Friday, June 30, 2017

Headband Socks for Mapalo

After finding shoes for 18-inch Mapalo, who arrived with bare feet, I set out to make a pair of socks for her.   The next series of photos with captions illustrate how the socks were made:

Sold in a 3-pack, I used the yellow 1-3/16-inch-wide, stretch headband to make Mapalo's socks.

First, I cut along the right side of the headband seam, leaving the seam intact (the cutaway side is on the right above).

Next, to measure the approximate sock length, I placed the stitched end of the headband alongside Mapalo's foot, flattening out the portion that would be the bottom of her foot.  

The cut length is about 4 inches.

To create a pair, 4 inches of the remaining piece of the headband was cut next.

The unstitched piece was turned inside out and one end sewn closed using a gathered stitch.  The gathered stitches were taken from left to right then right to left, closing in any gaps.  (The above photo is blurry, but the stitched end at the bottom can be faintly seen.)

The stitched sock, on the left, was turned outside out to hide the stitched toe area.  Both "socks" were placed on Mapalo's feet and the top portion turned down to create a cuff with raw edges tucked under.  Because the texture of the headband material is different on the inside, the prestitched "sock" was not flipped to hide the stitches.  Her shoes will cover these anyway.

With socks and shoes on, Mapalo's feet "feel" so much better.

The socks and shoes complete her look and the socks provide an extra pop of color.
This sock-making method can be used for similar-sized dolls.  Wider headbands can be used to make socks for much larger dolls, such as 23-inch My Twinn dolls, which would probably require 2-inch wide headbands for sock making.  Likewise, smaller headbands can be used to make socks for 10- to 14-inch dolls.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Shindana's Disco Wanda and Juanita

Three versions of Shindana's first 11-1/2-inch fashion doll, Disco Wanda, 1978

Shindana Toys, a Division of Operation Bootstrap, was founded in 1968 in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts, California riots. The company's goal was to help rebuild the community and provide jobs for community residents. Their motto of Learn, baby! Learn! was in stark opposition to "Burn, baby! Burn!" which was chanted by the 1965 rioters as they burned buildings in their own community during a six-day protest against police brutality. Shindana Toys was one of the many co-ops formed under the Division of Operation Bootstrap. Their doll factory, located in Watts from 1968 through 1983, became a forerunner in the manufacture of ethnically correct dolls for Black children. Shindana is actually credited as the first American doll company to mass-produce ethnically correct dolls so Black children could see positive images of themselves in their toys. While most Shindana dolls were Black, their catalog of dolls includes a few that represent other ethnicities. Disco Juanita is one example of this.

In addition to a host of other dolls by Shindana Toys, I have owned the above three different versions of Disco Wanda for over 20 years. In recent years, Disco Juanita, the Latina version of Disco Wanda, had been calling my name.  I was recently able to mark her off my want list with an eBay find.

This Disco Wanda marks doll #4 for me; she poses with my newly-acquired, one and only, Disco Juanita.

The eBay auction included both Disco Wanda and Disco Juanita, and one Disco Wanda box.

Having sold originally for $4.68, the original Toys R Us (TRU) sticker price remains on the top flap.  

Both dolls have painted brown eyes, smiling mouths with upper and lower teeth and the hint of a tongue. Their lip color differs and complements their complexions.  Both have shoulder-length, black hair, which is rooted and styled in a flip.  Wanda has an orange flower that pierces her left temple. Juanita wears a pink flower choker.

Made of polyester, Wanda's dress is gold; Juanita's is orange.  They both wear headbands made from the same material as their dresses and each wears a black floral waist sash with black fringe.  Both dolls arrived with bare feet.

Three different versions of Disco Wanda appear in Shindana's 1978 catalog without the mention of Juanita.  This leads me to believe Juanita was introduced at least a year later.  While the catalog indicates Wanda is "fully articulated," the articulation extends only to the usual five areas plus a swivel waist and bendable knees.

Original TRU sales receipt for the doll that was in the Disco Wanda box

Included in the Disco Wanda-labeled box was a clear plastic doll stand.   Upon removing the inner box lining, a TRU sales receipt fell out, which shows the original retail price of $4.68.  That price and the TRU stock number match the TRU box sticker price and stock number.

The bottom flap of the box contains stock numbers for Wanda and Juanita (#2058 and #2450, respectively). It is unknown if Shindana used the same box for both dolls, or if Disco Juanita had her own box that contained her name and image where Wanda's name and image appear.  For now, Juanita owns the box that was included in the auction.  The newest Wanda will be displayed with similar dolls.

For more information about Shindana Toys and the Watts Riots navigate to the following links:
The Shindana Story (additional links are included at the end of this post).
Shindana Toys (a Wikipedia entry)
Watts Riots
Watts Riots

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Monday, June 26, 2017

First and Most Recent Norah Wellings Dolls

Circa 1930s 14-inch Norah Wellings Dudu #119 islander

Norah Wellings began making dolls in 1919 as the chief doll designer for Chad Valley Dolls of England.  She formed her own company in 1926 (Victoria Toy Works) where she continued making dolls along the style of Chad Valley dolls, made of cloth (velvet, velveteen, plush, and felt) with mask faces or molded faces underneath.  Many of her dolls were sold as souvenirs for the tourist industry.  Her dolls were also sold on cruise ships.

Close-up of 14-inch Norah Wellings Dudu #119 islander illustrates her expressive face and glass eyes, which seem to look through you.
I acquired my first Norah Wellings doll during the late 1990s/early 2000s from a local antiques dealer.  It is a 14-inch doll made of stuffed velvet with molded facial features, glass eyes, smiling mouth, and painted teeth.  This circa 1930s doll represents a native islander and wears only a wheat-colored and orange grass skirt and one orange arm bracelet.  The doll's left leg has orange and wheat-colored grass tied around the calf.  There is a dark area in the same location on the right leg where the same material had been tied around that leg.

Handmade scarf (by me) to cover this doll's missing hair
Some of the black mohair used for her hair is missing from the crown of her head.   I had great intentions of replacing the missing hair but never did.  Instead, I made her a headscarf using a piece of a brown and gold cotton scarf.

I have always wanted at least one additional Norah Wellings doll to upgrade the first one shown in the above photos.  That opportunity presented itself with the eBay purchase of my most recent Norah Wellings doll.  (Thanks again DS for sharing the link.)

14-inch Norah Wellings Nassau, Bahamas souvenir doll

She has such a lovely face!
Except for the usual cheek and nose rubs to the velvet, the newest-to-me Norah Wellings doll is in excellent condition.  She still has all her original jewelry and has both her original black cloth tags.

The cloth tag on the right side of the neck reads "Nassau."

Many Norah Wellings dolls found today no longer contain the cloth tag that identifies them as Wellings dolls.  My doll's identifying tag remains intact on the bottom of her right foot.

The tag sewn to the right side of her neck reads, "Nassau."  Her right foot tag reads:  Made in England by Norah Wellings.  Her sewn-on gold dress, made of velvet, has two felt orange circles on the front of the skirt and two on the back of the skirt.  Her short curly brown hair almost matches her complexion.  This circa 1930s doll was probably sold as a souvenir doll in Nassau, Bahamas.

Both are delightfully lovely dolls.  Their smiles make me smile.
The Nassau souvenir doll and the Dudu #119 islander display well together.
Links of Interest
See more Wellings dolls here.
See a rare, 36-inch doll here.
Allwin and Chad Valley Dolls

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Article, Video: New Kens with Dad Bods and Man Buns

Some of the new Barbie Fashionistas for 2017 include a variety of Kens with new bodies, hairstyles and a variety of complexions.

L-R:  Doll #13 Distressed Denim, Broad has a man bun and Doll #10 Classic Cool has cornrowed hair.

Ken bodies are now described as broad, slim, and original.  Distressed Denim, as noted in the above caption, has a broad body.  Classic Cool appears to be on the original Ken body.

Here's a link to an article published on Yahoo! Style on June 20, 2017, about the new Kens with "dad bods" and "man buns."  Photos of the guys and gals in the new line are included in the article along with a video from the dolls' debut on Good Morning America yesterday.  Here also is a direct link to the GMA video.

Here is yet another link to a cute stop-motion video.

Ten of the 15 new dolls were supposedly available in stores yesterday.  Preordering is now available at where, for a limited time, free shipping is offered on all Fashionistas.

#86 Glam Boho is curvy with more stylish-appearing shoes than the other curvy girls. The extra boho ensemble is included.

Glam Boho can be preordered at ShopMattel for $14.99.  Most of the others are $9.99.  All have non-articulated bodies, but I wonder if Glam Boho's complexion is comparable to The Barbie Look (TBL) doll's skin tone.  Maybe she can borrow TBL doll's body and enjoy a little more movement.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

The Barbie Look Review

The initial photos of my boxed dolls with cellophane or see-through fronts, are always taken in their unopened boxes, (the states they arrive in from the manufacturer).  No exception to this rule was made with The Barbie Look Barbie; she remains in the NRFB-state in this photo.  

I was so excited about this doll that I ordered two. Both arrived this past Friday. The plan was to debox one and to keep the other in the box indefinitely. Unfortunately, I am returning the one I deboxed first because she has a dark smudge on the side of her face. I did not see this imperfection until I had taken several photographs, which are the first ones shown below.   Please examine your dolls for unsightly imperfections.

First Photos of First Doll

The doll has been removed from the box but is still attached to the box liner.
The back of the box contains The Barbie Look description and illustrates the doll's accessories and a brunette from the collection.

Back of box description of The Barbie Look doll

Accessories include a compact with faux makeup, faux lipstick, gold tone metal purse, cell phone, and the gold strappy heels she arrived wearing. A doll stand and certificate of authenticity were also included.

Actual accessories

Illustration from the box of her big-bold gold ring

Close-up of her lovely face illustrates her light brown eyes and lip color that matches her complexion and her honey blonde hair. 

This is a close-up of the brocade pattern of the dress.
First pose after complete release from box (she still has hairnet in place).

Upon manipulating her knees, I immediately noticed joint discolorations (both dolls received have these white areas where the joint pegs are located at the inner knees).

Forward pose, with hairnet still on lower back of hair

Hairnet protects what I was hoping would be lovely curls.

Hope for lustrous curls was destroyed when I saw the poor condition of her hair; the ends of which look quite frizzy.

The dress has three snaps in back.  I removed it to examine her articulation, but first had to remove stitches between the second and third snap.  I suppose the stitching is one of Mattel's anti-theft measures, even though the doll  itself was secured to the box liner with several plastic fasteners.

Beyond the usual five points of articulation, the extra articulation extends to her elbows, wrists, and knees only.  She is not articulated under the breasts, at the waist, or ankles.

She sits nicely in a chair with her ankles almost crossed.  She cannot cross her legs fully at the knees (no photo captured of this attempt).

Photographing her curves from a side view is when I noticed the dark smudge on this side of the face.  My camera was unable to capture the smudge, but it is visible with the naked eye (or in my case, with my glasses on; she and everything else in sight would be a huge blur without wearing them).  This first doll was redressed, boxed up, and prepared for return to Mattel.  Deciding that one is enough, I do not want a replacement.
Complexion Comparisons
I continued using the imperfect doll to photograph with other dolls from my collection to compare complexions.  The Barbie Look Barbie is not a perfect match as a body donor for any of my dolls, but is a closer match to one than the others.  For the comparison Doll #1 put on temporary clothing.

City Chic Suit and Barbie Fashionista #32 lock arms with the new girl to compare their complexions.  I assumed The Barbie Look doll would be a perfect match for City Chic Suit; however, her dark caramel complexion is slightly darker than City Chic's and is even darker than Fashionista #32's with #32 being the lighter of these three dolls.

The complexion differences between City Chic, The Barbie Look Barbie, and Fashionista #32 are better outlined in the above photograph of their legs.
The final complexion comparison was done with Tropi-Cutie Barbie (also known here as Pam).  As seen in the above and next two photographs, their complexions are more compatible than the dolls illustrated above.
The Barbie Look doll's right arm (the one with the ringed finger) caught the camera's flash in this photo.  She is only slightly lighter than Pam (Tropi-Cutie). 
This photo of Pam and The Barbie Look's legs illustrates their true complexions, which are just slightly different.  If anyone wants to rebody their Tropi-Cutie onto a curvy articulated body, The Barbie Look Barbie will be a good body donor.

Doll #2
I examined Doll #2's face closely and was pleased to find there were no dark smudges or other imperfections.

I remained hopeful that the second doll's curls would be better than the first.

No such luck here.  While the ends are not as fried looking as the first doll's, they look quite deconditioned.

To remedy the deconditioned appearance, I wet the back of the hair, applied a generous amount of conditioner, and combed it through.  After rinsing out the conditioner, I twisted several small sections of hair and allowed it to dry until the next afternoon.
The twists were gently removed and nothing else done to the hair. The undone twists created soft curls. 

The Barbie Look Barbie strikes one final pose as she holds her golden clutch and stands on the doll stand that was included.  

At the time of publication, the doll remains available with free shipping at

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