Changes in the Doll Room

Every now and again I become dissatisfied with the arrangement of furniture, storage and display units in the doll room. This is typical of me. I am a chronic furniture rearranger anyway.

The doll room which is really a spare bedroom is also where I do scrapbooking and store craft supplies. The multi purpose room doesn’t always work because if I have to move things to get to other things sometimes I can’t be bothered and other times I get so involved in moving and tidying things that I don’t actually do any craft. I can’t get any new furniture right now so over the past few weeks I’ve been swapping and changing things around. This is how the doll room looked last year.

An earlier set up of the dolls room.

An earlier set up of the dolls room.

The Dolls

Some of the dolls

The doll room before I started moving things.

The doll room before I started moving things.


First of all the wooden dining table that I had in the doll room was swapped with the adjustable desk I had for my computer. I figured that each would be a better fit in the other room. It works for the doll room especially because most of the time I scrapbook alone so I can have the table small but if I have a friend over I can lift up a flap or two to make more room.  I have moved it to under the window to get better natural light but am thinking of one more move, to turn it 90 degrees so that I can get the flaps up without having to move too much other stuff.

A lot of the dolls live on shelves on three walls and I haven’t needed to move these. Hubby put them up for me not long after we moved in, at our old house they were our bookshelves, we had a whole room full of them. Now a lot of the books are on free standing shelves in the passage so the  old shelves have been re-purposed. We did have to buy a couple of extra planks and brackets but that was not a big expense.

My former sewing machine trolley was re-purposed a few months ago to hold the dolls house where the Tammy family and the Tressy’s live. I don’t use the machine that often. If I need to I can put it on the desk.  I had packed a lot of dolls and craft materials into plastic tubs but these were taking up a lot of space so I moved a few things to get them into a corner under the shelves which is not ideal but better.

However, the main big change has been to the resting places of the larger dolls. I have an old armchair and I had planned to ditch it to make more space but then I had another idea. We have an old entertainment unit that used to be in the living room. I had to move it because Hubby could not bend to reach the DVD player and was unable to watch DVD’s. After I’d rearranged the living room to accomodate him I was stuck with this unit which has been gathering dust and getting in my way in the laundry for months. I had planned to get rid of it even if I had to give it away but then I thought why not put it in the doll room? The space designed to hold an older TV was ideal for large dolls. So that’s what I did. It was a big job moving it by myself but I managed it and decided to move my collectible dolls into it and the larger play dolls to where they had been standing on another old piece of furniture.  The top and bottom cupboards of the unit which is corner shaped were filled with craft supplies which doesn’t look great but will be better when I replace plastic shopping bags with something nicer. I may end up putting some smaller dolls up top there later.

I'm quite pleased with how well this unit fitted in.

I’m quite pleased with how well this unit fitted in.

Putting the unit into the room meant that I had to remove my vinyl cube units. What to do with them? The thing I like about them is that they are easy to dismantle and rearrange into a different configuration. So I went from a two wide eight high set up to a three wide and two high one which I put on top of a cabinet that holds scrapbooking supplies. Now I have more room for fashion dolls in these cubes. I had some pieces left over so I made a single cube which I will put aside for taking photos in.

The cube units now make great doll display areas.

The cube units now make great doll display areas.

The African American Barbies now live in two separate cubes.

The African American Barbies now live in two separate cubes.

I just have a little more tidying to do now, loose doll clothes and other odds and ends. I can probably even keep the armchair although I haven’t decided if I will yet. I’ve added a dog bed for Cindy too as she likes to sit with me when I’m in there.

The large dolls who were scattered are now together.

The large dolls who were scattered are now together.

This unit holds doll magazines and sewing supplies. Undoubtably I  still have too much stuff.

This unit holds doll magazines and sewing supplies. Undoubtably I still have too much stuff.

And Finally:

The desk in position.

The desk in position.

Now the room looks nice and tidy and will be a bit easier to use so I’m happy. Until next time I decide to change it!

Fashion Doll Friday – Mystery Squad Kenzie 2003

This week’s doll is Mystery Squad Kenzie. She has articulated arms on a teen Skipper body. I was lucky to get her because as far as I know these dolls were not sold in Australia. She is wearing a Fashion Avenue  Skipper outfit. I’m not sure of the year.

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Reminder: World Doll Day is June 13th


Reblogging this from Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter for all my doll loving friends online.

Originally posted on Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter:

The second Saturday of June is World Doll Day.  Started in 1986 by collector Mildred Seeley, I first discovered this unofficial day of celebration two years ago.  For those who are new to World Doll Day, the idea came about when Mildred wrote a note and sent it to her friends and colleagues in the doll world.

World Doll Day Logo World Doll Day Logo

The letter read,

“So, you have not heard of World Doll Day? This is not surprising as of an hour ago, I hadn’t conceived the idea. To make it happen. I need cooperation of every doll collector, every magazine editor, doll newsletter, doll shop, library, doll maker, mother, grand­mother, father, grandfather, and all the stray aunts and uncles. The first World Doll Day is the Second Saturday of June 1986. Give a doll to a grownup, child in the family or just a friend. If you don’t have…

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Cloth Doll Spa Week – Part Two

Today was the first sunny day we’ve had since Tuesday so I took advantage of it to let the next two spa victims, I mean customers, dry their hair in the sun.

First, an update on Jacqui, Jilly and Lee.

Jacqui is all finished and redressed. I haven’t photographed her again yet because she looks pretty much the same. I’m still thinking about whether to try to do anything else with her frizzy hair. I might make her a new pair of stockings at a later date too as hers are a little faded. They were made out of an old pair of tights I had and I am pretty sure I have some other old pairs I could make new ones with, or knitting her some would also be an option. As Jacqui’s cloth legs are so long she’s probably always going to wear coloured stockings of some kind.

Jilly is all done too, she was very easy. The thing that took the longest was getting her dry after I washed her body. I needed to re-sew a button on her matinée jacket but apart from that she didn’t need anything done.Her outfit was knitted by me from a couple of balls of baby wool I had left over from some other project. For those of you interested in doll marks Jill has “Union Toy-Taiwan” on the back of her neck. This suggests to me that she was made prior to 1990 but I don’t know a lot about Taiwanese doll manufacturing. I do know that a lot of Barbie dolls were made in Taiwan from 1967-87 so after that time doll production in Taiwan may not have been on such a large scale. Anyone who knows more about this subject please feel free to join the conversation.

Jilly in her matinee jacket and leggings.

Jilly in her matinée jacket and leggings.


Lee is marked HKTC.

Lee is all finished too and her hair came out quite well. I’m very pleased with it as I spent a lot of time combing out the tangles. Lee has a doll mark too just a simple “HKTC” so she was made in Hong Kong but other than that I don’t know. A huge number of dolls were made in Hong Kong in the 1960s but not so much now I think. Here is Lee. Her outfit is something I bought for her at a market.

Elizabeth and Valerie were the next dolls to get their hair done. Both have problematic hair. Valerie’s is very frizzy around the ends and I spent a lot of time combing it out the night before I washed it. Unlike Jacqui Valerie has plenty of hair so when I found that she still had some frizz I decided I could risk cutting a little bit off to tidy it up a bit.

Valerie and Elizabeth enjoying the sunshine.

Valerie and Elizabeth enjoying the sunshine.

Elizabeth had her hair in a little plait and when I undid it I found out why she looks so sad. Most of her head is as bald as a billiard ball. Here is Elizabeth encased in the plastic bag she wore while I washed her hair. This was to keep her body dry.

Elizabeth after her hair was washed.

Elizabeth after her hair was washed.

I’m having all sorts of problems trying to redo her hair so that the bald part doesn’t show and think that her fringe may have been a home styled job as it just doesn’t sit right. I’m going to have to have another go at it on Sunday I think.I hope I’ll be able to show you the end results of Cloth Doll Spa Week then.

Fashion Doll Friday – Meet Ken He’s a Doll

Today’s doll is a vintage Ken doll with painted blonde hair. He was a birthday gift from my sister.  He’s in great shape for his age. Ken has his beach shirt but came without pants. I thought I had some shorts he could wear but I couldn’t find them. Luckily because he is very slim he can get into Barbie’s clothes. Here he is wearing a pair of generic blue jeans which he will borrow until I get him something else. I had a spare pair of Ken shoes that fit him too.

His little dog was also a gift and is really a small china ornament. I’ve called her Cindy because she is a bit like my dog Cindy.

Serendipity Photo Prompt #6 – Childhood Dolls

This post is in response to Marilyn’s “Serendipity Photo Prompt” for this week.

Marilyn shared a photo of her childhood Toni doll who has a lovely face.  I still have some of my childhood dolls too although they are not in great condition.

Theresa with her Raggedy Ann doll made by my mum.

Theresa with her Raggedy Ann doll made by my mum.

My mother loved dolls and I think that when she had little girls she was delighted not only to have two real life dolls to dress in matching outfits but also to have an excuse to buy dolls again. We probably disappointed her a lot by not providing her with grandchildren to buy them for too.

Amongst the many stories mum told me were the ones about the dolls that she used to own. The china headed doll given to her by her grandmother which she promptly dropped when a spider popped out of its mouth is one of the stories I remember. Now I  come to think of it a few of mum’s dolls seemed to have met with misadventures. She spent her early years abroad as my grandfather was in the British Army, from 1925 to 1933 they lived in Malta, Egypt and India. It’s probably not surprising that one doll with a wax head melted! Sadder was the fate of Valerie, mum’s last doll given to her when she was about fourteen and back in England. I’m not sure what Valerie was made from but she was a double jointed doll mum said and she was made of something breakable. If I have the story right my aunt left Valerie sitting at an open window. You can probably guess the rest. I think a cat may have been involved. Mum was especially disappointed about that as she had hoped to save the doll for her own daughters when she had them.

Mum used to love to make dolls and dolls clothes too. She made them for nieces and nephews, children that stayed when the family owned a guest house and eventually for my sister and me. Some were sewn from whatever materials she had on hand, real rag dolls, others were knitted. She made me a doll out of a pink dust cloth and a toy dog from a yellow one.

In later life she tended to knit more and made a great many toys from patterns in her favourite magazine, “The English Women’s Weekly”.  A lot were given away or occasionally sold to friends for their grandchildren but my sister still has quite a few of them at home.

Mum was pretty good at mending things too. She sewed and glued things back together if they were damaged in play. We used to have some small dolls, about four inches high which were strung with rubber bands. I’m sure nobody would give them to six and eight year olds now. If a limb came off mum always had a hair pin to coax the rubber band back on to the hook. If the hook broke she glued their heads or arms on and we just played that the doll had an accident that left it unable to move. On our voyage to Australia she had no glue when one doll suffered a breakage so she borrowed our cabin mates nail varnish and that did the trick.

I think that my sister and I played with our dolls in a much more involved way because when we were little mum would encourage us not just to dress and undress the doll but to make a story. I remember that we had a lot of dolls of similar size that we played schools with but later our dolls had fantastic made up adventures. In fact almost every toy we had assumed a personality whether it was a doll, Matchbox car or even a marble. I’m sure mum was responsible for that on some level.

Although I collect modern fashion dolls and dolls from other eras my favourites are still the ones from the early sixties when we spent so much time playing with them.

Cloth Doll Spa Week – Part One

I have not written a great deal about my small collection of cloth bodied dolls. Most of them are not old and were acquired from Op Shops, markets or eBay when I was first collecting dolls in the 1990s. The main reasons I bought them were most importantly because each one of the appealed to me in some way and secondly they were cheap. A few of them are modern collectible dolls that have been given to me but today I want to talk about the cheap dolls.

My cloth dolls all have vinyl heads and limbs. Some are marked and some are not. Today I decided that it was time they had some pampering for a change. Before I tell you about that let’s meet some of these rarely photographed girls.

The first ones that really got me started were these three who I call “The Op Shop Girls”. We were still living in South Australia when I bought them at an Op Shop in Brighton, a suburb not far from where we lived. It was a Saturday morning and I had gone out hoping to find dolls. The three of them were together. I paid $A18 for the three of them I think.  They did not have clothes and Jacqui, the black-haired one, was a fright with her hair standing everywhere. I took her because she looked sad and I didn’t want to leave her behind and just take the two prettier ones.

After I had tidied them up a bit I spent a weekend making them these outfits and was quite pleased with my handiwork. Jacqui was the biggest challenge as I had to adapt the pattern to fit her. I even made her shoes. If I decide to part with these three they will have to go together. I could not split them up.
JacquiHere are two other occupants of the old armchair where the cloth dolls live. The large doll is Elizabeth, the small one is another Jill or Jilly as I call her not to confuse her with brown-eyed Op Shop Jill. Elizabeth was another doll I thought had rather a sad expression. She came to me dressed in too large child’s clothing so I bought her a new outfit and a pair of sneakers which seemed to cheer her up.Elizabeth and Baby JillySpa day began as laundry day. All the girls were stripped down to their cloth bodies and their clothes were washed. They are hanging on the line now as I write this. I decided to start the cleaning process with Jilly as she is the smallest. I wanted to wash all the dolls hair and tidy it up. Jilly doesn’t have much so she was easy. Her body was a bit stained though so I decided to give her a soak in Softly. After she’d been washed and rinsed I sat her on the bench outside to dry. With this type of doll if the body is really dirty or stained the best thing to do is to detach the head and limbs, take the stuffing out and wash the body or if necessary make a new one by tracing the shape of the old body. They are usually made from some kind of strong cloth like calico.

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Jilly was soon joined by Jacqui whose long, thin body makes me think that she is an older doll than the others. Her stuffing feels different. I think it is something like kapok or foam rubber rather than the lightweight polyester fill that the others have. Jacqui’s hair is very coarse Saran and had gone frizzy before I bought her. I’d love to have seen her when she was new. If she just had a few frizzy bits I’d risk trimming them but it’s all over and unlike human babies if I cut any off it won’t grow back.  I could try a boil perm I suppose. I’ll have to think about that. I don’t want to make her worse.She might just have to live with it I’m afraid.

Jilly and Jacqui enjoying some sunshine.

Jilly and Jacqui enjoying some sunshine.

Next was Lee, I could not find an old picture of Lee though I’m sure I must have one, probably pre-digital. Lee has really long, thick hair. It reminds me a lot of mine when I was a child. It took me ages to comb the tangles out before I washed it and as long again to comb conditioner through it. I can appreciate now how much of a nuisance my hair must have been to my mother, not to mention all that “Ouch” and “You’re hurting me!” that she had to put up with. Very thick hair is great but it is a lot to look after. Unlike me Lee will be keeping hers though. If I had fabric softener on hand I’d probably have used that instead of conditioner but I don’t use it myself so I made do with what I had on hand, baby shampoo and a cheap conditioner does a satisfactory job.

It’s now getting on for five in the afternoon and it will soon be dark. Mid afternoon it started to look like rain so as I had to go to the shops I brought the clothes and the girls inside to finish drying. The girls will spend the evening watching TV in the living room where the heater is. Elizabeth, Valerie and Jill will wait for another day.