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July 30, 2005

Toys can teach even when they don't dazzle

"What do dolls, sticks, stuffed animals, blocks, puzzles and matchbox cars have in common? These are the tried and true toys that have the power to teach, entertain and increase socialization skills, intellectual functioning and visual-motor integration. Toys don't have to be new, fancy or expensive to do what they are meant to do.

Toys with bells and whistles are entertaining and have a place, but they do not develop skills the way old standard toys do. Even more important, playing with traditional toys helps children's personalities and even values to develop.

If a toy is sitting and motionless, any action has to be created by the child. Each time a child chooses a toy, makes a doll stand, a lion roar, two cars crash or two dolls play, s/he is expressing ideas. As s/he develops stories, s/he is developing imagination and expressing ideas. Every time s/he entertains himself, his self-esteem is boosted because he has created his own feeling of well-being. . . S/he is simply playing and enjoying . . . "

exerpt by Rachal Bryant
Star-Gazette.com
Columnist
July 20, 2005

Posted by dollcloset at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2005

Elizabeth's Debut

Elizabeth, Felicity's friend, is scheduled to debut this weekend at special ticketed events at the American Girl Place in New York and in Chicago . . . Wish I could be there! (I do have a friend going, so will give a report as soon as I know more)

In the meantime, the American Girl Gossip says there will be a Governor's Party dress and a bed for Elizabeth (they didn't have a bed for Nellie last year) AND there's going to be a CARRIAGE that both dolls can fit into! And a new horse for Elizabeth . . . and new clothes, of course, plus Felicity's "Noah's Ark" will be back and her Riding Habit. Can't wait!

In addition we at DollCloset.com are busy with a new matching dress for dolls and girls suitable for Felicity or Elizabeth! And we've noticed that our Felicity charms and the Colonial dresses we have now are going fast . . .

Posted by dollcloset at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Ginny - Her Story!

We just received a wonderful new shipment of copies of vintage Ginny Dolls and thought you'd like to learn more about Ginny Dolls in the early years!

Ginny actually began in 1922 when Jennie Adler Graves established Ye Olde Vogue Doll Shoppe in her home in Massachusetts. The story is that a "friend", who knew of Jennie's skill in sewing children's clothes, asked her to dress some dolls for a charity event. Actually, the "friend" was selling the dolls instead of giving them to charity! Jennie Graves then began to dress and sell imported German dolls to Jordan Marsh, a well-known Boston department store.

Things went very well until a sales dip in 1948 inspired Mrs. Graves to introduce an 8" plastic doll, the forerunner to Ginny. Everyone loved the new doll and Ginny was officially born in 1951. She was named after Jennie's daughter Virginia. In 1949 Vogue needed a 15,000 square foot warehouse and employed 50 regular workers plus from 100 to 200 home sewers and brought in a sales volume of $239,000 a year; by 1953, Vogue's annual volume reached $2,113,904.

Ginny was selling so well, that many doll companies tried to copy the popular 8" dolls. By 1957, Ginny had reached over five million dollars per year in sales, and was a beloved fixture in most American households.

Mrs. Graves retired in 1960; her daughter Mrs. Virginia Carlson and son-in-law Edwin Nelson continued to lead the company until Virginia's retirement in 1966. The company was then run entirely by Mr. Nelson until 1972 when the Vogue name was sold to Tonka Corporation. Between 1977 and 1995 Ginny had a succession of three more owners. Each company, in its own way, added significantly to Ginny’s history.

In 1995 Ginny was reunited with new owners and The Vogue Doll Company name - they promised to restore Ginny to her deserved place in the modern doll era and have been been producing the wonderful dolls seen on our pages.

Historical information from Collector's Encyclopedia by Carol Stover and Judith Izen.

Posted by dollcloset at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

New Doll and Outfit from Robert Tonner Dolls

My favorite doll for this 2005 season has to be this adorable Bitsy Ballerina , a Tiny Ann Estelle doll. She's a real cutie!

More Tonner dolls will be coming this summer plus new sizes ie 10" and 14" Tonner and Effanbee Dolls . . . in the meantime we have added another Tiny outfit - Lollipop, Lollipop!

Any day we should be receiving the new 12" Marley Wentworth dolls from the Tonner Doll Company - she's the little sister of the 15" fashion doll, Tyler Wentworth. Marley is VERY cute and definitely meant for play . . . and, of course, she has VERY cool clothes!

Posted by dollcloset at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2005

Halloween Costumes . . . Already??

We've noticed that American Girl is advertising their Halloween Costumes . . . we think it's pretty early BUT we do have lots of costumes available for you (and a few NEW ones coming too!)

To see what we will have, take a peek now (many of them are already up on our site) Halloween Doll Costumes

We do have Costumes for Girls too!

Posted by dollcloset at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Toni Dolls Returning!

Just received this information on one more "old" doll being revitalized:

Toni® was an instant American Classic (doll) when she was first introduced to children in 1949. Toni® endured through the ages, reminiscent of childhood innocence; today, Robert Tonner reintroduces Toni® as a 14” hard plastic, fine doll with an endearing nod to the vintage days of yesteryear.

The "new" Toni Dolls will be available with blonde, auburn or brunette haidos. The outfits she's wearing look very much like the original dresses. I asked Robert Tonner last February if the doll would be coming with the "Toni" Permanent Wave kit like the original dolls did and didn't get a definitive answer . . . the pictures don't show the kits, so looks like the answer is No. The dolls do look lovely and we WILL carry!

Posted by dollcloset at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005

When did Doll Accessories Become Important?

French Fashion Dolls (mid to late 1800s) were the FIRST dolls that placed a major emphasis on accessories. Few doll accessories have matched the prolific amount of accessories created for French Fashion dolls and few doll accessories have matched their quality. French Fashion dolls were made to be exact replicas of the ladies that young girls were expected to grow up to be, and the dolls had everything available in miniature that a lady of style and taste would have for herself. An entire industry was created centering on French Fashion dolls in Paris and boutiques existed that did nothing but create accessories for these dolls. Accessories included games, photo booklets, sewing necessities, grooming items (even toothbrushes!), jewelry and of course furniture.

By Denise Van Patten
To Be Continued

NOTE: Tasha Tudor's book, "A is for Annabelle", illustrates one of these dolls perfectly!

Posted by dollcloset at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Response to a Young Girl's Letter

Recently we received a letter from an Elementry student telling us that she "loves American Girl Dolls but why are they so expensive?"
Here's our reply:

" . . . our company sells clothing and accessories that FIT American Girl dolls - we don't make the dolls. That company is owned by Mattel - it was originally called Pleasant Company (the woman that started the company is named Pleasant Roland). Now the company is called American Girl.
As we are in business too, I can try to answer your question regarding the cost of American Girl dolls. First, the dolls are very well-made of quality parts. Many cheaper dolls have eyes that don't open or close and hair that cannot be brushed or styled.
Secondly, a business has to pay everyone involved in the creation of the doll from the face and hands sculptor (really!) to the design of the body, the attachment of the arms and legs to the placement of the eyes and the wigs of the doll. Some of the work is done by machine but most is done with the help of people working in a factory.
Next we have the costs of dressing the doll ie someone researches and designs the appropriate clothing, others find the fabric and trims, and others cut and sew the garments. In addition, there are shoes, underwear and accessories that must be found or made. And a box is needed to keep her fresh and ready for someone.
If the doll is a historical American Girl doll, like your Kirsten, other people research the life she would have for all the fun doll accessories . . . plus an author is paid to write the books that tell about Kirsten.
In other words, lots of parts need to be bought and many people are involved that need to be paid. All of the costs are added up and then divided by the number of dolls to be made. The final cost is increased two or three times to allow the company to afford a building, phones and the beautiful catalogs they mail at no direct cost to you. All of those costs are figured into the price of American Girl dolls.
If they used less expensive materials in making and clothing the doll, and didn't have books and accessories for the dolls - then the dolls would be cheaper. And there are less expensive dolls out there that are the same size as American Girl dolls, but they are not the same. Hope that helps! Millie@DollCloset.com

Posted by dollcloset at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2005

Canadian Exclusive Barbie

Just released is a new Barbie with a definite Canadian twist! She's the first Barbie Collector doll designed and retailed exclusively in Canada . . . the Mattel sponsored contest chose the winner, Christy Marcus, a student at the Ryerson University's School of Fashion. Inspired by Christy's Inuit heritage, Barbie wears a parka-inspired faux-fur trimmed composition with printed panels reminisicent of Inuit prints.

Posted by dollcloset at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2005

Marisol Dance Costume

I recently spoke with the local doll clothing company and learned that they have plans for a ballet Folklorico costume for Marisol! Sounded very good to me as I've heard that's what many people would like (some said they were really disappointed with the recent black ballet costume). A version of Jalisco was considered but the company is leaning toward Zacatecas with cheerful stripes on the full skirts. Whichever it is, you can be sure we will carry it!

Posted by dollcloset at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Cabage Patch Dolls

A national craze in 1983, the Cabbage Patch Kids are still popular. About 250,000 fans and collectors travel yearly to BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia. Built in the early 1900s as a real medical facility, it's been the Cabbage Patch Kids birthplace since 1979. Visitors can watch the "deliveries" and help name the new arrivals. There's even a preemie unit. Admission is free (not counting the Kid you won't be able to resist adopting!). The BabyLand General Hospital is open 9am to 5pm, 10am to 5pm on Sundays.

Posted by dollcloset at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2005

Canada's 18 inch Doll

The Maplelea Girls are fairly new dolls designed for play; each of the four dolls comes from a different part of Canada. Personally I find the smile a little too much but friends who have one say she looks better in person. She can wear the same clothes as American Girl dolls which really expands her wardrobe!
The best part, I thought, is the award they give called "Real Girls doing Real Things that Matter". This year's winner is Megan McCreary, an ambassador for autism. Her two younger brothers have autism - that inspired her to design a toy for them and now it's available for others too. You can learn more about her and autism at her website CommonSenses.

Posted by dollcloset at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

Raggedy Ann and Steiff Celebrate!

Raggedy Ann stories turn 90 this year - if you're in Illinois you can visit the official Raggedy Ann Museum OR visit their website for the latest news on the national Raggedy Ann contest and other good stuff! Here's the link: Raggedy Ann Museum Enjoy!

Steiff, the "Button in the Ear" plush company, is celebrating a 125 year history! Their first plush toy was a tiny elephant in 1880 . . . then in 1904 they invented the teddy bear. The company is still owned by the same family and still operates out of the original factory in Germany. If you're near Plymouth, MA you can join the "Festival of Steiff" to be held in September near the US Steiff Headquarters.

Posted by dollcloset at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2005

New Elizabeth Doll

Just heard that IF you are a member of the American Girl Club, you will have the opportunity to order Elizabeth (Felicity's friend) BEFORE September!

Posted by dollcloset at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)