Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Liebster Award Acceptance and Slight Modification

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by D7ana of A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls.  

The rules of acceptance are as follows:

  • Post the award on your blog. 
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.  Thank you D7Ana.  I appreciate the nomination.  (See the link to her blog above.)
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
1.  I have worn glasses since 3rd grade due to a severe astigmatism.  I own several pairs, but actively wear four for different occasions/reasons.  
Computer glasses for near vision only

The glasses in the second photo are are progressive lenses for watching TV in bed and falling asleep (top); outside/inside away from home glasses (middle) and sunglasses (bottom).  The middle and bottom pairs share the same frame style.
2.  I was an honor graduate and made the dean's list in college.
Me at 17, in a head shot inserted under the graduation cap graphics in my memory book
3.  I have worked in the same profession for the past 43 years.  
4.  Thirty-three (33) of the 43 years in the same profession have been enjoyed from the comforts of my home offices.  The current home office also serves as my doll room.

The back of  my small work table is filled with dolls.  Dolls are also on my left, right, and behind me.
5.  I cannot type for an extended period on a flat keyboard.

A one-of-a-kind church doll and framed history; this one was made for my mother for Mother's Day 2014
6.  I make church dolls.  Each one is a handmade, one of a kind.
7.  The first 11 church dolls made were gifts for special people.  I began selling the dolls in 2014.  
8.  This is my second Liebster Award.  
9.  I am one of five children and the older of the two girls born to my parents.  

10.  I love Dreyer's Slow Churned French Silk ice cream, eaten from a tea cup immediately after arriving home with the purchase because the ice cream has softened and I am able to scoop some from the top.  Once it has hardened in the freezer, I can take it or leave it, but there's nothing like eating the almost melted consistency.  Yum!
11.  I dress casually 99.9% of the time.  
The rules continued:

My questions and answers from D7ana are:  
  1. How did you become a blogger? I have always loved to write.  Creating a blog was inspired by my desire to promote my published works. 
  2. What was your favorite subject in school and why?  English was my favorite school subject.  I love words, particularly the English language. 
  3. You can be any doll you want, brought to life. Which doll are you and why?  This is a great question.  Because I would like to be both beautiful and fierce (not taken for granted because of my exterior appearance) my choice is Ajuma by Paul Pham.
  4. What is the coolest story ever connected to your blog?  I am not sure if this post would be considered "cool," but I could almost experience Oprah's surprise as she received a portrait doll from Marie Osmond on the November 9, 2007, Oprah Show.  I published the post some 2-1/2 years after the show aired after stumbling upon the images I captured while watching the 2007 show.  Another post that could possibly be placed in the “cool” category is the final one written about the process of using dark T-shirt transfer paper to transform the face of Big Beautiful Doll Dasia into the likeness of the late Maya Angelou. 
  5. What is your all time favorite movie? The 1959 release of Imitation of Life remains my favorite movie.
  6. What do you do when you are not blogging?  When not blogging, I work a full-time job that requires listening to sound files while reading associated text. These are individual audits which are scored for accuracy with feedback offered to the editors.  I enjoy visits from my grandsons.  Even if I am not in the same room with them, just their presence and doing things for them brings me joy.  In my solitude I read books on my Kindle and/or iPad.  I watch DVR’d recordings of previously televised shows I have missed.  I enjoy networking with fellow collectors.  Of late, my mother has been recuperating at my home from two back-to-back hospital admissions.  This has kept me quite busy and cooking more than I desire. 
  7. What are your Grail dolls/action figures?  An authentic Leo Moss doll remains my sole Holy Grail doll.
  8. What three countries or cities would you like to visit?  My sister has lived in Roanoke, Virginia for two decades and unless she comes home (which she rarely does), I am unable to see her in the flesh.  I no longer take extended trips anywhere, so my chances of going to VA or anywhere else anytime soon are slim to none.  Therefore, I won't bother naming two other cities or countries.   
  9. Is there a project you dream of accomplishing?  I would love to have the free time to complete another book that is not necessarily doll related that will be well supported and read by the masses.  I would also like to overcome my paralyzing fear of flight and other forms of long-distance travel.  This remains a work in progress.
  10. What are your favorite foods?  Pastries are my favorite foods but I do not indulge much.  Every now and then I will give in to the craving for an early morning cinnamon roll or blueberry doughnut.  When made with the right combination of cinnamon and nutmeg I love tea cakes.  Cuisine-wise, I love guacamole and most non-spicy Mexican foods.
  11. Any tips you would give future bloggers?   Tips to future bloggers include:  write about your passion or about anything in which you are well versed.  Make your blog both entertaining and informative.  Always consider your audience and create ways to keep readers captivated; be concise; always proofread, do not publish until you have checked for spelling and grammar errors (Blogspot has a built-in spellcheck feature), add at least one or two quality images to each post that are related to the subject, and preview each post prior to publishing. 

I would like for the five bloggers I nominated to answer the same questions I was asked by D7ana.  *If for any reason any of my nominees have been nominated for this award by someone else recently, please do not feel obligated to follow through.  


Monday, September 28, 2015

Madame Alexander Welcome Home Now Thank You

Auction photo of Madame Alexander "Thank you" ensemble

Doll collectors usually suffer from a chronic and incurable condition of want-itis. I-am-no-exception. After seeing a fellow collector's African American "Thank You" doll from 1997 by Madame Alexander, I wanted to purchase one. Initially, the doll was going to be a gift for a friend as a "thank you" for all she does. However, (or 'what had happened was')...

I saved an eBay search for "Madame Alexander Thank You Doll."  The only notices received were for newly listed white versions of the doll.  Finally, eBay sent an email announcing an auction for a near-complete "Thank You" outfit only.  This was a buy it now or best offer auction.  I made an offer that was countered by the seller.  I countered the seller's offer, which was accepted.

As shown above, the outfit includes replaced shoes (the original shoes are pink).  The doll's thank you card and flower bouquet were also not included.   The seller sent along an unmarked purple bike with an attached cart described as being part of a Madame Alexander doll display.

With the outfit on its way, all I needed was a doll to wear it.

The person who owns the original African American "Thank You" doll sent me a link to an eBay auction for Madame Alexander's 1991 Welcome Home African American girl.  She shared that these dolls show up often and usually have low beginning bids.  I watched the auction until the last day of the listing when I found an identical doll in an auction with a lower beginning bid and less expensive shipping.  Within a couple of days, the auction ended with me as the only bidder.

Auction photo of "Welcome Home" Wendy

After undressing Wendy (the name by which most refer to the 8-inch dolls by Madame Alexander), I noticed her loose stringing.  She visited the resident doll doctor for restringing before I dressed her in the "Thank You" fashion which had arrived a few days before.

Wendy has been restrung and her one ponytail changed to two side ponytails.
Redressed in the "Thank You" outfit, Wendy posed with the purple bike with cart the seller sent.

As illustrated above, African American "Welcome Home" Wendy is now my creation of the elusive 1997 African American "Thank You" doll from the Occasions Collection.  I changed her original hairstyle from one pulled back ponytail with curly ends to two side ponytails.

The missing thank you card was replaced with one I made using white card stock and pink construction paper.  Wendy was given a little doll with a bear of her own to sit in the cart of the bike.

Wendy poses wearing her new clothes and her doll-and-bear-filled cart.  The thank you card had not been made when the photo above was taken, but I wanted to share this cute pose.
 With her doll and the doll's bear in the cart, Wendy wears the "Thank You" ensemble and holds a thank you card.  (By the time this photo was taken, Bear had fallen asleep.)


Shortly after I published this post, a doll friend recognized that the shoes the seller sent with my Thank You Wendy outfit were not the original pink shoes that the doll should wear. She kindly purchased the above pink faux suede Madame Alexander shoes for my doll. 

Madame Alexander Thank you Wendy (formerly Welcome Home Wendy) models her new pink shoes and sends her love to her shoe donor.

I will continue to watch for the authentic African American "Thank You" doll to carry out my original plan to purchase as a gift for a friend. (But this one is mine... all mine!)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Unknown Uneeda Barbie Competitor

Like my newest Barbie Fashionista, this circa 1970s Uneeda fashion doll was also supposed to have arrived with a travel mate, an identical doll except for a straight hairstyle and clothing (see her head shot below).  Their arrival was delayed by weeks before I contacted the seller regarding their whereabouts.  Seller "thought" she had mailed the dolls but discovered the package had slid underneath the car seat (?).  The package finally arrived, a bubble wrap mailer, containing only one doll!

I inquired about the missing doll.  Seller investigated and said the other doll could not be found (?).  A refund to include the full amount of shipping was issued.  There is no love lost because the one I received with curly hair is the one I really wanted anyway.

I have searched my doll reference books and various Uneeda Doll reference sites online for help in identifying the doll.  As for now, I only know her as a circa 1970s Barbie competitor.  The doll has distinct facial features of brown painted eyes with painted upper and lower eyelashes.  She has an open/smiling mouth with separately molded teeth.  The head markings are U.D. CO. INC.  The back is marked UNEED ADOLL CO INC (the spacing is not off; "uneed adoll" is the way it is printed), which was the company's clever way of spelling "you need a doll").  A gold label is on the doll's lower back that reads "Made in China."  Except for her twist and turn waist, she is not articulated.  The head is a firm vinyl while the body is made of a thin plastic.  Her round neck knob is  molded onto her body for easy removal of the head.  I believe the purple dress with center ruching is original to the doll.  Underneath the dress, as illustrated, she wears white panties (something that is usually omitted on today's dolls).

After thoroughly washing the visible dirt from her face and body, I redressed the doll in a combination of Sparkle Girlz and Barbie fashion/shoes/accessory.  It might be my imagination, but to me she looks happier now.

Any help leading to the doll's manufactured name will be greatly appreciated.

Head shot of the missing-in-action Uneeda doll friend


Friday, September 25, 2015

A Giggles-Inspired Memory

Giggles enjoys a flower garden, photo from Betty J. Ativie

The recently published post about my re-connection with Ideal's 1968/1969 Giggles doll prompted fellow doll collector/sister in Christ, Betty Ativie to pen a heart warming letter to me.  I was so touched by her recollection that I wanted to share it here.  The undated letter was written sometime after August 24, 2015.  With Betty's permission to share, I scanned it (chiefly because she has such great penmanship and there was really no need for me to retype it as a result).

Giggles is joined by another one of Betty's favorite dolls, Patti, a composition mama doll, circa 1930s.

Thank you again, Betty, for allowing me to share this beautiful story.  May God continue to bless you and your family.  

The Giggles post Betty's letter references can be read here.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Which Comes First the Fashion or the Doll?

The above fashion pack contains two fashions made for the now discontinued 4Ever Best Friends dolls by MGA Entertainment.  I purchased the fashion pack specifically for the school girl fashion. Because I do not own 4Ever Best Friends dolls, I had no idea which doll would have the opportunity to wear it.  I still had to have it.

The first doll to try on the school girl get up was Goddess.  She loved it, even though she had to wear a pair of her own shoes.

Goddess rocks the school girl look.
4Ever Best Friends dolls are only 9-1/2 inches tall with different proportions than playscale dolls, including their feet, which are longer and wider.

Once Goddess entered the classroom (because of the mini skirt and crop top) she was sent home! Back at home she continued to wear the fashion until I scanned the doll room and found the following two girls who looked like perfect models for both fashions.

These two girls, Kiki and Sami, by Madame Alexander were originally white dolls that I dyed brown using Rit clothing dye.  The Alexander company did not make African American versions, so I made my own, as discussed here.

Kiki and Sami are perfect models for the 4Ever Best Friends fashions.

The girls wanted to show off their backpacks.

As shown above, they are now wearing their 4Ever Best Friends fashions and shoes which fit them to a T.  I am so glad I scanned the doll room.  Goddess wears what she wore previously, her Live, Love, and Laugh top, black leggings, and black sandals.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Finally, a Dark Skinned Lammily

For those interested in purchasing a not-so-glamorous,  not-so-fashion conscious doll made with more realistic proportions than most playscale dolls, the Lammily folks are adding a dark skinned doll to the line. The 11-inch doll with an interest in photography is scheduled for March 2016 shipping and can be preordered now for $25 plus shipping.

From their website:
The Lammily doll is the first fashion doll made according to typical human body proportions to promote realistic beauty standards and help your child develop a positive body image!
  • Eleven inches tall and ready for action with articulated elbows, hands, knees, and feet.
  • Includes 1 doll with camera.
  • Only Lammily branded fashions will fit on the doll.
  • Available option: Period Party – the fun way to explain the menstrual cycle to kids.
  • Available option: Lammily Marks – a sticker pack of scars, acne, cellulite and more!
I preordered one but did not see the available options mentioned above on their website.

For more details, follow the link:


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Suicidal Accessory

Puppy dangles from his leash in what appears to be a failed jump.

Part of Barbie Basics Look No. 02 Collection 001 accessory pack (and described as an accessory by Mattel), this little puppy has been a companion for a variety of dolls.  So in Style Grace is his current owner.  She and several other playscale dolls are displayed on top of a portable file cabinet that is positioned next to my work desk.  I must have bumped the cabinet when getting up from my chair at some point.

The big picture.

Upon returning to my desk, I noticed this little fellow dangling from the top of the file cabinet as though he tried to jump off.  I captured his failed jump and the following photo before rescuing him.

Rescued!  Grace is relieved.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Introducing the Stunning Claudette Gordon

Claudette Gordon is from the Gold Label Collection as indicated on the top of her black box.

Harlem Theater Collection Claudette Gordon, designed by Carlyle Nuera, is as stunning as I had imagined.  I have not deboxed her but wanted to share these initial photos taken immediately after her arrival.

She has such great facial bone structure.  Just look at those high cheeks and well-defined jawline.  I have not determined the real-life celebrity she resembles but she has a very familiar face.

This full-length photo illustrates Claudette's beautiful flapper-style dress with embroidered peacock feather design.  A silver standing microphone and doll stand are included.

Will there be a male counterpart?  The designer has hinted there will.  Only time will tell.  For now, I will continue to enjoy this fully-articulated beauty.  


Saturday, September 19, 2015

New Fashionista, Waiting on One More

New Fashionista Barbie has an Asian-African American look

This girl was supposed to be a travel companion for Carlyle Nuera's Claudette Gordon.  Both were ordered on the same date from (formerly known as; however, Claudette's flight was delayed.  I am expecting Claudette to arrive later today.  While free time permits (of which I have very little these days), I wanted to post the initial and additional photos of this lovely auburn haired doll.
Wearing a pink and turquoise print romper, she carries a turquoise shoulder bag and wears beige sandals on her flat feet. Bronze diamond-shaped earrings complete her casual look.

Her auburn hair has red streaks.
The beauty mark below her left eye adds to her appealing appearance.
After deboxing, I discovered a dark smudge on the right side of her lovely face and another discoloration in the vinyl on her forehead.  Both areas are too faint for my camera to capture, but because I see them, the plan is to call Mattel for a replacement.  Even though the price was only $10.99, I expect at least a flawless face.

This doll is the final one in the new collection of Barbie Fashionistas that I desire. 

At the time of ordering Claudette and the Asian-African American-looking fashionista, the above doll was not available at TheBarbieCollection website.  At the time of this writing, a couple of Amazon sellers are offering the doll for triple the amount of retail!  I choose to wait until a retail-priced doll is available.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Profile of an Artist Gloria Rone

Originally published in
The Black Doll-E-Zine Group – December 2006
By Debbie Garrett

I had the pleasure of "meeting" Gloria Young via the Internet in August 2006 after she expressed an interest in being profiled in a future issue of The Black Doll-E-Zine.    That future issue has presented itself in the form of our new e-mail group at Yahoo, and I am pleased to share the doll art of Gloria Young with The BDE Group readers and what inspired her to begin creating it.  Because of our new format, Gloria's profile appears in three parts.  To ensure that the images can be viewed by all readers, they are included in the profile and are also stored under the Photos link in the Artist's Profile album at The BDE Group website

Q.  When and what inspired you to begin making dolls and how long have you been making them?
In April of 2000, my father, Edward Young, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. While visiting him one day at the hospital, he was upset and in a sad mood.  Usually he was the [happy-go]-lucky dad no matter what. I did not realize how much pain he was really in.  I wanted to make him something to cheer him up and put a smile back on his face.  I went home thinking to myself, "Daddy loves looking at my art work. Knowing he loved cowboys and Indians, I decided to make him an Indian doll.  Even though I was an artist all my life, I had no real clue or desire to make dolls.  My dad was an artist, too.  He enjoyed sculpting and making airplanes and canes out of wood that he found during his daily walks.  I went to the local craft store and bought a plastic face mold, beads, feathers, and a piece of leather.  I found a toilet paper roll and used that for the body.  I sat down, plugged in the hot glue gun, and began gluing parts together.  After a few frustrating hours, I had what I called a doll.  I took this doll and gave it to my dad. He laughed and said, "Kid that's cool.  I don't know where I got you from."  Just seeing the smile on my dad's face was enough for me to continue making dolls, and that is what I did.  After he passed away, the nurses told me that my dad carried that doll with him through five back operations.  They said he would say, "Don't forget my dolls."  Dolls have become a big part of my life.  I love this so much.  I have self-taught myself through many trials and tribulations of making dolls and many mistakes.  I have come a long way and still have much to learn.  I have two collections of dolls that I make.  I especially make slavery-style dolls, mammies, cotton pickers, elderly people and children.

Bedtime Doll
Q.   What is your preferred medium and why was that medium chosen?
I really enjoy using the polymer clay because the end results are so lifelike.  I also work in cloth and wood.

Q.  Do you focus on one type of doll or do you create a variety of genders or age groups?
I like creating a variety of dolls, young and elderly, mostly female.
Deb's doll, Lou-Ellen made of stained cloth
Q.  Elaborate on your first doll.  Do you still have it?  What was its name?  Were you pleased with its outcome?  If you sold it, for how much did it sell, and to whom did you sell it?
My first doll was an Indian doll made for my father.  I am not sure what to think of that doll… it was okay.  It needed some help, but my dad loved it.  I still have it.  I plan to pass it down to my girls.

Q.  Describe your latest doll creation and the inspiration for creating it?
My latest dolls are slavery type.  I always loved Black history and all the stories of Harriet Tubman.

Q.  Before you begin making a doll, do you have an idea what the doll will look like or do your dolls create themselves?
I start with an idea and then the dolls tell the stories.  I must do the listening and let them play the stories out.

Q.  Have you ever created a portrait doll?  If so, are your dolls made to look like people you know? 
Yes, I made a portrait doll of my father.  It looks just like him.

Portrait doll of Gloria's father
Q.  Does each doll have its own personality?
Every doll I create has its own personality.
Q.  How do you decide on the clothing and accessories for your dolls and do you make these?
 I began making the dolls, and then the dolls tell me what they should wear.   I do make the clothing.

Q.  Do you have your own personal style or trademark? If so, please elaborate.
 Yes, I do on some of my dolls.  I carve my wood dolls' heads in a square-like position.  Most have an almost flat face.

Q.  How do you decide what to name your dolls and do their names have meanings?
I think about my childhood memories, about things that are important to me, and sometimes things that are happening currently.

Q.  Do your dolls tell a story?  If so, would you share a brief one?
Yes, all my dolls tell a story.  I had one doll called "Mama's Biscuits."  The little girl was remembering cooking with her mama.  She had a basket of biscuits in her hands and was dressed in a little dress with an apron.

Mama's homemade biscuits
Q.  Do you want collectors to gain a sense of realism through looking at your dolls or are your dolls caricatures?  What else do you desire for collectors to gain by owning your dolls?
I want the collectors to smile and enjoy the stories the dolls are telling them.  I want them to understand the artist and get a feel for the artist's personality.  I want them to enjoy a nice piece of art.

Q.  Approximately how much time is required to make one of your dolls from start to finish?
It all depends.  If I start a doll, sometimes I put it down and walk away until the story comes to me. Sometimes it might take me a week or two and sometimes it might be a couple of days if I continue to work on it all day.

Q.  In a years' time, approximately how many dolls do you create?
I think I make about 25-30 dolls in a year's time.

Servant dolls
Q. What is the average cost of one of your dolls today?
The average price is about $150.00
Doll from Nana's Birthday series

Q.  How do you present your dolls to the doll community -- through doll shows, the Internet, auctions, etc.?
I have been having home shows and I sell via the Internet.

Q.  If you have done doll shows, have you done any recently?  Do you have any planned for the future.  If so, when and where?
Yes, I plan to do a show at the Philadelphia Black Doll Show in May of 2007.

Q.     Do you teach doll art?
Yes, I have taught children at the Boys and Girls Club where I am the art director.

Q.  Do you have any tips for aspiring doll artists?
Yes, keep your head up; follow your dreams; and never stop trying.

Cotton Picker

Q.  What's next for you? Do you see yourself creating dolls long into the future?
I want to get some articles out to the public and let them know about my dolls.  I would love to have my dolls displayed in some of the finest museums.

Q.  How can collectors contact you?
You may contact me at

I want to thank 
The Black Doll-E-Zine for sharing my profile with its readers.

Shelley and Rabbit series
Thank you, Gloria, for allowing The BDE to profile you (and I still need one of your polymer clay dolls).

Gloria's Current contact information:


Due to image space limitations, the following photos, submitted with the ones above in 2006, were not published with Gloria's profile.  They are additional fine examples of Gloria's doll art.  

I Miss Daddy

Easter Blessings

Shelley and Rabbit

Nana's Birthday

Nana's Birthday series

The Old Rugged Cross