Sunday, February 25, 2024

Tiny doll brought from France in 1980 or 1981

My Barbies are jealous of her feather boa.

Her tiny hatbox does not open.

This doll is smaller than she looks.  From the top of her hat to the hem of her skirt, it looks like she is 8 inches tall.  However, when you look under her skirt, you will see that her legs are much shorter.  From her scalp to her toes, she is actually 5 1/4 inches tall, smaller than a Dawn doll.

A friend went to France in 1980 or 1981 and brought me back this doll.  She has no name.  I don't know if there are any markings on her because her gown is sewn to her body.  She came with a little white hat box that says, "PARIS."

For such a tiny doll, it is unusual in that she has sleep eyes.  She is all hard plastic.

There's no way this doll could ever can-can!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

My Maria doll is from the 1990s


Maria dolls are abundant but each one is unique.
I named mine Pilar.

My sister brought me a Maria doll
from Mexico in the 1990s.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

2023 Sunny Days Barbie tent with deceptive pool

I think that only toddlers
could actually fit
inside the Sunny Days Dream House tent and ball pit.

This ad for the Barbie Dream House Pop Up Tent by Sunny Days Entertainment was in the 2023 Hammacher-Schlemmer catalogue.  The indoor tent is meant for little girls, not dolls.  The house is too oversized for an 11 1/2 inch doll and too undersized for the new 28-inch Barbie doll.  It's probably the right size for an 18-inch SuperSize doll.

What initially threw me in this ad is what I thought was a swimming pool.  It is the correct size for a regular fashion doll and would be perfect for 11 1/2 inch dolls to swim in.  However, it is a ball pit, which I didn't realize until I saw other listings for this tent on the Internet.  Even as a ball pit, it would be a disappointment for children, though, as there are only 20 balls, not nearly enough to surround oneself in.

I wish Mattel would make a swimming pool this size for Barbie that could actually hold water.

I've not looked for any of these tents in person so I don't know how sturdy they are.  They sure are eye-catching, though!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Last of the talking dolls had different problems than earlier ones

The original Mattel Talking Barbie and family dolls were last sold in 1972.  They were called Talking Busy dolls and consisted of Barbie, Ken and Steffie.  Barbie had short straight blonde hair.  Steffie was also blonde, and she was the first doll to have what was then called a shag haircut.  I own Talking Barbie only.

The girl dolls were different from any other doll Mattel had yet made--the haircuts were the most obvious sign.  They had the regular talking doll legs that could be crossed, the talking doll body, the Living Barbie soft bendable arms, and hands with opposable thumbs so they could hold things.  There was also a separate line just called Busy Barbie and Busy Steffie; they didn't talk but they did have the Living Barbie arms and the opposable thumbs.

Talking Busy Barbie wore her sexiest outfit yet, an electric blue satin pair of overalls with very short legs, and an attached cerise red tricot turtleneck.  In other words, her torso, neck and arms were completely covered but her legs were very exposed!  Too hot to wear in the summer and too cold to wear in the winter.

The long-sleeved blouse had another purpose--to hold on her arms.  This particular line didn't have the leg and hip problem but rather they were with the shoulder attachments.  Of course, the little thumbs were also prone to breaking off, but I am fortunate on that my doll hasn't had that.

These dolls were made in Hong Kong and had 29 holes on their backs.  The outfit has a tag that just reads "HONG KONG".

Talking Busy Barbie also came with green laced boots
and small accessories that she could hold.

The talking doll body was not designed
to coordinate with the Living Barbie shoulder and arm.

My Talking Busy Barbie's right arm will not stay on,
while her left arm has completely frozen to her shoulder
and is immobile.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

I've heard of having a screw in the hip, but this is ridiculous!

The first Talking Barbie that I bought as a collector had a 1970 body and a 1968

Who would wear a gold mesh coverup to the beach?
Is Barbie going to a party at Hugh Hefner's house?

ponytail.  This was in the early 1980s at the Ferguson Hills Flea Market in Westwood in Cincinnati in the mid-1980s.  A previous owner had drilled holes in both hips and inserted screws to keep her legs on the torso.  However, the screws worked well because this Barbie can move her legs and sit down.

She is the only 1970 talking doll that I have.  I finally got a head to match the body.  Her hairstyle was changed to a lower, shorter, curlier ponytail.  Her outfit was a white vinyl bikini and a long gold mesh vest, much too nice to wear to the pool or the beach.  I don't own any of the bikinis; they are hard to find.  However, the gold vests are a dime a dozen.  Like the white mesh 1969 vest, there is only a tag that says, "Hong Kong."

This Talking Barbie has 29 holes in her back.  Both the body and the head were made in Hong Kong.

The 1970 Talking Barbie looks fantastic in 1456 Lemon Kick, also from 1970.
It's a shame that women no longer wear lounging outfits.

I personally prefer the face and hair of the 1970 Talking Barbie
as compared to the 1968 version.

Here you get a good view of the screw and bolt that were inserted in Barbie's hips.
The staining is from the duct tape
that was placed around her to hide to screw.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Sweet 16 models her clothes line

Mattel's Sweet 16 from 1976 is hard to define.  Is she a Barbie friend, or an acquaintance, or, as some have suggested, Mattel's own Barbie knockoff?  (I am not using the word "clone" because that term in regards to Barbie didn't exist in 1976.  The competitors at that time were referred to as knockoffs.)

Sweet 16 has a hard plastic, straight-legged body, like the Bubblecuts and Ponytails of the 1960s and the Standard Barbies of the early 1970s.  The doll was not made in Japan, as those earlier dolls were, but in Korea.  Sweet 16's markings on her backside say MATTEL™/1966/KOREA.

I've never been sure what the deal is with Sweet 16's hair and face.  Her tresses are straggly just-past-her-shoulders straight and pure white.  Her face is also very pale.  Despite her name, is she supposed to be an older woman?  Or does she have albinism?  Her facial features and large eyes are said to be the same as the Living Eli Barbie friend sold only in Japan in 1970, but I've never seen a resemblance.

Twelve outfits, similar to Barbie's Best Buys, were sold for Sweet 16 in 1976.  Most of them were Barbie outfits made in different fabrics.  So if you find a mid-1970s Best Buy in a color variation, it is not a rare item, it's just one for Sweet 16.  None of the outfits were sold with shoes, but if you want to be correct for the time period, have the doll wear shoes or boots from Korea.

The doll was sold in an orange one-piece nylon swimsuit.  Now here is where it gets confusing.  In 1977, Kmart had three exclusives called Barbie and her Super Fashion Fireworks.

One set came with Sweet 16 outfits 9551 (yellow blouse and orange striped slacks), 9554 (peach baby dolls), 9555 (long blue peasant dress) and 9557 (long pink dress and white apron).  A second one included 9559 (white slacks, yellow halter, blue jacket), 9552 (striped shirt and orange skirt), 9560 (yellow skirt and halter with red flowered trim) and 9561 (long red orchid print dress).  The third was sold with 9550 (orange dress with yellow stripe in front), 9553 (long yellow flowered jumper and white blouse), 9556 (green print jacket and pink bell bottoms) and 9558 (red print flowered peasant gown and white apron with matching ruffle).  Barbie was a straight-leg straight waisted doll and she, too, wore the same orange swimsuit as Sweet 16.  Her backside has the same markings as does Sweet 16, but in a slightly different arrangement.

You can find lots of pictures in books and on the Internet of Sweet 16 in her box, and her outfits still in their packaging.  What you won't see is her wearing them, and that is the purpose of this post.  I have some of her outfits but many aren't complete.  When I started collecting in the 1980s, Sweet 16 and her fashions were easy to find, both in and out of packaging.  Now they 9552 are rare.

I wish I had more of the following outfits so that you can compare them yourselves.  Here is a list of the 1975 Barbie Best Buys, followed by their corresponding Sweet 16 outfits from 1976.


7208 Romantic Look/9558

7210 On Vacation/9560


7421/9551 The slacks and cap are the same in both sets.  Barbie's shirt is orange with long yellow raglan sleeves, while Sweet 16's is simply a yellow T-shirt.





I decided that since Sweet 16 looks older,
I would dress her as a 1970s woman in her 60s.
I pulled her hair into a bun
and dressed her in Barbie's 9155 At the Supermarket, from 1976.

I personally consider Sweet 16 a Barbie acquaintance,
and most definitely NOT a knockoff.

This is 9559, which is supposed to come with a yellow nylon halter
which I don't have.  So I turned her blue shirt around to make it a turtleneck.

The green flowered fabric of the 9556 jacket
was used for a number of Barbie and family outfits.

My favorite of the Sweet 16 outfits
is the peasant dress 9555.

 I wish that this baby doll set, 9554, came with panties,
as Sweet 16 doesn't dare sit down!

All I own for 9552 is the blouse.

On the left is the jumper for 1975's 7423
and on the right is 9553 from 1976.

Fashion Fireworks Barbie stole
all of Sweet 16's clothes a year later.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

What I bought at a local craft show

We went to a craft show last Saturday, Oct. 7.  One woman was selling fleece shirts for Elf on the Shelf.  They looked like they would fit Ken so I bought one.  Most of her shirts had copyrighted/trademarked figures on them, and most likely she did not have the licensing to put them on her shirts, and I refuse to buy merchandise without licensing permits.

I bought one that seemed generic.  You will have to tell me if "Official Cookie Taster" is copyrighted, as I don't know.

I tried to put the shirt on a Ken from the 1980s, but I could not fit the shirt over his straight arms that spread out a little when you put them up over his head.  I then tried the 1976 Young Sweethearts Michael, who is thinner and has bendable arms and wrists.  With a little finagling, I got the shirt on him.

So if you buy one of these shirts, you will need to put it on Michael, Shaun, Tom Comet, Phoebus or Roller Blade Ken, as it will not fit over the regular Ken.  I do not know if it will fit the 1960s Kens or the current thinner flexible male dolls by Mattel.

(On a related note, I always thought the 1976 Michael was way better looking than the 1975 Now Look Ken.)

The seller placed the shirts in regular plastic bags,
then stapled her label on top.

All of Michael's original outfits are for spring or summer,
so he was happy to have a warmer shirt to wear!

The sweatshirt is a true pullover,
with no openings in the front or back.