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March 23, 2008

Doll and Toy Safety

Reports of toy recalls are still being published . . . but not as often as last Fall - thank goodness! When it comes to dolls, however, we can be reassured that we are NOT facing the same hazards as general toys do.

Recently we spoke with the Vice President of Vogue Dolls (manufacturer of Ginny Dolls) and he reminded us that there is VERY little paint on a doll . . . and usually the toy recall and worry is due to paint that has lead. Dolls have a tiny, tiny amount of paint for their lips and that's about it!

They DO use lead free paint but even so, there isn't enough paint to test on the actual doll - only the paint before it is applied to the doll. The end result is not enough paint for a child to suck.

The recent Toy Fair in New York City and in Hong Kong featured presentation on toy safety. The toy safety assurance program is being developed under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in order to assure everyone that toys meet the stringent US safety standards as the toys are manufactured. It is expected that mandatory toy safety testing will be legislated in Congress this year but toy companies are working to meet the expected requirements before the law.

Dolls are usually made in China (the jointed Engel doll shown at the top of the page is an exception - she's made in Germany) but DO meet and exceed USA safety requirements. However, dolls and doll clothes do often have small parts which can present a choking hazard . . . that is why most doll outfits do NOT have little buttons like they did in your grandmother's day. The parents and grandparents need to remember this when selecting gifts. . . maybe the child getting the gift is old enough but will the little brother or sister get the item and try to swallow it? ?

Baby dolls are often bought for newborns yet they are recommended for older children. We were pleased to find some adorable dolls by Corolle that are safe for infants like the Babipouce shown below - perfect and safe!

Posted by dollcloset at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2008

American Girl Place News

Sad, sad News . . . the AG Place Theaters will be closing this year!!!

"New York and Chicago are closing their theaters in September 2008. The last performance in Los Angeles will take place April 13th.

American Girl says that demand for the show has not been able to meet business expectations. There is no word yet on what will be done with the theater space in the stores."

I really enjoyed my theater experience and am sorry others will miss out . . . especially here in California! The actors were really top-notch and very professional. Remember reading about the equity union problems they were having? Guess this is the end result.

Now . . . will the space just be used to enlarge the Cafes? the shopping? or for Special Events such as the professional ballerina I've heard is coming to the Los Angeles AG Place?

More to wonder about!!

Posted by dollcloset at 04:25 AM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patricks Day!

If you received our DollCloset.com Newsletter this last week, you know that we are celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year with an automatic 17% discount on all purchases over $17.00 . . . the Luck of the Irish is with you!

Our Madame Alexander doll shown above is "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" - she's available as are the Shamrock Bears shown below:

and, of course, our special Lucky outfit for 23" My Twinn dolls:

All of these are wonderful ways to celebrate St. Pat's Day OR use your Lucky Discount to save some Green to outfit your dolls for Spring! We have new spring favorites for our 1974 models, Julie and Ivy wearing the very cool pants and dress cominations shown below:

and the Sister Floral Print Dress and Hat cominations are adorable!

But our very favorite are the new dresses our Kit doll and our Lindsey are modeling (Lindsey is standing in for Ruthie until she arrives LOL!) - it's your Lucky Day to get ready for Spring!

Posted by dollcloset at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2008

Helen Keller's Doll

This wonderful picture of Helen Keller as a young girl and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was recently "discovered" and publicized. It shows Helen as an eight year old holding a doll. It's been known that Helen had many dolls but this is the first picture showing her with one . . . it may have been the one her new teacher brought to her.

This picture was the topic of discussion in an internet group I belong to because of Helen Keller and because of the doll! What doll is she??

Here's what one of the members determined:

In this period (around 1888) dolls of this size had either kid bodies with stiched-in joints or were made of a twill-like fabric called sileasia. The turn-out (splay) of the feet would probably not be this extreme with kid, so the body is probably sileasia. Either body would have been well packed with horsehair or similar stuffing which doesn't soften much.

The doll has a wig with no center part. The more expensive dolls of bisque usually had wigs with a side part and usually had longer hair. So it is probably not bisque. The short hair-do may have been due to a re-styling with scissors by a young girl!

The doll seems to be well-loved so may have been a metal (tin) head Minerva (or Minerva type) doll. The Sears catalog of 1902 shows a similar wig on their "indestuctible" metal head doll - these dolls had been available as much as 15 years before the catalog. The hands on Helen's doll also match the Sears illustration.

Next, another member added her knowledge about Anne Sullivan ("The Miracle Worker" of the play and film of the same name):

"Anne had lost much of her sight as a young girl; she was accepted to attend the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston. In 1886, a family friend of the Kellers invited Captain Keller(Helen's father) to bring Helen to his house to meet Alexander Graham Bell, who ultimately connected the Kellers with the Perkins Institution. The director at Perkins asked Annie if she would consider taking on the job of helping Helen, and after some study and thought, Annie agreed.

Here's the doll part: The little girls at Perkins were so excited with Annie's forthcoming adventure, that they gave a doll to Annie to give to Helen. Laura Bridgman, who was known as the first American deaf-blind child to gain a significant education in the English language, made a dress for the doll.

Annie gave the doll to Helen in march 1887, when they first met. She spelled D-O-L-L in Helen's palm, but Helen did not yet grasp the connection. Helen, who had already developed her own signals for her wants, insisted that Annie get the candy Helen suspected was in her trunk, and Helen got her was . . . at first. The rest is history."

Do you have a picture of you and one of your first dolls? Here's one of me dressed just like a rag doll an aunt made for me!

Posted by dollcloset at 02:36 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2008

First Communions Are Coming!

It's getting to be that time of year . . . Spring, Easter and First Holy Communion ceremonies! We have learned that everyone likes to send or bring a gift to honor this important occasion. One gift that is popular is a Madame Alexander 8 inch doll dressed for her First Communion. Above we show the Latin My First Communion doll - isn't she lovely?

We also have Brunette First Communion Dolls and African-American First Communion Dolls too. The Blonde First Communion Doll has just returned into Stock.

By far the most popular gift is a First Communion doll outfit for the girl's My Twinn or American Girl doll! This year we are very pleased to offer three different and lovely choices for her 18 inch doll:

The first one shown above is an Organza Dress made in the USA. It comes with a veil and a gold cross necklace.

Then we have a Long Lace Communion Dress Set

and a Sheer Communion Dress and Veil

All very lovely and perfect for remembering a very special day!

Posted by dollcloset at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)