Monday, October 29, 2018

New Post at EEoDiB: Dr. Lisa's Fresh Dolls


My new post at Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black about Dr. Lisa's Fresh Dolls can be read here.  Please let me know what you think and share the link.  Thanks, and enjoy!

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Friday, October 26, 2018

7th Annual Detroit Doll Show Flyer and Article


For more information about this annual show, read the Michigan Chronicle article here.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Reemah Afia's Sandals, New Sash, and Cut Hair!



Reemah Afia arrived with bare feet wearing a black sash with her caftan-style dress as shown above.  Bare feet on dolls is one of my pet peeves.  Shoes, sandals, or some form of footwear is preferred.  I had also seen photos of other collectors' dolls wearing the "yellow" caftan dress that my doll wears with a gold sash instead of a black one.  I wanted a gold sash for my doll, too.

To remedy the bare feet issue, I initially planned to make a pair of sandals, which would have been easy to do; however, the square cork coasters I purchased specifically to use as soles are nowhere to be found. (I had them in one place after purchasing and then put them in another, but where that second location is, I cannot remember).

The Sandals


Plan B was to purchase a pair of sandals for Reemah Afia.  I found the above pair offered on both eBay and Aliexpress.  Based on the description and measurements provided, it seemed they would be a good fit for Reemah Afia's oddly sized feet (too small for her 22-inch height).  Because of their low price with free shipping on Aliexpress, I ordered the sandals in several colors with a plan for her to wear an orange pair to pick up the colors in her dress.  After they arrived, the brightly colored orange sandals were swapped out for the brown sandals.

The sandals, unfortunately, are not the correct length.  The sole is slightly shorter than her foot, which would not be a problem if the foot could fit inside properly, but the too-short heel strap prevents this.  Determined to make these work, I devised a quick fix. What I did is captured in the following photos and captions.

The strap at the heel was cut in half.

The initial plan was to pierce both side edges of the cut heel strap using one of the upholstery needles shown above and to use braiding cord to extend the straps.  I made one piercing with the needle, but the hole was not large enough to thread the braiding cord through.  So the ends of each heel strap were turned under and scissors were used to cut two horizontal parallel slits into both sides of the heel straps.

Two pieces of equal-length braiding cord were cut.  The cord was threaded through the slits in the heel strap starting from the undersurface of the lower slit to the top, led across to the upper slit, and taken down through the bottom surface of that slit.  This was repeated on the other heel strap using the second braiding cord.

Both cords were then tied to create a bow in back.
Voila!  Reemah Afia now has sandals that fit.

The New Sash


Reemah Afia's original black sash is shown above.

A vintage gold cloth napkin, shown folded in half, was used to make the new sash.

The black sash was placed on top of the folded cloth napkin and the material needed for the new sash was cut out.
The edges of the cut-out sash were ironed under.  Stitch Witchery was used to seal the edges.  Finally, adhesive-backed Velcro was placed on the two opposing ends of the sash.  Both sides of the completed sash, front and back, are shown in the above photo.
The new sash better coordinates with the fabric of Reemah Afia's dress.

Reemah Afia's caftan dress looks much better with the gold sash and her feet are now covered.
Cut Hair
My only disappointment with this doll is she arrived with the first row of rooted hair cut at the hairline of her brow!  I noticed this upon her arrival but did not give this much thought until another collector contacted me about her brown-haired doll's cut hairline. (She owns both versions, the brown-haired and black-haired versions).  As unevenly cut as my doll's hair is underneath, I know this was done intentionally.  Why?  I have no idea.  Was this to keep the hair away from her face?  That's possible because the brown hair is not as coarse as the black hair used for these dolls (as confirmed by the other collector who also indicated the black-haired doll's hairline is uncut).  Cutting the hair at the hairline was not a remedy to keep the hair away from the doll's face.  If any trimming had to be done, it should have been done from the ends of the hair and not at the roots or even better, at the discretion of the buyer!  Why would anyone cut perfectly rooted hair?  Just why?

With her hair pulled back Reemah Afia's cut hairline is visible.

As indicated, the hairline is unevenly cut.  My thumb holds down the longest cut piece.

I contacted Makedaa Dolls about the cut hair, but at the time of publication, I have not received a response.  So potential buyers should beware that if you desire the brown-haired doll and you do not want a doll with a cut hairline, you might think twice or ask the company if the doll you will receive will have a cut hairline.  This is very unfortunate for an otherwise nicely made doll.  I'd be interested in knowing if any other brown-haired Reemah Afia doll owners' dolls have cut hairlines.  Please let me know in a comment to this post.

My original post about Reemah Afia, written after her arrival, can be read here.


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Friday, October 19, 2018

Washday

"Washday"

A member of my doll group shared the link to an eBay auction for the above painting which, according to the seller, is entitled "Washday." I took a look at the painting and my heart palpitated because of its endearing depiction of a little girl in an outside scene washing her dolls' clothes in an aluminum washtub using a washboard.  The previously washed clothes are neatly hung on a clothesline.  Her dolls sit patiently as she completes her washday task.  This task brought back childhood memories of my mother using a washboard in the bathtub to hand wash clothes.  It also conjured up memories of the times as a young girl when I helped an aunt or cousins hang clothes on their clotheslines.

I closed the browser window to the auction page only to return less than an hour later to make an offer to the seller, which was accepted.

The seller's description is copied below:

Beautiful vintage Certified (1935819) Artistic Impressions Inc Original Canvas Reproduction Black Americana titled “Washday” #2635. Young girl is washing and hanging her doll’s clothes while they sit in little chairs watching her. There is an artist signature, but I can’t decipher it - see photo. Solid oak wood frame - no glass. It is in excellent condition! 15” x 19”
The framed canvas print did arrive in excellent condition.  On the back of the wooden frame is stamped 100 series (which must mean that 100 copies exist).  The Artistic Impressions gold seal which bears that name and the serial number shown in the seller's description is in the back center of the frame.

Additional detailed photos from the auction are shared below:

The little washer's dolls are seen seated in two chairs.  One appears to be made of cloth.  The other one's medium is uncertain, but it too could depict a cloth doll.

Dressed in a red print sleeveless dress worn over a white long-sleeved shirt, with sleeves rolled up, the little washer works diligently to get the item of clothing squeaky clean.  Her multiple sectioned-off braids are held together at the ends with colorful rubber bands or small ponytail holders.  The previously washed clothing is hung neatly on a clothesline in the background.
In this photo, the seller captured the artist's signature, which is written in gold paint.

On closer inspection of the artist's signature, it appears to read G. Ross.  I have not been able to find additional information about the artist or the company that produced the framed print.  I was, however, able to find a place in the doll room to hang the print.  Several photos of that location in the doll room are shared next.

Washday now hangs in the doll room as illustrated in this photo and the final two.



The painting fits perfectly in the small area of wall space that is left on a side brick wall of the doll room.  Thanks are in order to my husband for hanging it for me and to Dawn S. for sharing the link to the auction.


dbg
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Joy Kruselings by Sonja Hartmann for Käthe Kruse

Joy Kruselings, designed by Sonja Hartmann exclusively for Käthe Kruse
The Kruselings are 9-inch tall vinyl articulated dolls with 13 flexible joints.  Designed by Sonja Hartmann for Käthe Kruse, they are sold individually dressed in everyday clothes or in a deluxe set, which includes a fairy-dressed doll and an extra everyday fashion and accessories.  Of the five girls, Joy has the deepest complexion.

Joy Kruselings Deluxe Set
The individual doll was priced $27.99 and the deluxe was $44.99.  In order for Joy to have an extra everyday fashion (which differs from the individually sold doll's fashion), I purchased the deluxe set, which includes a school girl fashion.

Joy has brown inset eyes and light brown curly hair that extends below her waist.

Joy's fairy dress is pink with graduated pink layered skirt embellished with crystals.  The skirt has a ribbon belt.  The bodice has a red heart-shaped gem sewn to the V-neck.   She wears white cotton undies.  The plastic wings are also pink which clamp onto her shoulders and are removable.  The top of the Kruselings booklet, which is attached to the back panel of the box, can be seen in the above picture on the lower left.

With her fairy dress, Joy wears dark pink vinyl boots that have white mock laces and white soles.


The extra school girl fashion includes a white short-sleeved T-shirt with Kruse on the front, a red letter jacket with a forward and a backward K on the front, a dark blue denim skirt, and a red cloth shoulder bag with the same double K logo on the front.


Also included with the extra fashion are a red headband, red earphones, red hairbrush, red socks, and white vinyl low-top sneakers.

The back of Joy's box shares the Kruselings' story in five different languages.
The Kruseling's story in five languages is better illustrated above.
In English, the story reads:

For a hundred years there had been peace in Dreamland, when suddenly monsters emerged from the Sea of Dreams and upset everything.  Summoned by a glowing red heart, the great Fire Opal, five brave girls were sent out to save the dreams of the world.  They are Luna, Vera, Chloe, Sofia, and Joy. 

Drawings of the Kruselings are also on the back of the box.  Shown above, they are Sofia, Vera, Luna, Joy, and Michael, the lone boy.
Joy's introduction text is on the back of the box in five languages.
In English, Joy's introduction reads:

Hi! I'm Joy from New York, U.S.A.  I love to sing and dance.  With my magic headphones, I can listen in on secrets and fill dreams with music.


As illustrated above, one side panel of Joy's box bears a drawing of her, her name, and Käthe Kruse below it.  The other side panel has the word Kruselings written sideways, Joy's name, and Käthe Kruse below that.

Joy's 13 points of articulation include the usual five (head, arms at shoulders, legs at hips).  Additionally, her elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles are articulated.

This nice quality, moderately price doll is my first Sonja Hartmann-designed doll which was purchased from TheToyShoppe.com after viewing her in their most recent catalog.  I tried, but I could not resist this purchase.

Note:  The Kruselings are also available on Amazon with free shipping if you are a Prime member.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Fancy Nancy Best Friend Bree

Prototype image of Fancy Nancy Best Friend Bree by Jakks Pacific

After seeing picture-posts of Fancy Nancy Best Friend Bree, I wanted to eventually add her to my collection.  Her 10-inch size would be perfect, I thought.  This doll is a Walmart-exclusive that can be ordered online for store pickup only.  Recently, while ordering some items to pick up at my designated Walmart store pick-up location, I added Bree to the cart.

Photos taken of the actual doll with captions follow:

Bree and her Bag of Fancy are visible in this photo taken prior to opening the box.

This image of the back of the box shows a little girl playing with Bree.  The text on the back instructs how to make Bree fancy using the enclosed special bag of fancy to decorate her outfit or create your own design.

I removed the tape from the outer box and removed Bree still attached to the box liner.

Bree wears a two-piece light blue dress that has snowflakes at the neckline, at the hem of the top, and as the design on the skirt.  Her panties are molded on.  She wears purple flats.  
I might decide to free her later, but for now, Bree will remain in the box.



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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reclaiming Her Time With Dolls

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is seen in a 1995 photo with her collection of black dolls (Ebony magazine, January 1995)

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is featured in the article, "Black Collectors African American Professionals Reveal the Passion Behind Their Prized Collections" (Ebony magazine, January 1995). The article reads as pictured below:




Waters has served as US Representative D-CA in three different districts since 1990.  After my first book was published, I became aware of our shared black-doll-collecting passion and contacted the congresswoman to inquire if she would like a complimentary copy of The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls.  The answer was, "Yes!"  The copy was immediately forwarded to her.

The caption of the above Internet captured-photo reads:  In a rare moment of relaxation, Waters dresses a doll from her large Black doll collection  And when congressional responsibilities and community engagements permit, she makes leisure time for reading, swimming, and shopping for antiques.

The congresswoman is seen above in an undated photo admiring one of her beautiful baby dolls.  Whether or not she remains an active collector is unknown.  If, however, she still owns and is enjoying her collection, I am confident that her dolls aid in reclaiming her time and provide solace away from the busyness and often treacherousness of today's US politics.

See this outspoken, passionate woman exhibit tenacity in getting to the crux of issues in videos at the embedded links.  In the first video, she reclaims her time from U. S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin who evaded her question with a lengthy nonsensical answer and in the second she implores the Black community to speak out against the injustices they continue to face.  Her passion for her constituents and her outspokenness are among the reasons the African American community has affectionately hailed her as their "Aunty Maxine."

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Malville Toys' Imani and Alexis



DHL shipping envelope and boxes used for my two Malaville Toys dolls are shown in the above two photographs.

Malaville dolls have been on the market for about three years now. I was not moved to purchase any until the first images of the second wave of dolls were shared online.  The newer dolls use a new (improved in my opinion) head sculpt and were released last year or earlier this year.  Imani (the doll with the deepest complexion) and Alexa (described as Malaville's first fashion doll with albinism) were my two choices of the four new dolls.

My dolls were purchased directly from the Malaville Toys website (find the link at the end of this post) where free shipping is now being offered.  Shipping appears actually built into the price now as the original dolls were slightly less than wave 2 but shipping was extra.

The dolls arrived swiftly from South Africa, delivered by DHL in their cardboard shipping boxes which were inside DHL's yellow plastic envelopes as illustrated in the first two photos.

Imani
Imani is presented in her white Malaville logo'd and personalized box which has the initial of her first name on the side of the box.  The doll and her extra fashion can be seen through the front see-through panel.

The letter "I" is on the side panel of Imani's box.  The meaning of Imani and the doll's story are shared on the back of the box, an image of which is next.
The text on the back of Imani's box includes the meaning of her name, her occupation as a magazine editor, her favorite color, and her hobbies.

Imani's features and fashion
Imani has an authentically textured, rooted Afro hairstyle and brown painted eyes.  Her elbows are articulated; the waist is not.  She has click-bend knees.  She is dressed in a green madras plaid, off-shoulder sleeveless sheath.  A white belt is worn at the waist.

The extra fashion includes a white off-shoulder blouse and skirt made of the same material as the dress.

A closer look at the sheath is shown above.

White T-strap ankle straps with a mock bow on the toe complete this editor of Malaville Magazine's stylish look.
Alexa
Like Imani, Alexa is presented in her white Malaville logo'd and personalized box which has the initial of her first name on the side of the box.  The doll and her art supplies and apron can be seen through the front see-through panel.
The letter "A" is on the side panel of Alexa's box.  The meaning of Alexa and the doll's story are shared on the back of the box, an image of which is next.
The text on the back of Alexa's box includes the meaning of her name, her budding-artist endeavors, her favorite color, and her hobbies.
Alexa's features, fashion, and accessories
Alexa has a blonde rooted Afro, dark painted eyes, white eyebrows, and eyelashes. Dressed in a pink hoodie with the letter A on front...

...Alexa wears cuffed light blue jeans.  Accessories include an easel, paint palette, three tubes of paint, a paintbrush... 

... and an apron.

White mock-lace sneakers complete her casual fashion.

About Malaville Toys

Mala Bryan, a fashion model, born on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, is the founder and creator of Malaville Toys.  As described on the back of both dolls' boxes, she is happy to have found her passion in dolls and has a goal of bringing love, joy, peace, and harmony to the world, "one beautiful doll at a time."

This direct quote from the founder of Malaville Toys is included on the back of Imani and Alexa's boxes.

Visit Malaville Toys here.

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View the Doll Events page for updates. Check out my eBay listings here.

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