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Bleu Valentine at La Boutique Angelique Part 1

In 2005 I made a permanent diorama fixture for my collection that remains a favorite of mine. At the time, I was inspired by many of the beautiful lingerie pieces from the BFMC Silkstone collection, along with several well made Barbie Fashion Avenue lingerie sets and the like. The lingerie from the BFMC are delicate works of art. I thought it would be fun to create a lovely Parisian themed lingerie shop so the beloved items could always be on display. I call it “La Boutique Angelique”.  I have an album in my Flickr account you can view here if you’re interested in seeing some past photos of the boutique. I attempted to incorporate some of the elements of the inspirational BFMC photo sets when I created the boutique.

During the heydays of the Barbie Collector forum, I had a thread that I contributed to regularly with photos of the boutique.  Don’t go looking for it now – its buried deep in the vaults along with everything else over there.  Around Valentines Day, I used to enjoy creating and featuring a Valentines themed display. Its been years since I’ve been inspired to take new photos of the boutique. Time constraints don’t allow me as much time for elaborate photo shoots like I once took time for. However, this year I told myself I was going to revisit the theme, and so I did.  Sometimes, you just need a source of inspiration, and this year I’m going with a theme I call “Bleu Valentine”, inspired partially by this vintage Valentine from 1912. Angels and cherubs have always been part of the boutique theme, so this postcard is perfect for the theme:

Once I got started planning the new display, I realized my idea allowed me to utilize props that I’d been collecting (or hoarding, rather) for years. This year, I chose to change it up a bit and create a “window display wall” that you see from the store front window, as you enter the boutique.  Here is La Boutique Angelique’s Valentine Display for 2018:

Shoppers are drawn to the window display

 

Shoppers gonna shop!

Added some blue feathers

 

Watch out for Cupid!

Part 2 I will take you behind the window display wall, to the boutique sales floor.


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Acrylic Doll Display Cases

A couple of days ago I stumbled across these acrylic doll display cases at Michaels Craft Store.  They retail for $14.99 each. Michael’s “50% off one item” coupons are readily available – half price for one of these cases is an even better price.

The cases are excellent for protecting and/or highlighting those special individual dolls and/or outfits that are a concern for collecting dust.

They measure 5 x 5 x 13 inches. The front of the case is a completely removable lid for access to the interior. The acrylic is thinner than some of my other acrylic cases that I have in my collection, but I don’t mind, I like that they’re not as bulky.

They are not a great option for large ballgowns or dresses with long trains, however I still think they’re an item of good value to sprinkle throughout a doll room mixed with other display cases.

A gown much larger than one like this may get crowded in the 5″ square

Two dolls in slimmer outfits will fit in the case just fine:

I collect various cases for creating displays within my doll room.  Obviously they help protect from dust but they also add an element of highlighting a doll or a theme (for example, my “Cruise Ship Passengers” theme featuring the BFMC Silkstone “Boater” doll, pictured below).

Another example of how I use acrylic cases:

There are some dolls that just look great featured alone and deserve their own individual case. These are perfect for that.

Great item to consider adding to your collection!

 

 

 


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Silkstone Barbie Vanity … Investment Gone Wild

Recently I found myself browsing ebay auctions for Silkstone Barbies. I came upon auctions for the Silkstone Vanity. It has been quite some time since I’ve checked out the high-end price tag items in the BFMC Silkstone arena and I have to say I am stunned by the secondary market pricing for the Silkstone Vanity. Out of curiosity I ran comparables on recently sold auctions (the realtor in me shining through) and have found the average sold auctions fall anywhere between $399-500. YIKES! Should I mention that one sold for $840 in October? Current actives are well above the sold prices (typical hopeful sellers, just like in real estate). When did this exorbitant price jump happen? Maybe I’ve been asleep or just plain clueless, but I honestly didn’t expect it to pan out like this. I say this because I recall that when the vanity was first released, collectors were astonished at the MSRP : at the time, a whopping $125.00.  I scanned a page from a 2004 Barbie Collectibles catalog, pictured below.

Scanned from Barbie Collector 2004 Holiday Gift Guide 2004

 

When the vanity hit the market in 2004,  I didn’t hesitate for a second to purchase it. At the time I was spending equally as much if not more for beautiful, good quality 1:6 scale Bespaq (or items of the like) furniture pieces, so $125.00 hardly seemed ridiculous to me. I was, and I continue to be, a major diorama geek,  I was in the camp that was shouting for more 1:6 scale furniture pieces and was willing to pay the price for solid, quality furniture pieces. I only purchased one. What those collectors then could only realize now. There IS in fact a huge void in this portion of our hobby. The need for well priced, well structured furniture pieces made of durable, quality materials.

Fast forward to today. In as much as I adore and appreciate this vanity, I have to ask myself if I would pay upwards of $400-500 for the piece if I didn’t already own one.  It is an incredible 1:6 scale item, and I’ve been very pleased with the quality. It has held up perfectly for these past 13 years.  Zero complaints. But I know that because I own one.  However, I write about this because I know that at some point, new collectors will stumble upon my blog. And it is quite possible that this all new and fresh to them. So, if you are new to this hobby, and you decide that you want to seek out this piece to add to your collection, but you’re not sure if the price tag fits the crime, I’m here to tell you: do the crime. Its a big price to pay. Would I pay $800? No. But you may be in a different tax bracket than I, and then of course it is all relevant. A couple of hundred dollars for a really well made, classic, stylish piece of BFMC furniture is definitely worth it.

The vanity is a treasure to photograph and display. This photo is from a vignette/diorama that I photographed in 2007. Its one of my favorite photo series featuring the vanity. All of the sweet accessories that come with it are priceless. This vanity is a BFMC classic and it is a crying shame that Mattel didn’t add more beautiful pieces to the mix. Lord knows that if they would follow some of the prices of the auctions out there, they might note that there is HUGE gap to be filled, and if only they would jump in and fill it.

Today I took a few photos of my vanity for this post. It was a great reminder to take time to appreciate the treasures that I do have in my collection, and share the love for a lovely piece of BFMC history.


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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year

……wishing everyone the best of all Holidays this year!


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Christmas Holiday Plaid for Dulcissima Barbie

I have a fantastic wintry white backdrop that I greatly adore. I’ve used it in several of my winter vignettes. Obviously there are limitations as to how many times a year I’m going to be inspired to shoot photos with a winter theme and utilize such a backdrop. Every December I have the best of intentions to take a Christmas/Holiday themed Barbie photo. However, I inevitably get caught up in the holiday bustle and I just never get it done. Today I noticed some incredible natural, sunny light in my home, so I put all projects and priorities on a brief hold, took advantage of the light and enjoyed a quick holiday photo session.

Until today, I had never redressed Dulcissima Barbie. In fact I’m fairly certain that given my limited amount of time spent with my hobby these past couple of years, I pretty much deboxed her when I got her, and then threw her up on a shelf without really taking time to appreciate her beauty. I’m glad that I chose her to model for this session. She brought this underappreciated classic Christmas plaid gown to life today!

Barbie Model: Dulcissima Silkstone Barbie (2014)

Gown: Winter’s Eve Barbie (1995)


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And Then Winter Arrived…Along with The Repro Barbie Dream House

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.


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Doll Room Essential #3: Doll Risers ….Take the Cake

 

I have a fun item that I like to use as doll risers on display in my Barbie room: Individual Cupcake holders.  I find that as I work towards creating clean and organized displays, I’m always looking for “risers” that are not obnoxious to the eye.  In the past I’ve used boxes and even soup cans.  But recently I’ve discovered that I really LOVE the cupcake holders.  In addition to being the **perfect** size to accommodate all different sized doll stands, they are super cute and they come in so many great colors.  They add interest to displays.

Today I found some really cute porcelain cupcake holders at Home Goods .  These come in so many fun colors and designs, I found that I had quite a difficult time choosing!

Here are two examples of other colors that were available. I struggled … I wanted them all. They come in a set of 4, and were priced at $9.99 for the set.

 

I settled on these two sets: ballet slipper pink w/gold and white w/gold.

Super cute!

 

I try to maximize space in my displays.  Below you can see how I stagger doll display height within shelves that will accommodate the layers. Sometimes this is necessary when you have a shelving unit that requires a stationary, non-adjustable permanent shelf, usually right smack in the middle of the shelving unit.  Depending on what you’re displaying, that designated permanent shelf sometimes affects the ability to have all the rest of the shelves the same unified height. In that case, I take advantage of layering, which requires the use of risers. Here is display shelf that I display my repro Barbies on. In this case, my shelf height needed to be quite high to accommodate the Barbie Vintage Fashion Shop, which causes an unsightly gap between the ceiling of the shelf and the dolls. I hide the gap with staggered dolls. It is also a great way to cram a bunch of dolls into a small space!

Behind the shoe display you can see the new riser peeking through.

Here is what is really going on behind the shoes.  I still wanted something pretty because you can see the riser peeking through.

One more example.  A before and after of a cleaner presentation:

Before: In this vignette I used stacked Mattel stand bases.

After – My new cupcake stand looks cleaner and neater

Lastly, I want to share another style cupcake holder that I  found at Home Goods months ago (these I believe were 5 or 6 bucks each). This one is taller and also works great for layering. I want to say there were three colors: pink, robins egg blue and white.  My natural instict would be to grab the blue, but this time I went for the pink. These are metal and they are packaged individually in a darling tulle net bag.

Of course the cupcake holders will come in handy for what they are intend to be used for, but in my house, highly doubtful 🙂 !!!

 

 


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Happy Birthday Barbie!

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!


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Classic Black Dress Brunette Silkstone Barbie BFMC arrival

She’s arrived! Classic Black Dress Silkstone Barbie Brunette. Collectors are starting to get her this week as she has been back ordered since September.  I wrote about my anticipation for her arrival in a blog post last fall.

I have to say that I’m really delighted with the first one I received (two others I ordered are still on back order).  I think she looks much more mature than the blonde version, who looks so young and innocent in comparison to the other dolls in the BFMC. The brunette is definitely the older sister to the blonde, albeit she does have an innocent appeal as well.

I took a photo of both of them to compare.

Overall, I’m over the moon about this one! I look forward to redressing and posing this beauty.

Featured dolls:

2016 Classic Black Dress Barbie (Brunette)

2016 Classic Black Dress Barbie (Blonde)


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Barbie’s Winter Book Nook

Its January here in the the Pacific Northwest, and we have been experiencing some bitter cold temperatures, ice, and a few light dustings of snow. In this weather I try to take advantage of being locked indoors by spending time in my doll room. Today I should have been organizing the room and cleaning up messes that have accumulated as I rework displays/redress dolls/find homes for new dolls recently added to my collection.  Lately, as I tackle mini-projects in my room, I find myself constantly tripping over a large vignette backdrop that has romantic snow drifts in the windows. I think a lot of us are experiencing some blistery cold weather around the US right now. So today I found myself inspired to do a quick wintry photo shoot with this backdrop, rather than sticking to my original priority of tidying up.  Oh well, lots more winter weather will arrive this next month, bringing plenty of time to clean later, ya? (I tell myself this to ease the guilt!).

I created a very quick winter vignette called “Barbie’s Book Nook”.  Barbie is escaping a cold New York snow storm  with an apropos book titled “Barbie’s New York Summer”. She has created a reading nook near an oversized window in her NY brownstone (you can see the  skyline outside the window, through the heavy snow fall).

During these bitter winter months many of us are finding ourselves plopping down on our sofas or favorite reading chairs, grabbing some warm tea, throwing on the reading glasses (I cannot read without them these days!) and taking  time to read a good book. Others are taking time to have photo sessions with dolls.  I guess I find myself doing a bit of both.

Barbie’s chaise lounge awaits with a good book and a hot cup of tea!

Featured Barbie Classic Black Dress Barbie (2016)

Classic Black Dress is wearing glasses from The Secretary Barbie (2007)