How do I love thee, Mattel?

Let me count the ways: Curvy body released Tall body released Curvy body costs $9.99 online Tall body costs $9.99 online Tall and Curvy available in the Walmart Easter Basket section Tall and Curvy at Walmart for less than $8 each Whaaaaaaaat? There was a time when Mattel couldn’t seem to do anything right in…

Okay, I’ll weigh in on the new Barbie bodies…

A few weeks ago, Mattel introduced their line of Fashionistas that includes new bodies they call Curvy, Petite, Tall, and Original. I’ve been repeatedly asked my opinion of this announcement. Out of sheer exhaustion, I’ve decided to post my opinion. Let it be known that: I am over the moon about it. The body variety…

OUR COLLECTION: The Big, Beautiful Ones

I’m finally doing a post on the Plus-sized Ladies of Leah’s Barbieland. I’d waited until I had them all (or all I could get my hands on). To recap: I was inspired to collect them and educated completely about these options by Lola, a doll friend. A person can always make their own larger-bodied dolls…

CUSTOM: Rosie O’Donnell Update and Michelle Rounds

Leah’s barbieland is all about reflecting the diversity of the real world. I’ve wanted to include LGBT characters for a long time now but was having trouble deciding how to go about choosing a doll or dolls to send the clear message about L, G, B or T. Would I start with two gay guys? That would have…

CUSTOM: Give your Doll Natty Locs in 20 minutes

I have posted several times before about giving a doll Locs or Dreadlocks – or whatever your preferred term might be. Corset Kitten’s Loc’ing technique has a great organic look and feel but but might be too intensive for some, and may not hold up in the hands of a five-year-old. Ms. Loanne Hizo Ostlie’s…

OUR COLLECTION: Fulla Remix – Rockin’ Hijabistas

We live in a suburb of Denver named Aurora, Colorado. It took me a while to fall in love with Aurora. I wanted to be a Downtown Girl. I bought a house downtown and that’s where I met my husband. But he’d been living downtown his entire life and wanted to be a Suburban Boy….

OUR COLLECTION: The kids

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Barbieland Obamas! Barack, Michelle, Sasha, & Malia – the First Family of Leah’s basement barbieland, wish you and your’s a Merry Christmas – if you celebrate Christmas – and Happy Holidays if you do not. The Barbieland Obamas will be celebrating Kwanzaa too, but they have to keep that…

OPINION: Tracking Racial Self-Worth

My plan has always been to track my daughter’s perception of racial self-worth through her barbie-play. In other words, instead of waiting for that Mamie and Kenneth Clark moment when I sit looking horrified as I find out my kid either hates herself or has some other twisted conception of race and worth, I always wanted…

CUSTOM: The making of Michelle Obama

So I bought the Obama True-Type Action figure. And since I spent way too much money on him, I felt it was important for us to work him into our play scenarios. To do that, I felt I needed a Michelle Obama. So I set out to create one. I started with  Barbie Basics 1.0,…

BEYOND: DIY Play Props for Real Adventures

Type “How to make Barbie Furniture” into YouTube and you will find that there are many, many tutorials for making sofas and beds. The problem with these projects is that a doll needs to go places. Your barbies don’t want to stay at home sleeping or sitting on the sofa watching TV. There are also…

OUR COLLECTION: Asian Barbies

So I wanted to give an overview of all our Asians. We currently have four gals, three guys, a five year old (Kelly), a toddler and a baby. THE WOMEN: Our Nikki was originally an Animal Lover when she was released in 1989 but is now dressed as a police officer because I’ve never seen an Asian Police officer. I’m sure…

CUSTOM: Larger bodied Grace

Want to add more body-type diversity to your barbieworld? I recently re-bodied a Grace head onto a Hot Toys True Type 12 Cuban Female body. These dolls are pretty pricey on eBay.  But for me, the option of having a fully-articulated, larger-bodied Grace was worth the money. I began with a cheap Grace – $7…

CUSTOM: At long last…LOCS

FYI – it is not currently in vogue to call so-called dreadlocks by that term anymore. They are now referred to as “Locks.” The “why” should be obvious. I am not the originator of the change in terms, but being a believer in the Whorf Hypothesis, I do abide. Several months ago I posted about an OOAK…

OPINION: Barbie-play for teaching Empathy

Empathy is the ability to say, “How does that person feel?” and later, “If I say what I am thinking, how will it make my friend feel?” and even later, “How can I convey what I am thinking in a way that will not seem ignorant or engender defensiveness and anger, but instead move our…

BEYOND: Video Production Part 1

So I made my first barbie video the other day. It was not easy. I had been in awe of Vanessa Morrison for some time, but I had absolutely no idea how difficult it could be until I tried it myself. My video is actually done for a group of friends I work with on learning Spanish…

CUSTOM: Rotini or Halo Hair

This doll does not have an “Afro.” People who were part of the Black Pride movement of the 1960’s  also took pride in wearing their hair natural instead of using straightening combs or chemical relaxers. Their pride in African culture was an Afro-centric view. The way they wore their hair was soon dubbed an “Afro.” Fifty years later people often shorten…

OPINION: Someone Needs to create an Anti-Barbie

You know instead of just complaining about how anorexic or plastic-ly surgery-ied BBBBarbie is, someone should just develop a full-figured or at least reasonably figured “barbie” and unseat BBBBarbie forever. I wonder how often this thought has been thunk. Based on my research, the answer is: Often. Several times people have actually followed through on…

OPINION: Why barbies are better than a $200/hr therapist

There is a class of therapeutic techniques that psychologists and counselors refer to as “play therapy”. The basic idea is that children’s language skills and meta-cognitive abilities are not developed enough for them to talk about experiences that are troubling them or that they are otherwise still attempting to process. Like, I guess I could just…

SCENARIO: World Council of Princesses

My friend Noelle warned me Leah would have a princess phase. She said her daughter Chase spent three months insisting on princess dresses every day. Noelle was right. Leah is heavy into the princess thing right now. It hasn’t kept us from playing barbies, it has caused us to play barbies in a particularly princess-y way….

CUSTOM: How we re-body dolls

I have read various “how to rebody” tutorials online and their re-body-ing efforts are explained in various ways. Those ways are not wrong, but over time I have created my own method using tips from various other tutorials, as well as the experiences I’ve had. If you don’t understand WHY we re-body dolls, check out this post….

PLAYER PROFILE: Marie Chandler

Recently I did a profile on the various Adult Barbie Enthusiasts I have met since I started building Leah’s Barbieland last summer. This is a profile of one of those enthusiasts, how I found her, why I enjoy her work and a few things she’s taught me. Once when I as trolling eBay I saw…

CUSTOM: Why we re-body dolls

The post is about WHY we rebody dolls, if you are looking for a post about HOW we rebody dolls, we have that information in a different post. I remember, in 1978, being frustrated by barbie arms that did not bend to my will.  Legs that made the clicking sound and bent only about 15 degrees….

RESOURCE: Amazingly Beautiful! Brown Skin and Natural Hair

If you love having a diverse set of dolls then you will want to take a look at what doll artist Ms. Loanne Hizo Ostlie puts out there. She takes fashion dolls (mostly Mattel Barbie dolls) and re-does their hair in cute curly styles, locks (they aren’t called dreadlocks anymore, just locks), short cuts…you have to…

PLAYER PROFILE: Adult barbie Enthusiasts

When you start building your barbie collection you inadvertently run across a world of barbie enthusiasts you had no idea existed. There are thousands, seriously, thousands upon thousands of adults who love dolls and especially love dolls like barbies. The adult enthusiasts fall into several broad categories: NIB Collectors – these are the collectors who…