Thursday, November 8, 2012


 Eek - what happened to September and October  - I blinked and they were gone! 
Actually I know what happened - here in Australia it is spring and so everyone wants dresses for spring weddings  - and for the racing.

November in Victoria (where I live) is all about the Spring Racing Carnival - the Melbourne Cup, Flemington (where the race is held), roses (because they have beautiful rose gardens there)

- and fashion.

Melbourne Cup Day is always the first Tuesday in November and is a public holiday for the state of Victoria (yes, we have a public holiday for a horse race!).  The actual race is held at 3.00pm and is called 'the race that stops a nation' because pretty much everyone in Australia stops and listens to see who wins this race.  This year, it was won by Green Moon.

But Melbourne Cup Day isn't the only special racing day.  The Saturday before Cup Day is Derby Day, the Saturday after is Emirates Stakes Day which is specially for families and today, the Thursday after Cup Day is Oaks Day or Ladies Day.

The other big thing about the Spring racing carnival is the Fashions on the Field competition which this year has been running for 50 years  There are competitions for women's fashion on each one of the special race days.  There are also special competitions - on Melbourne Cup Day there is one for designer's outfits, Oaks Day has the millinery competition and Stakes Day has special competitions for children's fashions.

And so, because today was Oaks day, my girls decided to get dressed for the races.


They were all very happy with  their choices:

Therese chose strapless and summer flowers:

   Audrey chose purple and a big, black hat:

 And Stephanie chose separates in blue and white:

She also carried a pink handbag but left it with her friends for the photoshoot.

They had a lovely time and the weather was perfect.   Maybe next year, I'll have enough time to make dresses for all my dolls and have my own Fashions of the Field competition.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I know it has been a very hot summer in America but here we have had a long, cold winter.  In fact, the other day the weather reporter said we had had the dullest winter since 1996. I don't know how they work that out but we certainly haven't seen the sun very much at all for months.  Everyone has been feeling it - but at last we have had a few slightly warmer days and today the sun shone (for a little while).  And some of the spring flowers have blossomed so the Monster High girls decided to investigate.

Draculara discovered the Eerlicheer daffodils - one that really makes me think Spring is on the way.  I like to smell them just like she did.

And Torelei decided to investigate the spring blossom -

Good thing she has cat genes as this involved taking her shoes off and climbing the tree.

Good thing they did it earlier today - since then we've had more wind, rain and hail.  I guess winter isn't over yet.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


On Saturday, Joy and I went to the Melbourne Doll Market which is held twice a year at the Banyule Council  Arts Space.

It's not a very big space but the market is fun and full of interesting sellers.

Not everyone was a business.  The lady who owned these  two beautiful dolls (which were not for sale) was selling off some of her excess dolly clothing and accessories.

Most people brought their dolls with them - which was a good idea as there were some interesting things for sale:

this was made by KaosDollAccessories
and of course you want to make sure your new purchases fit your doll.

We had fun talking to The Blythe Ghost ( who makes Blythe doll clothes and hats and also customises Blythe dolls.

 She has customised the doll on the left and made the outfit and hat for the doll on the right.

We also talked to the lovely Fran Smiles of Sew Petite who sews clothes for small porcelain dolls and sewed these beautiful dresses for the small ball-jointed dolls.  They are made out of silk and cotton lace.  (Sorry, she doesn't have a website or an Etsy shop so I can't give her a link.)

She also told me that the Croydon Doll Show which I think I said no longer happened in the doll survey, will actually be held in the middle of next month.  Its venue has changed and it hasn't been very well advertised lately  but it is still going strong.  It used to be just for porcelain dolls but Fran told me that it is beginning to open up to other doll collectors.

And what did I buy.  Well, Jemgirl (  was there with her resin goodies and I couldn't resist her Monster High Shoes.  

I couldn't buy just one pair as there would have been war here so I went for the buy 3 pairs deal.  And I bought a microphone (also from Jemgirl).

We stayed for the draw for the door prizes - a small BJD from Indollgence, a customised Blythe from Natalie who organises the doll market and a parcel of doll clothes from Hegemony77 ( who sent them from Hungary - wow - ) but didn't win anything.  Never mind, we still had a lot of fun and are looking forward to the next market next year.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Australian Barbie has made it to Australia - on her own it seems as I have not seen any other DOTW Barbies here yet.  She was on the shelves of our local Target the other week and when we saw her, we laughed so much we took photos and I just had to write about it.  (Sorry if the photo quality isn't good, they were taken on a mobile (cell) phone.
What made us laugh so much?
It was not:
- that she was blonde - that was to be expected,
- that she is wearing a safari outfit - well, we don't have a national costume and at least it's not pink.

Nor was it the written letter on the back of the box although that gave us quite a few giggles,

particularly the mention about koala bears.  The first thing every Australian learns is that a koala is NOT a koala bear. Everytime we are taught about koalas, we hear, "They are no relation at all to bears.  They are just koalas."  And the 'returning boomerang' - is there any other kind?
No, what really made us laugh was this:

Believe me, that is NOT the way you hold a koala, even a baby one.!

THIS is the way you hold a koala:

            (this photo courtesy of my husband, taken for our local newpaper)
And you can see why - those claws are designed for hanging on to trees in all kinds of weather and the koala on Barbie's arm is hanging on as though it was climbing a tree.  So, if  you buy Aussie Barbie, I recommend you have Doctor Barbie on hand when you take her out of her box - she is definitely going to need medical attention.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Our local council combines with two other nearby council's to run a Businesswomen's network.  They hold three events a year, each hosted by a different council.  The one held this month was hosted by our local council and I decided a would book an expo table for the very first time.
So, last Thursday we left home just after dawn (actually it was about 7.15am, dawn comes late now it's winter here) and headed off to the beautiful Chateau Yering at Yering Station near Yarra Glen.

Yering Station was one of the first farms and wineries in the Yarra Valley and the house that forms the basis of the current hotel/function centre was built in 1854.  The palm tree that looks like it's growing out of the chimney is a Chilean Wine Palm that was planted in 1867 by Baron Von Mueller (who also planted the original Melbourne Botanic Gardens) and is now listed on theNational Trust's Historic Tree Register.  The gardens are all registered as historic gardens as well  and every window has views of these or beautiful views away over the hills.  This was the view from the big window in the expo room:

And this picture is especially for Vanessa - it's a beautiful little side table in the Blue Drawing Room where you can book to go for High Tea.

And where do the dolls come in?
Well, as well as taking some sample garments for people to look at, I decided to take four very different size dolls dressed in clothes I had made  to show that I could fit different shapes and sizes.   So we were accompanied by Emme, Tyler (two of my Tonner dolls), Theresa (one of my fashionista Barbies) and Cleo De Nile. And as it was a businesswormen's event, they were dressed in work-approriate outfits (very interesting to do for a Monster High doll.)

Lots of women stopped to look and talk and fortunately, I had made a leaflet with my blog and Madeit addresses as I was asked about Ken, Blythe and Monster High clothes as well as regular people clothes.
The next event is in August, at the beginning of Spring and just as our spring racing season starts so I think I might do it again and dress the dolls in spring racing fashions.  And I think I should be able to charge my business for the purchase of a new Ken doll  to promote that I sew shirts and ties for men as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012


 Better late than never - here are my answers to Ms Leo's from I-Luv-Dolls questionnaire. 

When did you start collecting dolls?
I've actually started collecting dolls twice.  The first time was in my teens and twenties and I collected Barbies (that was really all that was available at the time.)  I remember my younger sister laughing about how she went to a toy shop with a friend to buy me a Holiday Barbie for a Christmas present and her friend asking anxiously, " Are you sure that is what your sister wants for Christmas?"
The second time was just a few years ago, when a sewing student of mine brought her ball-jointed dolls to class so we could make clothing patterns for them and I rediscovered my love for dolls.

What was your first purchase as a collector?
In my first phase, it would have been Busy Barbie - she had articulated hands so she could move her thumb.

In my second phase, it was 'Innuendo'. She is a 16" (40cm) Goodreau American Ball Jointed doll who I named Naimh (pronounced 'Neve'). I've been told she is about the same body size as a Minifee.

How many dolls do you own?
Umm, how widely do we cast the net here? Do I count the StarWars Armidala doll and the Hasbro Jem dolls I bought and have left in their boxes as I may want to sell them some day? And what about the Monster High doll/s that my daughter and I both claim to own?  Probably about 30 - today.

What is your favorite doll and why?
I like them all.  Maybe my first Barbie because she was my first real Barbie - and I remember wanting one for a long time.

What doll or dolls are not your favorites and why?
Moxie Girlz and the new Bratz. I keep looking at them but I don't like their faces.  My daughter calls them 'ugly'.

What is the biggest challenge about collecting dolls?
The cost - dolls are always more expensive to buy here in Australia, sometimes a lot more judging by the prices I see quoted on some of the other blogs (eg. $50 for Moxie Teenz). Plus we don't have access to the variety that is available in America. I can buy over the net  and then I have to watch the exchange rate and also factor in postage, which can add significantly to the cost.  And storage - I have to do something about that.

How do you display or store your dolls? All over the place.  They pop up everywhere.  One day, I may have a more dedicated space.

Have you ever been to a doll show?
The closest thing we have to a doll show near me is the Melbourne Doll market which is held twice a year.  The next one is on August 4  and yes, I have been (and will go again).

When you travel, do you look for dolls?
Yes, you never know.

What is your latest purchase?
A Fashionista Ken - I decided I needed more male dolls.

What doll is on your wish list now?
Lots - too many to mention.

What do you wish you didn’t purchase?
None yet, although there are some dolls I will pass on to someone else as I bought them for the furniture and the doll was included but not really wanted.

What is your favourite doll related item?
Well, I seem to have developed a sideline collection of doll clothing patterns - I have a lot and people see my interest and give me more.
Otherwise, I would say doll shoes.  This is one area where I think Mattel has improved over the years.  The early Barbie shoes were mainly slides or closed toe in various colours but now there are lots of different styles with interesting detailing - although I do notice a lot more pink and black.

Original shoes above, modern shoes below.

How often do you photo your dolls and what doll is the most photographed and/or photogenic? Actually, I don't - yet.  My photos are done by either my daughter or my husband who both take photos as part of their jobs and all my dolls are being photographed more regularly now..  (I do have a digital camera I have to learn how to use.) 
My most photographed dolls are my Fashionista Barbies - I love the poseability.

Do you talk to other collectors in person or just on the web? Mostly on the web.  Very occasionally in person.

If you could talk to Mattel or other doll makers, what would you say?
Please keep producing articulated dolls.  Also, could we please have more of the Monster High males as single dolls and not just as sets.   And the most important thing - don't forget you have an international market as well as a domestic one.

Which doll do you wish would be reissued?
After reading everyone's blogs this week, it would have to be the Liv dolls.

What two dolls would you combine and how would you want them combined (Muff style quesiton)?
I'm not sure if this is the type of answer you wanted but I would like to see some of the original Barbie heads reissued on a Fashionista type body.  I know I could do it easily enough myself because I do love the ability to pose the dolls.

And the last thing I would like to add is: thank you very much Ms Leo for a very entertaining and thought-provoking set of questions.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Measuring a doll with a tape measure and getting accurate measurements is difficult.  And the smaller the doll, the more difficult it becomes.
The way I usually get the most accurate measurements on dolls  is to use narrow cotton tape.  It doesn't stretch  and  is narrow enough to get into the curves of small dolls.  Once I've marked the measurement, I lay the cotton tape against my tape measure and get a very accurate measurement.
But the other day, I was in one of our local quilt shops and I found this:

It's a narrow cotton tape that's being used as decoration on lots of quilts and bags and whatever else a quilter/sewer can think of. It's marked in 10cm (4") increments.  It's pretty accurate - over the space of 10cms it is 3mm out (which equates to an 1/8" over 4" for those still using  inches).

 However, if I use it to measure a doll and then use it to make the measurements on the pattern, the pattern will fit the doll.  And it is narrow and flexible enough to fit into the curves of a small doll so I can use it to measure small dolls (like Monster High and smaller) just like a tape measure.

 (It'a very hard to take a picture and make sure a tape is held straight. )

  And it gives Barbie a tape measure too!  (Doesn't she look professional?)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


 As soon as my dolls heard that one of them was invited to Rod and Danielle's wedding in Morristown, they headed into the sewing studio demanding a new outfit.  (It must be a dressmaker thing - one of my husband's cousins who also sews has been known to be hemming the outfit she will be wearing at a party on her way to that party.)
They raided my fabric, trying to decide on colour and fabric. (I made them take their shoes off. )

They debated about this: 

and this: 

This fabric the Monster High girls claimed (they're demanding clothes too):

And then they saw these scraps left over from the most recent wedding dress and they were unanimous - this was the fabric: 

I wasn't sure that I could make this work as the fabric is a delustred duchess satin and although it was lightweight for humans, it was actually pretty thick for a doll dress but I tried it anyway.
I made the outfit and then was told it needed a hat, so I made my first doll fascinator and she was ready for THE wedding

Hopefully, the flights will all connect well and no luggage will be lost on the way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


My husband went away for the weekend and came home to find the Barbie dolls had taken over one of the open shelves in our bedroom.  I'm not sure whether it will end up being a boutique or an apartment - in fact, I think they are still making up their minds, or possibly plotting to take over more shelves -

Yes, definitely plotting to take over every single shelf.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Will Liv Survive in Australia?

Liv is a 29cm fashion dolll produced by Canadian company Spin Master.  She is the same height as Barbie but has a larger head similar to Bratz.  I can't find an actual release date for her but she seems to have become available some time in 2009.    However, she only made it to Australia (at least in toy stores) late last year.

I saw my first actual Liv doll (as opposed to a picture on the net)  in a toy shop just before Christmas.  She was in the middle of the doorway, obviously so everyone could see her because she was new and special.  But I was shopping for nephews and neices and she wasn't on my shopping list so I thought 'interesting' and walked on.  One of my friends bought the Boutique Window set as a present for her daughter but told me it was a Barbie set so I don't think that special display made much impact.

But now Christmas is over and I have time to wander and look and so a few weeks ago, I was in our nearest Toys'R'Us store. Now I had time to explore and I found - Liv dolls. Not many - the choice was between a set with Alexis and her dog (and her eyes were set so she looked a bit cross-eyed) and Schools Out Katie.  But at $10, Schools Out Katie was good value.  You could also buy extra wigs for $5 - they only had pink.  And they had some playsets - the scooter, the drum set and the Boutique Windows set.  So I bought Katie and a wig. 

It was only later that my daughter (who is also my photographer) said I should have bought the Boutique
Windows set as she could have used it for some good photos.

Our nearest Toys'R'Us isn't that near so it was a couple of weeks before we went back there. Naturally they had sold out!  So I thought I would check out the other local stores that sell dolls:

K-mart and Target - no Liv's.

Toyland - which is where I saw Liv first.  Here we had a choice of Katie with two extra wigs marked down from $34.99 to $13.99 or $10.99 if the box was damaged, or Schools Out Daniela marked down from $24.99 to $13.99.  (I wasn't tempted.)  The only other Liv items were these:

also heavily marked down.  In fact, it looked to me like a final clearance of an item which will not be stocked again.  We'll see.

Big W - here there was the whole range of female Schools Out dolls - all on the clearance rack marked down from $13 to $10.  No other Liv items.

So I haven't got the Boutique Windows set (which for some reason is being sold here as a Fashion Design set) yet.  But I did end up with another Liv doll.

I couldn't resist as she reminded me of a girl I know and I couldn't leave her on the shelf. She has been renamed Raquel in her honour.

So will Liv be easy to buy in Australia?  At the moment, I don't think so.  Will I ever get the Boutique set?  We'll have to see.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Doll That Was Responsible

I was going to start this blog by writing about my new Liv doll.  I had just bought her and it seemed like a good idea - new doll, new blog.  Then I saw the J doll - Marche on Doll Epic's blog and I thought, 'there's another doll I would like' - yes, there's alway another doll.  And that got me thinking about the doll that started it all.

This one:

My first real Barbie - a strawberry blonde ponytail Barbie in a red swimsuit and shoes, with a wire stand.  (Why don't the new Barbies come with stands?) Her red lipstick has now faded to pale pink, her ponytail had to come out when the rubber band perished and she's lost some of her nail polish but she is the doll that started it all.

Obviously she is responsible for my love of fasion dolls and BJD dolls and I blame her for the growing numbers that keep coming home to live with me.  But she is also responsible for a number of other things.

She is responsible for my first foray into sewing.  New Idea published 'Enid Gilchrist's Teen Dolls', a magazine with trace off patterns for a complete wardrobe of Barbie clothes  and I wanted to make this wedding dress.

So Mum bought the magazine and said she would help me later on.  Of course, I wanted to do it now.  I had a lovely piece of white satin so I traced off the pattern, cut it out of the fabric, sewed it up - and I had HALF a dress!  Mum had to explain that the fabric should have been folded so I had a full front and two backs.  Now I sew for a living.

She was responsible for my dream of sewing and selling doll clothes.  When I was 12 a big new shopping centre was built near our home and I had a dream of a stall in our front garden full of beautiful Barbie clothes for sale.  That never happened. But now, thanks to the internet, I am taking the first tentative steps to selling to the world.  If you want to check them out, the links to my shops are on the sidebar.

And finally, when I started to write this blog post, I went to find this doll for her photo and found - "the Box under the Bed" which was full of more dolls than I remembered  I had. ( No photos - they need to be cleaned up first.)  So now I have to find a better place in our home for these dolls to live.  And she's responsible for that too!