Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stop Your Whining!

The Russians are coming! They're NOT vintage looking! Let the WANGST begin!

(And Welcome to Squarepeg78!)
I never thought the day would come when I would be DEFENDING Silkstones...

Seriously! Back in the days of Barbie Bazaar Magazine, I was really tired of them. Every freaking issue was like "Blah, blah, blah, Silkstones...Look how we made yet another vintage knockoff for Silkstones! Look how great they redress in vintage fashions, blah, blah, blah..."

I had ONE Silkstone at the time - Lingerie #5. The lone African American Silkstone (at that time), and I hardly played with her. She seemed too locked into a particular time period to be much fun, and all I did was look at her.

It wasn't until I saw Kelsie's Mutant Goldfish website and her dolly stories with her Silkstones that I realized, hey, they can be fun to play with as well! (Well I had tried back in the day to make a "Star Trek" story with Number Five, and it was okay.) And to redress into something besides the usual vintage wannabe outfits. And her Silkstones even dated - GASP! Clutch the pearls! - PLAYLINE boy dolls!

(Don't bother looking on her site for the original stories - they're no longer there. Apparently when you go Fashion Royalty, you're no longer allowed to play with other dolls anymore!)

So, now my girls (yes, I bought more Silkies!) have "Silkstone Manor" where they laugh and love and rage and just live dolly lives like the other inhabitants of my doll nation. It's nice to be able to play with you dolls and not just look at them!

Getting back to the reason for this article - Mattel has announced new Silkstone dolls for 2011 with a Russian theme. Now, normally, you know what I think of Mattel - endless, boring blonde dolls who's only differing feature is their outfits, which are all usually pink.

BUT LO! And behold! Mattel actually made some different looking Silkstones! Check out that opening pic! OMG! I want "Darya" (the one in the red dress) and HUMINA! HUMINA! Check out Russian Ken!

But OMG! You should hear the WHINING and WANGST on the doll boards --- "These are not the Silkstones we love!" "I want high fashion dolls!" "These are ugly!"

Uh, no.

The only reason they don't like them is because they're not another Mad Men/Vintage Wannabe Silkstone. I mean, enough all ready! How many of those damned dolls do you have to have? You have actual vintage; you have vintage repro, you have original Silkstone, you have dressmakers who do nothing but remake the same vintage fashions over and over again in different colors and fabrics --

The whiners need to STFU. Go play with your million other boring dolls.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Fun With Erasers!

My boss decided to "enable" my collection by giving me these erasers the other day - they are the COOLNESS!!!

Most are going to the Barbies, like the smaller sushi pieces and the veggies (with the exception of the carrot), but the larger pieces are going to my bigger dolls like the Tonners and the 18 inch BFC Ink dolls (well, DOLL since I only have one so far!)

I decided to make an impromptu display of the cake erasers I had so far using some erasers I'd gotten earlier this year--

Hee! Looks like I'll have enough cakes to start my own eraser cake bake sale soon!

My boss mentioned that she got them from the Christmas Tree Shops, so I decided that I would head over there on Sunday to see if they had any other erasers that I'd want. She also mentioned that she got them for the ASTOUNDING price of seven cents apiece cause they were 90% off! Well, whoo hoo! Nothing like a bargain to really make me go look for something!

So off I went to the Christmas Tree Shops, and I went back to the area she said she'd found the erasers. After digging around for awhile, these are the erasers that I found:

I got the "Big Sushi" because they'd be perfect for my BFC Ink Calista (and I love the little tray they come on!) The ice cream cone and sundae from the second set are her size as well, and of course, the carrot from the veggie set. (Yay! Now I have two carrots!) Also, that slice of pizza should work for her as well. And of course, more Barbie sized cakes and veggies.

After the Christmas Tree Shops, I decided to hit some of the craft stores in the area. I knew from my friend Lady Rhian that she had gotten some of the erasers from my last post at A.C. Moore, so I decided I'd go there. But first, I went to Michael's to see if they had anything I wanted. I found out they were having a 40% off sale on their scrapbook paper (more on that in a later post), but I also found a set of Crazerasers that have been my holy grail since I first saw them...

That's right - the cereal set of Crazerasers with the "gallon" of milk! I have wanted this set SOOO BAD since I first saw it, and now I have two!

And of course, to celebrate the finding of this set, I had to make an impromptu scene featuring them:

That's Hermione enjoying the taste of "Crazy O's" cereal. And with a glass of juice, it's part of a complete (dolly) breakfast!

Grandma enjoys a large slice of homemade bread, slathered with homemade grape preserves! Yummy! And with coffee and juice, it's part of a complete breakfast -uh, maybe!

OH!!! I forgot to mention I got some loose erasers back at the Christmas Tree Shops - turns out the packaging isn't too tight, and they tend to fall open. So I got these loose pieces for a discount (not seven cents a piece, but still...)

That's Darren having a "Big Gulp" and some cake in his dorm room. (Watch out for that "Freshman Twenty", Darren! )

So I finally got over to A.C. Moore where I didn't find more of the sushi erasers - however, I did find an unusual set of Crazerasers:

And YES --- that brown item is EXACTLY what you think it is -- a DOODY!!!


Well... it DOES lend itself to some interesting dolly scenes:

"MOMMY!!! Princess made a boo-boo!!!"

...and on that, ahem, note, let's end this post!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Story of a Doll with No Name

This is my project for the doll group, Figurvore. This week's challenge is to profile a doll from our collections. I chose a doll that I haven't really bonded with. I wanted to see if I could create a story for her.


She wakes up, unsure of the time. What does time mean in a place like this, anyway?

She gets from under the bedsheets. The bed is comfortable, but plain. She's not sure about the nightgown she's wearing. She doesn't think pink is her color, but it fits, and that's what matters.

The dresser is the only other piece of furniture in this place. Inside is a blue plaid shirt. It's man's shirt and it's definitely not hers.

Holding it close, she feels she should know the man who wore it. She cannot remember his face, nor anything about him.

Was he friend or foe? A lover? All she knows is that she feels a distinct sense of loss.

Monday, August 23, 2010

That 80s House!

How anyone can anyone be blue looking at this thrift store beauty - esp. when she whips up breakfast for you!

I may as well admit defeat - I simply don't have time to post the last completed episode of "The Real X Files".

I'm working on a novel - well, several novellas. I'm pursuing my goal of becoming a published novelist this year, and I no longer have time for my dolly stories. A sad fact, but there it is.

However, as you can see, I'm still taking time to play with (and acquire) new dolls. The latest one pictured above I got from the thrift store during 25% off day. I named her Crystal, after the chick on Dynasty, because of the big, pink, frou-frou, Barbara Cartland-ish dress she came in. Normally, I'd pass on a blonde Barbie in pink, but something about the expression on this one made me buy her. Also, I'm a sucker for the dolls from the "Big Eye Era", especially when they're PLATINUM blondes. I just think it makes Barbie look a bit more mature - the platinum Barbies from that era always end up as glamourous grandmas, and Crystal is no exception. She's now the "mom" of Rocker Barbie, and is visiting her and Rocker Ken in their house ("That 80's House" as I call it.)

However, I felt that the frou-frou was a bit much to hang out with the grandkids in, so she slipped into this floral sheath. It's really hard to find Barbie clothes that aren't too dowdy or too skanky for "ladies of a certain age". (Pretty much like the real world, huh?)

With the sheath and the pearls (which I twisted with a clear hair deely to form that shape), she gives off a sort of Betty Draper-ish vibe (at least style-wise - Crystal would have kicked Don to the curb ages ago!) And she's happily married to Carlos, the father of Rocker Derek!

Aww! Just look at the love-birds! Cuteness overload!

Now you're saying, "Hey, Rocker Derek never had a dad!" Well, in this universe he does! That's another thing about the Mattel universe that bugs me - where are these people's parents and grandparents and other relatives? Barbie has sisters (and a brother) but no parents? What's up with that?

Rocker Derek shows how it's done! Taking care of his cute little niece! Aww!

I'm working on the 80s house - I put away some dioramas that weren't coming together and I have more SHELF SPACE! Rocker Barbie and Rocker Ken now have their own "little pink house" (actually a BIG pink house on a set of shelves.) I'll post pics later when I get things looking a little more together.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm BACK!!!

:::And welcome to Milk, Ms. Leo, TM, Sally and Reality Forest!:::

Yes, it's been awhile - sooo glad to be back here!

Feeling kind of bleh today (actually a whole lot of BLEH as I had to leave work with a headache and nausea - I really think it was something I ate), I came home and found a box waiting for me. It was from my friend Lady Rhian, and inside were candy, a couple of books and these:

That's right - those are the Tomiko sushi erasers everyone has been talking about! Where she got them, I have no idea. Doesn't matter - I kiss the ground she walks on! Many thanks, my friend!

The girls are very appreciative of the gift as well:

And look how well they work with both Re-ment and Bratz sushi items!

Okay, okay... I know you want to know when the next episode of "The Real X Files" will be out! I'm aiming for sometime this weekend. However, from now on, episodes will only be once a month. In addition to real life stuff, I think I was getting a little burnt out from doing an episode every week. After all, unlike the "real" show, I don't have hundreds of people putting these episodes together!

Anyway, I'm happy to be back!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well, this is a Happy/Sad state of affairs...

You may have noticed that there was no new episodes of "The Real X Files" last weekend or this weekend. I've been trying to post an episode every week (with the exception of the past two weekends I would be out of town and away from my dolls.)

Last weekend, I realized, "Holy Cow! There's only a week and a half before Script Frenzy begins and I need to work on my "script bible"!" If you don't know what Script Frenzy is - it's the sister contest of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month), except that you write a 100 page script or play. Well, okay, I had already shot last weeks pictures for "The Real X Files" and I figured, okay, I'll start writing some notes for ideas and then I'll get back to posting the story. No such luck. I was more tired than I realized from my trip, and well, last week's episode didn't get posted. Sorry about that.

And then I was going to post it during the week, but then something else came up - it looks like I might have to MOVE. And no, I'm not happy about it as it means I will be putting the dolls (among other things) into storage for the foreseeable future. Did I mention that I have nearly 200 dolls and did I mention all the crap -- uh, "accessories" --- I have for them? And now I have to pack every last diorama and diorama item up and make sure they are secure and not get lost? Can you see where I might want to scream and throw things, especially since this move is NOT my idea? Okay, I think you get the picture.

ALSO (we're back to the "happy" part here), I'm writing a steampunk story that I'm hoping to have finished by the end of this week -- no, strike that -- it will be finished by the end of this week! And I'm going to be sending that out, as well as doing Script Frenzy this month.

The upshot? There will be ONE last episode of "The Real X Files" and then dolls get packed away until who knows when. I won't even be able to finish the story because of all the other things I'm doing, which makes me sad, but at the same time, I'm glad to have the chance to have my writing published and to become an honest to god PAID writer. And then maybe I won't be so upset about moving. (I don't mind moving when it's MY idea, but this? Just... NO. I don't want to go into details, but suffice it to say that I'm pissed at certain members of my family who let it come to this.)

Doll Nation will continue for as long as I have some dolls and doll related things out and about.

I'm cross posting this to the Doll Nation Network site. Thank you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

From Speed Racer to Vamp Ken!

(Welcoming Evette to the list of followers! Thanks!)

Well, I'm back from visiting my friends, and, no, I did not find Jonathan Adler Barbie. However, I'm not upset as I did find a lot of cool stuff that I will be blogging about in the next few days, so I'm happy.

One of the things I did get was this wonderful Speed Racer Ken that I ordered from a member of In the Pink before I left for my birthday tour (hee):

Not bad; but I'm just not getting a "Speed Racer" vibe from this doll... could he be Goth Ken in disguise?

I got him because someone on In The Pink had him as the new father for the Happy Family Neighbors, and I thought "Cool! He can be one of the husbands of my dolls!"

But --- as you can see, MY Speed Racer is way too young looking to be anyone's dad. So I decided to put him in my Doll Nation University story as another student.

As I kept looking at him, I said to myself, "Gee, he's awfully pale. Maybe he's a goth? That would be so cool!" So I set out to find him something gothish to wear.

I found a pair of black leather trousers from the Ken Fashion Avenue outfit #56873 (I call that outfit "Punk Rock Concert" since it doesn't have a name.) Liam from the Flavas line has been hogging that outfit, but screw that! Speedy had to have it!

No drooling, folks! He's brooding and sensitive and, oh yeah, smokin' HAWT!!!

Hubba hubba! Mwrowr! Well, there's nothing like a pair of black leather trousers to bring out the HAWT in a guy! Oh yeah! I was definitely seeing "hot, brooding vampire" now instead of "Speed Racer"!

(If it's wrong to drool over a plastic guy, then I don't wanna be right! Hee!)

Oh, Bratz - how I miss your Not!Pink furniture and accessories... sniffle! sob!

I had bought this Bratz "Funky Fashion Furniture" set while on my trip at Big Lots. It was eight bucks and I consider it money well spent. It's called "Element", which features a fire theme (I guess "Hell" would have been a little too controversial - but it seems the logical name since there is a "Heaven" set according to the back of the box:

Wait a minute! Who's that wine for? Because we know that he doesn't drink... wine.....

Anyway, I got the set BEFORE even seeing Speedy. (He arrived after I had already left on my trip.) But as soon as I saw this set I was like, "OMG! I must have this for my goth dolls!" (Nevermind that I didn't have any goth dolls when I got it - I was going to create some!) And let's face it - this was too good to pass up at eight bucks!

As you can see, this set makes a nice little gothy setup. I added the "marble" flooring, and some pillows (including one with flames from a Bratz Boyz outfit pak), the Barbie Party Pad fireplace, Re-ment red wine, Barbie tray, some craft roses and a repainted Barbie vase. The only thing I kept for the vanity (it was filled with girly cosmetics) was the black hairbrush. Oh, that table looking thing is supposed to be a stand for the Bratz, but screw that! It screamed "coffee table" to me!

Ken is sitting there wearing the duster from movie premiere Ken from the 1 Modern Circle line. With his dark hair and pale skin, he really looks good in jewel tones.... except that now he looks more VAMP Ken than "goth" Ken! Which makes him even hotter, with the vaguely "Angel/Angelus" vibe he's giving off right now...

Susie (Sassy): Why is there only one glass of wine? Vamp!Ken: I never

As you can see, the ladies are already flocking to Vamp!Ken. I really need to find a name for him - I was going to call him Liam because that's Angel's real name in the series, but I already have Liam from the Flavas dolls, and I can't call him William (which Liam is the diminutive) because William is Spike's real name. (Did Joss Whedon realize he was naming two Buffyverse characters the same name?) And since I hope to have both Angel and Spike dolls some day, so I can't call him those names either.

***Oh no! Will Susie be the vampire's first victim... err, date?***

Vamp!Ken: Have I told you how delicious you look tonight?

Guh. Can't say that I blame her for falling... uh, victim... to his embrace.

Then, I got the idea that my Gwen doll (I was thinking of making some Torchwood dollies, but screw that! Let's make some goth/vamp dolls!) would be perfect for a vamp girlfriend, but alas! She looks a little bit more mature, so I've made her Vamp! Ken's hot Vamp!Mommy.

Luckily for Suzie that Mommy came in! She sent Suzie packing, and here she is reading her son the riot act about bringing home nubile co-eds for dinner...

Vamp!Ken: Aww, Mom, you're no fun! Vamp!Mommy: Now, darling, Mother knows best!

I think I've got the makings for a new story. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

(Yeah, I'm not into the pretty pink princess look, but this is kinda cool! )

['s my birthday too, yeah!]

You can't believe how thrilled I was when I found out Barbie and I shared the same birthday - there has to be some kind of law that adults aren't allowed to be that thrilled to find out that they share their birthday with a... well, what's just a hunk of plastic to the rest of the world.

But you know what? Screw the rest of the world! I LOVE BARBIE!!!

Normally, I'd be taking a ton of birthday diorama pics right now, but I'm nowhere near my dolls. I'm visiting some friends and the only Barbie here is the one I brought my friend. I'd take a picture of her, but alas, she's nekkid. We're going to hit the thrift stores this week to find her some clothes.

We're also off later to Tuesday Morning to see if I can score the Jonathan Adler Barbie. Yes, I've finally surrendered. I MUST have her, now that she's reasonably priced at 25 bucks. Pics later if I can find her, otherwise, be prepared for a looong, moaning rant. You have been warned.

Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

Oh, were you expecting some long rant on the cultural significance of Barbie, on this, her birthday? Man, you came to the wrong blog! Ha!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My new gals!

I put thirft stores as my number five thing for 2009, and this is why - I found these two beauties on the toy aisle at my favorite thrift store's 50% off sale on President's Day:

The one on the left is World Cup Christie from 1999. She came clad in her original sneakers, socks and shin guards. She was also wearing a HIDEOUS green and black top (to be profiled on "WORST. OUTFIT. EVER" over on the Doll Nation Network blog), a long skirt (which I'm keeping) and her original sneakers, socks and shin guards. Her ponytail was in sad shape, so I snipped it off and gave her a short cut. And look at her now! I think it gives her a more sophisticated look! She's wearing a Barbie pak dress from around 2002, and some of my rare Barbie flat footed poser shoes. I've named her Cassandra.

The one on the right has a Lea face, and she came in that outfit she's wearing (except for the sneakers and glasses.) Inspired by the new computer tech Barbie, I decided that she would be a computer geek, and gave her the Barbie glasses to wear. Geek Chic Barbie! LOL! I'm thinking of rebodying her onto an Artsy Fashionista so she can pose (if I can find one!) I've named her Audrey.

Here's a closeup of my new gals:

I've already thought of backgrounds for these gals - Audrey is a junk food loving computer geek, who lives in the dorm at Doll Nation University. Her room, as I describe it, "looks like where computers come to die". Ancient laptops all over the place waiting to be repurposed. She has a good sideline selling refurbished laptops to the other students, but her main joy in life is surfing the net, blogging and getting emails from "friends" on the internet - don't open anything labeled "MJ-12" or "Alien Autopsy", Audrey! Or you will face the wrath of the X Files' Cigarette Smoking Man!

Cassandra ("Cassie" for short) is an former Soccer player for Team Doll Nation in the Olympics, and had a celebrated career as one of the Mountainview Wildcats. She now coaches girls' soccer for 9-12 year olds. She turned down the more lucrative offer of coach at Doll Nation University because she wanted to encourage young girls to play sports - "College kids don't need encouragement - they've already gotten it." She's into healthy foods and will do sports and health features for DNN!

I'm going to be posting short photostories about the new gals, as soon as I get more batteries for my camera!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

One of my favorite couples goes out for Valentine's:

He knows she likes pink roses, not red:

"...just the way you look tonight..."

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mattel just doesn't get it, do they?

Notice anything? No ethnic dolls; more blondes! And Mattel wonders why it's losing to Bratz and Moxie and Liv and....

Above is the promo pic for the lastest wave of Fashionistas - what the hell is Mattel thinking?

No AA doll; no Hispanic doll. No Asian doll - although to be honest, they got rid of those ages ago. (Some thing about "Asians not buying Asian dolls" according to Mattel - Yet Integrity/Fashion Royalty is selling Asian dolls like Kyori and Takeo for $90 bucks a pop, so someone is buying them!) Hell, there's no REDHEADED doll, something I was hoping for!

Does Mattel even go to the stores to see what's selling? At my local Target, the only Fashionistas you can find on the shelves are the blonde ones! The only reason Fashionista Ken sold out is that he is a CUTE boy doll (blondness notwithstanding.) Brunette Sassy and AA Artsy are LONG GONE, and when they manage to get more in, they are the first ones gone.

The Rocawear dolls - all AAs - are also LONG GONE, and not just at Target but at Wal-Mart as well. (Hoping TRU still has the ones I want!)

Now I admit, I live in an ethnically diverse area, but from what I'm hearing on the doll boards, it's not just ethnic collectors collecting them.

I'm no Bratz fan (I only have a few of the Bratz boyz) - but for all the sluttishness of Bratz, they had the market covered. In each release, there was always an AA doll and an a Hispanic doll (at least I'm assuming that's what Yasmin was.) There were also Asian Bratz, maybe not in every release, but in every other one. Every single Bratz wasn't BLONDE either - there were plenty of brunettes to choose from. And the new Liv dolls and Moxie Girl dolls are following suit.

So Mattel's solution for increased competition is make more bland, look-a-like, blonde dolls, only distinguishable by their hairstyles and crappy outfits. And they wondered why they were slaughtered in the marketplace?

Mattel just doesn't get it, do they?

The other day there was news that Barbie was getting a new career in computer science. Normally I'd be overjoyed at the idea of "Geek Chic" Barbie, but what was the picture? Another blonde, blue eyed Barbie wearing too much pink!

And they wonder why Barbie is losing shelf space at the stores?

The world has changed since Barbie debuted in 1959, but apparently it's still 1959 at Mattel.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"University Life" - breakfast in student housing

Since it looks like I'm never getting around to my Doll Nation University story for my blog of the same name, I decided to post these pictures here. This is one of my best crowd scenes yet, and I'm proud of the level of detail.

I just wish that the girls were able to stand without doll stands.

Fashionista Artsy
Cali Girl Summer
Fashionista Ken
Cali Girl Barbie
Rocawear Darren
Rocawear Chandra
Flavas Tre
Flavas Liam

Monday, February 8, 2010

Creating doll stories; or Mulder, Scully and Doggett are taking over my life!

Yeah, I started this post a few days ago, but of course I got sidetracked by the X Files gang - hence, the title!

And "Welcome!" to my latest follower, Chelle!


You may or may not be following my other blog, Doll Nation Network (and if you are - THANK YOU!) It's where I post my doll stories. It's an imaginary network for the Doll Nation, where I create stories for my dolls to watch.

Making up stories for dolls is nothing new - kids do it all the time. However, photostories have really taken over the internet as doll collectors find outlets for their creativity --- OH, WHO AM I KIDDING?!?


When I got into doll collecting, I spent my time on the internet looking for other people who enjoyed making dioramas for their dolls. I discovered Doll Divas, and especially loved their section called "Diorama Divas" I was IMPRESSED! Those folks on that board really inspired me to bring my A-game to the whole diorama thing. Take a look at their archives - I'm proud to say that I have a diorama there!

But after a while, I got bored with looking at pretty houses for fashion dolls. My dolls - not to be a reverse snob - are regular "people". I like making realistic dioramas, not just high fashion ones.

So I searched the web for other diorama sites, and discovered there was a whole world of collectors making dioramas...

...just don't call them "doll" collectors. Those guys who collect G.I. Joes and other "1:6th scale action figures" wouldn't like that.

These guys have some incredible sites and I'll try to list a few (along with some links.) But what impressed me the most was their story telling abilities, along with their dioramas. A whole new world was opened up to me. I even started collecting G.I. Joes and World Peacekeepers cause, well, they're cute guys! (Yeh, I can hear all the action figure collectors going "EWW! Girl Cooties!" - shut up!)

(Sidebar: One of my favorite doll stories addresses this - Mutant Goldfish Designs' "Rescue Mission" My favorite line? "Its ok dude, you're a civilian now...We all are, no wars to fight here." Hee!)

So what does all of this have to do with Mulder, Scully and Doggett from the X Files? Well, when I started collecting World Peacekeepers, I found a blond guy that made me say, "HEY! He looks like Doggett from the X Files!" And when I got up the nerve to repaint his hair so that he looked more like Robert Patrick (I used a freeze frame on the pilot episode of "Stargate Atlantis", on which RP played Colonel Sumner), then I had my Doggett doll. I'd already had Mulder and Scully and played around with doing an X Files story (and alternately a Stargate Atlantis story), but nothing came of it.

Until this year. I've been working on novels over the years and finished a few (four to be exact), but I needed a new outlet. Dolls and dioramas have been my obsessions for the past few years, and I guess it was just time to finally "man up" and make my own photostory. And I have to admit that the X Files were my first choice because, well, I wasn't inpressed with how the show ended.

(In fact, I HATED how the show ended. Don't ask - it's too long to explain, and I don't need a headache thinking about it.)

But doll stories, like fan fiction, are a way to recreate everything you loved about a show, and "correct" everything that you hated. Hence, the title of my doll story is "The Real X Files" because you know, as opposed to that stuff that happened on the show. (This makes more sense in my head.)

And now Agents Mulder, Scully and Doggett will not let me rest until I finish their photostory. It's like creating scenes for a mini movie - I even write a script! I try not to let each "episode" get longer than two pages handwritten. However, I admit I had no script for the first episode - sometimes you gotta let the dolls "speak" to you, just like I let my characters speak to me and suggest ideas. But it helps if you write a script to at least see if your ideas make any sense.

I also decided that I would treat this as a "season" of a television show - but not 24-26 episodes like most shows, because to me, that encourages "filler" episodes. No, if this is a real network - IF?? wash my mouth out with soap! - then the show has to have 13 episodes, which means, tell the story as efficiently as possible with no wasted effort, and have a story arc that MAKES SENSE.

Sometimes I come up with ideas for one-offs as well, and it's all just another way to have fun with your dolls. I've got some ideas for future "seasons" - but let's see how it goes with this first season of The Real X Files.

And here's that list of sites I promised:

Sean Huxter, 3D animator - Start from the bottom of this page and read his stories of his G.I. Joe Adventure Team's adventures, then go to his INCREDIBLE story "The Second Key to Time". That's right; it's a Doctor Who adventure. Not only is the story awesome, but the sets are too.

Deering Productions - He has other stories on a different page, but I recommend starting here because of the incredible sets for this (never produced) Star Trek photostory. There is a teaser story; makes me long for what might have been.

About My Work: The Dunedin Blog - Mick Baltes has incredible dioramas; this link is to the archives page (which updates). His Roman city is jaw-dropping in its detail - this is what I aspire to in my own dioramas.

Plastic!Winchester Theater - low tech sets; hi-larious stories based on the show "Supernatural". My favorites are the cracktastic crossovers with Doctor Who (the Tennant era) and Dexter (makes me want my own Dexter!Ken doll.)

The Brettish Aisles - a tribute in doll form to the career of actor Jeremy Brett. It was an article by the creator of this site in the now defunct Barbie Bazaar that got me hooked on making dioramas. No stories, but a made up universe featuring dioramas based on Jeremy Brett roles - and an interview with the doll actor who portrays him!

City Circlez - long running doll story, that I'm recommending based on the older episodes (before 2009 - in fact the only 2008 story I recommend is "Over at the Rultans".) I really wish I could recommend the newer stories, but alas, like the "Roville" doll story, it's a shadow of what it used to be.

Roville - I really liked this doll story better when the dolls were Mattel-ish dolls. Now I only recommend it for the fabulous high fashion dioramas. There's no archive for the older, BETTER stories, alas.

This is by no means is a complete list of the doll stories that have influenced me - however, some like the now defunct Kelley Avenue, are no more. But I hope the ones that are still around will entertain you and maybe inspire you to create your own doll stories!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Why Doll Nation?"

We have our first follower! Hooray! And welcome to Smidge Girl, whose wonderful blog I follow. Welcome to the craziness that is life in the Doll Nation!

"Why Doll Nation?" you may be asking yourself. A friend of mine once asked how many dolls I had. I replied, "I stopped counting when I hit 200 dolls. That's Barbies, Kellys, Tommys, Kens and babies." I elaborated on the fact that I didn't just collect Mattel dolls, but other types such as G.I. Joes, World Peacekeepers, Bratz Boys, and even cute plastic dollar store dolls that were 1/6th scale. I then explained that I had several Barbie houses (13 at last count; one of them is actually a Real Friends House from TRU, and one is a Best Friends House - not the same thing- also from TRU). I then told her about the different dioramas I'd made in the past for them - a library, several clothing stores, a hotel, a coffee shop, a tea shop, an Asian resturant (the only store still standing), and a burger joint. My friend exclaimed, "Wow! You have a doll city!" And I laughed and said, "No, I have a DOLL NATION!" And so the name stuck.

It's pretty apt actually. Over the last few years I've come up with several cities for my dolls - Mountainview (up in the mountains, of course), Palmdale (down by the beach), Barbieville (for an doll magazine I created), Metropolis (my version of the show "Smallville") - and since I don't collect just Mattel dolls, it's also apt to describe all the dolls that reside with me. Especially since they are always coming from (or traveling to) places like Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, even "England." (Yeh, I know - England isn't in the United States.) I even have dolls that travel through space and time, courtesy of my Doctor Who dolls. I've made up my own Harry Potter dolls that reside somewhere in the Doll Nation (probably "England") I have dolls that live back in the past like my Victorian dolls and my Steampunk dolls; the dolls that reside in That 70s House and The Mad Men House (mostly 60s vintage and repro dolls); and the medieval dolls that live in Emseralda's tent. I have the Tonner house, where my 16 inch dolls live, and then there are the baby dolls and one of the large BFCInk girls.

But mostly, the Doll Nation refers to the 1/6th scale dolls. Why? Because they are so much fun to play with and build dioramas for and to come up with stories for!

I've been making up stories for my dolls since I was ten and got Malibu Christie and the (blue) Barbie Country camper and pretended that she was an astronaut and the camper was either the Starship Enterprise or one of the Eagles from "Space:1999" - or that she was a pioneer, and the camper was a wagon, like on "Little House on the Prarie" or "How the West was Won". The stories only got more elaborate when I got the original Happy Family. The B-movie "Queen of Outer Space" made a really big impression on me, as did "Forbidden Planet". Westerns such as "How the West Was Won" and musicals like "Meet me in St. Louis" and "Easter Parade" and oldies like "Little Women" fueled my Victorian/Western fantasies.

I suppose things haven't changed much, except now I include more modern things like college life for my dolls (some of them are simply too young looking to be adults) and the aforementioned stores, coffee shops, etc. And I'm a lot more snarky than my younger self when it comes to just accepting everything that comes via TV and movies.

There have been purges - Bratz girls, Fashion Royalty dolls (except Something Hot Kyori), don't exist in my universe. Even Mattel's My Scene kids didn't make the final cut. Nothing personal (sometimes) against them but they just didn't play well with the others. A lot of Barbies were just not what I wanted. I hope they found good homes from the thrift store.

But like a real nation, the Doll Nation has its immigrations and migrations; its births, marriages, break-ups, even divorces. It's not perfect, but like the real world Constitution says, "in order to form a more perfect union" - or in my case, a more perfect doll nation - you have to play around.

Friday, January 29, 2010

So In Style dolls; or, troll bashing on "that other board"!

So In Style Chandra: Gorgeous doll - too bad she's not just "chocolate dipped" for some people's tastes!

I was on "that other board", the one my frustration with made me finally start keeping this blog, talking about my adventures finding So In Style Chandra (above) and Darren, and feeling pretty good about finding them after hitting two Walmarts and one Target where they were sold out. I finally found them at TRU, and was enjoying the praise of my fellow doll-hunters, when I read a post that made me see RED....

I'm going to post it here in its entirety and I'm going to print the troll's name:

Mattel needs to stop with those Al Jolsen lips on the AA dolls very insensitive - Mark

Excuse me??? One - she doesn't have Al Jolson (and learn to spell his name right, troll!) lips. She has full lips, the way that most black people have. Hell, even Angelina Jolie has lips like that!

Two - To say a doll has "Al Jolson lips" is to imply that she's covered in tar, or whatever the hell Jolson used to get into "blackface". I think the real problem for this troll - although they won't come out and say so - is that she's too dark for him. I remember reading a post on another board (that OTHER other board) where a person was complaining that Best Model Nichelle was "too dark". She claimed that you "could barely see her features because she was so dark".

I refrained from posting to that particular quote because a) if she couldn't see that the doll was dark skinned from the promo pics, then she was blind as a bat; and b) what the hell did she mean, "too dark"? I'm convinced that the troll above and the poor Best Model Nichelle buyer were both just uncomfortable with the fact that black dolls are not simply white dolls that have been "chocolate dipped".

AA consumers are quite familiar with "chocolate dipped" dolls - the ones that look like Barbies, but you know, are black. Same straight noses, thin lips, but darker skin. Sometimes they just look like Barbies with a dark tan.

The So In Style dolls were one of Mattels attempts (spearheaded by consumers) to come up with dolls that actually have "ethnic sculpting". To give Mattel props, they did have Malibu Christie and Brad/Curtis back in the 70s that had dark skins and fuller lips. I know, because Malibu Christie was the only "Barbie" I had as a child, because my parents refused to buy my their daughters white dolls. They wanted us to have dolls that looked like black people - and why not? To have only white dolls in existence is to say to everyone else - "You're ugly. You don't matter."

And it's not just black people who have problems with the typical Barbie - I have white friends who refuse to buy anything but brown haired or redheaded barbies. Some even want only the short haired Barbies (talk about rarities!)

And that's why I was offended by this person saying that Chandra had "Al Jolson lips". Because not everyone in existence is blonde, blue eyed, straight haired, pale skinned and thin lipped.

Finally, if you don't like the doll, guess what? You don't have to buy her!

But I was polite and this is what I wrote back:

As an AA person, I'm glad that Mattel has dolls that look like most AA people and not just dolls that have caucasian features with darker skin tones (ie Black Barbie from 1980, AA Superstar Barbie, etc.)

... and go fuck yourself. Seriously.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Worst. Outfit. EVER; or, what was Mattel thinking?

Nichelle: Please ignore the clown dress I'm holding up; Mattel stylists were drunk when this was created!

After getting together my steampunk dolly outfits yesterday, I decided to also get rid of some of the outfits my dolls never wear - either they're too ugly to be worn (my dolls having TASTE, like their owner) or too stained or too torn. Not by me - I frequenly get things from thrift stores and yard sales, so sometimes my stuff has been played with by actual KIDS, who aren't the world's best preservers of doll clothing.

As a kid, my dolls had NO store bought clothes except their orginal outfits (bathing suit for Malibu Christie, and the Happy Family outfits.) Any clothes they had were made by me out of scraps I managed to scrounge around the house. It wasn't until I started collecting as an adult back in '99 that my dolls finally had store bought oufits.

Our model, My Room Generation Girl Nichelle, actually came in that monstrosity she's holding up. You may say, "Eh, I've seen worse Barbie outfits!", but hear me out. Nichelle's backstory is that she's a student at International High School (???) in New York and that she's studying FASHION DESIGN.

PARDON ME? Who are her clients - Ringling Brothers? Because they're the only people who might want to buy that clown dress!

And this was the dress that she came in! No wonder there are so many copies of My Room Generation Girl Nichelle out there! Moms (and kids) took one look at this outfit and put her right back on the shelf! I didn't of course - that's because I could see the pretty girl screaming, "Please buy me and get me into some classy clothes!"

And there's no excuse for her not to have a classy outfit - this was the era of Fashion Avenue, for crying out loud! Even her frou-frou pink outfit from the first wave of Generation Girls was better than this thing (although that's not saying much!)

Pretty doll; hideous outfit. But that's pretty much par for the course at Mattel. It wasn't always like this - no wonder people love vintage and mod era outfits so much. Even my era - the Malibu Barbie era - had better clothes than this. But since the 80s, Barbie fashions have been hit or miss - most MISS, and very often FAIL. There have been a few bright shining moments - Fashion Avenue, My Scene and Fashion Fever come to mind. But nowadays when they call the Barbie Aisle "the pink aisle", they aren't kidding! More pink and glitter than anyone could possibly stomach! I had to change Sassy Fashionista out of that pink monstrosity she came boxed in, and put her into (years old) Fashion Fever/My Scene clothes to she would have something decent to wear!

It's a sad statement when you have to change your brand-new doll's clothes and put on clothes from AGES ago so that she'll have a decent wardrobe!

Before (top) and after (right) - You make the call!

Seriously, Mattel should hire me to line item veto their doll clothes - and let's not get started about "pink everything" furniture! (We'll save that for another column!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Steampunk doll project - the adventure begins!

Okay, Casey's Minis blog finally got me off my butt to getting together my dolls, and since I'm off this weekend (hooray!), I finally get to play! I've been wanting to make some steampunk dollies but it's taken me awhile to finally decide which dolls would be in the story.

The background? It's 1866 - a second Great Exhibition has been mounted in London, and all the world turns out, including the Americans. The events of the anime "Steamboy" kinda/sorta happened, as did certain events in the novel "The Difference Engine" (namely that the difference engine and analytical engine were both built and propelled the world into an early internet...)

In MY universe, however, there are female scientists (thanks to a successful early feminist movement - why should the boys have all the fun?) However, the Martian invasion is 30+ years into the future as are the events of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" movie (more on this later.)

Doctor Athena Parnassos ("Doc A") and Doctor Edward Rudolf ("Doc Rude" - not a nickname he likes) are members of S.I.M.P. - Scientists and Inventors Making Progress, one of the world's most exclusive scientific societies.

Doc Athena is of mixed European heritage - Greek, Italian and English. She's one of the world's foremost computational analysts. She's wearing the latest fashion by Dollymop (snerk) which scandalously shows off her legs and ankles. I wasn't trying to make Athena the typical steampunk girl outfit with scanties and corset, but she insisted on something feminine. Her pink overskirt, white jacket, mesh skirt and purse are Barbiewear, but the ruffleed skirt and "sleeves" came from a cloth angel I got at the thrift store. Her "hat" came from another thrift store ornament doll. She is an I-Girl doll, the zookeeper who came with a panda.

Doc Rudolf is of German descent, by way of the American West. In addition to being a crack shot with a Colt .45 (from a thrift store grab bag) and a Winchester rifle (not shown), he's one of the world's top inventors. He's wering a suede vest from OpsToys (which I'm not sure is still around), a Ken shirt, and G.I. trousers from one of the historical soldiers. He is a G.I. Joe himself, one of the Real Heroes dolls.

Both dolls were chosen because they're articulated and great for posing. Doc Rudolf can actually stand up by himself!

Shoes, however, are going to be a problem.

Athena: Must you wave that pistol around? Rudolf: Not waving it; merely displaying my kung fu grip!

Anyway, my Steampunk world is going to be of various elements from the old and the new with one exception - I LOATHE the Alan Moore "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" comics. He's sexist and violent and disgusting. He's not even original - Phillip Jose Farmer was already using Doc Savage and Tarzan in "new" adventures ages before him; and then of course, writers had already been putting Sherlock Holmes into new adventures as well.

And even though the movie "LXG" isn't that great, it takes out all of the gratuitousness of the Moore comics - and it demotes Mina from founder of the League and makes her into a vampire -it's plus one, minus one and plus one again, in my opinion. Also, it's visually impressive - Nemo's sweet ride of a car and the Nautilus! So, it's part of my universe.

Also, I like the more Jules Verne and H.G. Wells parts of steampunk than I do the more modern aspects - call it more "steam" than "punk". And as I go along, I intend to include more World aspects, with dolls representing all ethnic groups. Hopefully I can find more clothes to repurpose into Steampunk outfits.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finally! I have Sassy!

As you can see, Suzie (aka Sassy Fashionista) finally arrived! Target got her AND Fashionista Ken in stock, and I got both of them for $9.99 each! Yay! Here, Sassy has taken over the blue dorm room as her own and is catching up on the newspaper since classes are out for the holiday.

I love the Fashionistas! They are possibly the most fun to play with of all the new Mattel dolls! So poseable!

The other dolls I want to get right now are the Rocawear S.I.S. (So In Style) dolls - they aren't as articulated as the Fashionistas but they are bendy (jointed arms and I think, legs), and right now, I'm in the mood to create a college themed land for my dolls. I imagine they attend Doll Nation University, and go to classes and hang out at the coffee shop and sushi parlor. (Well, they would hang out at the sushi parlor if a million storage boxes weren't blocking it!) I'm going to dig out the rest of the Teen Skipper Trendy Loft furniture so they'll have somewhere to sit!

PS: How much fun do I have with these dolls? Well, here's Ken showing off his moves in front of the ladies! What a ham!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Catching up with the Happy Family!

This picture (left) is from last Christmas -man, the Happy Family mom looks like how I feel today!

Love the Happy Family dolls that came out a few years ago - although I admit that the "mother" and "father" in my version are NOT the dolls that were in the series. I didn't think they were that attractive - I never bought the mom and the dad eventually went (back) to the thrift store, but I kept the kids. Grandma doesn't look like she minds! Mom was a teacher barbie that came with a baby "student" and a lot of school accessories. Someday I will make the dolly daycare I have in mind when I have more room!

I promised a holiday pic for each day of the week for the first week of 2010 - whoops! so much for resolutions!

Anyway, back to these dolls --> the Happy Family AA grandparents are awesome, as are their Caucasian counterparts. It's nice to have dolls of all ages and sizes. Happy Family Grandma is a bit wider in the hips than her daughter - it makes it harder to find nice clothes for them but who says everyone has to be the same size? Her nightie was a thrift store find in a baggie with duplicate outfits (yes, I have a duplicate of this nightie!)

I love the kitchen playset the grandparents came in - it makes a great display! I now have mine permamently open on a shelf. I added items from a couple of other kitchen sets - the wall behind Grandpa is from one (can't remember the name!) and the table and chairs he's sitting at comes from a Barbie dining room set. I love the unknown wall set because of the fireplace - I just love the idea of a kitchen having a fireplace. And you can just barely see it in the pic, but I used "stone" scrapbook paper for the floor! The table and chairs is because I wanted to accomodate more dolls in the kitchen!

Re-ment has some great food sets and things for decorating a kitchen, so the granparents are going to have the coziest kitchen imaginable! There's even a set with those little apple wall decorations my grandparents had!

Okay, I admit it - this playset just takes me back to all those wonderful times I spent in my own grandparents kitchen, eating wonderful food and not worrying about calories or cholesterol! It's probably all idealized (well, except for my grandmama's cooking - she was DA BOMB, baby! when it came to cooking!), but then what happy memory isn't?

These days, even your dolls can have tasty food - the pancakes you see are from Missy's Minis on eBay. Like miniature artists, these days, collectors in 1/6th scale have artists who make wonderful items.

It's a good time to make dioramas!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - A Doll Odyssey!

The new year just started, and all I want to do is read, sleep and eat!

Was going to tackle my doll collection today - one of the New Year's resolutions is to thin down (yet again!) the hordes that reside in the Doll Nation. And not just the hordes, but all of their STUFF as well!

However, I'm scared of making a mistake like the time I gave away a Barbie desk and then realized - hello! - there are hardly any Barbie desks! So now I think long and hard before I give away any Barbie furniture.

Dolls, on the other hand, are easier for me to get rid of. Since most of the Doll Nation's denizens come from the thrift store, I have no qualms about sending them back to the thrift store. But with this year's monetary outlook, I'm not buying any dolls unless they are on the WANT LIST for a while! And even then, I won't always buy them - like that Ginger Spice doll I found in the box at the thrift store for five bucks. Even though she was on "the list", I didn't get her cause I found diorama stuff I wanted more.

I sent FORTY dolls back to the thrift store in my clean up back in the fall - at about 2 bucks each that represented $80 bucks down the drain! But I have to admit that most of them were from the early days of thrifting when I was like WHOO HOO! DOLLS! at the thrift store. So mistakes were made and lessons were learned.

This year I resolve to stick to Mattel dolls since I like them the best. No more expensive mistakes like the lone Fashion Royalty doll I now have (anybody want to buy Something Hot Kyori?) Even though I like FASHION dolls like the Barbie Basics, I don't like FASHION (ie $70 bucks and up) dolls like Fashion Royalty dolls. I like to play with my dolls, and although they are pretty (some of them) and articulated, FRs just seem like the only roles they can play are snooty, snotty fashionable people. Silkstones have been accused of having an attitude, but mine sit around and gossip, kick off their high heels, wear fuzzy slippers, and occasionally cook (horrors!) in Silkstone Manor. (Yes, Silkstone Manor has a kitchen! Imagine that!) They also have jobs, although I can't figure out for the life of me what they do for a living!

And they don't complain about wearing (gasp! clutch the pearls!) playline clothes. A lot of the owners of FRs act as though they're slumming if they dress their dolls in anything but FR clothes and (expensive) handmade creations. Personally, I'm not going to spend more on a doll's clothes than I do on my own clothes! I'm funny that way!

But I hereby resolve to get the Doll Nation into some semblance of order for 2010. Either the dolls get into dioramas and displayed or they are GONE. The furniture gets used or it is GONE. I forsee having a big ass sale this year - but then I've said THAT for the past two years. This time, I mean it!

We'll see how I've done when January 2011 rolls around!