Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mass Blogger Interview

I was so exhausted from all the last minute sewing I did to prepare for the Atlanta Doll Collector's doll show on May 5th that I've been neglecting my blog even though I turned in my grades May 6th and was enjoying a "stay cation" until the summer session started at school this week.  Many thanks to Ms. Leo at I Luv Dolls for posing the Mass Blogger Interview questions that motivated me to start posting again.  Here are my responses:

When did you start collecting dolls?
I was the kind of anal retentive child who actually listened when adults said “take care of your toys.”  

I still have the original shoes that came with this outfit that I received along with Twist and Turn Barbie when I was five years old.

Since I didn’t tear my toys up or lose pieces, I’ve been “collecting” all my life.  

What was your first purchase as a collector?
Probably around the time I was in junior high school, there were dolls I wanted to add to my existing families that I couldn’t wait until Christmas or my birthday to receive so I saved up my allowance to buy them myself.  Even as a child, however, I was more interested in collecting play sets than dolls.  One purchase I remember vividly is the Wishing Well Park set.  I was about 14 when I bought it.

I don’t have the original set any longer but I got a replacement on eBay several years back.

How many dolls do you own?

What is your favorite doll and why?
My current favorite – in terms of getting the most playtime is the Monster High build-a-monster skeleton girl.

I’ve been busy making wigs for her and assembling her wardrobe for months but I haven’t quite got her ready for a photo shoot and blog post.  I don’t know why she appeals to me so much.  I was never into “goth” stuff until the Monster High dolls came along.  Still, from a design standpoint I think their clothes and accessories are the most interesting fashions on the market at the moment.

What doll or dolls are not your favorites and why?
My fondness for Monster High dolls not withstanding, I dislike big headed dolls.  I’m not into anime so I don’t like the trend of giving dolls disproportionate heads.  I like 1:6 scale dolls because they enable me to create an alternate but real-seeming world.  The over-sized heads spoil the illusion for me.

What is the biggest challenge about collecting dolls?
The biggest challenge for me is finding child dolls of color.

How do you display or store your dolls?
I have 6 shelving units that are 36” x 24” x 60”.  All together there are 24 shelves where I set up my dioramas.

The dioramas are very messy right now so I'm just showing the back corner of my playroom.  One day I will make a "brick" facade for the front side so the shelving units look like a nice apartment complex.  Then I will turn the dioramas around to face into the playroom.  Unfortunately the lighting is very poor so I have my shooting stages in another room.

There are 13 stacks of 4 bins along the back wall of my playroom.

This is where I store my cars, small houses, and play sets.  Welcome to MGM back lot!  There are dolls in flat plastic bins on top of the play sets but recently I have started to experiment with standing them upright in empty wine case boxes.

This system makes casting for photo stories much easier.

Have you ever been to a doll show?
Until last year I had never been to a doll show.  In 2011 I went to three dolls shows and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Recently I rented a table at the Atlanta Doll Collector’s annual doll show.  I sold enough to cover the cost of renting the table but I immediately spent the money with other vendors.  I’m looking forward to another doll show this weekend.

When you travel, do you look for dolls?
Yes.  I always walk the toy aisles to see what dolls are available.  Specifically I check to see if there are any black dolls available.

What is your latest purchase?
I bought almost two dozen dolls at the Atlanta Doll Collector’s annual doll show on May 5th.  Most of these were bargain bin dolls that I purchased because they had articulated bodies.  I had a mass head-changing party when I got home.   Once again, however, I most enjoy collecting play sets so one of the best things I got at the doll show was the Sweet Roses canary cage.

I have almost all the Sweet Roses furniture from the late 1980s but I hadn’t realized there was a birdcage.

What doll is on your wish list now?
There are a number of new dolls on my wish list:
--Monster High Howleen Wolf
--Monster High werecat twins
--Monster High Build-a-Monster witch
--Monster High Build-a-Monster gargoyle boy

I am also interested in building my collection of plus-sized dolls so I’m looking for Rosie O’Donnell, Cheetah Girl Raven Simone, Mimi Bobeck, and Tracy and Edna Turnblad.

What do you wish you didn’t purchase?
Last year I purchased a Liv Twist and Dance Alexis because she was the first dark-skinned Alexis I had seen.  She was a good complexion match for one of my favorite Chic Boutique dolls but I was so disappointed that she couldn’t bend her knees or sit down that I took her back to the store and got a refund.

What is your favorite doll related item?
My favorite doll related item is probably the My Scene Tiki bar.  I bought 3 of them from Toys R Us at a steep discount and have been able to use them to create an African market scene.

How often do you photo your dolls and what doll is the most photographed and/or photogenic?
I try to photograph my dolls at least once a week.  When I have more time, I do doll photo shoots more often.  I prefer to use “clones’ so the most frequently photographed face mold in my collection came from Dollar Tree.  

I bought more than a dozen of these dolls.  I have several of the heads on different bodies.  With the addition of different wigs they play a variety of characters.    

Do you talk to other collectors in person or just on the web?
Except at doll shows my communication with other collectors is mostly through the web.  I have one friend who comes over for "play dates" every few months but she doesn't collect dolls herself.

If you had the chance to speak to Mattel or other toy makers, what 
would you say?
The majority of the world’s population has brown eyes.  Dolls with darker complexions do not need blue or green eyes to make them “aesthetically pleasing.”

What doll do you wish would be reissued? 
Fully articulated dark-skinned Liv Alexis with flesh tone panties.

What two dolls would you combine and how would you want them 
combined? (Muff style question)
Put the African American Basics male that came out last year on an articulated Fashionistas body.


  1. Wonderful post! I enjoyed learning about your collecting and seeing your pics. I too bought that Alexis doll and took her right back once I found out that she could not bend or move! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I'm glad I found out ahead of time that the Dancing dolls had no knee joints. I received one as a gift from a friend. I stole her clothes and put her in my sale/donation box.

    It was great learning more about you and your collection :O)

  3. Awesome post! It is great getting to know you better. It was great seeing at the show a few weeks back and I will probably see you on Saturday. Love your African market scene!

  4. I am so silly! I never even thought of storing the dolls upright! I'm always rifling and digging through the box trying to find a particular body and it would be so much easier if they were standing. Duh! LOL, thank you. I'm so glad I came by.

    You have a shelf with white grids with blue lines around them. Are the dolls behind that for dust protection or are those pull out drawers??

    Thanks for posting this. I loved all the photos and your responses.

  5. limbe dolls - Great pictures. I love the wine case idea for standing the dolls upright. I still get a kick out of your love for Monster High dolls. I would have never imagined it. I love the tiki bar. I missed out on a lot of MyScene stuff when it was out. Thanks for sharing.

  6. So great! I liked to know more about you and your collection, thank you :)

  7. Hi All,

    Thanks for your comments. Muff the white grids are the back walls of the dioramas. I will try to straighten things up enough to take a presentable picture of the front side for my next post.

  8. Oh, cool you had the Young Sweethearts' Wishing Well Park! Me, too. I didn't have many of the 1980s furniture sets though - I was working then. That bird cage is adorable. Thanks for sharing.

    One warning about storing dolls upright - if the dolls have bend legs with soft ankles, the ankles can sway out as if the full weight of the doll were too heavy for it. The lower legs then look as if they became "hooks." I'd had some dolls' legs curve out like that. The hard plastic legs like the articulated and poser Barbies do not suffer from this malady.

    I love your idea about creating a facade that would unify the "apartments." I'd been thinking along that line for a 5-shelf plastic shelving unit I have.

    Thanks for participating in Ms. Leo's Mass Blogger Interview. I enjoyed reading about your collection and your collecting ideas.

  9. Hello from Spain: I like to know more about your collection of dolls. I can relate to many of your answers. I like to see pictures of how you have organized your collection of dolls. I see you also have a large collection. Keep in touch.

  10. Ms. Leo's idea to create a mass blog interview was such a great idea. Reading the answers of fellow bloggers has allowed me to gain greater insight into the collecting tastes and habits of fellow collectors as well as discovering display and storage ideas.

    Although I typically do not store my dolls, your use of wine boxes to store playscale dolls upright is an excellent idea.

    As a child, you were very resourceful to save money to buy your own dolls. Not many children did that back in the day and certainly not many do it now in this day of instant gratification. Childhood habits usually carry over into adulthood, which is why you remain very resourceful and creative.

    As a child, you were not anal retentive. You were very mindful of the importance of taking care of your playthings. Same here. Even though I played with my dolls and enjoyed them as a child, my remaining childhood dolls are in near pristine condition, many with their original clothes and shoes, because I was taught to take care of my things.

    I cosign on what you would tell Mattel and/or other dollmakers: "The majority of the world’s population has brown eyes. Dolls with darker complexions do not need blue or green eyes to make them 'aesthetically pleasing.'"


  11. This is a great post. I really enjoyed reading your answers, and especially viewing your photos. Now I'm having thoughts of storing some of my dolls upright. Thanks for the great ideas!