5/16/2021

Covid-19 and Doll Collecting

 Last year after the stay-at-home order had been in effect for a while, I posted this question: "How has the Covid-19 pandemic and being quarantined affected your doll collecting?"  Here are the responses:

At first, I took the wonderful opportunity to clean up my doll cabinets and rearrange the dolls.  However, for this month I had to take care of my father recently passed on the 14th.  On the 17th I found out I was positive for the virus and now I’m just sitting in my mother's house sleeping and eating because I can’t go home for two weeks.

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There's been no effect. I would buy more if there were more things I want and/or could get. KD items depend on speed and luck. But overall, I don't buy or try to buy anything I don't really want and that hasn't changed.

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It didn’t affect me not buying stuff. But selling yes. Because USPS now takes 5 weeks to deliver packages to the USA.

And I spend way more time interacting with doll friends because of all the extra time.

And gave the doll room a good clean.

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I have completely stopped buying and started playing with my dolls a lot more since quarantine started. I would like to say that I started organizing as well but I can’t.
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 The stay-at-home order has made it impossible for me to sell anything as I am not able to get to the post office. I have asthma and so, I am high risk. I prefer to stay at home so that I can be around for my family. I have bought a few things online for my dolls but, not much. 

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I have “freed” some dolls from storage and boxes. I am also working on a dollhouse (diorama) for my granddaughters. I have been enjoying my dolls more rearranging displays and redressing all of which I haven’t done a lot of in the last several years.

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I have very little interest in dolls right now, in the past I have found them to be an escape but that was when dealing with personal problems such as a good friend’s terminal illness or my grandmother’s dementia.  Now the whole world seems scary and dolls aren’t enough of an escape.

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Since the quarantine/pandemic started we have been nervous and on edge. We are 'essential' workers. Every day we worry if today is the day we have contact with someone who gets us sick.

Our collecting is focused on Kingdom Doll and has been since they started.

The releases are always very limited. We have missed out on dolls in the past. This time it feels different. Normally we feel the doll will come home eventually. With this pandemic, the future seems uncertain. Our play has a hint of sadness to it. We are more emotional overall.

Not getting a Harmony hit hard. It hit harder than missing out on past dolls.  Just looking at her pictures is calming.  Peace and harmony are currently missing in our lives.  Guess we just need her to distract us from the reality of our days.

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 As I am more a player than a collector, buying online right now is not an option. I sew a lot by hand.  I re-organized a thousand doll computer files that seemed to have grown and multiplied without my knowledge. Finally,  I have to go back to some long-due,  unfinished diorama projects like my vintage shop. I have started 4-5 years ago this project. I've made the decor (vintage Barbie fashion shop) I made plenty of toys and miniatures, boxes for key chain Barbies, made paper dolls, books and magazines, and more. I made vintage outfits for my 16" girls. Now it's time to play and take some photos of this little world. This confinement should be the right time to do it. 

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The quarantine situation has affected me in quite a few ways. The designer and artists I have reached out to, whether it's for wigs or custom gowns, have had major shipping issues. In addition, they cannot produce or take requests as they are out of fabric and resources.

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 About your question, I think that’s all depends on how the situation will affect your finances. In my case, I’m working one week, and the other is paid with my sick or vacation days balance, 15 for vacation and 12 for sickness. Once I consume all my balances, I need to apply for unemployment. Facing that, rationally, I’m must be very wise in how I spend my money. So, I’m not buying all that I usually will buy in a regular situation. Sorry if I’m not express myself in an understandable or correct way, I’m not fully bilingual. But I want to help and I know that you may get what I’m trying to say. Stay safe my dear.

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I’ve been working from home but have been able to carve out time to draft a very basic sloper for KD body which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. from the slopes, I’ve done a couple of muslin samples and tweaked the sloper further and now I am ready to road test it with nice fabric. Depending on the result you may or may not see it online. Because of the pandemic and impact on the economy I’ve been more thoughtful about adding some dolls (other than KD) when opportunities have presented themselves. I’ve passed up a doll I would have acquired 6 mos. ago, but the uncertainty of the financial impact made me pause. I am talking about Nigel Chia’s Retro Vivian. The doll is exquisite.  I am also going back to my older KD’s and redressing and enjoying them all over again. All in all, I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time at home playing dolls. I also spend a lot of time on FB connecting with the doll community and making sure doll friends are well and we keep each other’s spirits up. All things being said I’ve been very lucky.

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During SIP, though I’m still working, just less. It’s made me enjoy what I have. I haven’t bought anything new. I have traded though. When they canceled the doll sale at the Paris Festival ( while we were there in Paris gatherings were just being banned) that’s one of m favorite shows to shop at. I won’t be buying anything until I see what’s going to happen ( I will be getting the Las Vegas She b even though that’s been canceled) I guess what I’m trying to say is no more shopping, enjoying and reacquainting myself with what I have.

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The California shelter in place orders have given me time to focus on my collection since hubby and I can no longer take vacations in the near future. Planning takes a lot of my time and energy because I hate taking tours and prefer locating private drivers and crafting our own itineraries.

I have been consolidating and re-evaluating my collection.  I've been packing up dolls, that I no longer want.  I recently bought a doll body for a head that I have had sitting around since 2016. Now the doll is dressed and put on display. I have commissioned a couple of repaints that I have been wanting to have done for years.  I've been more engaged in my collection than I have been in the past 3 years. I have been updating my doll inventory and want to cull out unwanted outfits. I also have been updating photographs of my collection.

I guess with all the chaos and fear that the pandemic is generating, I feel the need to try to get some of the enjoyment back in a hobby that I once enjoyed tremendously and have been neglecting. But honestly, have no desire to buy new dolls. I have more than enough!

All the negative news has made me crave artistic projects. I have four or five projects that I have to start or finish. I primarily make doll jewelry, accessories or embellish costumes. I know that once I get going on these projects, time will fly and I'll have fun but I keep procrastinating. Not sure why.

It might be that I just want to get my collection to a point where I'm happy to look at it and not have to mess with it anymore. Maybe old age is setting in (I'm in my early 60s) but I don't enjoy redressing my dolls anymore. So it is a question of getting each into an outfit I love and just having them displayed that way indefinitely. I was once very hands on with my collection--changing outfits on several of my dolls every few months--but now I find that to be a big hassle (especially when I discover staining that I have to treat).

I am enjoying sharing photos with people on Prego.  I hadn't been very active there in quite some time.

I have a need to enjoy myself quietly without worrying about having to go out and get exposed to the virus. I have some health issues that may put me at high risk of complications. So I am glad to have my doll collecting hobby to comfort me as I shelter in the place, along with reading free books on Kindle out in my garden in the company of my lovebird.

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I have been thinking about it a lot, and have been wanting to bring it up, but have hesitated because I don't want to give the appearance of throwing myself a pity party. I am living on my pension and social security, and because of some prior challenges to my pension which happened before the pandemic, I was already worried about finances. I was a professional musician in a full-time symphony for 35 years, and am invested in a huge national pension fund that ran into a bit of trouble during the great recession. That is a whole different story with political ramifications related to the Repub majority in the Senate and to our dingy President. I won't bore you with that, but I simply mention it because my collecting has had to be quite targeted during the last few years, and I have had to choose very carefully when I get a new doll. Like many collectors, I have been slowly moving over to the resin dolls and a few larger BJDs from Iplehouse. Because I have tried to keep a fairly stable number of dolls in the house, my rule has been to sell if I wanted a new doll, and this has been expanded as I have been gravitating towards dolls that cost much more money. Thus the ratio has changed from 1 doll out to get one doll in, to about five dolls out to get one doll in. It will come as no surprise to you that my favorite dolls, perhaps ever, are from Kingdom Doll, although some of the dolls from Ficon and Numina come in close behind. I want practically every single one they release! But I've had to be restrained, and that has been fine because I quite honestly have a gorgeous group of ten, and feel very lucky indeed! About half have come from the secondary market, which I can no longer afford. But I am still just thrilled with what I have. I would so much like to add a few more to my group like a Demetae sculpt, and several others, but again, I need to follow my rule and sell first. This brings me to the first adjustment: it's very hard to sell right now, and I hate to keep almost giving my dolls away as it hurts not only me but also the general market for these older dolls (like my Tonners). I might have listed the financial instability as my first adjustment, but I figure everybody, regardless of their circumstances, has had to make that one, right ?! 

If I am being 100% honest, I have to say that I have felt more guilt than usual over my doll collecting because there is so much need out there. There is no question that dolls have long been therapeutic for me, and I don't feel guilty over that. I just wonder if I should be spending my discretionary allowance on something as transitory as dolls. At the same time, I have felt such great comfort from my connection to the doll community, and have loved the friends I have made there. I have spent much more time emailing them during the pandemic...people like Jenise Mah, a longtime friend, and I have been writing for 16 years back and forth, and it is even more comforting now during this time. I feel very lucky that I don't feel jealousy when I see other people get dolls I would like, especially in the KD sweepstakes. I am very happy to enjoy them vicariously through pictures. There was only one time I felt so disappointed that I almost gave up on KD, not for anything they did, but because I wanted Vanbrugh so, so badly, and the disappointment was so acute! But I learned that hanging in there soon gave me an opportunity to buy Helen, and that was just as wonderful for me. 

I have also felt a real responsibility to do all that I am able to support small businesses, like KD and other doll-related businesses, and that mitigates my guilt a little bit about spending there, as long as it is something I can afford. This is a general principle anyway, right? but during the pandemic, it has become very acute for me, and I simply don't impulse -buy anymore. I was a real master of that before, lol! All it took was one good picture to put an insatiable desire in my head for that doll. 

I do feel a certain sadness, which has been growing during the pandemic. Part of this may be related to my age (72), but more has to do with the fact that I believe I won't be collecting much anymore. I will never say never! But, and I hope I'm wrong about this, I think with the economy so precarious, I must really save as much as I can. That means dolls may be the first casualty. This is where I don't want to suggest a pity party. If I never got another doll, ever !, I would still have a magnificent collection. So far I haven't had to put up any of my KDs or other resins for sale, and I very much pray I won't have to in the future. I am trying to resurrect my sewing skills so that I can create for them instead of buying expensive outfits. I'm not having the success I had hoped for, and there is a reason doll clothing designs cost good money....they are damn hard to make! lol.  Right now, I am working on a huge service project sewing masks, and haven't had as much time online, but hopefully will be back soon. I miss the camaraderie and all the great pics. 

One last thought has been on my mind. IF I were to get sick, what would my family do with all my dolls? Again, a thought which has cropped up before, but is so much more real now that I have actually lost two friends to this awful disease. I have started to seriously cull through my dolls, and am making hard decisions that need to move on when the selling climate improves. I thought about offering some real bargains on a few Tonner dolls, just in case someone wants a special pick-me-up. I'd love to see my dolls go to homes where they will be loved and appreciated. I'm still thinking this through since shipping is a challenge right now

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I’m a business owner of small boutique-type stores here in NC that sell predominantly adult-themed items.  As such we are not eligible for any of the stimulus money or help that the government has put together.  The particular laws governing the adult industry with the Small Business Administration have been in place since the 1960s and have definitely not changed with the times.

So, I am stressed beyond belief in keeping my stores viable and maintaining my workforce.  I have laid off 98% of my employees as there is zero money coming in but I am determined to keep everyone’s benefits in place regardless so they do not lose their insurance status and hopefully when this is all over they will all return to work immediately.

My monthly health premiums alone come to roughly $7800.  Money is tight, really tight.  My pay is greatly reduced and we are definitely tapping into savings to make it.  The $2400 stimulus check my husband and I received three weeks ago went straight into savings earmarked for three months' worth of mortgage payments if need be. 

Regardless of all this (and to your question, finally) my buying has been 100% impulse just to make me feel better.  I’ve bought off George Gonzalez’s personal collection, dolls and outfits.  I stray onto eBay and get daily search results in my email for things I have been looking for for years and have succumbed to several things.  I should not, times are horrible and uncertain, the future looks grim, I one hundred percent know this in my head.  The mental and emotional fix is immediate and powerful when I hit the 'buy' button though.  I have two outfits on eBay right now that I am watching and if they are still there on my next payday (Friday) then I have every intention of buying them. 

Adding to that is the trend in people whose items you have watched offering you a deal if the item does not sell the first go-round.  Makes it nearly impossible for me to resist.  The pull and relief it offers mentally and emotionally are much stronger than in earlier less stressful times.  As a fellow collector, I know you know that rush of getting something new ... it seems more powerful to me right now.

I am so very aware that it’s not a smart thing to do right now but dammit, I cannot help myself.

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I have to say the biggest change for me is finally organizing and sorting my doll fashions.  With the opportunity to just slow down and really go through stuff it’s been frankly liberating.  I’ve found things I’ve forgotten about, set aside a bin of things to try and sell or just donate.  I haven’t bought anything.  Not because of money worries per se, but just focusing on what I already have.  And there has been time to just play. 

Besides my lovely Gene collection, I’m a serious vintage/antique Christmas collector and it’s the same.  Because I now focus on “old” I have many decorations that haven’t been up or used for 10 yrs or more.  Those need to go!  So it’s been nice to relax and just get it done.  I’m retired and have no kids, that’s certainly a different reality than many so I count my blessings. 

My house has never been so clean and organized!  My office, the kitchen, the basement and the gardening shed.  Now my poor husband is eyeing me with some slight trepidation as he’s afraid I’ll move on to “his” space.  That CD cabinet isn’t going to straighten itself, mister! LOL.

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While my local Doll clubs are on hiatus for the most part (while one club has started ZOOM meetings), I have been using the time to really appreciate my collection.  Today, I completed a full inventory of my dolls and accessories, something I haven't updated previously.  I still need to go back and enter purchase prices, but I feel this is a significant accomplishment.  

While inventorying, I took the time to take the dolls out of their boxes (none are displayed,) and feel as though it is really the first time I have given them careful examination and appreciation.  

I have continued to read The Studio Commissary and Prego Doll Board religiously, as well as Ebay for comments, reviews and potential purchases.  I should say that my retirement income still allows me the opportunity to consider additions to my collection and, in fact, I have made several significant purchases in recent months.  I have been selling dolls at a steady pace with the idea to focus more on the fashion dolls that most interest me.  But my approach to this has changed significantly.  I have never made a profit on any doll sale, but now, more than ever, I am less interested in how much I make and more interested in selling a doll to someone that truly wants it and will appreciate it.

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 During the stay-at-home order, there has been an uptick in online doll shopping. It has primarily been fashions and accessories, not dolls. Playtime hasn't changed much. My job is telework friendly, so my work schedule hasn't changed. My window between end-of-work-day and dinner has to be divided between workout routine and play. If I play first, then that runs the risk of not stopping to exercise. 

 Most of my playtime still happens on the weekends.

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At the beginning of the lockdown, I had a lot more time to enjoy my dolls. It was great to be able to take pictures, some of which I wanted to do for a long time. I was really happy with my doll collection because it helped me to have things to do and not think too much about the virus. After some weeks, everything changed, and I must say it's maybe because here the post office doesn't work so it's impossible to buy new clothes, accessories, something new for my dolls, it would maybe help for pictures ideas, or enjoying them with something new. Every shop is closed too, except for the supermarket, so not possible to buy fabrics or supplies to create something like jewelry or accessories, backdrops for pictures ...

I haven't taken any pictures for maybe 2/3 weeks, and haven't bought a single thing for weeks. I had to ask the rare sellers I contacted if they would accept to send the package after the end of the lockdown here, some said no, some accepted and I'm really grateful for that.

Being able to look at new pictures from my doll friends online helps me a lot in these hard times. I'm in lockdown for more than 6 weeks, don't go outside except for grocery shopping one time a week and I live alone, so it's sometimes very very hard.

So I'm grateful for the Internet, Facebook groups and all the collectors who share their passions online, it helps a lot to share our passion.

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Staying home has resulted in my shopping online more. I am limiting myself pretty much to US, Canada, & UK purchases, however, due to delayed shipping from most elsewhere. 

For example, I have a package from Poland, that was an eBay purchase, paid, shipped from the seller on March 7th, that is still MIA. 

Other than avoiding the delayed shipping time frames on many websites, I have not changed my buying/ordering habits.

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So far, one change that has affected my collecting behavior is the cancellation of the Madame Alexander Convention. It has been postponed for one year until June 2021. So I won't be traveling early this summer, nor making a Cissy collection for the Salesroom and I won't be getting the new Cissy, because the doll probably won't be produced now anyway. That was the big draw, the re-emergence of Madame Alexander's Cissy, after a 3-year hiatus. New ownership was looking promising for a while.

Shopping hasn't changed dramatically, but I did have an instance of general anxiety, ie.,  I had ordered a Modsdoll during this lockdown, and that's not unusual, but I didn't order a Ficon, because I suddenly felt like I shouldn't overspend. There were also offerings from Emperis and Kingdom, but I passed on Emperis and did not try for Kingdom.  

Since there is nothing to do in person, I am still shopping online for fabrics, and my online sales have increased over the last year, so plenty of people are shopping.

I am hoping the late summer and fall events don't get canceled as well. So far, Sandra Stillwell Presents is on for the end of August, and the Numina event is on for mid-September. Fingers crossed they will stay on schedule.

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For me, I don’t even look at eBay/Etsy much anymore. I have a few items that I would like to sell, but they are just packed up here.

Also, I have bought 2 items and only because they rarely sell and they were NRFB – the best types to buy on Etsy/eBay. I keep them boxed up for a few days before opening them, even though they were in my mailbox for days.

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 Perhaps I'm spending more on items such as clothing and accessories while waiting for the release of a new doll. I do find that my need for instant gratification has increased, the desire to have these delivered as soon as possible. I think that THAT is what I'm using as a distraction from the current situation. Definitely, something else to focus on.

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I've been purchasing more. Older dolls that I missed out on or chose not to purchase when they were released are finding their way to my place. I've spent quite a bit - and I've enjoyed photographing them. Sadly.. no dolls have moved out to eBay to find new homes. They're living quite happily here at my place. New.. old.. it doesn't matter. They remind me of the herds of zombies on The Walking Dead - marching into my place. They keep coming.

I've even purchased the Japanese 2020 Chromatic Couture Barbie. Did I need it?
Did I need to pay that much for a Barbie? Probably not, but I purchased her. She's on her way here. 

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Well, I stopped looking at my 401k because it just depresses me, so I do not think it is wise to buy new dolls right now.  Besides, I have more than enough dolls. And yet, despite the cash loss and the plethora of dolls around here, I want something to look forward to.  Nothing beats the feeling you get when you open the box on a new doll!  That leads me to eBay and other favorite doll sites.  I scroll and scroll but, really, I have everything I want, and the only new things I've seen recently are coming out of Asia.  With the way things are going, that could mean waiting for a year for a new doll to arrive, so what is the point? Then I read the news and get worried about money again so I decide to sell some dolls.  Scroll through eBay and Tonner, Share, Swap and Sell again.  No one seems to want what I have to sell.  Meanwhile, I have a new doll that I received months and months ago from Modsdoll.  I feel so guilty now about having spent the money that I can't even open her box.  I should sell her and maybe that would make me feel better but maybe things will get better and I'll regret it.  On and on I go, my mind like a hamster on a wheel.  I finally decided to sew and use up some of my finer fabrics.  I have started but I can't seem to complete anything so there are multiple projects half-finished around here.  I just can't seem to settle on one or more dolls of the moment to look for, sew for, or play with.  I did teach an online class on "French Fashion Doll Fanchon Hat Making" and that did focus me for a few weeks.  Overall, I feel scattered.  I love my dolls and they still bring me great joy.  I just wish I could focus.

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I am spending much, much more time with my Genes and all dolls.

I have many more displayed and in almost every room which is highly unusual for me.  Thank goodness hubby is ok with this and appreciates them too.

I am purchasing much more than I normally would if I were busy with real-life routines.

Haven’t sold anything yet but plan to.

It is much harder to part with anything now since there is so much more time to appreciate it.

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The quarantine has not affected me negatively with respect to my collecting. Since I am retired my income stream has not been affected by business closures etc. I feel I am having a better chance of winning eBay auctions that interest me. I am enjoying my existing doll collection more so than in the past. I have the time to go through all the outfits and accessories and dress my dolls. I am also completing doll craft projects that were put aside for a number of years because they were challenging and I didn't have the concentrating time I needed to tackle them. Now I have that time and have completed a couple of projects that have provided a great deal of satisfaction. Being able to enjoy my dolls as much as I want while staying inside has made the mandatory stay-at-home situation quite tolerable.

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I've bought more dolls lately than usual. And only on eBay which is very unusual for me. The problem is that they're taking ages to arrive. One package has been lost for six weeks! So while I'm waiting for my dolls to arrive I just keep buying more dolls. I'm no longer buying from Asia due to postage restrictions, just the USA and preferably from Australia (where I live).

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I’m enjoying what I already own.  Buying anything new for my collection has definitely been paused.  I can’t justify buying anything new while I’m worried about my husband’s job.

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Quarantine has put a dent in Doll Shows. I’m unable to attend any and for my May 2020 show, I had to cancel. I buy and sell more at shows is than online

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 The quarantine has made me more reflective about my collections.  There are very few dolls I regret purchasing.  Very few.  My Tonner convention dolls are so beautiful.  Every one reminds me of the years of good times I shared with my sister, good friends, and the Tonner people.  I carve Hittys and have quite a family.  It has grown by two since the quarantine and more sisters will likely follow.  I have two Modsdolls and one Limhwa that I treasure.  I have old Barbies. I have new 59th Street dolls by Integrity.  I have Ten Ping and her friend, Gigi.  I loved hearing Ten Ping's story from Ten Ping herself at the UFDC convention in Kansas City.  I have a lot of dolls!  Some of my dolls are to play with.  Some are works of art in and of themselves.  My dolls have taught me so much.  I am a better seamstress. 

I learned to make hats, wigs, and shoes.  I learned how to repaint. The quarantine has made me appreciate what I have.  I am lucky to have been able to collect so many beautiful dolls over the years.  The quarantine has made me realize it's no longer time for me to collect. (At least not right now.)  It is time for me to pause and appreciate and enjoy what I have and to enjoy what others have and share with me.

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I have noticed a difference in my doll collecting habit since the current health crisis began. 

I was never a huge fan of child dolls and "tinies," although I always had a few in my collection. My focus is usually on adult fashion dolls, such as Gene and various Tonners, preferably in vintage fashions. Before the health crisis, I had just gotten into collecting Andrew Yang's Kadira, whose avant-garde, edgy look really appeals to me.

 However, since social distancing began, I have been buying more "tiny" BJDs. In the last few months, I have acquired PukiFee, PukiPuki, Lati White, and Amelia Thimble. I have also been buying wigs and outfits for them. I am not sure how to interpret this change in my doll collecting habit, except to say that, with all of the fear and uncertainty in the world right now, there is something very comforting in the dolls' innocent, sweet faces and adorable little outfits and wigs. I love posing them in various places, such as on the piano keys, to keep me company while I am alone in the house.

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I’m retired and collect a pension, so I felt a bit guilty depositing that stimulus check, so I decided to spread the wealth and visited one of my favorite dealers (Happily Ever After) and purchased three Dolls, they were on sale!

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