Choosing a doll for your collection...

Choosing dolls for your collection is a personal thing, but we have reasons...

Once we identify why we are collecting dolls, or what we love about it, the choices we make can be based on a variety of factors:

  • the age and era of the dolls we collect
  • the designer or company
  • the look of the doll
  • the material the doll is made of
  • the size we want
  • the handle ability
  • the use it will be put to
  • the source
  • the cost

And we may ask, how will the doll fit in to the collection? Are we filling a gap? Are we adding variety? Are we buying yet another favorite? Are we buying at all...maybe it's a trade. Perhaps you are creating your own doll. 


For some of us, there is a lot of excitement when we are choosing, or waiting for a doll to arrive, whether it's a vintage doll, a ball joint doll, a Smart Doll, or a Little Darling, or another Little Darling...

Think about your process as a doll collector!

How do you choose a doll?



Doll Scales and Sizes...

18" Crissy Doll and Agnes Dreary doll, with an American Girl salon chair

The scale of my dolls, the relative sizes of one doll to another, has surfaced as an issue again as I share my doll photos with Someone I Know. And I find I am facing a kind of doll discrimination....


As I began my doll collecting in earnest again a while back, I was paying a lot of attention to scale. I collected lots of photos and information for reference, measuring my dollies and pouring over photos of dolls that might be a good fit. Since I was starting with a variety of sizes and proportions to begin with-think Terri Lee, Barbie, and 14" baby dolls for a start, it was a challenge to make decisions about who to add....


I decided to collect doll friends or "family" for my singletons, since having only one of each really showed up the wild difference in scales. It wasn't easy for me to imagine making up a photo story with my vintage Barbie and Terri Lee together.  


So the old Terri Lee acquired a friend from the 90's (who recently fell to pieces soon after my Terri broke the rubber bands holding on her appendages...but that is another story). And Barbie now has a Liz Taylor and Clark Gable to keep her company.


My two old Dee An Cee Cindy dolls at least had each other. But I thought  perhaps I wanted them to have children, to create a story about moms.... Since they are 14" I couldn't use the two 14" Dee An Cee baby dolls I have had since I was little. That would just look strange. So another doll hunt manifested 2 little 5" Berengeur babies, which will do. And so cute!


As my dolls' friends arrived, with some very successful scale matches and others not-quite-right (Tonner 18"males have smaller heads than my round faced 16" Ellowynes), my get-it-right scale demands started to relax as my dolls got to know each other. Okay, I mean as I got used to seeing them together. 


And my photos started to include these slight mis-matches, as if everything was All Right, like in this photo of tall Crissy, playing hairdresser and stylist to tiny Agnes Dreary.


That's when Someone I Know started to kick up a fuss about it, as he saw some of the doll photos and stories for the first time (great editor if I can stand all the constructive criticism).


Now I hear myself justifying the use of this slightly big headed doll with a perfectly proportioned one,  the big-eyed dolls with normal sized eye dolls, the skinny dolls with the chubby, the large with the small....


Come on, nobody will care like you say they will. Will they?


So...if my Barbies end up at a party with my Terri Lees, and I post the photos, you sticklers will know it is due to the steady deterioration of my own early discrimination.


I mean, have you noticed how many big headed humans there are?

 And how many small minded?

Mixing with the rest of us?

And we put up with it! 


Doll scale discrimination must be acknowledged and questioned!

There oughtta be a law.

Wait a minute. I think I have lost my perspective...

I am going to go play with my dolls for a while.


Read more on Scales and Sizes...



Sticking to a doll's summer wardrobe...for now

Dianna Effner's Little Darlings handpainted by Geri Uribe and Helen Skinner, clothes by Janice Mundy
Cute short sets by Janice Mundy

These cute short sets for 13" dolls like the Little Darlings here, made by the talented Janice Mundy, are from her eBay shop mrsbobbinsews. Thanks, Janice! But gone now... :(


It's mid July, time in the fashion world to wrap up the summer sales and start showing fall wardrobes. What a thought! It's 30c here!


Now, dolls are dolls...they don't feel the temperatures the way we do. But when it's hot, my dolls wear sundresses, shorts. and sandals or barefeet. If it gets cool and cloudy they get a sweater on. As September approaches, we'll start looking at cute fall school clothes. And I just found myself admiring a classy dolly winter coat on Pinterest...


As a follower of fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle Canada, I am used to this rush to finish up a season. But we have plenty of hot weather left to enjoy. And I just finished staining a little picnic table so my dolls can enjoy a barbecue outdoors. Whoops, I mean, so I can take some summer event photos with my dolls. 


Glad I got these short sets in time!  And for a look at a very fashionable brown and pink flowered capri set also made by Janice Mundy, check out my Flickr page... (It's also on my Photo Collections page at the moment.)


Janice is right on fashion cue with several cute school-time dresses at her eBay shop, mrsbobbinsews. And a website too,  Sew Sweet Designs for Dolls... AND a Facebook page, Sew Sweet Designs for Dolls. Busy lady...


I am looking forward to fall shopping at Janice's shops ...soon.


Right now it's iced lemonade time with my Little Darlings. They are waiting for me at the cafe!


PS  Here is some updated info from Janice Mundy, left in her kind comment below...

If anyone sees anything they like from former listings, I am happy to discuss whether they are able to be duplicated as I generally only make one or two of each design to start with. Please visit my Facebook page and check out the pictures there as well...same goes for requesting special orders there:



Suzy Ireland, Master Quilter!

I am a doll photographer and collector and Suzy, my next door neighbor is a quilter-extraordinaire...


It was only a matter of time before I made a request of her. I wanted a cute little quilt, made from my children's childhood fabrics, for my dolls to picnic on.


This is one side of my new beautiful, reversible,  18" doll quilt.

It was hard for me to choose between my favorite fabrics, full of memories. So Suzy suggested a red side and a pink side, solving my dilemma. 


And she brought out her fat quarters to add some variety. It was so fun, and also the beginning of lots of stories about her own quilts, and her life...


When this Little Darling arrived (handpainted by Helen Skinner), of course her first photo shoot was set against Suzy's adorable quilt.


For more photos of this quilt, and its red side, hop over to my Photo Collections page!


You can see more photos and watch little videos about Suzy's quilts at her site, Suzy Q's Quilts...


Is it just me, or do your dolls ask to go along on car rides?

Just as I am leaving to embark on a road trip, or even pop down to the post office, if I pass a dolly by, I get the request...


I keep a couple of doll travel bags handy,  pretty pink silk and sturdy black corduroy, but my dolls are not picky. A cloth grocery bag will do. Actually, I do have one doll who prefers the pink drawstring....

(Get a grip on yourself! Seriously? ...I'd rather not answer. I don't like your tone.)


When I admitted to a friend, a close friend, that a doll usually goes with me everywhere, she said I needed a doll car seat. I looked at her closely to see if she was mocking me.

(She is not a convert yet, only asking me to get a particularly cute doll for her granddaughter. But since she added it was so they could have fun spending time playing together, I am hopeful.) 


I asked her if the car seat idea was to keep the doll safe? What's the matter with being tucked into my tote? That's pretty safe. But she replied that it was so the dolls could see better on their ride!  How nice!

(She's mocking you.)


If only I had the courage. 

But if I keep reading those Facebook posts long enough, the ones that say go ahead and be your crazy self and never mind the haters, maybe I'll start looking for a little car seat. A really high one.


My dollies would love it!

At least, that's what I think they'd feel.

If they could, I mean.




Dolls are going on my 72 hour survival pack list. Seriously.


Speaking of car rides...I carry a 72 hour bag in the car, which sounds super organized, but it is probably missing a few things a few things, things I would be sorry weren't there. If we were in a pinch...


Lately I have caught myself thinking that there ought to be a doll in that bag. But which one? Who gets to live in the 72 hour bag?

It's a dilemma because I don't have any volunteers.

Okay, I haven't actually asked.

(Excuse me?)


I can't, off the top of my head, think of one of my dolls that I would want to stick in that tight spot. Maybe Hugh, because he seems a little grumpy and snobby, which I couldn't tell from his picture when I ordered him. (Seems so hard for them to make a great Ken doll!)


But would I pack his girlfriend too? Then I am two down. Should I just put all my Barbies in there? There aren't many and they don't get a lot of photo action anyway.

Whoops, no, I got a fast answer on that one. Not Moana, my vintage, so not her buddies Liz or Butler. Imagine Liz Taylor in a stuffy bag! Not likely.

My reasoning for having a doll in my 72 hour bag is because I think my dolls are good, good for me, like medicine. 

But also because I seriously love my dolls (seriously?) and I would not want to lose them all in a disaster. So, water, food, medicine, bandaids, dolls...Try putting that list on a survival site. Ouch. I can see the comments now....


Kids would understand, but only a small number of grown ups would get it. 

That's it! I'll say it's for the children! Genius. (What children? ....Well, any children!)


Okay, I can see that if I just put a little time and attention on this matter I might come up with something. But I am not going to "ask" because what will I do if Lula volunteers to go in the bag, because she thinks it would be an adventure, or Scout, who likes to be useful, or Hal, who is just so nice he would sacrifice himself...

And I can't bear the thought of not having them around every day.

As...dolls, of course.




Ode to Tomi Jane, doll dressmaker extraordinaire

My Ode to Tomi Jane...
...who designs and sews clothes for dolls, and especially Dianna Effner Little Darlings.

Tomi Jane's dresses are on my Wish List.
Looking on Flickr, I can see photo after photo of Tomi Jane's exquisite clothes for our Little Darlings.

When I need a break, I have fun deciding which dress I would choose for Chantal, Ana Stevie, Pearl.... It's a game I would play with my sister when we were young, "Which would you choose...". Perhaps we had the Sears catalogue open on our laps, or we would think up another name for an imaginary horse for our imaginary ranch...

I imagine... that Tomi Jane herself looks at my dolls - and chooses, because I love the perfection of TJ's choices for her own dolly models, and the perfection of each doll/dress/photo.
I tend to be a little more casual, but I always admire the attention to details...

Now...Tomi Jane does not list her dresses on eBay or Etsy at the moment, from what I understand.
But many do, and the other names of sewers, smockers, knitters, bonnet makers, who do provide beautiful clothes for LD's to choose from, and are now also on my Wish List, are beginning to get check marks as I find a pretty dress or outfits, shoes or wigs to clothe my beauties.
So, so far, thanks to Dotti G, Erin Green, Helen Skinner, Janice Mundy, Kathy Groulx! And others from eBay who go by code names, still to be deciphered! lol My gratitude! 

And I want to ask Claudia if she sells her little dolly bonnets.

It's a slow process: life demands that light bills are paid and food is put on the table.
However the Wish List waits....and if I switch up a tenderloin for a little mac and cheese...
...Hello, Tomi Jane?

No answer yet...back to her Flickr page for a little more wishing...


I'm Going To The Wall...

No wonder he's confused, poor lad...


(You mean besides the fact that he looks like a girl? ...That's enough! There's a different standard of masculinity in the bjd world. Don't get me started!)


Jack has discovered that he is a r-e-c-a-s-t. I told him he was a knockoff when he asked why he was different than his Iplehouse brothers. It


Recasts (shhh!) are not respected in the doll world. My friend didn't know when she gifted me with this beauty. (Who could resist him! He looks like he's melting.). 


True doll artists don't like it when their work is copied, understandably. It's like a doll underground, right in the open on eBay, and Internet sites you can get to with a click of a button. For the unsuspecting, and doll-world-ignorant, and for people who have no idea how much a Real bjd can cost,  it all appears legit.


Actually, the legalities around doll copies are a little fuzzy it seems. Lawyers have been consulted apparently, and there is a lot of debate. But it is very clear that the issue is a Hot Topic. I'm talking death threats. For the humans who stand up for,  you know, the R word.  Really. Policing in the doll world...who knew.


I experienced it myself when I asked a bjd photo site administrator if I could add this beautiful lad, and received... complete silence. So, I won't try to share him again. Except here on my own site, his own home. Or on my own Flickr page, or my own Pinterest board.  (Call me if you need bail....Uhhh, thanks.)


I can't risk it. I don't want the authorities to show up at the door. And maybe demand that he is recycled, like  they they do with the synths in HUMANS.  Or take me away. Who would dress the dolls when they wanted to go outside? Who would take them for car rides? 


So, he is a knock off. That is my story from now on and I'm sticking to it. I wanted to get this post in now, while this site still has only 0.26 visitors a day. After this I'll just plead ignorance. 


And, I'll never get another one, know. I'll tell my friends. Not even to practice restringing, or to try my own repaint. (Hey, wait, those are good ideas. Let me rethink all this.)


As for disillusioned Jack, he headed out to the Wall, without even a goodbye to his Legit brothers (well-half brothers). Or a coat. But, as Luck would have it, he passed by a pretty little Ellowyne who needed some help. And no one can say that Jack isn't a nice guy, er, doll. So as far as I know, they are still...busy.


(Strip story follow up...Jack is Downcast)




Some of my dolls are psychic...

An odd thing about bjd's.... That stands for ball joint dolls, for any newbies to the doll world.


Before I communicated with other doll collectors, and before I started to hang out on bjd Flickr pages and blogs, I imagined that the bjd dolls  I was pouring over, came from A fantasy world, or as Phoebe puts it, a parallel universe. The world created itself in my mind, populated with gods, fairies, elementals, giants, spirits...dolls with special powers or attributes. I started to choose my bjd's to inhabit this world I was imagining.


I discovered that this is common. It's common to place bjd's especially, in fantasy situations (yup, those kinds of fantasies, too. Do glamorous-breasted attributes count as special powers? I'll let you decide). From little large eared elves and winged fairies, to dripping blood fanged grey skinned vampires, to beautiful princesses and irresistible warriors.... I had just jumped aboard a bandwagon.


My other-worldly dolls, though, share space with worldly Barbies, chatty Terri Lees, and Ellowyne entrepreneurs bent on making this world a better place. 


However, some of my not-bjd dollies also have special powers. Like Silent Sam, my mute African beaded doll. And Ernie, my First Nations man. They communicate telepathically, with my Elemental bjd's, and with each other.  Ana, my first absolutely adorable but ordinary Little Darling doll, has somehow picked up on it and is doing her best to tune in...practice, practice, practice.


So, I know it sounds hard to believe, but I think a few of my dolls are psychic and can sometimes read MY mind, which is perhaps how Jack discovered he is not a Real bjd. (See my last post.) Who else would have told him? And I really think it's how I know what my dolls want. They are planting, telepathically, thoughts in my mind. 


I have to stay alert. 


I have to go now. I just had the urge to bring my bjd's out to the porch. Where they can hang out together. While I look for a good source for trendy bjd T-shirts online. And uh, and shoes...