Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Difference Between Cloth and Rag Dolls

During the same week of Pat's purchase (seen and described here), I was informed of a doll offering I could not refuse:  Andy and Mandy Organdy, a pair of cloth dolls with molded faces by Deb Canham.  According to page 28 of The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls, the dolls were made in approximately 1998.  Another source indicates 2001 as their year of manufacture.  An image of Karen Rae Mord's pair, and the entry I included in my first book (based on Karen's description of her dolls, including the year she indicated they were made) is shown below:

Andy and Mandy Organdy are the two dolls above on the lower right.

It was not until I sat down to record their purchase information onto my Excel doll inventory worksheet that I realized the dolls had been documented in my first book (published in 2003).  Their image and descriptive information had been shared with me in 2002 for the purpose of including in the book by the collector who owned them.  Some twelve years later, after googling "Andy and Mandy Organdy," in an attempt to find Deb Canham's website to verify my new dolls' height, a link to the book's index resulted where, much to my surprise, their names appeared.  Who knew or even remembered documenting them in book form?

Andy and Mandy Organdy's names are highlighted above in the screen capture of a Google search using  the dolls' names.

My new cloth pair:  Andy and Mandy Organdy

My dolls, shown above, were made by Jane Davies for Deb Canham, who is noted for the bears and other animals she fashions into three-dimensional collectors items. Canham emigrated from England to America and now resides in the States.  Davies, Canham's doll artist-sister, still resides in the United Kingdom.

A fellow collector informed me of the dolls' availability, their price, and additional information Deb Canham shared with her.  The price alone enticed this purchase as I was not at all enamored by the dolls' physical appearance in their online photos.  Seeing them in person has changed my initial impression considerably.  I appreciate them because they are definitely not just white dolls colored brown.   Mandy has half opened eyes, while Andy's eyes are fully open.   Both have broad but not over-exaggerated facial features which make them undeniably African American or Black.  My Excel entry for the pair under the heading "Description" reads as follows:

5-3/4-inch cloth dolls have cloth over molded faces which are hand painted.  Mandy wears a white Boneka dress with embroidered flowers at neckline and green embroidery at hem, pink undergarments, brown leather Mary Jane shoes. She has molded black cornrows styled in two side pigtails with tiny ribbons on each.  Andy has molded black textured hair and wears a yellow button-down shirt with rust and black suspender pants and brown and white leather saddle oxfords.   Each has numbered hang tag.  Mandy's tag indicates she is #27 of 150 (but according to reliable sources only 100 were made); Andy's tag indicates he is #33 of 150 (but only 100 were made).

Front and back images of the dolls' hang tags

Under the heading, "Other," I entered: Dolls were designed by Jane Davies for Deb Canham. Davies is Canham's sister. The dolls were purchased directly from Deb Canham.  The price I paid and their current market value is also included on my spreadsheet. 

Thank you, DS, for informing me about these exquisite cloth-over-molded face little dolls.  While I indicated in my previous post that cloth dolls are a minority in my collection, this still holds true.  However, a better way to phrase this is "rag dolls are and will remain a minority in my collection."  There is a huge difference between rag dolls like Beloved Belindy and cloth dolls that have realistic facial features like those given Andy and Mandy.

Andy and Mandy Organdy  are definitely not just rags! 

 The little Organdys have already settled in with other cloth (felt) dolls that are also not just rags.


Monday, April 28, 2014

My Long Tall Sally

Pat, a cloth doll by Patricia Glasco

Along with porcelain dolls, cloth dolls are a minority in my collection. There are very few cloth dolls that warm my heart enough to allow their entrance. My latest doll acquisition is, however, an exception to my closed door policy to cloth dolls.

Pat was made about 20 years ago. According to her artist, Patricia Glasco, the doll took about 20 hours to complete. Described as a “long tall Sally,” due to her slender, yet mature frame, Pat measures 29 inches in length. She has a beautiful hand-painted face and black curly hair.  She has needle-stitched fingers, some of which are separate, and needle-stitched toes.  Gold tone earrings and several necklaces accent her handmade-to-fit, two-piece multicolored dress. When I saw the group photograph Glasco shared in a Facebook group that included Pat and several other boudoir dolls, my interest was immediately piqued. After viewing the doll’s close-up photograph, I had to know more about her.

The photograph had been “liked” by one of my Facebook friends, which is how it appeared in my Facebook news feed. Not a member of that group at the time, I joined this particular Facebook group, where doll makers share dolls and accessories for sale.  After joining, I was able to in-box the artist who shared additional photographs.

After we communicated back and forth, the details of the sale were finalized. Within a few days, Pat arrived with a letter from the artist and a certificate that certifies “the ‘Patsy’ doll named ‘Pat’ is an original one-of-a-kind doll created, solely, in 1990 by artist, Patricia West Glasco.” The certificate is dated and signed.

During our Facebook in-boxing and later email communication, Glasco shared that she is a retired artist and interestingly does not consider herself a doll artist. She is no longer able to make dolls and is now seeking new loving homes for them. “I want someone to love them as I do,” she wrote. Each of her dolls is a one of a kind that she designed completely without the use of patterns. “Each one has its own personality which is part of my soul,” Glasco wrote.

Before Pat arrived, I inquired if she had already been named. Glasco answered, “I used to try to name my dolls with first names Patsy, such as Patsy Sue, Patsy Jane, etc. but I did not think it was really necessary because people like to name their own sometime. I think what she relays to the owner will be the name she should have as we all look at them in different ways. She confided:  "I was called 'Patsy' when I was a little girl."

Because of her elegance, I thought she looked like a Patricia or Patrice, but I have officially shortened her name to “Pat.”  I love my long tall Sally (a title of a Little Richard song first released in March 1956). She is one elegant, beautiful doll in a class all her own.

With Glasco’s permission, I am sharing the following images of other dolls she has posted for sale that I have seen thus far on Facebook.

 This is the group photograph I saw on Facebook of Pat and the other “Pasty” boudoir dolls. 

This doll with needle-sculpted face has so-much-character!

Full-length view of needle-sculpted doll
Sutie is a smaller “Little Patsy” doll. Her photograph was shared along with photographs of several other smaller dolls.

Here is another “Little Patsy” doll described as measuring 8 or 9 inches. 

If interested in providing a new home for these or other dolls the artist has available, please contact her directly by email: Patricia Glasco. (But remember, the long tall Sally is mine.)


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Late Acknowledgement of Versatile Blogger Award

I want to personally thank D7ana of A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award (VBA).

I received notification of the nomination on April 13, 2014.  While I have personally thanked D7ana in a comment on this blog as well as on hers, I wanted to publicly thank her now.

Rules of the VBA

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. ()
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it. (√)
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)  I am skipping this step for reasons outlined below.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site(Again, I am skipping this step, but a link to the VBA site is in the previous statement.)
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. 
Seven Things About Myself That I Have Not Shared Previously
1.  I love jazz with a strong preference for instrumental smooth jazz.
2.  I listen to jazz when I work and sometimes while I read and sleep.
3.  I have worn glasses since age 10, but did not begin wearing them daily until adulthood. 

4.  I'd rather be home than anyplace else.
5.  Spring is my favorite time of year.
6.  While I do not actively collect cloth dolls, I have made special OOAK cloth dolls for years and given these to special people.  By special order, I sold the first one recently.
7.  I would like to write at least one more book.   

No Nominations
Because I recently nominated some of my favorite blogs after receiving the Liebster Blog Award nomination last month, I will not nominate additional blogs at this time.   However, if you are a follower of this blog or just happen by and would like to draw traffic to your blog, please post the URL and or link to your blog in a comment to this post. 

Thank you again, D7ana.  I appreciate you!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Premier American Girl

In 1992 American Girl published their first magazine of the same name.  Among stories and other features, this issue included the debut of their first Real American Girl paper doll.  

I began collecting Real American Girl paper dolls in December 2009 after learning about them.  My first four were purchased from the same seller:  paper dolls 7, 15, 23, and 28.   I was hooked.  I needed to own all the dark-skinned real girls who had traced their family history as far back as the late-1700s and shared their research with American Girl, who then published their paper dolls with historical and contemporary punch-out fashions based on the girls' research and their current interests.  As seen here, I found Kara Kirby #38 in January 2011.  In February 2011, Brittney Biggett #22 was found.  Others followed until I was missing only one dark-skinned Real American Girl in paper doll form.

Real American Girl paper doll #1, Courtney Price, traced her family history back to 1792.

Courtney Price, the first Real American Girl paper doll, was recently found after a four-year search.  All others were found without the magazine in which they appeared.  Courtney's paper doll remains intact inside the premier issue of American Girl magazine.

A head shot of Courtney and thumbnails of the fashions included with her paper doll are shown above.

At the time of the magazine's publication, the aspiring actress, Courtney Price was 9 years old and lived in Detroit, Michigan.  She was able to trace her roots back to her great-great-great-great-grandmother, who was born in West Africa in 1792.  An outfit that a girl Courtney's age would have worn during the late 1700s is included with the paper doll fashions.  Other outfits include an 1880s dress that her great-grandmother would have worn, a dress representing a style that her grandmother wore as a girl in 1932, a 1954 majorette outfit like the one her mother wore, and a figure skating costume (seen next) that Courtney wore in her figure skating club's 1992 spring show.

Courtney dressed as a cowgirl in her spring 1992 figure skating show.  Her mother and her aunts were majorettes in 1954 and wore outfits like the one next to the figure skating costume.

There is a punch-out paper stock booklet to create which tells the story of the remarkable females in Courtney's family.  Each page includes an image or illustration of the family member the page discusses.  What a novel idea American Girl!

Three pages and the cover of Courtney's seven-page paper doll booklet

On the page that follows Courtney's paper doll and fashions, American Girl urged girls to "Be a Doll." Young readers were instructed to talk to their parents about their family history and gather as much information for as far back in time as they could go.  Then write and tell American Girl about their research and send photocopies of associated photographs. 

Courtney Price and the other young genealogists, who ultimately had paper dolls printed in subsequent American Girl magazines through at least the year 2000, did remarkable research. 

Head shots of Real American Girl paper dolls numbers 1 through 46 are archived here.  This unofficial archive ends with the May/June 2000 issue of American Girl.  It is unknown if additional paper dolls beyond #47 were created.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Grandma Gets Grandpa

Mattel positioned a cardboard image of Happy Family Birthday Grandpa behind Grandma, who remains in her box.

My 2003 (box date) Mattel Happy Family Birthday Grandma had been living single because I have not been able to find the separately sold Grandpa at a price I am willing to pay.

The Candidate

Two years ago, I decided to purchase a rooted hair African American guy (Steven, Ken, whomever I could find on the secondary market at a price I was willing to pay).  The plan was to create a Grandpa for Grandma.  I chose Cali Guy Steven, shown above.  This poor guy has been lying around, literally, in the box since the July 2012 purchase.

Close-up of Cali Guy Steven before his aging process began.

This is the look I was shooting for, even though Cali Guy Steven is a few shades darker. 

 During a recent pending severe storm that had been forecast several days prior, my bottled up anxiety was released as I created Grandpa for Grandma after listening to a mini lecture from my husband on "Where's your faith?  If you are truly faithful, you would never get scared."  He laughs at me when we are in the midst of a tornadic-like storm because I get fully dressed with my shoes on and my purse and car keys nearby.  You'll never see me half-naked on the evening news with hair all over my head, reliving a horrendous experience to a news reporter.  I wouldn't relive an experience to a reporter anyway, but if I did, I'd want to be fully dressed!

Anyway... the photos and associated captions illustrate how I released my anxiety about something that never happened.  We did receive some much needed rain, but nothing more (and oh yes, I was fully dressed while aging Steven).  You just never know.

The mustache was created using several strands of salt and pepper braiding hair made of kanekalon fibers.  I held these together between a paper clip, applied Mod Podge to the very ends, and allowed time for drying.  After drying, the ends were trimmed straight, Mod Podge applied to the back, and then pressed in place underneath Steven's nose. 

I left the ends long prior to trimming the mustache to the desired size, which was a bad move because the thickness of the scissor blades caused some of the mustache to peel off.  I removed it all from his face, trimmed it to size, then reglued the tiny pieces onto his face.  Prior to doing this, I used a gray metallic permanent marker to color Steven's hair, which had been trimmed prior to this.      

A dark brown eyebrow pencil was used to wrinkle Steven's forehead and shade the smile lines in his cheeks.  The wrinkles are temporary and can be wiped off, if desired.  I dressed him in a plaid shirt, denim jeans, and navy blue loafers, which look like something a Grandpa might wear.  The back view of his new gray hair and another close-up view follows.
Thanks to poorly predicted weather, Grandma now has her Grandpa and I didn't have to pay three figures to get him.

Grandma and I like everything about Grandpa except his overbearing scent.  I am not sure if the smell is from the scent Mattel gave him (as indicated on the box:  Doll is scented), or the gray temporary hair color that I tested on his hair before using the metallic marker to color it gray.  I didn't have enough of the temporary hair color and only used a very small amount, so I think the unpleasant scent is from the manufacturer. 


Monday, April 21, 2014

Natural Hair Girls

These lovely ladies could not model the fancy hats featured in my previous post.  They did a photo shoot the next day to show off their natural crowns.  Their hair is in its natural manufactured state, boil permed, or wigged as follows, from left to right:

Fashion Fever Kayla - boil permed
Top Model Nikki
So in Style Grace - boil permed
Top Model Nikki
Barbie Basics Model No. 08, Collection 002 -- wig by Loanne Ostlie (Tabloach Productions)
Prettie Girls Cynthia Bailey 
Janay (a head I purchased on eBay)
Top Model Nikki
Model of the Moment Nichelle


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Church Crowns

Under the brim of a purple hat-shaped hair clip is shown.

In some instances of organized worship females are required to cover their heads as a symbol of modesty.  The only time I cover my head is at nighttime with silk scarves, to protect it from cold or rainy weather, or on "bad hair days," with scarves that I tie on as fashionably as possible.

I do admire those who wear fancy hats whether for modesty or to complement the rest of their attire.  My mother is one of these women, but she does not crown her head with fancy hats  "religiously."   My mother-in-law, on the other hand, did.  Hats, in her mind, completed her look.  When attending church, she did not feel completely dressed without a hat.   I suppose you would have to be from their generation to relate. 

My mother informed me of a new beauty supply store that opened recently.  She and other residents of her senior living complex went to Jenny's on one of their weekly outings.  From her description of its approximate location and massive size, I felt it must be located where an old Target store used to be.  I couldn't imagine a beauty supply store that large so I had to go see it myself.  I took Mr. G. along because we were going somewhere else afterward. 

After locating and grabbing three bottles of a hair lotion that my mother and I both use that we had not been able to find in over two years, Mr. G. and I browsed the store.  I stumbled upon a brown hat-shaped hair clip that I knew would be perfect for a playscale doll.  It was derby style with feathers and other embellishments.  "One of your dolls can wear it,"  Mr. G. said.  The hat hair clip had obviously been left where I found it by a customer who probably walked around with it and later decided against purchasing as there were no others like it in that area.  I knew there had to be more.  We walked up and down several aisles in the hair accessories section before finding the several others that were available.  There were several racks full.  Between the two of us picking and choosing which ones I should buy, I came home with the ones shown below after deciding against the brown one.

Shimmery silver hat-shaped hair clip (in front) , white, purple and black ones (back row) -- adorned with feathers, ribbons, faux gems, or flowers were 99 cents each.

Not that this is something I would ever wear, before removing all clips, I tried the purple one on as seen next:

Purple hair clip.  "Yeah, that's how it's supposed to be worn," Mr. G. said.  (I won't be wearing it, I thought.)
To prepare these for my dolls, I had to first remove the metal clips which had been applied with hot glue.  This was difficult, but finally done.  Some glue residue remains under the brims, but I left it there since it is not visible when the hats are worn.

Chandra, who was already wearing a So In Style Fan Club-exclusive purple, two-piece suit, was my choice for the purple hat, or so I thought.  I discovered that it, like the white one, is too large for playscale dolls.  After Chandra modeled three of the four hats, I was able to adjust the fit of the purple one for her by stuffing the inside with tissue.   Below she models two of the others:

In the above two photos, Chandra models the black hat that has black lace trim, black and white polka dot bow, and black feather.
Next she tries on the shimmery silver hat.  Like the one above, it fits well and matches her silver shoes.

The purple hat, although too big for her head, is the one she settled on. 

Chandra is joined on "her" right by Kara whose white dress and mock black and white belt coordinate well with the black and white polka dot ribbon on the black hat.  Model 4 chose the shimmery silver hat that matches her shoes.  The white hat was temporarily worn by Glam 'N Groom Christie.  "We" (Christie and I) weren't in love with the way the hat looked on her, however.  Mr. G. even said, "That one is just too big.  Maybe one of your other dolls can wear it."

The larger purple and white hats fit 16-inch dolls like Paris Williams and Esme, who were kind enough to model them before returning to their separate display areas crown-free.

Colin Dehan eventually claimed the white hat and looks stunning wearing it.

These three chose to wear the other three hats.  See them better in the next close-up photo.

I thought my fun with dolls and hats had ended until I discovered an additional hat hair clip that was still in the bag with other items I purchased from Jenny's.

This black straw hat has gold-trimmed black satin bow and gold etched netting.

Soon I will redress a playscale female and allow her to crown her head with the extra black hat shown above.  She can decide if wearing it will be for modesty purposes or just to complement her fashion.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Are Our Doll's Killing Us?

My Chatty Cathy Family:  Chatty Cathy (Ashton Drake), Tiny Chatty Baby, Tiny Chatty Brother,Tiny Chatty Baby, 1960s Chatty Cathy, 1960s formerly white-now-dyed-brown Chatty Cathy

After posting the above photograph of most of my Chatty Cathy doll family, leaving them untouched on the shelf where they are permanently displayed, I realized that I forgot to photograph one additional member of the family.

I snapped the above separate photograph of Chatty Baby, then took a height comparison photograph of the doll alongside Tiny Chatty Baby and Chatty Cathy, the tallest of the three (next picture).

Chatty Baby (my almost forgotten Chatty family member) poses for a size comparison photo with one of my Tiny Chatty Baby dolls and Ashton-Drake's reproduction Chatty Cathy.
After touching one of my Tiny Chatty Babies, I noticed her face felt sticky.  Her body and arms, made of  different vinyl materials did not have this sticky film covering it.  I checked the other Chatty family members and found that only the Tiny Chatty Babies were affected.

After using a lens wipe on the above doll's face, I posted the following message in one of my Facebook doll groups:

...How can I remove the tacky/sticky feeling from my Tiny Chatty Baby dolls' faces. I noticed this earlier today when I took their photograph. It only affects the face. I think a chemical Mattel used in the vinyl is breaking down. It feels greasy/sticky. I used a lens cleaner to wipe one doll's face. It reduced it some, but it still feels tacky. I know corn starch has been suggested for white dolls, but I don't think that will work too well with brown dolls. Any suggestions?

One member suggested using a degreaser.  Another member suggested Dawn dishwashing detergent.

I tried Dawn first. Diluted in warm water, it seemed to remove approximately 75% of the stickiness, but I wanted it all gone. 

Tiny Chatties have had undiluted Dawn dishwashing liquid rubbed over all visible vinyl areas of their heads.

Going a step further, I rubbed undiluted Dawn all over the dolls' faces, ears, and napes of necks and allowed it to remain before washing it off the next day.   This worked well, but the face of one doll still felt a bit tacky.  I sprayed some undiluted Totally Awesome all-purpose cleaner and degreaser on that doll's face and washed off the residue.  Now all three have squeaky clean faces... at least for now.

Later in the day, another Facebook member added the following alarming comment:
OH! such a shame! It's called sticky doll disease and caused by a break down in the chemical make up. As far as I know, any cleaning will only be temporary and it will take over again. It usually gives a vinegary smell and eventually looks like it's covered in a fine powder. Make sure any diseased dolls are stored well away from your other dolls. If you have dolls made of the same chemical make up, it will spread!

So I googled "sticky doll disease" and found the following article, a portion of which I have shared here:

Vintage Barbie Dolls Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!
...Researchers in Europe reported this week at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society  that when the plastic used in vintage Barbie® dolls and other dolls made in the 1950s and 1960s disintegrates, that the plastic can emit a chemical that can disrupt hormone development in young children.

What happens is that in certain (not all) formulations of the plastic used to make these old dolls and toys, the plasticizer has separated from the plastic mix and has begun to ooze out of the toy...  These dolls were manufactured with a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride.  Not all plastic dolls and toys from this era suffer from this "doll disease"--in fact, many, like the Barbie pictured at left, show no signs of this disintegration.  The ones that do, however, feel "sticky."

The researchers have just stumbled on this phenomena, which has been familiar to vintage Barbie collectors for years!  So far, only certain #4 and #5 dolls have suffered from this "sticky" disease.  It is not known if eventually all Barbie and similar vinyl dolls from this era will suffer from this problem, and the researchers were silent on this point...

Early 1960s blonde ponytail Barbie has weeping legs

The mention of #4 and #5 Barbie's led me to retrieve my early 1960s Barbie that I already knew suffered from "greasy" legs.  I have repeatedly wiped the substance that oozes from her legs away only to have it return.  This time when I examined her, there was no ooze, but her face and legs still looked shiny.  I decided to remove her clothing, give her an undiluted Dawn rub down, and allow the Dawn to remain on overnight before washing off.  I also hand washed her clothes.

Early 1960s Barbie with Dawn applied all over her body in hopes of eliminating or stalling any further vinyl ooze.

The above mentioned article warned that children should not be allowed to play with dolls with this condition because "the plasticizer can mimic estrogen and disrupt development in the very young."  The writer indicates the type of plastic used on modern Barbies does not contain the chemicals used on dolls from the 1960s.  But my question is:  Are there other chemicals being used in today's dolls that we should be worried about?

I know for certain that this breakdown in materials in not isolated to dolls from the 1950s and 1960s. 
In 2004 when doll manufacturers combined vinyl and silicone in an attempt to create the feeling of human skin for artist baby dolls, they had no idea this material would also decompose resulting in an unsightly lumpy texture.  While not all silicone-vinyl dolls have begun this process of deterioration, I have at least three that developed this unnamed doll disease.  "Now" and "prior" photos of the one most afflicted are shown below:
Be Still My Heart by Sheila Michael made of a silicone-vinyl mix will do more than make a heart standstill with the indentations across her forehead that extend down to her nose.   The doll was made in 2004.  I first noticed the lumpiness about three years ago, which has progressively gotten worse.  The next picture is how she looked before this decomposition began.

Be Still My Heart before the silicone-vinyl deterioration -- she looks totally different now.

I have an additional question:  What are we exposing ourselves to when we surround ourselves with dolls -- both old and new -- for extended periods of time?  Mattel's dolls have been produced offshore since the 1960s and now with most toy manufacturers and doll artists who mass produce dolls using labor from China and other offshore locations, how can we feel confident that chemicals being used in dollmaking are safe for human exposure?  The answer is:  We cannot.    

Please share your thoughts.