doll photography

The Making of a Doll Sized Fairy Tale (Video)

Some dolls are more fun to photograph than others. In My Mom’s Dolls latest photo shoot, we chose to work with two dolls by Tonner (8-inch Betsy McCall and Mary Engelbright) to depict the characters in our fairy tale. We like how their big eyes photograph, and the dolls are easy to pose.

For the background sets in our fairy tale photo shoot, we worked with felt. It’s cheap, comes in many colors and is easy to work with. Also by working with felt, we were able to immerse the dolls into the settings more realistically by creating layers with the felt that pop out–like the ocean waves, for example. We also like how the felt’s wooly texture gives the photographs extra depth, and its general feel adds to the storybook quality.

We created a park, a forest and a beach from our colorful felt pieces. Each scene had a ground covering and two main backgrounds.

To make the dolls float in the images, we used wire under their dresses and hung them from the ceiling. Later, we edited the images to remove the wire. Working with the wire was nice because it made it easy to make minute adjustments with the dolls in the frame to achieve the compositions we wanted.

Adding a few natural elements like rocks and a piece of wood, brought a bit of reality to the felted backdrops, and we used a lot of tiny plastic doll accessories that we found as props.

The result is the storybook style video you can see in this post. It’s the first in a series of adventures for the two characters, Lulu and Belle.

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Character Dolls Inspired by Favorite Children’s Literature

Stories read during childhood seem to stay with us forever and the characters are never forgotten.

“When I Read I Dream™” was a brief series of collectible child dolls made by Mattel (maker of Barbie) in 2001. The dolls were inspired by a few characters out of beloved children’s literature and have since been discontinued. They are part of “The Barbie Collection” catalog and originally retailed for $19.95.

There were only four dolls in the series: Heidi, inspired by the original story, Heidi; Anne from Anne of Green Gables; Fern from Charlotte’s Web and Jo from Little Women. Each doll is dressed in a fashion ensemble that accurately represents her book character and has a sweet face with light freckling on the cheeks. At 8 inches, the dolls share the same plastic body as the Stacy doll made popular during the 1990s making the “When I Read I Dream™” series of dolls easy to pose and able to wear Stacy’s fashions.

My Mom’s Dolls had two of the “When I Read I Dream™” child dolls. We had Heidi, which was has already sold, and Jo from Little Women. Both dolls were available for our photo shoot though.

Visit our eBay store for weekly offerings in dolls and doll fashion accessories.

Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Heidi doll from the Heidi story
Jo doll from the story, Little Women
Jo doll from the story, Little Women
Jo doll from the story, Little Women
Jo doll from the story, Little Women
Jo doll from the story, Little Women
Jo doll from the story, Little Women

Celebrity Dolls: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

The “Olsen twins,” Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, are American actors known for their tween-targeted celebrity brand of media and merchandise during the late 1990s and early 2000s. They started acting in 1987 at the age of nine months when they played the role of Michelle Tanner in the sitcom, Full House, which ran until 1995. From childhood through their teens, the twins starred in shows and videos, had a fashion line and other products marketing on their twindom. Now nearly thirty years old, the twins are affluent socialites and are among the wealthiest young women in entertainment.

Mattel made several sets of Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls, fashions and accessories from 1999 to 2005

Corresponding with their videos and movies, toy maker, Mattel made several sets of Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls, fashions and accessories from 1999 to 2005. My Mom’s Dolls has the original 1999 dolls which were made when the twins were thirteen. Semi-posable and designed for play, the dolls have bending knees, twisting waists, and heads that tilt and turn. The Mattel dolls realistically capture the twins and their unique facial expressions.

My Mom’s Dolls has the original 1999 dolls and fashions

The 1999 Mary-Kate doll was originally dressed in a long sleeve red striped shirt, capri pants and red sneakers, had blue sunglasses and carried a red shoulder purse. She came with an additional riding outfit, short purple pajamas, a cellphone and soda bottle. She is smiling showing her teeth.

In this set, the Ashley doll wore a gray flower print skirt, pink shiny top, gray fuzzy sweater with flecks, pink platform shoes, pink sunglasses and carried a gray shoulder bag. She came with an additional pink ballet uniform with carrying case and ballet slippers, pink short pajamas, cell phone and boombox. She is smiling with her mouth closed.

My Mom’s Dolls also has additional fashion separates for the Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls: pin-striped pant suit, purple corduroy pant suit, Paris blue and red skirt suit, pink and purple skirt suit, jean skirt, casual yellow top with khaki skirt, green track suit, jeans and red top ensemble, and a couple of beach outfits.

Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls, along with the fashion separates, will go on sale this month. Visit our eBay store to find out more.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twin dolls
Madame Alexander Doll

Tiny Madame Alexander Trio Strike a Pose

Madame Alexander has been making dolls since 1923. Known for their detailed faces and eyes, the dolls come in various sizes and themes. The eight-inch type are easy to pose and can stand on their own two feet.

Enjoy our collection of charming characters hamming it up for the camera before we say goodbye to them as they go up for auction this month. In this photo spread, we have a pink lady with blonde curls strolling along in Easter Morning, a very contrary Mary with upturned pigtails tending to her garden in How Does Your Garden Grow, and a red-headed maiden relaxing with her bears in Picnic Time for Teddy Bear.

Watch for upcoming listings at our eBay store.

Madame Alexander Doll
Easter Morning
Madame Alexander Doll
Easter Morning
Madame Alexander Doll
How Does Your Garden Grow
Madame Alexander Doll
How Does Your Garden Grow
Madame Alexander Doll
Picnic Time for Teddy Bear
Madame Alexander Doll
Picnic Time for Teddy Bear
Madeline doll

Crafted out of Storybook Dreams: The Madeline Doll

In 1939 when Austrian-born American author, Ludwig Bemelmans wrote and illustrated the first Madeline book, he probably never guessed the character and series would become the popular media franchise it has. After publishing five more Madeline books from 1953 through 1961 and a seventh in 1999 after his death, his grandson, John Bemelmens Marciano continued writing the stories. The franchise has gone on to produce television shows, movies, video games and toys.

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”

Inspired by his daughter Barbara, the Madeline character depicts a seven-year old red-haired girl who is the bravest in her class despite being the smallest, and she attends a boarding school in Paris with eleven other girls. The books start with the famous line, “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.” The stories follow a rhyming pattern and center around every day situations.

The Madeline books are known for Bemelmans’ fun and bold illustration style. For materials, he worked with ink, water color and dry brush to create the uniquely stylized Parisian scenes. Relying on a primary color palette, he was clever at using it to focus attention on the characters more than the backgrounds.

The 8-inch Madeline doll

Bemelmans’ well-known illustrations make it no surprise the original 8-inch Madeline dolls, originally developed by Eden Toys, were given simple illustrated faces featuring a line for the mouth in the style found in the books. It wasn’t until Learning Curve acquired Eden Toys that the 8-inch Madeline dolls were given more realistic, detailed faces that deviated from the books. Both Eden Toys and Learning Curve created all kinds of detailed outfits for the 8-inch Madeline dolls as well as other accessories making the doll series a joy for collectors.

My Mom’s Dolls has several Madeline dolls and outfits by both Eden Toys and Learning Curve. This blog post features the Learning Curve Madeline dolls from 2003–celebrating 65 years of Madeline. One doll is wearing a school outfit with Madeline’s signature blue coat and yellow hat while the other is Madeline in a red party dress.

Something to wear for every occasion

We’re also featuring three Madeline outfits by Eden and three outfits by Learning Curve. From Eden, we have a pink Ballerina ensemble from 2001, Fancy Dress with a red plaid ruffle skirt and green velvet top and lace detail, and Holiday Best Christmas Party plaid sateen dress. The Learning Curve ensembles include a pink Flower Girl dress from 2003, Puddle Jumper yellow rain jacket and red umbrella, and purple velvet Opening Night at the Opera dress with opera spectacles.

Check out our eBay store to see our weekly selection of adorable dolls and doll clothes on sale.

Madeline doll
Madeline 8-inch doll by Learning Curve in signature yellow hat and blue coat
Madeline doll
Madeline 8-inch doll by Learning Curve in red party dress
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Puddle Jumper ensemble
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Opening Night at the Opera ensemble
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Holiday Best ensemble
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Flower Girl ensemble
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Fancy Dress ensemble
Madeline ensemble
Madeline Ballerina ensemble

My Mom’s Dolls on Sale Now

My Mom’s Dolls says goodbye to Olivia Hope Horse & Pony Only Hearts Club doll–our first sale from our massive collection of quality, adorable, rare and collectible dolls. We hope she loves her new home and has many new adventures!

This February weekend isn’t just the premiere of The Walking Dead, it also kicks off the sale of several Only Hearts Club dolls–all in the original boxes and in perfect condition. We’re listing Karina Grace, Olivia Hope, Taylor Angelique, Lil’ Kids Melody and Big Sister, Little Sister Olivia Hope and Kristy set. Next available items will be the Only Hearts Club fashion ensembles to pair with the realistic, stylish girls from the Only Hearts Club.

Check out our eBay store to see our weekly selection of adorable dolls and doll fashions on sale.

DSC03122-bye

Small Contemporary Dolls that Pack Big Personality: Only Hearts Club

Whether you’re a collector of unique dolls or a parent looking for quality dolls to be played with, the Only Hearts Club collection by OHC Group LLC is a standout bunch.

My Mom’s Dolls looks at the contemporary Only Hearts Club collection of dolls featuring eight different characters that today’s girls can relate to. Each character comes with a pet dog or cat,  and each character is made to imbue individual interests from ballet and sports, to equestrianism. The characters also have tons of trendy fashion styles and accessories to wear, and there are six younger siblings to pair them with as well as additional animals. All of the dolls are made from cloth and are posable with joints that bend.

The nine-inch characters are Taylor Angelique, Karina Grace, Olivia Hope, Briana Joy, Lily Rose, Anna Sophia, Hannah Faith, and Kayla Rae. The four-inch younger siblings are Melody, Kristy, Jessica, Chelsea, Sydney and Trevor.

Only Hearts Club dolls and animals are created by the privately held California company, OHC Group LLC, which started around 2011. Their positive, age appropriate dolls have won them numerous awards. The company refers to the dolls as “real dolls for real girls.”

My Mom’s Dolls has twelve Only Hearts Club dolls and six fashion outfits. Most of the dolls are still in the original packaging, and all of the fashions have never been opened.

Dolls typically retail at $15.00 each while fashions retail at $10.00 each.

Visit our eBay store where these special Only Hearts Club dolls and fashions will be available for purchase.

Only Hearts Club girls
Only Hearts Club girls. Top: Lily Rose, Taylor Angelique. Left to right: Olivia Hope, Taylor Angelique, Briana Joy, Karina Grace, Taylor Angelique. Front: Melody.
Only Hearts Club Lily Rose and Melody
Only Hearts Club Lily Rose and Melody
Lily Rose and Melody
Only Hearts Club Lily Rose and Melody
Only Hearts Club fashions
Only Hearts Club fashions

A Brief History of the Shirley Temple Doll

America’s little darling, Shirley Temple, was the first celebrity doll. The dolls were introduced in the 1930’s when the young star began her career as a performer at the age of three. During this decade, as Shirley’s career took off, so did the popularity of the dolls.

From the 1930’s until the late 1980’s most Shirley Temple dolls were made by toy maker, IDEAL. IDEAL’s Shirley Temple dolls came in a variety of sizes from 8 inches all they way up to 36 inches. Early dolls had limbs, neck and head made of composition material and had cloth bodies while from the 1950’s onward, the dolls were made out of vinyl with a few limited editions in porcelain.

When I was about three years old, my mom bought me a 16 inch Shirley Temple doll made by IDEAL in 1972. It came in a box that had photo stills of Shirley’s movies, and the doll was dressed in the red and white polka dot dress she wore in the 1936 movie, “Poor Little Rich Girl.”  I remember the box well because I wasn’t allowed to open it to play with the doll until my mom thought I was old enough to take care of it. She kept it on the top shelf of a closet, but if I asked enough times, she’d take down the box so I could look at it up close until finally, one day, she said I could open it. The doll is still around and is in pretty good condition too, though it has one torn sock and the other is missing.

My Mom’s Dolls has an 8 inch Shirley Temple that my mom and I bought new at a doll show when I was about eleven or twelve so it hasn’t been played with much. It was made by IDEAL in 1982 and depicts Shirley in her role from the 1935 movie, “The Littlest Rebel” where Shirley and Bojangles visit president Lincoln.

In my opinion, the IDEAL dolls hold the closest resemblance to the real Shirley Temple child star, and the vinyl dolls created from 1971 through 1983 capture her dimple faced cuteness the best. Later porcelain versions by Danbury Mint also hold a close likeness.

IDEAL changed ownership a few times in the late 1980’s and later became part of Mattel in 1997. From 1986, Danbury Mint made porcelain Shirley Temple dolls through the 1990’s, and as far as I know, no other manufacturer is making the Shirley Temple doll at this time.

Visit our eBay store to see our weekly offerings in dolls and doll fashions.

8
8″ Shirley Temple
8
8″ Shirley Temple

12 Stylish Tiny Betsy McCall Collector’s Doll Fashions

The Tiny Betsy McCall doll is a cute 8-inch size doll most recently designed by Tonner Doll Company from around 2006 or so. In this blog post, My Mom’s Dolls will cover twelve Tiny Betsy fashions by Tonner Doll Co. that were inspired by the original illustrated paper doll.

Anyone interested in the Tiny Betsy McCall doll is probably already familiar with the Betsy McCall paper doll that was introduced in April of 1951 by McCall’s Magazine. Each issue of the magazine included the Betsy McCall paper doll featuring new fashions of the era for Betsy and her family and friends–like her cousin, Barbara; her little sister, Linda; her mother, called simply Mrs. McCall; her father, James McCall and other cousins and friends.

“Introducing Betsy McCall”

My Mom’s Dolls photographed Betsy in her bright pink Summer Party dress. The original illustrated version appeared in the very first Betsy paper doll published in May 1951 titled, “Introducing Betsy McCall.” The dress is a simple style popular at the time featuring white embroidery and lace and a full skirt.

Photographed with Summer Party is the Sugar & Spice party dress. Though it doesn’t seem to be a direct reproduction of any of the paper doll fashions, the ruffle sleeve and sheer dotted fabric draw from a sophisticated style popular in the 1950s.

Day on the Boat is a red double breasted sailor dress that Betsy wore for Valentines Day in 1955. Tonner replicated the illustrated version for Tiny Betsy, and My Mom’s Dolls photographed it alongside a midnight blue velvet dress that has puffy white sleeves and a flower detail on the side. We were not able to find the name of the velvet ensemble or find it in the paper doll illustrations. Unlike the 1950s full-skirt style dresses, this one has a more contemporary cut that Betsy wears well.

Hopscotch Happy and Picking Poseys are two ensembles by Tonner that depict a casual 1950s Betsy McCall. Hopscotch Happy is a blue dress with orange trim while Picking Poseys is a dark blue cotton dress with a flower print and white collar.  Both dresses evoke casual, outdoor child’s play of the 1950s.

“Betsy McCall Plays a Joke”

My Mom’s Dolls also has six other memorable fashions still in the original packaging. Bundled Up is a grey coat with winter accessories, that is not exactly the same, but similar to the grey coat featured in the February 1953 “Betsy McCall Plays a Joke” paper doll. Likewise, the Little Dreamer nightgown and wrap ensemble is similar to “Betsy McCall Waits up for Santa” from the December 1953 illustrations, and more specifically, the December 1958 issue.

“Betsy McCall Learns How to Sew”

Fashion ensembles also inspired by the 1950s paper doll are Floral Dance, A Day in the Sunshine, Mommy’s Birthday and Plaid Party. The Plaid Party dress is a replica of the September 1957 paper Betsy where Betsy wears her checked gingham dress to school in “Betsy McCall Learns How to Sew.”

Visit our eBay store for our weekly offerings in dolls and doll fashion accessories.

Tiny Betsy McCall Sugar & Spice, Summer Party ensembles
Tiny Betsy McCall Sugar & Spice, Summer Party ensembles
Tiny Betsy McCall Midnight Velvet, Day on the Boat dresses
Tiny Betsy McCall Midnight Velvet, Day on the Boat dresses
Tiny Betsy McCall Hopscotch Happy, Picking Poseys dresses
Tiny Betsy McCall Hopscotch Happy, Picking Poseys dresses
Bundled Up
Bundled Up
DSC02892-littledreamer
Little Dreamer
DSC02893-dayinthesunshine
A Day in the Sunshine
DSC02896-mommysbirthday
Mommy’s Birthday
DSC02898-floraldance
Floral Dance
DSC02899-plaidparty
Plaid Party

Four Noteworthy Doll Makers: Tonner, Kish, Alexander, Vogue

My Mom’s Dolls takes a look at a few noteworthy doll makers and some of their eight-inch size collections. After sorting through an assortment of mainly eight-inch and similar sized dolls, thousands of tiny plastic shoes and miniature replicas of children’s fashion, it was interesting to discover different doll makers and become familiar with each maker’s unique artistry.

Tonner Doll Company

In 2002, fashion designer, Robert Tonner purchased one of America’s oldest doll companies, the Effanbee Doll Company, which became Tonner Doll Company. It’s not surprising that the company produces fashion type collector’s dolls in a wide range of collections. Each collection is created with realistic detail in the face and body and has stylish fashions to wear. Tonner Doll Company stands out for its fashion and style.

My Mom’s Dolls came across Tonner Doll Co. while researching the maker of two eight-inch Betsy McCall dolls and several coordinating Betsy McCall fashions still in their boxes. Inspired by the Betsy McCall paper dolls from McCall’s Magazine from the 1950’s through the early 1970’s, Tonner Doll Co. created the Betsy McCall line in 2009 and thereabouts.

McCall’s Magazine originally created the Betsy McCall paper doll as a segment of the publication in the 1950’s to encourage moms to buy the publication so it could be shared with their daughters. Each issue included new fashions of the time for the paper Betsy McCall and introduced different family members like her little sister and visiting cousins.

For those who remember collecting these paper dolls with their moms, the tiny Betsy dolls and fashions carry a nostalgic feeling.

Also by Tonner, and very similar to the Betsy McCall dolls, are the Mary Engelbreit series based on the illustrator, Mary Engelbreit and her original series of characters. My Mom’s Dolls has two of the Mary Engelbreit dolls with coordinating fashions.

Kish & Company

Artist, Helen Kish began sculpting dolls in the late 1970’s and is recognized around the world for her contribution to the art of doll making. The materials she works with include porcelain and vinyl as well as clay, bronze and stoneware. As collector’s dolls, each style is made in limited quantity. Kish & Company stands out for the original faces, creative characters and ability to pose.

One of the standout Kish collections is Riley & Friends. Riley is an American toddler eight-inch doll that is created in a variety of themes from Alice in Wonderland to Epic Snowboard Riley. She has a cousin, Kiley, and there are several other friends in the series from Tulah, Avery, Jada and Zsu Zse. Each doll is dressed in a unique fashion and additional fashions are available from the doll maker.

My Mom’s Dolls “Riley & Friends” collection spans from 2005 with Swimsuit Riley to 2010 with Debut Kiley. The dolls are easy to pose and can easily stand on their own.

Madame Alexander

Madame Alexander dolls have been around since 1923. They are known for their faces, hand painted eyes and delicate lifelike lashes. Originally founded by Beatrice Alexander, one of her first collector’s dolls was Scarlet O’Hara. The company designs various types of dolls from baby dolls to eight-inch dolls with nostalgic themes.

As a kid, my mom and my aunts were diehard Madame Alexander fans, so my first baby-dolls were Madame Alexander, and I remember being struck by their eyes, real lashes and fancy clothing.

My Mom’s Dolls Madame Alexander collection is the eight-inch type. From 2002 our classic Madame Alexander dolls are How Does Your Garden Grow, Easter Morning, and Picnic Time for Teddy Bear. We also have an Eloise in Paris doll. She’s a replica of the illustrated Eloise by Hilary Knight in the Kay Thompson Eloise book series except instead of wearing a black pleated skirt with suspenders and un-tucked white blouse, she’s wearing a pink pleated skirt with a pink and white striped un-tucked t-shirt.

Vogue Doll Company

In 1951, Vogue Doll Co. launched the original eight-inch doll, the Ginny doll, created by seamstress Jennie Adler Graves in Massachusetts. Sales of the Ginny doll reached over $2M within two years inspiring other doll makers to create their version of an eight-inch doll. By 1957 Ginny was in nearly every household. Ginny has gone through many transformations over the years, but has always been known for being a playable doll with small stylish fashions to collect.

I remember playing with my two 1980’s version of Ginny. They had a white ornate armoire and more outfits, hats and shoes than could fit in it. Girls always need a bigger closet.

My Mom’s Dolls celebrates childhood fun as well as nostalgia for 1950’s children’s fashion. Whether for collecting or for playing with, Tonner Doll Company, Kish & Company, and Madame Alexander have captured something memorable and nostalgic in their creations.

Visit our eBay store for our weekly offerings in dolls and doll fashion accessories.

Tonner Doll Co. clockwise from top left: Mary Engelbreit My Sweetheart, Thoroughly Tiny Betsy McCall, Vintage American Betsy McCall, Mary Engelbreit
Tonner Doll Co. clockwise from top left: Mary Engelbreit My Sweetheart, Thoroughly Tiny Betsy McCall, Vintage American Betsy McCall, Mary Engelbreit
Kish & Co. left to right Jada Champs Elysees, Concert Zsu Zse, Pink Ribbon Riley, Debut Kiley (sitting)
Kish & Co. left to right Jada Champs Elysees, Concert Zsu Zse, Pink Ribbon Riley, Debut Kiley (sitting)
Kish & Co: Tulah & Toots, Avery (sitting)
Kish & Co: Tulah & Toots, Avery (sitting)
Kish & Co. left to right: Fiesta Riley, Jada Up On the Roof, Riley Contempo
Kish & Co. left to right: Fiesta Riley, Jada Up On the Roof, Riley Contempo
Kish & Co.: Tuscan Sun Tulah, In Monet's Garden Riley
Kish & Co.: Tuscan Sun Tulah, In Monet’s Garden Riley
Kish & Co. left to right: Swimsuit Riley, Winter Riley, Epic Snowboard Adventure Riley
Kish & Co. left to right: Swimsuit Riley, Winter Riley, Epic Snowboard Adventure Riley
Madame Alexander clockwise from left: How Does Your Garden Grown, Easter Morning, Picnic Time for Teddy Bear
Madame Alexander clockwise from left: How Does Your Garden Grown, Easter Morning, Picnic Time for Teddy Bear
Vogue Doll Co.: Eloise
Madame Alexander: Eloise in Paris