……wishing everyone the best of all Holidays this year!
My goodness where has the time gone?! During the Summer season, I knew I had been so far behind in blogging that I just avoided it altogether until I had some quality time/inspiration to spend with my hobby. Unfortunately, I have to fast forward to the month of November in order for that to become a reality. So I here I am, all the way into the end of November finally sitting down to write a post.
Those that know me know I have two very active daughters. I spent a majority of our Summer driving to and from soccer tournaments, camping trips, sleep overs…the list goes on. I also had a large chunk of time spent on training for a half marathon, my first, of which I competed and finished in Kauai, Hawaii in the month of September. So much healthier for my body than re-dressing dolls, but not nearly as creatively satisfying!
In October, I brushed past the cobwebs in my doll room and found my way back to some time with my hobby. I admit the love came rushing back when I received the re-issued Barbie Dream House. My 9 year old helped me assemble it and it was a fun project for us both. The repro doll that comes with the set really set my heart fluttering – she’s adorable and I really love her retro dress. I took a few quick pics, one of which I shared to my Instagram account a while back:
The set is really large and consumes a lot of space, but it is a great piece to own for a vintage backdrop. I have had several opportunities in the past to purchase the vintage version at estate sales or the random doll show but I just never bit. I’m glad I purchased this set because I know I will use it later for photo ops.
New and fun items seem to be what it takes to get me back out to the doll room. I took time to re-do some displays (a couple I started in late Spring). Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I found myself with a bit of rare extra time and worked on some more displays and re-dressed several dolls. If you can handle photos with horrendous Pacific NW winter lighting, here is a sampling of my efforts:
Did some Black Friday shopping – but not at Target or Wal Mart. I hit the antique stores with a friend and scored these two vintage pairs of wedges:
I moved all my vintage dolls to my Ikea Detolf cabinet
Started my holiday display I do every year with this backdrop:
Updated more displays throughout my doll room:
Naturally, I’m left with a mess to clean up:
So now we are all reacquainted and caught up. I hope to get back to posting more regularly – like I always say LOL. I always look for inspiration out there to keep the creative juices flowing. Lots of ideas up in this brain, just need to get them implemented.
Today is Barbie’s Birthday! I did get a gift in the mail for her birthday today … I received three vintage Barbie’s back from doll restorer/artist Debra Marsteller and have been oohing and ahhing over their beauty all afternoon.
I’ve also been celebrating Barbie’s special day with swapping out some displays in my Barbie room, will share soon!
So thankful to have such a fun hobby in Barbie!
Hope you all are having a scrumptious pink frosted cup cake in her honor today!
One of my favorite things to do with my collection is customize. Furniture mainly, but from time to time I like to give dolls a new look too.
Recently, I gave my spare Luciana Silkstone Barbie a new look. I didn’t buy Luciana when she was first released in 2014. I think I bought her a year after her release in 2015. Like many collectors I was less than enthused with the pattern and fabric choice of her ensemble so initially I dragged my feet in adding her to my collection. However, I have to admit than when I did finally take the plunge and buy her on sale, I was shocked at how much I LOVED her facial screening. Actually, her little jacket with the rhinestone buttons took me by surprise as well. I couldn’t help but think about how much that face and rare raven hair color had so much potential for a new look. So I waited again for another sale and bought a 2nd doll to restyle. In typical procrastination fashion for me and my collection, she layed around untouched for a lengthy period of time, patiently awaiting her restyle. Finally, a week or so ago, I took some time to give Luciana a long awaited classic 60’s flip that I had in mind for this beauty. As much as I love her original look, I am over the moon about her new do as well. She’s going to look **amazing** redressed … I’m off to find a new fashion for her!
I apologize for my obvious lack of posts and contribution to my blog for these past 6 months. There are two reasons.
The first and most important reason for my absence, is that I am a Mom. Obviously it is my most important priority in life. I have two awesome daughters that I love and adore more than anything, and well, yes, even more than my hobby. In the late Spring of this past year, which is just about when my last blog post was made, one of my daughters was in the midst of dance recitals. Boy did that consume some of my free time! Then came Summer and then came Fall, and soccer then takes over. Currently, both of my daughters are knee deep in soccer (no pun), and one of them is also in a unicycle program at her school. Unfortunately, blogging has taken a back seat. It bums me out that I haven’t taken the time to post, but all the priorities that come with parenting hasn’t allowed me much room for my hobby. Which is fine, because my hobby got stale for a bit.
Which brings me to my second reason for my absence: my short-term lack of interest level in my hobby. When I say that I barely held a Barbie in my hand for the past 6 months, I am not over exaggerating. I even forgot to use my BFC Reward for 2nd quarter! What collector does that?! (Read on – a collector that has little or no choices of interesting dolls does that).
Sometime within this past July I had a tiny moment for my hobby.
In July I posted this pic on my Flickr thread. There had been a day when I stopped in to my doll room for a quick browse. It had been MONTHS since I had spent any serious time there at all. The sun was amazing that day, it was shining on my display case with some undeniable natural light. I had an inkling to redress Spa Getaway in a new Matisse outfit, that up until that point had merely been opened from the shipping envelope and then laid down to admire. So I took a few minutes, quickly throwing the outfit on Spa, took a few quick pics with my iphone, and called it good. My interest was so nonexistent that the pics sat on my phone for several days before I posted one. I realized then just how long it had been since I had posted a picture to my Flickr thread or to this blog. And it made me feel depressed a bit.
What I discovered from this short hiatus in my hobby was that this weaning from my collection was leaving me with an uneasy, guilty feeling. Why did I not have the desire to redress or photograph? Was I not aware of how many dollars I had sitting in that room?! How much time and love and attention had I devoted to this hobby? Was that going to waste? I have always loved Barbie. For countless years I easily drew from inspiration within my Barbie collecting world the need to create, be it photos, vignettes, displays, whatever…..but the inspiration was silent. The need to create was stifled by something I couldn’t put my finger on. After some collecting soul searching I found myself placing this lack of inspiration on my disenchantment with the new articulated Silkstone dolls. I had read the surmounting complaints on the forums. I was one of the ones who welcomed the articulation, I wasn’t about to complain. I was however concerned about the breakage I was reading about, I remained cautious.
For me, the main culprit is the (smaller) body size change. If you know my collection, you know I LIVE to redress, pose, display. I am not excited about being forced to purchase smaller outfits to dress this articulated Silkstone body style in. I am also not interested in any of the lackluster ensembles/fashions of the new dolls in the 2016 lineup of the BFMC. To date, I have purchased only two dolls from the collection: Classic Black Dress and Camel Coat. Two dolls purchased in nine months. My heart sank every time a UPS truck drove by. Don’t most collectors associate UPS trucks with Barbie? When was the last time one drove down my driveway?! To make matters worse, the non-Silkstone releases did not capture my interest either. Mattel was failing me as a collector.
I was ignoring my collection. For this long-time devoted Barbie collector, it was the end of a magical carpet ride for the inspirational collection that I had built my entire collection around: The Barbie Fashion Model Collection. So much of what the collection was originally rooted in, what had held my interest, was becoming dead to me. I had learned to accept much change and progression of the BFMC over the years (Palm Beach?!). But in 2016, there has been too much degradation of the line to ignore. The high quality fashion, styling, and accessories are gone. Even the amazing hair styles have suffered. So I just took a break. A long break.
I will however admit that last week when I saw the sneak of the brunette Classic Black Dress, my interest piqued a bit.
This doll is reminiscent of the Silkstones that were given as gifts at various International Doll Conventions this year. Amazing, beautifully painted faces, none of which many of us non-International-conventioneers can easily or affordably attain except perhaps on the secondary market (unless of course we choose to skip out on the exorbitant Premiere Soccer Club fees we pay for our precious children!). The Brunette Classic Black Dress reminds me of Lingerie 1 from the debut of the BFMC. This may well be by design on the part of Mattel. I ordered her that first day she was available to order. I found myself wondering back out to my doll room that same day. Wow. I discovered several nude Silkstones that I had left abandoned on a table awaiting a redress along side furniture pieces that were waiting to be customized and repainted. A little spark was ignited.
And great news was announced today on the BFC Forums. There is a possibility that BOTH Silkstone body types may be produced going forward. That is just what I needed to hear to turn that spark into a fire! I believe that would satisfy many collector interests.
I guess you could say that the beast needed to be reawakened. I believe that many collectors can relate to the ebb and flow in this hobby. I believe I will continue to draw inspiration unexpectedly and just at the time when I need it, as the collecting beast is always within.
In part 1 I shared a little about how much I love to use 1:6 scale furniture and accessories to enhance the personality of a doll. I also love backdrops. I was never one to patiently learn the skill and art of photo shopping dolls into photographed scenes. I have had to rely on my own creation (or purchases) of back drops. In my doll room, the difference between a “diorama”, of which I have several, and a “vignette” is that the vignette is typically very temporary. Other than the vignettes in my cabinet & those on my display shelving, I usually set up a scene long enough to photograph it and then it is broken down and stored away.
Here is a sampling of a few vignettes from years past, as seen in my Flickr photo library:
So, why the vingnette? Just a fun way to capture a scene with a doll, accessories, fashion, furniture …. whatever is lingering in the doll room that inspires the imagination 🙂
I have had numerous displays and backgrounds and photos over the years. The photos above are from my archives, most of which were taken YEARS ago. I look forward to new creations this year, and I look forward to sharing them here. The introduction stage is now concluded … moving on to new content in the next posts!
Over the years, I have modified (a few times over) how I collect. I have learned that for me, it isn’t always just a doll that interests me, it is also a doll’s surroundings.
I have observed in the past decade or so that a new collecting breed has emerged. We are deboxers and display-ers. We want to be hands on with our collections. We want to enjoy and experience our collection, in the here and now. Obviously this isn’t to say that these collectors have not existed in the past, but due to increased photo sharing on the internet along with sharing on doll forums, we get a peek into the collections of various collectors and we are allowed to visually enjoy the collections of complete strangers. I have said on the forums that I am one who collects to enjoy my collection. I do not collect for future collectors. By this, I mean I do not allow myself to be chained to re-sale values for the future. There are plenty of collectors out there from whom you may one day collect a lovely NRFB doll, all pristine and pretty. It takes all kinds in our hobby. I do not criticize any collector’s way of collecting. My intent is to share how I collect. I do keep several dolls NRFB. However, I debox a majority of my dolls. I do not fall victim to every single new hot off the press release. If I like a doll, I buy it, if I don’t, I pass.
Around 2003, my collection habits started shifting, and I found the forums at Barbie Collector. It was as if the heavens opened up as the angels sang. I discovered a place where collectors shared photos of their collections and displays and dioramas. This was a language I began to understand immediately. LOVE your collection. ENJOY it. HOLD it. BUY your dolls furniture and tea sets and OOAK clothing and pets and anything else they demand that is too damned cute to pass up. Then you start adding coordinating backdrops, and it becomes a vignette. For me, I combined all of these new found elements of collecting with a love for photography, and suddenly my hobby transitioned from displaying boxed dolls to deboxing, creating scenes/dioramas/vignettes and then sharing. I want to share a photo that I posted really really early on the Barbie Bulletin Board years ago (now known as the BFC/Barbie Fan Club). Continental Holiday in Paris. This was when I was first starting to experiment with back drops. I had a framed picture of a window scene of Paris hanging on a wall at the time. Photographing Barbie with a back drop was very new to me when I took this photo. It fulfilled a creative urge. At the same time I felt a bit crazy in the head. But it was a pretty picture, so I kept moving forward with it.
For me, a vignette is a way to bring the doll to life. It tells her story. It gives her character. And it is the best way to enjoy the furniture and accessories that I know of. I have found that I actually enjoy collecting furniture and accessories as much if not more than Barbie. Miniature works of art I call them, and they speak to a gal who thought she loved doll houses but soon learned Barbie was much more fun than stuffy Victorian porcelain dolls.
Vignettes have become my favorite way for me to enjoy my collection. I have three acrylic “cubes” that I purchased from a collector over 10 years ago. I believe they were used in store displays at one time (there is a hot pink Barbie Collectibles “Applause” sticker on the back of them). They seemed so boring with only dolls in them, so I papered foam core and added a background and accessories. They were instrumental in my quest for creating charming back grounds to highlight certain dolls. You can see the “cubes” on one of my display shelves:
I found I enjoyed them so much, that I dreamed up a cabinet in which I could display more than three ideas for vignettes, as I only have three cubes. I designed it, my Dad built it, and it is one of my favorite things in the world (aside from my family!). For those that follow my Flickr page, most of these pictures are repeats. I promise I will share lots of new and interesting photos here once I move pass this introduction stage (I have a dress shop to share soon … just sayin!). I get so many questions and comments regarding the cabinet, that it inspired me to share here on my blog.
The Vignette Cabinet before I started the project:
The cubes inspired the cabinet – I modeled the shelf openings to match the cube measurements. Each cube in the Vignette Cabinet (as I refer to it) has been papered and trimmed with wood doll house molding. The idea was to feature a doll or two in each cube, along with favorite and coordinating pieces of inspirational furniture and accessories. It was a way to get cherished furniture pieces out of “prop storage”. They are all works in progress. I find myself changing out dolls and furniture all the time. So much in fact, that I cannot seem to ever get around to installing acrylic shelf fronts. My Dad made a hinged piece of trim for the cabinet front so I could install sheets of acrylic on each shelf, again, to work off of the idea of the cubes. I’ll get around to that one day. Here are some closeups of a few of the displays. These are the ones that seem to gather the most interest on my Flickr page:
I have to share the detail of the doll house paper used in this cube. It is appropriately titled “Marie Antoinette”. I have an obsession with cherubs, so I had to have it and use it in this cabinet.
So this is where my passion lies in my Barbie collection. The scenes inspire me and satisfy personal decorating ideas that I may not necessarily do within my own home. What I mean by this is that I could live in Marie Antoinette-land all day long, but by husband and children, they’re so crazy that they may not necessarily agree with this. So I create a snapshot of an idea within a small cube within my doll room’s 4 walls, and I am free to use all the blue and gold and pink and black I want!
Hello! I have been considering starting my own Barbie blog for a couple of years now. This is surely to be a learning experience, a journey, that hopefully will be fun and rewarding. I really enjoy blogs that other collectors out there have, and I’d like to think that there is room for one more blog in this awesome collecting community we have. We all collect differently, and it is fun to see how others collect and display. The best part is the sharing. It inspires us!
I’ve been a Barbie collector since 1992’ish. What got me started was way back in my early 20’s a great friend and I were reminiscing one evening about Barbie. Back then, I was living in New Jersey. (I’m now in my late 40’s, back to my homeland in the area of the Pacific Northwest). My friend and I were sharing childhood Barbie stories. Her story in particular was very touching because Barbie was how she connected with her mother and her two sisters, as they often had Barbie fashion shows growing up. As she told the stories, it was amid the fact that her mother had been deceased from cancer for several years, so it truly was a conversation of the heart. My friend Kathy’s birthday was somewhere around the following week, and I thought it would be fun to get her a Barbie for her birthday (she was in her early 30’s at the time, not really a typical gift for someone of that age). I bought her the cutest one I could find, and at that time it was Peaches and Cream Barbie. When we next met up, I informed her I had a birthday gift for her. She informed me at the same time, that she had a gift for me. Surprisingly enough, she had purchased a Barbie for me as well, one that she felt I resembled, Sparkle Eyes:
Now, lets just be honest. MANY collecting days have passed since this first acquisition into my collection. Would I walk into a store and choose this doll today? No. But I still have her, because she is the one that led me down this path, and I will never say goodbye to this doll. Plus, if you follow my blog, you soon will learn that I’m extremely sentimental. That monumental exchanging of the gifts started around the time when Barbie’s 35th Anniversary was all the rage. Toys R Us’s Barbie collecting displays and stock were at their all time prime. Barbie hoarders were abound, and it was a new and exciting venture for two gals that decided from that from that day forward, they were officially Barbie collectors. Kathy and I arranged “Barbie dates” where we went to Toys R Us monthly to choose new and fun Barbie’s for us to collect. We NEVER considered deboxing, because surely the deboxing of these precious Barbies would lose their value, right??? Yes, I was once of that mindset.
Fast forward to today. I type this as I sit in my cherished doll room (and 1/4 office) in a house that my husband and I built 10 years ago. I am now the mother of two beautiful daughters (YES! says the Barbie collecting moms!) ages 7 and 10. Today, I have a collection that would blow the mind of that then 24 year old New Jersey girl. I don’t know that I expected to continue collecting at the level that I do today. I didn’t know then that my love for doll house 1:12 scale and my love for photography (I met that dear girl Kathy in a photography class in New York City!) would combine at some point in my life with a hobby of collecting Barbie, and that the three interests would somehow mesh into a fun and rewarding venture.
In this modern society in which we live, I know that exclaiming you are a Barbie collector is not really something you just do with any ‘ol person you meet. Surely there is the fear or risk of judgement that people have of us – they have visions of dusty BOXED Holiday Barbies stacked high next to shelves of Beanie Babies. Immediately they ask “how much is the most expensive Barbie you own?”. They’re as clueless as we were when we first started collecting. Everyone rightfully has their own reasons for collecting. Mine is not for resale or collection value. I collect because I love and I have always loved Barbie. I played with Barbie well beyond the years it was deemed acceptable at the time, and even more so by today’s standards. In my childhood, this:
…..led to this (She resided in my Tuesday Taylor’s fabulous NYC townhouse!!!):
…..to the doll that brought me back to collecting from a collecting hiatus:
…..and they all eventually led to this:
A favorite display from the Vignette Cabinet:
There is more to my doll room, of which I plan to share here on the blog. Several collectors in our awesome community have already become familiar with my love for the hobby and my collection via my photos at Flickr and my posting on the Barbie Collector forums.
I wanted to start a blog because whereas I’ve enjoyed sharing on these public websites, I have found over time that I desire a more concentrated format, one that lends itself to demonstration and heartfelt conversation. I expect that there will come a day when I cringe at my first blog post, sort of like I cringe at the first photos I posted to the Barbie Fan Club forums. Over time, we get better as we challenge ourselves to improve. By no means am I a journalist, a writer, or a professional blogger. I’m a collector that enjoys creating and photographing Barbie displays, which may creep some people out, but I’ve learned to live with that! I enjoy sharing with those that are like minded. I love displays. I love vignettes. I love collecting and customizing 1:6 scale furniture. I mainly collect the Barbie Fashion Model Collection, but I do focus on some modern vinyl Barbies as well as repros (and a tiny bit of vintage). I also LOVE and collect Liddle Kiddles.
My blog will focus on three of my favorite combinations: Barbie, photography and 1:6 scale furniture and accessories. Thus, creating what I have come to love as “The Barbie Vignette”. I will not be the blog that reports the latest news flash in our community, as there are several already that do it so well. I thoroughly enjoy fellow Barbie bloggers and the content of these firmly established blogs. My focus is entirely different.
My next post will elaborate on what the Barbie Vignette is in my collection, and why it is so special to me.
I invite you to visit my little slice of dolly heaven with this Barbie blog!