Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Orlando's Story: Continued (Mattel The Lord Of The Rings Legolas, redressed)

I went looking for Celeste early one morning, hoping to find her alone. I spotted her strolling by the bookcase and quickly caught up to her. "Celeste?" I called from behind her. She turned, and when she saw me she gave me a friendly smile that nearly took my breath away. "Hello Orlando," she said. I quickly re-gathered my thoughts and said, "My sister told me you give good relationship advice." Celeste looked surprised but I hurried on, wanting to get the words out before I lost my nerve. "I could use some good advice," I said. "I was wondering if I could talk to you, privately."

"Of course," Celeste said. She led me to a quiet corner where we would be away from prying eyes and asked, "How can I help?" I was still nervous about the whole thing, so it was difficult for me to speak, despite the fact that I'd spent some time rehearsing what I planned to say in my mind. "I know about Shade's infatuation with Carlos," I began. "I'm having a similar problem. I...I've grown very strong feelings for another doll in the collection. But I don't know if she feels the same way. I don't feel comfortable asking her, and she's not the easiest doll to read." I gave Celeste a wry smile and said, "I guess Shade and I are both drawn to the quiet, mysterious types."

Suddenly I worried that I'd said too much, and my fears seemed to be confirmed when Celeste spoke. "It sounds to me like you're describing one of your sister's friends," she said carefully. Celeste must've seen the sudden panic on my face because she quickly added, "It's alright. I don't really need to know who it is. I only mentioned it because I've noticed when you spend time with Shade and the rest of us, you're very quiet most of the time. You don't really share your opinions very often. I thought that maybe if you spoke up a little more, and gave the rest of us a chance to really get to know you, it would help you connect with the doll you have feelings for without having to single her out in conversation."

 I thought over what Celeste had said. "I'm not as...chatty as some of Shade's friends," I said. "I don't open my mouth unless I think I have something valuable to say."

"And that's ok," Celeste assured me. "I'm not saying you should completely change who you are. But maybe you have more to say than you think you do. Just because something seems small to you doesn't mean it's not important. I'm sure you've told Shade a lot of things that didn't seem important, but because you did she probably understands you better than anyone."

Again I thought over what Celeste had said. It did make sense in a way. After all, how could I expect Celeste to have real feelings for me if we only knew each other superficially? If I wanted her to make the choice to spend her life with me, I needed to let her see what kind of doll I really was. There was always a chance that she wouldn't like what she saw, but the fact that she was encouraging me to reach out seemed to hint that she hadn't already made up her mind against me.

"You've given me a lot to think about," I said finally. I wasn't sure what to say after that, and as the seconds ticked by an awkward silence seemed to settle over the two of us. I realized then that I should probably leave, and let Celeste get on with the rest of her day.

"I think I've taken up enough of your time," I said. "I'm sure you have other things to do today."

"It's alright," Celeste said. "I'm always glad to help." She smiled again, a reassuring smile that once again took my breath away. I was so dazzled by it that it took a second to remind myself that I had already monopolized too much of Celeste's time, and that I needed to leave. As I turned to walk away I realized that I had forgotten something very important. I turned back towards Celeste and said, "Thank you, Celeste, for the advice and for listening."

"You're welcome," Celeste said. We parted ways then, but it wasn't long before I saw her again, passing the time with Shade and Shade's other friends. I did speak to my sister privately about my meeting with Celeste. Shade made a joke out of the fact that I'd actually followed her suggestion, when it's usually her who follows my suggestions.

I've been trying to follow Celeste's advice, trying to share more when I'm with the group. It hasn't always been easy. I worry that the things I say will sound stupid or shallow. I worry how my words might change the way the other dolls think of me. Everyone wants to make a good impression, especially when one's heart is at stake.

Celeste has been very supportive in my efforts to be more open with others. Every now and then I'll look over at her, after I've shared something with the group, and she'll give me a small nod of encouragement. While I can't say if she'll ever feel for me the way I feel for her, for now it's enough to know that I still have her friendship and support.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Orlando's Story (Mattel The Lord Of The Rings Legolas, redressed)

If any doll who knows me was ever asked to describe my personality, they'd probably say that I'm the exact opposite of my sister Shade. When I first met Shade she was a bundle of energy, chatting non-stop with anyone who would listen, always getting involved in some activity. At the time I thought it was because she'd just recovered from a body swap, and she was tired of lying down doing nothing. But as more time passed I realized that it was in Shade's nature to be energetic and talkative. That's just who she is.

Shade also doesn't do things by halves, as they say. She jumps in with both feet. Sometimes this gets her into trouble. I remember the time she told me that her friend Dandelion had been introduced to a little girl doll named Marigold, and that Treesa wanted Dandelion and Marigold to be sisters. Shade was so excited at the thought of being an 'auntie', and having a little girl doll in her group of friends that they could all cuddle and spoil. I don't think Shade actually realized the amount of sacrifice and commitment that goes into caring for a doll child. However, from what Shade told me it sounded as though Dandelion may have been more aware of what being a caregiver actually called for.

Whatever her reasons, Dandelion never did agree to be Marigold's sister. Shade was disappointed, and I think she would have pushed Dandelion to change her mind if I hadn't pointed out how doing that would only make Dandelion upset, and might lead to the end of their friendship. Not only that but Rampion and Celeste and Michaela would also be forced to choose sides. Shade knew how lucky she was to have Dandelion for a friend, someone whose personality so closely matched her own. And she didn't want to be responsible for tearing her group of friends apart. So Shade left things alone, and didn't bring the subject up again.

This wasn't the only time I had to stop Shade from doing something without thinking it through. There've been times when keeping her out of trouble has felt like a full time job. But even though my sister can be exasperating at times, I do care about her. Sometimes her being impulsive is even a good thing. I tend to be a little more cautious than Shade about what I say and do. I don't like to take risks if I can avoid them, so my life can get a little predictable, maybe even boring. Shade is the one doll who can get me out of my comfort zone and trying new things. So even though she drives me crazy sometimes, I'm still grateful to have my sister in my life. And if she ever needed help, I can honestly say that I'd do anything for her.

There is another doll that I'd do anything for. From the moment I met Celeste, I knew there was something special about her. Maybe it was the far away look in her eyes, the way she seemed to be here but at the same time, somewhere else. Or maybe it was the graceful, nearly silent way she carried herself, as if she was used to walking on clouds. In some ways she almost didn't seem real. I still remember the night I woke up and saw her standing by the window, when she looked more like something made of moonbeams and shadows than plastic and vinyl.

When Celeste started spending time with Shade and Shade's friends, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know her better. So I started 'hanging around', as Shade put it. I quickly discovered that Celeste had become the voice of quiet reason in the group. Whenever Shade or one of her friends had some minor problem they wanted to discuss everyone else in the group would offer their input, debating back and forth what the best course of action would be. But Celeste would always listen quietly, taking in what the rest of the dolls had to say before she offered an opinion. When she did finally speak, her words were always insightful. Celeste seems to have a remarkable understanding of doll nature and behavior. Her sense of perspective is also amazing. Celeste has a way of focusing on the big picture, of seeing the whole forest as they say, when everyone else is only seeing the trees.

The more I learned about Celeste, the more I was drawn to her. I didn't fully understand my feelings at first. I only knew that I wanted to be near her, to spend more time with her. By the time I realized I'd lost my heart the feelings ran so deep that I was convinced I'd never be able to forget Celeste, even if I'd wanted to.

I didn't talk to my sister about Celeste, at least, not at first. But eventually I realized that I needed to talk to someone, and Shade seemed like the best candidate. Despite how different we are from each other, I know that Shade cares about me. She cares the way I care about her: friendly, teasing, maybe a little overprotective. But if there's one thing I know for sure it's that Shade wants me to be happy. So one day when I was standing by the window, my thoughts focused on Celeste, I decided to confide in my sister.

Shade had been walking past me, and had stopped to ask if I was ok. She'd found me this way before, staring blankly out the window, but I'd always brushed off her concern. Now I realized that silently pining for the doll I loved was getting me nowhere. Not only that, but Shade was obviously worried about me. I owed her an explanation, if only to put her mind at ease and assure her that there was nothing seriously wrong. I also knew that I could trust Shade to keep this a secret if I asked her to. Shade's a chatterbox by nature, but she wouldn't share something if she'd given her word not to.

When Shade asked if I was ok I exhaled slowly, not knowing the best way to bring up the subject. I was still facing the window, and I could see Shade's reflection in the windowpane. She was frowning, and I realized again just how worried she must've been. I slowly turned to face her.

"It's nothing serious really," I said, trying to reassure her. Shade didn't look convinced. "Something's bugging you. I can tell," she said.

"I don't want you to worry," I told her. "But...before I say anything, I need you to promise that you won't repeat what I'm going to tell you."

Shade looked even more worried than before but she said, "Ok, I promise." That was so typical of Shade, going into things blindly. But in this case I was grateful for her impulsive nature. I slowly exhaled again, trying to collect my thoughts, and said, "There's...another doll. She...she means a lot to me and I...I'd like to be more than just a friend to her. But...I don't know if she feels the same way."

Shade's reaction completely surprised me. She rolled her eyes and asked, "Is this about Celeste?" I felt my jaw drop. "You knew?" I asked. Shade gave me an indignant look. "I'm not stupid you know," she said. It was clear that Shade felt insulted by my question, and I'm sure I would've tried to smooth things over with her if another thought hadn't completely taken over my mind. "Does Celeste know?" I asked.

Shade looked thoughtful and said, "I'm not sure, to be honest. If she does she hasn't said anything to me about it."

This new information triggered a confusing mix of emotions in me. On the one hand I was encouraged that Celeste hadn't said anything that rejected me outright. On the other hand I still didn't know if she could return my feelings, or if she'd even realized that I had feelings for her. Basically I was back where I'd started. "I just don't know what I should do, Shade," I admitted.

Shade looked thoughtful again and said, "If you had a crush on anybody else, I'd say you should go talk to Celeste. She gives great relationship advice. She helped me a lot when..." Shade suddenly trailed off, looking embarrassed. I tried not to seem amused by her reaction, since I didn't want her to think I was laughing at her. But I felt the hint of a smile cross my face despite my best efforts. "I know about your infatuation with Carlos," I told Shade. She looked even more embarrassed than before, and quickly tried to brush the matter aside.

"Anyway, I'm not sure what to tell you," Shade said. "Celeste's a lot better at giving advice than I am." Suddenly, Shade's expression changed, as if she'd had a brainstorm. "I've got it!" she said. "What if you tell Celeste you need some relationship advice, but just don't tell her it's her you've got a crush on? That way you can get some good advice without having to tell her you like her."

At first I don't think I really understood what Shade was suggesting. "You want me to lie to her," I said, not liking where this was going. Shade shook her head. "You wouldn't have to lie," she said. "Just tell Celeste you're not comfortable saying who it is. That's not really lying," Shade reasoned.

It sounded crazy to me, and risky. What if Celeste realized that I was talking about her? What if knowing that I had feelings for her made her uncomfortable? I didn't want to lose what little contact I already had with Celeste. Shade must've realized that I wasn't sold on her plan yet, because she said, "Celeste told me once that it's not the things we do that we regret the most. It's the things we didn't do."

For a moment I just stood there in silence, thinking over what Shade had said. Could it really work? Could I really get some guidance from Celeste without having to reveal my feelings for her?

"I'll think about it," I said finally. Shade must've realized that I would need time by myself to think things over, because she left me on the windowsill. Over the next few days I carefully considered my next move. Eventually I decided that, if I really wanted a future with Celeste, I'd have to face the threat of rejection sooner or later. I made up my mind that I would ask for her advice, as Shade had suggested. And then maybe, during the course of the conversation, I'd see or hear something that would give me a clue how Celeste felt about me.

(To Be Continued)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Concord's Story (grape scented purple-haired Barbie fairy, redressed)

If there are any dolls reading this who've survived a failed makeover, you're not alone. I got some lousy results when my first owner tried to give me a makeover. The good news is, a bad makeover isn't the end of the world. Treesa said some humans like buying dolls with cut hair and bad repaint jobs so they can fix them up. Treesa's not one of those humans. She doesn't know how to style hair, and she's never tried to do a real repaint. But Treesa sees things a little differently than most adult doll collectors. She's not as worried about buying dolls that look perfect. She's more interested in having dolls with character and personality. I'll admit there are some things that up the odds of Treesa noticing you. Having a 'fantasy hair color' does help your chances of getting Treesa's attention.

Treesa bought me at a flea market that was set up inside a hospital parking garage. The lighting wasn't that great, but thanks to my purple hair Treesa spotted me right away. I don't think she realized I'd been partially repainted until she got me home. Like I said, the lighting in the parking garage wasn't so good. My lips had been repainted, but the paint job was really sloppy and Treesa thought my lips didn't have any 'shape' anymore. I still had my factory paint underneath, so Treesa ended up rubbing off most of the new paint layer. It's a good thing the repaint wasn't sealed.

Treesa also got me a blue dress that sort of matches my eyes, and what's left of my 'manicure'. Some of the blue 'nail polish' rubbed off. The dress doesn't match my painted stockings so well but that's ok. It's comfortable, and it covers up my molded top so I look more like a regular doll. My first owner also gave me some painted earrings.

Did I mention I'm grape scented? That's why Treesa named me Concord. She says my hair smells like grape Koolaid. The weird thing is, Treesa remembers seeing dolls like me in the store years ago and none of them were scented. Treesa tried looking me up online, and she said it looks like the scented versions were only sold overseas. I don't know anything about that. All I know is I was shipped to my first owner in a big, brown cardboard box and it took a long time to get there.

I think that's about all there is to say right now. I guess I'm just not that interesting.

Have A 'Grape' Day, Concord
(I know it's a bad pun. It was Treesa's idea.)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vi and Viv at the Pittsburgh Zoo (Pretty Sweet Fairy Dolls, redressed)

Hello again friends and visitors. This is Treesa. I recently returned from an overnight stay in Pittsburgh. Some of my family members were going and they asked me to come with them.

I decided to make the most of the opportunity by packing my camera (fully charged this time) and two of my Kelly-sized dolls, Vi and Viv. I've featured Vi and Viv on the blog before. They're twin sisters, and they always do everything together. They also have a habit of finishing each other's sentences. And since Vi and Viv will be sharing the story of their little adventure in their own words, I will be typing the name of whichever doll is talking at the beginning of each line. The words will also be color coded, purple for Vi, blue for Viv, and green if both dolls are saying the same thing at the same time. Vi and Viv sometimes do that. Now, let's get on with the story.
Signed, Treesa

P.S. The picture above was taken at the Blue Mountain Service Plaza, where we stopped to stretch our legs.

Vi and Viv: Hi!
Vi: Tressa asked us to share all about our trip.
Viv: She took us to a zoo, 
Vi and Viv: in Pittsburgh!
Vi: Treesa tucked us into her bag the night before,
Viv: 'cause her family was leaving really early the next morning. The car ride was really, really long,
Vi: but we slept through part of it. When we woke up, Treesa whispered that we had to be really quiet,
Viv: 'cause Treesa's family doesn't know we're alive.
Vi: Treesa was sitting in back by herself with some of the luggage,
Viv: so her family didn't see us right away.
Vi: Then Treesa gave us chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Dolls don't have to eat,
Viv: but they smelled really good.
Vi: When we got to the zoo, Treesa put us in her fanny pack.
Viv: (giggle) That's a funny word.

Vi: Treesa unzipped it just enough so we could peek out,
Viv: but the humans wouldn't see us.
Vi: We saw elephants,

Viv: and giraffes and zebras,
 Vi: and we saw a real live dragon,
Viv: a Komodo dragon with long claws. It was scary looking,
Vi: but it was behind a window and couldn't get out. There was a fish pond at the zoo too,
Viv: with lots of fish. Treesa took a picture.
Vi: There were more fish at the aquarium, but Treesa didn't think she was allowed to take pictures inside the aquarium.
Viv: It was darker in there too,
Vi: and most of the fish moved really fast. Treesa said it's easier to take pictures if the animals aren't moving so much.
Viv: There were deer at the zoo too.
Vi: The zoo had a path that went right through where the deer lived,
Viv: so you could see them really close up.

Vi: Treesa said wild deer run away when they see humans.
Vi: That's all the fun stuff that happened.
Viv: The ride home was really, really long,
Vi: and it was raining really hard, so we couldn't see anything out the windows.
Viv: I think Treesa was worried. She looked worried,
Vi: but we got home ok.
Vi: I can't think of anything else to say, so I guess we should say goodbye.
Viv: Ok. 
Vi and Viv: Goodbye!


Monday, July 17, 2017

A Trip To Ringing Rocks With Hansel (from Storybook Favorites Hansel & Gretel set)

Hello friends and visitors, this is Treesa. This past weekend I accompanied some family members on a day trip to Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I thought the park would be an interesting location for a doll photo shoot, so I packed my camera and chose Hansel to be my traveling companion. I picked Hansel because I thought the park setting would compliment his fairy tale look. He's also small, and therefore took up less room in my bag. Not only that, but Hansel's short hair required less maintenance between shots than my female dolls' hair would've.

Unfortunately my camera battery died shortly after we got to the park, so I only managed to get a handful of shots. I've posted some of them below for you to see. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Signed, Treesa

(I added a digital filter to this shot, to enhance the fantasy/fairy tale look.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sunny's Story (Mattel The Sunshine Fun Family big sister)

Hello. My name is Sunny. I live with a Barbie doll named Summer Sand and a baby boy doll named KC. Summer is helping me write 'cause I don't spell good.

Some dolls lived here with Treesa always. Not me. I lived with my Mommy and my Daddy and my Baby Brother. Our little girl grew up and all her dolls got put in boxes. We stayed in boxes a long, long time. Then all the boxes got put in the driveway. I was scared. But Mommy and Daddy said it was ok. They said maybe a new little girl would come buy us and take us home.

Little girls came and little boys came and grownups came. Nobody took us home. Then Treesa came. She wasn't little. She looked at all the dolls. She saw me and picked me up. Mommy and Daddy whispered to me that they loved me and to be good. Treesa looked at me and my clothes and my shoes. Then she paid for me and took me away. She took me to her house and left me with Summer.

When Treesa left I cried and cried. I missed my Mommy and my Daddy and my Baby Brother. I told Summer I didn't want her to be my new mommy. Summer said she was sorry. She said Treesa didn't make me unhappy on purpose. She said humans did stuff like that 'cause they didn't understand. I felt sad inside, but I felt mad too. I was mad at Treesa for taking me away. I was mad at Summer for wanting to make it ok. I said I hated Treesa and I hated Summer and I would hate them forever and ever. Summer said she would understand if I hated her forever and ever.

Then Summer had to get her baby from the babysitter. Summer has a baby boy named KC. KC looks just like my Baby Brother. The daddy doll is a Ken doll named Skye. Skye is grumpy a lot, but Summer says that's 'cause his knee is broken and it hurts all the time.

Summer takes good care of me and I don't hate her anymore. But I miss my Mommy and my Daddy and my Baby Brother. I hope they're someplace nice. I try to be good, like Mommy and Daddy said. But sometimes I forget.

Treesa said she's really sorry for taking me away from my Mommy and my Daddy and my Baby Brother. Summer says Treesa understands dolls a lot better now. Treesa even talks to us. And Treesa gave me new clothes. My old clothes got ripped at my old house.

I've lived here a long time now. Summer's really nice and I have friends my size to play with. But I wish my Mommy and my Daddy and my Baby Brother were here too.

The End, Sunny

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tennille's Story (unidentified brunette Tonner doll)

I've lived here with Treesa for quite a while now, yet I've never told her my original factory name. The truth is that I don't want Treesa to ever call me by my factory name. Too many of my memories are tied to that name, and if I ever did hear Treesa use it I can't honestly say how I would react. But I think Treesa understands.

When Treesa first purchased me from the thrift store, her intuition told her that my previous owner may have died. In this age of online auction sites, Tonner dolls do not turn up at second-hand venues every day, and I was not the only Tonner doll on the shelves when Treesa came in. This suggested to Treesa that someone's entire collection had been donated, and that whoever made the donation either wasn't aware how much Tonner dolls are worth or just didn't care. Treesa was right. My previous owner did pass away, and her surviving family did get rid of her entire collection.

I have very fond memories of my previous owner. She was very selective in her collecting, so consequently each of us dolls meant something special to her. She began collecting late in life, but I'll always remember what a vibrant woman she was, even when her health began to decline. For a while she was in and out of the hospital, but when nothing more could be done for her she opted to receive care at home. I like to think that looking at us dolls, neatly arranged on the shelves in her room, gave her some pleasure in her last days.

I don't think my previous owner's family ever really understood her hobby. They indulged her whenever she talked about us dolls, but they always seemed bemused by her enthusiasm for the subject. After she was laid to rest they set to work cleaning out her house for sale. Her possessions were divided among them, and anything that wasn't claimed was either donated or thrown away. I arrived at the thrift store with the rest of my Tonner doll friends, and we were priced and put out for sale.

I was still grieving for my previous owner, so much so that I didn't really give much thought to my own future. Then Treesa came into the store. She carefully picked up each of us one by one, studying our markings and the details of our clothing, looking at us as if she'd never seen a Tonner doll up close before. I discovered later that before that day at the thrift store Treesa had only ever seen pictures of Tonner dolls, and that she'd never actually held one in her hands. I also found out later on that, even at thrift store prices, Treesa couldn't afford to buy all of us, and that she chose me because I seemed in her eyes to be the most versatile. My clothing and hairstyle were simple enough that Treesa felt she could redress me in other outfits someday without feeling guilty that it might lower my monetary value.

At first, Treesa tried to discover my original factory name through online research. However she had very little to go on, since Tonner has manufactured a wide variety of doll lines and I wasn't inclined to point her in the right direction. For some reason the thought of anyone besides my previous owner calling me by my factory name upset me. Treesa eventually decided that I couldn't stay unnamed any longer. After all, she had to call me something. The brand name Tonner made her think of the name Toni, but Treesa didn't think that Toni suited me. However the name Toni made her think of singer Toni Tennille, and so Treesa decided to call me Tennille.

Adjusting to life in Treesa's collection has been difficult, for several reasons. I've had to deal with the loss of my previous owner and my Tonner doll friends of course, but I've also had to adjust to the size discrepancy between me and Treesa's other fashion dolls. As far as I'm aware, Treesa doesn't own any other dolls in my scale. Of Treesa's fashion dolls, the one closest to me in height would probably be Shana, from Hasbro's Jem doll line. But Shana is still noticeably shorter than I am. Despite how welcoming Treesa's other fashion dolls have been, I feel awkward trying to carry on a conversation with them.

Treesa also has a collection of 18 inch dolls, but because of how they're molded 18 inch dolls usually have the physical appearance and the mindset of children. There are certain topics that are just easier, and more appropriate to discuss, with a more mature doll. While it would be nice to have friends in my own scale again, I know that the likelihood of Treesa buying another Tonner doll is quite small, given the high cost. Still she found me at the thrift store. There's no harm in wishing that she'll find another Tonner doll there at a price she can afford.