Monday, March 30, 2015

One of a Kind Photo Face Doll

One of a kind Photo Face Doll

Found on Ruby Lane, this sad-faced photo doll arrived to me earlier this month.  The seller described the doll as a 14-inch photo face doll by Judi Hunziker.  The artist's name rang a bell, but I was focused on the doll and purchased it immediately.

For quite some time I have wanted a doll made on the style of the early 1900s Babyland Rag dolls with realistic lithographed faces and/or a Johanna Art Doll by Barbara Thiery Buysse.  Both usually cost more than I am willing to pay.  A Babyland Rag doll's condition as well as what it might have been exposed to throughout the years would be causes for concern. So I have shied away from those for that reason.  The formerly unnamed doll has served to quench the desire for this doll type.

After the doll's arrival, I asked assistance from fellow collectors to help with a name.  The name chosen was Autumn Grace.  I still wondered what the artist had named her, so I Googled "Judi Hunziker."  The search results jogged my memory of purchasing an Izannah Walker-type black doll from her a few years ago.  In the Google search result were links to the artist's blog and her Etsy shop.  I contacted her through Etsy.

Our conversation:
Hi Judi,

I purchased a photo doll that is attributed to you. I would like more information about the doll. Did you name her? What inspired you to use this particular picture? Is the hair made of human hair? Any additional information would be appreciated. Thanks.
Oh Mercy , I made this doll so long ago. If she has a date it would be written on her backside which might help me find more information in the archives of my blog. I found a picture of a little African-American boy and fell in love with the innocent look so I printed it out on fabric and made this little girl. The hair is curly mohair. I am sorry I don't recall giving a name, sometimes I just leave it up to the buyer. It looks like the previous owner/s have kept her in good condition which is great to see. I hope you enjoy the "Olde Time Dolls©", Judi
Hi Judi!

Oh my goodness, her name was right there under my nose, or or on her back.  You wrote:

by Judi Hunziker

Not knowing her original name, I had named her Autumn Grace.

Thank you for the additional information.

It is indeed wonderful to know "Laura's" story, particularly that the photo used was of a little boy.  Since she looks more like an Autumn Grace than a Laura to me, I have chosen to keep that name.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dasia and Friends Facebook Group

Big Beautiful Dolls Dasia, Dawn, and Dena - photograph courtesy of Zipsy on Flickr

Passionate about the Big Beautiful Doll (BBD) line, a fellow collector has created a Facebook group devoted to the first 12-inch full-figured fashion dolls created by Audrey Bell and Georgette Taylor.   Even though Dasia, Dawn, and Dena were discontinued several years ago, many collectors continue to enjoy them.

Devoted to the BBD line only, I was added to the Facebook group, Dasia and Friends:  OOAK Big Beautiful Dolls and asked to "tell a friend."  The purpose of this blog post is to announce the group to those who might be interested in joining.  In the group, photo sharing and networking with other BBD collectors regarding clothing and shoe sources as well as discussions about the dolls will take place.  If interested, follow the previous link to browse the group and/or to make a request to join!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kayla Brownie Scout

Kayla as a Brownie Scout

In a recent campaign, Kayla by GSUSA/Adora was offered for $49.99, $20 less than retail.  I fell in love with her facial expression some months ago after seeing another version at, which has now sold out.  They appropriately captioned the doll:  A Face to Fall For.  I had to have the offering.    

A portion of Kayla's entry in my Excel doll inventory spreadsheet reads as follows:
Manufacturer/Artist/Year Made Name Description Price

GSUSA 2013 (Adora dolls) Kayla Girl Scout (Brownie) 18-inch vinyl doll with vinyl breast plate, cloth body, wears Girl Scouts U.S.A. Brownie uniform, beanie, brown leggings, and denim lace-up sneakers; has black rooted hair styled in two side ponytails, brown sleep eyes, and an adorable facial expression (slight smile with closed lips). 49.99

Back of box

The back of Kayla's box features other scout dolls by GSUSA/Adora where Kayla is shown as a Camp Fire Girl (Blue Bird).

Related Post:
Girl Scouts Celebrate 100 Years


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Blythe and Blythe and Two Bodies

My first doll purchased in 2015 arrived in this shipping box.

My very first doll purchase for 2015 was a "tan" Blythe doll with Afro hairstyle, sold nude.   She arrived in the the above shipping box with the interesting caption written on the side.

Seller described the doll as "tan skin with big curls naked Blyth" (no "e").

Blythe dolls were first produced in 1972 by Kenner, a company later purchased by Hasbro.  Reportedly due to poor sales, the dolls sold for one year only in the US.  Possibly the first doll with an over-sized head, the large eyes change colors with the long pull string attached to the back of the head.  Unfortunately for me, the vintage dolls did not include dark skinned versions.  In recent years there have been tan and darker lookalikes by other manufacturers, that are just as cute, but none to my knowledge have Blythe's eye-changing feature, which is what intrigues me about the doll.   So imagine my delight and how quickly I placed my order when I discovered the availability of "tan" versions with Afro hairstyle. 

The doll is marked:
©2006 Hasbro

Having been ordered January 2, 2015, from a China-based seller (where these dolls and most others are made) Blythe's arrival was 17 days later, which is one reason this post about my first doll purchase of the year was delayed.

LIV Alexis and Blythe compare complexions, which are very similar, if not identical.

I was pleasantly pleased that her "tan" complexion is darker than I had imagined (see comparison photo with LIV Alexis above). 

After examining Blythe thoroughly, including her eye-changing mechanism, and dressing her in the aqua dress ordered from the same seller (who sent along a pair of pink shoes), I took photos of Blythe's different eye colors:


Pink (really?) 


I might purchase separately sold eye chips in a more natural color to replace the oddly colored eyes, particularly the pink ones.

Next in store for Ms. Blythe was a modeling session in Sparkle Girlz, Only Hearts Club, and 9-inch Calista fashions:
Blythe tried on this Sparkle Girlz fashion and shoes first; both fit.

Above, Blythe wears an Only Hearts Club fashion and generic white sneakers.  OHC shoes are too large for Blythe.
This Sparkle Girlz fashion was not as flattering a fit as the previous one.  The pants are a little large on her thin frame.  She's wearing the pink shoes sent by the seller. 
Blythe preferred this 9-inch Calista fashion over the others, including the aqua dress.  She's paired this ensemble with the generic white sneakers for now because Calista's shoes are also too large for her tiny feet.

Commentary From Family

Husband (upon seeing Blythe for the first time a week or two after her arrival):  Why is that doll's head so big?  (I attempted to explain the novelty of it and the eye mechanism within.)

Daughter, around the same time her dad noticed Blythe: What in the world?  (Again, I attempted to explain, but I don't think either understood.)

I understand, so much so that on the day she arrived, which was the first day of the Chinese New Year, I ordered another Blythe from the same seller who explained that shipping might be delayed due to their holiday.  The second doll has straight hair that I plan to braid similar to what I did several years ago for Natterer's Joy.   Waiting for the second doll to arrive also delayed this post. 

Blythe #2

Because of Blythe's over-sized head, I discovered that a doll stand is a must.  So in mid-February, Blythe #2 arrived with two tan doll stands and two fashions made for Blythe that were ordered with the doll. 
Blythe #2 is supported by a tan Blythe doll stand.  She arrived with a minor issue* -- a black mark (not visible in this photo) stains her right arm.

The over-sized burgundy velour headband bow is supposed to complement the houndstooth dress, which it was sold with, so I allowed Blythe to wear it.  She chose a pair of Barbie Basics black ankle boots to pair with the dress.  Her dark pink eyes are shown in this photo.  Her other eye colors differ from the first doll's being purple, yellow, and a darker aqua.  More eye chips are definitely in order for her.

Blythe #1 (on right) welcomes her new friend.
*After doll #2 arrived, I contacted the seller about what appeared to be an ink mark on her right arm.  I was given the option of a partial refund or replacement body.  After discovering there were tan multiarticulated bodies available, I chose that as a replacement and purchased an additional one for the first doll.  By this time, the seller was deep into celebrating the Chinese New Year, which ended on March 5th.  As a result, the body replacements along with two pairs of shoes I purchased arrived during the third week of March.  I will post a followup after the girls have received their new bodies, which are shown below.

Unlike the original vinyl bodies, the replacement bodies are made of a sturdy resin and have multiple points of articulation at the upper arms, elbows, waist, wrists, upper thighs, knees, and ankles.  The shoulder joints and upper legs at the hips are also articulated.

One of the bodies uses my hand as a chair.

According to the seller, I just need to unscrew the three screws at the back of the dolls' heads to replace the bodies.  (I hope this is not easier said than done.)

The extra dress (not shown) that arrived with doll #2 has purple and white polka dots, identical to the aqua dress Blythe #1 wore in her first photo.  These dresses sold for $5.78 each.  The nude dolls were $55.25 which included free shipping.  The doll stands were $10 each -- a bit much, but they are designed for the dolls and bear the Blythe trademark.  The houndstooth dress retails for $20, again a bit much; but at the time of purchase, the seller offered a special discount for orders of a certain amount, so I saved a few dollars on that dress.  The resin articulated body cost me $28 (one was a free replacement).  Extra hands can be purchased for around $12 or the articulated body can be purchased with four or five sets of extra hands for around $36.

The last time I checked my Aliexpress seller's stock, the "big curls" tan version was sold out.  There may be other sellers offering the doll but prices will vary greatly and often the shipping is not free. It appears that on January 2, 2015, I browsed the site at the right time. 

The girls took one final photo to model the two pairs of shoes that arrived with the replacement bodies.  
Both girls show their "green" eyes; #2's are darker.  #2 has also removed her over-sized bow.  She prefers wearing the black ankle boots with her houndstooth dress over the black and white oxfords worn in this photo.  Blythe #1 thinks her "Chuck" style aqua sneakers look better than the white generic sneakers she had been wearing.

Current search results for "tan Blythe" can be seen here.
You may watch an eye chip removal and replacement video here.
To learn more about Blythe dolls, past and present, read this article here.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Big Beautiful Dolls Dena Available

Big Beautiful Dolls
Georgette Taylor has about 5 of her Big Beautiful Dolls Dena available.  (Dena is the Latina doll on the far right above.  See a head shot of another Dena, whose complexion and hair color are lighter than Dasia's, here). 

The remaining 5 Denas are nude, described as being slightly discolored.  The cost is $20 + $8 shipping to US buyers.  International buyers must request shipping total.

If interested in purchasing a nude Dena, contact Georgette at now.  These won't last long.

My Dena is on the way!

Big Beautiful Dolls were the first full-figured 12-inch fashion dolls made.  Read more about the now discontinued line here.  See a nude Dasia here. (I did not ask about remaining Dasia quantities, but I did ask about quantities of Dawn, which are sold out.)


Friday, March 20, 2015

Two More Princesses

Naija Princesses Chinyere and Temilola

After Naija Princess Aisha arrived, I wanted to add the other two princess dolls to the doll family.  The US merchant, recently informed me that new stock was available so I hurried to the website to make my selections.  I ordered two additional princess dolls without knowing which was which because they were not listed by name. 

Chinyere's packaged extra fashion and separately packaged red high-heel shoes are shown above.

Chinyere's casual fashion is a red and white gingham skirt and red halter as shown on the back of box.

After their arrival, I was pleased, however, to be able to identify one as Chinyere by her extra red and white gingham fashion (as illustrated on the back of the box).  I have elected to name the other one Temilola, since that is the only other available manufacturer-given name.  Temilola, priced $4 less than Chinyere, did not come with an extra fashion. 

Both have multiple braids pulled up into a ponytail.

Both dolls have multiple braids pulled up into a ponytail.  Chinyere has bronze highlights; the ends of her ponytail are straight. Temilola has curled ends. 

Queens of Africa poster and two copies of issue one of Queens of Africa soft cover book

In addition to the dolls, I received a Queens of Africa poster and two copies of issue one of the Queens of Africa soft cover book.

I now have a total of 7 dolls, a combination of queens and princesses, three issue one books and the poster.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finally Found Peter

Peter's Chair book and doll, book is a board book reprint of the original 1967 title; the doll has a copyright of 1995.

Ezra Jack Keats' character in cloth-doll form from the book Peter's Chair is the Peter I found.  After reading Sherry Howard's post about the $5, still-in-box, 1995 Peter's Chair doll and book packaged set found at an antiques and collectibles extravaganza, I wanted one, too.  I did find a set identical to Sherry's but the seller was asking over $300 for it! 

Before Peter's Chair Peter arrived, I was able to purchase two other Peter dolls from different Keats' stories where Peter is the main character:  Snowy Day Peter and Whistle for Willie

In February, fellow collector, DS shared a link to an eBay listing for "African American Stuffed 9" Boy," and identified the doll as Peter from Peter's Chair.  I followed the link, and although the seller did not know the doll's name, after examining the photos, I knew it was Peter!  I added the auction to my eBay watch list and on the last day of the listing, placed my maximum bid.  I even went back and outbid myself (by increasing my bid).  No one else was interested, so Peter is now home with me.  After winning the auction, I ordered a hard copy of Peter's Chair from  The doll and book, which will be incorporated into my Dolls with Books exhibit, arrived on the same day.

My like-new Peter close-up

In Peter's Chair, Peter has a new sister, and everything's changing!  All his old baby furniture is being painted pink--all, that is, except his little blue chair.  Peter will do anything to save his chair, even run away.  But not for long... (This description is from the back of the book.)

Peter's Chair is a very cute story that illustrates the feelings of abandonment a young child might experience after the birth of a sibling.  

Click/tap the play arrow to listen to the story.


Monday, March 16, 2015

New Doll and Fashions

The Barbie Look City Shine in Bronze

After seeing the prototype photos of City Shine Barbie in bronze dress earlier this year or late last, I had no plans to add her to my doll family.  As you can tell by the above photo, that plan changed.

While shopping at Walmart for something else, before leaving I browsed the doll section while my husband checked out available model cars.  He returned empty-handed to the fashion doll aisle and found me with one Barbie fashion (a pink faux fur coat that came with white shoes and handbag) and two Ken fashions.  We were about to leave that aisle, when I turned around abruptly and went to the opposite end to see if there were any new Sparkle Girlz fashions in stock.  As I did that, my husband examined the Barbies.  After finding nothing new in Sparkle Girlz fashions, as I walked toward him he asked, "Do you have this one?" handing me a box that he retrieved from a bottom shelf that I had not bothered to bend down to check.  "No," I said, "Where did you find it?"  I asked.  "Hidden behind these white dolls.  It's the only one; someone probably planned to come back for it."

After examining her for a few seconds and noticing her clutch had fallen to the bottom of the box, I finally said, "Oh well... they won't be buying this one."

Full length view of City Shine Bronze, note the bronze clutch at the bottom of the box.  I am not overwhelmed by her feathery eyelashes or the fact that she's just another Mbili head sculpt with different hair and fashion, but seeing her in person gave me a better perspective, enough to bring her home.  I do love her deep complexion. 

Photos of the Barbie and Ken fashions are shown next:

The lower sleeves of the pink faux fur coat are tan pleather.  I originally had planned to dress my thrift-store Chic doll in this coat, but that plan also changed.

I am never wowed by Ken's clothes, but do buy a few pieces here and there.
The next time my husband asks me if I am ever going to stop buying dolls, I'll have to remind him of the purchases he has encouraged. 

On a return trip to Wally World, there were new Sparkle Girlz fashions in stock.  I purchased the following three.

New Sparkle Girlz fashions from Walmart -- very few came with shoes.
 The Sparkle Girlz pool and car were also in stock. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Guest Post: Meet Tatiana Nayara Oliveira

Ms. Ellen Callen, creator of a new line of Dollfriends by Via E, Inc., home of Alexis O'Shay, has stopped by to introduce readers to the second doll, Tatiana.  (Please note, all photos are courtesy of and copyright of Via E, Inc.)

I’d like to introduce Tatiana Nayara Oliveira™, a new Dollfriend® from Via E™.  Tatiana will be about 19” tall, all vinyl and able to play in water.  She is strung with elastic and can bend at the elbows and knees 45 degrees.  Her legs will sit forward vs. out to the side.  Her fingers are individually molded and her big toe is separated from the rest of her foot for flip-flop sandals.  She has a French mani and pedi for a natural look.  Her eyes are sleep eyes and her hair is rooted.  She will fit many of the 18” doll clothing but is more to the slim side.  

Dollfriends, Tatiana and Alexis
Tatiana is the first friend of the main character Alexis who has been selling in the market for just over a year now and has received a lot of support from the families who brought her home.  The heads are able to articulate and if you pull back the lower part of the leg it will snap back to kick soccer or other balls.  She can hold her own purse in her hand and hold trays and small stuffed animals.  Tatiana weighs almost two pounds which makes her very durable and allows her to hold her poses on her own…without a stand…for days on end.  So far Tatiana is receiving good comments from the Alexis community.  

Prototype doll captures several poses without the use of a stand.

My goal was to create a darker skin doll that was worthy of the beauty of girls and women who are blessed with this skin tone.  When I was a young girl I always wondered why dolls did not reflect all the girls and their looks. So now my quest is to create dolls of all skin tones, hair and body types so every girl will find their own beauty represented.  Therefore, Tatiana is a complete new mold.  She is even a little bit taller and a little bit thinner than Alexis.  The next Dollfriend® will be a little bit chunkier than either Tatiana or Alexis.  It is a lot of work, time, money, risk but I think girls deserve the effort.

Above is an image of Tatiana’s mold features illustrating the detail of the hands and feet.  She can leave real footprints in the sand!  The prototype picture shown has black hair with a tight curl.  A second prototype with brown hair and loser curl is to arrive late March/Early April.  We will vote as a community as to what hair Tatiana should have. 

Hair texture/curl pattern

Alexis and Tatiana sell for $115.00 and free shipping.  So that puts them under the total price of American Girl dolls.  Right now they are handmade and I bring in small quantities.  I also have a line of care products that can remove scratches and treat for waterplay.  These Dollfriends have to last a lifetime…and more.

Advanced Purchase Advantages!
Advanced purchases are available now.  For only $68.00 Tatiana, signed and numbered, her introduction Storicolor® book and Karaoke CD will be shipped to those who are willing to wait and help bring her home.  Advanced purchasers even get their name on the outer box to forever record those who helped bring Tatiana home for the very first time.   I see Via E as a family and I personally respond to Facebook posts and phone calls.  It was a request of a few of our family members to create a dark-skinned Dollfriend…Tatiana was supposed to be the third Dollfriend made, but I moved her to number two because that is what the family asked for.  I don’t want to be a faceless company.  I just want to facilitate what moms and girls ask for in a way that is warm and real.   I hope I am doing a good job.  And I hope that you think so too.  Please help me bring Tatiana home by pre-ordering today.

To get your name or child's name on Tatiana's outer box, advanced orders may be placed at the next link:

Please visit and Like us on Facebook: 


Ellen Callen
Via E, Inc. 
Home of Alexis O'Shay
Coming Soon Tatiana Oliveira