Friday, April 24, 2015

This Just In: Ava Duvernay Doll

Several websites have reported Mattel's creation of a Barbie in the likeness of Selma director, Ava Duvernay

The doll has braids, not locs, like Ms. Duvernay; and unfortunately production is limited to one as in one-of-a-kind.

Read more: here  and see the other dolls created to honor Kristin Chenoweth, Emmy Rossum, Trisha Yearwood, Lucky editor-in-chief Eva Chen, and 5-year-old fashion designer Sydney Keiser.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Big Beautiful Dena Arrived In Need of Clothes and Shoes

Big Beautiful Dolls, Dena arrived nude as one of the last available dolls from Georgette Taylor.  "We"  immediately rummaged through available clothing to locate something suitable for her to wear.  A pair of shoes ordered after her arrival and after the first photos were taken were modeled last.  Below are the photos of the clothing and what she ultimately chose to wear. 

We knew this dress made by Shasha, designed for dolls with fewer curves, would be a stretch; but because the fabric gives, Dena agreed to try it on for "size."

A view from the rear shows how far those stripes can stretch.

Because Halle had been wearing the Shasha dress and needed something to wear in the meantime, she tried on this full-length, quite roomy, Sparkle Girlz dress that has thin ribbon straps.  Dena tried it on after returning Halle's dress to her.

We tucked away the green shoulder straps of the Sparkle Girlz dress.  It accentuates Dena's curves as well as exposes her most prominent one... this dress was returned to the Sparkle Girlz clothing stash.
Next, Dena tried a Franklin Mint fashion made for their 14-inch Jackie Kennedy doll.  In this photo the hemline is folded under and there is even more posterior exposure.

While she looks great in peach, full tush coverage is a must!
Franklin Mint  Jackie Kennedy Bear Canadian Mountie red suit ensemble almost fits like it was made for Dena (and not a stuffed bear), but the pillbox hat is too large for her head.
Made for Wilde Imagination Lizette, this purple dress came with a handmade choker, crocheted clutch, and floral patterned mesh stockings.

Except for the long length (because Lizette is 4 inches taller), the hose fit Dena.
Unfortunately, the bodice of the purple dress is a snug fit.  I had a difficult time snapping it closed in back.  Doing so leaves some of the inner lining exposed.  For that reason, this dress was not selected.
I found this so-60s, flower-power-looking dress in a doll trunk while looking for the Jackie Kennedy teddy bear ensemble.  I have no idea which doll arrived wearing this, but I do recall immediately redressing the mystery doll and storing this dress.  The bodice area fits loosely on Dena.  She could pull off wearing it if she or I desired.  We decided instead to return it to the doll trunk.
When all else fails, making a sock dress is a viable option.  Dena models two different looks created with the above sock after it was cut just above the heel area.

The hemline is a little jagged because the scissors I used are dull.  Here the dress is worn with a shrug created after the toe area was cut away from the remaining piece.

In the first look, the shrug is crisscrossed in back.

In this second look, the shrug becomes a bodice.  With the back portion brought over her head, it rests around the front of her neck to create a semi-choker.

View of the bodice/semi-choker from the back
I will have to purchase more toddler-size crew socks and make more of these dresses for Dena, using sharp scissors for cutting.

Before these white vinyl pumps arrived, Dena tried on and made the above dress her final selection.   We are satisfied with the fit of the dress and shoes.  (The dress was made for Wilde Imagination Lizette, who can be seen wearing it with matching scarf and hat here.)
If you too are in need of fashions for any of the Big Beautiful Dolls (Dasia, Dena, or Dawn), check out Vanessa's Etsy Shop for items she plans to stock that were written about here

I purchased Dena's shoes on eBay. 


Monday, April 20, 2015

11 More Sparkle Girlz Fashions

New Sparkle Girlz Fashions; with the exception of color, these two tiered lace dresses are similar in style.  Both come with gray shoes but they are different in style.

Walmart had restocked the Sparkle Girlz fashions the last time I visited.  I thumbed through the two display boxes and chose the fashions shown above and the ones shown below.

The coral skirt has sequins at the waist.  The cotton print dress has a tiered skirt, accented with synthetic suede at the waist.  The light blue sleeveless jacket adds the perfect touch.

Red-white and blue themed fashion with flared denim skirt has stars;  the top is sleeveless.  The dress on the right looks like two pieces.  The top is paisley with a ruffle neckline.  Both fashions have handbags.

These two came with a pair of shoes as shown.  Both fashions are two pieces. 

Summer dress and party dress with shoes for both

This loose-fitting, full-length dress has flared hem that matches the bodice. A lavender clutch is included.
 For $1.97 each, I could not leave these behind.


Friday, April 17, 2015

I.T.B.E. Luscious 2012

I.T.B.E. Luscious
New to me, I wanted I.T.BE. (Integrity Toys Basic Edition) Luscious because of her head sculpt and natural textured hair.  The body (as described in my doll inventory workbook) is jointed at the waist only with arms permanently bent at  the elbows.  The doll retailed for $25 in 2012, which is what I paid after the seller kindly offered a $5 refund for a minor imperfection that I discovered upon her arrival.

Luscious has slightly parted lips.
Spreadsheet Description
12-inch fashion doll has brown painted eyes, natural textured hair in up-swept ponytail (now loose); wears white fitted dress with faux snakeskin belt and pointed sleeves at shoulders, off-white shoes with red bottoms, white undies; came with flimsy white doll stand with square base.  I.T.B.E. = Integrity Toys Basic Edition.  Quality-wise, the doll is very basic.  Jointed at the waist only.  LE 1000

After piercing her ears and adding dangle earrings, I removed the rubber band that held the hair in the up-do and gave her a few strands of side-swept bangs.  The loose ends were stretched down and around to create the look shown below:

This hairstyle is more becoming.

Luscious models her white dress from the front...

...and from the back to show off the V-shaped low-cut back.
 I have no plans to rebody her for now, but that is a possibility for the future.   


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tatiana Oliviera Update

Tatiana Nayara Oliviera (one of the 19-inch, vinyl Dollfriends by Via E) was first seen on this blog here in a guest post by her creator, Ellen Callen.  Ellen shared the above photo that illustrates the brown curly hair that will be used on Tatiana.  She also shared the following advanced ordering information:

There is only one more week left to get your name on Tatiana's Box. And the best part is that the Advanced Order Package is only $68.00 (plus shipping)! This price will never be offered again! Once Tatiana is finished, her price will go up to the introduction price of $95.00. Then when she is here and in stock the price will be $115.00. So don't miss this opportunity. Here is the link to get your name on Tatiana's box and the great price of $68.00 (plus shipping)!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Something About Henry and Nothing About Wheatsie

Even though I find myself often saying I no longer "collect" babies (with reference to dolls), on a rare occasion I find one that warms my heart enough to purchase.  Such is the case with Henry by Kathy Hippensteel.  As shown on a scan from a 1991 Truly Many Joys catalog above, TMJ was the distributor of Hippensteel's dolls in the 1990s.

My Henry is shown in a close-up after his face and other vinyl surfaces were washed and rubbed with a few drops of Jojoba oil.  His tightly curled hair was gently brushed to loosen and join the curls to form a short curly Afro.

New for 1991, Henry, as the catalog describes, is a 19-inch vinyl doll with pellet-filled, posable body.    My doll arrived two weeks ago dressed in his original burgundy romper, white socks, and white shoes, minus his straw hat.  Even though it was apparent in his auction photos that his eyes and nostrils were crusty and his seller indicated he needed gentle cleansing, there was something about his facial expression that begged me to bring him "home."  So I did, for a winning bid of $19.99 and shipping of $11 and change, a far cry from his original retail price of $178.00.

Henry posed for these two photos and was left undressed overnight to allow the Jojoba oil to soak into his vinyl head, arms, and legs.

In the above photo, Henry has been dressed and given his first new playmate, a stuffed bear.
His original hang tag and distributor's tag were placed back on his left wrist.

Over two decades before Henry arrived, based on an image in a doll advertisement, I purchased my first Hippensteel doll.  Her name is Wheatsie.  Unfortunately, I was never able to bond with the doll.  Even after separating her tightly coiled synthetic curls and piercing her ears, the 15-inch Wheatsie never really appealed to me for a combination of reasons.  The deer-in-headlights stare with eyes that seem too large for her face and a vinyl foot that kept falling off her cloth leg due to the poor construct are a few reasons I never liked the doll. Even with the foot repaired, I always regretted this purchase.

Wheatsie was available in two complexions, a medium brown and dark brown.  The medium brown version was not offered at the time I purchased my doll at retail price. 

After Henry received his bath, was redressed, and given a plush companion, Wheatsie joined him.  In love with Henry, I wondered if there was anything else I could do to help me like his sister. 

Wheatsie and Henry
In cuteness factor, Henry runs circles around Wheatsie's dull expression.  "She needs eyelashes," I thought.  So I gave her some using the end portions of false eyelashes I had available (purchased for dolls... not for myself!).

Before snapping this photo, I had already used a portion of this lash for another doll before snipping another section off for one of Wheatsie's eyes and finally cutting more off the end for her other eye.

After both eyelashes were in place, I shortened the length with scissors (fingernail clippers can also be used for this).  Next, I applied a sliver of clear nail polish on top of the edges of the lashes to seal them to Wheatsie's vinyl eyelids.  She looks better with eyelashes even though I was a little stingy with the lashes on her right eye. 

"Cheek color," I thought.  "She needs cheek color."  So I gave her some.

Using a makeup sponge and Maroon Bordeaux dry brush stencil paint (retrieved from my paint cabinet), I added a dab of color to Wheatsie cheeks and forehead area as well
She looks a little better, but I still find Henry more appealing. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

I Did It! I Re-Bodied a Blythe!

With free time on my hands, I watched a couple of YouTube videos about opening Blythe doll heads to get an idea of what I needed to do to successfully rebody my dolls.

I found this video the most helpful and chose to rebody the doll with the fishtail braid first.

This is the head of the Afro version, yet to be rebodied.  The red arrow points to a spring that had to be removed (along with the three screws) before opening the head of the rebodied doll.

The most difficult part in rebodying Blythe was detaching one end of a spring that controls the pull-string movement of the doll's eye changing mechanism.  One end of the spring, inside the doll's head, is attached to the eye mechanism; the other end is attached to a vertical strip of plastic in the back of the doll's head, as shown above.  This was the end that had to be removed.

The video suggested clamping the spring with hemostats or grasping with tweezers to lift it away from the plastic bar.  I used tweezers.  It took several tries before I was able to lift it off.  I had already unscrewed the screws before removing the spring. 

The head has been opened with the old body still in place.

The neck groove of the new body has been placed into position.  It rests on a ledge of plastic inside the back panel of the head.

Next, I opened up a jumbo paper clip, leaving a hook on one end.  This would be used next to guide the spring back onto the plastic bar before closing the two head panels, as shown next.

The looped end of the spring has been placed onto the hook created with the paperclip before guiding the paperclip and spring through the opening in the back panel and finally reattaching the spring to the plastic bar.

The front and back head panels are snapped back into place, and the three screws replaced.

Voila!  She has her new articulated body.
 Lots of posing followed by trying on clothes took place next. 

Sitting pretty

This is her best seated with crossed legs pose.  We didn't try a crossed ankles pose, but she can do it.

Lotus position

A perfect lunge

We wondered if her new curves would fit into the same Sparkle Girlz fashion; they do.

Unfortunately her flat feet, even though the ankles are articulated, are too large for Barbie's ankle boots.  The black and white oxfords made for her do not match this particular fashion.  So... 

Blythe tried on another Sparkle Girlz fashion and changed her violet eyes to green.  (A girl has to coordinate!)

She tried on one additional dress.

Next, her fishtail braid was redone.

And Blythe struck one final pose.
Afro Blythe will receive her new body as soon as time and frame of mind permit.