Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What if all the action heroes were girls? | Girls Action Figure Montage ...

Ruby Rails by Goldie Blox, a skydive action figure, is my new doll heroine.  I need a Ruby!


Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tatiana Nayara Oliveira A Gift From Me to Me

Tatiana Nayara Oliveira Dollfriend by Via E

When I preordered Tatiana in the spring of this year, I had no idea she would become a Christmas doll. Having arrived a few days prior to Christmas, I waited to open the shipper until Christmas morning.  It was the first "present" I opened.  I was pleasantly pleased as well as surprised.

Tatiana arrived with an unexpected surprise for me, a beading kit to adorn her mounds upon mounds of curly hair, which can best be styled by finger combing.  Details about hair care are included in the first paragraph of the separate doll care sheet that accompanied Tatiana.

Doll care sheet covers hair care and water play.

Because I was among the first 100 people to preorder, my name appears on the side panel of the box. My niece's name is there as well for the doll I purchased for her.  Reghan remains quite excited about that.

Ellen Callen, Tatiana's creator, also numbered and signed the top of Tatiana's box.  (This was another pleasant surprise.)

Doll Details

Tatiana is 19-inches tall, made of heavy vinyl, with articulated elbows and knees. She has hazel eyes that close when she is supine with upper eyelashes, and a smiling mouth with molded teeth.  

As mentioned previously, she has thick, curly rooted hair.  It is best to finger comb Tatiana's hair and detangle, if necessary, from the ends up.  

When she is not being manipulated, I have elected to keep the ends tied together with a satin ribbon or keep the hair under a thick hair net, like this one, to prevent tangles.

Tatiana wears a white blouse with cut-off denim shorts that have a metal snap button closure and multicolored cloth belt.

The denim shorts have two functional front pockets along with the metal snap button closure.

Tatiana's big and second toes are separate to allow wearing thong sandals.  

To prevent them from falling off her feet, Tatiana's sandals also have a clear band in back.  Care should be taken when removing the sandals from her feet to prevent popping the clear band off like I did (because I forgot it was there).  A quick fix was to Velcro it back in place.  

Tatiana also comes with a Qata purse, described in a Via E Facebook status update as "not a traditional purse. Qata is Inca for blanket...that's the closest word in English. It is really a functional woven piece used in many ways in the Inca life of past. A Qata is a blanket, a scarf, a cloth that is tied to carry berries, flowers, or other items gathered. The Qata could be wrapped to form a beach cover, halter top, scarf...or anything else you could imagine. Tatiana wanted to modernize her Qata so she went into her grandmother's sewing kit and added two orange buttons in the shape of flowers and then created six button holes; three on each side so she could attach a strap and then use that strap to make even more use of her Qata."

Tatiana holds her unfolded Qata.  I did not unbutton it for fear that I would not be able to fasten it back correctly.  

Body Construct and Redressing Attempts
Tatiana can stand alone without the assistance of a doll stand.  We know she can wear clothing designed for Alexis, the other Dollfriend by Via E, but we needed to know if she could wear clothing already on hand.  So she undressed to try on three different fashions.

First we tried on an 18-inch My Twinn Friend fashion.  The top and pants are both a little large on Tatiana's more slender frame.  We found the same held true for the next two fashions she tried on.

Tatiana wears an 18-inch Madame Alexander fashion.  The top and shoes fit.

Her slender waist leaves a bit of room in the waist of the pants which will easily fall off.
The tunic and boots of this American Girl fashion also fit Tatiana; however, the waist of the culottes is about an inch and a half too large for her as shown in the next photo.

A quick fix with a jumbo paper clip tapered the waist of the American Girl culottes as shown next.

Before returning her to her box, Tatiana redressed in her original fashion and shoes and protected her hair with the red satin ribbon tied at the ends.

For more information about the Via E Dollfriends, visit their website or Facebook page.  In March of this year, Ellen also introduced readers to Tatiana in a guest post, which can be read here.

Addendum 12/28/2015 11:37 a.m.

I knew I was going to forget something important.  I wanted to include that Tatiana's values are written in her native language, Portuguese, with an English translation for each on the inner lining of her box as illustrated in the above  image.  They are are:

Bondade (Caring)
Chefia (Leadership)
Excelência Excellence)
Alegria (Joy or Fun)
Compaixâo (Compassion)

Check out my eBay listings here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Greeting and Christmas Memories

As the greeting card reads, my wishes for all are "A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

As requested by Betty Ativie, I will now share some of my fond Christmas memories, which are not isolated to childhood events.

One thing I looked forward to each Christmas season as a young girl was receiving the Sears catalog, later referred to as their Wish Book.  In it I would circle the items I desired with hopes of receiving them for Christmas. Usually, everything I asked for was under the tree. To this day, except for God's grace, I don't know how my parents did what they did for all five of us, not only for Christmas but throughout the entire year.

The brown paper sacks of fruit, nuts, and candy that was given out at church, probably to ensure that every child received something for Christmas, is a fond memory.  Christmas programs, either at school or church, whenever I did not have to participate in them, were always pleasant reminders of the true meaning of  Christmas.

When I was very young and believed in Santa, on Christmas Eve I would watch the end of the weather forecast when the meteorologist, Dale Milford (I still remember his name), would show a primitive animation of Santa and his reindeers' path from the North Pole to America.  Dale would give us an estimate of the time Santa would arrive in our area and urged all children to be in bed before such time.  It would always be difficult for me to go to sleep each Christmas Eve.  Anticipating the unwrapped toys I would find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning was a lot for my little brain to handle.

My mother only wrapped clothing and other non-toy items.  She waited until we all went to bed before placing the toys under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve or sometimes early on Christmas morning while we were still asleep.  We'd awake to find our desired toys and have so much fun exploring each item.

During the days and weeks before Christmas, Daddy (at Mama's request) would take us sightseeing at night to view the neighborhood decorations.  Mama never learned to drive, so it was always Daddy at the wheel.  This tradition continued when my children were very young.

When I was older and no longer believed in Santa, but was still a doll and board game* lover, my older brother and I would find my mother's toy-hiding places.  When our parents were not home, we would invade these locations to discover which toys had already been purchased.  One time, after not putting everything back just like she had it, she yelled out, "Who's been in my closet?"  Of course, neither of us confessed.

*Some of the board games received as Christmas presents that I enjoyed as a child were Monopoly, Mousetrap, Password,  and Twister.  Our Ouija Board game gave me a huge startle while playing it once with a neighborhood friend, who promised he was not the force behind the movement of the planchette that was underneath our fingers and "moving on its own!"  Immediately afterward, my mother, who witnessed this, put that game away. 
Skipper from my childhood wears the original red and white sunsuit underneath the blue-trimmed red Cut 'n Button coat (that my sister says belonged to her Skooter).

The year I received Skipper for Christmas is a fond memory that I recorded, in the voice of Cool Tops Skipper, in my book, The Doll Blogs When Dolls Speak, I Listen.  That passage is also included in the blog post, I Have All My Skippers With Me, which can be read (or not) at your leisure.

Watching my mother decorate for Christmas was always enjoyable.  There was only so much that I was allowed to do because the decorations had to be exactly the way she wanted them.  Everything was color coordinated with no more than two colors of lights on the Christmas tree.  Usually only one light color was used.  We always had real Christmas trees.  Artificial trees would not suffice.  In the years we used them, I was allowed to place icicles on the tree.  We used glass ornaments initially but eventually went to yarn-wrapped Styrofoam ornaments and other types.

Some of my dolls that now live at my mother's house are dressed for Christmas in this 2010 photograph.
It has been a while since my mother decorated a full-size Christmas tree, but even as a late-octogenarian, she still enjoys other household Christmas decorating. Everything remains color coordinated.  She now redresses some of my larger dolls for Christmas that have been at her house since 2010. They have become part of her Christmas decor.  (She redresses them in pastel colors after Valentine's Day.)

My mother's Holly Hobbie doll Christmas ornaments are now being used by my sister.

Holly Hobbie ornaments were used by my mother to decorate one of her last full-size Christmas trees. My sister now uses those ornaments on one of her annual Christmas trees that she and my niece decorate together.

My sister's Christmas tree from 2009 was decorated with the Holly Hobbie ornaments originally used by our mother.

As an adult, the tradition continued of my children circling what they wanted in the Sears Wish Book and later in Toys R Us and other toy booklets and ads.  My placing unwrapped toys under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the children had fallen to sleep also continued (electing only to wrap non-toy items, as my mother had done for us).  When they were young, I always delighted in their examination of wrapped boxes during the weeks to days before Christmas.  Their waking up on Christmas morning to discover the contents of the packages and finding their unwrapped toys under the tree was always a delight for me to witness and record by taking pictures as each gift was opened.

2010 Toys R Us Big Book
When my grandsons were younger, they circled their wants in the annual Toys R Us Big Book.  After enjoying their Christmas gifts at home, they always visit us to enjoy more. The tradition of taking photos of them as each gift is unwrapped continues.

A Christmas present from my mother in 1995 reunited me with some of my childhood Barbies and was one of the most memorable Christmas presents I have ever received.

Spending time with family, decorating, gift-giving, carrying out traditions, reuniting with long-lost friends (real and inanimate), and never forgetting the true meaning of Christmas are among my most fond Christmas memories.


Thank you again, Betty, for asking me to share my fondest Christmas memory which took me on an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

I would also like to extend a huge thanks to those who willingly shared their delightful or most vivid childhood Christmas memories for me to publish during the past two weeks.


Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Christmas Memory from Betty

A pile of Christmas gifts

I asked Betty Ativie, the woman who inspired this series of posts on fondest childhood Christmas memories, to share one of her memorable Christmas experiences.

Betty wrote:

I will never forget the Christmas morning  of 1984. My youngest son Chad had been born on June 22 of that same year.  I held my baby in my arms that Christmas morning and watched as my six-year-old son, Matthew opened his gifts. Perhaps it was the joy and excitement on Matthew's face that alerted Chad he was entitled to the same happiness. When Chad climbed down from my arms and realized there were no presents for him, he fell out backwards on the floor. 

Betty's handsome sons, Matthew and Chad
Just because a baby can't talk doesn't mean they can't understand or experience joy. I had made a tragic mistake that morning that a trip to the local toy store the next day would never correct. The memory still haunts me today.

Amazingly Chad has forgiven me and labeled it as a misunderstanding. When he invited me into his home to live in 2014, I was so thankful. This is the same son who at the age of five in May of 1990 told me not to cry when my mother passed away and stated without any doubts, I'd see her again. Praise God for good sons and forgiveness. After all for me Christmas is truly about a Saviour who came to earth, went to the cross in my place and saved me from my sins.  


Betty, you were blessed by your son's willingness to forgive and he was blessed by your willingness to correct an innocent mistake.  Thank you so much for sharing this very touching story and for inspiring this blog series.  


Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Grandmommy's Memorable Christmas

When I was a little girl, about seven my siblings and I walked into the kitchen to see my mom crying and sitting with her head on the table. We were all frightened. Turns out our family was having financial problems that year. My parents were so embarrassed. We all were prepared to have a near empty Christmas and be OK with it.

Christmas morning we awoke to see lots of gifts, clothes, candy and of course a doll for me. We knew most of it was not new. There were tags that said Merry Christmas from the Salvation Army. But for some reason, it felt like the best Christmas ever! I was just so happy we got anything. We never had that problem again, but I never forgot.

Now, I can never pass a Salvation Army kettle/bell ringer without putting some money in it. As a matter of fact,I am now fascinated with them!

This one was in Belize. If you look in the top right side, there is something about duty free. I guess they felt that would make you feel more like giving! LOL!

This was in San Francisco. Check it out! They take credit cards!


Thank you so much, The Grandmommy for taking the time to share this Christmas memory.  Your parents' love was exhibited in their desire to provide a nice Christmas for you and your siblings at all cost.  That's what Christmas is about, everlasting love.

Visit/follow The Grandmommy's blog, Big and Little Creations.

Merry Christmas!

Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Vicky Hoff-Forbes' Fondest Childhood Christmas Memory

Vicky (right) and her cousin, Debbie, with their Patti Playpal-type dolls, 1962

My favorite cousin Debbie was born two days before me and has always been like a sister to me. We have always shared birthdays and continue to do so as we near 60 years old. Well, imagine my excitement as a 6 year old in 1962 when I found out she and her family would be spending Christmas day with us. We had so much fun laughing, playing, and just being silly little girls. She brought her new doll over for me to see and what do you was just like my new doll with one glaring exception. Her doll had long straight hair and mine had short curly hair. Well I was not real happy about that. I was so envious of her doll and wondered why my mom didn't get the long haired doll for me. You see, I liked my doll just fine until I saw my dear cousin's doll. I laugh about it now, but back then I just could not let it go. I sure wish I still had that wonderful 36" Black Patti Playpal type companion doll, but she will forever remain in my memory.


Vicky is the President of Charm City Dolling Club of Maryland.

Thank you so much Vicky for sharing this doll-lightful story.  You and your cousin were both blessed little girls to own any version of a 1960s Black Patti Playpal-type doll.

Merry Christmas!


Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Most Vivid Christmas Memory by Alisa Williams

Red skin potato salad

Christmas, Mom's Red Skin Potato Salad, and the Mumps

One Christmas Day when I was seven I had the worst case of the mumps.  We had an outbreak at St. Margaret's Elementary School.  The family was unable to take our usual trip down South to visit the relatives, and no visitors dared step foot in our house, but it was still a happy day.  My brother and I got lots of gifts, plus Santa bought my special request:  a black bob-cut kiddie wig with accessories!

Anyway, I was sick as a dog with swollen cheeks and jowls.  Every time I looked in the mirror I would cry.

Every holiday my mom would make my favorite, red skin potato salad with cream cheese; and as we all know, when you're down with the mumps, you can't eat much because if your glands secrete, it's painful.  So chicken broth was my diet all week.

Later that day Mom decided to style my new wig and make my face up as a treat.  Trust, I looked like a cross between a hippo in the face and Bozo, but I was content until dinnertime.

My brother used this occasion to tease me because I couldn't eat anything, and Mom prepared a feast! There was turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, ham, cakes, pies, and yes, my favorite potato salad. I begged her, "Please, can I have a li'l taste.   I'm feeling better.  Please, please!"  To shut me up, she gave me a teaspoonful of my fav... and OH MY GOODNESS,  it was sooooooo good!  But of course my glands secreted.  I fell to the floor grabbing my cheeks in agony.  My wig fell off; my brother died laughing, but that potato salad was the best!

Happy Holidays!


I am so sorry you had to experience such a debilitating illness during Christmas, but happy for you that your mother tried her best to make it better for you.

Share Your Story
Readers, remember, you too can share your fondest childhood Christmas story for publishing consideration here between now and Christmas by emailing it to blackdolls @ sbcglobal . net (close in the spaces).  Please also send a few associated images.  I usually publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I will post as many stories as possible that are shared between now and Christmas, even if consecutive-day posts are required.  Thank you all in advance!

Merry Christmas!


Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bonnie Lewis's Fondest Christmas Memories

Bonnie is shown with her mom during the Christmas season, early 1960s.

I guess my best childhood Christmas memories were our Christmas trees. The photo of me and mom must have been in the early '60s. Every year my mother would decorate the fireplace mantel (seen in the above photo) with fruit, nuts and real evergreen garland. We also used real evergreen garland to decorate the steps banister.

I still love decorated Christmas trees. I was able to find photos of trees from my childhood and trees from recent years.

This is the same Christmas tree from the 1960s shown above.

Christmas tree in 1958 with a Santa ornament that was later used by Bonnie's sister as an adult.

First tree in first house in Pennsylvania

The tree on the left was the first Christmas tree in the first house I purchased, 1996. It was already decorated with mouse-themed decorations. My cat, Starr, climbed up the branches of this tree and did knock it over. A few years later I bought a smaller 4-foot tree (no photo available) and used the same ornaments. When I moved to Arizona I gave all those ornaments away (sigh). 

This is my Arizona dragonfly tree decorated with purple ball ornaments. I have added more ornaments to it since, which are mostly Annalee mice ornaments.

Christmas tree in Arizona home decorated with dragonfly ornaments, purple ball ornaments, and Annalee ornaments

Close-up of Arizona tree
Flashback to the '60s:

Aluminum pom-pom tree, like one Bonnie's family owned in the 1960s
Now my mom loved real trees. But for some reason in the mid-1960s I bought one of those (tacky) aluminum pom-pom trees for our family tree. She hated it!!! But she didn't buy another one to replace it.  I don't have a photo of our specific tree that had all green bulbs. The above photo is from the Internet. Today people are selling these vintage aluminum Christmas trees on eBay and Amazon for a lot of money. I remember some of these trees had color wheels to shine different colors on it.

Pinwheel ornament from Bonnie's childhood
Lastly, is a photo of the only ornament from my childhood trees, a pinwheel ornament that I still use. The idea was that it would spin from the heat of those large light bulbs we used. My sister had a lot of our childhood ornaments, but I guess she gave them away when she moved.

Oh, I would have liked to include the only photo of my brother's Lionel train set up. He designed and made all the scenery. At Christmas he and my dad would set it up in the basement. I believe I sent that photo to him a couple of years ago, and no photo on the Internet would do!


Thanks, Bonnie! I love decorated Christmas trees, too. Your story helped me remember that part of my childhood Christmases that I had almost forgotten.

Share Your Story
Readers, remember, you too can share your fondest childhood Christmas story for publishing consideration here between now and Christmas by emailing it to blackdolls @ sbcglobal . net (close in the spaces).  Please also send some associated images.

Merry Christmas!


Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rebecca Johnson's Fondest Childhood Christmas Memory

The Dayton Christmas Trolley, a seasonal tradition begun by City Transit Company in the 1960s and continued by Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority into the 1980s - photo from

One of my favorite Christmas childhood memories, late 1960s, was riding the city holiday bus downtown with my mother and looking at the Christmas window displays at Rike's Dept. Store. Although there were 6 children, my 4 brothers and my sister could not care less. I was the only one interested or excited. You could see the bus from afar and hear the holiday music. "Hurry Mama!  Hurry!" I screamed, smiling from ear to ear. I can hear her now yelling back, "I'm coming Becca, good Lord!" She knew I was excited so she gave me a pass.  

The bus was decorated on the outside with reindeer and inside there was a fake piano, fireplace and Santa... there he was sitting in the back of the bus, greeting everybody and passing out candy canes. As soon as mama dropped the tokens in the slot, I flew to the back. She knew me like a book, but she kept her eye on me. You would have thought he gave me a hundred dollar bill. I didn't dare eat mine, I needed it for proof to show my brothers :-).

Animated Santa's helpers

After we finished doing business downtown, my mama would let me look at the animated display windows.


I can still remember standing in the bitter Ohio cold, nose pressed against the icy glass, literally trying to take in every single detail of every scene. I later found out it was taken and replicated out of a big NY department store after Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I guess if you looked really hard you could see the strings, but I was so intrigued. It was so magical, I could watch the scenes over and over again.  This time my mama, would say, "Come on Becca!  We're going to miss the bus; it's cold out here!"  I would say,  "One more time, Mama, please, just one more time." She would smile and ask, "Girl, what am I going to do with you?" :-) 

Later as a teenager, 15 or 16, I got a job working at this department store, and during Christmas time, the hours were extended. I still indulged my holiday tradition. My father would say, "Becca, you bring yourself straight home when you get off."  I would say, "Okay, Daddy :-) 


Rebecca's story placed me right there on that Christmas bus, witnessing her excitement to get one of Santa's candy canes and take it home to show her siblings what they had missed!  Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your fondest childhood Christmas story.  I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Share Your Story
Readers, remember, you too can share your fondest childhood Christmas story for publishing consideration here between now and Christmas by emailing it to blackdolls @ sbcglobal . net (close in the spaces) along with your associated images.

Merry Christmas!


Check out my eBay listings here.