Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Barbieland Obamas!

The First Family of Leah’s Barbieland

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 on the down low in order to keep people from freaking out.

This post is actually about the children of barbieland. None of the kids of barbieland are cold, poor or hungry (unless you want them to be, in order to teach your child empathy).  The children of barbieland ARE afflicted though. Because they all have  a disease that affects the melanin in their eyes.

This disease leaves them writing letters to Santa, asking for the beautiful Ebony eyes of their owner, Leah. Thankfully, while Leah sleeps, Santa visits and grants their wishes with an Ultra-Fine Point Black Sharpie Permanent marker.

Krissy, Nikki friend, Kelly boy and Girl, SIS, Janet, Calista, two High School Musical dolls.

So let’s take a look at the children of barbieland so that you can populate your own barbieland with a kid or two or three.


The Sasha Obama above is a Mattel Janet – Friend of Stacy doll from the 1990s. More on Janet below.

Malia Obama is a BFC Ink Calista doll. More on Calista below.


Moving from smallest to largest:

Toddler from Happy Family Nikkis one year birthday party. Krissy baby from Happy Family.

The first doll is from the popular 1990s collection called Happy Family. This toddler comes from a set that was designed to give baby Nikki some toddler friends on her first birthday.  The set costs $100 when it is new, complete, and still in the original box. You can get used toddlers on eBay for $10 to $15.

There have been at least five different Mattel baby styles. I only like the Happy Family era babies. I like both the newborns that are stashed inside Midge’s belly – and Baby Nikki. Baby Nikki is available in peach skin/blond, light brown skin/brown hair, darker brown skin/black hair.

The picture below shows other babies. The fifth style is the one in stores now. These modern babies look too cartoonish for my taste. They come packaged with Pediatrician barbies, for example.

Freekish Heart Family baby is as tall as Kelly. Newborn for inside Midge’s tummy, Nikki and Big-Head-Rubber-Body. The Big-Head-Rubber Body doll often had a piece of hair attached that was as long as it’s entire body.

Kelly’s were once a powerhouse seller. There are hundred available online. There are lots of subtle variations. The one I show above is a fairly modern Kelly. She is about the same size as traditional Kellys but her legs are leaner – Katt’s dolls (see link in next sentence) notes that this body was introduced in 2006. I think I got her in a Dentist set. She tracks as a pre-cursor to Chelsea – who came out recently. For info on all the variations of Kelly over the years – check here.

Kelly-sized boy, Kelly-ish recent doll, Kenya Kelly

So In Style kids came out before the new Chelsea dolls. Chelsea is the same size as the So In Style kids. There are four SIS girls – one for each of the SIS women. There is one boy and his name is Julian. Julian and the SIS girls can still be found in stores – but who knows how much longer they’ll be out there? Take note that Courtney is the darkest and the hardest to find. SIS girls can wear Kelly clothes. The doll shown here is wearing a Kelly dress – albeit she’s wearing it as a tunic. She’s also wearing Kelly shoes. She’s wearing SIS pants.

So In Style Julian and So In Style Girl (can’t remember which). She is wearing a Kelly dress and shoes with SIS girl pants.

Janets from the 1990s are fairly easy to find on eBay. This one has had eye surgery (Sharpie). She needs a haircut. She was a Gymnast so her he knees bend. She is wearing a Bratz outfit. Shoes are not that easy to find for Janet/Stacy/Whitney/Todd.  Black Todd is pretty rare. His face paint is kind of old school. He needs eye surgery. I paid a lot to get him. If it were to do over, I would buy a Janet, cut his hair off and flock it myself or do a short re-root.  There are a few Janets with natural hair – one is bowling Janet.

Black Todd and (Gymnast) Janet, Friend of Stacy. Todd is wearing Alex Russo shorts and a Rement Police Uniform top.

BFC Ink has both a 1/6th scale doll (seen here) as well as an 18′ doll named Calista. In other words, one for barbie-world and one for American Girl world. We have both. If you are interested in the smaller doll,  good luck – I tried to find a link to one for this post and couldn’t scare up a single one.

This Calista doll has had eye surgery. She is wearing a Moxie Girls dress. She does not have any bendable joints. I know of no way to re-body her for full artculation. If anyone reading this knows of an articulated body I can give her, I would be forever grateful for that info.

BFC Ink Calista. No male dolls are made in Calista’s size – as far as I am aware.

High School Musical dolls are available with three black teens. The ones shown here are Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie; and Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth.  There is also a Zeke Baylor doll available. None of these dolls are articulated and again, I have no ideas about how to go about re-bodying them to add articulation – while retaining their teenage heights.

Teens – characters from High School Musical. Black Skipper from the 1990s also exists but I don’t like her head mold.
Teens shown with fully grown (Jasmine and Naveen?). Bodies are teenage-sized but heads are full-sized. Yuk.

The teens are shown next to two sample adults. The woman is a So In Style Kara, wearing a Disney Jasmine dress. The man is a  Barbie Basics, wearing a Disney Naveen jacket. This Basics doll could work as an Obama stand-in. The only reason I don’t use him as one is because he cannot bend his arms or legs. The only articulated brown male body i know of from Mattel is So In Style Darren – which would probably be too dark. I know I could re-body him on an Action Figure but then he would be significantly shorter .

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrea says:

    Please remember to be careful with those Sharpies! They’re fine as long as you stay on the paint, but, if they get on the head vinyl, the pigment will start migrating, and within a few months there’ll be a big smoky patch spreading away from the eye. (Of course, I’m a staunch advocate of practicing with paint and brush–it’s quite possible to paint over just the unwanted colors inside the eye paint.) There are ways to remove hypothetical stains like that, but it’s easier to be careful not to create them, right?

    (Unrelated–I found a Christie from the early 70s in a thrift store this week, and she currently has a head full of pipe cleaners as per your tutorial; I can’t wait to see her with natural hair! Then I’m going to round out the inside of her neck opening so her head will work on modern bodies, and–once we get our airbrush situation sorted out–paint a Fashionista body to match, because she’s even darker than Alvin Ailey Barbie and absolutely deserves articulation. I think this doll may have saved me from going over the edge with Monster High dolls…)

    1. Andrea – I had no idea! Once again, by pushing the limits as you do, you have a depth of knowledge I just don’t. And I am thankful I don’t have to learn the hard way – because some of the dolls are pretty irreplacable.

      Re your Unrelated – I am trying to paint a body this same darker color. Based on your example – as i want this to be featured in my profile of you.

      It’s darker than Alvin – as you mention. For me it’s the color of the Basics 1.0 dark-skinned girl as well as the Princess of South Africa. I need bodies for both of them so I am trying to paint a body with a Testors enamel called Rubber. The color is perfect, if a bit shiny.

      The problem is that when moving the joints it scrapes itself off. I think this would be solved by using the airbrush – so the paint would be thinner – is that right?

      Also, I can easily scrape with my fingernail – and I’m thinking you can tell me what kind of top-coat would solve that.

      I wanted to come up with a cheaper solution than airbrushing – bc I think my blog customizations are sometimes too high-end. I was thinking I might dye the body with Rit first, and then paint – but not the joints.

      What do you think of that?

      The only reason to have this discussion publicly, in these comments is so others can chime in with experiences and/or questions.

      1. Andrea says:

        I panted a Volks body a few years ago to match Princess of South Africa http://www.flickr.com/photos/dollsahoy/477484437/ (I see you linked to her in the other reply! *grin*) Joint scrapes seem to be unavoidable, especially on well-engineered (with less clearance at each joint) bodies. I need to check the gymnast Barbie body I painted this summer, to see how bad her scrapes are…

        I use clear acrylic Krylon spray paint for topcoats on bodies that have little or no soft plastics; if the body is a regular clicky-leg style, I use the airbrush to topcoat with clear sealer (to avoid the problem of plasticizers interacting, which does still happen even with a coat of paint on the soft plastic. Yes, learned that first hand, too.)

        However, the preparation of the body before the paint goes on is as important to the durability as the topcoat. Washing the body thoroughly with soap and water, to release all lingering traces of mold release, helps, and lightly sanding everything with fine grit sandpaper to give the paint something to grip helps, as does applying a coat of primer. I…um…usually just wash the body, though… (Most of the my customs are created with great impatience to just get to the final product… The Princess of South Africa, though, was done properly, disassembling her as much as possible and priming and painting many light coats. Her joints still scraped, though.)

        Some doll joints are made from nylon, which is the only common synthetic that absolutely loves dyes (to the point where it’s called a ‘color scavenger’–nylon’ll suck up any free dyes/stains it encounters. Why, yes, I did get an A in my college textiles course. *grin*) I’ve dyed the joints on Volks Midi bodies successfully. (The Midi is a great teenage height, but severely lacks for skin tone range, as is common with the Japanese hobby bodies.)

        I recently encountered a blog post wherein someone successfully dyed an entire Monster High doll *rummages links* here it is http://go-monsterhigh.livejournal.com/45730.html?thread=260002 I was honestly surprised that this worked, and I have no idea how different the plastics used for MH are versus Barbie, but I may still try it out. Since paint is available in such a wide orange of colors compared to dye, airbrushing will probably remain my preferred method for matching existing heads.

        It’s now time for me to turn off the computer and start the day as Mom. I’ll ramble more later!

  2. Paulette Richards says:

    Thanks for the overview of available child dolls. I think it is even harder to find brown child dolls than adult males. Six or seven years ago there were some off-brand, Kelly-sized dolls called Paula I believe. I bought lots of them in the grocery stores, scalped some of them to be boys, and hoarded all the cute little dresses and shoes they came with. Monster High bodies can work as articulated options for teen dolls but they have to match either Cleo de Nile’s light-skinned complexion or Clawdeen Wolf’s bizarre orange undertones.

    You had me dying laughing about the eye pigment disease. Unfortunately there is actually a guy who has invented a laser machine that destroys the brown pigment in people’s eyes so that they can have blue eyes! Reminded me of George Schuyler’s _Black No More_.

    Andrea, please explain about the airbrush because if there is a way I can repaint articulated bodies to match the heads I have, I would be thrilled.

    1. Paulette –

      I am planning to do a post on Andrea’s technique (or she can do a guest post if she prefers). That way I can have pictures to support each step.

      Check this post of Andrea’s – related to the airbrushing.

      Thrift Rescue!

      And this – showing the Princess of SA paint she did:

      You’ll find that Andrea is very open and sharing – unlike so many dolly customizers. It’s funny that even in this thread someone asks if it’s okay to ask her what airbrush she uses. It’s indicative of the little-terror dolly customizers have of each other.

      Andrea –

      Whatever you share here will ultimately get copied into my post about your technique so feel free to elaborate to the extent you have time or wish to do so.

      I honestly think you should have a blog about your techniques – so if you ever start one – I will just do posts where i point at your pages but some people would rather create than write about it so I respect that too!

      Do you have an etsy shop? Can you please provide a link?

  3. Lola says:

    Have you ever seen the Flavas dolls? They have articulated brown men and at least one very dark relatively articulated female. I rebodied one of the dreadful stick-man kens onto a flavas body and now at least his knees click and his arms bend. He even has the same kind of neck joint as the Model muse kens.

    1. Good TIp!! I have seen the Flavas dolls but didn’t like the bigger head size. Didn’t think of just using the body – so very good lookin’ out on your part.

      The Flava’s bods are Ken height?

  4. Lola says:

    Oh, and we have one of the other BFC Ink small dolls, and I don’t understand why they have so little articulation…and then hinged feet. What possible use can that be? Her hair is really bad quality, too. I’m not sure which one she is, but I have brushed, conditioned and combed her hair but it immediately frizzes back up. I just braided it and called it a day.

    The Stacie sized dolls can wear a lot of the bratz clothes, fyi. Well, you know, the less slutty bratz clothes.

    1. Yes – I’ve had a lot of good luck with Bratz and Moxie girls clothes on both teens and Stacy-sized dolls.

      “less slutty bratz clothes” – LOL – yes! like that recent black leather bustier number? Yes – you do have to be careful.

      I really wonder about these designers sometimes. We don’t buy slutty clothes bc we like them, we buy them because we have no other options. Nearly every barbie dress becomes a tunic at my house. Luckily I just found a resource on eBay for leggins and jeggings that are pretty reasonably priced.

      1. Andrea says:

        I don’t have any, but a lot of doll people I know online really like the doll leggings from this Etsy seller http://www.etsy.com/shop/yukostevens

        While I’m recommending Etsy shops, I do have a lot of things knit by this person

        You asked elsewhere–this is my Etsy shop
        I offer mostly kooky Blythe (which will fit Skipper and similar size dolls) and Monster High (closer to Bratz) size stuff, but none of it is realistic enough for Barbieland (unless there’s a storyline involving time travel.)

  5. Lola says:

    I don’t know why I can’t seem to post all my thoughts in one post.
    Have you seen the Ty “Lil ones”? They have two dolls named for the dolls that were named after Malia and Sasha–
    (the story being that Ty put out dolls named “marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha”, got heat from the Obamas, and renamed them Marvelous Mariah and Sweet Sydney).

    I really need to make a family for my poor Obama. He’s lonely, with just a few GI Joes on his Secret service detail to keep him company.

    1. I like the separate comments for separate ideas- make it easier to keep topics separate in case anyone else wants to chime in. The link is a good one. I need that little Bo. I have seen these in stores and didn’t get one yet – not sure why. Maybe bc I have a lot of Kellys. One prob with traditional Kellys – they can’t sit up by themselves very well. I put their hands behind them to keep them from falling over – but it’s pretty bad. I wonder if these have that problem.

      I should buy at least one and see what I think.

      LOL about Obama. He’s so mean looking. If I were barbieland Michelle, I’d steer clear of him when he’s got that “let’s go get Osama bin-Laden” expression on his face.

  6. Andrea says:

    Oh–spaced it the other day, but, there are articulated Bratz! Recapitate them with a decent noggin and you have a very good tween size.

    The ‘no feet’ thing may be an issue, though. If you search, there are decent Bratz shoe feet, as well as some bare (disturbingly toe-less) feet, and things can be improvised for more traditional feet. *eyes BFC Callista’s feet* Feet feet feet.

  7. barbielea says:

    Hi and thanks for an interesting article that came at just the right time for me, as I have just started expanding my collection with some different aged dolls. In the UK, there are a lot of small BFC dolls being sold for good prices in a discount store called “Home Bargains” – I ignored them in favour of the LIV dolls they were also selling last time I visited, but I really want one now I’ve seen yours.

    I really like your dark-eyed dolls, the sheer number of hazel and blue-eyed brown dolls has always irritated me – take basics collection one model four, for instance – ebony skin, cute short hair …. really pale eyes! Seeing your altered dolls has inspired me to make some eye colour changes myself.

    1. D7ana says:

      Thanks for this full article with tips on personalizing our dolls and action figures. I especially appreciate the color photos of the child dolls in size order.

      Two collector/enthusiasts who have rebodied the MGA dolls onto other bodies are Niel and Roxanne. Just to add to the topic ;-D

  8. Elle says:

    How tall is Monique/Taylor (and/or other HS musical girls)? I can’t find this info, sorry.

    Because my IRL grown woman (30 yrs btw) height is 4’10” I’m hoping to one day switch my Bavatarbie onto an articulated (hoping it exists – too busy doing other searches) 13-year-old Skipper (and alter her feet) or splurge for Tiny Kitty. Splurging/Xmas/bday and the waiting wouldn’t be SO bad, since I need a collection of only slightly taller women first or else I’m the farrr shorter one (with some Asians) than everyone with no one about 5’2″ even, just 5’6″ +. I am super short, but there aren’t gaps IRL, there are 5’0″ women, and 5’4″ is AVERAGE, etc. That’s what I mean by we’re the only ones short and drastically so, with no inbetween. Booooo.

    … BUT I can’t yet because there are no AFFORDABLE/available dolls smack in between 10″ and 11″ (when I rebody Livs with Barbie heads, they are about 11″ or 5’6″ – I’ve been obsessed with these things, yes). I’m not looking for ONE doll. I’m looking for a lot and to keep buying them occasionally. (I’m also recreating people I know and celebrities, MANY are petite.)

    I actually still need to buy/re-buy (mother donated some of my childhood dolls without my knowledge) some dolls before I add my own Flickr height comparisons. It’s annoying that everyone either shows Liv (re-headed) and taller or skips Liv with the expensive shorties. Le sigh. (Sometimes it’s hard to find the numbers posted.)

    BTW, I love Liv and they’re affordable! Not even sure about these new Disney Store dolls, helloo cha-ching at that place. I think eventually I’ll look online for nude ones (don’t need princess gowns that much) and just get a few for additional body shapes. … The world must be cosmopolitan (/cosmodollitan)!

    … So much altering dolls to do, as well! (And finally AM building my house.) After I’ve finished some more of that and an actual professional project, I can once again ready my upcoming site. I was delayed due to computer and Internet problems …

    It seems you’ve been AFK as well. 😦 I did see you last posted in Feb (came here this time, as many times, from Google)? Hope you come back!

    BTW, shorter dolls also make Barbie cars and houses look better – tehehe. Did you know doll rooms would be 16″ high (up to 20″ or more, for fancy rooms) to relate to the human 8 feet in our world? Ugh. I’m too much of a perfectionist for Mattel and … even making dioramas fit well in a bookcase, hahaha (I can do it with wasted/storage space, not turn a bookcase into more of a “structure” but hey – not spaceous enoug anyway – oh don’t get me started … I ran into trouble making so many of my dolls rich [some because Mattell dolls scream “famous model!”]).

    BTW, I try to triple check my numbers because I’m BAD at numbers – so I can sometimes mess up. This morning I did with an eBay seller question. Ah well, wrote back. Anyway, hope I didn’t. It would be due to my brain but not the 1:6 factoring, itself. It’s like I live by a “1:6 = literal, girl” code.

    Sorry about so much chatter. I’d missed out on doll stuff online partially because, along with everything else going on, with losing the old computer (and a unique wp.com issue) I lost logins (and had trouble using the right gravatar on WP.com). And sorry if this sounds blabbering, occasionally I get that urge and there are rare times I don’t have time to proofread as much as I usually do.

    1. Andrea says:

      Hi–Allow me to address a few of your issues!

      For articulated dolls of smaller stature, check out the offerings from Japanese hobby doll companies like Obitsu and Volks.

      Obitsus are easily available in the US from Junkyspot

      And here’s the US Volks site
      (I’m a big fan of the Volks EB Beauty Midi size, which is about 25cm tall)

      Spin Master has announced that they will stop making Liv this year, putting all of its doll energy instead into La Dee Da dolls (which are skinnier than Monster High and don’t ave articulated elbows), so the relative expense of the Japanese options should be measured against that.

      There’s a new line of Bratz dolls called Bratzillas, which are fully articulated and have real feet; they’re also a bit larger than regular Bratz dolls, so I’m not sure where that would put their scale height in relatin to your doll needs. There have been a few regular (footless) Bratz in articulated versions; I have one with a non-Bratz head and improvised feet that measures about 9½” tall.

      More and more doll companies are releasing articulated dolls these days, though, and in odd scales, so there’s hope!

      1. As always, Andrea – your comments are amazingly educational. I have been working on doll painting for almost a year now and refusing to post until I can post definitively. I have also been working on hair dyeing and cannot seem to get it to work. Do you have any tips?

        1. Andrea says:

          Thanks, Kristl!

          I’m happy to hear that you’re persevering with the painting. I encounter a lot of people who try to paint once and then swear never again, just because the first attempt wasn’t so great. You only get better if you practice!

          I’ve never tried to dye doll hair–I know me, and it would probably be…messy…and in an irreversible way…

      2. One problem with Volks and Obitsu is that the don’t do any darker skin tones. Of course you can paint the bodies – and I will do a tutorial on that soon, but that was a consideration for me.

    2. A number of things have caused my hiatus – I realized that I’m not actually teaching people how to play barbies – I’m teaching them how to do some customization and I’m showing them doll diversity. I want to start a new series on barbie scenarios for girls but my daughter is resisting using phone videos to illustrate scenarios.

  9. Elle says:

    Sorry, I found a photo comparison. http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&biw=1163&bih=544&authuser=0&tbm=isch&tbnid=rgqpPQqInuOSXM:&imgrefurl=http://www.ebay.com/itm/doll-panties-FD3XSMALL-Teen-Fashion-Dolls-6-12-tall-10-PAIR-semi-sheer-/360470745769&docid=OfYAiUx2UPEk-M&itg=1&imgurl=http://www.idressdolls.com/Fashion%252520Doll%252520Panties/FD3XSMALL%2525201.jpg&w=586&h=436&ei=AQgMUIa_CIT69QSRlc3rCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=328&vpy=160&dur=1562&hovh=194&hovw=260&tx=161&ty=63&sig=100839859957779433750&page=1&tbnh=157&tbnw=205&start=0&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:79 Apparently, HSM is a fit for me! She’s 13 year old Skipper height. I still need high articulation for ME, of course … Anyway…

    FYI, grown Skipper is a little taller than Liv (usually I use Collector heads to compare, but I also use Britney Spears heads for “play” – love those heads – and they’re just a bit bigger so of course my Livs can be taller, too, her head is nothing like Playline though) even after adjusting feet. Teen/grown Skipper’s feet aren’t that pointed, so it’s not much. So, again, no dolls shown between those general heights in one photo.

    Once I’ve accumulated enough bodies, yes, I’m going to use teen and adult bodies as both teens and adults – so Skipper bodies as adults, too – it’s normal. I do customize bodies (shape, figure) somewhat too but it’s slow work the way I go.

    Your blog is often one of my sources, btw, thanks! That photo was waiting for me in one of my tabs when I wrote though, haha. My tabbing/browsing gets NUTS .. and then I get busy just trying to finish ’em. Ha.

  10. sydney says:

    Well, I just wanted to comment on this post- you said you couldn’t find any articulated dark-skinned boy dolls, and I wondered if you had ever heard of the My Scene dolls? They were a Barbie brand, and they had trendy clothes and larger eyes and lips, but they were eighteen inch. Well, the girls, at least. I actually have a dark skinned guy doll that is fully articulated in hard plastic with a more realistic musculature than a standard Ken, and he had olive greenish cropped hair. Just wanted to say that!!

    1. I never liked the My Scene stuff bc I don’t like oversized heads. I have seen the one black guy but I think he is adult height. (I don’t think they were 18 inch) I know people who collect their clothes and use them with standard dolls today. I wonder about his neck joint. If I could use his body with a different head that would be amazing!

      1. Andrea says:

        *pokes in nose* The My Scene guy neck connection is absolutely Ken standard… (well, older Ken, with rotation only; tilt/rotate necks are getting more common on Ken, including on that sold-out-in-a-blink articulated AA Ken Texas A&M cheerleader doll…) My Scene guy bodies do have larger hands than standard Ken, too.

        1. Hi Andrea!! that’s good info – so I won’t want one with big hands. That A&M Ken – it kills me that he sold out that quick but maybe that will give them the signal to do something again. I was all geared up to go buy two or three and then wah-wah-waaaaaah.

  11. Hi!!! I think you should include de AA Midge’s newborn, which is the smallest of all the mattel baby, Also, your daughter may like the TYCO quints and triplets, I don’t know if you can still find them in the US (I’M ARGENTINEAN) but there must exist somewhere on ebay. I had african american quints that were dark brown and the readheads; and then I had the set of triplets that was light brown and then the light skin and very dark hair triplets, too. The quints were always 3 girls and 2 boys and you could find the newborns and the sort-of-toddlers which are like 3 times smaller than a 90s kelly. The triplets, which are supposed to be their cousins, are always 3 girls and they have the slim body of the SIS, but are taller, not much, still shorter than stacy, janet and whitney.
    This was so useful!!! Thank you so much, and again, congratulations on the way you play with your child.

  12. INKA says:

    Calista – my l♥ve

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