Friday, March 31, 2017

Kizzy, Another Doll Puzzle

Click the subtitle above Kizzy's photo or here, then click the green solve button to solve.  Have fun!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Who Knew I Would Receive Gifts on Mama's Birthday?

The back of a package recently received in the mail from a doll friend
The dolls and doll-related items contained within the above delightfully-decorated shipping box arrived on my mother's birthday.  The timely arrival was purely coincidental yet very much appreciated.

I was so impressed with the artistry on the front and back of the box that it took several minutes for me to open and view the contents.   I gingerly removed the ends of the brown paper wrapping and cut out each image to keep!

Colored pencils were used to create the beautiful colors in these images* that decorated the front and back of the shipping box.

As an art enthusiast, who realized someone had taken the time to creatively color the formerly black and white images for me, I was not about to destroy them.  After each image had been cut out and set aside, the package was opened.   Had I known each wrapped gift contained a similar colored image tag along with several others that were used to write a multi-part note of appreciation, I would have still saved the outer artwork.  Yes, I would.

So what was in the package?

A numbered, four-part note was written on the back of four additional colored-pencil images (how creative is that?).

Photos of the presents and gift tags, which describe the contents in each package to which it was attached, are shown first, followed by the unwrapped gifts:

On the left are three wrapped gifts with the front of their colored gift tags shown.  The same packages with handwritten notes on back of the gift tags are shown on the right.

In these three packages were a beautifully-made clothespin doll dressed in my favorite color, peach; an ornament created by doll artist, Daisy Carr; and doll jewelry (earrings, pin, and necklace) made by Marie Green.  Individual images of each follow:

The doll-lightful clothespin doll was made by the person who sent the package.  She remembered my favorite color!

I love her!

Daisy Carr is a very talented artist, who works chiefly in cloth.  I received my first piece by her, another ornament, last year from another dear doll friend.  This one is 6 inches tall.
One-of-a-kind handcrafted earrings, pin, and necklace made by Marie Green

Aren't these earrings adorable?

I love the matching pin and necklace.

Wait! There were two more gifts.

The last two gifts also had hand-colored gift tags with notes written on back as illustrated above.
This collectible 4-inch doll pendant by Laliberi, with lobster claw clasp, can be used to adorn a purse, which is how I am enjoying it.

Another Daisy Carr creation is a 12-inch cloth ornament with polymer clay face.

Close-up of the taller Daisy Carr ornament

Words cannot express how deeply honored I felt as I opened these gifts and enjoyed the artwork, some of which I later learned was done by children ages 5 to 10.  To have been thought of in such a manner has left me feeling highly favored.

Thank you so much (she prefers not to have her name mentioned) for my beautiful gifts and their well-thought-out, creative presentation.


*The images that were colored were downloaded from the free coloring pages link at

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Monday, March 27, 2017

AG's GOTY Gabriela McBride

Gabriela McBride, American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year doll

My Gabriela McBride, American Girl’s first African American Girl of the Year (GOTY) doll, arrived in February.  She remained in her shipping box until March 10, 2017.  This is a first-look review of Gabriela with the doll still attached to box lining. 

Like all other 18-inch American Girl dolls, Gabriela is 18 inches tall with vinyl head, arms, legs, and cloth body. She has brown sleep eyes and uses the same head sculpt as Sonali, Cécile Ray, and Melody.   This head sculpt was also used for the 2016-retired Just Like You #46.

Gabriela’s signature outfit includes a teal tank top over which is worn a long-sleeve purple crop top with “dream” written in silver metallic letters.  Blue jeggings and purple and teal sneakers complete her dancer's attire.  

I was pleased her undies are removable and not the new permanent ones newer AG dolls wear.  Her pink double headband and extra clear rubber bands are inside a plastic bag, which is attached to the box lining.  Gabriela’s 208-page book, Gabriela, written by Teresa E. Harris, is attached to the lower section of the box lining. 

New American Girl Doll Box
American Girl has changed the boxes to add a full-view, front cellophane panel.  This gives owners the ability to see the doll without removing from the box.  A turquoise card stock circle on the mid left front corner of the box reads: 


This verbiage is also on both side panels of the box in white lettering.

As illustrated in the first photo in this post, in the lower right front corner of the box is an image of the front cover of Gabriela’s book.

The back of the box shows a full-length image of Gabriela.  Text in English and French to the right of the doll’s image reads:

I’m a dancer, an artist,
and a poet out to
inspire real change.

Danseuse, artiste et
poete, je suis
une source
d'inspiration qui fait
bouger les choses.

The box indicates (again in English and French):
The 18” Gabriela doll is available throughout 2017 and beyond.*   

In English to the left, and French to the right, the mid-bottom section of the box in English reads:
She has glossy brown curls that can be styled, brown eyes that can open and close, a cloth body, and a movable head and limbs made of smooth vinyl.  Includes a paperback book.

I am tempted to remove Gabriela from the box to style her hair, but for now she will only be allowed to dream of being removed.

*(Extending sales beyond one full year for a GOTY doll is a first for this collection as all others have been released on January 1st and retired by December 31st of that same year.)

Gabriela's Story
Each American Girl GOTY doll is a modern girl who has a mission.  Gabriela is a dancer, who writes poetry.  She uses spoken word to overcome her issue with stuttering.  Her goal is also to help save the local community center from demolition.

Gabriela and book retail for $115.  During February, American Girl offered 25% off purchases of $75 or more, which is when I made the purchase.

Of note, American Girl has partnered with Scholastic to create the custom curriculum, Express Yourself, which teaches 3rd through 5th grade students to use poetry as a tool of self-expression.

Prnewswire American GOTY article
American Girl Wiki

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Two More Jigidi Doll Puzzles to Solve

Libby, An Adorable Hand Carved Poplar Wood Doll By Kor January From Black Doll Collecting BlogJigsaw puzzle - Libby, An Adorable Hand Carved Poplar Wood Doll  By Kor January From Black Doll Collecting Blog

I found this puzzle the Jigidi folks created and thought I'd share it for those who enjoyed solving the last photo puzzle they created from one of my doll photos.  Clicking the subtitle above the image should link you to their site. If not, please go here and click the Solve button.

Incidentally, another full-body photo of Libby was converted into a puzzle, which can be viewed and solved here.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ABC's The Toy Box Premiere's April 7th

Darla Davenport-Powell, creator of the original Here Comes Niya doll and Niya's Kids is one of the toy inventors on ABC's The Toy Box, which premiere's on April 7, 2017, 8 EST/7 Central.  Davenport-Powell and other contestants will attempt to bring their toys to the market based on the decisions of the most savvy judges, a panel of children!

See the preview below or click here if the video is not visible on your device:

About the Show:  "ABC and Mattel Creations have partnered to launch a first-of-its kind primetime television series that brings to life the excitement, drama and creativity of the toy invention process in a fast-paced, high-stakes competition format that will entertain viewers of all ages." []

Meet one of the adorable judges, Aalyra, here.

I'll be watching.  Will you?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Maya's New Doll

A 6-inch friend of Hitty arrived wrapped in a vintage handkerchief, tucked securely inside a bubble wrap envelop.

Before Rose arrived, I had planned to use her as a doll for a larger doll, Maya.  Both dolls have the same artist.  I thought they would pair well together.  In person, however, Rose looked too mature to be Maya's doll.  Before the vintage beige and purple handkerchief-wrapped doll, arrived, Maya had remained doll-less.

Mimi, friend of Hitty, by Sue Sizemore

I purchased "Mimi," (named by me) after her artist, Sue Sizemore, offered the tiny friend of Hitty in a Facebook post.  Mimi is an oil-painted cloth doll with jointed arms and legs.  Her hair is painted as are her one-piece undergarment, white socks, and black boots.

Mimi poses from the back.  She can sit or stand.
To illustrate her minute size, in this size-comparison photo, Mimi is joined by American Girl's mini Cécile Ray.

Mimi needed a dress.  I had thought about using the vintage handkerchief to make a dress for her and did find simple instructions to make one here.  Checking what I have on hand is always my first rule of thumb.  (Use what you have first, Debbie.)

In the doll trunk, where clothing for 5- to 10-inch dolls is stored, I found a hand-crocheted dress and matching bonnet that was formerly worn by a 7-inch doll by master doll carver, Floyd Bell.  Mimi claimed it as hers.

Doesn't she have the most precious face?

The dress fits as though it were made for Mimi.  We are both quite pleased.

With her dress and bonnet on, Mimi was eager to meet Maya.  The two were introduced and formed an inseparable bond.

Maya is happy to finally have a doll to hold and Mimi is enjoying being that doll.

It's amazing how well the color of Mimi's dress matches Maya's.

In due time, I knew eventually the right doll would surface for Maya.  Just like the dress Mimi wears seems made for her, Mimi appears to have been made especially for Maya!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Dyeing to be Black - Part 6 Finale

Completed ladies:  Babette by EG, unmarked clone, Davtex clone, Twistee Totsy, and 35th Anniversary Barbie

As shown above, the dyeing, painting, extra detailing, and dressing of all dolls has been completed.

Babette is dressed in the 1965 Barbie fashion #1631 Aboard Ship.  Here, she wears it without the jacket.

Preferring to wear it with the sleeveless jacket, Babette took another photo.  The fashion came with a camera, which is stored.  The fashion is missing these three travel brochures.

The unmarked, bubble cut clone is dressed in the reproduction Barbie Poodle Parade fashion.  (She's missing her poodle and the original olive green shoes, which had been substituted for white pumps in the above photo.)  I thought olive green shoes would look better.  So....

...after mixing acrylic paints (black, yellow, and a dab of white), I created olive green paint and painted the white pumps the desired color, as shown above.

Yes, the Poodle Parade fashion looks much better with shoes dyed (I mean painted) to match.

Recall that the above two clones use the two newer Barbie bodies that I dyed.  Until I find a body for the Davtex clone, I am using a So in Style Chandra body, which was the closest complexion match I had on hand for her.

Davtex clone head on So in Style Chandra body and custom dressed
The Davtex doll wears a two-piece purple, So In Style Club-exclusive silk shantung fashion by doll fashion designer, MashauDe'.  It is tailored to fit the S.I.S. doll hips. I think Chandra might have a difficult time getting her body and fashion back.  I made Ms. Davtex a pearl necklace and matching bracelet to somewhat match her original teardrop-shaped pearl earrings.

After being redressed, Twistee Totsy was returned to the confines of her original box.  She is giving some serious side-eye as a result.

Likewise, 35th Anniversary Barbie returned to her box. 

Joe and Adam took final photos together.
I consider my first attempt at using iDye Poly to deepen the complexion of dolls a relative success. The complexions did deepen, although I was not prepared for the extra detailing required on the parts that did not absorb the dye.

Here are some tips for those who might want to try this:

  • For your first attempt, use inexpensive vinyl/hard plastic dolls, such as thrift store finds. 
  • Do apply the dye powder and enhancement packet to boiled water and stir well.  If you want to achieve a lighter brown, allow the water to cool some before adding the dolls.  The water still needs to be relatively warm for the vinyl/hard plastic to absorb the dye.  I believe the hottest water achieves the darkest results. The water was warm when 35th Anniversary Barbie was dipped.  As a result, her complexion did not deepen as much as the rest.  (According to the iDye Poly instructions, dyeing for clothes is supposed to be done on the stovetop in a pot of boiled water.  I did not have an old pot to use and thought my alternate method would work just as well, besides I was dyeing dolls, not clothes.)
    • It would be wonderful if iDye Poly was available in variations of brown or perhaps if colors could be mixed to blend a desired hue.
    • Rit DyeMore can also be used for dyeing plastics.  Since it is liquid, colors can probably be blended to create desired complexions and/or hair colors.  (Here's a video of a troll toy being dyed with Rit DyeMore.)
  • After dyeing, if you must paint any areas of the doll, a spray gun would work better. I do not own one.  If I had to do it over again, I would prime the painted areas first.  Because I did not prime, several layers of paint were required and the paint on the first several layers would easily chip.  It will still chip, but I am careful handling the painted areas of those dolls.
    • For the final painted layers, I mixed matte varnish with the acrylic paint, which I should have done with all layers to eliminate some, if not all chipping.  
    • Sealing painted areas is optional and probably best.  

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dyeing to be Black - Part 5, Shoes for Adam

Saran wrap, self-adhering bandage, and several layers of Mod Podge were used to make shoes for Adam.
Adam needed shoes to wear with the original World of Love Sports Gear outfit he would continue wearing after the dyeing process.  Instead of trying to locate shoes for him, which would be difficult due to his small foot size, I decided to make a pair.

Adam's feet were:

  1. Wrapped with Saran wrap to protect them from any Mod Podge that might seep through the self-adhering bandage used to mold the shoes.  
  2. Next, his feet were wrapped with the bandage.
  3. Several layers of Mod Podge were applied over the bandage, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
The next several photos illustrate the shoe-making process.

Adam's feet have been wrapped and layered with Mod Podge, as described previously.  After the desired firmness was achieved, the shoe molds were removed from each foot and the excess cut away from the ankle area to form the proper shape.

The bottom of each shoe was traced onto black foam to create soles.  These were cut out and glued to the bottom of the shoes and held in place with plastic bands while the soles dried.

Side view of the glued-on, temporarily banded soles

Heels were added to the shoes with additional black foam cut to the shape of the heel area.  The sole of one shoe is not as flat at the other.  I used quilting pins to hold the heel in place on that shoe while the glue dried.

Another angle of the heels as they dried

Insoles were made with white card stock by tracing Adam's foot.  These were inserted into the shoes.  The shoes were painted with black matte acrylic paint.

Mock laces were painted on. 

The shoes, while not perfect, are a nice complement to Adam's sports fashion, which was actually made for one of the World of Love female dolls, but Adam doesn't mind.  I might make him a dashiki later.

World of Love Soul  (who was not part of the dyeing project) is part of Adam's doll family.  She loves his deep complexion, Afro, clothes, and his shoes!  A man is often judged by his choice of shoes, you know.  

See the final reveal of the three Barbie clone heads in the Dyeing to be Black finale.

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