Avantguard Dolls in Monica Merrill Outfits and Photographic Ruminations

My favorite Avantguard doll is wearing Monica's "Take a Letter" outfit in this photo. It fits very well. The earrings that come with this outfit are black beads. I like diamonds better. Ahem.

I love this doll and that makes me chuckle because looking at her pleases me! 

What I'm not sure about is the shadow on her face created by the light on the right side of the figure. It does repeat itself on her chest but something is off. I think I could have done without the second light on the right and j ust pumped up the power of the other strobe.  I'm shooting with one strobe reflected off an umbrella and one directly diffused strobe which I placed approximately 90° apart from eachother. I have the umbrella higher. I love using high contrast when shooting this doll. I definitely need to work harder when shooting white...it's just not as good as I envision.

In this next photo, I did eliminate the second light. The background is grayer (I could have lit that separately) and the extreme contrast is softened. Her face looks better without the distinct shadow. The big area under her face of faux fur is blown out and takes away from her face. This image could have used some pixel pushing for sure.

The shoes seen in the photo are Goldmine's own.

These last 2 images are of "Attention" Avantguard and were shot with a point and shoot using window light and fill flash from the camera.
The outfit is from a dressed Monica Merrill doll as is "Taking a Letter" and is called "Jonquil Sass." Again, the fit is excellent including the shoes. It's such an adorable outfit. The wig is from another AG doll.

It's painfully apparent to me that my point and shoot is vastly inferior to my studio, tripod-mounted camera. But I'd be taking a lot less pictures if I had to take everything into my studio to shoot. Yes, I know that the last picture above is out of focus but I wanted to let y'all see the entire outfit with shoes.


Fashion Doll Quarterly - Winter 2010 Issue

You're not seeing double. There are two covers this quarter. One will be on the newsstands and the other is for subscribers. Both covers feature the new FDQ exclusive, Devon, a Numina by Paul Pham. Devon is a gorgeous 16 inch resin BJD who wears an exclusive Patta Art wig. Her silk dress sports embellished gold epaulettes. Her bra beautifully fills in the V bodice shape.  This issue contains many wonderful photographs of Devon by Alexandra Forbes showing her in different wigs and fashions.
Devon is a Limited Edition of only 50 dolls and is available only through FDQ for $750. Mail order forms are being accepted until November 15, 2010 as long as the supply lasts. After that, there will be a lottery if dolls remain.

More information and to order click here.

Paul Pham's Dollcis Website

Reflections and Last Minute Preparations

Just about four years ago today I started blogging. My first post was on 10/20/06 and it showed my first reroot. She was a beautiful Gliteratti Veronique. I used about 4 times as much hair as necessary and chipped a tooth or two in the process as I stupidly used my teeth to pull the needle a few times. Such a genius.
When I switched to Blogger from Yahoo as the carrier of the blog, the date I switched (6/29/08) shows up in the index but the date on the post is the true date.
I made that post while the FR convention in Baltimore was taking place. We did not attend that one but tried IFDC instead that year.
There are six days before the official start of the 2010 Integrity Convention in Pittsburgh and many changes have taken place in the six years since my first convention in Toronto - not only in the event but also in my collection. It's mind boggling to think back to when I was dabbling in collecting dolls alone to now being part of an enormous world-wide group of collectors with whom I can communicate 24/7.
I think this will be the last year that Integrity will have the convention in Pittsburgh. Alain sent out an email informing us that because they will be hosting 422 guests this time, there will not be a museum room. This is going to be very interesting. That's more people than were at the last Gene convention and it was crowded beyond belief.  At one meal our table was practically in the kitchen!
My costume is ready and I am very pleased with it. My table gifts are ready and I pretty much know what I'm taking to wear the rest of the time. Rudy is ready. Bob wanted to know if, because there are so many people, they are telling non-collecting spouses to stay home. Haha.
I hope I get to meet all the people I've become friends with this year. I hope I can find them or they can find me.
This morning George of Angelic Dreamz sent me a picture of the new and ultra fashionable Jamieshow DEMI collection shoes he now carries exclusively. They're quite fashionable. He said that he actually got the Silkstone in the picture to stand on her own. He will have a few of them with him at the convention.

Angelic Dreamz Photo
Angelic Dreamz really has it going on. George is introducing exclusive and affordable (not inexpensive) dolls, bodies, stands, shoes, wigs and more. He is making supremely useful contributions to the doll world with these items. It's not the same old tired stuff. It's new and better and different. Bravo, George!

Angelic Dreamz Photo
Angelic Dreamz Photo
Today my new Horseman French chairs arrived and I'm very impressed.  I ordered a right and a left facing chair in sage. They come upholstered in a textured solid black and a sage/greige. The legs are painted metal that look like wood. I'm guessing the back is a composite. These are for 1/4 scale dolls like the Jamieshow, Tyler, Sybarite and similarly sized dolls. The retail price is $80. each.
Horseman has filled a huge gap in this field with their 1/4 scale furniture. I would like to see more tables and other substantial props come out soon.


Deluxe Fashion Closet from Tonner Doll

Just in, a wonderful doll wardrobe for the 16 inch inhabitants of your home.
I'm guessing that the closet is white because the picture is in black and white. The door mirrors show to be full length and it looks like something is on the left side of the closet as well.

What looks like an angled stripe is intended to be a reflection of the table upon which the wardrobe is resting. As a photographer, it's not the easiest thing to represent a mirror especially when you don't want anything reflected to show up. I might have digitized a surface pattern which represented a mirror better. Do you see the thin strips of mirror (?) on the left side of the closet?

We can guess that the height is about 18 inches.  As far as Antoinette's wardrobe... I don't remember if it was white but it looked gorgeous when I saw  it at IDEX.  Here is my photo from that display. It seems that a few changes have been made to the interior and that's a good thing. The more hanging space the better.

My photo from IDEX 2010
$250 is not cheap but I'm sure collectors will buy it as the last time a substantial wardrobe was released for Tyler was in 2002 at $99.99 and it's highly sought after now.

 I still love mine although I store most of my doll clothes in boxes or in large baggies and lay them flat in tubs. This item is a Tonner Direct Exclusive. That means that you won't be seeing it for sale at Tonner dealers at a discount-or at all.  Comes with 6 measly hangers. Come on...give us at least a dozen hangers and throw in some full length hangers, too.

I think these wardrobes are great for shoes and other pretty things that you want to see on a regular basis. The drawers are good for lingerie and folded sweaters. The angled shoe shelves would be better if they were flat although it's more attractive this way. The open wardrobe makes an interesting backdrop for a dressing room or shop type of photograph unless a dog gets in the camera lens instead.


I sent a query to Tonner Direct yesterday with the questions listed below. I have not heard back however my email was acknowledged.

What color is inside the closet? Is it vinyl or fabric lined?
Is the mirror on the doors full length?
What color is the exterior of the closet? What material is the outside of the closet?
Is there a latch or is the tassel the way to keep the doors shut?
What are the measurements and if possible, the weight?


Mad Men Photo Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winner and five finalists in
I would love to see Mattel continue to do contests such as this one which shows how collectors are using their dolls creatively. Be sure to read the text under each entry especially those written by Lorrence Dungca and Debbie Breeden which are very thoughtful and personal.

Here is the announcement reproduced in its' entirety:

Cameron Conrad
From: San Francisco, CA
Photo Description: “Don Draper at the Museum of Modern Art. This photo I created was inspired by a Norman Rockwell painting of a man in a grey suit holding a hat while gazing into a modern American abstract painting of the mid twentieth century. The paintings in the photo were painted by myself. I felt it would have been very probable and appropriate that a character of fiction of that era would visit a museum of modern art. I hope you enjoy my entry as much as I enjoyed creating it.”      


Lorrence Dungca
From: Vacaville, CA

Photo Description: “Have You Dreamed of Falling? Mad Men’s opening credit sequence is actually what made me watch the show. It depicts a silhouette of the male protagonist falling from the top of a skyscraper and then lands smoothly on his chair, striking a confident pose with a cigarette dangling from his fingers. My photo entry is based on this contemporaneous Mad Men’s opening credit sequence with my BFMC Mad Men Don Draper doll as the male protagonist falling from the top of a skyscraper. To emulate the seductive advertising images of the opening credit sequence, I placed my Barbie and her box next to my Don Draper doll's box with the iconic Mad Men show title graphic. The doll boxes are positioned as part of the dreamlike Madison Avenue skyline. My photo "Have You Dreamed of Falling?" and Mad Men's opening credit sequence can have a symbolic or even literal significance, often indicating a feeling that life is spiraling out of control on some level or by believing that the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone. But happily for me, my photo "Have You Dreamed of Falling?" is my exciting and visual declaration of falling in love with Barbie, and of course, the fantastic Mad Men show”

Harrison Bernal
From: New York, NY
Photo Description: I was inspired by the Vanity Fair photo shoot accompanying a written piece entitled "Smoke, Drink, Man, Woman" by Jonathan Kelly. It appeared in June 2008.I feel that my portrayal best represents both the BFMC collections as well as the iconic characters of Mad Men.
Zlatan Zukanovic
From: Los Angeles, CA
Photo Description: "Who Says it's a Man's World"
Debbie Breeden
From: Richmond, VA 
Photo Description: Betty Draper gives Sally her very first Barbie Doll! Sally had been having trouble adjusting to her new baby brother Gene (season 3 episode 6) so Betty decides to give Sally a gift, supposedly from the baby. Betty hopes this gift, a brunette bubblecut Barbie, will help Sally accept her new brother. The show Mad Men weaves important historical events into the daily lives of its characters. I feel the addition of the Barbie doll to the story signifies the historical importance of Barbie. On a deeper level, Barbie has been bringing together people (both young and old) whether it be in clubs, online chat groups and more, for over 51 years. Betty Draper somehow sensed that Barbie might bring her daughter closer to her family. Of course, TV dramatizes events for the story, and Sally was skeptical at first about this gift. But I believe in time she grew to love her Barbie as much as the rest of us did when each got our first Barbie doll! In fact, my first Barbie was also a Brunette Bubblecut which I received for Christmas in 1962! With all the photo ops possible, I had to choose this one! I enjoyed using some of my vintage props to create this photo!  
Maryann Roy
From: Harwinton, CT
Photo Description: "Flowers for Joan." The gift of flowers always makes a girl feel beautiful and wanted. Joan Holloway-Harris takes a moment to reflect and enjoy her lovely home.
The original images and text in this post can be seen at the Barbie Collector website.


The Good News Is and Gene Who?

Robert Tonner has not abandoned the Tyler Wentworth body. Those of us who still love dolls with developed breasts and hips are happy. Antoinette is cute but Tyler was my first 16" fashion doll and I'm so happy to have kept some of my favorites. I recently got these two fashions and unpacked these two gals to model them. Both are former Theatre de la Mode dolls.

The doll on the left, Purely Platinum, is now on a fully articulated body and is wearing "Dancing on A Cloud." This outfit consists of two parts. A long slip is worn underneath a stiff taffeta bodice with an attached feathered ballroom skirt. The belt is sparkling silver with a rhinestone buckle. Rhinestones adorn the sheer sleeves. Sparkling silver pumps finish the fashion. I don't recall if the rhinestone studs came with the outfit but I don't think so. It's totally over the top romantic and old fashioned. I love it.

On the right is Tyler "Boulevard de la Mode." She was issued with a fully articulated body and was probably one of my absolute favorite Theatre de la Mode dolls because of her hair which is pulled back into a mass of curls. She is now modeling "Captivatingly Coy," a brand new outfit from Tonner's new "Gowns by Anne Harper" line. This line promises to be the answer to the question asked by many Gene Marshall collectors: "Now what?" I have seen this fashion on a Gene body. On Tyler it fits loosely at the back of the hips and derriere. This enables my Tyler to sit without the snaps popping open. It may also be the reason it fits Gene.
I changed the shoes from the black patent pumps because they are lined in red and the red shows and looks bad. I also added a little dangle to her rhinestone earrings.

Dancing on a Cloud is on sale for under $60 at Tonner Direct. Captivatingly Coy is too new to be on sale although you may find it discounted off the retail price of $114.99.


First the bad news; then the bad news. Both sides of Thanksgiving Barbie's neck are cracked and she has two black marks on the back of her right thigh. Just when I was so happy with myself for buying her...UGH.
I have written to BC.Com regarding the issue and offered to send pictures. I hope they offer to replace her at no cost to me. If not I may try to put tiny bits of crazy glue into the crack.

I am so glad I deboxed her.  I can't stand leaving dolls in boxes. I opened up the inside of the box and took these photos using the interior of the box as a background. I need to work on the bottom of the first image a little more to fill in the blank areas with the floor pattern.