Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doll Show August 24, 2014, Strongsville, OH

Since I've recently developed a heightened interest in doll collecting again, I decided I'd like to attend some doll shows. When I lived in Columbus, OH, there was a big one there once a year that I went to a couple of times, but that was about fifteen years ago. I found a few doll shows coming up that are relatively close, so I decided to check some out. The first one I went to was last Sunday, at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville.

The first impression I got was how very, very young I felt... and I'm not. I'm closer to fifty than forty, but I think just about every vendor and shopper there had at least a few years on me. No minors at all, that I remember. I mean, a toddler could have meant behavior issues, but an older girl out with her mum would have been nice to see. Who am I to talk, though; neither of my daughters are interested in dolls anymore. They were never overly interested in dolls as little girls, either.

There were all kinds of dolls there, although I think antique dolls were the most represented. They were all far out of my current budget, and I'd want to do some research before I purchased a doll at show; if I am going to spend hundreds of dollars on a doll, I want to be one of the types I like best. Also, I'd like to make sure I'm paying an acceptable price.

As far as the more modern dolls, there was just about everything there, from vintage Barbie to American Girls. Some older Kewpie dolls. Tonner stuff was very lightly represented, although it amazed me how much better some things looked "in the vinyl" than they appear online. A few items from lines that haven't been around for a while, like a Willow and Daisy outfit. Some older Gene stuff. A few Sashas. Only one woman was selling home-sewn garments, mostly simple dresses for smaller BJDs and some things for Tonner's Ann Estelle size 10 inchers. Not much at all GI Joe or superhero related (I know some of my online friends collect these.) :-D A few tables of what I can loosely describe as "junk." Older things that weren't necessarily all that popular or valuable when they first came out. There were some pretty steep discounts on that kind of stuff.

Final impression: how unserious some of these vendors seemed. Yes, I got there a little late in the day, with only a couple of hours left until closing. Still, several sellers seemed more interested in talking with their friends or other sellers than noticing customers. That put me off even asking questions. Often times, the chatters were even blocking part of the table, so I couldn't see all of the merchandise. Not a good way to sell your stuff! Judging by what some vendors were saying, sales don't seem to have been as good lately as they have in the past. I'd put that more on a changing market and possibly fewer younger collectors than completely on any unprofessionalism, though. I was actually going to buy a doll, but I thought the price was a little high for a doll without the box. So I asked the woman at the table if she had it. She told me that she was only a friend of the seller, and that the seller didn't usually have boxes. The friend then looked perplexed, pulled out a Tupperware tub from under the table, slid it back underneath, then said again that the seller usually doesn't keep boxes. So that was that. Since she wasn't the owner, I couldn't even try to negotiate for a lower price. I'm not a box collector, but it's still nice to have the original box for a collectible.

So speaking of buying, I'm sure all of you are thinking, "Did you actually buy anything? Where's the loot?!" Well, I did buy some things but they may not be very exciting if you aren't interested in sewing for your dolls, or dressing them historically. Still, here are the pictures!

I got Samantha's kimono robe for $10. It is tagged Pleasant Company. Wrinkled from being folded in a bag, but it's hand washable, so that should mostly fix it up. There were a few other older AG historical pieces, but most of them were white, and I could not tell for certain if there was any dinginess to them based on the fluorescent lighting, so I let those go.


Then, since I didn't buy any dolls, I spent money on fabric and trims instead, plus one antique pattern magazine. The Delineator was a woman's fashion magazine, put out periodically by the company that sold Butterick sewing patterns. They are relatively inexpensive to buy now, and I think were targeted at the home sewer and not just the upscale women's seamstress, so they are a good representative of what was in style for more everyday people.


The wine-colored material is a silk. It might make a Christmas dress for mini Samantha, and I'll have plenty for other doll clothes. Cotton voile is a very light cotton. I've heard it might be good for lining. I don't know how well that will work out, but the only other very thin cotton I saw was cut in yardage more than I wanted to spend. I've never worked with voile before, anyway, and I should know a little something about it, since it was used often around the turn of last century. I was tempted by some striped cotton dimity fabric, but that's used for summer dresses.


The trims I just thought would be nice to have. The red, white and blue one will be nice for Fourth of July, Flag Day, Veteran's Day type stuff next year. That was inexpensive enough, and different from the normal red/white/blue ribbons, to be purchased now. Insertion is always useful for the turn of the century seamstress. The teal velvet ribbon I thought will look gorgeous on a dress of a slightly different teal.


I know some of you have talked about doll shows that you've attended. Anyone else have any experiences that they want to mention? What do you look for at a doll show?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Need Ideas!

Remember how I talked about some of the pieces I was keeping as my daughters give up most of their childhood Barbie doll collections? Well, I have two more pieces to show you today, and I'd like ideas from you on how best to spruce them up for adult doll display.



The first piece came with some Mattel Disney Cinderella set, as you can see by the cardboard backing still in place. I'm not even sure what this type of furniture would be called if you saw it in real life. A side table, maybe? It's not useful for much besides decoration. I would have put this in the pile to pass on except that I like the rose and silver details. Of course, I'd have to repaint those if I repaint the whole piece some more realistic furniture color than pale blue. Anyone seen any real furniture like this? If I do repaint it, should I paint the roses a single color or maybe go for more depth using shading (if I thought I could even accomplish this)?

I also wasn't sure I was going to keep this hutch, until I saw what Cheryl did with hers. Now I think I'd be crazy to give it up, especially since mine still has all the pieces.


The problem is, I've never been much of a paint artist, or necessarily creative making things "out of nothing," as it were. I suppose I could produce something to replace the oval piece at the top that has the "Princess" banner on it, using poster board or foam core and some beads. What I'm really debating is what to do about the doors. They're see-through, but shaded purple, which would probably not match any attempts to non-Disney Princess this hutch, and I don't know what kind of paint to use on this type of plastic.

To be honest, I'm a little scared of taking on either of these projects! Previous tries I have made to repaint Barbie furniture and give it non-Barbie colors has not ended well. I've looked up many tutorials online, but I'm still afraid to take the next step. I'm trying to convince myself that if I had any inspiration on how to decorate these, it might motivate me. Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mini American Girl Josefina

I first got started on AG 6 inch minis when some of the dolls got clearanced down to $10. I originally picked Caroline, and rapidly worked my way up to seven minis! Today, I'm going to highlight Josefina, because I think she is my favorite of the minis that I own. My next mini AG post might just show the rest of the dolls that I have. This one focuses a bit on body type and poseability as well.

This Josefina is part of the AG 25th anniversary special-edition series of mini-dolls. Each historical main character doll was produced in a new outfit, generally the holiday dress of each doll. If you want to see all of the dolls together, Doll Diaries has a good post on the whole set. It also looks like each doll came with a mini book of her holiday story, where applicable. So Josefina is wearing the dress from her Christmas story, along with her lace mantilla. The only differences are that mini Josefina has no hair comb, and her pantaloons are simply pull-on drawers as opposed to the 18" version, where the pantaloons are attached to an undershirt type garment.


While I am an amateur student of historical fashion, the Regency period is not my favorite (Josefina's style is late Regency.) From extant examples of girls' fashions from this time period that I have seen, though, Josefina's dress is wonderfully perfect for her era. From the fabric print and color, to the high waist, to the slight puff to the upper sleeve, it's very stylish. Josefina's mantilla adds the touch of her Spanish heritage to her costume. Lastly, she has gold hoop earrings just like her 18" counterpart.

Her face also looks nice in profile.
Her hair feels silky soft. I'm not planning on ever taking the braid out, because I doubt I'd rebraid it this nicely again.


Here she is without the dress. Fortunately the huge tags lie nicely under the dress and don't show. Her mantilla is tacked onto the front of her head with a few stitches of black thread, so that is staying on, at least for now.


Her white socks go almost up to her knees. The pantaloon legs are so tight, that it was a bit of work to get the socks pulled up nicely again once I pulled the pantaloon leg back down.

The mini AGs have a cloth torso, like the 18" ones do, down to the tie at the back of the neck.


Her dress is very nicely finished on the inside. I'm impressed that they were able to serge the armseye of such a small sleeve, or it might just be a fancy overlock stitch. I neeeed a sewing machine with a better finishing stitch than a zigzag.


The cloth torso does have its drawbacks, but the way her legs are attached allows Josefina to sit in a fairly ladylike manner.


She also has what I consider a fairly good range of arm motion for such a small doll. Her arms can also be spread out facing forward, but not very far, or they can be raised up over her head.

Although I understand that AG was trying to cycle out the older dolls before they introduce the new line, I wonder if it was a mistake clearancing them from $24 to $10. They're worth more than $10, but now I'm not sure that they are worth $24, having gotten some so cheaply. They're probably worth close enough to that amount, though, that I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if you like it. Honesty compels me to add that I have gotten most of mine from eBay and I don't think I've paid full price for any of them, including Christmas Josefina. These dolls are a great and well-made addition to any collection of small dolls or American Girls.