Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Sharif is a 22-inch doll by Paola Reina, a Spain-based doll company.  I love almost most everything about her, especially her luscious lips.  I have often contemplated redressing Sharif to replace her fancy sage green dress with something more casual.  The last consideration about doing this ended with a plan to only replace her shoes with a larger pair because her feet appear too small for her body.  This is the one thing I dislike about Sharif's construct.

Because she arrived during the time I was writing The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I Listen, I included her commentary in that publication.  It reads as follows:

Saturday, March 21, 2009   Yesterday, the mail carrier left a notice on the mailbox of an attempt to deliver a package that required Debbie’s signature.  She thought it was the Obama body that she purchased to use with the extra head included with the Obama action figure purchased in February.  She was pleasantly surprised to see the huge shipping carton when she picked me up today because she knew I was in the box.  She could hardly wait to get home to tear open the box and almost went home before finishing some of her Saturday morning errands.  She decided to complete the errands first.  After removing me from my box, Debbie was a little disappointed because one of my eyelashes was about to fall off.  After she glued it back in place and combed my thick, brown, rooted hair, which became tousled during my trip, she admired my very broad facial features. 

My nose reminds her of hers, except mine is wider.  My lips, which are a little pouty are distinctly Africanoid and lusciously beautiful to Debbie.  She mistakenly was told that I am all vinyl, when in reality my body is brown cloth.  My arms are all vinyl and the vinyl in my legs extends to just above my knees.  I will probably need a saddle stand for support.  Debbie likes my dress, but thinks my feet look a little small for my 22-inch (55.88cm) height.  She loves me, nonetheless, including my vanilla-flavored scent. 
Having traveled from Spain, where I was made by Paola Reina (a doll company), to England, where I was sold by NubiDollz.com, I am happy to be in America now. 
Love, Sharif

In addition to thoughts of redressing Sharif, I have also wanted to share her provenance with the readers of this blog.  Each time I have read a comment to my posts from Thammie the Dollmaker, who owns at least one doll like Sharif, I have been reminded of the need to do this.  Consider it done!  Now I must find larger shoes for this lovely girl.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Target's Dolls of All Nations Will the Real Artist Please Stand Up?

Yvonne from the 1996 Target- exclusive Dolls of All Nations Collection (Second Edition)

During the mid-1990s, Target released The Dolls of All Nations Collection.  My newly acquired doll, Yvonne, is from the second edition of this collection. The dolls were Target exclusives, distributed by Dayton Hudson Corporation of Minneapolis, MN under the Unimax label.  The box date is 1996.

I vividly recall shopping in Target during the time the first edition of this doll line was stocked on Target's shelves.  Wanja, the doll that represents Kenya is part of the first series of Dolls of All Nations (1995).  I purchased Wanja from Target the year of release.  I never saw Yvonne in stock.

Yvonne (Uganda) and Wanja (Kenya) from the Dolls of All Nations Collection, 1996 and 1995, respectively.

Nearly 20 years after the doll was released, Yvonne was recently purchased for $7.99 plus shipping and arrived in never-removed-from-box state.  The box shows shelf wear but Yvonne is perfect.  This all vinyl doll stands 12 inches, has painted brown eyes, and black rooted hair styled in multiple braids with green ribbons braided through each.  She wears a coral dress with African print belt, matching head wrap, multicolored beaded necklace, gold tone elasticized bracelet, and black sandals.  A doll stand is also included.

The back of Yvonne's box reads:
1996 Hello, I am named Yvonne.
I come from Uganda.
It is one of the 52 nations on the
continent of Africa. 

 You will be pleased to know I speak your 
 language, English, and I also speak our 
native language, Swahili.

Because our climate is tropical and warm, my country
is home to many flowers and forests.
We also have many colorful birds living near our rivers.
When my family travels in our long canoe to visit friends in
the next village, we see ostriches, flamingos and storks.
Monkeys swing from tree to tree along the river's edge.
It is as if they want to visit our friends too!

My family is perhaps bigger than yours.
It includes many cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
We live together in a village that is close to the coffee farm
we own.  Each member of the family has a job to do.
It is my job to carry cooking pots to the river for washing.
I also make ngunza, a delicious thick sauce made
from cassava leaves, tomato paste and peanut butter.

Isn't my dress colorful?
It is the traditional dress of Ugandan women and girls.
It is called a busuti with a long, full skirt,
square neck and a cloth tied diagonally.

My friend, would you like to come in our canoe?
You can share my long bamboo pole
for pushing, and we will go to see
the hippopotamuses bathing in the
river with their babies.

(I wonder who wrote that blurb.)

While the Dolls of All Nations dolls resemble Swiss doll artist, Heidi Otts' Little Ones dolls (a high-end collectors doll line, also released in the late 1990s), Ott did not sculpt the Dolls of All Nations.

Ott did sculpt the 18-inch Faithful Friends  dolls that were Target exclusives from 1997-1998.  These traditionally dressed dolls were designed to compete with the original, historical American Girl dolls. When conducting research to prove or disprove recently circulated information that Ott sculpted the Dolls of All Nations dolls, I found that she did not.  Under the heading, Background, in paragraph 7 of the online details of a lawsuit Ott brought against Target on July 29, 1999, Ott alleges that the dolls Target sold as Dolls of All Nations were knock offs of her Little Ones, proof of which is cited in the text, which can be read in its entirety here.


Cal's New Wig

I created a stocking cap for Cal soon after his arrival a year ago to conceal his unsightly hair loss.

Because his original human hair wig has several missing hair plugs, making a wig for Cal has been on my to-do list since his arrival with his sister, Tuesday, almost a year ago to this date.

Profile photos illustrate Cal's multiple missing hair plugs.
The original plan had been to maintain the artist's hair color choice, so I devised a plan to use hair clippings saved from my first grandson's first haircut*.  The clippings, unfortunately, were no where to be found.  I looked high and low to no avail.

Instead, I used strands from the Lock Twist braiding hair leftover from the locs fashioned for Tonner's Jon.  What was done to create the wig  is outlined below in the following photos and captions.

Cal's head is covered with two plastic twist tie bags that are secured with a rubber band around his neck.

A piece of brown cloth is placed over the plastic bags and secured in place with another rubber band.

A white ink pen marks what will become Cal's hairline in front.

The above photo and the next two illustrate an application of Aleene's Tacky Glue that covers the surface of the cloth  that will become the wig cap where the hair will be applied.

Overnight, the glue dries and stiffens that area of the cloth.

The extra fabric is trimmed away from the glued area to create the wig cap.  Cal tries it on for size.

The wig cap is trimmed a bit more. The braiding hair used, prior to clipping tiny portions of it, is shown above.

The strands of hair are clipped into small pieces.  (Not shown, another layer of Aleene's Tacky Glue is smeared over the wig cap before the cut pieces of hair are immediately applied to cover the surface.)

Small pieces of hair are applied over glue onto to the wig cap and allowed to dry overnight.

Cal wears his new wig, the color of which closely matches his original hair color.  Since it is a wig, it is removable, although chances of Cal wanting me to remove it are slim to none.

Close-up of Cal with his healthy head of auburn hair.

Tuesday joins her brother and is amazed by the amount of hair growth he has experienced in less than 48 hours.  Just like a typical teasing brother, Cal plans to keep his alopecia recovery treatment a secret from Tuesday, at least for a while. 
*By the time I completed the draft of this post, I remembered using Grandson's first haircut clippings on two small Berenguer baby dolls in approximately 2008 (next photo).  It pleases me to have remembered what happened to the hair saved from his very first haircut.

LaNewborn Berenguer dolls have rooted hair courtesy of me and hair saved from my first Grandson's first haircut.  The girl has a ponytail with bangs and spiral curls on the sides.  The boy has a short Afro.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dear Miss Conley

Because of her exterior beauty, Halle plays the role of the subject of this post, Miss Conley, my 4th grade homeroom teacher, who was also a very beautiful woman.
Dear Miss Conley,

A recent reflection of myself at age 10 brought me back to your 4th grade class.  Next to my third grade teacher, Mrs. White, who often doted on me, making me feel special, but sometimes uncomfortable because of the vibes I felt from other children who perhaps were envious,  you were one of my favorite teachers.  Mrs. White still remains my all-time favorite.  I suppose this letter should be written to her.  But it was thoughts of you that caused my recollection of an incident that occurred in your 4th grade classroom some 50 years ago.

Miss Conley, I thought you were so pretty, your handwriting impeccable, and your mannerisms and presence were ideal.  You were the perfect teacher in my young impressionable eyes.  I wanted to be you because you could do no wrong, until the one day you chose to abuse your authority over some of us.

4A students accepting free candy from another classmate

On this particular day, many of us were given candy by another classmate, Tina H, an only child who was not part of the "popular clique."  She was chubbier than most, had very short hair, and by other people's standards of beauty was probably not at the top of the pleasingly aesthetic scale. Tina would, therefore, often do things to "buy friendship" or favor from fellow classmates.  Her mother was the principal's secretary.  We saw Mrs. H. whenever we went to the principal's office for tardy passes, to obtain excused absences, and the like.  I thought she was an attractive woman who styled her hair in a bubblecut.

The candy Tina gave us that fateful day was the then 50 cents chocolate bars sold by students for their schools and other organizations for fundraising.   They were two to three times the size they are now.  Tina had purchased a case and shared it with some us.  We were 10, Miss Conley, children, who had been offered candy by another classmate, someone we knew and trusted.   So we gladly accepted and ate it without asking questions.

Later that day or the next day, Mrs. H. discovered that ten dollars was missing/stolen from her purse.  The thief was her own daughter, our classmate.  Before accepting the candy, we had no knowledge about how she purchased it.  It was chocolate candy, Miss Conley, offered to us, and like candy-loving children, we ate it.

After Mrs. H. informed you what happened, Miss Conley, and after Tina gave you the names of those who accepted the candy from her, you openly reprimanded us before exacting corporal punishment.  That is the moment my adoration for you came to a screeching halt!

4A students lined up to receive licks in their hands with a wooden ruler or paddle

As I stood in the line you commanded us to form, I shot daggers at you while waiting to receive the unjust thrashing of my hand with the wooden ruler or other wooden object you used.  The "innocent," non-candy eaters sat at their desks observing our humiliation.

The pedestal upon which I had placed you toppled that day, never to again be erected.  I still cannot get over the fact that you punished innocent children for accepting candy from a classmate.   I don't think any of us would have accepted the candy had we known it was purchased with stolen money. Why did you think we knew or not care that we didn't know the source of the money?   Why did you feel it your responsibility to punish us?  In hindsight, I wish I had shared this incident with my mother, but I probably feared that might have led to another unjust punishment.   So I remained silent until now.

What you did was wrong, Miss Conley; it was not your place to punish us.  You should have informed our parents about the incident and allowed them to decide what punishment, if any, was warranted.

The guilty parties were Tina (for stealing and feeling the need to buy friendship) and you (for penalizing the innocent).

I am sure you moved on seconds later or maybe you did feel a twinge of guilt.  Who knows?  Who cares?  I moved on to never like you again and that incident remains one of my unpleasant childhood memories.  Today I am letting the bitterness that accompanies the recollection go, but I will never forget what you did, Miss Conley.  Never.

It is difficult for me to forget transgressions against me and mine and even more difficult for me to forgive transgressors.  I hold the infraction in memory to avoid a recurrence and duplication of the accompanying hurt.   Even when I do forgive, I never forget.  

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” 
― Maya AngelouLetter to My Daughter

During the time she was my 4th grade teacher and in the years beyond, Miss Conley reminded me of the late-Janet MacLachlan, an African American actress who was frequently seen in TV roles during the 1960s and '70s.  At the time this post was published, I did not know the actress's name.  Recently I caught the end of episode 114 of Good Times, "Florida Gets a Job" where MacLachlan played the role of Sandra Forbes, who competed against Florida for the bus driver position that Florida ultimately obtained.  After viewing the episode, I immediately conducted an Internet search and was able to identify Ms MacLachlan.


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Spirit Of Dolls With Doll Artist Tanya Montegut - June 27, 2015 Harlem, NY

Film screening of Why Do You Have Black Dolls? 

by Samantha Knowles

followed by

The Spirit Of Dolls:  A conversation 
with Doll Artist Tanya Montegut

Saturday, June 27, 2015
12 pm to 2 pm

Countee Cullen Library
104 West 136th Street
Between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
Harlem, New York

Since 2009 self-taught NY Doll Artist Tanya Montegut has participated in over 40 juried shows including The American Craft Show at The Jacob Javits Center in NY where she was spotlighted as a 'Trendsetter' and 'One Of The Most Talented Artisans' for her use of recycled materials. 

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council office of member Inez E. Dickens.

Additional support provided by Countee Cullen Library - New York Public Library.

Montegut is featured in the film, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, the official trailer of which can be viewed below:


Friday, June 19, 2015

Angelica Doll Project Kickstarter Results

The above image and text below are from a Naturally Perfect Facebook page status update:

WE DID IT!!! The campaign is over and we are offically [sic] on our way to mass producing The Angelica Doll and creating an entire line of dolls that represents our unique beauty! I could not have done it without YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who donated, shared, tagged and help spread the word about our campaign. This was a giant leap of faith for me. I quit my full time job Jan 2015 to pursue this dream. I am beyond thankful!!! We have some really exciting news coming up about the doll and I can't wait to share!!! Thank you again! This is just the beginning.

Crowd funding via Kickstarter has worked for this cause.  I look forward to seeing the true end result: mass production of the Angelica doll.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fashionista Six: Are Two Heads Better Than One?

Mattel must have felt that two versions would be better than one of the blonde Fashionista with freckles, that I incorrectly assumed had only one hairstyle (all-over big curls).

In a comment to my post  about my doll, Jewell informed me first that two versions exist, one with all-over curly hair and a second with flatter curls.  A day later, another collector mentioned this. Seeing, as they say, is believing.  Fellow collector, Betty Jones shared the above photo of her dolls confirming that two versions of the Fasionista that I refer to as Doll 6 do exist.

In Betty's close-up photos, she points out additional differences:

The freckles on the big-haired version are more visible than the one with flatter curls, shown next.

This one's freckles, like those on my doll, are visible but very faint.

So if you opt for online ordering from places that do not use actual photos and your desire is for curlier locks, be forewarned:  that might not be the version you receive.

Thanks again, Betty, for the visual and for allowing me to share your photos here.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Tending to An Important Issue When...

Amazon.com labels the above two as:  Barbie Fashionistas Party Glam Doll #5 and #6

... I saw these two wish-listed dolls at the same online site at a price I was willing to pay with free shipping.  So.... I had to order them!

Yes, I know, I am or was on a self-imposed doll-buying hiatus that began in mid-April.  I remained faithful to my promise that I would not buy another doll until I saw these two last week.

See, "what had happened was" (or what prompted the purchase):

I received a credit card statement from a card connected to Amazon.com and did not recognize the lone charge.  Thinking "fraud!" I  went to the site to check past orders to ensure the charge was valid because I could not recall placing any recent orders.  Ah ha!  It was something I ordered in May for my mother.  Relieved, and while I was on their website, I decided to search for these two dolls since prior searches elsewhere only led to other sites having one of the two available with Doll 5 being the one that was usually already sold out.  Paying separate shipping for both was out of the question for me.  I wanted them, but not that bad.

After discovering Amazon.com's free shipping for Prime members for both, I carted the two and immediately went to checkout, but remembered that Amazon is an Ebates affiliate.  Before I completed the order, I opened another window in my browser, went to Ebates.com to earn cash back on the purchase, searched their site for Amazon's link, clicked it from Ebates to return and complete the purchase.  Then I exhaled.

With these two dolls crossed off my short wish list, I thought seriously about ordering the action figure that I want, but decided I would put him on hold for a while longer since I am now confident that I-can-do-this (go weeks at a time without purchasing a doll).  My doll-buying roll needs to remain slow anyway.  So the arrival of the action figure can wait.

Now about these two:
This is their initial photo, taken while they were still in the shipping box.

Doll 5 is featured in the graphics of her box (lower right-hand corner) along with 2 other Fashionistas.  Likewise, Doll 6 is featured in her box graphics.   Their assortment numbers from the backs of their boxes are BCN36CJY44 (Doll 5) and BCN36CJY45 (Doll 6).

Freed from their plastic confines but still attached to the Fashionistas lining

This enlarged close-up head shot illustrates that the lip color used for Doll 5 has a deeper complexion than the prototype (seen in the first photo of this post), which is a good thing in my opinion.   Doll 6's stiff hair is not as curly as the prototype doll's.  The prototype's curly locks were part of the purchasing appeal for me.  Had I seen the doll in person with hair like this as the only option, she would not be here now.  Doll 6 has a sprinkling of freckles, which are barely visible in the above photo.

Their hair has not been combed in this picture ↑, which illustrates Doll 5's reddish-brown highlights and Doll 6's flat curls in the back.

The Hands↓

On both hands of each doll, the long and ring fingers are fused. 

The Feet↓

Doll 5's flat feet will pose a problem in the shoe department unless I am able to find a shoe pack made especially for her.   In an online review of this doll, the reviewer wrote that jointed ankles would have given the doll more versatility in shoe choices.  I agree.   The reviewer noted that Doll 5 can stand alone.  She can.   As illustrated above, Doll 6 has high heel feet which afford her the opportunity to wear other Barbie high heels.

The Goddess head sculpt was used for Doll 5.  She is shown above with the 2014 African American Holiday Barbie, another Goddess sculpt.

Doll 6 uses the Desiree head sculpt.  The doll on the right, Artsy Fashionista from a previous year, shares the same (devoted-to-and-overused-for-dark-complected-dolls) head sculpt.  However, this is another reason I wanted Doll 6.  Until now, the Desiree sculpt has never been used with Doll 6's complexion.

Finally, I brushed Doll 5's hair and finger combed Doll 6's.  Without achieving the desired curlier look for Doll 6, I gave her an updo.  The two are shown next in a final together photo where the height difference, due to Doll 5's flat feet and Doll 6's big hair, is notably apparent.

My new dolls are two of the eleven Fashionistas scheduled to be released this year.  Unfortunately, like these two, none of the Fashionistas will be articulated.  All eleven are illustrated on the back of the box as shown next.

Ms. Leo lucked out on a Doll 6 with better hair.  She has already rebodied her doll.  See her post here.

I extend a special thanks to Sarah Sequins of Sarah Plays Dolls.  After reading my reply to her comment on my Who is Barbie post, where I expressed my deep desire for Doll 5,  Sarah found one in her area a few days later that she was willing to sell me.  This was the day after I ordered these two and no longer needed the doll, but I truly appreciate the gesture.

When I ordered my dolls from Amazon.com last week, they were priced $10.99 (Doll 5) and $9.94 (Doll 6).  The price remains the same for Doll 5, but when last checked, Doll 6 was priced a whopping $19.34 with only one available.  What a huge jump in price in less than a week's time.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another Cammie Goes to College

Cammie Goes to College

I first wrote about what was my then lone Cammie Goes to College doll back in March of 2013 here. The post shares detailed information about this 11-1/2-inch 1990s doll that represents an African American college-bound student destined to attend a historically black college or university (HBCU). In the prior post I indicated I regrettably sold the other three differently dressed versions of Cammie Goes to College that I previously owned.  Thanks to a special doll friend, I now own two of this line of vinyl dolls that were United Negro College Fund endorsed.

Cammie is dressed in a red two-piece fashion, the top of which has a Kente cloth-print sash.  Red high heels complement the fashion.  Her extra outfit is a white jogging suit that has College Bound CB (within a circle) on the shirt in blue lettering. A pink plastic comb and brush are included to comb her mounds of black rooted hair.  Like the other versions, a parental guide (which is fully described in my previous post) is also included.

I love Cammie's full facial features (take another look at the first photo) and the fact that the doll was manufactured by a company that was located in Detroit, Michigan:   College Bound Concepts.  Note that the graphics on this doll's box differ from my other doll's box.  The manufacturer's name is also slightly different from the name shown on the other doll's box, which is College Bound Dolls, Inc.  The cover of the parental guide for this doll is also different from the other doll's guide.  These variations lead me to believe the two were manufactured in different years.  I am not sure which doll was released first.

The smile this Cammie placed on my face when I opened the shipping box in the post office lobby returns each time I think about her and the person who so kindly replaced the one I sold.

A huge thanks is again extended to the thoughtful gift giver.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Who Is Barbie? | Barbie

New Barbie Fashionistas are featured in this "Who is Barbie?" video.  The two, now possibly three that are on my wish list are included.  How unfortunate that most of the actual dolls do not possess the articulation illustrated in the video and unfortunate even more that I have not seen them locally (but I haven't really looked either).  Who is Barbie to you?

Now take a look at Who is Barbie:  Behind the Scenes


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sunshine, Blue Skies, and PO Box Surprise!

Random "blue sky" photo taken while at a red light during a recent trip to the post office

The weather in my area has been wild since the latter part of April and throughout the entire month of May.  On a near daily basis, we experienced or received weather alerts that conditions were favorable for thunderstorms, flash flooding, and tornadoes.  During this time, I lost my old faithful desktop PC and three cordless phones in an electrical storm.  Another lightning-filled storm is the attributing cause of a $135 replacement part required to restore the cooling function of our central air conditioning unit.

However, we consider ourselves lucky.  While it rained almost daily for the past 45 days, there were no tornadoes in our immediate area and no flooding. Several people are not as fortunate with many areas still drying out even though we have finally enjoyed full days of sunshine since May 31st.

This past Sunday, after the weather cleared, I drove to the PO to mail some letters and to check my PO box, which had not been checked in several days.   Not expecting to retrieve anything from the box except junk mail, I was pleasantly surprised by a colorful padded envelop from dear friend, and fellow doll lover, Betty Ativie.  

Sunshine, in the form of two beautiful dresses made especially for two of my dolls and matching head bands, was my PO surprise.

The package contained a beautiful card with handwritten note wishing me a happy birthday. Carefully and separately wrapped in tissue paper were two beautiful sunny yellow dresses that Betty handmade for two of my dolls, Matoka by Himstedt specifically, and a smaller doll of my choice.  A third, smaller tissue-wrapped package contained matching head bands made of the same sheer yellow fabric.

I chose to dress Ashley Rose by Madame Alexander in the smaller dress as seen in the close-up photo above and in the following photo, where she is seated on the floor with Matoka looking on.

Ashley Rose is 14 inches tall; Matoka (by Annette Himstedt) stands 33-1/2 inches.

Matoka poses alone in the next photo wearing her new dress and matching headband which, in this photo, looks like a halo.
Attached to the enter of the bodice of each dress is a delicate flower with two yellow ribbon streamers.  Matoka, who had been dressed in a red velour dress since Christmas was as delighted to receive her new dress as I was for her to receive it.
Thank you again, Betty for allowing me to be a recipient of the blessing that is you!  Matoka and Smiling Debbie greatly appreciate your sewing talents and your thoughtfulness.


While in doll redressing mode, two other dolls that had been dressed in Christmas attire since last December are now dressed for spring/summer.  Smiling Debbie and Emilee are shown below in their matching store-bought dresses.

The need to redress these two had been on my to-do list since February of this year.  Thanks to the recently received gifts of sunshine, that mission has been accomplished.