Welcome to our "About Us" page! We hope that once you get to know more about us, you'll see we all have a lot in common!
Frank and I didn't set out on the road of dolls until much later in life.
For Frank, it started as a way of building his relationship with our oldest daughter. He bought her a Barbie from their "Dolls of the World" collection and things just ballooned from there. It turned into their Disney Doll Collection. Frank and Rachel (our daughter) would talk about what doll they would get next and for every little bit she saved for it, Frank would match it. They would discuss which dolls were available and which ones they wanted to add to the collection. When a doll was purchased and brought home, they would get out their little journal and write the date she was bought and catalog the accessories she came with. The doll would then be placed in the cabinet for display along with the rest (they would occasionally take them out and admire them). Needless to say, the collection grew quite large!
After awhile, the little girl grew to be a woman, got married and and went on to other things. But what about us?
Well, Frank discovered Gene! This, of course, put Barbie on notice. She was being supplanted by this new woman on the scene. This is also about the time Frank starting using the dolls as subjects for his budding photography hobby.
Pretty soon, one Gene led to another and another. And of course, you need a place to display them. So Barbie got her eviction notice and was moved to another part of the cabinet. Before long, an even newer woman appeared on the market. Tyler Wentworth. Oh yeah. For awhile, Gene and Tyler went neck to neck in their competition for Frank's attentions.
I thought it was cute. But is wasn't for me. Who am I? I'm Elizabeth, or as Frank calls me, 'Darling Elizabeth' (after Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice). He also coined my nickname, 'DE'. Another little thing about us is that we're hopeless romantics.
I was not into collecting dolls. I had a few old ones and a few from my childhood, but that was it. I was into sewing and taught garment construction and quilting.
That all changed however, when my mother started making porcelain dolls. She asked me to make an outfit for one of her dolls. I was hesitant. I really didn't want to get pulled into this 'dolly thing' she had going on. So I only dipped my toe into the water and made her one outfit. I ended up sewing for the doll shop, which led me to purchase dolls for sewing models (because I'm a stickler on things fitting), which led to me falling hook, line, and sinker into this 'dolly thing'. The rest is, as they say, 'history'.
And then came ebay. One thing about us as with many others at the time, was how intriguing the internet auction was. We found that the doll outfits sold for more than what I was being paid at the doll shop and that I could sew them at my own pace as opposed to keeping up with orders. I also had a household to run (5 children at the time until baby number 6 made her debut) as well as doing volunteer work, so ebay was a better fit for us.
We wanted to have nice pictures for our auctions (at the time, a lot
of auctions relied solely on item description....only the most savvy had
pictures), so without a camera, we relied on a camcorder that hooked
into a little gadget called "Dazzle". When you found the picture you
wanted while viewing the video, you would press a little button and
Dazzle would capture the frame and from there, you could use it as a
photo for your auction. Quite a process! When we think back on it now,
we're amazed at how advanced we were! LOL!!!
(Photo at right was created for an Ebay Auction)
A couple years after that, we purchased a scanner to use for our auctions. When we went to look at them, we found one that had a special that included a digital camera. Whoa! High tech! So we bought it and from there, Frank honed his photography skills into what they are today. He had taken photography in high school but had never really put his skills to use. Needless to say, he has really grown in those skills! Grown to the point that his pictures have made their way into a few doll magazines and has written a couple of articles on photography and even won a few awards.
For the longest time I was really into sewing for vintage and porcelain dolls. I gathered quite a collection of these and had a wonderful time creating outfits for them. One day Frank and I went to a doll show and out of the blue he bought me a Betsy McCall and that's when I fell in love with the little girl dolls.
This further grew into a love for another little girl known as "Riley". She was the cutest thing I ever did see and I loved sewing for her. My love for dolls continued to expand and together Frank and I would go to the doll shows and each one of us would be looking for different things.
It was after the BJD's came on the scene that we began collecting together because we would make costumes, go on photo shoots, and sit down and develop story lines with our dolls as characters. Frank and I often would sit at the computer and argue about what each doll was saying to the other. (Never in a serious manner, mind you.) I had always wanted to be a writer of children's books and this became an outlet for that inward desire to write that I never really pursued. This is another thing about us that doll collecting has enhanced. It seems we both like to write.
Frank found his work situation changing and one thing led to another and he connected up with "Site Build It". Finding them to be very thorough and having lots of quality information and support on how to properly build a website, Frank dropped "The Vintage Stitch" website he had built on his own and started "American Doll Outfitters" from scratch. There's so much he didn't know and has been very impressed with the knowledge and expertise from the folks at SBI.
Interested in learning more about SBI? Click logo below
Put all these things together about us, and what we have is a website that we want to share with all of you so that you can learn to have as much fun as we do. Sewing, photography and dolly play at it's best!
Thanks for visiting this page about us!
Elizabeth (DE) and Frank Miesner