Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dress Inspired by Beret, Shawl, Boots

Gift from Tamisha McPherson:  beret, boots, and shawl for Buttercup Trixie or similar-sized doll

After doll friend, Tamisha McPherson attended Vanessa Morrison's memorial service, she asked if I wanted her copy of the program.  I did.  Along with the program, as a surprise gift, Tamisha sent the above felt beret, boots, and shawl.  The attached note reads:

Hi Miss Debbie [she's so polite]
I have enclosed a little gift for Trixie, or one of  her (like sized) friends.
 P.S. Boots open from back, Velcro.

Prior to receipt of these items, Trixie only had her original, spring-looking yellow dress.  She needed something to wear with her new clothing items.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I took the time to make (for the first time) a no-pattern dress for Trixie using a piece of felt I already had on hand.  I followed (most of) the instructions in the following My Froggy Stuff video:  Fabulous Felt: How to Make a Doll Dress.

Photos of what was done follow:

After retrieving the felt, which contains turquoise and other blues that complement the color of beret, shawl, and boot laces, Trixie was undressed.

The rectangular piece of felt was cut in half.

The two pieces were sandwiched together inside-out and placed over Trixie's body.  The neck area was traced and cut out.

Slanted lines were drawn from the top corner of the neck area to the sides and hand stitched  together.

An outline of Trixie's body was drawn onto the felt to create the sleeves and the dress area. 

 The outline was hand sewn.  Note:  In the underarm area, my tracing and stitching came to a point.  That area should have been rounded off as illustrated in the video.  A wider area for the body of the dress should have been traced and stitched -- you'll see why later. 

In this photo, all hand stitching has been done and the excess hem area cut away.

The added back slit creates room for the doll's body to be placed in the dress.

Trixie tried the dress on for size.  It looks like a perfect fit from the front.

Unfortunately, there is not enough room for Trixie's torso for the back slit to meet in the center.  This is the reason more room was needed for the body area.  
As a remedy for the gap, I used double-sided tape to keep the side folds attached to the dress. The opening is now in the shape of a downward arrow.

Looking very stylish, Trixie wears the dress with the beret, shawl, and boots added.
To hold the beret on her head, I used an aqua-tipped quilting pin that only slightly pierces her scalp.

Holding her (Only Hearts doll) Sydney, Trixie is now dressed appropriately for winter.
Thank you again Tamisha for sending Vanessa's memorial service program and for these surprise items for Trixie.

Among several other doll-related things, Tamisha sews clothing and makes shoes for a variety of dolls.  From time to time, she sells these items in her Etsy shop.  Tamisha does not have items listed currently, but she can be contacted through Etsy if there is a specific doll in need of clothing or shoes.  Adding her shop as one of your favorite Etsy shops is also a good idea.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Lovely Patsy Veterinary Set Makeover

Lovely Patsy Veterinary Set

After sharing photos of my Lovely Patsy Chef with members of my doll group and mentioning that the doll reminded me of someone, one member commented that the doll reminds her of Michelle Obama. I agreed, but the chef has brown hair.   Because of the nose shape, I also now see Karyn Parsons of Fresh Prince fame in the chef.

To possibly transform the doll into Michelle Obama, I visited a different Family Dollar and purchased Veterinary Lovely Patsy because of her black hair.  Intentions were to change the doll's eyes and restyle the hair. This would be my first complete eye makeover. Scary idea it was, but with a five-dollar doll, I only had that much to lose.

Before sharing the process, I took photos to illustrate her original hairstyle and sparsely rooted hair.

Original hairstyle: two side sections pulled up into a ponytail, the mid section of which is attached to the lower section by a rubber band to create a second ponytail. 

Before removing the lower rubber band, the rooting was examined.

She can wear her hair down to cover the bald spots or in a ponytail.  An inch trim of the ends made them even.

The Eye Repaint:

The original eye paint was removed with fingernail polish remover.  A smaller area for the eyes was next painted with ivory acrylic paint.
With black acrylic paint, a circle was drawn in the center of the eyes and a dot added to the center of the circle with the same black paint.  Next, the iris was colored in with a dark brown color pencil.  I avoided the use of paint to darken this tiny area because getting the paint in the desired area would be too tasking.  The eyes were lined with a thin layer of black paint and full upper and partial lower eyelashes painted in.  I used a combination of a toothpick and the tip of a sewing needle dipped in paint to line the eyes and add the eyelashes.  The strokes are still wider than I desire.  With the proper tools, a cleaner look could have been achieved.  The eyebrows were also painted over with black paint, again using a toothpick.  I was going to stop with the above image on the right, but her eyes were missing depth.
The irises were widened with additional black acrylic paint and the glimmer in her eyes created with additional ivory paint added to the upper right corner of each iris.  The eye color was sealed with matte varnish.  I did not apply varnish to the eyebrows.  There was a small dot of discoloration on the side of her right eye that I colored in with black paint to create a beauty mark or mole.

She doesn't look like Michelle Obama, but...

...her eyes look much better and more realistic (for my first attempt) than they did before.

What to Wear:

She definitely needed an upgrade in her original clothing.  First she tried on a blue Barbie ensemble and settled on another Barbie fashion as illustrated below.

This short blue dress shows too much of her super thin legs.

She looks better in this slightly longer red dress, which I accented with a sheer ribbon to create a shawl wrap.

As a final touch, her ears were pierced.

The next time I repaint eyes, I will have a better understanding of the process and use better painting tools to achieve an even more realistic-looking eye.


Before even attempting this repaint, I studied the diagram of hand drawing eyes shown here and viewed the following video.  Neither was followed precisely, but both gave me the necessary information needed to proceed.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday Sale: Brains and Beauty Dolls

 Black Friday Brains and Beauty

Click the Pre-Order image or here and enter the coupon code:  blackfriday to save for one day only, Friday November 24, 2017.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ornament Hat Adjustment

Caleb Craig in over-sized ornament hat from Target

Clearly the ornament hat from Target is too large for Caleb Craig and other Ken-size dolls. Determined for Caleb to wear it, I made a few minor adjustments to give it a better wearing appearance as illustrated next:

The ear muffs have been pulled up and held in place with two yellow-topped quilting pins.

The views from the side and back are shown above.  In addition to pinning the ear muffs up, some of the excess plaid fabric in the lower-back-mid section of the hat is now tucked inside the fur in that same area.

This is a closer look at the pinned up ear muffs. If you look closely you can see the yellow top of the pin on the left which is at the tip of the muff.  A remnant of the faux string that had served as the ornament hook still remains in the center of the hat.

The fit is still not perfect, but it looks much better than before.  

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Christmas Sweater Ornaments From Target

Sweater, shirt, and hat ornaments from Target
This year Target is offering the above sweater, shirt, and hat ornaments for $3 each.  These were the only styles the Target nearest me had, but I have seen photos of other styles as well.

The hangers can be used as hangers for Barbie-size clothing or refashioned into jewelry.  The gold and silvertone hangers are made of soft wire.  The black hanger is firmer.
The hangers were easily removed by snipping away a loose stitch inside the sweaters and shirt.  Before snipping it off the top of the hat, a faux suede string created the ornament hook.  The same type string was attached to the hook of the black hanger.  I saved the hangers and even the string to use later.

The sweaters, shirt, and hat were tried on a Tall and Curvy Barbie and are a nice fit.  Classic Cool (Caleb Craig) can wear the shirt but the sweaters are too small for him.  The flannel hat is a little large for all.  It will probably fit the head of a 16-inch doll much better.  Everything is modeled below:

I removed the hot glue that once held the flannel shirt permanently closed.  Above left, Emoji Fun Curvy Barbie wears the shirt over her Black Dolls Matter T-shirt.  Above right, she added the matching hat.

Caleb tried the shirt on for size, which he keeps closed with double-sided tape; it fits well.  He exchanged his Chuck Taylors (worn in the photo on the left) for a pair of black boots (worn in the photo on the right).

Fab Fringe (needs a name), Nina (Music Barbie), and Rainbow (Glam Boho) were eager to model the sweaters.  I was surprised that Rainbow could wears the ivory leggings, which were made to fit more slender Barbies, Fashion Royalty, and Momoko.  Stretch fabric is so forgiving!

Nina wears the green/white/gray Target sweater with a pair of gray leggings and black boots.  She presents her new love interest, Caleb, with an early wrapped Christmas present.  He seemed a little disinterested at first but eventually warmed up to her.

After Caleb claimed the flannel shirt, Emoji Fun felt left out.  Since the other three Target sweaters were spoken for, she found a sweater from Michaels that was purchased a couple of years ago.   The opportunity to wear a sweater and one with a red-nosed reindeer motif cheered her up.

Looking festive and dressed for Christmas, they all posed for one final photo.


This year Michaels store has a nice assortment of ornaments fashioned in the style of winter coats, vests, and sweater hats that playscale dolls can wear.  These are only sold in Michaels stores, not online.  If there is a Michaels near you and you're interested in dressing playscale dolls in wintry fashions, see what your Michaels has in stock and don't forget to visit Target to check out their sweater ornaments.  

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Selma DuPar James, Already Sold Out?

Screen capture of Selma DuPar James, the third doll in The Harlem Theater Collection by Mattel

The third doll in the The Harlem Theater Collection, Selma DuPar James, after a long wait for production dolls to arrive, has entered the collections of those who preordered and the doll (as of this writing) is already sold out at TheBarbieCollection website.  (Just this past Friday, order status there was shown as "preorder").  Intense interest among collectors must have been the driving force for the first dolls to sell so quickly.  Will there be others produced?

Described as follows:
The bold Harlem Theatre™ Collection represents the courageous women of an era who paved the way for future generations to freely and creatively express themselves. During the Harlem Renaissance era, patrons of the arts like Madam Lavinia™ would often commission artists to showcase their latest work. Up-and-coming artist Selma DuPar James™, was selected to hold her first solo exhibition in the Harlem Theatre salon.  Her piece is a beautiful portrait of jazz singer Claudette. The third doll in the Harlem Theatre™ Collection, Selma DuPar James™ Barbie® doll is powerfully creative and powerfully stylish.

Doll Designer: Carlyle Nuera
Label: Gold
Body Type: Articulated
Facial sculpt: NEW, Selma sculpt
Fashion: Dress
Fashion Sewn On: No
Accessories: Pearl necklace with pendant, gloves, shoes, painting with frame

Price $85.

Barbie enthusiast, Romona Jennings, is one preordering collector who is now enjoying her doll.  In her collection, Selma joins the first and second dolls in the collection, Claudette Gordon and Madam Lavinia.  Romona's lovely photos of Selma follow:

Holding a box of long-stem roses, (added by Romona), Selma relaxes during her first solo exhibition in the Harlem Theater Salon.

Art gives her life and it is her hope that her artwork inspires others.

Selma's portrait of jazz singer, Claudette, is admired by none other than Claudette herself.

The three divas, Claudette, Selma, and Madam Lavinia, pose for one final photograph at the conclusion of Selma's art exhibition.

When asked which one of the three dolls is her favorite and why, Romona replied, "Selma!  Her lips, her entire ensemble, and her hair; however, it is gelled.  I washed her hair to make it soft.  The dress has snaps in the back.”

Romona seems thoroughly pleased with the doll's appearance and the quality.  Here's hoping Selma's initial sellout was only for the first run of the dolls and that more will be in stock soon at  

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Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 "Little Red" Christmas Doll

Back in June of this year, Karen Oyekanmi (Kissing Kousin Dolls) was commission to create a doll based on my specifications.  The doll was to have a caramel brown complexion, red hair, and freckles.  Because I was not in a hurry to receive the doll and because Karen was working on dolls for The Festival of Black Dolls Show and Sale, which took place this year on November 4, 2017, I decided having the doll dressed in Christmas colors would be appropriate.  I, however, wanted colors or a color that would be suitable for year-round wear.

This photo of a little girl wearing a kelly-green dress was sent to Karen to use for the doll's dress color and style with the exception that I desired short sleeves as opposed to sleeveless.

As her inspiration, Karen used the above photo of a little girl with the complexion, hair color/texture, and freckles I specified.

The following photos, shared by Karen, illustrate the doll making progress.  Details are provided in the voice of the doll.

"My body has already been formed.  Look at me.  I can already stand by myself."

"Now that my face is painted, I think I look almost identical to the little girl in the photo.  My hair and freckles match hers too."

"My kelly-green dress has been made with matching undies.  I am waiting for socks and shoes."
"Socks and shoes have been added."
"My ears are pierced.  In this picture I wear faux diamond studs.  I also have a red gift box."
"After I was completed, my trip from California to Texas began on October 26, 2017.  Debbie did not pick me up from the post office until the afternoon of November 3, 2017.  After she opened the box and removed my tissue paper wrapping, I could see her smiling.  'She must like me,' is what I thought.  She examination me from head to toe.  I knew she was surprised when she saw my hands."

"The next morning, after making some minor adjustments, she took the following photos of me in my new home."

"Debbie thinks I am beautiful!"

"How about you?  Do you think I'm cute? "
"There are three pearls on the back of my dress, which is permanently sewn on.  A green velour ribbon is at the waist of my puff-sleeve dress."

"My green headband matches the waist ribbon of my dress. Debbie exchanged my faux diamond earrings for pearl studs to match the buttons on the back of my dress.  She loves the texture and color of my hair because it reminds her of how red her grandson's hair was when he was younger.  I am looking forward to meeting him and his little brother."
"Debbie took photos of my hands to show my fingernails.  She was surprised about this.  Each of my fingers is also wired for posing. Pretty cool, right?"
"Here I am in one final photo, seated with the red gift box Ms. Oyekanmi sent with me."

"There's a toy inside my gift box!"

"On my certificate of authenticity, Ms. Oyekanmi gave me the name, 'Little Red.'  Because of the color of my dress, Debbie renamed me Kellie and wrote that on the certificate alongside 'Little Red.'"

Kellie is made of felt.  She has a gorgeous hand-painted face which, as she indicated, is almost identical to the photo of the girl that was Karen's inspiration.  She is 20 inches tall, with mounds of beautiful wavy red hair adorned with a green velour headband.  She has applied ears, which are also made of felt.  Her kelly-green dress has a solid green bodice with collar and skirt made of black and green print fabric.  The hem is trimmed with yellow scalloped stitching and the skirt is made fuller by yellow crinoline underneath.  Kelly-green panties, pearl stud earrings, white socks, and black faux leather shoes complete her fashion.  Made as a limited edition of "1" by Karen Oyekanmi of Kissing Kousin, Kellie is my first 2017 Christmas doll, a present from me to me.  I will have an opportunity to enjoy her for several weeks before Christmas and for many years to come.

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