In the time that has elapsed since my last post, I have done...well, I've done nothing. Nothing at all. Well, take that back; I have been working on doll clothes quite a bit. Most of the dolls I've been knitting for have been my handful of vintage dolls (Crissy, Kissy, Chatty Cathy, Kathy Cry Baby, and my mother's old Barbie). These older dolls, these relics of a bygone era, fascinate me. I love the styles that they wear, I love their faces, I love the themes (hair play, dress-up, and the like), and I love the overall innocence of the era. No stiletto shoes, no uber-revealing outfits, no "I'm-sexy-and-I-know it" messages plastered on chests. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I like my dolls dressed a little more revealing. But I don't want a steady diet of that. This admiration of the older dolls, coupled with my fondness for the 1960's (a time that I sadly missed out on), has had an effect on what dolls I pursue. I still like modern dolls, and I'll still buy the ones that I really flip over, like the new Life in the Dreamhouse Midge. But I'd like to focus more on these vintage dolls. I've already made good on this vow and have made some very nice additions to my little dolly family. This blog post will be devoted to them.
Little Miss Revlon (Ideal)
Owning my mother's old Kissy doll and a Look Around Crissy have made me into a fan of the Ideal Toy Company. The company lasted from 1907 to 1982, and was founded by the folks who made the original Teddy bear. Ideal produced a number of successful dolls and toys, including Rubik's cube, my dear little Crissy, and this lovely little lady.
After about a week or so I grew weary of seeing the dark, corroded wires that had once been Wendy's pearl earrings. I didn't get a picture of these, but they were not pretty at all. According to one of the restoration sites that I accessed, these earrings were hooked on the inside and could not be pulled out without serious damage to the vinyl. So I bought some jewelry makings and some wire cutters, and I nipped those little bums off. After lopping off the loops, I spent the rest of the afternoon fashioning a set of jewelry for Wendy.
Aida Ballerina (Valentine)
I don't know much about Valentine dolls or the Valentine company, but I do know that said company made some lovely dolls. What little I do know comes from this link to DollReference.com. Apparently, Valentine was well-known for their ballerinas, because that page is full of them; I'd estimate that half of the dolls on the page are ballerinas. One of them is this one.
Barbie/Francie hybrid (both dolls by Mattel)
I'm not going to go into a huge history of Mattel, because there are plenty of sources out there. I am merely going to show you my very unusual Barbie, only the second vintage Barbie doll I've owned.
Francie is/was Barbie's cousin. Her body was smaller than Barbie's but bigger than the Skipper dolls of the time. Francie therefore had her own wardrobe, and it was full of bright colors and splashy, Sixties-esque patterns. She was a cute doll, and so is Mary Anne. However, she presents to me a conundrum. I like her the way she is, but I also like the way Francie looks. And I love Barbie-sized Mod clothing; Francie CAN wear Barbie's clothes but they look like a sack on her, like the dress above does. So...decisions, decisions! Do I dismantle Mary Anne, find a Mod Barbie body for her head and a Francie head for her body? Or do I leave her as is and enjoy her? I'm still on the fence about that one. Right now it looks like Mary Anne will stay the way she is; I enjoy her uniqueness and her variety. Oh yes, and I also enjoyed her five-dollar price tag!
This is what Mary Anne's face looks like up close. As I said earlier she's in very good shape, especially considering the fact that Mod Barbie dolls are bad to fade, turn yellow, turn pale, get spots, or get green ears (my doll's earrings are missing, thus she dodged the green ear bullet). She has turned a little yellow, but her cheeks and lips are still bright, and she has a full set of eyelashes. I love the rooted eyelashes on these Mod-era Barbies, by the way. So Twiggy!
Liddle Kiddles (Mattel)
Of course Mattel doesn't make just Barbie. The company has produced a vast array of successful (and not-so-successful) dolls, toys, and games. In the late sixties, right around the time that Mattel was making dolls like Mary-Anne, they also were making Liddle Kiddles. These small dolls ranged from one to four inches tall, and the majority of them had soft rubber bodies that surrounded wire frames. Some of these dolls were walkers rather than benders, but most of them were rubber and wire with a large vinyl head. Most of the dolls had themes, such as cooking, bathing, or playing make-believe. These themes combined with the rubber-and-wire combo made for some very little, very cute, very limber dolls. Unfortunately, that rubber-and-wire combo also led to their downfall. The wires would poke through the rubber and become very dangerous. Or they would corrode and turn the doll's body green. Or both! For those reasons, I considered myself lucky when I found these in such good shape:
cooking supplies and corresponding garb. The dress and bloomers she is wearing however, belong to a nurse doll named Florence Niddle. Greta also came home in the wrong outfit; she was clad in a sunshine yellow dress that belongs to a walker named Sheila Skediddle. All this switching and swapping of outfits certainly made these dolls fun to identify!
This trio of dolls presents a challenging task that I'd like to accomplish. Remember when I mentioned that they each had themes and came with accessories? Yes, accessories. Accessories that none of my dolls came with. Greta appears to have been playing make-believe; her accessories were a table, two chairs, and fixings for a tea party. Sizzly, as a mentioned before, is a cook; she came with an apron and chef's hat, a grill, a spatula, and a long fork. Liddle Diddle is a baby; she had a crib, blankets, and a toy ducky to play with. It won't be an easy task to replace all that stuff, but I'd like to try just for the heck of it. I'd also like to find Florence Niddle and Sheila Skediddle so they can have their clothes back! Finding Florence and Sheila may be an easier task, because the antique store where I got Greta, Siz, and Diddle had plenty of other Kiddles. The dolls were packaged, singly or in twos and threes, into Ziploc bags (my particular bag had these three here). It is entirely possible that the person who bagged these dolls up put Florence or Sheila (or both!) in one bag, and landed their clothes in another bag. If this is so then I am in luck...because according to the lady who owns the store, I'm the only one who ever comes into that store for dolls!!! If so, the odds of me finding Florence and Sheila there are fairly good. But I'm still keeping my eye on eBay!
Happy dollin', y'all!