Friday, June 22, 2012

My First Repaint

    Chemical odors give me headaches and make my skin crawl.  When I took Graphic Design, I enjoyed the class but hated entering the building where all the Fine Arts classes were taught because the smell of paints and solvents was always so strong.   Thus it was only when I realized that acrylic paints are odorless that I was willing to try repainting dolls.

    Meet Nick Kringle:  

Nick started out as a mechanical Santa that I bought in an after Christmas sale about five years ago.  


Even though the Walgreens where I bought him is in a predominantly black section of Decatur, there were no African American Santas available so Nick languished in storage until last month when a very special lady arrived.  The competition for her attention has been keen, but Nick is determined to win her so he badgered me to make him presentable.  He is hoping that his smooth dance moves and mellow tones on the saxophone will melt the lady’s heart.  

À Bientôt

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black Barbie and Ken's Nigerian Traditional Wedding

It seems that those of us in dolldom have been in the vanguard of a growing artistic phenomenon.  In the last two weeks my boss and other non-doll friends have sent me several interesting links to photo series by professional photographers that either use fashion dolls or cast live models as Barbie and Ken.  Obi's "Black Barbie and Ken's Nigerian Traditional Wedding" is exquisitely beautiful and also a roaring good time.  Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Casting Call: Part 5

Francesca and Bettina

Francesca came from Toys R Us circa 2005.  Her cousin, Bettina was the African American version of the same face mold.  Their dresses are from a late 1970s Barbie that would purse her lips to kiss when you pressed a button in her back.

I had the African American version of that doll and have kept the peach dress all these years.  I paid $1 for the pink dress at the May 20th doll show.

I bought the white wicker love seat at the May 5th doll show.

Remember the sling-back shoes?  They were (and still are) a pain in the butt to fasten and the straps had a tendency to break. 

Fire and Ice

This tempestuous beauty was originally a ballerina.  I bought her at Kmart circa 2005.  She did a very spirited reading of a villainess role for her screen test and  is now on a fully articulated Mattel poser body with a pivotal waist and arched feet.  I am very impressed with the cut of this slinky blue dress which I bought for $1 at the May 20th doll show.


Candace was a Kari Michelle doll I found in Dollar General.  She upgraded to a fully articulated Mattel body with a pivotal waist and arched feet.

The gown probably came from a Dolls of the World Barbie.  I paid $1 for it at the May 20th doll show.

I also got Beauty, Barbie’s Russian wolfhound there.  I bought this dog when it originally came out in 1979 but left it behind when I moved away from home.  For $8 I was re-united with her at the May 20th doll show.

The sleigh was an eBay purchase circa 2005.

Blanche Norwood

Blanche was a Chic Boutique Snow White.  Her aristocratic bearing landed her a part as a noblewoman in an upcoming episode of the “Playscale Crafting” show even before she had upgraded to her current Liv body.

I paid $1 for the gown at the May 20th doll show.

Brooke Peyton

Like Mimi, Brooke was a teen fashion doll from Wal-Mart.  She earned an upgrade to a fully articulated Mattel body with pivotal waist and arched feet for her roles as the governor’s daughter in “Firehouse #5,”

and as a student in “Homage to Leon Damas.”

The intriguing combination of plaid and pleats makes a surprisingly feminine gown.

I’m guessing it dates from the 1980s because it fastens with metal snaps.  I paid $1 for it at the May 20th doll show.

That brings me to the end of the casting call but I still have new treasures to show in upcoming posts.

À Bientôt

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Casting Call: Part 4

Radcliff Settle, MD

Cliff is an early precursor of Integrity Toys’ Tariq.  I paid $5 for him at the May 5th doll show because he was wearing a snazzy pin-striped suit. I decided he was more of a serious type than a gangster, however so he is modeling a lab coat that I got from the same seller for .20 cents.

I named Cliff after my great grandfather.  They both graduated from Meharry Medical College. 

The Bodyguards

If you have business with the boss, you'll have to get past Pat and Mike first.  Pat is the studious type.

The boss is paying his way through law school.  Mike is a ladies' man.

He insisted on the custom made fedoras which took the wardrobe department several weeks to complete.  These two were originally dressed in the hazmat and astronaut suits featured in "Casting Call:  Part 2."  One of the pinstriped suits was on Cliff.  The other was on a creepy looking G.I. Joe figure with a steel head.  Since the suits were designed for G.I. Joe instead of Ken, the sleeves are large enough to accommodate action figure hands. 

Jerry Flanagan

In this scene the twins are working as bodyguards for mob boss, Jerry Flanagan, another one of the Power Team figures I found in a bargain bin at the May 20th doll show. 

Jerry was nude except for these stylish wing-tip oxfords:

It's nice for the Power Team guys to have some options besides combat boots.

I was a little disconcerted that Jerry did not have hands but that turned out to be a blessing since the black shirt he is wearing has close fitting cuffs that would never have fit over action figure fists. 

I got the jacket for $1 at the May 20th doll show.  Fortunately, I had an extra pair of the molded black glove hands for him to put on after he changed out of the costume.

Antonio Gutierrez

Imagine having this fellow turn up on your doorstep for a blind date!

He is the best of the five Power Team figures I purchased at the May 20th doll show.  He was the only note of color in that bin.

Better still, not only does he have hands, they are molded in a gently curved position that will fit through the sleeves of Ken fashions.  Thus he got to wear the tuxedo I bought at the May 5th doll show.

The last casting call will feature ladies in formal gowns that I acquired at the May 20th doll show.  They are all beaming "pick me!" vibes at Antonio but I think he has already spotted Lupe.

À Bientôt

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Casting Call: Part 3


Supplying footgear for articulated dolls can be difficult.  I actually like Mattel poser bodies from the 1990s better than the Fashonista bodies, but since most of them were sold as cheerleaders, WNBA stars, and other athletes, they usually have flat feet.  Donor Liv bodies have jointed ankles that allow the doll to wear heels but the feet don’t fit standard fashion doll shoes so over the last month I have made about 8 dozen pairs of sandals! 

All of my Latina actresses are now on articulated bodies.

About 75% of the white actresses are also on articulated bodies.

Upgrading the black actresses is a much more difficult proposition.

First of all there are fewer articulated black bodies available.  Making good complexion matches further complicates the issue.  I'm hoping that when the Prettie Girls come out, they will provide more upgrade options. 

Here are five more of my starlets ready to strut their stuff!


With her auburn hair and brown eyes, Miranda is a classic “autumn” in the Color Me Beautiful system.  Like her sister, Veronique, she was $4 at Big Lots circa 2005.

The corduroy jacket was probably a Kari Michelle fashion.

I paid $1 for it at the May 20th doll show.  I acquired the “leather” pants for .20 cents at the May 5th doll show.  The yellow top came with a Janay playline doll circa 2006.  Miranda has a small part as a servant in an upcoming episode for of "Playscale Crafting."


Around 2005 Integrity Toys made a series of Asian princesses for Sears.  I missed them when they were in the stores but got this one for $10 NIB at a doll show in November.

Kinja quickly landed a small part as a ballerina even though I haven’t found the right complexion match to upgrade her to an articulated body

The quilted “down” coat is probably from the 1980s since it fastens with a metal snap.

I paid $1 for it at the May 20th doll show.


I bought one dozen doll busts at Dollar Tree so that I could display my wigs at the May 5th doll show. 

Of course I replaced the heads and painted the busts, but I was enchanted with Olga’s face mold and vivid coloring.

so she was quickly promoted out of the spare parts bin.

A nude Liv body that I purchased at the May 5th doll show became Olga's body donor.

I paid .20 cents for the pants at that show and $1 for the jacket at the May 20th doll show.


Arabella was originally a fairy princess from Toys R Us circa 2005.  She won the lead role in Arabella’s Dance, which I am hoping to publish as an ebook.

In this children's story, Arabella is a ballerina who travels to Africa to study African dance.

The navy corduroy coat is probably a Kari Michelle fashion.

I paid $1 for it at the May 20th doll show.

Lupe del Rio Velez

I found Lupe at Wal-Mart circa 2006.  She promises to be a versatile and long-lasting star like Lupe Velez and Dolores del Rio.  In the last year she has accumulated an impressive number of credits.  She started out as a lingerie model.

Then she won a small part as a party goer in “Firehouse #5,”

she played a student in “Homage to Léon G. Damas,”

appeared as Emilio’s date in “New Year’s Resolutions,”

and worked with him again in some of my salt dough tutorials.

Lupe is on a Sporty Fashonista body that I bought on sale at Target.

The jacket and pants were .20 cents each at the May 5th doll show.  I believe the seller made them.  Amazingly enough, the jacket zipper really works!

Watch for "Casting Call:  Part 4" where I will introduce a papi chulo that I found at the May 20th doll show.  He is more than worthy of serving as Lupe's leading man!

À Bientôt