Friday, May 29, 2015

From My Sister, My Friend

Beautifully wrapped birthday gifts from a friend

I have a friend who is like a close sister.  We live miles apart and can go for weeks without communicating; however, when we do, it is like we just spoke to one another yesterday.  I consider her a blessing and hope I have blessed her life as much as she has enriched mine.

Debra and I met as a result of a doll ad I placed in Collectors United during the mid-to-late 1990s.  It was a Martin Luther King, Jr. figure by Olmec that brought us together.  I had extras that I was selling through that ad.  She purchased one.

We have only seen each other twice in our lives, but the bond was developed immediately. We lavish one another with gifts for birthdays and Christmas and the gifts always include something doll related. I am personally always like a kid at Christmas wondering what goodies Debra will bestow upon me.  Among my birthday gifts this year from Debra was The Official Barbie Collector's Club Welcome Kit from 1996.

Cover of  Barbie Collector's Club kit box

The kit opens to reveal a binder housed on the left and the Date at Eight fashion on the right.

The boxed kit includes a binder designed to store copies of  the club's quarterly newsletter and a NRFB limited edition Barbie Date at Eight fashion.  My friend modified the cover of the binder with the first page of the Black in Fashion article written by Ian Price, which appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of UFDC's Doll News.

Modified binder cover

Inside several sleeves of the binder are pages from Ian's extensively researched article on black fashion dolls.  Some of the images from the article are shown next:

Resin Dheei, 1991 on left; porcelain Sailor Pizza Party Zhdrick, 1996, and Techno D. J. Jobii from 1991 are the two male dolls on right.

Barbie repaints representing the Supremes

Malaika and Mungu by Deva Dolls (left); Adele and Nadja, Integrity Toys (right)

There are several empty sleeves in the binder that can be used for some of the many other articles I own that feature black dolls.

Closer view of the Date at Eight fashion ensemble

The Date at Eight boxed fashion, consists of a black velour dress, black lace hose, black mesh shawl and jacket, fuchsia handbag with gold tone shoulder strap, black high heel shoes, gold tone playscale-sized compact, powder puff, and magazine.  This is a such a wonderful keepsake modified especially for me.

An Evening in Mexico City fashion by Franklin Mint

An Evening in Mexico City fashion made for the Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll by Franklin Mint was another doll-related gift from my sister-friend.  The fashion is a reproduction of a Jason Wu-designed dress worn by FLOTUS during a visit to Mexico City in April 2010.

After opening the other non-doll related gifts, the last box I unwrapped contained a doll that has been on my wish list for years.  I cannot tell you how long I have wanted the long-sold out LifeLike Michelle Obama Doll by Danbury Mint, which until now is what I believed the doll's name to be.

While this doll is not an exact portrait of the First Lady of the United States, the outfit is what I most desired.  The aqua sweater over a mock white oxford shirt, navy blue belt, brown tweed skirt, brown hose, and brown pumps replicate the fashion FLOTUS wore to a Black History Month event she hosted at the White House on February 18, 2009.  Additionally, this doll, created in vinyl, has 12-points of articulation for posing.  According to the box top, the doll is "The Michelle Obama Dress-Up Doll."  The accompanying literature uses that name and also refers to the doll as "The Michelle Obama Poseable Portrait Doll." Perhaps not knowing the doll's true name is the reason it had been so elusive to me.  Incidentally, the doll's wig is removable. It attaches to her head with two Velcro rounds.

How did Debra know I wanted this doll?  A few months ago, one such doll was offered on eBay for a ridiculously low price.  I waited until the last day of the auction and placed my maximum bid.  I just knew I had won the doll.  I was so confident about the win that I began crafting a blog post about my newly won doll.  I later discovered that seconds before the auction ended, someone sniped the doll away from me.  I was devastated!!!!  The next time I spoke to my friend and sister from another mother,  I asked her if she still had her doll and mentioned my dismay over the auction loss.

Because she collects portrait dolls and has several made in the likeness of First Lady Michelle Obama, including one like the doll she sent me, I just had to know if she sent her doll to me.  So after informing her by email that the package arrived and showering her with copious thanks for all my gifts, I asked Debra if she had given me her doll.  She replied:

I am so glad you got your package. I tried to come up with some things you  don't  have and that is not easy, but you made it easy for me when you said you were  looking  for  Michelle. I knew you had to have her so I  gave you mine. Nothing I have is  worth having if I can't  share  it with my bestest friend sister. 
My eyes welled up with tears.  Even though it is not about the gifts because I treasure our special bond more, my sister-friend made this big 6-0 birthday super special.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What a Girl Wants!

New doll
I expected my mid-April decision to temporarily cease all doll buying to prove itself a difficult task. Fortunately, it has been effortless without much temptation at all.  However, a month into the decision, when my daughter sent me the following text message with the subject "Birthday?!?! Whadaya want?" just seconds after I viewed a doll that Linda Hayes was selling, I expressed my desire for the doll. Hey, she asked.

Me:  Oh here we go again (earlier in the month she'd asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day).  How much are you spending?  I saw something for $__ that interests me, but that doesn't include shipping and I need to see more pictures of it before I decide I really want it.

Daughter: I'll get that. Send me the link.

Daughter:  Oh lord. You're so indecisive (she'd just read the "before I decide I really want it" part of my answer).

I see where I get it from.

Me:  I know.  It's the nature of a Gemini, but you are far worse than I have ever been!

Will let you know if I want this or something else later today.
So after requesting and viewing additional photos of Madame Alexander's circa 1965 Leslie ballerina in blue, I "allowed" my daughter to purchase the doll as my birthday gift.  :-)

Leslie was waiting for me at the post office on my birthday.  Other than missing her original drop earrings, which have been replaced by a similar pair, she is in superb condition and still has her original Madame Alexander hang tag which identifies her.  Someone placed a $350 price tag on her, which is far more than my daughter's cost.  Yes, back in the 1990s-day, these dolls were valued as much, but not in today's market.

An original hang tag and tagged Madame Alexander dress are two important features of vintage dolls by this company.  Their boxes are added pluses,but I collect dolls, not boxes.  Additionally, for me, if the original box accompanies a vintage doll, I am more inclined to leave the doll in the box.  Without the box, I can enjoy its presence.
From Virginia Beach, Leslie traveled with two additional "free gift" dolls from Linda.

Doll gifts from Linda as an expression of her appreciation

One of the dolls Linda sent is a circa 1970s, 15-inch fashion doll (with shag hairstyle) made in Hong Kong, the other a souvenir doll from Puerto Rico.  The souvenir doll holds a woven straw handbag with floral accents that match those at the waist of her dress.

The '70s fashion doll is adorned with rhinestone earrings, necklace, and bracelet that are appropriate for her more mature look.  I replaced the blue gingham dress and bonnet she arrived wearing with Dena's yellow dress and shrug, which better complement the jewelry.  Her new look is completed by a pair of black flats that I had on hand.

70s girl shows off her shag 'do and her curves.  
The souvenir doll is now on a shelf with other similar souvenir dolls of her 60/70-ish time period. On the opposite side of the room, Leslie has joined two of my three other Leslies, a bride and ballerina in pink.  They were introduced here along with another Leslie that wears a Franklin Mint dress designed for their Princess Diana doll.

While others delight in a variety of other things to purchase for themselves or to receive as gifts, dolls are my thing.  For any occasion, give me a doll--a non-porcelain brown or black doll created as a positive reflection of black beauty--and I'm happy, especially during a time when I have chosen not to buy them for myself.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Standing Firm But Just Had to Get This Out There

Once doll buying resumes, whenever that occurs, I have added several dolls to my wish list.  Some were already on my mental wish list before my self-imposed doll-buying hiatus commenced.  I am writing them all into existence now.

I am always, always on the lookout for any vintage black Barbie clone similar to the ones shared with me recently by Facebook friend Escobar Artforall and Emmanuel Perez.  Emmanuel is very knowledgeable on the subject of Ken, Barbie, Tammy, and other clones and competitors from the 1960s - 1990s and has a website to prove it.

The first groups of dolls was shared by Escobar Artforall:

The above two groups of photos are of a mohair clone that has been restyled.

Lovely Hawaiian Bild Lilli clone

Restyled and painted Bild Lilli clone

More Bild Lilli clones

The next doll, shared by Emmanuel Perez, is a 1960s ponytail African American Polly by Valentine.

I would welcome into my collection with open arms any of the dolls Escobar Artforall and Manny shared with me.

Also on my wish list, even though they lack articulation, are the following two Barbie Fashionistas.  They quite possibly will be the first two dolls I purchase after doll buying resumes.   

Stock photos of two 2015 Barbie Fashionistas

Vanessa recently shared a new guy she purchased that interests me.  See him here.  He, as well as a new set of ungloved hands, is on my wish list.

Life-size all-leather one-of-a-kind baby dressed in leather, by Lorna Paris

A molded-face all-leather doll by Lorna Paris (not necessarily a life-size baby like the one shown above, but I'd be okay with a baby by Lorna) would be wonderful to own.  Also on my wish list from Lorna is one of her Crown Head necklaces.

Crown Heads by Lorna Paris
The heads of the Crown Head necklaces are sculpted in polymer clay and are strung on leather cords or silver or goldtone chains.    I want one with open eyes, similar to the one shown below, and have already voiced this desire to Lorna.

Close-up of a Crown Head necklace by Lorna Paris -

I already own a Rock Head pin (brooch) by Lorna, but aren't these following ones lovely?

Rock Head pins/brooches by Lorna Paris are all one-of-a-kind with hand painted faces (on rocks/stones); each wears jewelry hand made by Lorna; some with headpieces made from shells.  Just lovely!

I haven't seen very much else in the way of dolls that strikes my fancy so I think I will be pretty safe as I ride this thing out and regain and maintain focus in other areas of my life.   Additionally, I have several doll projects that need to be completed.  Here's hoping I find the motivation to see them through to completion. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Angelica Doll: A natural hair doll for young girls

Designed by Angelica Sweeting, there is a Kickstarter program to make this 18-inch, natural hair Angelica doll a reality.  For full details about the doll and/or to make a donation to the Angelica Doll Kickstarter program, visit:


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dena Puts On Her Shrug

Someone asked what I used to make Dena's shrug.  The above photo points to the portion of the sock used to make the shrug.

After answering:  
I used the leftover material from the mid-to-bottom portion of the sock that was cut away, after the toe area was cut off. This section then has an opening in each end. It is turned horizontally so that the open ends are sideways. One arm is the open end then the material is stretched behind her back and her other arm is placed in the open end. In this photo, the yellow and peach pieces on the bottom right are the shrugs (they are vertically placed in this photo). The smaller pieces are the toe areas of the sock that were cutaway from the pieces used for the shrug.
I took the following photos to illustrate Dena putting on the peach shrug:

1. Her arm is placed through the opening of the remaining sock material after the toe area is cut off.

2. The material is pulled across her back and her other arm placed inside the opening. 

3. Both arms are in the opening.

4. The top and bottom portions of the back are pulled together to cover her back. 

5. View from the front after all edges have been smoothed and/or tucked under.  

It's so easy!


Friday, May 15, 2015

More Sock Dresses for Dena

Toddler-size yellow and peach socks and gray adult-size sock are combined with decorative stretch headbands and ponytail holders to create three dresses for Dena that can be worn several different ways.

Beginning with the gray sock, about an inch below the ribbed ankle portion of the sock is cut off to form the dress. 
Gray sock with ribbed ankle area plus an inch below forms Dena's gray dress.
The 1-inch area of the gray sock below the ribbed area is turned under and glued in place with no-sew fabric glue.  (This was done after Dena posed for the following photos.  In the next photos, the hem has been tucked under but not glued in place.)
Dena uses a pink ponytail holder with floral-shaped accent as a belt.
A pink headband is wrapped around Dena's waist from front to back, crisscrossed in back, with the remaining portion brought forward and over her head, finally looping it underneath the floral design at the waist. The next image shows the view from the back.

Same look as above from the back
The yellow and peach socks are cut.  With these I also left a bit of material below the ribbed area to add length as well as a hem to the dresses.  The remaining sock becomes a shrug after the toe area is cut off.  Again, headbands and ponytail holders are used for belts with mixing and matching as shown and described below.

Yellow dress with raw hemline

Yellow ponytail holder serves as belt and hemline is tucked under.

Yellow shrug is added.

For a touch of color, an orange and peach ponytail holder is added to belt the waistline.
View of the yellow shrug from back

Peach dress, raw hemline, yellow shrug and yellow belt
Peach on peach with peach and orange belt, raw hemline

Same look as immediately above with tucked under hemline

Finally, a view from the back of the peach on peach with touch of orange look.
Those who know me or have read enough of this blog to know my favorite color, you know which of these I like best.  Which one is your favorite?

Now all Dena needs is these shoes in gold and silver (size 7).