Friday, June 30, 2017

Two for a Make Over

I recently found this pair on eBay for a song and I couldn't resist bringing them home to have a make over! Their faces looked almost as good as the day they were made and they still had most of their original clothes and their earrings, which are usually one of the first things to disappear.

I had absolutely no idea at all who the dolls they were, so I began to research. Information on the gal on the left was quickly found. She's a 1993 My Pretty Topsy Tail made by the American company Tyco. Standing 34cm (approx. 13.5") tall with decal or painted eyes, she's quite a sweetie. I have all the clothes for this doll as shown in the photos below, but not the accessories for styling her hair.

I found the photos below on the internet and you can see the original Topsy Tail had beautiful long blonde hair that could be styled. I am hoping with a good wash and added conditioner I can smooth her fuzzy ends. My fingers are crossed the hair will respond well and be simple to restyle.

Looking at the two boxes, there may have been two separate releases of this doll. Although the one on the right in the bottom photo, who's hair looks like it may have been played with, could have just been repacked in a different box.

TYCO HISTORY: Tyco is well known amongst collectors for it's steam engines and train sets. By the mid 1980s, Tyco dominated the market in electric racing, also producing "slot trucks" as well as radio controlled vehicles. It made a hit in 1991 with their Disney's Little Mermaid dolls that were released in conjunction with the movie. Tyco's Sesame Street line increased dramatically in popularity in 1996, when the plush doll Tickle Me Elmo became the most sought-after toy of the Christmas season. When Tyco was purchased by Mattel on March 27, 1997, it was the third largest toy company in the United States. The Tyco brand survived into the early 2010's as a division of Mattel.

The other doll I purchased, proved to be much more of a challenge, and it took quite a while to find anything at all relating to this doll. However, my persistence paid off and the research finally produced results. She's a 1993 Pretty & Me Doll by ToyBiz.

This very cute doll was seen in the 1993 J.C.Penny Xmas catalog. She stands 36cm (approx. 14") tall, and comes with pink earrings, coloured streaks in her beautiful blonde hair, acrylic fixed eyes with real lashes, eye shadow, painted lips, toe nails and finger nails.

Her original outfit consisted of pants with printed hearts, a pink top with heart centre front, an over skirt and matching pink sandals as shown in the photo. Mine, unfortunately, is missing her pants and sandals.  As the doll herself is quite a rare find, I will probably have to make replacements myself.

TOYBIZ HISTORY: ToyBiz originated in Montreal, Quebec as Charan Industries's American brand. ToyBiz later went on to become ToyBiz/Marvel Toys, in 2007 they dropped the ToyBiz branding which to me seemed rather odd as it was in January of 2007 that the Marvel licence was obtained by Hasbro. Marvel Toys continued to produce non-Marvel trademarked brands until late 2007, after this time, the division quietly dissolved with their website going down in 2008.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Just When I Thought I Was Safe . . .

Fairyland are releasing two new Real Fees and a Fantasy Art Line. When I first saw this photo on DoA (Coco with FAL body) I thought she looked right up my alley, but on seeing the open eyed version I was a tiny bit disappointed.

But then I saw the Toki version and immediately new he would be coming home. Fortunately hubby liked him too, so it was soon agreed that he would be my Christmas present this year.

No photos have been officially released yet, but I can tell you he's really very cute. If you are on FB you can see preview shots here.

Of course Toki will end up a SHE and a fairy to boot!

27/6 Updated photo of the Toki full set with upgraded eyes, which hubby is purchasing for me, though Toki's sleeping plate, shoes and axe will come unpainted. I will use the clothing as a secondary outfit for either Nomios or Rugierro.

Photo courtesy of Fairyland

Friday, June 23, 2017

My First Black Haired Beauty by Götz

Look who's coming home to me . . . her name is Avery and she is an Asian equestrian from the FAO Schwartz Classic Doll line by Götz. She wears her hair in a bob without a fringe, which is one of the things that really appealed to me (all the Hannah's have long hair), and she comes with two rather splendid outfits: the equestrian attire she is wearing and a cowgirl set, comprising jeans, check shirt and cowgirl boots.

Although this doll is an American repeat of Götz's popular Hannah line, the bob makes her quite unique compared to her Götz twin. When you see them side by side, they are not as alike as one might think being produced from the same sculpt. Not only does the Götz Asian Hannah have longer hair, her face looks like it's painted differently.
The photo of Asian Hannah on the right, appears to have slightly darker skin, the lips are lighter and it could just be a trick of the light, but the nose looks narrower than Avery's. I guess I won't really know until I see them together IRL.

There were three other dolls in the Schwartz Classics range: Tess; a new, blonde Hannah, Claudia; an Hispanic school girl, and Nina; an African American performer.

The FAO Schwartz Classic line, which sold at Toys R Us, was discontinued in 2013, so I was lucky to find her in NRFB condition, still in her lovely zippered carry case.

History: FAO Schwarz was founded in 1862 under the name "Toy Bazaar" by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, in Baltimore and was once the oldest toy store in the United States.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Growing old is Mandatory, Growing Up . . . Optional!

I thought I would share a short story written by Frank Kaiser, as it's about someone who also favoured my favourite quote by George Bernard Shaw.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

"Hi handsome," she said, "My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester, we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry. I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began: "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!"

"There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability."

"The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end, Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation, Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example, that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

If you read this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it . . . and maybe learn something of what's in store for them down the line!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fabric Dolls

I know there are an incredible selection of dolls produced these days; in vinyl, resin, porcelain or similar substances. I know many of you collect very specific dolls, but I wonder if any of my readers like to make or collect fabric dolls. I have made several fabric dolls in the past and have suddenly had the urge to do so again.

A blast from my past!

Sometimes people refer to these stuffed, handmade dolls as Waldorf dolls and this is not necessarily correct, as many fabric dolls are not  made with children or their education in mind at all. A Waldorf doll is doll based on the principles of Waldorf education (also known as Steiner education), which emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate the combined intellectual, practical and artistic development of pupils.

Waldorf dolls are typically handmade for children, from natural fibres, usually with cotton knit skin and stuffed with wool, and crafted using traditional doll making techniques which originated in Europe. You will find a full description HERE.

In my case, I have mainly made my dolls for teenagers or young at heart adults, who like myself, simply enjoy collecting (and playing with) dolls of all kinds. Many of the traditional doll making techniques are still applied, as is the use of natural fibres. However, I have in the past used acrylic paint, water based gloss, buttons and other decorative items from time to time, depending on the finished look I wished to achieve. Some were made with clothing attached as in the quirky little doll shown here, while others had removable clothes.

Buttons used for eyes.

Acrylic paint and water based gloss used to paint shoes & socks.

My mother referred to them as a rag or cloth dolls, but I have also heard them called interior dolls, tilda dolls, primitive dolls, or softies, but whatever one may call them ... to me they are simply hand made fabric dolls, which one can dress and play with, or simply use as decoration around the home.

The doll I am working on at present, is an enlarged Nekomimi (cat ear) doll pattern from Nunodoll, which will not look like the Nekomimi doll at all when finished. Being re-sized it will enable me to dress her in different outfits and allow her to wear children's size 4 or 5 shoes with socks.

Although I have most of the supplies to make this doll, I am waiting on 2 items to arrive from the Netherlands, so I will have little to show you for a couple of weeks. While I am waiting I will make some outfits of my own design so she will have lots to wear once she is completed.

Of course not all my fabric "dolls" were made of cotton, some like my one of a kind Ballerina Bunny were made of mohair and had a needle felted faced. Of course she is totally OTT with her sequined dress and glittered high top sneakers, but I have always loved things which are decidedly unconventional and she makes me smile!

Hope you are all having productive dolly time too!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cruising the High Seas

A couple more creations for Katie and Kitty.

Tried a new yarn and different lacy stitch on the bottom of the knitted dress, and I think it turned out okay, but I may add a little crocheted edge to the hem.

Kitty forgot her book, so she decided just to sit back and relax.

Slightly different version of my simple dress, using a torn ruffle and hem. Not too sure I like the straps doing up on the outside, I may need to change them, what do you think?

Friday, June 09, 2017

Girls in Wonderland

A few more garments finished for Emma and Kitty.

I am really pleased with how the knitted dress turned out, as I haven't used the Knit Picks Chroma Twist before and wasn't sure how it would look. I really love how the colours blend, this is colour called "Drawing Room" but I will probably order a different colour next time, perhaps something a little brighter.

I'm glad I ordered the grey shoes though, they match perfectly with this knitted dress. :)

Monday, June 05, 2017

New Girls - Emma and Kitty

I have been waiting for these girls to arrive for some weeks now. Usually my Gotz dolls arrive within a few days of ordering, but that's when I only order one at a time, this time I ordered these two girls at the same time which made the shipping box really large, so it was sent with a different carrier . . . hence the long wait, it was a real test of my patience. :)

In the clothes they arrived in.
This is Emma, she has lovely blonde hair with a centre part and grey brown eyes and she is wearing one of my outfits that I knitted and sewed while she was on her long trip home. I also managed to squeeze her feet into a pair of lovely white Boneka shoes.

A close up, as you may have noticed, she has the same face sculpt as Clara.

This is Kitty, she also has lovely blonde hair, but with a side part and green eyes and she is wearing an outfit that is the reverse to Emma's. She is still wearing the black cat shoes she arrived in. Kitty is a MDBF Chosen doll and limited to 250 in this colour way.

This close up shows she has the same face sculpt as Katie (including the freckles which I want to remove if I can).

I just need to order a blonde Hannah (with a fringe) to complete my blonde trio, but she can wait for a little while.

Hope you all have a wonderful dolly week planned, I do! :)