Wednesday 5 August 2009

Move over Barbie

Framed tattooed lady doll by Sarah Young

Just what is it with Barbie? Why an earth are little girls and boys inevitably drawn to the whole Barbie universe? I personally don't recall ever wanting one, more of a Tressy kinda a girl (remember, the one with the long hair whose wavy locks you could twist back into her skull to create a cropped Jean Seberg look???). I've made a conscious effort to steer my kids away from all things remotely connected to Barbie & co so I understandably cringed in horror when a sweet French lady gave Savannah her daughter's entire unsold collection at the end of a local car boot sale a couple of years ago. Lots of gaudy plastic shoes, boots, hairbrushes, party frocks...
Yesterday, I caught my three children playing with Barbie and Ken on the balcony. The game consisted in placing the two bods in Barbie's big blue car without strapping their seat belts then sending them hurtling down all twenty odd steps at full speed. Needless to say, K+B did not fare well. I smiled to myself, remembering a brilliant post by one of my translator friends Gail Armstrong, on her excellent, now defunct, blog Openbrackets. How right she was...

There are so many beautiful, original dolls around at the moment so I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you some of my poupée finds, after all, Christmas is not that far away (did I really say that?)

Articulated paper-doll set by woolandwater

Papier mâché doll by Paola Zakimi

Hanging lavender-filled Russian dolls by Beaky

Reusable, removable paper-doll style wall decals made from fabric by Mae

Primitive folk art rabbit doll by PieCake Primitives

Pretty fairy pegdolls by The Magpie and the Wardrobe

Custom-tailored peg doll families by Goose Grease


  1. I love your selections! I adore dolls and hate Barbie, but my girls have them. I sort of just didn't make a big deal out of it, and they quickly moved on, thank goodness. They really are so yucky.

    Beautiful choices--I'll take one of each! :o)

  2. "Hurtling down all twenty odd steps at full speed!" I love it!

    I must admit I had a bit of Barbie fascination when I was young – I only had a Sindy doll who, somewhat like myself had dark hair, fat feet and a lack of elegance about her – so I was drawn to Barbie in that weird hate/love kind of way. But that was all forgotten as soon as I got a Jem doll (anyone else remember her?)

    Wonder how better adjusted kids would be if they got to play with your selection instead? The paper doll with the bear is so beautiful!

    (Sorry for the random reminiscing!)

  3. They're all super smashing! Agree with sweetlife - i realised the more I tried to dissuade my daughter from wanting barbie, the more like forbidden fruit she became. I bought a naff one for 50p from the carboot and, thankfully she barely gets looked at now!

    I am so taken with the customised goosegrease family of wooden dolls. i want to make one of our family right now!

  4. Thanks for your lovely comments. These dolls really are something special, and there are so many other beautiful, handmade ones out there.

  5. Ya know- I'm with you! I was never a Barbie gal either. Couldn't stand her! Did like some of the clothes, but that was it! I was more of a Raggedy Ann, Strawberry shortcake & Friends kinda gal! Still have some of the originals and newer versions of BOTH! My dd is another story. She loved Barbie and I cringed. She got most of her collection from gifts given to her. I bought honestly maybe 3. And she had quite a collection. I never thought she would grow out of that phase and FINALLY at age 12 1/2 she did. I was happy to pass them on to a little girl who didn't have much and loved Barbie. Good Riddance *lol* Hugs!

  6. Oh my... I am speechless at the beauty of these dolls. My eldest daughter was sooo into Barbie (to my horror) but then my youngest came along and disfigured every single one of them... not sure which child I should be more worried about really! ;) Thanks for this - fabulous post! K

  7. I love dolls too!! This selection is terrific. I made my own hand painted dolls. If you want come and take a look!! Hope you like!!


  8. Zime: Love your little handpainted dolls - so very cute!

  9. You have found some really nice dolls, I'm working on a custom made doll for a client and really find your post inspirational!
    I had Barbies when I was young I didn't play much with them but I made tons of clothes for them with an the old (non electrical) Singer from my grandmother.

  10. I am honoured to be amongst such a lovely selection of dolls.
    I had a barbie phase myself when I was to young to know any better. I agree with conversational pieces that Gem was much better!
    Luckily I have two boys so hopefully wont have to do the Barbie thing.

    Thanks Deborah!


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