Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Dolls Janet Purchased

Travel Doll Janet, center, finds Curvy Barbie #32 and Petite Barbie #25 on Target's shelves.

My travel doll, Janet, accompanied me and my husband to Target to return an item he had purchased for one of our grandsons that Grandson didn't need.

While there, I scoped out the Bratz clothing section (having remembered Vanessa's post from January 5, 2016) to see if there was an outfit interesting enough to purchase for Janet.

 As part of the travel doll event that I coordinated for my doll group, we can buy clothing and other items for Janet.  It is required, however, that we purchase at least one souvenir item that represents the host's city or state. I had already done the latter at the time of the Target visit.  I didn't see any Bratz fashions that interested me (those huge Bratz shoes were a big turnoff .  What would I do with those? Janet certainly can't wear them, I thought.).  Before leaving that section, I noticed Target had some of the curvy Barbies in stock on the opposite aisle.  One of the three African American ones that I placed on my wish list back in January was available.

My husband tried to convince me to buy one of the petite ones (doll 25, Blue Brocade), that Janet is shown with in the first photograph and a different curvy one, a blonde or brunette, but I decided against.  Janet, however, insisted that I buy the wish-listed doll.  It didn't take much for her to convince me to do this, so in the cart curvy girl #32, Dolled Up Denim, went.


At home, Janet was eager for curvy Barbie to be released.  After removing the plastic, the two formed an instant bond.  Unfortunately, their bond must remain temporary because Janet will be leaving at the end of this week to travel to her next destination.

Dolled up Denim and Janet do display well together and could easily pass for mother and daughter.  The curvy dolls' fashion looks better on her, in my opinion, without the mesh top.

As an aside, recently someone asked if Big Beautiful Doll Dasia can wear Curvy Barbie's clothing. The answer is no.  Dasia's figure is fuller as confirmed by the measurements I took of both dolls:

Curvy Barbie (breasts, waist, hips):  5-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches
Dasia (breasts, waist, hips):  7-1/2 x 7 x 8 inches.

This photo, courtesy of Onlyalisa, illustrates Dolled up Denim's voluptuous curves, but she is not as curvy as Dasia as shown next.
This nude photo of Dasia shows her more-curvaceous-than-Curvy Barbie's body.

Gifts for Janet
On a different day, while shopping for household cleaning items without the company of Janet or my husband, I browsed Family Dollar's toy aisle looking for things for Janet... seriously, that is what I was doing.  I found these cute ice cream treat-shaped erasers and a mini Barbie doll that will go into Janet's goodie bag.  Their costs were $1 and $3.35, respectively.


The erasers and mini Barbie were part of Janet's Easter basket goodies and will go with the other things I purchased for her to her final destination after her traveling concludes in September and she is sent to a forever home.  The mini Barbie Janet holds in the second photo is mine (yes, I purchased two that day and opened mine to see the exact scale when it is held by Janet.  (Had it not been for Janet, though.) 


Earlier this month (can't blame Janet for this one), I was so enthused by CJ Starz Forever's restyling of DC Super Hero Girls Bumblebee that I scooted out to Target and found one in stock.  She came home with me too.  I'll provide a detailed post about my Bumblebee separately since this post is developing a lengthy life of its own.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Gabbigale Mute But Cute Update

Gabbigale by Kenner, 1972, was photographed shortly after her June 2011 arrival.

This is an update to my post of June 8, 2011, written about Kenner's Gabbigale from 1972 that I acquired from the estate of another collector.

In my previous post, as indicated in the inserted photo from the book, Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820 to 1991 by Myla Perkins (Collector Books, 1992) the black doll's original dress is gold with red print sleeves.  My doll arrived wearing a blue dress with red print sleeves and matching undies.  I didn't think anything about this at the time.

This box photo, courtesy of Dawn Spears, illustrates the African American version in her original gold dress with a little doll lover admiring her.  The caption reads:  "She says everything I tell her to say."
After recently acquiring her African American version of Kenner's Gabbigale with original box, fellow collector and doll friend, Dawn Spears, pointed out to me that my doll was wearing the white doll's dress.  Dawn went a step further and found Gabbigale's original gold dress and undies for sale, purchased these, and sent them to me.  

Now my Gabbigale is all original, still mute but cute in her original dress, undies, and shoes!

Thank you again, Dawn, for your generosity!  Based on her facial expression, Gabbigale thanks you as well!

Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Praises for the Dresses He Made

Simplicity A1149, a pattern to make two sun dresses for 18-inch dolls

While in the sewing department of Walmart, I browsed the pattern section for doll clothes patterns and found Simplicity pattern A1149 for 18-inch dolls. Because I do not sew and the person I was with can, I asked if he could make one of the dresses shown.  His answer implied it would be a piece of cake to do. I'm always prepared to challenge him, so I took him on. I selected fabric and found the necessary trimmings required to complete the dress with the heart-shaped pocket and head scarf (dress B).

I took photos of some of the steps that led to completion of not one but both dresses.  (After the first dress was cut out and he discovered there was enough fabric to make the second,  he offered to make it.  Of course I agreed.)

The fabric chosen:  cotton blend yellow with tiny white circular print for the dress and white/gray/yellow chevron print for the bloomers, scarf, and pocket of dress B (shown on the left of the pattern.  The chevron print was not used for dress A).

Dresses A and B have been cut out in the above photos.

In about two days, both dresses, minus the snaps, were completed.  Yes!  He did that!
With his portion completed, I sewed the snaps onto both while my little helper looked on.
While in the store shopping for trimmings, I agreed to sew on the snaps after he said, "You'll have to do that.  My hands are too big."  Not a problem, I thought.  My little helper, Travel Doll Janet, watched as I sewed the snaps onto the first dress from the comfort of my bed.  I will admit it took me two days to sew the snaps on both.  It was the end of the day and I was tired when I began the first one.  I completed the snap task on the second dress the following day.  This was the only thing I did. Sewing is just not something I enjoy doing.

These are the two dolls chosen to wear the dresses, 18-inch dolls by Madame Alexander, Patience and Passion.

Patience chose to wear the scarf as a headband.  I think they both look adorable.

After I told him I had dressed the girls, he asked:  Did they [the dresses] fit?  I replied, "Yes, did you think they wouldn't?"  All confident in his ability to do anything, particularly if I challenge him to do it, he said, "No, just trying to check to see if you know what you're talking about because I know what I'm doing."  He examined the dolls wearing the dresses and sang his own praises.  

Why am I referring to the person who made these dresses as "he/him?"  Because he asked me not to tell my friends he made them and technically, I have not done that.

Later on, but prior to my writing this post, he asked if I told anyone.  I said, "No, but I am."  He didn't voice any opposition which gave me the cue to proceed with this post because I am impressed with the end result and I sang his praises, too.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Janet's Dilemma

Polly Pocket Janet* was purchased last year with plans to organize a travel doll event this year for my doll group.  The event has been organized and was launched last week.  Several group members will host Janet in their homes between now and the end of September, each keeping Janet for two weeks before mailing her to the next host.  Janet will experience fun outings that will be captured and shared with group members in still photos and videos.  At the end of her travels, Janet will live with one of the members, but not me, permanently.

I am Janet's first host.  After removing her romper to try on dresses on hand that she might be able to wear, I discovered that with a dress Janet will need underwear.  I wasn't able to find a small enough to pair to fit her.  Remembering the sock dresses I made and how well heavy knit fabric worked to make them, I decided to utilize something similar for Janet's undies.

This is a white inspection glove, a finger of which was used to fashion undies for Janet.

The first attempt was a fail because I used an inspection glove, which is very lightweight, ravels easily at raw edges, and stretches out of shape.

My second pantie-making attempt worked better.  I used a heavier weighted glove designed to protect hands from cold weather.  Below are photos and captions of what was done using both types of gloves to fashion undies for Janet.

Inspection Glove Undies

The middle finger of the glove was cut away as illustrated above.

The corners of the glove tip were cut diagonally toward the center as shown here, leaving a portion of the middle seam intact to serve as the crotch of the pantie.

The fit is decent, but the edges ravel easily. (If these were to be used, the top would be trimmed and the raw edges sewn under, as shown in the next photo.)
Winter Glove Undies

I purchased this set of two winter gloves for $1.29. The same method used to make the first pantie was used to make the second.

The middle finger of the glove was cut away.

The sides were cut away diagonally from the tip of the glove, leaving the center stitched portion intact.

Janet tries the undies on for size to see how much of the top needs to be trimmed.

There's enough coverage in the front and back.

The top was trimmed away.  I whip stitched the raw edges at the waist and legs, but they lacked something.

The pantie needed lace treatment.  I added lace trim using lace from two manufactured doll panties.

Lace has been added to the waist and legs of Janet's pantie.

She models from the front...

...and from the back.

Now, when wearing dresses she won't have to worry about exposing her jewels.  :-)

She can also wear her undies underneath her original Polly Pocket-holding romper without a problem.

*Polly Pocket Janet by Mattel was released in 1994.  She is friend of Stacie, Barbie's littlest sister.  This one is a doll collector; she collects Polly Pocket dolls and was issued with three: one African American, one Hispanic, and one Caucasian.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Black Dolls Opinion of a Collector

Stèphanie Benie, the owner of the French-language website, which is devoted to black beauty, asked my permission to grant an interview.  She explained:

One week ago we wrote a short article about black dolls and we have continued searching for information about this topic and we have just discovered your black doll collection.
We find interesting that you have a collection as we did not know it was possible to own so many. Therefore we would like to write about you and your work. Would you accept to answer a couple of questions for us?

Stèphanie's questions (black text), my answers (blue text), and a link to the actual article (written in French), which was published on 03/15/2016, follow:

- You say that it is important that black girls play with black dolls for their self love. Can you explain to us, how it contributed to your daughter's self love ?  Playing with black dolls, reading children’s books and viewing media with African American characters, residing in a home with décor that reflected her cultural heritage, in addition to teachings from me and her father about our worth as a people, all worked together as visual and mental tools to dispel the mainstream fallacy that only one form of beauty exists and that all non-white people are minorities.  The end result is a self-assured woman who values her whole being, who has never considered herself a minority or less than anyone else because of skin color or cultural heritage.
- Do you have any selecton criteria when you choose your black dolls ? If yes, what are the criteria ?  My main selection criterion when choosing black dolls is their aesthetic appeal.  The dolls must be adequate representations of black people.  

- Through your dolls one can see the evolution of the society and we would also say that they do tell the History of the African American people. Do you think your dolls could be used as an educational tool ?  Dolls can be used as an educational tool in many ways.  As playthings, baby dolls can cultivate girls’ innate tendency to nurture and mother.  For black girls, black dolls can be used to promote self-love, acceptance of self, and an appreciation for others who look like them.  In the hands of non-black children, black dolls can promote cultural diversity and encourage non-black children to value the lives of people whose outward appearance differs from their own.

-  We have seen another website where the owner has a collection of black men dolls. Do you think that the self love issue is the same for boys as for girls ?  Why ?  Yes, the self-love issue is the same for black boys as it is for black girls.  All children must be able to develop a strong sense of self-appreciation particularly in an environment where blackness is often falsely demonized, vilified, and looked upon as less than everyone else.  This is particularly true for black males.  It is very important for them to know, beginning in their impressionable years, that their lives matter.  Surrounding black boys with positive images of themselves and utilizing other tools (art, books and other media where they are included as positive characters) is very important in their impressionable years to encourage a strong positive sense of self.  

The article can be read or viewed at the following link:
Translation:  Black dolls opinion of a collector

Check out my eBay listings here.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How To's on Collection Storage, Display, and Organization

NRFB dolls are stacked against a wall; others
are displayed to the left and behind the computer
monitor.  For a collector, every bit of space counts.

In part 1 of Collection Storage, Display, and Organization, Shasha polled fellow collectors and shared their collective tips on this topic. Each contributor offered great ideas to organize and save space.

Thank you again for allowing me to contribute, Shasha!

Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Celebrate the Magic of Christmas, Art Dolls by Daisy Carr

Books of the Bible 11-1/2-inch cloth doll by Daisy Carr, photograph courtesy of Cheryl Bruce

The above Books of the Bible doll was created by Maryland-based doll artist, Daisy Carr, circa 2007. It is featured in chapter 2 of  Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion. This interesting doll has the names of the books of the Old Testament on one side of the body and the books of the New Testament on the other.  Both sides have a face.   The photo of this doll brought Carr's doll artistry to my attention in 2008.

Several years after including the Books of the Bible doll in my book, I contacted Carr to feature her dolls on this blog.  She sent several hard copies of photos by mail to me that had been taken in low lighting.  I scanned these but was unsuccessful at achieving publish-worthy copies of the photos. Therefore, the feature post remained on the back burner, until now.  In addition to wanting to feature Carr's dolls here, I also have wanted to own at least one of her one-of-a-kind art dolls.  Little did I know this would eventually happen.

This past Christmas season, Cheryl Bruce, the owner of the Books of the Bible doll, who has been a long-time member of my doll group, asked me if I received a package she had mailed to me. At the time she asked, I had not.  Last week, however, after three months, the package finally arrived!

I opened the package before returning home and shouted for joy upon viewing the contents:  a doll ornament by Daisy Carr!  Finally, I own at least one Daisy Carr piece.

The front and back of the ornament are shown above.  What appears to be a long strand of hair are loops of yarn by which the 9-inch ornament can hang.

In this photo, the loop of yarn is extended to illustrate how the ornament will look when hung.

Along with the Daisy Carr ornament, a Christmas greeting from Cheryl was in the package which reads:  Celebrate the magic of Christmas!

I am still celebrating.

Thank you again, Cheryl, for your thoughtful gift.  I am thrilled it finally arrived.


Below are more enhanced versions of the scanned photos Daisy Carr sent in approximately 2009. The images are still rather grainy which compromises details, but they are much better than they were initially.

In this photo, lying on the table are a couple of Carr's Books of the Bible dolls.

What took so long for Cheryl's package to reach me?  It was addressed to my former PO Box, which was closed November 30, 2015, but a forwarding address form was in place two weeks prior to that PO box being closed.  Why it took the PO three months to complete the forward, remains a mystery.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Black Beauty Bookmark and Kissing Kousins Dolls by Karen Oyekanmi

Black Beauty Bookmarks by Kissing Kousins are 12 inches, made of felt, have hand-painted features, and wear cloth dresses, each a one of a kind, $20 each.

After seeing the above image of  bookmarks in the shape of dolls, I contacted the daughter of the woman who made these and ordered one as a gift for a friend. The bookmark arrived last week and I love it so much that the doll collecting reader in me has unapologetically decided to keep it.

The bookmark, as you can see from the above images, is quite unique and works much better than the Cheerios coupon I had been using as a bookmark for the current book I am trying to decide if I want to complete.

The coupon had been the first thing I grabbed from my nightstand when I was reading another book.  It transferred over to the current book prior to receiving the Black Beauty Bookmark by Karen Oyekanmi of Kissing Kousins Dolls.

Of course I have other bookmarks and some of them also have a doll theme, but none are quite like this one and none of the others came with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Along with the bookmark, as a most generous gift, Karen sent a mirror compact, the front of which she has decorated with sheet music and the bust of a woman sculpted in polymer clay who appears to be in song.  On the back is written:

by K-K
2015 1/1

I love it!

In my Facebook and email conversions with Karen, who, according to her daughter, began her Black doll journey in 1982, she shared photos of some of her doll creations, some of which are in shadow boxes.  Most of the photos she shared are of dolls that are currently on exhibit but they will be available for sale after the exhibit closes on March 26, 2016.  See these photos with associated prices below.

Drink up Alice, a 14-inch, fully posable doll of felt is a one of a kind (OOAK) with shadow box (positioned sideways).

When asked if she works only in cloth or in mixed media Karen replied:
I make porcelain baby dolls on request... I also sculpt dolls in polymer clay. I love working in felt so the majority of my dolls in the past five years have been felt dolls. The doll, Drink up Alice (shown above), is in the shadow box sideways as shown. She can be removed from the box; she is attached with Velcro . She is fully jointed and would love to stand or sit in a chair!

This doll and the one immediately above it are Mama's Babies, 8 inches, felt, $85

My Angela, 14-inch  OOAK felt doll, fully posable with chair $100

Presentation is a 6-inch fairy with frog, $85.

Sitting Pretty is a 3-inch fairy on a 3-inch clay pot, $100

Spring Arrival, 12-inch wooden jointed doll in shadow box, $90

Karen is working on additional bookmarks and plans to launch her website soon.  If you are interested in purchasing a Black Beauty Bookmark or any of the dolls shown above, Karen may be contacted through her Facebook page here.


Check out my eBay listings here.