pictured above recently saved a family from fire. Read the amazing full story and watch the video here.

*My first generation Baby Think It Over infant simulator computerized dolls were formerly used in schools as teaching aids to allow teens to experience the demands of caring for a newborn baby.  My pair are now retired -- can no longer be programmed to function like a real baby.  Similar dolls are now manufactured under the name RealCare Baby by Realityworks.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

PO Box Surprise from an Angel

Debbie, a gorgeous Chynadoll Creation

Yesterday's visit to the post office to check the contents of my PO box was met with a very pleasant doll surprise from a beautiful angel. 

A few weeks ago, the doll that I discovered in my PO Box yesterday, was sent to the Chynadoll Salon as a gift, but in a wild-haired, loose-jointed, nude state.  Once there, I knew she would receive the necessary pampering to restore her beauty.  I had no idea, however, that she would find her way back to me! 

After the makeover, Chynadoll unveiled before-and-after salon treatment images here.   Honored to have this now gorgeous doll named after me, I shared Chynadoll's link with fellow doll enthusiasts.  Like me, they were amazed at the magic Chynadoll worked.  I commented to these enthusiasts, "I almost want the doll back."  I had no idea I was writing that desire into existence.

Debbie close-up

Thank you Chynadoll for: 1) being such a creative angel; 2) working your makeover magic on the doll that was originally a hopeless basket case;  3) for making her my namesake; and 4) for your generous gesture of returning her to me.

Doll friends are truly the best!


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Style Your Own Barbie - Updated!

"Customized" Barbie styled just for fun... I did not order.
Style your own Barbie at using pink box dolls. Non-articulated So In Style dolls are the dark skinned doll choices. Includes doll, three fashions, and a personalized T-shirt for (up to) $39.95. The customized dolls are $5 off this week at (Click the Start Styling link to view choices).

Addendum:  If you sign  up for Mattel Shop's emails, you will receive 10% off your first order.  I also forgot to mention that the Mattel shop is an affiliate.  If you are registered with and link to the Mattel shop before placing your order, you will receive 2% cash back on your purchase.  If not registered with, to do so, click here.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

24-inch AA Sporting Santa from Foleys/Macy's

I just maxed out my 50 free eBay listings for this month with a group of African American/Black Santas, as I am also downsizing my holiday decorations.

This 24-inch Sporting Santa from Foley's (now Macy's) is one of my current eBay listings.

In addition to the free insertion fee, eBay offered up to 12 free photos with each listing. I am not certain if this is a site-wide offering, but if you have something to sell, the free insertions and free images may interest you, too.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Lovely Doll Celebrates Barbie's Vintage Black Friends

The cut of  Mattel's bridal gown that I customized with images of vintage Black friends of Barbie is not designed for a curvaceous doll like Princess of South Africa (POSA). The center pleat does not lie flat as a result of her hip circumference.  I decided to try the gown on another ebony complexioned beauty, Model No. 4.  Her slender, ModelMuse body was certain to work.

This is a body comparison image of the two lovelies.  Note that POSA has painted-on white undies.

The dress is a much better fit on Model No. 4.  It was a stretch... and I mean a stretch getting Model No. 4's little black dress on POSA.  I had to put one arm in at a time, then her head, then stretch it over her body.  As a fashion statement, POSA insisted on wearing the veil and holding the bridal bouquet.  "Who said veils and bouquets are off limits to single women?" the Princess questioned.

After trying on Model 4's black slingbacks, the princess decided the dress needed something to make it "pop."  The zebra pumps from Barbie Basics Collection 001.5, Look No. 2, do just that. 

The ladies took one final picture.  Model 4 loves her new dress.  POSA loves hers too. 


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Barbie Fashionistas Fashions From Target

These Target-exclusive Barbie Fashionistas dresses are $2.79 at Target this week. I purchased them for Daughter's childhood dolls.

I now have five dresses dresses made for the different dolls:  Sassy, Artsy, Sporty, Sweetie, and Cutie.

The dolls are also on sale this week at Target ($8) -- I paid $9.60 for the one I purchased at Big Lots last week that was reduced from their price of $12 for one day only!  Interestingly, Target's price for the dresses was also less than Big Lots's price and Big Lots is supposed to be a discount store!   What's up with that, Big Lots?


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Nikki Fashionista 2012 Seen at Target

Nikki  fashionista  2012 by napudollworld
Nikki fashionista 2012, a photo by napudollworld on Flickr.
I saw Nikki at Target yesterday but was not tempted to purchase because she uses the same face sculpt as Artsy. Little girls may not notice, but most collectors will. Nikki's dress is nice and colorful.

Also seen at Target yesterday were reduced Barbie Fashionistas dresses for $2.79 each. I will share the four I purchased in a separate post.


Lovely Bride Celebrates Barbie's Black Friends

In 2009, Generations of Dreams Barbie entered the market as a tribute to 50 years of  Barbie's existence.  I purchased the deeply discounted black version during's Dream Sale or whatever it was called that year.  Black Barbie's headshot is on the skirt of the dress, in the back.  I longed for a dress that pays homage to the first generation of dark-skinned friends of Barbie.

Tired of waiting for what would never become a manufactured reality, I made one version in July 2009, which Asha writes about in The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak I Listen. Using a simple party dress and scanned images from Live Action Christie's booklet (1970), these were printed on T-shirt transfer paper and ironed onto the skirt of the party dress.  Adding images of Live Action Christie, Talking Brad, Talking Christie, Talking Julia, Twist Julia, and Twist Christie was a decent attempt at achieving the desired effect.  However, the knee-length party style dress was not exactly the dress style I wanted.  Soon after, I purchased a full-length bridal gown for Barbie (Asst. N8328 N7494) with plans to transfer the dolls' images onto it.

Ironing is not one of my favorite things to do.  So I needed an alternate method of applying the dolls' images onto the dress.  Avery's Clear Easy Peel Address Labels #18660 was the chosen alternative.  Finally (some two years later), I printed the images onto a label sheet and applied these to the gown. It did not take long for me to decide which doll would be perfect for the newly fashioned gown.

After scanning the doll room, I chose Princess of South Africa (POSA), who had already been redressed in a Barbie Fashion Avenue outfit some time ago. Her short curly hair and ebony complexion are perfect complements to the white bridal gown with or without the veil and bouquet.

With veil and bouquet

Without veil

Side panel

View from the other side

View from the back

POSA wants to know, "How do I look?"


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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Freebie

US readers, carefully read the most recent post on my Dolls for Sale blog to take advantage of the current free offer. 


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Friday, October 14, 2011

October's Second Doll Purchase

Madame Alexander's Petite Playhouse Kaiya a 5-inch, all-vinyl cutie

I had not made plans to purchase a doll this week... none whatsoever. I am downsizing, attempting to decrease the collection, not add to it. But when a fellow collector shares a link to a charming doll, I often succumb and fall prey to temptation, even when in the midst of downsizing. Yes, it happens, and that is how Kaiya arrived.

In 2002, the year Kaiya entered the market (box/copyright date 2001), I was focused on artist dolls, certainly not on play line dolls.  This is how I overlooked Kaiya's presence 9 years ago.   But she finally made it and I am glad she did.

Ty Li'l Ones Sweet Sydney and Marvelous Mariah are glad Kaiya arrived, too. They are perfect playmates!

There are four other dolls in the Petite Playhouse collection by Madame Alexander:  Wendy, Sarah, Emily, and Caitlin.  Fashions and accessories were sold separately.  Look at this back to school outfit and mini soft furniture set.  What are playhouse dolls without their very own playhouse?   All are too cute, but can be admired from afar by me.

After photographing my second October doll purchase, I entered Kaiya's information on my Excel doll inventory worksheet (click to enlarge):

With the exception of one additional doll that has caught my eye, I have no plans to purchase other dolls between now and October 31st.  My focus remains on downsizing.

Attempting to remain focused and strong,


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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sew Inspired No-Sew Undies

My most recent doll purchase, a pink box Barbie, Artsy Fashionista #3 to be precise, is like most, if not all pink box dolls -- pantiless! Sure Mattel gives an illusion of flesh-tone, molded-on undies with a molded-in-vinyl waistband, leg bands, and Barbie's name and silhouette all over the dolls' panty-area, but these are not panties, Mattel! These are bare bottomed dolls. 

Dolls wearing flared skirts or dresses need their bottoms covered. How much more would nylon panties (or cotton even) increase production costs? And what message are these bottomless, skirted dolls sending to little girls, the target market? Will they think it is acceptable to be pantiless like Barbie?

After freeing Artsy #3 from the box liner and discovering her nude bottom, I created a pair of removable no-sew panties for her.  My method, which also uses lace, was inspired by the very informative Limbe Dolls' St. Regis Lace video tutorial (which requires sewing skills and patience).

Because I am challenged in the area of sewing and the patience to do it, I created removable, no-sew undies for Artsy  using items on hand.  The following images and captions illustrate what I used and what I did to create these.

What I used
Measuring Tape
Two 4-inch long pieces of pink lace (for the panty area)
One 5-inch long piece of pink lace (for the waist band)
Stitch Witchery, an iron-on adhesive*
The tip of a moderately warm iron  (warm enough to melt the Stitch Witchery)

Sticky Back Velcro
Pantiless Doll

Along the length of the non-looped portion of one of the 4-inch long pieces of lace, I placed a 4-inch long piece of Stitch Witchery.  The non-looped edge of the other 4-inch long piece of lace was placed on top of the Stitch Witchery.

Using the tip of a moderately warm iron, I moved the tip along the area of sandwiched pieces of lace and Stitch Witchery to bind these together.

Next, approximately 1/8 inch of both ends of the bound lace strips were folded over.  A 1-inch wide x 1/8-inch long piece of Stitch Witchery was placed underneath each folded end and ironed flat to create hemmed edges.

The remaining 5-inch long piece of lace was used to create the waist.  Looped edge up, it was placed in a T-shaped fashion on one end of the two previously bound lace pieces.   A small piece (approximately 1 inch) of Stitch Witchery was ironed between the T-shaped pieces, attaching the waist to the panty area.

A 1-inch piece of looped sticky back Velcro was placed on the back upper-outer edge of the panty area. Two pieces of hooked sticky back Velcro were placed on each end of the waistband.  With Velcro, the panty is removable.

The above image illustrates how the panty looks from the back.

This is how the panty looks from the front.  

This panty style will work well with A-line dresses and flared skirts.  The Velcro** may create a bulge with tight fitting dresses and pants. 

*Stitch Witchery can be substituted with Liquid Stitch or another fabric glue.  **To prevent the bulge and to create non-removable panties, eliminate the Velcro and stitch the waistband closed in the back with a sewing needle and thread.


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Found at Big Lots Today

Barbie Fashionistas Artsy #3 with dark hair and a Barbie fashion

I was hoping to find different dark skinned World Peacekeepers at a second Big Lots that I checked today during their all-day 20% off store wide sale, mentioned here.  Like the first store I visited earlier this month, this one had only white WPKs in stock.  I wonder if the company has discontinued the dark skinned guys.

The only things doll-wise I found were Fashionista Artsy #3 (to be used as a body donor later) and an inexpensive Barbie fashion to use on one of my daughter's childhood dolls whenever I get around to redressing them. This fashion was the only one that I do not already own that did not have Barbie written on it or Barbie's pink silhouette.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Potrait of Aaron by Philip Heath

Aaron by Philip Heath

Aaron by Philip Heath ranks high among my favorite artist dolls. I fell in love with another collector's Aaron and for years thereafter desired an Aaron of my own. His initial and even secondary market price prevented Aaron's arrival. Eventually I found one at a price I could not refuse. Patience saves.

Aaron is featured in Chapter 5, on page 261 in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.  The vinyl doll was made in 1998 in a limited edition of 500.  Aaron measures 39in/99.06cm.  There are two vinyl versions:  Aaron I and Aaron II.  Their outfits differ.  Other than that, I believe they are one in the same.  My doll is Aaron II.

My Aaron was originally featured here along with other dolls made in Germany and again in a blog post featuring dolls dressed in school attire where he wears clothing and shoes my grandson wore when he was three.

In the image on the left, Aaron wears his original fashion: white T-shirt, long white pants, tan corduroy vest, white baseball cap, with white socks and canvas sneakers.

After learning that my doll did not come with his booklet, Portrait of Aaron by Philip Heath, the owner of the doll that inspired me to purchase mine, photocopied her booklet and mailed it to me.

Doll collectors are such wonderful people.

Sculpted in the likeness of a real child, in Portrait of Aaron, Heath shares in his own words and through illustrations what inspired the doll's initial porcelain sculpt, which was later produced in vinyl by Götz of Germany.  About the real Aaron, Heath wrote:

Aaron has wonderful enthusiasm, a willingness to be captured by fleeting ideas which send him into a riot of activity.  At other times he is quiet, dreamlike -- almost frozen in thought!

Later in the booklet, as the porcelain version neared completion, Heath questioned:
The frightening part! Did I do too much or not enough, will the painting, the eyes, eyelashes and clothing strengthen the work or lead me away from my goals?

Because the booklet contains images of the real Aaron, I can answer Heath's question with a resounding, "No.  You did not do too much.  Aaron, the doll, is perfect!  I love him!" 

Near the end of the booklet, Heath continues:
This process -- from photographs to finished vinyl portrait took one year.  Aaron has grown, as is the way with children, and I have visited and phoned him during this time.  He has been an important part of my thinking and feeling -- and through my work he became part of my life.  I hope that the porcelain, the vinyl sculpture and this book will be acceptable to him in his life, and to his family.

with love

The final page of the photocopied version of Portrait of Aaron reads:
A celebration of ART and caring
made possible through a partnership between Aaron,
Cultural Accents/Detroit, Barat Child and Family Services/Detroit,
Goetz Dolls/U.S.A. and Götz Puppenfabrik GmbH/Deutschland.

Interestingly, years before Aaron was made or before I became aware of the doll, my doll collecting path briefly crossed that of  the owner of Cultural Accents/Detroit. During our doll-related phone conversations, probably three at the most, she confided in me that she knew Philip Heath and that he was one of her favorite doll artists.  I remember her saying, "I love him!"  This woman had also recently become an adoptive mother, of a young male child.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jobs' Apple-inspired Doll Accessory

Barbie Basics Look No. 04, Collection 002

Solely for the shoes, I purchased Barbie Basics Look No. 04 from Collection 002. I wanted the shoes, the gray boots specifically, for Basic Model 17, who can be seen here styling and profiling different looks from this accessory pack. (He's still wearing his gray boots.)

While he has never "used" it, the accessory pack purchased specifically for Model 17 includes what appears to be an Apple-inspired iPhone (seen in the above image next to the black loafers; click to enlarge the picture).  The females here, like me, have not upgraded their cell phones to smartphones. 

Are there dolls in your collection with similar electronic devices, inspired by any one of the many created by the late Steve Jobs (1955-2011)?


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Doll Postcards from Doll Friends

Postcard of a Hilda baby by Kestner of Germany, c. 1914; souvenir postcard from the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, Bellevue, Washington

Postcards capture moments in time -- people, places, things, memories. For some they serve as souvenirs of places visited and enjoyed. Others are used to announce special events.  Some are considered collectible.  I have a small collection of postcards with images of black dolls received from people who knew I would find them delightful.

This past Saturday I was surprised to receive a letter from a doll friend. The letter contained the first postcard shown above. The back of the postcard describes the doll as, "Unusual ethnic version of the bisque Hilda baby created by Kestner of Germany, c. 1914." To preserve the postcard, the doll friend wrote her note to me on sticky note paper and attached it to the back of the postcard.  Thanks again Diana V.  Your postcard inspired this blog.

I gathered several used and unused black-doll postcards and photographed them to share here.

This United States Postal Service postcard from 1997 was received from Debra R. of Illinois.  The back of the postcard reads:

Classic American Dolls "Alabama Baby"/Martha Chase
Ella Smith designed the cloth Alabama Baby doll with molded and painted features.  These dolls were originally named "The Alabama Indestructible Doll" and were made from 1900-1925.  The second doll was created by Martha Chase and is an all-cloth doll made between 1890-1925.
Debra wrote a personal note on the back of the USPS postcard and included the postcard with a doll she returned to me after kindly restringing it.


The next three unused postcards from the Musee de la Poupée, Paris, were gifts from Ruth M. of Colorado.  Ruth purchased these at the UFDC Convention in Anaheim, California this past summer from a doll dealer from France.  The text on the back of each is written in French, as shown below. 

Baigneurs Maréchal et Grassard, France 1947-1960.

Bébé Steiner figure A, taille 9, France, vers 1892.

Bamboula et Bambouli Urika, France, vers 1947-1957


Karen H. of Arizona sent me several of the next postcard sometime during the late 1990s. I believe this was my first black-doll postcard.

The back reads:  "Twin dolls.  Made by Armand Marseille, Germany, after 1900.  Bisque heads with modeled hair."


In 2005, Laurie M. of Texas gave me several of the next postcard, which is from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, MA.

The back reads:  "Ivory Coast woman.  Gift to Caroline Kennedy from President and Madame Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, May 1962."

The final postcard is from the Philadelphia Doll Museum in Philadelphia, PA.  It was sent to me from Lillian B. of New York and contains her handwritten note. 

 The back of the postcard above contains the name, address, phone number, website, hours of operations, admission fee of the Philadelphia Doll Museum in addition to the following information about the dolls:  "Black American Heritage Series Roberta Bell, NAIDA." (The initials should instead be NIADA, which abbreviates National Institute for American Doll Artists).

I would love to add more black-doll postcards to my small collection.  They take up less space than three-dimensional dolls, and are less expensive!  Black-doll postcards, unfortunately, like black dolls, are not as readily available as others.  


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