Friday, January 30, 2015

Once Upon A Time...

... when I had more patience, I'd do things like braid a doll's hair like I did for Joy.

Joy by Sylvia Natterer for Gotz, 1990s, originally had bone straight hair that hung loose.

Joy is an 18-inch, all-vinyl, string-jointed doll with painted eyes by Sylvia Natterer for Gotz from the 1990sMade in Germany, Joy arrived with bone straight, rooted hair with a side wisp of curls for bangs.  I visualized her with multiple microbraids and made that visualization a reality shortly after she arrived during the late 1990s, having been purchased from an out-of-state doll dealer, Lane's Collectibles, I believe.   I did not take before pictures of Joy's hair prior to braiding it several years ago.  In the following photos of a photo from page 390 of Myla Perkins' doll reference (Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II), the black and white image might offer an idea of how Joy's hair was styled originally.

Several years after Joy's arrival, I found another Natterer/for Gotz doll deeply discounted at Tuesday Morning. 

Cathy is another string-jointed, all-vinyl doll with painted eyes by Sylvia Natterer.  She is from 2003 and stands 17-1/2-inches tall.

Cathy and Joy have been display buddies since Cathy's arrival.  I recently reconnected with the two after adding another similar size doll to their display shelf.  It was then that I decided to free them from the shelf temporarily for photographing and sharing here.

Cathy and Joy pose for a photo together.

Both dolls wear their original fashions and shoes.  Prior to returning them to the shelf, I replaced a couple of Joy's beads, which fell to the floor when I retrieved her.   Both girls are now back on display. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Baby Heather by Mattel 1987 Sometimes Had a Mind All Her Own

Baby Heather, an interactive doll by Mattel ©1987

Ninti Bower has left a new comment on your post "GabbigaleMute but Cute":

Have any one heard of the baby heather doll?.. I am looking for some information on this doll ..I recently purchase this doll on eBay, it is an 1987 Mattel interactive doll..I have a beautiful African American Heather doll that works very well.. Thank you...

In response to the the above comment requesting information about Baby Heather by Mattel 1987, I promised to write a blog post about the doll I own.

Photo of Baby Heather's entry in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820-1991 by Myla Perkins

Baby Heather is featured, described, and value assessed on page 201 in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820-1991 by Myla Perkins.  The image above illustrates her full description, which I will not retype here.  The doll was given a 1993 value of $95. 

Full view of my Baby Heather; missing are her bonnet, skirt, socks, and shoes.

I purchased my doll on the secondary market in preloved condition about 15 years ago.  She was fully operational upon arrival but either arrived with one leg broken, which is a common occurrence for these dolls, or the leg broke after arrival.  It has since been repaired using epoxy.  I did not take the time to add the multiple batteries the doll requires to work, eight size C and four AA, which are inserted in the back compartment that has a pink fabric cover, shown next.  

The top-left area with a square cover houses the required four AA batteries.  The on and off switch is to the right of the AA battery housing.  Baby Heather can be turned off with eyes opened or closed.  There are sensors and wires underneath the white plastic disc.  The pink rectangular-shaped button on the right is the "Grow Up" button -- the doll can be programmed to respond to you as a baby or as a 1-year-old.  The Enter and Set buttons are the red and gray buttons on the right.  The time can be set using these.  Their additional functions are explained below.
Not shown, Baby Heather has a sensor on her lower abdomen, underneath her pink fabric body, that activates her functions when the power button is switched on.

In some unknown location, I have a copy of the complete, multiple-page Baby Heather instructions booklet that I purchased on eBay.  I was unable to locate the instruction booklet to share the pertinent information that Ninti Bower might need.   An Internet search found the following details regarding some of the doll’s functions (they are copied below as they were written  by “Russell” in answer to another Baby Heather owner's question regarding the doll’s function:

Russell wrote:

Hi i have a baby heather and she works fine ,
hope this is some help ,
look at the back of heather
you will see two battery compartments the large1.5v box and above that a button stating grow up
press this once [to] stage baby
press again goes to 1 year old
press again goes to final stage two year old

directly below the large battery compartment
two rubber buttons
one grey one red
red means enter the programme mode
the time she first says is the time set to work on
push the grey button to change hour keep doing this till you get the desired hour to match [your] time
press red enter button
[do] this quite quickly or she will say exiting program mode

heather then instructs you
on to morning wake up time
press the grey button to enter wake up time keep doing this untill you get desired wake up time
press red enter button
heather now knows her wake up time

press red button again for night time sleeping mode ,and follow the same steps as above till you want her sleeping time press red enter her sleep time is stored
if you press the red button again she tells you her development status, baby 1year old or two years old…

…other functions
below her AA battery box the small thin batteries there is a switch
to the left it says off eyes closed
when switched to this the doll will switch off with her eyes closed
when switch is in the middle she is on and ready to play
when switched to off eyes open heather is switched off but her eyes remain open
still haven’t understood the clear round button…

under her left arm if she is facing away from you is her ticklish spot she likes that sometimes if she doesn’t she will soon let you know,
below her tummy is another sensor this is her hug sensor so if she asks for a hug gently push her tummy and she will know, heather can hear you and she will look around to hear your voice her eyes move left and right and her head turns as she working out where you are
also peek-a-boo if you’d like to play, gently place your hand over her eyes she will respond,
also horsey if she wants to play gently bounce her up and down and be careful these dolls can suffer from loose or detached legs.
other tips if she doesn’t have an original outfit pick one that won’t restrict head movements, as for feeding or hair brushing I’m working out if she does need original items or another doll item will do
have fun

1-800 Number
Additionally, Baby Heather's body tag provides the following toll-free number to call for problems or questions:  1-800-421-2887.  Whether or not this number remains valid or the folks at Mattel still have access to Baby Heather's instructions is unknown.  It is worth a try to call and ask. 

My Internet "Baby Heather" search located another site where a lengthy Baby Heather discussion has taken place among current and previous owners.  Some referred to the poor doll as being possessed due to their inability to power the doll down.  Many reported the same leg issue my doll has while several others reported their dolls' necks broke. A link to their discussions is included below under Additional Links.

See Baby Heather operate in a Baby Heather commercial here.

Working or not, flaws aside, I think Baby Heather is a cute baby doll.  It's unfortunate that Mattel did not work out the malfunctions preproduction.

Additional Links
Toys of the Eighties - Baby Heather 
Baby Heather - Do You Remember?


Monday, January 26, 2015

And Your Neck is Cone-Shaped Now, Why?

Nearly two years ago, Fashion Madness Rock Star Kenya, upgraded or downgraded to Close-up Adele's body.  Adele, having arrived with black stains on her arms, swapped bodies with Rock Star Kenya.  That process was written about here and here.

The plastic in the neck area of Kenya's new-to-her body was fragile and had already cracked.  Last week additional pieces cracked away after Kenya suffered a fall, making the neck even shorter than it was initially.  For Kenya's head to remain on the body, the neck needed lengthening.

Kenya's head rests on the new cone-shaped neck, which, in this image, needs to be painted to match the body color.
I used air-dry clay to lengthen the neck.  After drying, the area was painted with nutmeg brown acrylic paint that matches the body color. 

Kenya's head now rests nicely on the cone-shaped neck.  Since I did not glue the head in place, it can be turned left or right, if desired.

Kenya poses with confidence, knowing her head will remain in place on her new, extended neck that has been painted to match her body.

Wooden Pull-String Santa with missing foot

While molding with clay, I also repaired the foot of a wooden pull-string Santa that I usually hang on an interior doorknob at Christmas time.  This year, I hung him on an exterior doorknob.  After a few days, I discovered Santa lying on the porch missing one foot.  Whether he fell off or someone removed him and dropped him onto the porch remains a mystery.  I can't imagine that happening, but you just never know.

The new foot I sculpted for Santa is shown above; it has been partially painted in the second image.  I clipped a clothespin to the end while painting the exposed area.  The foot was left clamped in the clothespin while it dried.  (The cracks are there because I did not take time to smooth the clay while sculpting.)

Santa now has a new foot and is ready to hang on an interior door this December or whenever I choose to incorporate him into the Christmas decorations.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ken Clone -- Who Am I?

Unknown Ken clone

The clone collector in me wanted this guy when I saw him in a buy it now on eBay.  I kept hope alive that he would not be a plastic dollar store-type doll.  I am relieved because he is not.

Height:  12 inches tall
Hair:  Black molded, side swept 
Eyes:  Unevenly painted brown
Mouth:  Open smile with painted area for teeth  
Material/Pose-ability:  The head is firm vinyl.  The arms and body are rigid plastic.  The legs are a soft, rubbery vinyl with knees that do not click.  He has an articulated waist and is jointed in the standard areas:  neck, arms at shoulders, upper legs at hip.

He has molded-on briefs.

I attempted to capture images of  his barely visible neck marking, which appears to read Fair---ator ? (maybe):

Here's a close-up of his face:
Unknown Ken clone, close-up view

Another close-up:
Handsome guy, right?

Can you help me with his identity, please?  Thanks!

Update: I was informed that this guy is the AA male in the 3-figure set by Jakks Pacific, originally dressed as a scuba diver in their 1999 Camp Set.


Friday, January 23, 2015

18-inch My Twinn Friend

18-inch My Twinn Friend upon arrival

Near the end of December 2014, the My Twinn folks offered 18-inch My Twinn Friend dolls for $39.99.  After browsing available dolls by selecting desired complexion, hair color, and eye color options, I found the perfect doll to own in memory of my long-time friend who passed away December 6th. 

Prior to placing the order, I was concerned the head and body would not be proportionate.  My worries were valid.  They are slightly off, but not as far off as I had imagined. 

I took several photos of Little T, the name I have chosen for her.  The photos include her first snapshot (shown above, as she was when she arrived, still in box) and several others of her modeling clothing made for other 18-inch dolls.  The final photo is the vision I had for her when the order was placed.

Using a coupon code at order checkout, I received the free blue and white striped dress shown in this image.

Shoes were not included with the pretty yellow and pink outfit of top and pants that were included.  The word, PEACE and a peace symbol are on front of shirt.

This profile photo shows the length and style of the wig I chose.  Before turning completely white, my friend's hair was jet black and naturally curly.  At its normal length is was almost as long as Little T's.

One of my 18-inch Madame Alexander dolls, Passion, allowed Little T to temporarily borrow her yellow sandals while she borrowed another doll's sneakers.

Little T tried on American Girl Julie's casual outfit of orange embroidery-embellished tunic, purple gaucho pants and brown boots.
The Magic Attic doll starter fashion is a snug fit on her wider body and the shoes are too short.  She looks cute in it, however.

This fashion belongs to another 18-inch Madame Alexander doll (I believe).  Like the next Alexander fashion, it fits her body and feet.

This is the final fashion Little T modeled before wearing the outfit purchased specifically for her.

A school portrait of my friend dressed in a Catholic school uniform at age 6 or 7, inspired the outfit I chose for Little T.  The doll, dressed in her own school uniform, captures that moment in my friend's life to a T.   


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Case of the Missing Dress

Sasha #108 circa 1979-1986, redressed in a yellow floral print dress

I began looking for Sasha's original white dress after her sister arrived in May 2014.  This Sasha arrived in June 2011 wearing the missing dress that I stored after dressing her in the extra yellow floral print dress the seller sent.  I thought the yellow complemented her complexion and red hair. 

After three years, I wanted to redress her in the original dress, but could not remember where I stored it.  I looked high and low, in every nook and cranny of the doll room, in every doll trunk where clothing for dolls her size is stored.  I could not find it until the day of this post (almost a year after the search began) when I decided to store a smaller doll's clothing in an Effanbee doll trunk. 

Effanbee doll trunk designed for 9-inch Patsy dolls, clothing, and accessories

This particular trunk  has always (as far as my memory could stretch) been empty.  As soon as I opened the trunk I shouted (in my head), "There-it-is!"

Sasha's original white dress

I haven't redressed Sasha just yet; but when I am ready to do so, I will know where to locate her white dress.  I have documented here and in the description column for her entry on my Excel spreadsheet where I stored it:  White dress is stored in Effanbee trunk.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and 1/6 Scale x2

Born January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr., Baptist minister, orator, nonviolent activist, champion of the US Civil Rights Movement, winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, is the first African American with a national holiday in his honor.  The floating holiday, celebrated on the third Monday in January, around the time of Dr. King's actual day of birth, was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.  First celebrated in 1986, the holiday was initially met with resistance by some states.  All 50 states celebrated the holiday for the first time in 2000.  

At age 39, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally cut down by an assassin's bullets on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was there to support a sanitation workers' strike.  James Earl Ray received a 99-year prison sentence for King's murder.

Dr. King's likeness has been captured in playscale by DID Corporation with two figures shown below.

DID 1/6 MLK Martin Luther King Jr Expo Limited Box Set retails for around $250.

The second DID MLK figure (shown in the above two images) includes a white podium and other accessories.  It retails for around $150. 

Read more about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here, where there are also videos featuring people who knew him.


One Love Doll and Book

One Love book based on story by Cedelia Marley and One Love Doll by Merry Makers
The One Love doll/book combination was a requested gift from my son that will be incorporated into my Dolls with Books exhibit

Editorial Description from
Adapted from one of Bob Marley's most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics of his music to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better. Adapted by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley's first child, and gorgeously illustrated by Vanessa Newton, this heartwarming picture book offers an upbeat testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.
The 9-inch cloth doll has screen-printed facial features, dark brown yarn hair, and wears a red top with yellow and red striped sleeves, blue denim Capri pants, and painted-on red shoes.  The words One Love are on the front of the top. 

The doll and book have a copyright year of 2011.  Both can be purchased from, Barnes and, and other online retailers. 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Vivica A. Fox Prettie Girls! Collectors Doll

Vivica A. Fox Prettie Girls! Collectors Doll, photograph courtesy of Stacey McBride (OWDP)

On January 15, 2015, One World Doll Project, Inc., unveiled their plan to release their first collectors doll for 2015, the Vivica A. Fox Prettie Girls! Collectors Doll (shown above).  The doll, like all dolls in their line, is designed by Stacey McBride.  Stunningly gorgeous with an almost exact likeness to Ms. Fox is how I "see" the Vivica A. Fox Prettie Girls! Doll prototype.

Excited, I signed up for future updates on the doll here.

The company's full announcement can be read here.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Congratulations to Stacey McBride and Others

So in Style Day to Nite Trichelle and Prettie Girls Cynthia Bailey are 2015 Fashion Doll Awards nominees!

Two dolls by Stacey McBride have been nominated in two separate categories of Doll's 2015 Fashion Doll Awards

The following categories include dolls originally designed by McBride:

Best Playline Fashion Doll
Barbie So In Style Day to Nite Trichelle* (Mattel)

Best Celebrity Fashion Doll
Cynthia Bailey (Prettie Girls)

Voting, which is done in survey style, is now open to the public.  Fashion dolls are not the only nominees.  Best fashion doll bloggers, repaint artists, corporate sellers, and other categories are also included.  See all categories and nominees in print here and take the survey/cast your votes here.

*The So In Style dolls were originally designed by Stacey McBride prior to her departure from Mattel in 2010.  The line continued after her departure.  The nominated S.I.S. doll is one of the last Trichelle offerings in the S.I.S. line, which has now been retired by Mattel.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Nia and 2001 Integrity Toys Multicultural Products

Nia by Integrity Toys 2001, item #11000

Nia is one of Integrity Toys' 2001 playline dolls, my second doll purchase of 2015.  After seeing several versions in the booklet that came with African Dancer Janay, I wanted to add at least one of IT's original playline toddlers to my collection. She arrived in a distressed box where she will remain.  I removed her, still attached to the liner, to photograph.

Nia's black rooted hair with bangs is styled in a side-swept ponytail with multiple braids.

She stands12-inches, has black rooted hair styled in a side-swept ponytail with braided ends, has brown sleep eyes, and the cutest little pug nose.  Integrity gave her gold tone stud earrings, which is not something often seen on playline dolls these days.  Her head, arms, and legs are vinyl.  She has a soft stuffed body.  A blue beaded string hair accessory is attached to the box liner as well as a pink brush.  Nia is dressed in a pale blue floral-print romper with attached white sleeves and eyelet collar.  She wears white vinyl shoes with mock laces.

Including Nias two versions, the back of the box illustrates multicultural 12-inch toddlers.  Kam, Yeelin, Briana, Teresita, Mariana, Chilali, and Aria were available in two versions. Not since Shindana, during late 1960s through early 1980s, had any major toy company provided a large variety of dolls for everyone.  Integrity made strides with their efforts during the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Like African Dancer Janay, Nia came with a folded brochure of the 2001 Integrity Toys dolls.  These included babies, toddlers, an 18-inch doll (Nakia), and fashion dolls Janay and friends (Alysa, Jordan, Jade, and Alejandro).  Scans of the front of the brochure (with all pages folded) and the four unfolded pages are shared below: