Sorry I haven’t gotten around to an update on my doll collection in a while! I’ve actually acquired two new dolls and am only one doll away from completing my Fabulous Five Collection from Ashton Drake.
I agonized for a solid year over which boy doll to get, because he represents my only begotten son. So I was a little surprised when Lil Rascal finally got here. He has brown eyes and strawberry blond hair!
Wasn’t expecting that. But, I know it happens when someone orders a doll online instead of in person. Photographs and videos don’t always show the whole picture, metaphorically speaking. However, I adore that little face and I didn’t start out wanting dolls which looked exactly like my real babies anyway. There was no way I was sending this little guy back, even though Ashton Drake has a generous one year guarantee. So I named him Kiefer and added him to my collection of realistic baby dolls. Here they are in their Norwegian baby pram.
The top doll is Evangeline. She’s the ‘A Moment in My Arms’ doll. The girl doll on the right is Arianna. She’s the ‘Pretty in Pink’ doll, which is now retired. You can still find her on eBay though.
Speaking of eBay. All this time I’ve been building my Ashton Drake collection I’ve been pondering which doll could possibly represent my baby I lost to miscarriage. She needed to be something special, obviously. I even considered buying a custom full body silicone from the Doll Connection. I love ‘Baby Tea’ by Tasha Edenholm. TEA at the Doll Connection
But, then, another doll I’d been keeping an eye on came up for auction on eBay
and I jumped on the chance to add Ashton Drake Emily to the eventual Fab Five. The Emily sculpt by Linda Webb was one of the first big successes for the company and you can see how realistically she represents a week old newborn baby. Actually, the Emily I got is so old and a little bit different that I’m pretty sure she’s not the Emily in the store picture above. She arrived dressed in real baby clothes, wearing the most adorable shoes, and wrapped in a baby bath towel.
In fact, I’m not entirely sure which Emily she is! She doesn’t look exactly like any of the Emilys I’ve seen online. She’s a retired doll, although you can find a boy doll version and a small doll version of her still sold new at the Ashton Drake website. Linda Webb’s Dolls at Ashton Drake
Here she is unwrapped and with her little goodies included. It was a fun unboxing! I bought her from an eBay store which I believe acquires items and resells them. I don’t think the seller knew anymore about her.
Sometimes, a doll collector will pass away. If her heirs aren’t interested in dolls, they sell them. Typically, Ashton Drake dolls have great resale value. Not sure about my Emily’s story, but I do know I will always treasure her and a couple of my heirs love dolls too. That’s one of the advantages of having a large family, I think.
If anyone can tell me which Emily mine is, I’d be grateful. She had a little pocket on her back, possibly for a warming feature or a music box. Here we see her undressed and next to Evangeline who is 20 inches long. I knew when I won the auction that Emily, whom I named Evie Michaela, would need some work. She has dog bite marks on her ears for one thing. But, just look at her little hands.
I knew I couldn’t bear to replace her whole body. I don’t have the time and money to do a real fix-up job right now. I’ll replace the fabric part of her this autumn, probably with this one from MacPherson Crafts. This is a company which supply reborn doll artists, very high quality stuff.
As you can see, Evie’s factory fabric is very old and fragile. Also, her stuffing is so compacted with time that she was disproportionate and her chest and shoulder area was practically empty. Also, I didn’t feel like she weighed enough. I opened a back seam and crammed a nylon sock full of sand into her torso, and then some more stuffing. And I sewed her back together. I sealed the seams and a threadbare spot with Fray-Check, just to be safe. Fray-Check
This temporary fix should last her the summer. I use a brand new paintbrush or cosmetic brush to clean the eyes, ears, and other little crevices. Also, she needs a good, but gentle scrubbing with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
As you can see, she’s looking better already. I’m no doll artist, but there are little things any collector can do to fix her dolls. Adding weight, special cleaning, those kinds of things are pretty easy and you can find instructional videos on YouTube, like this one from Little Foot Nursery
My youngest daughter is getting so good at it we’re seriously considering buying old dolls for restoration and reselling in our own eBay store one day. A doll-maker or -fixer is a wonderful thing to be! She might even end up an artist. That would be so cool. Momma would be so proud!
I’ve found the nice thing about buying a used doll is I can individualize her and also treasure her like maybe her original owner wanted to but couldn’t. Sometimes collectors fall on hard times and have to sell and they really appreciate it when they know the dolls will be well cared for.
I have one more doll to buy before my Fab Five collection from Ashton Drake is complete and here she is, Julia and the Sock Goblin
I knew when I saw her that she would represent my lastborn baby, possibly the next best reborn doll artist. Notice the resemblance?