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"http://www.dolldivas.net/dolldivas-dioramas.html. 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" http://www.mutantgoldfishdesigns.com/rescuemission/index.htm. 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. http://members.verizon.net/~vze34fnk/homepage.htm

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. http://mickbaltes.de/blog/?cat=4

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.)http://community.livejournal.com/spn_plastic/307.html

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!