I've always had a soft spot for Barbie as she made her first appearance the year I was born - 1959. I have Barbie #5 who dates from 1961. I can remember being a little bit disappointed when she was first given to me as I was expecting a blonde Barbie. Nowadays I think she is much more interesting and attractive as a brunette and far more glamorous.
|Barbie Red Flare / Skipper Silk N Fancy|
It was only when my mother died that I discovered she had kept the paper dolls I have been featuring in my blog as well as some of my old dolls, including Barbie and Skipper. Both dolls needed cleaning and were dressed in tattered clothing with no 'under pretties' or accessories. At the time I wasn't sure if it was still possible to find original outfits but thought it would be fun to try and restore the dolls.
At first I intended to buy just one outfit each - but that was before I realised what a thriving collector's market there is out there. I'm afraid I then had a bit of a flurry, looking for all the dresses and accessories I remembered from childhood.
I used to spend hours looking at these little books and knew all the illustrations by heart when I was a child. Growing up in South Africa it was possible to buy the dolls and a few stock outfits, but many of the items advertised here were not available and I think those that were for sale were relatively expensive.
|Cinderella Rich Dress|
One of the most magical items on offer was Barbie's New Dream House. I loved it (but could never hope to own it) - especially the pretty pink curtain in the bedroom. Today this particular house is very rare. In mint condition I've seen them sell for anything up to $400 (US) online.
|Barbie Dancing Doll / Skipper Me 'n My Doll|
Skipper also had a Dream Room but I never found it as appealing as Barbie's house.
At first I wasn't going to put together this post. I felt it was one thing owning up to a love of children's illustrations and paper dolls, but admitting to dressing up dolls would just look a bit weird. Luckily my husband and son treat my hobbies with benign amusement and don't say too much just in case my eccentric collections turn out to be unexpectedly valuable one day.
Having come this far I thought I might as well go the whole hog and show you where I store my new collection. Barbie and Skipper have come a long way from the old pillowcase they were wrapped in by my mom. I love these pretty containers that come in sets of three. Originally my new Barbie/Skipper outfits could fit into the smallest box. Now they have graduated to the middle size. If I buy anything else they will have to take over the biggest container that currently houses some of my paper dolls!
Tina Cassini-Little Lady of Fashion