Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meet Ann Estelle, A Tonner Mary Engelbreit Doll

Hi Doll Friends!

I am pleased to introduce you to Ann Estelle, an adorable doll sculpted by Robert Tonner based on Mary Engelbreit's whimsical Ann Estelle character. Since I am such a big fan of all things Mary Engelbreit, a little Ann Estelle doll was destined to live at my house!
And here she is...

Mary Engelbreit is famous for her designs that include cherries, checkerboard, flowers, and of course, Ann Estelle. According to her website, maryengelbreit.com, Ann Estelle was named after Mary's maternal grandmother, and she has been drawing her since she was a little girl. Mary gave Ann Estelle the title "The Queen of Everything".

Ann Estelle dolls were made by Tonner for 10 years, from 1999 - 2009. Over the course of those 10 years, Tonner produced many versions of Ann Estelle and her friends, Sophie, Georgia, Gracie, and Michael, along with many outfits, furniture, and accessories.

Ann Estelle dolls are no longer available from Tonner, but a quick eBay search reveals that they have quite an active following there, with many artists designing custom-made outfits for these little cuties. I was able to purchase my little Ann Estelle from a doll collector friend on Facebook. She sent her to me in the original box.

If you notice, her box says Effanbee Doll Company. In 2002, Robert Tonner purchased the Effanbee Doll Company, which was one of America's oldest doll companies, manufacturing dolls since 1908.

Ann Estelle dolls are 10" tall, making them the same size as Tonner's new Patsy dolls. Patsy dolls have been produced by Effanbee since the 1920's. Since Tonner now owns Effanbee, he has re-imagined Patsy with an adorable new face sculpt. The new Tonner Patsy is currently available from tonnerdoll.com/patsy. Patsy would make a great friend for Ann Estelle since they are the same size.

My doll is known as Birthday Queen from the 2009 release.

Ann Estelle wears the most adorable little wire framed glasses.  These little hinged glasses are very well made too, nice and heavy.

Here is a close up of Ann Estelle's face, without her glasses, so you can see her adorable inset blue eyes. Her sweet smiling face just makes me happy.

Earlier Ann Estelle dolls came with straight legs, but later versions had hinged knees, like my doll.

Here is 10" tall Ann Estelle with my new 11 1/2" tall Bleuette that I recently introduced in my last post.

I love the size of these smaller dolls. They fit perfectly in my doll cabinet, and it's so much fun to look for accessories for them. I found these adorable Mary Engelbreit chairs on eBay.  They are actually pin cushions.

I can't wait to make Ann Estelle some Mary Engelbreit style dresses from these adorable new tiny print ME fabrics from Hancock Fabrics.

I'd like to design a whole Mary Engelbreit theme room for Ann Estelle. There is definitely some Mary Engelbreit style going on in my dollhouse, as you can see here. Don't you think Ann Estelle needs her own Mary Engelbreit style kitchen? :)  The wheels are turning now...

If you're on Facebook, check out the Mary Engelbreit Collectors & Fans Group. It is a place to chat about Mary Engelbreit products, past and present.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my new little Ann Estelle!

 - Lisa

Monday, February 9, 2015

Meet Bleuette, A Resin Ball Jointed Doll from Ruby Red Galleria

Hi Doll Friends!

I'm so excited to introduce you to the newest member of my doll family. Please help me welcome Bleuette. She is a new ball jointed doll available from Ruby Red Galleria. She is also available in the US from Denver Doll Emporium. I found her at a bargain price on eBay though.

As you have probably noticed, I have developed a great interest in the history of dolls. In addition to modern dolls, I love searching for antique dolls, learning about them, and adding them to my collection whenever possible. After learning a little about Bleuette, I purchased the book "Bleuette: The Doll and Her Wardrobe" by Barbara Craig Hilliker to study and learn more about the history of Bleuette. This large book is filled with information and hundreds of beautiful color pictures, and I would highly recommend it if you'd like to learn about Bleuette.

Bleuette History

You may have heard of Bleuette dolls before. The original Bleuette dolls were produced from 1905 to 1960, as a premium for the French girls' magazine, La Semaine de Suzette. Little girls who subscribed to the magazine would receive a Bleuette doll, and each magazine contained patterns so that girls could make entire wardrobes for their dolls. Bleuette dolls were designed for interactive play and as a tool to teach girls sewing and homemaking. There were more than 1,000 patterns published for Bleuette during the 55 years that she was produced, in addition to the commercially made outfits that were also available.

Bleuette dolls have a bisque head and a wooden composition body which is fully articulated with joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. The dolls range in size from 10 5/8" to 11 3/8" and there are several different Bleuette head molds.

After learning about Bleuette's fascinating history, I knew I'd love to have one of these lovely dolls, and maybe even sew, knit and crochet a complete wardrobe for her. So I began to look for an antique Bleuette. I joined a Bleuette group on Facebook, where I learned that most Bleuette collectors buy reproduction Bleuette dolls. The reason is because a nice original antique Bleuette is valued at around $5,000 or more.

My First Bleuette

My Bleuette search quickly turned from searching for an antique to looking for a reproduction. Since there are so many different head molds and different artists, not all Bleuettes look alike. That's not a problem, it just means you search for one you love. During my search, I ran across this new version of Bleuette by Ruby Red Galleria. Her head and body are made completely of resin. I thought the resin would be more durable for play and redressing than bisque. Since I have other resin ball jointed dolls, I took an interest in this new resin BJD version of Bleuette.

She came dressed in her white one piece underwear, which are beautifully detailed with lace trim and two tiny working buttons.

So embarrassing Mom, I'm in my undies.
Since she came only in her underwear, she requested that I start on her wardrobe immediately.  I sewed her first dress from a rose print fabric and added lacy trims.

A fun fact about ball jointed dolls is that they can be so easily customized, and the Ruby Red Bleuette is no exception. Her wig is removable and can be changed for a totally different look. Her eyes can also be changed. In addition, she came with two interchangeable face plates, which Ruby Red calls the Bleuette face and the Charmette face. She also came with two pairs of eyes in blue-gray and brown. You can see the two different face plates with different color eyes side by side below.

She came with pierced ears, so she is already looking forward to starting her own jewelry collection.

Can I have some lovely earrings please?

She is about 11 1/2" tall and is jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees, just like her bisque and wooden counterparts. Here you can see that even though she is about the same height as Rapunzel, her proportions are very different.

Here she is with Rosalee, my Fairyland Littlefee resin BJD who is a little shorter at just under 10" tall.

Bleuette dolls love to collect lots of accessories, so she immediately started collecting things from around the house.

She decided that the Schoenhut piano and the bowl and pitcher were the perfect size for her house.

She has a great love for animals, especially the sheep and the alpaca.

HELP! She needs a NAME!

I could really use your help with choosing a name. The choices on my list are Maryette, Josette, Juliette, or Ruby. I'd love to hear your thoughts and name suggestions in the comments section below!

 - Lisa

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I'm back & I've missed you!

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm very excited to be back here working on the blog again. I've missed you all very much. I've been away from the computer, taking care of my mom who has been sick. I've made some updates for the new year with a new header and background, so I hope you like the new look. I am currently working on a post about a brand new doll that has just arrived. I'll be revealing who she is very soon.

 - Lisa

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, Tuesday Morning Shopping Finds & More

Merry Christmas Doll Friends! I am so thankful to be at home with my family this Christmas. Since my last post, I was hospitalized with a blood clot in my leg resulting from falling off a ladder a few months ago. I'm am just so blessed that the clot was found before anything bad happened. I am happy to report that I'm doing better and hopefully on the road to recovery.

A Christmas walk down memory lane...

Looking through some old family pictures, I found lots of pictures to confirm that my love of dolls started at a very early age. This picture was from my very first Christmas.

Christmas 1968
My mom, me, my big sister & our dolls

At just 5 months old, I received a Mattel Tippee-Toes doll for Christmas. She came with a little blue and yellow tricycle that she could ride. My sister, who was 8 years old, received an Ideal Giggles doll. These were among several dolls that I remember so well from my early childhood.

The last picture is of me with a little Goldilocks doll when I was just 8 weeks old.

Pullips & Ai BJD's back in stock at Tuesday Morning

For those of you who wanted to add a Pullip or an Ai Ball Jointed Doll to your collection, I have seen both back in stock at Tuesday Morning this week.  Here are a few of the dolls I've seen.

My local store had Tiger Lily from the Disney Peter Pan collection back in stock. I already have this precious little girl in my collection. The adorable little curly blond Dal, "Colline" wears a Heidi-inspired Swiss outfit.

A new face to me was Yeolume, who is supposed to be Pullip's future daughter. She wears a school girl outfit, and is 10 years old according to her character profile. She is smaller than Pullip, closer to Dal size. The Pullip dolls were $39.99 each, which is a great price for a Pullip.

These tiny Ai Ball Jointed Dolls were found at my local store this week. My daugter also saw other different Ai dolls, while shopping at a couple other Tuesday Morning stores this past week. The Ai BJD's were $29.99 each, which is an incredibly inexpensive way to give ball jointed dolls a try.

English Ivy


Hybrid Statice

So if you're looking for Pullips or Ai Ball Jointed Dolls, now's the time to run out and check your local Tuesday Morning stores. I have also seen the Mini Pullips at Tuesday Morning this week. A tip for your search, sometimes these dolls are locked in the glass case by the register, and other times I've found them on the toy aisle with the other dolls.

More Christmas...

Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Most important is the Reason for the Season, celebrating the birth of Jesus. I love all of the Christmas time festivities, and all the beautiful lights and decorations. This year, I've had a lot of fun decorating in miniature for my dolls. In my last post, I shared some pictures of my new doll cabinet. Well, it looks a little different now, all decked out for Christmas.

Here's a few closeups of the shelves decorated for Christmas...

And on top, an Annalee Reindeer & Santa, along with an old fashioned looking Snowman ...

My vintage Georgene Raggedy Andy and old fashioned repro Volland Raggedy Ann found a cozy spot on the big tree with their pal, Santa.

The Elf on the Shelf even found his way into the dollhouse and made some new friends.

I hope you all are having a wonderful, blessed, safe, healthy, and merry Christmas.

 - Lisa

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Heidi Ott Dollhouse Dolls & What's New

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful week! I'm sorry things have been quiet here for so long. I fell off a ladder and tore my ACL and my meniscus. After lots of doctor visits, tests, and physical therapy, I am finally off the crutches and hopeful that I won't need surgery. I'm still in physical therapy trying to regain my strength and range of motion, but I have lots to be thankful for this holiday season!!!

I haven't done much shopping lately, but I wanted to share what's new. I have been looking for a curio cabinet for a while, and I found one at my favorite local antique mall. It has curved glass panels on the sides, which I love. It stands over 6 ft. tall and is almost 4 ft. wide, so there's room for lots of dolls.  I want to change the knob to a pretty cut glass one, but here it is, as it looks now with some of my dolls in it. I can't wait to add lots of doll-sized Christmas decorations!

I also wanted to share a picture of this adorable tin sign that my daughter bought for me. Isn't she sweet?

Heidi Ott Dollhouse Dolls

I placed an order from the UK to get some Heidi Ott dolls for the dollhouse. These tiny dolls are spectacular and really very well made. The lady is like a tiny ball jointed doll. The adult dolls actually consist of 34 body parts which are formed in Germany and finished in Switzerland. There are 14 movable joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, and ankles, making them super posable. They have handpainted faces and mohair wigs. Here is my lovely dollhouse lady.

Their clothes are highly detailed and fully removable with beautiful trims, all perfectly in scale. Her dress has a button closure in the back. Additional Heidi Ott outfits are also available. Check out her tiny high heel shoes and the pin tuck detail on her dress.

I also got this Heidi Ott baby wearing a tiny white crochet dress and bonnet.

You can see how tiny she actually is in the palm of my hand.

Mommy and baby.

I got an adorable Heidi Ott little girl who is wearing a blue dress with white pinafore and a matching bonnet. She has long brown corkscrew curls.

The toddler boy is wearing blue corduroy overalls with a striped sweater and hat.

Scenes from the dollhouse...

In the nursery, Amelia Thimble from Wilde Imagination watches over the babies. The blue vintage Renwal playpen and baby are from the 1940's-50's. The little girl in red & white is a vintage German rubber doll from Ari. The white carriage with baby is actually a Christmas ornament.

In the children's room, the new Heidi Ott little girl plays with her Raggedy Ann and Andy in her bed, while her little brother plays with his toy train and fire truck. The curious siamese kitten wants to play too.

In the kitchen, Heidi Ott mom tries to get her chores done while taking care of her little ones.

The little bisque baby sitting in the high chair was handmade by my friend.

Out on the porch, there is much work to be done. Rabbits need to be fed and pots need to be planted.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my dollhouse and meeting the new occupants.

Have a wonderful blessed Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 - Lisa