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BFMC Nostalgia: My Love Affair With Silkstone Barbie

One wall within my Barbie room

One wall within my Barbie room

Those that know me, know that I am truly a BFMC (Barbie Fashion Model Collection) purist. The BFMC brought me to a place in collecting Barbie that I just can’t seem to shake, for 14 years now.  A majority of my collection is now based around the BFMC. It is my true love in my collecting hobby.

Recently I was revisiting a plan I have for artwork on my office portion of a wall within my doll room.  I have had an idea for a few years now to feature old introductory ads for the BFMC on this wall.  This introductory period was a time when magic happened within the Barbie collecting community. In the year 2000, the BFMC was introduced. Many collectors were re-charged and excited by this new modern twist on this vintage faced Barbie. It was a magical time! When I look back at the ads during that time period for the collection, I am overcome with awe and inspiration. But it was not always that way for me.

You might recall a story I shared in my introductory page for this blog.  I share that in 2002 I discovered Lisette Silkstone Barbie at a local doll show.  You may also recall that I went to that doll show in hopes of finding vintage Liddle Kiddle dolls, as this collector was on a Barbie collecting hiatus.  At that doll show, I kept circling a Barbie dealer’s display that featured several current Barbies, one of which was Silkstone Lisette. When I picked up that Lisette doll, I was an instant fan. I purchased her without batting an eye. It wasn’t as though I was not aware of the BFMC.  After all, I had numerous copies of what was then “Barbie Collectibles” catalogs laying throughout my home.  In fact, a couple of years prior, my boyfriend (now husband) stole a catalog from my townhouse when we were dating so that he could order the Barbie Coca-Cola Malt Shop for me for Christmas one year.  How romantic is that!? The truth of the matter is this: When I saw that copy of the Barbie Collectibles catalog that debuted the first dolls in the BFMC collection (Delphine, L1, L2), I could have cared less.  I honestly and truly despised Delphine’s look. I thought she was impossibly HAUGHTY.  She did not look like Barbie to me, and I had no desire to purchase her what-so-ever. Of course, that would soon change.

The day I purchased Lisette, I suddenly understood what this Silkstone collection was all about.  As I drove home from that doll show, with Lisette in hand, all I could do was HOPE that this haughty Delphine looking character was still available to order.  I walked through the door, and I then literally started rummaging through a pile of papers on my desk to find a copy of the catalog, that thankfully was still featuring Delphine. I  called to order Delphine that very day.  To this day, Delphine remains my favorite Barbie within my collection.

So as I sat staring at these advertisements recently, I got to wondering just how long had it been since that fatal day I placed that fateful order? I checked my receipt: April 9, 2002. So for me, this will be my Anniversary date for my BFMC love affair.

In my last post, I shared that I have been having a rough collecting year in this year 2016. A sincere lack of interest prevented me from having any enthusiasm for my passion.  I have found that when I am longing for BFMC inspiration, I revert back to the good ol days of the collection, the debut year. I am instantly reminded of what brought me back to collecting in the first place, and the love for those days never gets old.

Here are some ads from the very early days of the collection (circa 2000-2001). Note: The photographs below are not my own, they are Mattel promotional photos. These are the glory days of the collection. I found these ads (and scanned them here for this post) in old issues of Barbie Bazaar Magazine. I have had them stored in a file entitled “frame” for a very long time. Soon I hope they will hit the walls of my doll room:

One of the first print advertisements for the BFMC, featuring a glimpse of my all time favorite Barbies, Delphine.

One of the first print advertisements for the BFMC, featuring a glimpse of my all time favorite Barbie, Delphine.

A two page spread that I consolidated here. Obviously that enormous pink gown was too big for a one page spread.

A two page spread that I consolidated here. Obviously that enormous pink gown was too big for a one page spread.

There was a  7 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ 4 page glossy promotional brochure/booklet that was featured in one of the issues as well. The booklet is a complete walk down memory lane for the debut of the collection. If ever I wish to remind myself of the true inspiration for my most meaningful reason for collecting, I thumb through the booklet and the BFMC magic is once again within my heart:

The cover.

The cover.


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Furniture Repaint Project – Blue and Gold Writing Desk

Just as I was beginning to whine about no free time, I found myself with a free weekend. No soccer games this weekend to attend as all the fields closed due to in-climate weather.  Which meant out to the doll room I went for some much needed ME time.  I knew instantly that I wanted to focus on repainting this piece of furniture that I’ve had laying around in a box since the day I received it from Ebay store Small World Minis (Kenneth Haseltine).

The original finish on this piece is just lovely. However, I much prefer painted furniture. I’ve had a jar of some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint laying around for literally two years. I’m strange like that. I buy stuff never knowing what I’m actually going to do with it, and then one day, I drag it out and use it.  So was the case for this paint.  I have noticed that in every antique store in the area, furniture is painted head to toe in chalk paint. I love that chalk painted effect. It seems warmer to me than varnished wood. I like the matte chalky finish. Naturally I was drawn to a lovely shade of blue called “Provence”. I am hopelessly predictable as well in that I had to add a shiny gold as the accent.

Here is the result of my efforts, quickly set in a make shift vignette:

What I did:

-Use a sponge brush to paint a base coat. I did not sand this piece prior to painting.

-Once it dried, I painted two to three more coats, alternating between the sponge and the brush as needed.

-I painted the accents in gold with a smaller brush and used three coats for that as well. I used a generic acrylic gold paint.

The chalk paint is SUPER easy to work with.  It is thick. Dries quickly. Cleans up easily with soap and water.

Part of what makes collecting so special for me is customizing furniture and accessories. Having a one of a kind piece of customized furniture is a treasure within my collection. The furniture is fun to highlight in the vignettes throughout my doll room. Looking forward to finding just the right place for this new treasure!

Edited to add: I notice that in the closeup photo the camera detected brush lines in the paint.  These lines are not noticeable in real life. Tricky! The finish is quite smooth in real life.


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Awaken The Beast

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.


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New Arrival : Camel Coat Silkstone Barbie

I just received Camel Coat Silkstone Barbie last week.  I took some very quick (and not so great quality, please forgive) pics before the full schedule I have in the week ahead of me (and for the week behind me – thus the reason for lack of posts!). I quickly used one of the backgrounds that is in my vignette cabinet:

When pictures of Camel Coat were first released, many collectors including myself couldn’t help but draw comparisons between Camel Coat and a few other dolls already in the BFMC:

I took a few side by sides to gauge the differences:

With Fashion Editor, I note differences in the leopard fabric, and her skirt length is slightly longer than Fashion Editor’s skirt. Camel Coat’s skirt has a small slit in the back, and the fabric is thicker, Fashion Editor’s skirt has a small slit in the side, thinner fabric.  The black knit tops are very similar. Camel Coat’s has sleeves.

With Spotted Shopping, the coat is quite different. In fact the only strong similarities are the color, and perhaps the length. The fabric used for Camel is much more “fuzzy” than I had expected it to be, nothing like that of Spotted Shopping’s coat fabric.  Camel’s ties at the waist. The boots are the same except that Camel’s are black, whereas Spotted’s are brown.

Pretty Pleats? I admit when I saw the promo pics of Camel, I immediately thought her face was reminiscent of Pretty Pleats. However, as you can see in the side by side, her look is vastly different.  Their hair shades are similar, but otherwise, they are two completely different dolls altogether.  I had kind of been ignoring Pretty Pleats for a few years now. Once I removed her from a display to take this photo, I was reminded of how pretty she really is.

As for my thoughts on Camel Coat, I think she’s a keeper in spite of the fact I think her ensemble is too close of a repeat to a previous doll in the BFMC collection.  It is difficult to pose her arms with such a bulky coat. But her legs pose easily with the tights, no restrictions there. Her hair – WOWZERS. It is full and bouncy! You can detect many fly-away out of control hair strands in my pics :). Going to have to sit with some gel when I have some time. I’m not usually a fan of such prominent bottom lashes such as Camel Coat’s, but they do give her expression and character. Her skin tone, very very pale.

Regarding the new body style, I am definitely of the opinion that Mattel should revert back to the dimensions of the original Silkstone body in the bust area.  I very much want the option to dress any new dolls going forward in fashions from the existing collection.  It is discouraging that a majority of my existing fashions are too large for this new body style.


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Dolly Delivery – Lavender Luxe Silkstone Barbie

The Barbie Collection had a sale to celebrate Barbie’s Birthday again this year. Barbie Doll’s birthday is March 9th. If you missed it, mark your calendar for next year. Its an important date in this hobby.  I took advantage of the sale and added a Barbie that I had been dragging my feet in buying: Lavender Luxe Silkstone Barbie from last year’s BFMC. I’m not a huge fan of the color lavender, so she wasn’t a priority for me to add to my collection.  I do, however, LOVE tulle, along with most every red head Barbie in the BFMC. She doesn’t disappoint! I had a few minutes to take some pictures of this beauty last week, and wanted to share them here on the blog.

I am glad to have finally added her to my collection. Yes, her hair is a bit much like Hollywood Hostess (probably why I did not think I needed to add her), however, the facial screening is vastly different, and she is lovely in real life.


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The Gold Chair – BFC Gift Repainted

If you’re a member of the The Barbie Fan Club at The Barbie Collection web site, you most likely by now have received your 2016 gift, a black plastic chair with cream cushion. Like so many other BFMC die hards, I have been pining for the gold chairs in the Silkstone promo photos for years.

This black plastic version, in my view, is a good compromise for what must have been a difficult balance to strike between offering a quality, wood (or metal), gold chair, that is sure to be expensive to produce and then sell, or, offer a less expensive version as a gift. They made a great choice by offering a chair made of plastic, which must be more cost effective, and then chose a color that would appeal to the masses, leaving the collector to customize it if they choose to.  After all, not all collectors like gold (I can’t imagine who wouldn’t LOVE a gold chair, but I do recognize there are crazies roaming the earth). Here is what the chair looks like prior to painting, with obnoxious tag on cushion and all:

 

I received my chair last week. Naturally, my plan was to spray it gold. Yesterday, I finally got around to the project.  I used Krylon Super Maxx Metallic. I paid about $6.99 for a can.

If you’ve ever spray painted plastic, you know that it is imperative to use the right paint, preferably paint specifically made for plastic. Krylon does  make a paint specifically for plastic called Fusion for Plastic. I decided to give a different Krylon paint a try,  Krylon Super Maxx,  because it does list plastic on the can, and, it was the perfect shade of gold that I was looking for. Just a word of caution if you decide to try it: it seemed to need more coats than the other paint for plastic that I’ve used in the past.  This could be because the chair is black and may take more to cover, not sure. Initially I thought I would use my trusty gold paint pen, but the gold was more dull and muddy than I wanted. As well, it would have been difficult to get good coverage on the larger parts of the chair, so after testing a few chair rungs with the paint pen, I moved on to the brighter gold colored spray paint. Yet another reason why I gave this paint a try, because the gold is so shiny, bright and beautiful.

There is a bit of residue left behind when you remove the cushion. Residue can be easily removed with Goo Gone.

I took time to spray even coats, and allowed ample drying time in between coats.  I highly recommend the paint I used.  The spray nozzle this product offers sprayed the paint effortlessly and evenly. What I like is because it is metallic, the finish has a very slight bumpiness to it, giving the finished product an antiqued, aged look to it, similar to the promo chairs (take a look at the finish of the chairs in the first photo I’ve shared above).

The finished product.

I’m really pleased with how the chair looks painted gold.  And by the way, it looks great as it is, in black, but I couldn’t resist repainting to match those infamous Silkstone chairs. I hope Mattel decides to offer their left over stock of these chairs for sale on their website like they have done in the past with other club gifts.  I would gladly purchase several more.

Classic Black Dress Silkstone Barbie takes a seat.

As side note, there are sellers on Ebay and Etsy selling similar gold chairs, so if you’re not one to take on a paint project, there are other options. However, be prepared for a hefty price tag.

 

 


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The Window Shopper

Recently, I received a much anticipated package in the mail. When it looks like this, arriving with Russian parcel tape, you know it must be special:

There is a talented artist in Russia from whom I ordered a beautiful Barbie outfit. Her Etsy shop is Rebecca Fashions. I also follow her Flickr photostream. You can also find her creations on Ebay. The dress I ordered has a meticulous fit and is very well made. I was completely smitten with this dress when I first saw pictures of it, so I was over the moon appreciative when I found out it was available for special order.

I can never say no to a pillbox hat for Barbie, especially one with a tulle net. Pair it with a classic ’60’s flip hair style and it is the **perfect** combination.  I was inspired to dress Hollywood Bound Silkstone Barbie in this lovely fashion (does she not sport the quintessential 1960’s flip?!). For my back drop I wanted to feature the fun storefront I received at the 2012 National Barbie Convention. This was a table centerpiece that I was fortunate enough to be drawn to win. Whenever I display a Barbie in front of the storefront in my doll room, I immediately get that “Window Shopper” vibe.

 

The setting: Storefront from 2012 National Barbie Convention table centerpiece, with added striped backdrop and props

The fashion on the mannequin: Dressmaker Details “Dinner Duo”

The fashion modeled by Hollywood Bound Silkstone Barbie: Rebecca Fashions. Clutch is Dressmaker Details from “Dinner Duo”

Armoire: Barbie armoire customized by me

 


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Doll Room Essential: Command Brand Hooks

There is an item that I cannot live without in my doll room: Command hooks. I use these little guys throughout my doll room.  I like the idea of hanging items temporarily (or permanently) without damaging surfaces. I use the mini decorating clips the most.

As an example of how I use them, take a look at this vignette in my cabinet.  See the hanging chandelier?

It is made possible by the use of one of the Command decorating clips. From afar, the clip is virtually unnoticeable.

This is a clean and damage-free way of hanging items in display cabinets.

In another display, I use them in two ways:

Here, I use one to hang the chandelier.

I use them here to act as a fabric tie back on both sides, further concealed by a floral accent.

I have an Ikea Billy display case that faces the inside of my doll room.  I wanted to hang these Robert Best BFMC sketches somewhere in my room, and found that this was a great place to hang them. However, I didn’t want damage the case by using nails, so I chose to use the hooks here as well:

I disguise the hooks by using organza ribbon. Aren’t these frames all perfect for BFMC sketches with the blue and white Silkstone-themed stripes? I found them on clearance at Target years ago.

Here’s what the clip looks like when hung. This is one of the larger clips. The packaging states it can hold .5 lbs (225 g) so the weight of the frame is not too heavy at all.

Lastly, I have one on the back of my door.  I would never use a nail or a screw on the back of my beautiful white door!

This is the final message upon leaving my doll room:

 


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Doll Room Find: Shadow Box

Last weekend I found an awesome addition to my doll room.  A Macy’s store was having a huge blow out due to the store location closing. I walked in expecting to find discounted clothing for myself (who doesn’t love a sale!). I walked around for quite some time empty handed and pretty much started to walk out. As I was beginning to leave, I decided I’d peruse the store fixture area, which was full of used store fixtures they were selling along side the marked down inventory. I always have my Barbie collecting radar on.  It has become second nature for me to  find things for my collection or doll room as I’m out and about shopping for non-doll related items.  I came upon this really wonderful shadow box, complete with plexiglass front:

Removable plexiglass

So being the display junky that I am, I picked it up – for $20. Its made of some heavy duty plywood painted a perfect shade of creamy white. It is going to be a wonderful addition to my doll room. It will be great for highlighting whatever dolls inspire at the moment, and has great enough room for 3-4 dolls easily. I’m not one for overcrowding in my display/vignette boxes, so I will probably utilize it like I do with the Plexi-cubes I’ve shared in earlier posts. It will easily accommodate large pieces of 1:6 scale furniture as well.

It is nice to have the option of keeping the back open, but if I know myself well enough, I will be fully tempted to add a papered back wall to add a dramatic effect to the display.

It is always a treat to find something like this fixture when you least expect it. But I do have a huge regret.  I should have purchased two or three more. Now that I have it in my doll room, I can see it matches my Ikea Isala cabinet almost perfectly, which is where I plan on displaying it.  A couple more of these shadow boxes arranged on top of my cabinet would have made a lovely presentation. I would drive back, however, this Macy’s location is in a small beach town 5 hours away. Live and learn.  I’ll be happy with the one I have.

Update @ 3/19/2016:  Ask and you shall receive.  I was fortunate enough to add two more of these cubes.  My husband had to go back to work in the area of the store closing, and was awesome enough to pop in and grab two more (albeit, they are missing their plexi, but I can easily remedy that problem). I can’t wait to put these to use for a great display!


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The Dress Shop

I recently received a stunning repainted/restyled Silkstone by a well known and ultra talented artist, Jon Copeland/SeloJ Spa.

You can view several of Jon’s repaints on his Flickr page (linked here with his permission).

This lovely lady arrived just in time, as I was prepping a new temporary Dress Shop display in my doll room. I was instantly inspired to have a photo session. However, a huge problem presented itself: both of my (admittedly old and outdated) trusty digital cameras died at the same time. So I was forced to purchase another camera, of which I am still becoming familiar with. This is my first photo session with the new camera, all shot within days of receiving it.

Here are some pictures of the new vignette: The Dress Shop

The cast:

SeloJ Spa repaint, in Matisse Fashions Sheath

Rebodied & Restyled Maria Therese Silkstone Barbie, in Barbie’s Tim Gunn fashion

Joyeux FAO Exclusive Silkstone Barbie in t.d.fashiondolls70 (ebay store) fashion

Dresses on display rack: Matisse Fashions  (blush w/bows), Bellissima Couture Fashion (pink lace), Matisse Fashions (blue w/ white)

The mannequin features pink top by Bellissima Couture and a lace skirt that is unknown

Bespaq Armoire pictured with City Smart Silkstone Barbie black dress