Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday's Doll Enthusiast Meeting at West Oak Lane Free Library

It was a dank, rainy Saturday in Philly. The kind of Saturday morning where you want to pull the blanket over your head to sleep just five more minutes. Had chocolate, tea, books to read, DVDs to watch, blog posts to write ... I did not have to go out. But I had something planned. Saturday was my second doll enthusiast meeting. I would get to talk dolls and action figures with others who knew the lingo. Bye bye rainy day routine. Checked that I had stuff I hoped to get rid of - doll clothes and accessories - and stuff to show - hello Opal and Rosa. 

This time we met at the West Oak Lane branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. I entered and let the front desk staff and the guard know that I was there to attend the Doll Club meeting. They sent me to the librarian. The librarian introduced herself and then lead me to a good-sized room. The room had huge windows, several long tables, and those molded plastic and metal chairs. It was clean and scentless. I would recommend using that branch again.

Ms. Leo followed, and she had Dunkin Donuts and coffee. Oh and stuff to show and stuff to trade or give away. We pulled out two of the long tables - one for showing, the other for trades/giveaways. I had doll fashions and accessories that I hoped to give away. Limited Edition Rosa and First Edition Opal were there to be seen - along with their footwear and backpack. Ms. Leo brought a Kenya's sister, Keyshia, the new Hunger Games guys, and the Divergent guy. Also some accessories and fashions to trade. 

My comments/thoughts?

I would rebody Keyshia. Her head is too big for that tiny body. 

I would use the Keyshia body to age progress one of my kiddies.

Hunger Games Peeta is cute - his face is more spread out than the actor's.

Hunger Games Finn has a craggy face - no way he's a teenager. Bet he's at least 38. And I would kitbash him to become my Peter Cushing. I mean "my" playscale Peter Cushing. And he should have a castle or mansion. He gives off a horror movie vibe. 

Next Miya and Kev came. Squeal and jump up. New doll enthusiasts. Playscale doll enthusiasts. Yippee.

They brought stuff, too. An almond pastry that I savored later that day and cream cakes that I passed on. (I try not to be greedy.) The pastry was not as sweet as Entenmann's, but it had a velvety texture, delicately crunchy almond slivers, and a subtle flavor. Good different. They came from a bakery called "Bread Top House." Are you screaming, "Shut up about the food! What did they bring?!" Okay, here goes.

Miya and Kev brought a tall suitcase. They laid it on the floor and oh the wonders that came forth. Doll clothes they made - tweedy pants, floral dresses, leggings, a mini mountain of fabrics and fashions. Ohhhh ... Then the dolls. Sakurana, Momoko, Daisy, Havoc, High School Musical characters, a Rebelde head, One Modern Circle Barbie, Fashion Royalty dolls including a new Black Kiyori, some Japanese fashion dolls I have seen online but NEVER in person, oh ... what else? These cool pop-apart fashion dolls whose names I missed. 

And we talked dolls, we talked Internet Wayback Machine, difficulties of doing doll research when sites get removed, Sindy furnishings and those uber-Seventies colors like harvest gold, avocado green, brown and orange, Gayle, Japanese fashion doll book projects, sewing by hand vs. sewing on machine, doing a kitbash with a Disney Snow White doll, etc.

Darn, but that was the day that my camera's batteries died. I'm ducking. But not for long ... cause Ms. Leo will have photos up for her blog post. And I'll update this post later this week with photos I can show with the outfits I got from Ms. Leo and Miya and Kev. Promise.

I look forward to our next meeting. Date has not been set yet, but the month mentioned was June.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ta Da! PhillyCollector Blog Update - You Like?

I have thought that I needed to do something to de-clutter my blog's appearance. I tweaked a few things myself, but I didn't feel that things were as I wanted them. Only I was not sure what I wanted. Then I learned about this new service through a FaceBook blogging group. There were people who would test the usability of my blog at no cost. No cost, I exclaimed to myself. Sign me up, now. So I submitted my blog url to Peek and waited to received the feedback.

Because that was what I felt my blog needed - to be cleaned up. It looks Spartan now, but I like it. It looks crisp and professional. It needs additional layers - pages and photos and maybe some font tweaking. Overall though, it made me think of something that experienced a thorough spring cleaning. Or as if I had lost some weight - smile.

But about the service ... what was that like, you may want to know. Okay, I submitted my blog url and then, I received a link to an audio file. I clicked on the link and heard a man with a British accent mention my blog title. Squeal - confession - I LOVE British accents. I could listen to Roger Tabor talk cats for hours on end and smile all the while. Ahem. Well, there I was all enchanted when slam! I got knocked sideways. Because Mr. British Accent moved on from describing my blog as "quirky" (me likes), "unusual" (ditto), to "fun for hobbyists" but as not particularly interesting to him. 


Splat. Deep breath. OMG. You mean there is someone - people - who do not find playscale dolls and action figures FASCINATING? Pant, pant. I - I - I - I am so accustomed to being surrounded by friends and allies online, that someone who could NOT understand how I and others like me feel passionate about dolls ... well, that was ... um ... startling. Shocking. I know that most of my family members and most of my friends in my vicinity do not find my hobby interesting. But to hear this Voice state that my blog was ... gulp ... whisper: "boring." Oh! Sigh. Well, that was not pleasant. However, it was good for me to hear and good for the blog.


Because I learned that red text against a multi-colored background is difficult to read. 

Because I learned that my blog needed layering to avoid being "flat." 

Because I am aware that I need to tweak my fonts to provide visual stimulation. 

Because now I have a challenge to make my blog so fascinating to read that even the most disinterested non-collector - British accent or not - has to pause to skim its contents. 

Yes! By the wit of my mind and the manipulation of words, I WILL conquer other audiences.

Cough. Descending from my soapbox - the height was going to my head, I want to thank Arlett from the blog Chasing Joy for suggesting Peek through the Philadelphia Area Bloggers FaceBook Group. Thanks, Artlett. Thanks Peek!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Fashion Doll Chronicles: Elusive Icons: Black Fashion Dolls 1968 – 2013

The Fashion Doll Chronicles: Elusive Icons: Black Fashion Dolls 1968 – 2013: The Elusive Icons exhibition was a chronological visual illustration and comparison of Black fashion dolls over the past 46 years to the pr...

Blogger Stratos Bacalis shares some photos from the Elusive Icons exhibition. That March 2014 exhibition featured Mattel's Black fashion dolls whose face molds include the original Francie mold for "Colored" Francie up to the Mbili-faced So in Style dolls. Aside: I do not see the personalized molds like the Brandy or the Halle Berry faces. But there might be other photos not shown in the blog. My vision isn't strong enough to distinguish all of the dolls: I see the first Raven doll with the Mbili face. I recognized her by her distinct orange and turquoise outfit. The display interested me so I share the link here.

Additionally, there are some photos of Sonadoll, an original 16-inch fashion doll by Mr. Frantz Brent-Harris, whose interest in Black fashion dolls has been mentioned in a Black Doll Collecting blog post. Lovely though these dolls are, I will not be getting them any time soon. First, because they are bigger than my range - whew! Second, because they cost a few hundred dollars. Worth it as an art doll, yes. But not affordable for me. Shrug.

You can find the Sonadoll page on FaceBook, too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Amusing Review of the Recent Anti-Barbies - Mixis Dolls Included

Could you use a laugh today? I suggest this article about some of the recent "anti-Barbies" dolls. Erica Tempest grades "Anti-Barbies" from Bratz to Only Hearts Club. Who gets the best grades and why? Read the article to see.

Note: I would have rated the Mixis higher, but I think it is cool that they are recognized enough to be part of an "anti-Barbie" line-up. Progress, yes?

Monday, March 17, 2014

PhillyCollector Wins a Liebster Blog Award - Thanks, DBG!



First, I want to thank Debbie Behan Garrett for presenting A PhillyCollector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures with a Liebster Blog Award. I am pleased that you deemed my blog worthy of this Award. Pause for Snoopy dance. I accept this Award not just for me, but for all the little people - hey, at 1:6 scale, they are "little people" who bring joy to my life and the lives of those who visit here. Sniff. This blog would not exist without them. Arm wave over the masses of cheering, a few jeering dolls and action figures.

Next? If you have seen this Award given to other bloggers, you know that part two means questions and answers. I answer the 11 questions Debbie submitted:

1. What prompted you to begin blogging?

In August 2008, I was laid off. So I combined my two favorite hobbies – writing and doll collecting – to see if I could express myself and if I could reach others.

2. When do you usually write your blogs?

I usually write at night.

3. What inspires or otherwise motivates you to publish a blog?

a.) The dolls and action figures produced

b.) Expressing my enthusiasm about them

c.) Getting responses from fellow enthusiasts

4. What is your favorite pastime?

“Collecting” dolls and action figures – which means finding them, thinking about them, buying them, discussing them with others, posing them, photographing them, and writing about them.

5. If your favorite pastime involves collecting dolls, answer this question and the next two (otherwise skip to question 8): What dolls do you collect?

Modern playscale fashion dolls and action figures – emphasis on variation of races and ethnicities

6.  How long have you been collecting and what prompted you to begin?

Over 30 years … I started “collecting” as a way to justify buying, hoarding, and writing about playscale figures. I slapped the “right” label to "make" the activity acceptable.

7.  Are your dolls confined to one room or are they in more than one room in your home?

They are all over my home. The bulk of them are in one room, but there are plenty hanging about in other areas.

8. If questions 5-7 do not apply to you, but you are a former collector, why do you no longer collect?

I cannot imagine ever not “collecting.”

9. What was the last movie you saw either in a theater or on DVD?

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor on DVD.

10. What was the last book you read?

Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business by Karen Leland

11. If you could live anywhere other than your current location, where would it be?

Love my current location.

Now to pay forward this award, rather than duplicate bloggers Debbie or someone else has already chosen, I am putting a D7ana twist on the Award process. The first ten bloggers who contact me here via the comments will win this Liebster Blog Award provided the blogger meets these criteria:

1.) You have not been chosen for the Liebster Blog Award this year. (No sense making you work a second time, hmmm?)

2.) You follow "A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures" blog.

3.) You have a blog that posts about playscale fashion dolls and/or action figures.

4.) Your blog has fewer than 500 followers.

Your actions - should you seek this honor - will be to answer the 11 questions Debbie Behan Garrett provided OR to answer any 11 doll-related or action figure-related questions of your choosing. I am sharing the link Debbie had provided for more information about this blog award. Thanks again, Debbie, for this fun opportunity.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Found: New Source for M&C Toys Power Team Guys!

"I wasn't looking, but somehow I found them ..." 

"Them" meaning M&C Toys' Power Team guys. Yes, playscale Power Team guys - wolf whistle. Where? At a Deals store in Philly. For how much - $8.00. When? Yesterday. Which ones? These two cuties shown below. Now I cannot guarantee that these same two will be available at any and every Deals store. And I am really hoping that there are even MORE Power Team guys available at other Deals stores in the city and in the near suburbs. Great news, yes? Fine, articulated male figures for our dioramas under ten dollars - oh, yes.

Here are photos of the two guys I saw and the back of their boxes. (Alas, I have not seen any ethnic figures yet, but we *know* that M&C Toys makes ethnic figures so it's just a matter of time.) 

M&C Toys Power Team figures at Deals


Power Team blond hero with blue eyes


Power Team brunet hero with black-brown eyes


M&C Toys Power Team box back

So if you are looking for any M&C Toys Power Team action figures to increase your male playscale population, stop by the Deals stores in your area. You might be pleasantly surprised.

P.S. if you want to treat yourself to photos of these action figures, peruse the photos uploaded at this Flickr site.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Many more years of fun and excitement to the one doll who launched countless doll and action figure lines.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Beyond DotW Barbies: Expanding Your Irish-American Fashion Dolls

March is Irish American Heritage Month in the United States.

Many years ago, I had a Princess of Ireland Barbie doll. I kept her for a few years and then sold her. I was not thrilled with her. Yes, she is a pretty doll. We just did not bond. I do not have any other Irish Barbies. That absence does not mean criticism of Mattel's Irish fashion dolls. They are more cutesy, more twee than I like. Now, I detect no malice on Mattel's part: they produced the Dolls of the World (DotW) dolls for a North American market. So they pile on features that their North American market will recognize as "Irish" -- red hair, green or blue eyes, green dress, shamrocks, leprechauns, etc. Stereotypes? I'll leave that designation for you to decide.

Aside: for a list and photos of Mattel's Irish Barbies, see Kathryn Darden’s 2010 Examiner article about them. Ms. Darden has that topic covered. I want to move on to something else. Past the Mattel-designated Irish Barbie offerings.

Okay, if you are tired of or bored by Mattel's Irish doll offerings, I have three suggestions to expand your Irish fashion doll collection:

1. Find celebrity dolls who are Irish or Irish American and use them in your Irish-themed dioramas. Rosie O'Donnell will count -- an Irish-American icon now one of your more realistic Irish-American fashion dolls. Maybe you have a John F. Kennedy action figure? What about the British-Irish musical groups? Siva Kaneswaran of The Wanted and Niall Horan of One Direction are listed as being Irish. So, there you have more ethnic dolls to collect. What Irish or Irish-American celebs do you have in your collection? Bring them forth for this occasion.

2. Assign dolls or action figures you have who meet the physical attributes that you consider "Irish" or "Irish-American." Let's see ... how about another brunet Irish? What about my Harley Davidson Kens? I have the first one here at hand. Presto-change-o. I consider thee an Irish-American, Ken. We don't have any wintry green fashions for you to wear, but you can wear green in your heart. And for a red-haired Irish lass ... why not Surf City Midge? Okay she is a little tan in spite of her freckles. (Remember, she is American, too.)  I'll bring her in. Look, she's wearing a green and blue Fashion Avenue outfit. Hey, she is already dressed in green. Yay, Midge! She and Ken can join Rosie. "Say cheese."

3. Kitbash dolls and/or action figures to resemble Irish or Irish-Americans you admire. Okay, I don't have examples of this, but maybe you do. So, you can expand on your Irish or Irish-American fashion dolls and leave aside or add to Mattel's costumed crew. Choose dolls with the hair color and wearing the outfits that you choose for them.

Want to share the web addresses to those customized dolls? Come on ... please and my biggest smile. Leave the urls in the comments. Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Prettie Girls to Add East Asian Prettie Girl

Check this Dolls Magazine interview with Trent T. Daniel of One World Project. We can look forward to an East Asian Prettie Girl and Prettie Girl fashions later this year. Exciting news, yes? Yes!

Barbie-Reference Author J. Michael Augustyniak Died

J. Michael Augustyniak, author of several Barbie books, died on February 28, 2014.

No, I did not know him personally. But I enjoy these books by him:

Barbie Doll Around the World Identification and Values 1964-2007. Collectors Books. Paducah, Kentucky, 2007.

Barbie Doll Collector's Editions Identification and Values. 2008 Edition. Collectors Books. Paducah, Kentucky, 2008.

Collector's Encyclopedia of Barbie Doll Exclusives Identification and Values. Third Edition. Collectors Books. Paducah, Kentucky, 2005.

I LOVE seeing fashion dolls online, but holding a clean, crisp doll reference book - now that is delightful. I can curl up with such a book. I enjoy seeing photographs of dolls I have and dolls I do not have. Having the dolls, being able to touch them in the vinyl is best, yes. Eh, but there is something soothing about turning pages and soaking in the visuals. That's a a nice pre-sleep activity - because it takes me away from the computer screen, the television, work activities, and more intense reading. I thank the talented authors like the late Mr. Augustyniak who allow me to have this experience. This post is my tribute to him.
Additional books he has written and provided photography for include:

Barbie Boom: Identification and Values

(This last one I intend to buy someday: it has the Young Sweethearts and other playscale but NOT directly Barbie-related dolls.)

For additional information about Mr. Augustyniak, please see these websites:

Collectorbook author biography, scroll to the second entry (web page dated 2007)

Fort Wayne, Indiana Journal Gazette Interview, August 16, 2008

You can sign the legacy book for Mr. Augustyniak online if you wish. May he rest in peace. My sympathy to his family.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Highlights: Women's History, Irish Americans, and Umbrellas!

March 1st and what topics are up for this month? 

Women's History Month is celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rubbing my hands together. We know Barbie's birthday is March 9. She debuted on that day in 1959. I'll also look at other fashion doll lines lead by a female doll.

Irish American Heritage Now is the time to bring out your Irish Barbies. Do you have any other Irish / Irish American playscale dolls or action figures? Bring them out. This can be their month to shine.

What is handy to have on deeply sunny days or under shadowy clouds ... why umbrellas! Yes! March is the month to celebrate the humble, homely, and handy device that protects us from rain and from the sun. Umbrellas are also fun accessories for our dolls and action figures. Do you have those cheesy paper flat umbrellas or the more elaborate vinyl ones with spokes? I will hunt out mine and share them here. Paper to plastic, they add that finishing touch to our playscale ensembles.

I have "leftover" posts from February: a post about cornrowed hair in playscale, Sindy furnishings, and Jazz Diva Barbie part 2. There are other items and body parts that may be highlighted in March, but I choose the above three as most interesting to me. (Well, National Craft Month also is a March event, but I am not sure how much time I will have to be creative.) 

Are there any March events that you will be doing ... regarding playscale dolls and action figures? Write in and share. Maybe I should expand my list ....