Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Melanites

There is a new post on Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black.  In an interview of the founder of Melanites, read about the action toys that "celebrate brown boyhood," and follow the crowdfunding link if interested in adding the first one to your collection.  Here, again, is the link.


Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Nana Yaayaa's (Tamica's) African-Inspired Dress

National flag of Ghana

In honor of Black History Month, the administrator of a Black Barbie groups on Facebook, asked members to participate in a project to "sew" an African dress for Barbie and to give our dolls African names.  I decided to dress my doll muse, Tamica, for the project and give her the temporary Ghanaian name, Nana Yaayaa, which means Mother of the Earth, born on a Thursday.  (It was a Thursday in early February when I completed the dress.)

I chose a Ghanaian name because Nana Yaayaa wears a no-sew dress made from fabric that contains the colors of the national flag of Ghana*.  Because I do not sew, I improvised by creating a wrap dress. 

What Was Done
Nana Yaayaa stands on top of a piece of scarf and a black headband.

The no-sew dress was made using a square cut from a scarf.  The cut edges of the scarf were folded over and permanently ironed in place with Stitch Witchery.  

Before wrapping the sheer scarf around her body, she needed something underneath:  a tube dress.

Because the scarf fabric is thin, Nana Yaayaa wears a black tube dress underneath the wrap dress. The tube dress was made from a black headband.  As shown above, the sewn edge of the headband was cut to create an opening (photo-left).  The excess headband was cut away to create the desired length (photo right).

With Nana Yaayaa's body inside the tube dress, the top was rolled over twice to conceal the raw edge, as shown above.

The square cut from the scarf was then wrapped around Nana Yaayaa's body, tucked, and tied on the side creating the final look illustrated above.  Each step is demonstrated in a Youtube video, which can be viewed here.

Nana Yaayaa loves her new dress.  She has worn it for most of the month of February and will continue wearing it until she decides she needs a fashion change.

*About the National Flag of Ghana
The flag was “designed and adopted in 1957 and was flown until 1962, and then reinstated in 1966. It consists of the Pan-African colors of red, yellow, and green, in horizontal stripes, with a black five-pointed star in the canter of the gold stripe.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Ghana 

"Red symbolizes the blood of those who died in the country's struggle for independence from the United Kingdom.

Yellow represents the country's mineral wealth.

Green stands for [the] country's rich forests and natural wealth.

“Black Star is the lodestar of African freedom and symbolizes African emancipation... [It] was adopted from the flag of the Black Star Line, a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey that operated from 1919 to 1922, and gives the Ghana national football team their nickname, the Black Stars. The flag's design influenced that of the flag of Guinea-Bissau.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thank You LéonorEtLorelei

I love the readers of this blog. Really, I do.  I had to take this time to thank all of you for following, reading, and commenting on my posts.

I am also extending a heartfelt thanks to LéonorEtLorelei, who so kindly helped me identify my second doll purchase of 2017, the cutie patootie from Holland.

In a comment to that post, she wrote:

This doll is a GoGo Brigitte. As a black Beauty, she was [often] dressed like a hula dancer. Never seen any with red eyebrows.She did also exist in a smaller size, named "Happy Haley" .Hope you'll have a great day !
In a second comment, the following links to photos of Go-Go Brigitte dolls, including a black version dressed in straw skirt, were shared:

Black and White Go-GoBrigitte dolls
Go-Go Brigitte
Brigette in straw skirt

LéonorEtLorelei, I really appreciate your help! Thank you also for sharing a link to one of your blog posts.  I love your creativity as well as the message your little doll protesters are conveying.  The Herman Pecker and the Cheers premium doll are both adorable.

During the 1960s, toys and other items were included as premiums with products sold here in the US, like Cheers laundry detergent, but I never saw dolls of any color in any of the products my mother purchased.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Toy Fair 2017: BARBIE FIRST LOOK - New Dolls - New Fashion - Barbie Hologr...

Toy Fair 2017:  In this 11-minute video, take a sneak peek into the 2017 Barbie world.

Note:  April 2017 is the Gabby Douglas Barbie release date.

Based on this video, do you have any favorites?  Was there anything that left you wondering, "why?"


Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Toy Fair Recap with Video

Entitled, Diversity and Inclusion Win the Toy Fair, the above video and associated article, which can be read at the link below, describe an array of new dolls and toys  presented at this year's Toy Fair.  With a stated focus on diversity, the video provides a brief glimpse at Mattel's Gabrielle Douglas doll; the first transgender doll, Jazz Jennings, by Robert Tonner; American Girl's first 18-inch male doll, Logan Everett, and another new line of 18-inch dolls, the City Girls from New York Doll Collection.  (Note: the dolls on NYDC's website do not look like the dolls displayed at Toy Fair).  

2017 Barbie Fashionistas
These are some of the new fashionistas that we can expect to see from Mattel this year.

Video Source: Yahoo News.  Read the article here.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Walking African Girl and African Toddler by Pedigree

1950s Walking African Girl and African Toddler by Pedigree of England

Purchased in June 2009, the Walking African Girl by Pedigree (shown on the left above) is a 16-inch head-turning walker with brown flirty eyes.  At the time of purchase, her manufacturer’s-given name was unknown.  I later solicited identification help from a noted England-based doll historian.  The toddler is a recent purchase.

The lovely, ebony-complexioned walker had the opportunity to record her purchase in blog-form, which was published in my book:  The Doll Blogs:  When DollsSpeak, I ListenHer entry is as follows:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Debbie found me on eBay in the search results for “black Pedigree doll.”  The “Southwest” United Kingdom seller listed me for GBP 125.00 buy-it-now or best offer.  Debbie recently saw an auction for a doll like me that ended for over GBP 250.00.  Debbie decided to place an offer of GBP 95.00 and said a silent prayer that the seller would accept the offer.  Less than 24 hours later, she accepted it.  Debbie immediately paid using Paypal and is anticipating my arrival. 

I was described by the seller (with minor editing by Deb) as:

“A fine example of the 1950’s hard plastic PEDIGREE WALKING DOLL. “Still has a lovely sheen and good colour all over.Full black astrakhan wig with red bow in. “Lovely clear amber flirty eyes, she retains her eyelashes, earrings, two top teeth. “WORKING MAMA.Her walking action is excellent with her head turning from side to side. “Pretty red spotted dress with a Faerie Glen, Made in England label inside.  White pants and red Cinderella sandals.  No cracks, splits, repairs or bad odours.Just a few minor scuffs.” 
I should arrive in the US within the next two weeks.


1950s Hard Plastic Pedigree Walking Doll


After her arrival, she made one additional entry in the aforementioned book, using the same photo shown immediately above:

Monday, July 6, 2009

I arrived in the US from Honiton, Devon UK sooner than Debbie’s calculation of two weeks’ travel time.  In her eyes, I am as beautiful as the auction pictured and described.  My amber colored eyes are clear with all eyelashes intact.  I still have my two pearly white upper teeth.  My Astrakhan wig is full without discolorations.  The brass hoop earrings in my ears may be replaced ones, but Debbie is not sure.  My head-turning walking mechanism and my mama voice box both work well. 

I wear a red, circle-print dress that is tagged Faerie Glen Made in England for 16 to 18-inch (40.64 to 45.72cm) dolls.  The fabric of my white panties matches the white trim of my dress.  Debbie thinks I have been redressed and very nicely so.  My vinyl, red Cinderella sandals may be original.  Debbie removed my socks to give me a more fashionable look. (She considers socks with sandals a fashion faux pas.)  She is quite pleased that she browsed eBay for “black Pedigree dolls” on the day she found me and made the seller a decent offer. 

With assistance once again from Susan Brewer of British Doll Showcase, Debbie now knows my manufacturer-given name. 


1950s Pedigree Walking African Girl


From 2009 through 2011, my self-imposed mission had been to add similar vintage dolls to my collection, made in non-US markets.  The goal was to illustrate how black people had been perceived through dolls in these markets. The walker remained here with several other England, New Zealand, and Australian-made 1930s through 1950s dolls until the 15-inch toddler arrived earlier this month.

1950s African Toddler by Pedigree

The toddler, described by the seller as harder to find with bent limbs, has the same head sculpt as the Walking African Girl. Her once flirty eyes are now fixed into position.  Like the toddler, she also has an astrakhan wig and gold hoop earrings in both ears.  They both also have two upper teeth.  Shown above in the photos taken by the seller, the toddler arrived dressed in ill-fitting "1950s pink dungarees."  I elected to redress her as shown below.

1950s African Toddler by Pedigree now wears a red and white floral print dress with a white hat, undies, and white leatherette shoes.  The dress and hat are the original clothes of a 16-inch Patty-Jo, reproduced in 2007 by Terri Lee dolls.

The lovely sisters pose in this final photo.

Additional dolls by Pedigree and other non-US companies can be seen here and here.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Your Modern Girl - Bex

Instagram photo of Your Modern Girl, Bex

A Girl For All Time has added Your Modern Girl collection to their doll lines. The Your Modern Girl will include the above featured doll, Bex.  At 16 inches tall, she has jointed elbows and knees.

Maya and Nisha are also part of the Your Modern Girl collection, which was introduced at London Toy Fair 2017.  The dolls will be introduced at NY Toy Fair this year (February 18th through 21st).  Scheduled release to market is autumn 2017, which will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

Here is a link to a brief video from Toy Fair London.

For more information about the dolls, visit the Info page of their website.
Follow them on Facebook, and/or on Instagram for future announcements on availability and ordering.


Thank you Cynthia for the heads up on Bex.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reggae Music Calendar Girl Jenny

Reggae Music Calendar Girl Jenny, represents the month of July, doll #7 in this series.

As mentioned in my post on R&B Music Calendar Girl Jenny, I expressed a then desire to own the Reggae Music Jenny.  In one of my replies to a comment on that post, I shared that the doll had already been found.  How did I find her so quickly?

Because I had viewed the seller's other listings, I noted other Jenny dolls from the Music Calendar Girl series were offered, but not Reggae.  I took a chance and asked if  Reggae was available.  She was, but had not been listed because her red skirt had several dark stains.  The doll's box had never been opened, making these stains a mystery to the seller.  I asked for a photo of the skirt.

A scan of the front of the skirt vaguely illustrates multiple dark stained areas.  The back was stained in a similar manner, more noticeable to the naked eye than the scanned image illustrates.

I expressed my continued interest in purchasing the doll and asked the seller for a price, which was agreed upon.  My intention was to first try to spot clean the skirt and utilize a plan B, if necessary.

The back of Reggae Music Jenny's box illustrates dolls 5 through 10 along with the Premium Music Calendar Girl Jenny (shown to the lower left of the other dolls).

Dolls 5 through 10 are shown on the back of Reggae Music Calendar Girl Jenny's box.  When released to market from April 2000 through March 2001, purchasers of the complete set of 12 dolls had an opportunity to redeem the coupons from the dolls' boxes and receive the premium doll.

The 10-1/2-inch tan-complexioned Reggae Music Jenny wears a green velour top with white peace sign near the front left shoulder.  The top has yellow fringe at upper sleeve ends and yellow knit sleeves that hang below.  There is a red placket closure with two white buttons and string bow with red-yellow-green beads at the ends.  The red maxi-length skirt has two white peace symbols and the words, Jenny Love & Peace within.  It too is trimmed in yellow fringe at the hem above which is green rickrack.  Brown sandals enclosed inside a baggie are attached to the box liner as is a Rastafarian-style hat in the colors of the Jamaican flag: red, green, and yellow.  A cardboard reggae music CD is also attached to the box liner.  Jenny's hair is appropriately styled in long brown locs. She has brown painted eyes.

My attempt at spot cleaning the skirt failed.  The stubborn stains remained as stubborn.  Plan B, to paint over the stains with cloth paint, was executed using Puffy 3D paint, brushed on in multiple thin layers.

These side-by-side photos were taken of the skirt before and after it was painted.  A combination of too much light and my camera's inability to capture fine detail masks the stains in both pictures.  Trust me; they are there.

The shiny texture of the now painted skirt is more visible in this photo.

Even though my camera does not capture the painted-over stains, at best, all the paint did was create a shiny texture to the twill cotton cloth.  Perhaps the stains are not as apparent as before, but I know they are there.  I am still very happy to have found Reggae Music Jenny just by following the sage advice my mother always gave us as children:  It never hurts to ask.

For those who observe the holiday,

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

5 (Five) Things You Should Never Say to Adult Doll Collectors

I agree with all five points Gypsie addressed in this video.  It is shared here for the benefit of non-collectors, who may need a dose of tolerance for those of us who love our dolls.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

OOAK Clothespin Doll by Curiositeej

Clothespin doll by Tammy of Curiositeej Dolls & Collectibles

After seeing another collector's clothespin doll made by Tammy of Curiositeej Dolls & Collectibles, I expressed my desire for one.  She followed through and the doll arrived this week.

From her head-tie to her wooden base, the doll stands approximately 5-1/2-inches tall.  She is constructed from a wooden craft clothespin that has been painted with the addition of hand-painted face, well-endowed chest with cleavage, bottom curves, arms, hands, pierced ears with earrings, and human-hair wig.  The legs are positioned inside a round wooden base.

Clothing consists of a green dress with yellow tulle wrapped at the waist and neck with matching head-tie or gele.  She has on undies, too.  The arms are made of wire and are poseable.   Tammy signed the doll's back as well as the upper-outer portion of her left leg.

After the doll arrived, I sent Tammy the following Facebook message.  Her reply follows:

I love her, Tammy! Her little earrings are perfect as are her dress and matching head-tie. This color green is one of my favorite colors, too.... she is perfection! Thanks again!

I'm so happy you love her! She is the first doll I've made with pierced ears. She is also the first I made with a completely drawn face. And, she is the first dark doll I have made. Lots of firsts for her! I learned a lot in making her; but I LOVE her. I think she is MUCH more BEAUTIFUL in person than I was able to capture with my camera.

As Tammy indicated, although the photos she shared are beautiful, they do not capture the doll's true essence that is apparent when viewing with the naked eye.

She looks good with or without hair!

The hair is attached to her head-tie, which is removable, as illustrated in the above photo.  Tammy used my hair to make the wig.

This view from the back better illustrates the human-hair wig.

After she expressed her original desire to create a '70's inspired doll with Afro, sharing her concern over how she would do this, I offered to send some of my saved hair to her. Having my hair makes the doll even more special!

Joined by other clothespin dolls, my new doll seems to command all the attention.  The others are:  a  custom-made doll-collector clothespin doll by Clothesline Cuties, Jemimah Angel clothespin doll by LaVerne Hall, and a circa 1980s jointed clothespin doll with Afro found on eBay a couple of years ago.
I love the creativity involved in this doll's evolution from an unpainted clothespin to a three-dimensional, one-of-a-kind work of doll art.  She is unique in every way and certainly stands out among the crowd, as illustrated in the above group photo with other clothespin dolls.

Thank you again, Tammy!

There's always room for one more doll.  Can you find her?
Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lammily Redress Update for Vanessa

Lammily Photographer (Jeanne) in 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion

In her comment to my previous post about Jeanne's two fashion redresses, Vanessa wrote:

I would have like to see the jean outfit from the front, and perhaps with the belt from the first outfit.
Initially, I was going to update the original post with the additional photos taken of Jeanne in the 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion from the front and with the brown belt from the Crisp Fall fashion.  I decided, instead, to create a separate post.

Jeanne poses from the front in the complete 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion.

Here, she let her hair down, changed her earrings, belted the jumper with the brown belt, and put on brown sandals (borrowed from a male action figure).

Jeanne decided to use the scarf from the Crisp Fall fashion as a belt with the jumper and now wears it with the shoes that came with the jumper minus the red socks.  Note that the mock laces in her shoes are actually pink and not red as I wrote in the original post.  The pink laces coordinate well with the pinks in the scarf.  For this look, she changed her hair once again, pulling it up and to the side with a rubber band.
Thanks for allowing me to see outside the fashion packs, Vanessa.  Mixing and matching create fashion versatility.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

This One Took Forever to Arrive!

9-inch oil-painted cloth doll by Sue Sizemore, made in 2004

Even though her hair looked a disheveled mess, as illustrated in the above photo, taken by the seller, I wanted this 9-inch oil-painted cloth doll because she is an early Sue Sizemore. Without double-checking to ensure the site from which I ordered had my current PO box mailing address, the order was placed and unfortunately shipped to my former PO box.   Because the forwarding service from the old PO box to the new expired several months earlier, the post office returned the doll to the seller! From the date of purchase until the seller resent the package to the correct address, a total of 17 days elapsed.  I had been in communication with the seller throughout this time.  Thanks to her generosity, I was only charged half the cost of the return postage.

Getting her hair coiffed
After the little dear arrived to her new home, I immediately gave her wool hair some much needed attention by glueing it in place in a couple of areas.  Next, I wrapped a ribbon around her head to hold the glued hair down.  After a few hours, the ribbon was removed and she was ready to pose for additional photos.
Her hair looks much better now that it no longer looks windblown.
Painted-on black books have white painted-on buttons.
Dressed in pink and tan gingham dress and off-white pantaloons (both are sewn on), she has painted-on black boots with painted buttons.  On her back she bears the artist's signature with '04, representing 2004, written below the signature.

Her attached hang tag contains the artist's 2004 contact information on front.  The back contains the doll's handwritten description:  "Primitive doll/wool hair/homespun/pink dress/Sue Sizemore."

She appears more comfortable in the seated position, but with the aid of a doll stand or if propped against something, she can stand, too.  I initially was going to use her as a doll for my larger Sue Sizemore doll, Maya.  Because she has such a mature face and has white strands of wool that streak her brown hair, I think I would rather Maya hold a baby doll instead.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lammily Redress x2

'Rosie the Riveter' and Crisp Fall Lammily fashions

The two Lammily fashions shown above, 'Rosie the Riveter' and Crisp Fall, were purchased last year.  With extra time on my hands, Jeanne (the name I gave my Photographer Lammily doll) was able to model both as shown in the photos below:

Knowing she would want to continue wearing the 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion, Jeanne tried on the Crisp Fall fashion first.  It includes a pink tunic, white textured stretch pants, brown faux-leather belt, and multicolored scarf.  Shoes were not included.  Jeanne wears Hip Hoodie's original white shoes.  We both thought she looked rather nice in this fashion with the scarf tied around the neck and...

...with the scarf used as a headband.  

Jeanne shows us how the outfit looks from the back with the scarf still used as a headband.  

In the 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion, Jeanne flexes her muscles and asserts that she has the stamina, skills, and know-how to do jobs that were typically reserved for men as did many women during World War II when male enlistment in the Army created a shortage in the workforce.* This fashion includes red and white polka dot bandana, blue denim one-piece jumper, red socks, and black slip-on shoes with pink (not read as I originally thought) mock laces.
I like her in both, but as she desired, she continues to wear the 'Rosie the Riveter' fashion.

Below, watch a video of the brief history of the *'Rosie the Riveter' icon.

Do note that the absence of African American women in the video cannot discount the fact that, they, too, were among the labor force and armed forces during WWII, performing jobs that were typically reserved for white males as documented here and in the photograph from the National Archives below.

Luedell Mitchell and Lavada Cherry are shown in the El Segundo Plant of the Douglas Aircraft Company. (Photo from the National Archives)
New post over at EEoDIB:  When time permits, please check out my new post on my sister blog, here.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.