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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

OLMEC TOYS AFRICAN AMERICAN DOLLS 1994

A few months ago I discovered some beautiful dolls on Ebay that I had never seen before, I noticed from the listing photo's that they were made by OLMEC and the clothing on the two dolls in the centre and right of the photo' told me they must have been made in the 1990's. Well being the type of person who craves information and doll information more, I had to do some research and what I found out was bittersweet as sadly this company is no longer in business, the story of how the company was founded is for me incredibly interesting though, and so as I have found a blog post on Myspace that can tell the story much better than my rehashing it here can; I have included a link to the Myspace page, you can read it by clicking on the following link:  The OLMEC Story...


The dolls were designed to give little girls a positive role model doll, that looked more like them than the obligatory white Barbie who had been hogging the market for 50+ years by tat time (my words, not Yla Eason's - Founder and Creator of OLMEC Toys) an article I discovered about the company is sadly written in a very extremist style, but it does have several very interesting facts contained within it, such as: "Creative mom, Yla Eason, created a $5 million business selling African American, Hispanic and Asian dolls with ethnically correct features. Her business, Olmec Toys, Inc., started with $60,000 borrowed from family," notes an article from Good Housekeeping, November 1996". 
You can find a link to the article below if you wish to peruse it.:   How the Clintons Sold Christmas by Charles R. Smith Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 - Newsmax.com  but without further ado, I think it's now time to show you these stunning dolls...                           



Out of these three I think my favourite has to be "Kente Fun" on the right, as she reminds me of all those 1980's and early 1990's shows that I loved at the time, such as The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Kenan & Kel, A Different World and films such as New Jack City, Boyz N The Hood, Do the Right Thing ( & other Spike Lee movies) and "Royal Princess" makes me think of the "Black Power Movement" that had it's resurgence in the early to mid 1990's, when it became common to see everyone form Stand Up Comedians to Sit-Com Characters wearing beautiful and Traditional / traditional inspired outfits  alongside the crazy post neon prints of the 1980's and early 1990's that everyone else seemed to be wearing, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it was a colourful time, made more colourful by the gorgeous hairstyles and fabrics worn on TV and the Big Screen, and these dolls must have seemed the height of fashion to any child growing up at that time and seeing them on shelves in the big stores.

Back of boxes for above dolls
The back of the boxes are very informative too as it contains information and back stories about the dolls, but also information about the company and it's name, such as:

 THE OLMEC STORY. Almost ten years ago, my son sent shock waves through my body when he said he couldn't be a superhero because he thought some dreams didn't come in his skin colour. That was my inspiration to create Sun Man, the world's greatest super hero, now playing with toys that look like him makes him feel good. We hope our dolls help your children's self image too. At OLMEC our love, our hopes, our skills, our styles and "OUR PRIDE IS IN OUR TOYS" - We are you!

There is a Toll-free number to phone to order a catalogue of their toy range, then the logo and below this is written: "OLMEC is named after an ancient Mexican civilization that sculpted African Traders".

 I have found a Wikipedia page if you'd like to read a bit more about the Olmec Civilization  but remember folks, it's Wikipedia, so my advice is to do some research else where too!
The link is here if you are interested: Olmec - WIki

As for the dolls, well it's still possible to find them, and there are quite a few on Ebay at the moment, such as this really cool one below - just look at all those extras and yay, cool wigs too, sadly she's pretty expensive and as she's in the USA, she has shipping costs on top, so out of my price range, but, still looking is free!


If you are interested in purchasing her, I've included a link to the listing below...

#3437 NRFB Vintage OLMEC Imani Music Video African American Doll Giftset
Another OLMEC doll, that really stood out, while I was browsing Ebay just now is this one below, photo's taken from the listing:


She doesn't come with as many cool gadgets, and her change of clothes is very similar to the one she is already wearing, but she is still a very beautiful doll nonetheless, here's a close up of her face:


This one is slightly cheaper than the one above, if you'd like to check her or the Seller out on Ebay, here's the link:  #226 NIB Vintage Olmec Imani African Fantasy Doll

As I said, there are quite a few of these dolls available on Ebay right now, if you just do a quick search for "Olmec doll" you'll find loads...

Enjoy,




Asian Beauty - 1990's Totsy Doll Custom

A couple of years back I was browsing Ebay with nothing really in mind for a purchase, when I saw a listing for a dark skinned Totsy Clone Doll for sale.

She had short curled hair that hung in large curls but for some reason I got an Asian vibe from her while looking at her listing photo - I kept seeing her as an East Asian Lady in a Sari - and was so happy when I won her at auction so I could start  working on her and help her become the doll I imagined she could be.

Thankfully she arrived very quickly, but I was so excited and impatient to start working on her that I forgot to take a "Before" photo of her "duh!", so sadly I don't have one to compare her to, unless I can find her listing photo saved on one of the many discs I have in the study, I guess I'll have to upload that another time, when and if I find it, no matter though, here's what I did to her...

First I gave her a full re-root and new hair style, then I set to work giving her some touch up work to the painted "eye shadow" around her eyes. Then I sorted out her crazy looking eyebrows, gave her a Bindi and began researching saris for ideas on what kind of outfit I should make for her.




In the end I opted for a sari from Barbie Dolls of the World Magazine, I was planning to make my own but decided against it at the last minute when I saw this one going cheap!

It isn't as intricate as the one I was planning to make for her, but after doing a lot of research on different types of saris and how to tie them etc.

I really couldn't decide exactly how I wanted it to look and also I wanted to get her finished quickly so I could move onto my next "Dolly Project". especially as I had already finished everything else I wanted to do to her, so I got impatient!

I may get around to designing another one for her one day, but for now I'm happy for her to wear this one as I think it does sit her very well, it certainly fits her nicely and the golden colour really brings out her skin tone, so maybe I won't!

Anyhoo, hope you like her or that she inspires you to make something similar for your own collection...

Hugs,

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I can't help loving Betty Boop...

I don't know what it is about Betty except for those big eyes, ultra feminine figure and of course her adorable little puppy Pudgy but just looking at an image of her brings back happy memories of long sunny days when the only thing I had make any decisions about were whether I had time to get on my tricycle and peddle around "The Green" (we lived in a Cul de Sac) before the Ice Cream Man drove around and it was time for "The Incredible New Shamoo".

I think in part her appeal for me is due to the fact that it's one of those cartoons where you often get to see "The Artist" or a facsimile of him, who begins drawing and seamlessly, as you watch his artwork comes to life as a small child that felt almost like magic to me, combine that with a beautiful woman who's a tad "dipsy" but not really in an condescending way and who uses her charms and a bum wiggle here and there to get out of trouble - add to that a seriously "get up and move" soundtrack, and it was little Herbie heaven!

Even though the cartoons are in black and white and by today's standard they are really dated - especially the music, but for me; I always saw them and still think of them as being a in colour; that glorious technicolour that only "Hollywood" can provide and I guess in a way that's part of her appeal; in a cartoon world full of anthropomorphic talking animals there lives a beautiful "film star" from Hollywood's Golden Age.

Here's one of her cartoons from 1934:


I'm sure after an introduction like that, it will come as no surprise for you to discover that I have a couple of Betty Boop Dolls in my collection.

The first one, I bought via Ebay from an American Seller, I was impatient and on tenterhooks for almost 2 weeks waiting for her to arrive and hoping she didn't end up lost en route, as I'd fallen madly in love with her and couldn't wait to give her a home.

Part of this doll's appeal for me, besides the obvious was because she is a baby version, and I'd never seen one before, she's also from the 1980's which for me is always a first love when it comes to toys, and came in a cute little animal eared romper suit with a puppy size version of "Pudgy"...

Baby Betty Boop loves Rement Cupcakes!
 This adorable pair were made  in 1988 by Marty Toy (USA) Inc.
 Betty is 5 inches high - (I didn't measure Pudgy!).

 After unpacking, I couldn't resist finding out if my camera loves her as much as I do here she is in the dolls-house with Pudgy on their first photo shoot - I had to bribe her with that cupcake to make her sit still, and Pudgy with a bowl of dog food, as they both got very hungry on the flight over and couldn't wait to explore their new home!


I couldn't resist including this picture as I love the way they are both  reflecting in the mirror. 

While I was waiting for Baby betty to arrive ... A Flickr friend of mine offered me a larger Betty Boop Doll as he had two, they were ex-display models in the shop were he was working and he offered one to me, as she was wearing a Barbie dress when she arrived, which was lovely and silky, but a light golden colour and I felt she would look much prettier in red, turned out I was right too and almost as if it was meant to be...I had bought a beautiful red dress from China several months before but was waiting for somebody to wear it, so when Betty arrived from Brighton I whipped off that Barbie dress and placed her in this Chinese one and wow what a transformation!


This Betty Boop Doll is 12” tall and Marked 1986 Marty Toys (USA) Inc. on the back of her head.


And here she is waiting for her "close up"!

For more info on Betty Boop, go to http://bettyboop.com/biography/  -  There's loads of information on there, from her "Biography" and "Filmography" to recent News a shop, Fan Club info and just about anything else you could wish for!

Enjoy,


When Makies & Lego Collide .... !

I'm sure if you read my first post describing the attributes of Makie Dolls, you'll know that they come with a removable "Back Plate"  which allows you to place a battery inside to power your "Lilypad Arduino" etc.

Well those clever people over at MakieLabs have come up with another idea for customising the back plate itself, just think of the possibilities of having a "Lego compatible Back Plate" - No seriously, they've actually had this idea, designed it and made a prototype... and here it is via a Forum Post from Jen:



‹MAKIE Blog

A very snappy Makie backplate  


 jen (Staff - 120 Posts)  21 Jan, 2013 15:33

"Every Makie has a backplate, which you can remove to install wires and batteries for Arduino brains, or to hide special stuff - like spare hands, or maybe a secret stash of little sweets.

James, our resident product engineer, just prototyped a backplate with a really useful cutout:




Yep, he can snap bits of LEGO on there, like this!"



"There have got to be 1001(+) uses for this idea. I think gzorn might like a parachute…"


See what I mean? 

This could be so much fun and I just had to share it - there's been so much going on in those MakieLabs recently that I haven't really had much chance to share this with you, but wow "Robo - Makies are go"!! well perhaps they will be soon anyway, I guess we will have to wait and see if these become available to buy or to chose during the "Design Process".

Following several User posts offering suggestions the Designer - James, posted the following:



jamesl  Staff  (1 Posts)  24 Jan, 2013 10:48

"Hey, thank you for all you comments

As you can see this is an early prototype but I am working on some more items.

As soon as they are done I will post them. Thanks again"



So I guess this is another post I end with "Watch this space" or rather - keep an eye out over here:

Prior to Pre-punched Holes came ... Clip ons!

As the title suggests lots and lots of experiments seem to have been going on over at MakieLabs, one such experiment, reminiscent of Mattel's Diva Stars was "Clip on Clothes for Makies"!
Here's the Forum Post:


‹MAKIE Blog

"She wore blue 3D printed ABS Plastic..."     14 Jan, 2013 12:45


chelseac (Staff - 189 Posts)

"Sulka and James have been playing around with the Makerbot again, and out came this bright blue click-on dress! Well, the front of it at least."



"It’s customized with (slightly fingerprinty) white tack. Looks pretty cute, huh? Can’t you almost visualize it on a Blythe thanks to my sweet photo-framing skills? "




Well this lead to a flurry of replies from Forum Users & Makie parents, and in particular this one from Poklfil started the MakieLabs Staff off on some more experiments, but first, here's what Poklfil had to say:


  poklfil  (Here since 17th May '12  - 1084 Posts) 14 Jan, 2013 16:23

That's neat! The shade is really pretty and I like Polka dots Wonder if you could print a hard cap clip on wig? Like This….


"The doll is Bambola and you can clip plastic wigs onto her head"


Just in case you haven't seen this doll before, she is a 29cm BJD made from French Resin which was sold as an exclusive through Haute Doll - her wigs are also made of resin; for more information on these dolls go to: http://www.bambola-world.com/

In case you're not sure - I'm in love with that Bambola Doll! ... and I guess she worked her magic on the Makie Staff as Chelseac  replied with this:
   


chelseac  (Staff  - 189 Posts)  14 Jan, 2013 16:41

"Interesting, interesting…I like that doll, and it is convenient to have perma-styled hair, as well. *strokes chin*

Corsets aren't a bad idea, that does seem like something we could do with clip-on bits like this. Belts too, to belt in otherwise oversized clothes? Hmm…"


And so 2 days later, Chelseac posted this ...


  

chelseac  (Staff - 189 Posts)  16 Jan, 2013 14:17

"More Makerbot experiments!

Poklfil asked about click-on hair in the plastic dress thread, and as it happened, James had already made a couple of wig caps:"




"They’re obviously not on a doll (and not to Makie scale … and a bit smudgy), but what do you reckon? We like the idea. Fuss free! We want them for humans."


They definitely have potential but I'm not sure I'd be up for the "Marge Simpson" version and some of the other suggestions Forum Users came up with, having said that though I'd be quite content with a "Sora" (Kingdom hearts ) or a "Goku" ( Dragon Ball Z ) one!

I also love the 1940's style that the above Bambola Doll is wearing, personally I think more "Traditional" styles are far more pretty, but I do like the idea of some Manga / anime / Game related ones for when my dolls want to "Cosplay"!

For more info, check them out on: http://makie.me/

Makie News ...

A couple of days back I mentioned after receiving the Makie News-Mail re: New Colour choices, that I had a couple of other things to report on the Makie front, well here's a post I spotted from Jen (Makie Staff ) in the Forum regarding pre-punched scalps for re-rooters - this option follows a post from another Makie Forum user / Makie Owner called Poklfil, who had drilled holes into one of her Makie's heads and rooted her with  yarn.

Pokifil's Experiment and following Tutorial caused a big stir in the MakieLabs, who I guess had never thought of this as being an option?

 Anyhoo, they asked a few questions, got a few answers and came up with a couple of Design Prototypes, which would give Makie Owners a few more choices in terms of hairstyles and customising.

Jen announced the prototypes 29th January in the Forum ( http://makie.me/ )via the following posts:



 jen (Staff -120 Posts)

" Hi folks! Inspired by poklfil's rooted hair thread, James has modeled a couple of scalps with holes for your review and critique. Here's the first one, with 2mm holes for yarn/mohair dreads:





Not prototyped on the printer yet, but we're heading that way. How's it looking? Anything to tweak?"


 jen (Staff - 120 Posts)

"And here's the second one, with 1mm holes intended for rooting with finer hair. A bit further to go on this one, we reckon. James is adding a dense row of holes to the perimeter of the scalp – anything else?"




29 Jan, 2013 12:43

 jen (Staff - 120 Posts)

"Extra row added:"



 jen  (Staff - 120 Posts)

"On a related note, I've just chucked up a blog post about another scalp option: part-punched holes.(That's probably not quite the right term, but it's so new we don't know what to call it yet. )"



And Following on from these posts, Jen posted the "Part Punched" version on a different thread in the Forum, and here's the proposed design...


 jen (Staff - 120 Posts)

"James has been a modding and prototyping machine lately! Today, he pinged over a couple of scalp renders with holes, for Makie-makers who'd like to try rooting hair.

He's also mocked up a version that I like a lot. It's got a hole pattern ‘part-punched’ on the underside, with a thin layer of plastic over the top."




"Looks like a plain, smooth scalp until you want to customise it – then you poke through each individual hole and root with your fibre of choice to create the style you want. Cute ‘shaved’ flip! Mohican! Soooo many options…

Early days for this, and it hasn't been prototyped yet, but maybe this scalp… has legs?"



 jen (Staff - 120 Posts) yesterday, 12:05

"Quick update on this: James is sending the 2mm scalp prototypes to print today, and we'll be trying them out on a Makie soon. Watch this space.

Happy Monday!"


So there you have it, rather than just having a wig which is either glued onto your Makie's scalp (I'm informed some come with this, although I haven't seen this as an option in the "Create a Makie" part of the site, or a separate wig, which some Makie Parent's find slips a bit), Makie Parent's now have the option of buying a pre-drilled scalp (dependant on which type of "hair" they want for their Makie) and rooting his / hair hair to suit your own / your Makie's style!

More Makie news to follow...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The latest addition to my Hujoo family...

My adorable new girl "Maromisa" arrived yesterday morning and as I've been unable to keep myself from plotting how I was going to customise her when she arrived, I couldn't stop myself from starting straight away.

She's a Chocolate Skinned Version of Ciel's "Miri" (see previous posts) - I almost bought one a few years back but as "Mimiwoo" only had the 24 cm girls in either white or apricot skin and I'd noticed she also had boy versions - "Wings" in chocolate skin, I opted to buy a boy version instead, then wait for the chocolate girl to become available if ever.. When they did, I spotted  Mimiwoo was selling baby versions, and so I ended up buying an adorable 12 cm Chocolate Skinned Suve  instead; and just when I decided I'd definitely buy her this time (last month) I discovered  Junkyspot were selling an exclusive Light Grey "Freya" and I just couldn't resist her!

Still never mind, she's here now and she's all mine at last... Here's how she looked while awaiting for her "face up"...



And here's how she looked after she'd been given some eyelashes, a base coat on her lips, very light blush to her cheeks and her new eyes. I'll be adding some more blush to her cheeks and finishing off her lips soon, but so far I'm very happy with how she's coming along. I think the Amber Eyes really stand out against her gorgeous skin tone.

I may have to try and make her a wig soon though, as the one I bought ready for her is sadly too big, as are the other wigs I have waiting for new owners, so right now she's a "Kojak" - Hujoo! I don't mind though, because I think she is stunning with or without hair!




I'm really looking forward to having "Maromisa" finished and making some cute little outfits for her, so she'll be able to met her "brother" Akimoto,  little sister "Ae Sook Aiko", cat cousin "Freya" and having some family photos taken!