Discovering the world of dolls with
facts, fashions, fotos, and fun

Hello from American Doll Outfitters,

Dolls in Focus is our newsletter or (e-zine if you will) about and for those interested in dolls, doll clothes, accessories, and much more.

Issue #002 May 15, 2009

Time just seems to fly by here at . Welcome to our second issue of our newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Doll Size Buttons
  • A Sewing Tip
  • New links added to our links page
  • Interview - One way to play with your dolls
  • Posing your doll - photo tip of the month

1.) We recently just added 6 mm (1/4") buttons to our sales page in several hand dyed colors. These buttons are nice and thin (unlike those chunkier "craft" buttons) and will look wonderful on your doll clothes creations. Get them while supplies last. We are researching the possibility of having this size button as a regular offering in the future. Here are a few pictures of them used on clothing we have created.......

Follow this link to view the various button colors we still have...

Sewing Tip

2.) Here's a sewing tip just for you, our subscribers.

When you're working with products like 'Stitch Witchery' or other iron-on fusibles, it can be pretty annoying when perhaps an edge of the fusible adheres to the bottom of your iron or ironing board. You know what happens after that.... it will get all over your iron and board and will be transferred to your next project when you iron it! Ugh! How many of you can say with me, "Been there, done that!"

So what can you do to prevent this? A Teflon pressing sheet is a lovely item to have because you can place it over the item that you are fusing and any excess will not stick to it. Heat will not harm the pressing sheet at all. While it is lovely to have one of these, I'm sure you know that they can also be a little spendy (and in the current economic situation, not an absolute necessity). If expense is keeping you from owning one of these delights, do not despair! There is a readily available alternative as close to you as your grocery store!

Baking Parchment! You will find it in the plastic wrap/aluminum foil section at your grocers. It works wonderfully because like Teflon, nothing sticks to it and heat cannot harm it! Use it just like you would a Teflon sheet when you are working with fusibles.

~~Darling Elizabeth

Links of Interest

3.) Here are three links we added to our links page that may be of interest to you. This first one is a very informative website on ways to get your sewing room organized. You will find lots of useful tips and ideas here.....

The Domestic Diva

The T.L.C. Doll Hospital has lots of sewing accessories and supplies.

T.L.C. Doll Hospital

And for those of you interested in the latest news from the world of BJDs...........

BJD Collectacy

Interview - Jill Snyder

4.) People collect dolls for all kinds of reasons, and this month we interviewed a friend of ours who "plays" with her dolls. She combines her writing talents with her photography skills to create stories that she enjoys sharing with others. Please meet Jill Snyder ...(a.k.a., Jill in WV, dramadoll1)

Website: right now (with a possible addition of in the future.)

Who or what got you started into doll collecting?

In 1996 I spied a Repro Francie at Toys R Us. I loved both the doll and the presentation, and I began by buying reproductions of Barbie dolls that I had wanted but was not able to have as a child. Soon I was adding to several Barbie collector lines in addition to the reproductions and the occasional vintage doll or outfit. Barbie collecting morphed into Tonner and Gene, with a few others thrown into the mix, and attending a Tonner Convention introduced me to other collectors and to traveling for the sake of my hobby. The real culprit is the internet, though. Message boards like Vicki’s and Prego kept me connected and of course, tempted. Ebay made collecting possible if not a little too easy. I began to spend more and more time in the evenings in chatrooms with doll friends, and one night one of my chat buddies (Shelly!) forced me, forced me I tell ya, to click the buy button and order my first BJD: Kaida, an Elfdoll basic Soah.

How many dolls do you have?

Unlike my fashion dolls, I keep good track of my BJD’s. There are thirty-four currently residing here, and a couple dozen floating heads. I resist counting my fashion dolls – there are just too many, even though I’ve basically lost interest in collecting them and haven’t added new ones for several years.

How long have you been writing and photographing dolls for your stories?

On a regular basis, it has been since September 2006, when I introduced what has become my central setting: Asher’s theater, along with Asher himself. Before that, beginning around March of that year when I received Kohana, I produced a few simple, warm-up stories, with which I learned many of the skills necessary to photograph, pose and write dialogue for my characters. From the very first, my BJD’s have been more than mere dolls – they are characters with unique, meaningful names, full “lives” and extensive personal histories. And love interests, of course.

What do you enjoy the most about creating photostories?

I love that it keeps me creatively engaged. Through photostories I’ve discovered a love of writing, and have filled countless enjoyable hours taking photos to share and use for stories, or just to look at on my own. I can’t imagine employing my dolls only as manikins for display, although like many, that was my original intention.

Can you relate any interesting experiences that came out of this aspect of doll collecting?

I travel frequently for the sake of my doll hobby, attending conventions, meetups, or just visiting friends across the state or across the country. I tend to be a bit shy with people at first meeting, and sharing our love for our dolls (and characters) really brings me out of myself. Knowing and associating with other doll people enriches my life on a daily basis.

Do you have a favorite doll and why?

Shhhhhh, the secret is to make them EACH think they are my favorite.

What's the most challenging photoshoot you've ever done?

That would have to be the camping sequence Clara and I collaborated on, starring Cassandra and Eli. Not only did we work outdoors in a public area, but there were numerous other challenges. The wind was blowing, the sun kept shifting, the ground was damp, pine resin stuck to everything, and for the sake of the storyline, I needed to capture a jar of honey flying through the air! Eventually we managed to do this, although the flying jar shows up as just a blur of amber in the photo. Still, readers noticed it. When I processed the photos after I got home, I had to learn how to layer selections in my photo editor to superimpose a bear in front of a photo of a tent. I learned a lot, but it was really fun and hopefully, effective.

What is your best source for obtaining props for your stories?

Oh goodness – I find prop potential everywhere. My favorites are Ebay for some really unusual finds, Dollar Tree for stuff I can use as-is or tear apart to construct my own props, and one absolutely wonderful thrift store.

Will you purchase a doll to fit a future character in one of your story lines?

I have done so several times, and I imagine I will again in the future. Just as often, I purchase a doll I really like and then let that doll inspire a new character idea when he or she arrives.

What advice would you give someone interested in doing photostories?

Get to know other story-tellers. Become active in discussing, commenting upon and following their storylines. If they post their email address or you can PM them, drop them a line to compliment or ask questions. Most story people I know love to get such emails, and you will learn a lot from other people that you won’t absorb just by viewing completed stories. Story-tellers make the best audience, too. Most of all – have fun!

Thanks Jill for sharing a little about your dolls and how you enjoy them. Looking forward to seeing you on your next visit to the West Coast.

Photo Tip

5.) This month I thought I would talk about posing your doll for photographs. Besides getting to know your camera, lighting, and other photography techniques, the way your pose your doll can make a big difference in how your photographs turn out. Follow this link to my photo tip of the month......

Click here for Photo Tip - Posing Your Doll

DE has been a little under the weather for sometime and is finally feeling much better. Nasty flu that was. We hope you enjoyed this edition of our newsletter and plan on adding more web pages to our site soon. We want to do a tutorial on how to sew hems in the near future as well as a host of other topics. So thanks for subscribing and stay tuned.

Frank and DE