Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Although I have said some harsh things about Mattel's distribution and marketing strategy for the So In Style dolls, I like the face mold.  Thanks to a sale at Family Dollar that knocked 50% off every toy priced $10 and up, Kara and Trichelle became my last two doll purchases of 2012.

Once I got them out of their boxes, I saw that in truth, they were only worth $5 a piece because they have unbend-able hard plastic legs.  Fortunately I had some click knee bodies that were good complexion matches.  Once the body transplants were complete, Kara and Trichelle spent the afternoon in the natural hair salon getting all the tacky tracks and glue removed from their heads.  Now they are ready to ring in the New Year!

Kara is on her way to a formal ball. 

We discovered that she can wear many different hair colors but settled on these blonde-streaked locks.

Trichelle is headed for the club where she plans to dance the night away. 

She asked for long braids that would flow with her dress.

Grace was happy to see her homegirls from Chicago...  

but she has plans for an intimate soiree.

 May 2013 deal you a winning hand!

À Bientôt

Friday, December 28, 2012

I Was a Teenaged Franken-doll

 When I was growing up Barbie had black friends like Christie, Julia, and Francie but none of them had younger sisters so I was thrilled to find this black Skipper and her big sister in the early 90s.  Since then, however, ethnic youth have been hard to find in the play scale market.

 Thus I recently ordered Sashabella Paws with the intention of using her as a body donor.  The fact that the Bratz dolls don’t have feet has deterred me from buying more of them.  I was therefore pleased to discover that the Bratzillas MGA has produced in response to Mattel’s wildly popular Monster High dolls have articulated bodies and feet.

When I introduced Ximena in The Spice of Life:  Part 1, I thought she would be perfect for ingénue roles so I upgraded her to a Liv body.  Her youthful face and caramel complexion were the best match for Sashabella Paws’ body so I moved her and dropped her age a year or two.

Meanwhile I had been admiring some of the Bratzillas fashion packs.  Here Ximena casts a Romantic Spell:

I thought my Monster High girls would enjoy these outfits since they can wear some of the Bratz dolls’ other clothes.  The Bratzillas, however, are bigger than the original Bratz.  

Bratzillas and Monster High dolls can trade shoes, however, which is a bonus for both sides. 

Bratzillas can also share some pieces with the Disney Fairies.  Except for the boots, this is the outfit that Sashabella Paws was wearing when she arrived.  

Spike must have slipped out of the house without her parents seeing her in this skintight micro-mini dress. 

While I had been lamenting the lack of an Asian character in the fairy court, I recently learned that Disney hires Asian actresses to portray Silvermist in live performances.  Still I was pleased to find Spike in Toys R Us last month.  

Spike has Vidia’s face mold but the character is supposed to be from the Ukraine.  

Maybe she is descended from some of Genghis Khan’s Mongolian raiders.

While I was modifying monsters I also swapped Celeste Honoree from a Cleo de Nile body onto a spare Howleen Wolf body.

Howleen Wolf is smaller than the regular Monster High dolls so she can wear regular Bratz clothes more comfortably.  Here Celeste sports the Bratz Casual Prep ensemble:

Celeste's mother has sent her to pick up a box of donuts to surprise her new beau, Mr. Guidry.  Yvette and Celeste Honoree appeared in The Spice of Life:  Part 2 back in September.

    Last year MGA experimented with some fully articulated Bratz bodies.  I searched high and low for a brown-skinned articulated Sasha but could never find her.  This year I caught Bratz Catz Sasha at a good price during a Toys R Us on-line sale so I’m glad I waited.  

She makes a good body donor for this Chic Boutique doll who was a fairy when I bought her on clearance from K-mart circa 2006.  

Her outfit came in a 4 pack of Bratz fashions.   

Her older sister was another Chic Boutique teen from Kmart:

I haven't found a suitable upgrade body for her but she enjoys wearing this Bratzillas suit:

Now I know why teen Skipper's eyes are green -- envy.

Gladys, however, is probably my most satisfying teen Franken-doll project.

Over the years I have found a number of teen-sized clones at Family Dollar and other discount stores:

Unfortunately they all have enormous heads.

There were no child-sized heads to swap onto these bodies until this fall when Dollar Tree began offering brown-skinned teen fairies:

A few weeks ago I found these Glimma Girlz at Deals, Dollar Tree's sister chain:

So now Gladys has graceful arms with rotational shoulders and click knees.

Here she models the Bratz Boho Chic ensemble -- with gold spangled tights added for modesty:

Maybe it wouldn't be as much fun if our ethnic doll families could just pull teeny boppers off the shelf.

À Bientôt

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Am Now Officially Speechless

    Doll ornaments were just a part of the creative work that the Dazzling Dames shared at the holiday party last Sunday.  Members also brought dolls and other projects to the Red Hen Fabrics shop in Marietta, GA for show and tell.  Kenya came along with me to show off the threaded locks wig I made for her.

Unfortunately this Victorian Barbie dream house was not for sale.

It serves to keep children entertained while their caregivers shop or take classes with accomplished artists like Martha Dudley.  Miss Martha was proud to have finally completed this “Twelve Days of Christmas” quilt after working on it on and off for several years.

The panels are all intricate applique work depicting the verses of the famous Christmas carol.

10 lords a leaping,

9 ladies dancing,

5 golden rings,

and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Miss Martha also made these three pretty maids all in a row.

They are designed to sit atop a mantel.  The one with the tie-dye motif is for her daughter who loves everything sixties-related.

    Miss Lorraine brought a gingerbread doll that looks sweet enough to eat.

She made it for a friend who has decorated her kitchen with a gingerbread theme. 

    Miss Margaret created two very interesting dolls with baskets to hold her favorite Scentsy flameless candles.  The candles come in a variety of fragrances.  This lady in red was inspired by the “romance” scent.

Another line of these fragrances evokes the seven seas so Miss Margaret created a doll from a map print fabric.

With her fiery red curls she looks powerful enough to cup the whole 'round world in her hands.

    For many years Miss Joy traveled the country selling her dolls at craft fairs.  One of her specialties was needle-sculpted dolls made from pantyhose.

Amazingly enough, the fabric doesn’t run.  “Gretel” has held up for over twenty years!

    Angela Ferguson’s piece was a very interesting commission.  A lady had asked her to create a mermaid doll for her sister-in-law who had won a prestigious poetry award.

The honoree was Nikky Finney who received the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011.  As Miss Angela researched and brainstormed ideas for the piece, she watched interviews with the poet and learned that for years Finney had used a special brand of pencils crafted by the Black Feet Indians.  Unfortunately they have now stopped producing these pencils and Finney has been jealously hoarding her last box.  Writing with these pencils makes every word precious so Miss Angela created a box of pencils for the mermaid, Pohetta to use. 

    In her acceptance speech, Finney also noted that since the slave codes made it a crime to teach enslaved people to read, African Americans are the only people in the United States who had been forbidden to attain literacy.  Finney’s speech reflected on the ways such laws had silenced African Americans and expressed gratitude to all the mentors who encouraged her to break that silence in her poetry.  Miss Angela was struck by the fact that Finney ended her speech saying “I am now officially speechless” so she incorporated this phrase into the design of the doll. 

    I am now officially speechless at the creativity and skill of the Dazzling Dames!

Here is Nikky Finney's 2011 National Book Award in Poetry acceptance speech:

"Can the camera smell?" she asks as she talks about her favorite Black Feet pencils:

À Bientôt