Wishing everyone a fantastic 2017! I look forward to lots more Barbie conversation here on the blog for the upcoming year. I can’t wait to see what is in store for new 2017 Barbie releases!
Featured doll: 2013 Happy New Year Barbie
Wishing everyone a fantastic 2017! I look forward to lots more Barbie conversation here on the blog for the upcoming year. I can’t wait to see what is in store for new 2017 Barbie releases!
Featured doll: 2013 Happy New Year Barbie
One of the most obvious reasons why I collect BFMC dolls is due to my love of the vintage head mold. Were it not for the BFMC, I would have an amazing vintage collection. However, it didn’t pan out that way. My Barbie dollars have been consistently reserved for the BFMC. Once in a great while I buy vintage. But it is rare.
About a month ago, on a random Thursday, I sent my little chickadees off to school and went about my morning as usual. As fate would have it, I had a full and open day ahead of me. I was showered, dressed, and figuring out my day. On this early morning, I received a text from a friendly acquaintance, wondering if my husband still collected Barbie. Hmmm. I responded with the correction that it was I who collected Barbie, not my hubby. She informed me of a local estate sale that had a VERY large Barbie collection. Could she send me photos I asked. She responded with pics of an incredible collection. I was so thankful to be dressed and ready to go – because from the photos I could tell this was the collection of a serious, well versed collector and I must get there quickly to peruse. It was as if the moons had aligned and I was meant to be ready to bolt out the door so quickly! And I did.
Vintage Barbie is one of those things that I have merely dabbled in. I adore the repros because they allow many non-vintage collectors like myself the ability to enjoy some really lovely fashions and dolls for a fraction of the price of what we might expect to pay if buying the same in vintage. I LOVE my repro collection:
At the estate sale, I was able to obtain, among many, many Barbies, these three reproduction dolls that I just seemed to have been dragging my feet in purchasing:
I also quickly located a few vintage Barbies that immediately won me over. They are not perfect by any means, but for the price, I would have been a fool to pass them up. Here are two lovely beauties I purchased along with my first ever vintage Ken. I have always been a fan of Jim Taylor’s Ken collection but I just never had the gumption to purchase a vintage Ken. Until now. Jim has remarkable Ken dolls dressed in fantastic vintage suits. This Ken is dressed in Saturday Night Date’s suit and it was perfect for my first vintage Ken acquisition.
I just adore these two lovely vintage gals. I have had the green vintage sheath in my collection for years. The rust one was an acquisition from this sale.
As I dug and dug into all the stuff in this collector’s room, I found my very first American Girl in a random case. I found the vintage Pink Satin Coat and Hat set separately in a basket of vintage outfits for $5.00. The sheath is a OOAK sheath from my collection. The fashions in the window of the Vintage Fashion Shop are vintage fashions that I’ve owned for quite some time.
I also located a Midge in a basket of nude Barbies at the sale. Poor Midge. She always gets the shaft. But I saved her because I recalled the days of playing with my older cousins’ Barbies and vividly remember there being a Midge among their dolls. I’m delighted to add one to my collection. I dressed her in a repro Prom Date dress because it is the dress I fondly remember being my favorite among my older cousins’ Barbie fashions when I went to their house to play.
I found so many fantastic items at this sale, too many to mention. Only us collectors understand which is why I’m so excited to share it here.
I feel as though I’ve added an “instant Vintage assortment” to my collection, and it truly inspires the collector within.
I. Love. Barbie. It is moments like these that make my collecting heart sing.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
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:
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!
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!
I love when collectors share information about new and interesting and/or helpful items that they use within their collections as part of the collecting hobby. I plan to blog about several doll room essentials that I have found for my collection and room such as these recently discovered shelf peg plugs from Ikea:
These can be found in the kitchen cabinet area at Ikea. They are called Variera. There are 10 white plastic plugs attached on 10 individual strips and they sell for 99 cents a pack (100 plugs per pack!). They are also available in black. For a clean look, I absolutely love the idea of filling in all the exposed peg holes in my shelving, so I took a chance on one pack to see if they would work. It turns out that they fit all the holes in my shelving throughout my doll room.
I know MANY collectors have Ikea’s classic, affordable, and functional Billy book cases in their doll rooms. I myself have a few of the cases and I love them. I purchased mine prior to a change that has made to the newer Billy cases (I purchased mine in Jan/2012). Ikea has since changed the size of the shelf peg hole to a much smaller, less noticeable peg hole. The Variera plugs fit the holes in my Billy shelving, but they do not fit in the newer book cases. I do not know when the change occurred. I believe the plugs are intended for Ikea kitchen cabinetry, not for Billy book cases, but they seem somewhat universal. The pegs also happen to fit the non-Ikea book cases that I have had for the past 10 years that run along the main wall of my doll room. I have had these 5 matching cases for so long that I cannot recall if I got them from Office Max or Office Depot, but for a mere 99 cent investment, it was worth it for me to try them out in these cases as well.
Here is a picture of the plugs in an Ikea Billy cabinet – I’ve left a row in the back empty to demonstrate the before and after:
Here is the before and after of the generic white book cases that house my BFMC collection:
Unfortunately, my digital cameras all decided to break on me at the same time, so I had to take these pics with my phone camera. The lighting is not the greatest, but you get the idea. You do still see small white bumps when you view the cases, however, I prefer that look overall to the numerous and annoying open shelf peg holes. In my doll room, the shelving is very much set, so I don’t anticipate moving the shelves and having to remove the plugs. By the way, they’re easy to remove, but they do a number on your fingernails if you’re not careful. They may not be a good option if you’re constantly changing your shelf heights. Mine has been the same for almost 10 years, I think I’m safe.
Final note, the plugs are fairly bright white. Some Billy cases are creamy white (I have noticed a variance in the shades from one Billy case to the next). The difference in shades between the Billy cases and the plug doesn’t seem to be significant enough to matter, but I mention it because it does exist.
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!