A Little About Doll Cleaners

One of the most popular questions thrown at us here at the blog is ‘how do you clean up your dolls?’. I figured I would address it here in a blog post! For the past few years, my mom and I have been using Dream Clean Doll Cleaner to freshen up dolls in our collection.

Sold by ‘The Classy Kid Collection’ on eBay, the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner is a waterless doll cleaner that works with a variety of doll types- antique to modern. We’ve used this concoction on composition, hard plastic, bisque and vinyl dolls with no problems. There’s a bit of a scent to this particular doll cleaner, but it’s not overbearing, in my opinion. It smells kind of nice. Besides just removing surface dirt from your dolls, Dream Clean Doll Cleaner also conditions the dolls, which should help keep them in good shape!

How do you use this? Well, it’s pretty easy! Using a soft rag, dab on some of the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner and gently rub it onto your doll. Because it’s not watery, you don’t necessarily need to undress your dolls or worry about the solution getting all over the place. You don’t need to rinse this off. Just rub it onto the dolls body and you’re set! This solution also works on doll clothing, though I haven’t really tried that.

One important thing to know about this particular cleaner is that there are two versions. There’s the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner, which is a milky white paste, and the Dream Clean eXtra Doll Cleaner, which is similar but with microbeads for those dolls who are dirtier than others. The seller says the latter doll cleaner works best with composition or hard plastic dolls.

Recently, I picked up another doll cleaner, because it never hurts to have options, right? Cathie Lee Doll Cleaner is sold by CathieLeeDollCleaner on eBay. According to the description, this cleaner is what the seller used in the past in her very own doll hospital. She claims it’s good for all kinds of doll types, including composition, bisque and hard plastic.

The consistency of Cathie Lee’s Doll Cleaner is very different from the Dream Cleaner. Cathie Lee Doll Cleaner is like a watered down liquid soap. It’s messier than the first cleaner we discussed, so you’ll want to remove all the doll’s clothing before using this. Also, be careful around the wig area when cleaning your dolls face. Just like the other cleaner, using this is simple. Just dab a bit on a rag and gently rub it on the doll.

I found that this worked just as well as the Dream Cleaner. When I used this on my vinyl Skipper doll from Savers, it worked really well. The only thing that this cleaner seems to lack is conditioning. It doesn’t specifically say anything about conditioning the material of your doll, like the other cleaner.

Last but not least, here’s a cleaning tip for your doll’s clothing. Next time you’re looking to clean your doll’s clothing, try a few scoops of Oxi Clean in a sink or bowl. Soak the outfit in the Oxi Clean and you should notice a difference. I tested the Oxi Clean on my Effanbee Tintair Doll. Her cream colored outfit had yellowed due to age and storage. We soaked her dress in the Oxi Clean for about an hour and, wow, it was so much better than when I put it in! The yellow transformed into a cleaner cream color. With more time in the Oxi Clean, I’m sure it would have turned out even creamier. On top of getting all the dirt out of her dress, the Oxi Clean also helped remove some of the ‘storage’ smell the dress was carrying.

What kind of doll cleaner do you use for your doll and/or their outfits? Let us know in the comment area!

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March 15, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Phyn & Aero Says Goodbye

Just announced in his e-mail newsletter, Robert Tonner’s Phyn & Aero will cease operations as of March 31st, 2019. This is fresh off the heels of the closing of the Tonner Doll Company back in December 2018. Now, here’s the thing about Phyn & Aero– I personally was never a fan of any of the dolls they produced. They were, in my opinion, over priced and not my taste. It’s always sad, however, when a company closes down, because it means less dolls on the market to keep people interested the hobby.

My favorite Tonner dolls will always be those aimed at the younger set, like Maudlynne Macabre or his 18″ doll line My Imagination. I had a soft spot for Agatha Primrose, but she wasn’t out long enough for me to grab the doll or the fashions. (If I found one at a good price with some cute fashions, I would still pick one up! She appealed to the comic con, manga reading, pop culture fan in me.)

But, back to Phyn & Aero, here’s Tonner’s reasoning in his own words:

“As I stated back in January, the only thing you can count on is change, and I’m afraid I must change course yet again. As much as I’ve always loved manufacturing, on-going production issues have continued to wear me down, and as a result, Phyn & Aero will cease operating as of March 31st. Please know, when I refer to production issues, I’m referring to continuing rising costs and ever-growing lead times. I’ve always been proud of the fine work done by the factories—they care about the product every bit as much as I have—and the wonderful people we work with are as disappointed as I. Please know that this was not an easy decision for me or for us, nor a decision made lightly.

This decision, however, does create an opportunity for you to secure the last of any Phyn & Aero product. This includes Lila, Annora, Kadira and Nancy Ann—some of which have just arrived. Look for discounts on the product, but please note there will be no returns nor refunds. Also, should you order a Kadira item look for a little “freebee” in your box!

Please note, the Phyn & Aero website will be accessible through April but mainly to print off any images or descriptions you may want to retain.”

He goes on to say that while he’s saying goodbye, there’s still one new doll that will be hitting the market. That doll is Rayne. Sculpted by Tonner, Rayne is a 16” realistic fashion figure with 15 points of articulation. She’s made of the finest hard plastic and vinyl with rooted saran hair (or unrooted for wigs). Packaged wearing no more than sport underwear and shoes, she’s pretty basic. However, that’s where Tonner is stepping outside the box a bit.

Clothing patterns will be available to download for this doll on Tonner’s new site and you’ll be able to order 3D printed accessories, such as shoes, breastplates, cuffs, hats, sculpted wigs, jewelry, historical foundations and much more for your doll via Shapeways. Because Shapeways allows you to choose many different filament types, colors and has many other options to personalize the printing process, this means whatever you order for Rayne will be unique to your doll.

Finally, Tonner ends with a bit about what he’ll be up to in the future.

“So, you may ask, what the heck am I going to do now that I’ll be out of the doll business? Well, I may be out of manufacturing, but I’m certainly not leaving the doll world. I’m working with various companies on freelance projects—and I’ve even signed a deal to do human (not doll) handbags and jewelry. So, I’ll be around. Be sure to check out my new web-site and friend me on Instagram.

I can’t tell you all what a wonderful ride this has been. The events, the parties, Toy Fair, the Magazines, and mostly you—the collectors—have made this entire doll world experience more than I could have imagined it to be. I sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the fun, friendship and the mutual love of this hobby—doll collecting.”

His full message is below.

Having met Tonner personally before, I can say that this guy is an asset to the doll world. He’s passionate about dolls, the hobby and collectors. I’m happy to hear he’s still freelancing in the doll world and expect to see more great things from him in the future. What do you think of the closing of Phyn & Aero? Are you surprised? Let us know in the comment area!

March 15, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Pop Up Barbie Shop at Old Orchard

Happy 60th Birthday, Barbie! Because she’s celebrating such a huge birthday, expect to see a lot of cool things happening around the line throughout 2019! This weekend, we went to Westfield Old Orchard Mall (Skokie, IL) to an Amazon sponsored pop up Barbie store! The glass store was decorated with cool Barbie graphics, making it hard to miss! Inside the store featured a life-size Barbie box and a variety of different Barbie dolls to purchase. Since it’s Barbie’s birthday today, it’s the perfect time to share a few of the photos I took at the Pop Up shop with you!

With Toys R Us gone, I haven’t really seen a good Barbie aisle in a while, so it was nice to see so many Barbies in one place!

It’s a shame they weren’t selling the t-shirts on display at the pop up. I would have bought one or two if they had! You can, of course, order these t-shirts on Amazon!

And, of course, to make the shop even more “instagram worthy”, they had a life-size Barbie box set up to pose in! Below is me being a Made To Move Barbie!

What are you doing to celebrate Barbie today or all year long in 2019? Let us know in the comment area!

March 9, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

Naperville Doll Show Haul/Loot- January 2019

This weekend, my mom and I went to the Naperville Doll Show. This is a bit of wildcard of a show, since you really never know what will be there! Held at the Marriott Hotel in Naperville, this is the smallest of the shows we attend with around 40 vendors selling.

To be honest, there was very little in the room that caught my eye. In fact, up until the very end, I had only picked up one item and hadn’t seen anything else that really tugged at me.  That is, until I spotted a doll that has been following me around past doll shows for at least a year now. Enough with the teasing, though. Let’s get into the haul/loot from January’s Naperville Doll Show!

My first purchase was done out of impulse and curiosity more than anything else, because it was different and cute. It’s a knock off Ddung key chain doll. I love her cute anime style face! Also, the oddity of her having a huge key chain coming out of her head made this doll hard to pass up! I overpaid for her, but she’ll make great friends with my Kurhns and other anime dolls.

My mom picked up Tracy Trikediddle, a Skeddidle from Mattel, part of the Little Kiddle line. Tracy is one of the cutest skeddidles around with her vibrant orange hair!

Along with that, my mom found (courtesy of myself) a honey haired Sasha Baby. She’s been on the look out for a honey haired Sasha, so the baby is a good first step! She also picked up a cute dark brunette Barbie with high cheek color. One of my mom’s goals is to pick up more mod era Barbie’s and this fits the bill! Also, the Fashion Avenue outfit this doll wears goes really well with her dark brunette hair.

I have two more dolls to show off in this post and both of them are different than what we normally pick up. Or, I normally pick up, at least. Let’s start off with my second and final purchase of the day. Remember I told you about a doll that followed me around? Well, that doll was a bisque Nippon Era Hilda Look-a-like doll.  Being a novice, I had no idea what Nippon was and assumed it was a manufacturer, but interestingly, it just stands for Japan. It wasn’t until 1920 that the United States said items from Japan must be labeled ‘Japan’ and not Nippon.  Anywho, back to my story–I’ve seen her show after show and have always felt drawn to her. Unfortunately, she was also way out of my price range at $225.

After wandering around this show multiple times, I spotted this doll again and since I hadn’t bought anything else, I figured it was time to inquire about her. The vendor was very nice and knew much more about this doll than I did. All I knew was that she was bisque and had the most adorable face I’d ever seen on a doll of that kind. After going back and forth, the vendor said she’d reduce the price and with that, the doll was sold!

This Hilda Look-a-like doll was made sometime between 1915 and 1921 when the US no longer accepted imports from Germany due to World War I. Her body is made of composition, but her head is made of bisque. My Hilda has since had her hair washed to get over 80 years of dirt and grime out of the mohair! I also gave her face a quick cleaning. When I get my composition cleaner, I’ll be giving her a body cleaning, too! I’m not one who usually enjoys the look of bisque dolls, but, seriously, how cute is mine? Her expression is so pretty and being from the Nippon era, she was very affordable.

My mom also fell for a bisque doll at the Naperville Doll Show. She’s very pretty and has a unique body to the bisque dolls my mom currently has.

She’s by Simon & Halbig, a German bisque company, and was probably made between 1900 and 1920.

So, there you have it– the loot/haul from January’s Naperville Doll Show! What do you think of our purchases? Did you find anything fun at a local doll show recently? Let us know in the comment area!

January 28, 2019. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 6 comments.

2019 Dolly Goals

It’s nearly February already. Where did January go? Just like we set personal goals around the New Year to be fitter, make more time for family, read more books, whatever the case may be, it may not be a bad idea to take some time and evaluate what goals you have for your collection in 2019.

2018 wasn’t a great year for doll collecting, in my opinion. Having lost popular lines Monster High and Ever After High in 2017, I can’t say there’s been many interesting doll lines released in their absence. The sad demise of the only big box toy store, Toys R Us, didn’t help matters, making it even harder to experience and see new dolls in person; not to mention harder for smaller companies to find a home for their new dolls and toys. It was also the year that we saw Madame Alexander go dark (they’re back now, thankfully) and the Tonner Doll Company slow down production and eventually close down completely.

My mom and I also said goodbye to one of our local doll shops, Shirley’s Dollhouse. All in all, I can’t say anything really exciting happened in the doll world at all in 2018 from any of the major players in the doll world.

My favorite collection additions from this past year came from unexpected sources. The Life Size Baby Groot from Hot Toys is one of my favorite purchases of the year. I’ll share him here on the blog soon. Finding a Tintair Honey Doll in minty fresh shape was also a highlight of 2018.

I also added a beautiful Arrenbee from the 1950’s to my composition/hard plastic collection, seen 14 minutes into the video above.  I ended the year on a high note, receiving my newest BJD, the adorable Kikipop Kinoko Juice.

One of my goals in 2019 is to save money, so I need to be extra careful about what I add to my collection this year. I am also running out of space. (Well, a more accurate statement would be I ran out of space years ago and ignored that fact, but I really can’t ignore it anymore!) So, the question needs to be asked– what do I want to concentrate on for 2019 in terms of adding or enhancing my doll collection?

1: Composition and Hard Plastic dolls from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s

I’d love to add one really good large composition or hard plastic doll to my collection in 2019 from Arranbee or Madame Alexander. Both companies have such pretty vintage dolls. Most likely I’ll end up with Arranbee, assuming dealers bring them to the doll shows in our area, since 18″ or taller Madame Alexanders tend to be very pricey.

2: More Anime Eye Skippers and Teen Skippers

I think I’ll definitely be concentrating on finding more of the Skipper dolls I’m missing from the late 80’s to early 2000’s. I’m not missing too many of them, so it can’t be that hard to close the gap this year! I’m also going to work on finding more outfits for all generations of Skipper dolls.

3: A Friend for my Kikipop Kinoko Juice

For sure, I am going to add another Kikipop to my collection, specifically one with a smile. They’re just too cute. I adore them!

4: More Kurhns

Kurhn dolls have always been one of my favorite brands of dolls. I want to add more to my collection in 2019.  To be honest, if it came down to adding a Barbie to my collection or a Kurhn, I’d choose Kurhn. I think they’re so pretty and unique looking. Plus, I know the quality is there, since I own about 10 of them now and none have disappointed me.

5: Another Little Miss No Name

This is probably a pipe dream, but you never know! I’d love to find another Little Miss No Name to re-root. They’re my favorite kind of doll to give hair to, along with Giggles, but they can be hard to find at good prices. Just finding one good Little Miss No Name that was clean, unbroken and just in need of hair would make my day!

Those are my broad goals for 2019. I’m sure I’ll expand on them as time goes on, but if I can hit these targets by this time next year, I’ll be a happy collector! The space problem is still something I’m working out, so hopefully that will have been sorted by then, too. (Likely not, though!)

What are your goals to grow, expand or enhance your doll collection in 2019? Was 2018’s doll selection as disappointing to you as it was to me? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

January 21, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized. 16 comments.

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