Monday, August 21, 2017

Preordered Classic Cool Ken

Preordered Classic Cool Ken arrived in mid-July.

This past June when Classic Cool Ken became available as a preorder from the ShopMattel website, I ordered one along with Boho Glam (the latter doll has yet to arrive).  The preordered Ken did not arrive until mid-July.  

I purchased another Classic Cool at a Walmart store a week or so after the preorder.   If you follow this blog, you have probably seen the results of the "parts" I painted in between the first doll's cornrows.  As a comment to one of the posts, Jewell suggested in lieu of painting the scalp, I could have used a fine-pointed Q-tip and acetone to remove the original paint.  A member of a Facebook group made the same suggestion. 

The preordered doll arrived in time for me to try this technique and send that doll to my niece for her end-of-July birthday.  The lack of time, however, prevented me from completing that task, so I sent her the first Classic Cool, after repackaging him, of course.  I wrote her a note to let her know that I painted the doll’s scalp to give him a more realistic appearance. 

I finally found time to try the acetone technique (but I used fingernail polish) on the preordered Classic Cool Ken, which was for me a total failure.*  A fingernail polish-dipped Q-tip removed hair from the scalp as well as from the edges of the braided cornrows!  I needed to have used something thinner than the end of a Q-tip.  I even tried removing some of the cotton from the end of the Q-tip, but it was still too wide.  Since I did not have anything pointed and firm enough to both absorb the fingernail polish and remove the paint only from the desired areas,  I removed all the paint with fingernail polish and cotton swabs and repainted the braids and sideburns.

After-paint-removal and after-painting photos are shown next.

Kens braids are a lighter brown than the manufactured color as illustrated by the original color of his eyebrows.  He now has a facial mole that I added.  Take a closer look at the mole in the next image.

I was going to temporarily give him earrings (without piercing the lobes) using nail art crystals, which have an adhesive back, but I did not have any more on hand.  (I have used these before to add earrings to dolls, never for myself.  I rarely even polish my nails.)

*Acetone and fingernail polish both work well to remove manufactured paint from vinyl dolls, but if the desired area is tiny, the correct tool will be needed to only remove paint from the desired areas.  I even tried using a thin-bristled paint brush, but of course the bristles were not firm enough to allow the necessary pressure needed to remove the paint.  With that said, I must admit that the natural color scalp looks better than the painted scalp and both are far better than the manufactured black scalp.

Here's Classic Cool Ken dressed and ready to rejoin the doll family.  

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Lottie Dolls: Sammi, Branksea Lottie, and Mia

Lottie dolls, L-R:  Sammi, Branksea Festival Lottie, and Mia
Lottie fashions:  Raspberry Ripple and Flower Power

Back in June, blog reader, Cynthia, informed me about the soon-to-be-released, deep complexioned Mia, friend of Lottie.  I have always wanted a Lottie doll and had considered buying Branksea Festival Lottie. Last year I did purchase a Lottie fashion during the time I hosted my doll group's travel doll, Janet.

The Lottie Blue Velvet fashion was part of Travel Doll Janet's Texas loot.

Janet went to her forever home with the Lottie fashion along with several other items.  I appreciated the quality of that Lottie fashion and expected the same quality for the dolls, which are manufactured by Arklu (Ireland) Ltd., imported by Arklu of London.

After reading their online description when the fashion for Janet was purchased, I knew Lottie and/or a friend or two would eventually enter my collection.  

·         Nurturing individuality and creativity through play, Lottie's a wholesome, age appropriate, fashion doll, she's perfect because “she's just like me"
·         A positive, healthy role model; she doesn't wear makeup, jewelry, heels or suggestive clothing, she's the girl next door; cute, fun and adventurous
·         Lottie wears wonderful, age appropriate clothes with great attention to detail; her long flowing hair is silky smooth, comb-able and resists tangles
·         At 7.5 inches tall, Lottie has moveable arms, bendable knees and can stand on her own two feet (a useful skills for all girls big and small)
·         This Lottie doll comes with everything pictured; for ages 3+

Last week, a Facebook ad about Mia prompted me to visit the Lottie website where I also discovered Sammi.  As a comparison shopper, I visited Amazon to see if the dolls were available for free Prime shipping.  They were along with a special discount from Arklu (which has now expired):  buy three and get 15% off the fourth item.  That is why my three were purchased along with two extra fashions for the girls.

Because I have not removed the dolls from their beautiful, house-shaped packages, in addition to my photos, I have shared stock photos of each doll and the separately-sold fashions.

Mia is a photographer.  The back of her box, illustrated below, reads:  From birds and butterflies to all kinds of creepy-crawlies, I'm just mad about wild life  Everywhere I go, I carry my camera with me.  Because who knows when -- or where -- a brilliant photo opportunity will pop up?

Mia's description continues:  A beautiful photo can tell its own story.  I hope that my pictures will inspire other children to love wildlife as much as I do and to take good care of this wonderful planet of ours!  PS:  Look out for winning entries from our Wildlife Photography Competition inside!

Branksea Festival Lottie has a tan complexion.  The back of her box is shown next.

Text from Branksea Festival Lottie's box reads:  Summer has arrived at last!  The sun is shining and the sky is blue as Branksea prepares for its annual Festival.  Lottie is excited and is looking forward to live music, face painting, storytelling, and arts and crafts.  Will the good weather continue or will the celebrations be spoiled by rain?
Sammi was a pleasant surprise.  Until visiting the Lottie website looking for Mia, I had no idea he existed.

Sammi is a writer!  His back story from the back of the box reads:  Branksea School's Sports Day is a Sports Day with a difference.  We have athletics and gymnastics and team sports like football.  But -- because we're so close to the beach -- we have lots of water-based activities, too.  There are swimming and surfing and canoeing events.  There's even a kite-flying event near the sea cliffs!  I write about everything for the Branksea School News!  PS:  Look out for winning entries from my School News Competition inside.

The front of each doll's box has a cardboard "Winner" medal attached with a ribbon.  The front of Branksea Festival Lottie's medal reads:  Positive Role Model Awards Winner.  The back reads:  What makes Lottie special? Lottie has a 'childlike' body developed by British academics; she doesn't wear makeup jewellry or high heels.  Best of all, she can stand on her own two feet -- an invaluable life lesson for all girls, big and small.

The two Lottie fashions I purchased are Raspberry Ripple and Flower Power.  Raspberry Ripple includes a sundress, ice cream swirl tote bag, and raspberry pink ballet flats.  Flower Power has an apple blossom spring dress, cherry-pink cardigan, socks, and pink ballet flats.

These all-vinyl dolls have brown painted anime eyes and rooted hair.  They are jointed only at the neck, upper arms, and upper legs.  Their feet are flat, which allow them to balance and stand without the assistance of a doll stand.  The quality appears as expected, exceptional, but I won't know for sure until I open their boxes. 

Thanks again, Cynthia, for the heads up about Mia.  

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Music Dolls by Lorna Paris

Music Dolls, a.k.a. Music Box Dolls by Lorna Paris
I saw the photo of the above trio of 8-inch Lorna Paris music dolls after a former doll group member purchased them from Lorna at the 2007 Philadelphia (Philly) International Black Doll Show and Sale.  I fell in love with them and had to have one for myself.  I just had to.  I contacted Lorna by phone to see if she had any left, and she did!

This is the music doll I purchased for myself in 2007.  She has the sweetest face.  Each of them have the same music box in their bottoms which plays Brahms' Lullaby when the key is wound.  As the music plays, their heads sway from side to side.  They are made of cloth and all have hand-painted features, which makes each a one of a kind.  Their shoes are painted to match the color of their dresses or an appropriate color that complements the dress color.

Since 2007, my doll has had several temporary music doll sisters as I have commissioned Lorna to make additional ones as gifts for others.

My doll poses with another music doll that is dressed similarly, but their complexions differ.
Later in 2007, at my request, Lorna made the music doll shown on the right in the above photo.  She is now enjoying life in a Midwestern state of the United States.

My doll is joined in this photo by dolls wearing blue and yellow dresses.
Purchased in approximately 2009 for two other doll friends, the music dolls in the blue and yellow dresses left their sister doll to move to a western state and another state in the Midwest, respectively.

This is the most recently commissioned Lorna Paris music doll; she too wears blue, as I did not specify a color for her dress, leaving that up to Lorna.
My girl wanted to pose with the newly-created music doll before she departed to yet another Midwestern state.
This past June, I commissioned Lorna to make the above-shown music doll for another doll friend who recently received it for her birthday. Said friend had mentioned wanting another doll by Lorna but she did not have her contact information. Now she has another doll by Lorna and the artist's contact information. (I sent Lorna’s business card to her along with the doll).

In her new home, the latest music doll is joined by Sheria (a 10-1/2-inch leather doll by Lorna) from the 1990s.
After this friend received her doll, she shared the above picture with me and also shared it with Lorna (having her contact info now to do so).  Her original doll, Sheria, is one of Lorna's one-of-a-kind leather doll creations, purchased in 1994 at the Philly doll show.  In the doll community, Lorna is better known as a leather doll artist, but as illustrated by her lovely cloth music dolls, she works in cloth as well.

In 2011, Lorna made one-of-a-kind leather sister dolls for members of my online doll group.  Those dolls can be seen here.  She also makes leather doll pouches.  See more of Lorna's dolls and her other artwork in the photo album of her page on Facebook.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

American Girl Addy's First Annual Hair Show

My second Addy is shown in the eBay seller's photo as she was when she arrived several years ago, very well loved with hair that was quite tangled and in need of conditioning and restyling.  I gave her the necessary hair treatment and styled her hair in four squared off sections, twisted the loose ends, added barrettes to the ends, and gave her bang extensions using clipped hair from a ponytail that my daughter had worn previously.  The original upon-arrival hairstyle is illustrated next:

Addy's hair remained in this style until this past weekend when I participated in Addy's First Annual Hair Show.

This past Saturday, the Facebook group, American Girl Addy Collectors, held Addy's First Annual Hair Show. Group members were asked to style their dolls' hair in creative and fun styles to illustrate the many ways Addy's hair can be styled. The hair show was a result of the administrator's discovery that some American Girl collectors are "intimidated" by Addy's natural hair texture.  Wanting to put to rest the myth that texturized hair is difficult to manage, we were asked to restyle our dolls' hair and post photos to the group.

I wanted to participate in this event because the administrator is very supportive of my projects, but because I was not sure time would permit me to do so, I left my invite status as "maybe."  Things were working against my participation (my mother spent last Thursday evening through Friday afternoon in the ER and was admitted to the hospital for observation until Saturday afternoon).  I thought my last-minute plan to participate had been foiled, but I woke up early Saturday morning and began redressing and restyling Addy's hair in traditional "little girl styles" (nothing at all very creative, however).

What I Used
After taking Addy's hair down from the original hairstyle, I moisturized it with Smooth 'N Shine Polishing Mousse.  A wide-tooth comb, plastic bristle brush, ribbons, barrettes, ponytail holders, and rubber bands were the only other items used to create the various hairstyles described and illustrated below.

Hairstyle #1
Addy removed her Christmas dress and was eager to try on an 18-inch doll dress by Blueberi Boulevard, a gift from several years back.  After redressing, she was given side twists that meet in back to create one ponytail.  The ponytail is accented with multiple white barrettes.  One barrette is also on top of each side twist:

Hairstyle #2
Two twisted side ponytails with ribbons on top and barrettes on the ends, worn loose in back (rolled under with my fingers -- no time to set it) completed hairstyle #2.

Hairstyle #3  
After changing into an 18-inch My Twinn "Blooming Hearts" dress, Addy was given four twisted ponytails, similar to her upon-arrival hairstyle, adorned with knocker ball ponytail holders and pink elastic ponytail holders on the ends.

Hairstyle #4
With her hair in three sections, the top two side ponytails remained in two-strand twists.  Each ponytail was carried over to the opposite side on top of her head.  The ends were wrapped around the rubber band that held the opposite ponytail to create a top twist.  A Nubian knot was created in back by wrapping the two-strand twisted ponytail around itself and tucking the end underneath the rubber band that held the ponytail in place.  (For this style, Addy is dressed in another 18-inch My Twinn fashion.)

Hairstyle #5
Addy's final hairstyle, three braids with ribbons and barrettes, is the style she chose to continue wearing because she has never worn braids before.  She decided she would continue wearing the 18-inch My Twinn "Pinstripe Denim" dress.  Her constant companion, Ida Bean poses with her.

Side Note
My poor Addy suffers from the American Girl doll silver eye disease in her left eye.  Several days after the hair show, as a temporary (or permanent) remedy, I used a brown Sharpie to darken the discolored area.  Even though the right eye is unaffected, I darkened the same area (the irises only being careful not to color over the pupil area) with the Sharpie to give both eyes the same color.  Before and after photos follow:

Not shown in any of the above photos, Addy's eyebrows had turned an odd dark green color.  I used a dark brown eyebrow pencil to naturalize the color.

With her new clothes, new hairstyle, corrected eyes and eyebrows, Addy is happy she was able to participate in the American Girl Addy Collectors First Annual Hair Show.

After gaining permission from all participants, the administrator of  the group plans to create a video of all submitted hairstyle photos.  I will post an update here or create a new post after the video is online.  There were some phenomenal hairstyles that you will enjoy seeing.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

She'll Have to Reschedule

Circa 1940s 28-inch hard plastic Rita Walker by Paris Doll Corporation; when the doll's legs are moved in a walking motion, her head turns from side to side.  She remains one of my top-favorite hard plastic dolls.

After recently taking updated photographs of my 28-inch Rita Walker doll by Paris Doll Corporation (circa 1940s), I noticed another hard plastic, head-turning walker doll's head was loose.  I had attempted to repair her some time ago, but my repair was shoddily done.  I decided to take her to the resident doll doctor to allow him to properly restring her.

17-inch head-turning walker, made in England with loose head
After undressing her and retrieving the elastic the doctor would need to complete the task, I took the patient to Doc Garrett and announced, "I have another patient for you."

He said, "She'll have to reschedule." So I left her in the capable doctors care until he could find time to complete the repairs.

She's all better and her wait for treatment was not as long as expected.

The very next morning upon entering the doll room with a cup of Hazelnut Teecino and two cinnamon graham crackers, I found her lying on my desk along with the package of elastic, already repaired.  I smiled.

"My head is no longer loose and I am as good as new."
This 17-inch, hard plastic, head-turning walker, has "Made in England" on her back as her only identifying marks.  She  has light blue-gray eyes and black short hair of mohair over which I placed a black two-ponytail, banged wig immediately after she arrived in 2010.  Her upper legs are pin jointed and her knees are articulated.  She arrived wearing a dress with white bodice and mock red/white/blue/yellow print vest that matches the skirt of the dress.  Handmade white knit, two-piece undies, white socks and red vinyl Cinderella-brand Mary Jane-style shoes completed her attire.  The seller identified her manufacturer as Rosebud of England and indicated the doll appears in Frances Baird's book, British Hard Plastic Dolls of the 1940s and 1950s, which was published in 1999.  It was not until her most recent restringing that I decided to purchase this book to confirm the seller's claim.

After the book arrived, I was pleased to discover a doll like mine on page 2 along with a black doll by Roddy ("Top Knot Baby") and a "Pedigree Negro Baby." My doll's name is Rosebud Knee Joint Girl.
The doll is seen two additional times on page 126 of Baird's book as illustrated below:

17-inch Knee Joint Doll, marked "Rosebud' on back of neck, "Made in England" across shoulders, mid 1950s.

The doll in the book has amber eyes.  Other described attributes are the same as my doll's.  She is said to have been made in the mid 1950s along with a white counterpart.  Some dolls that use this mold will bear the name "Rosebud" on the neck and "Made in England" across the shoulders/back.  My doll does not have Rosebud on the neck, but as Baird indicates in the introduction:

It is quite possible my doll was a store exclusive or other special-order doll.  Upon examining her neck once again for the manufacturer's mark, I found a scratched or etched away area, which may be where Rosebud was formerly located.

The 17-inch Knee Joint Doll is shown once more in Baird's book on page 126 in a tea party setting with the white counterpart.  The book indicates the white doll has the same "Made in England" mark on back but also has "Rosebud" on the neck.  The description from the book reads:  Dolls' tea party with two Rosebud knee joint girls sitting naturally at the table. On the left with auburn mohair wig, sleeping blue eyes and a tiny Kleeware thumbsuck in the pocket of her teddy print dress.  On the right a black knee joint girl with black mohair wig, amber sleeping eyes and a pretty turquoise print dress.  On the table a Chad Valley aluminum tea set from 1949 and on the floor, her dolly is a tiny Rosebud baby with moulded hair and sleeping eyes.

With my Rosebud Knee Joint Doll's restringing properly completed, she is now redressed in her white knit undergarments, dress, socks and shoes,  and replacement wig.  She is back on display with other similar dolls, feeling and looking so much better!

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