Sunday, September 30, 2012

Broken President

Because he is did not mind sharing, my TrueType (President Obama) figure shared his suit jacket this past February with So In Style Darren, who can be seen here wearing it in place of the pink jacket that came with the "suit" Darren wore to celebrate Valentine's Day with Trichelle.

SIS Darren redressed in Ken's 1970s Playing it Cool fashion

Darren has since undergone another redress as part of a September SIS Group redressing event that I participated in.  In this event, Darren (as shown above) goes retro in Ken's 1970 Play It Cool fashion #1433. He holds the September 1970 copy of Ebony magazine featuring the Jackson 5 on the cover.  His hair is a removable Afro wig courtesy of Limbe Dolls.

In the meantime (since February), the jacket Darren borrowed from my TrueType figure was left lying on top of a box in the doll room.   Yesterday, I decided to place it back on the President.  In doing so, I twisted one of his arms causing it to break at the joint!  [Insert expletive of your choice here].

TrueType (Obama) with broken arm -- hand was intentionally removed in order to remove this shirt sleeve for the attempted repair.

I tried to re-glue the arm with Super Glue.  It was held together with packaging tape overnight after the glue was applied.  This morning I removed the tape. Unfortunately, the glue did not hold.  I may have to turn this repair over to my husband or just reattach the upper and lower arm pieces with tape (or a Band-Aid) and allow his long-sleeved shirt and jacket to cover it.

Don't you just hate it when stuff like this happens?


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Friday, September 28, 2012

V.I.P. Chyna Is Cute!

This was supposed to be a quick post to share my opinion of China Anne McClain's portrait doll by Mattel:  V.I.P. Chyna Ann Parks, which is based on the character from the Disney show A.N.T. Farm.

I took more pictures than I planned and did a mini comparison which lengthened this post.

Initial photos, in and out of the box (click to enlarge):

V.I.P. Chyna is 10-1/2-inches tall, shorter than Barbie but with larger, high-heel feet.

Height comparison:  Calista 9-1/2 inches; Chyna 10-1/2 inches; Barbie 12 inches with shoes

Barbie's foot is on the left; Chyna's foot is on the right.

I am happy that Chyna's big brown eyes are perfectly painted and shaped. (The rooted eyelashes are a little heavy, but this was probably intentional.)  She has a toothy, wide grin (similar to the real China's, which is part of China's appeal.)

Chyna, nude, with the exception of her necklace; is this a Monster High body?

She has a petite body as shown in the nude image above, which is similar in appearance to nude doll images of Monster High girls I have seen.  I don't own any MH dolls so I cannot confirm that their proportions are the same or similar.  I do wonder if she can wear MH fashions. 

I appreciate the articulation, which is the in the usual head-to-neck, upper arm-to-body, and upper-leg-to-body locations.  In addition, she is articulated underneath her breast area, at the elbows, and knees.  Her wrists are not articulated as I originally thought, but according to the box, she has 40+ poses. 

Jacket has attached "dickey"; leggings are attached to skirt.

The fashionable, trendy, outfit is cute but not as versatile as I thought.  I incorrectly assumed the jacket had a tank or separate top underneath and that the skirt and leggings were two pieces.  The yellow material is attached to the purple jacket and the leggings are sewn to the skirt.

Are these Monster High Hands?

Her hand sculpt is interesting and, like her body, also appears to be the Monster High hands.

Box removal was a snap.  She was connected with elastic bands with the exception of two plastic attachments from her head to the box.  

Overall Assessment:  I-love-her!


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Teaching Dolls and Test

In 2009 I special ordered a SOMSO-Plast baby which is designed for use as a teaching aid usually in a medical setting.  The version I ordered is designed to teach infant care.  It is anatomically correct, has ball joints for each of its extremities, an open anus, synthetic brown eyes, hand-painted hair, is the height and weight of a 6-week-old infant, and described by the German manufacturer as "a perfect combination doll for bathing, dressing practice and nursing exercises."

These  baby models are sold through medical equipment companies here in the US and when not in stock usually take three to six months to receive.  They are each handmade by the German manufacturer upon special order request.  

SOMSO-Plast Babies for teaching infant care

I wanted a certain dark-skinned model that was not in stock with any US medical equipment company I contacted.  With one company whose price was the lowest, I placed a prepaid order and waited patiently 90-some-odd days for the baby to be made and shipped from Germany.  Instead of receiving the dark-skinned version, I received the white model.  I contacted the US company, who placed a second special order for the correct version.  The second baby arrived in the summer of 2010.  As things worked out, I was able to keep both female baby models.

Even though both are females anatomically, I purchased coordinated girl-boy outfits.

Babies dressed in coordinated outfits (aren't they adorable)?
 After the dolls had been here a while, my daughter noticed them in the doll room in a basket with other life-size baby dolls.  Since they were identical except for complexion, she decided we should conduct an updated version of Dr. Kenneth and Mamie Clarks' Dolls Test, which was first conducted with African American children in northern and southern US states during the late-1940s.  

The Clarks initially used four dolls dressed only in a diaper.  The dolls were identical with the exception of their complexion and hair color.  Two were white; two were black.  With a series of requests of the children, the Clarks discovered that, while 66% identified themselves with the black doll and 33% identified with the white doll when requested, "Give me the doll that looks like you," most children chose the white doll and rejected the black doll when requested, "Give me the doll you like to play with the best." 

My grandson was 4 at the time he took the test, which I video taped, but for privacy reasons, have chosen not to share here. 

A transcript of the questions my Grandson answered can be read below.  These were modeled after the Clarks' Dolls Test requests, but spontaneously updated and amended by my daughter as they were asked.  (To all, with the exception of the ones where an answer is provided, Grandson chose the black doll.)

Which doll would you want to play with?

Which one looks nice?

Which one looks bad?

Which one can dance?

Which one has a nice color?  White doll

Which one looks like you?

Which one can sing?

Which one plays basketball?

Which one plays hockey?  White doll

See more educational SOMSO-Plast babies (models) here.
See Dr. Clark's original Dolls Test data here


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Dy Dee Baby Had a Purpose

During the fall of 2011, I was contacted by a woman attempting to sell her mother's several-year doll collection that included an extensive amount of black dolls.  The woman informed me that she had purchased a copy of my second book for her mother in 2008.  I recalled the purchase, because as a long-time doll collector, I knew of her mother and had actually purchased some of my first Crissy dolls from this woman during the 1990s.  The doll collecting world is very small.

The daughter shared a spreadsheet list of her mother's dolls.  Several caught my attention.  I purchase one that I had desired for several years, Kenner's Gabbigale.   Included on the list was a doll described as a 1950s Effanbee Dy-Dee Baby.  I was very interested in that one and asked the seller to provide a picture.  Unfortunately, that doll had been boxed up in preparation for an upcoming live auction that was planned for her mother's dolls.  In the meantime, I scoured my doll reference books to try to locate information on a 1950s black Dy-Dee baby by Effanbee, to no avail.  No one had yet documented one. 

The auction took place almost a year ago, and according to the auctioneer and the daughter, it was not very successful.  The daughter then resorted to selling the remaining dolls on eBay and sent me an email to let me know this.  I watched for her black-doll listings and low and behold the "1950s Dy-Dee Baby" was listed.    Knowing full well that the doll was not from the 1950s after I saw the image, I still wanted it.  I recognized it as being possibly from the 1960s or 1970s.  I emailed the seller about my desire for the doll and she was kind enough to change the listing to a buy it now for me to purchase.

My Dy Dee upon arrival

After the baby arrived, redressed by her former owner in a red and white infant's dress and disposable diaper, I gave her a thorough examination before giving her a good wash.  Upon removing her diaper, I noticed what I thought at first to be A-B-C gum on her left buttock (already-been-chewed).  Closer examination disclosed this to be a rubber stopper that covered a hole.  "Now why does this doll have a hole in her butt?" I wondered.

Online research and additional reference book research, specifically Effanbee a Collector's Encyclopedia 1949-Present by John Axe (Hobby House Press, 1983) confirmed that the doll is from the 1970s and was distributed by Effanbee to teaching institutions as Dy Dee Educational Doll from 1971-1976.

With an image of the black and white versions on page 151 of his book, Axe describes the doll as follows:
Dy Dee Educational Doll from the 1973 Effanbee Doll Corporation catalog.  All-vinyl and fully-jointed with air-tight joints and valves.  Molded hair; sleep eyes with lashes.  This doll was offered from 1971 to 1976 as "the perfect doll for pre-natal education and is being used by child-care centers and the Red Cross all over the world."  The doll could drink from her bottle or be spoon-fed "just like a real baby."
Axe included Effabee catalog listings for several years in his book.  The 1971 catalog includes the following for Dy Dee Educational  Doll:
5700     Dressed in cotton shirt and diaper.  Has bottle, spoon, pacifier and Q-tips.
5700B  Same as the above as a black doll. 

Axe listed the doll's height as 20in (50.8cm).  My doll's actual head-to-toe measurement is 21in (53.3cm).

This doll is discussed online on page 2 of Drink and Wet Babies Part 1 as follows:
The Dy-Dee doll had another use besides that of a child's play doll. The large life-size Dy-Dee was promoted as"the perfect doll for pre-natal education, used by nursing classes, by Red Cross, Boards of Education, and Child Care Organizations the World Over." The1970s all vinyl large doll measures 21in(53.3cm) and is a heavy, sturdily built doll. The well-molded ears have openings into the head. The legs and arms are jointed so as to facilitate realistic movements.
Valve and stopper on buttock

Thus, the hole in the doll's bottom was used in training healthcare personnel in the administration of immunizations or other injections to infants.  The ear canal openings facilitated otoscopic or ear exam practice.

While the black version is just a dark version of the white counterpart, as continues to be the norm in many doll cases where both versions are made, fewer black versions of this doll were made and I am certain that few have survived.  I would love to know how the former owner acquired her doll, but that will probably remain a mystery since she is no longer with us.

Effanbee's Dy Dee Educational Doll redressed now by me

I am happy that I know the doll's given name and her purpose.  I am even happier to have her with me. 


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Monday, September 24, 2012

She is: Aline by Nancy Ann Storybook, 1970s

Aline, a Barbie clone by Nancy Ann Storybook, 1970s

The mystery doll in my blog post from yesterday is, in fact, Aline by Nancy Ann Storybook from the 1970s.

I surfed the Internet last night in an attempt to find an image of a black Barbie clone like this one and found three, links to which were shared as comments to yesterday's post.  Here is one of the three links I shared.

I received the following email this morning from the doll's owner:

Thank you so much! I got a message from a collector on Flickr which led me to check out NASB's Aline doll. I think we have solved the mystery - she is an African American version of Aline. Thanks SO much for your help and support.
Best wishes,
 Thanks everyone for your input... your comments prompted last night's investigative Internet surfing. 


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who Am I? Doll ID Help Solicited

I received an email with images of a doll that I can only identify as a 1960s or possibly 1970s Black Barbie clone.  The email reads as follows:

Hi there! Could you please help me identify this doll? She is the same size as Barbie, she has a swivel head and TNT waist, and her lower back is marked "Hong Kong." She has bangs and a pony tail. If you have any idea what kind of doll she is please let me know. Thanks a million!

As I informed Tonya, because the doll is only marked "Hong Kong," it will be very difficult to connect her to a specific manufacturer and/or identify her by name.  I asked and she granted permission for me to share the images here in hopes that readers can offer more help identifying this vintage Black Barbie look-a-like. 

Please add a comment if you can help Tonya identify this doll.  Thanks in advance


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Disney V.I.P. Chyna Ann Parks Fashion Doll

See (discover) and read more about this doll at the link:

Just discovered that the above link takes you to the buying page for the Chyna doll, which is okay, but  I actually meant to link you to the Dolls for Sale blog that includes free shipping and cash back information.   Here is that link.   


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The Little Black Doll Sheds Light On Ancient Custom

From time to time during my black-doll obsession peaks I will entertain myself with Google searches for my obsession to see what results.  A recent "black doll" search on Google led to a classic short story that features a black doll.  In short, the story is about a little unloved girl whose prized possession is an Ancient Egyptian doll.  I found the story interesting and wanted to share.

Read it here,
The Little Black Doll by Lucy Maud Montgomery

or have it read to you on by clicking the play arrow.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's short story should not be confused with Enid Blyton's children's book, The Little Black Doll, first published in 1937 wherein Sambo, the main character, "wants to be washed white, or pink, by the rain."  Blyton's over-told storyline is not a topic for discussion at this time, as I found Montgomery's story about a dearly loved Ancient Egyptian black doll more palatable.

A variety of subsequent Google searches for "Egyptian black doll," "Ancient Egyptian black doll," and similar keyword searches ensued after reading Montgomery's story.  I desired a visual of a doll from that period. These additional searches resulted in information on dolls and toys for play as well as and items used in Ancient Egyptian rituals. 

While Montgomery's circa 1909-1922 story refers to the little black doll as one that "served to amuse a little girl... in the court of the Pharaohs" four thousand years before the unloved girl took ownership of it, and may have originated as a child's toy, there were other dolls in Ancient Egypt.  According to The British Museum's website, Shabti (Ushabti) dolls "first became part of the Egyptian funerary tradition in the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC)." 

Shabti figures in a basket

Shabti figures represented servants who would care for the Pharaoh in his afterlife.
Photo courtesy of Mharrsch on

Did you know it was customary, according to funerary practice in Ancient Egypt for the wealthy, specifically Pharaohs, to be buried with multiple hand-carved dolls/figures?  It was their belief that these Shabti dolls would serve as their surrogate servants in the afterlife.  This implies that reincarnation existed in the minds of these ancient peoples who must have believed people would maintain their socioeconomic status, either rich or poor, in their "next" life.

Learn more about Ancient Egyptian toys and Shabti dolls at the following links:
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty
Egyptian Ushabti
Shabti Dolls
Shabti Doll Image
The Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt (Ushabtis and Paddle Dolls)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Magnetic Paper Dolls from Dollar General...

...what not to buy.
Magnetic (and I use that term loosely) Fashion Dolls from Dollar General

 During a recent trip to Dollar General (DG), I saw and purchased this pair of "magnetic" fashion dolls.  Their funky fashions and non-traditional hair color appealed to me.  "Magnetic, too?  It should be fun mixing and matching their fashions," I thought.  Since they were only a dollar, I carted them.

Got home, washed my hands to remove environmental elements, put stuff up, grabbed a quick snack, photographed the pair (as shown above), and opened up the redhead's package.

Magnetic?  The fashions would not even stick to the doll with her lying supine.  Ughhh!  Yes, they were only $1 each, but if they're supposed to be magnetic, I expect magnetic.

So, I placed the redhead and her stuff back into the package, taped it closed as neatly as possible, retrieved the yellow Dollar General shopping bag, and placed both dolls in it along with the receipt.  I won't make a special trip back to DG, but I will return this pair the next time I am in the area. 


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Monday, September 17, 2012

All About Me

During the first week of school this year, my 7-year-old niece's class had an All About Me activity.  The children were encouraged to bring a personal belonging to include in their All About Me discussion. Niece decided to take her Maggie Raggies doll, Rebecca because, "It's the first doll Aunt Debbie gave me and because she looks just like me."  This is what she told my sisterShe added that she was going to tell her classmates that her Aunt Debbie makes dolls.  My sister corrected her, "She doesn't make dolls.  She writes books about them." 

The morning of the All About Me activity, my sister asked Niece to rehearse what she was going to say.  Niece informed that she did not need to rehearse because she already knew what she was going to say.  I later learned from Niece that the event went well.  The children "just sat there and listened," she said, as she discussed Rebecca.  She was the only one who brought a doll.  One child brought a soccer trophy, another brought a karate belt.

I purchased Maggie Raggies Rebecca from Tuesday Morning in 2005 when my niece was only a few months old.  I sent Rebecca to my niece later that year as part of her Christmas package.  She has since received countless other dark-skinned dolls from me.  Occasionally at Niece's request, her mother buys other dolls for her as well.  With the exception of one, I have only chosen black dolls for her in an effort to ensure she sees positive images of herself in her playthings. Her statement to her mom, "...because she looks like me," lets me know my goal has been met.

The above image of Maggie Raggies Rebecca by Zapf along with the doll's description and 2008 value are included in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.  I was in the process of writing the book at the time the doll was purchased for Niece.  Rebecca appears a little pale in my picture, actually a lot pale based on how the same doll looks in this online image.  (Now I am wondering if there were two versions of Rebecca, a light brown and a dark brown.)


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Friday, September 14, 2012

City Girls Beginning Collector Fashion Dolls and Fashion Packs

Astor (Color Block, dressed doll); Billy (Taxi, dressed doll); Brook-Lynn (in Cape Town fashion pack), and Houston (in Networking fashion pack) -- All images are courtesy of Jason Reilley, Tonner Toys

With a scheduled November 2012 arrival these four, fun, fashionable, articulated 16-inch dolls are the City Girls™.  Their motto is "If you can DREAM it, you can BE it!™"  Each doll has her own inspiring story line (click the images to enlarge).  Designed for the budding collector, seasoned collectors will enjoy incorporating these young ladies and their fashionable clothing into their collections. 

City Girls Basic Houston
City Girls Basic Brook-Lynn
 Two of the four girls will be sold as Basic Dolls:  22-year-old, personal shopper Houston and 23-year-old, event-planner Brook-Lynn.  Both will arrive dressed in robe, lace camisole, lace "boy shorts," and high-heel strappy shoes.  The basic girls are $39.99 each.

Astor, Dressed Doll
Billy, Dressed Doll

The fashionably dressed dolls shown above are:  Astor, a 23-year-old fitness model who wears a color blocked fashion consisting of top, skirt, leopard-print purse, three bangle bracelets, and high-heel strappy shoes.   Dark-haired Billy, a 24-year-old bakery owner, wears bolero jacket, belted tunic dress, leggings, high-heel bootlets, and shoulder bag.  The dressed dolls, excluding the deluxe doll, are $49.99 each.

Deluxe Dressed Astor in Golden Swirl Gown is priced $69.99. 

Fashion Packs:

The separately sold fashion packs (shown above in the last three images) Capetown, Gray Haze, and Networking are $25 each.  Dolls and separately sold fashion packs will be sold through and with again, a proposed availability of November 2012.   


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Four of Nine American Teens

In April of this year, under the enabling influence of a Male Doll World post, I purchased three American Teen dolls.  Until reading that post, I had not heard of this series of dolls which have a box date of 2001.

These 10-inch, all-vinyl dolls have a stocky build, including the girls.  Their arms are jointed above the elbow, but are only rotational in movement.  They do not bend.   Their upper thighs have the same rotational joint feature.  All are uniquely dressed in hip-hop style clothing and hairstyles.  Each display box has a backdrop of the inner city.

My initial three:

American Teen Benjamin wears an American Teen black and red fleece hoodie, camouflage pants, black boots; has cornrowed hairstyle (see profile closeup).  Benjamin is from Washington, D.C., wants to start an Internet business but will first get an MBA to ensure his success.

Benjamin's cornrows

Anthoney and Benjamin share the same head sculpt; their different hairstyles and facial screenings create different looks.  Anthoney has locs, representing his Jamaican heritage.  He wears a sports jersey over a blue tee, short denim pants, blue and white sneakers.  Chain necklaces and bracelet and a blue headband complete his sports enthusiast look. Anthoney plans to travel after finishing high school.  He likes to surf and scuba dive.  Wants to learn bar tending.
See Anthoney's loc's better by clicking the image to enlarge.

Dominique is dressed stylishly in multicolored scarf, purple turtleneck, purple pleather jacket, acid-washed denim jeans, white sneakers, and gold hoop earrings.  Dominique has black rooted hair and brown eyes.  She wears a ring on her right middle finger.
Dominique is from East St. Louis, aspires to become a teacher, and is preparing to enter Dartmouth College on a scholarship.    After obtaining her degree, she plans to return to East St. Louis to give back to the community she has left for higher education. 

Benjamin and Anthoney were offered on eBay for $19.99.  Dominique was purchased from for $15.99.  Shipping, of course, was extra.  I believe Dominique's shipping was around $6 while the eBay seller charged $13 and change for the two boys.

My fourth American Teen, Tara, took a little longer to arrive.  This was due to sellers wanting more for her, for whatever reason.  Prices varied from $49.99 up.  I refused to pay as much.  Two weeks ago, a member of my doll group, Janice Larsen-Tyre, sent me a link to an offering for Tara for $29.99.  I slept on her for a week, but after seeing a recent eBay listing with a beginning bid of $99 for Tara, I scooted on over to and ordered the $29.99 doll.  My AA set of four of nine American Teen dolls is now complete.

Tara and Dominique share the same head sculpt, but Tara's multiple microbraids give her a different look.  She wears a white halter top with American flag logo; white-washed, bell-bottom denim jeans with rips at knees; white vinyl sneakers.  Silver chain bracelet, silver hoop earrings, and a red and white bandana headband are her accessories.  Tara has a tattoo around her navel. 

A school girl from Chicago, Tara is a songwriter and loves to sing.  Tara's SIL, Rochelle has a nail shop where Tara might work "next" summer.  Tara aspires to be a star.

While not visible in all full-length photos, each doll's box bears his/her name in the lower right-hand corner.  With the exception of Anthoney, parents are mentioned in each teen's profile.  Benjamin's dad is a university professor; his mom is heavily into religion.  Dominique is from a single-parent home.  Tara's parents both work for different departments of the City of Chicago.

This series includes:  Monica, Daniel, Travis, Zoe, and Alex, pictured above with the four AA dolls.  The other dolls' bios are unknown to me but Monica looks like a fashionista; Daniel appears to be from a rural area; Travis is a city boy; Zoe is obviously into goth; and Alex seems to have a heavy metal influence.

MDW's post shared the history of this doll series which is written on the back of each box.  For the sake of completeness, I will include it here as well.  You can stop reading if you read this on MDW's post.

According to the back of each doll's box:
The first American Teen was sketched by Dieter Mueller in a Hong Kong hotel room late in the evening of November 22, 2000.  A widely traveled artist and designer, Dieter's eye for detail had turned increasingly to American teenagers.  He found himself fascinated by their hugely divergent, constantly morphing styles.  He found these to be uniquely American.

The American Teen Collectors' Series represents teens at a specific moment in their lives, when identities and self expression are being explored.

Individuality.  Independence.  Regional Pursuits.  Personality.  Culture.  History.  Life.  Ultimately, all of these are reflected -- in the hair, the tattoos, the clothing, the jewelry, the fingernails -- of American Teens.  The American Teen Collectors' Series celebrates cultural diversity, individual expression, and the acceptance of differences among people.  Each Teen is marked by release date.  It is our hope that you keep our teen for a rainy day in 2025, as a reminder, of you, or of someone you know.  Did I really look like that???

Just for fun.


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Monday, September 10, 2012

Search This Blog

If you already have a search box on your blog, thank you!  I find this feature very helpful in locating past blog posts on my own blog and on the blogs of fellow bloggers when looking to refresh my memory or just to re-read a post.  Without the search box feature, which allows readers to enter a few key words to quickly locate previous posts, it is difficult to reference older posts.

If you would like to add a search box to your blog, follow these simple instructions using the new Blogger interface/Dashboard:

  • On the Blogger Dashboard, locate and click the "More Options" square (between the "Go to post list" icon and the "View blog" link.
  • In the "More Options" drop-down menu, click "Layout."
  • Click one of the available "Add a Gadget" links -- the closest one available to the top of your layout is preferred.
  • From the Gadget List menu, scroll down, find, and click the "Search Box" feature.  This will place the search box in the previously empty "Add a Gadget" area you selected.   Click Save.

After the search box has been placed, it can be left in the current location or moved higher up on your blog if there is a space available.  The higher it is placed, the easier it will be recognized by readers. To move it, just drag and drop it to the desired location by right clicking with your mouse and dragging it to the desired location before releasing the right click.

Finally, click the "Save the Arrangement" box at the top-right of the Blogger interface screen to save all changes.

Happy blogging!


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Case of Mistaken Doll Identity

I recently saw an image on Facebook of another collector's On Location Milan Barbie by Mattel and initially thought the doll was Kiyoni Brown from the Mattel Flavas series.

I examined the two dolls and decided to take and share photos of their head sculpts, which are similar, but not the same.

On Location Milan Barbie (left); Kiyoni Brown (right) have same facial structure but are clearly two different dolls.  Milan has an open mouth with teeth; Kiyoni's mouth is closed.  Kiyoni's head is also larger, but she is not as tall as Milan.

On Location Milan, full view

On Location Milan Barbie, box date 2006, designed by Robert Best has the ModelMuse body.  She has rooted black hair with side part.  Eyes are hazel with heavy blue eye shadow.  Mouth is smiling with painted teeth.  Worn clothing/accessories are silver lamé bathing suit, crystal drop earrings, black sunglasses, white high-heel shoes.  There are two extra fashions.  The first is a tan belted skirt, gold lamé blouse, black sweater, black high-heel shoes, and tan faux leather shoulder bag.  The second fashion is a white silk pant suit, black blouse with crystal button closure, black pumps, and black clutch with crystal closure accent.

Flavas Kiyoni Brown, full view
Representing the hip-hop culture, Kiyoni brown stands a full inch shorter than Milan Barbie at 10-1/2 inches and has articulated elbows. She has painted green eyes with tan and brown eye shadow.  Lip color is pale tan lined in brown.   Rooted hair is dark brown with golden blonde streaks on top.  She wears a red two-piece jogging suit with white mesh crop top, silver necklace with heart-shaped pendant, and white sneakers. Kiyoni's extra fashion consists of denim short-shorts, short-sleeved denim shirt, white footies with blue pom-poms, white terrycloth visor, black high-top sneakers with heart graphic on sides, and black purse with heart graphic.  Accessories include a boom box, temporary decals, and pull out "street" stand for Kiyoni and her Flavas crew to "have a spot to hang out."  The back and sides of box are graffitied.  Kiyoni's box date is 2003.

Was Best inspired by Kiyoni when Milan was designed or did I just mistake a redressed head and torso image of one doll for the other?


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Announcement from Doll Artist Patricia Coleman-Cobb

With Patricia Coleman-Cobb's permission, I am sharing the following announcement received this past weekend from the artist by email and in a Facebook status update.

Photograph courtesy of Patricia Coleman-Cobb

Hello, Friends!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted news. I took the summer off from sculpting and stitching to laser-focus on completing my second book “Confessions from the Cloth.” This project is now finished. I have laid down my pen and we are going to print!

"Confessions" is a 173-page collection featuring my dolls in photos, matched on the page with story-poems inspired by these character...
s. These imagined stories chronicle multi-layered reflections on life and relationships—of seduction and delight; of betrayal, or loss, and regret. I am sharing these reflections with you in “soft-spoken” writings that are at times humorous, teasing, or sassy, and at other times provocative, sensual and romantic.

I am proud to announce the arrival of "Confessions of the Cloth," which can be ordered safely and securely on PayPal for $24.95 (plus $5 shipping). My PayPal E-mail address is: It will be shipped fresh off the presses on or before September 18, 2012. Thank you so much for your appreciating my art,

Love, Pat!
Having already placed my order, I look forward to reading Confessions From the Cloth.  Not familiar with her doll works of art?  Visit her website here and browse her galleries. 


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From the Archives: Urban Repaints

This was originally published on January 10, 2010.  For the benefit of new subscribers who may have missed the original post, I have decided to re-post this interview with Twoonia Sykes whose has now resumed her doll repainting skills.  With the exception of a few minor edits and contact updates, the interview reads as it originally read in January 2010.

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 4 openings for trolling and repaint services. I can be reached at, directly through the contact page of my website, and on facebook.

Update:  I have now formed a new doll forum, Black Dolls of All Kinds.  This board is for collectors of all types of dolls, but the focus is African American or Black dolls of all types. Posting pictures and sharing your collection is heavily encouraged. All are welcome. 


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 was one of Twoonia's repainting, sculpting, and trolling projects at the time this interview was originally published in January 2010, 


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