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Real-Life Miss Peregrine? Meet Linda Michel’s Contemplative Dolls
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 16:21

Photos Courtesy of Linndolls

The year 2017 is beginning, and the aspect of a brand-new, clean-slate existence is certainly appealing. Everyone has baggage that they've overstuffed with regrets, missed opportunities, poorly chosen words, and roads not taken. For some people, this emotional baggage is a simple carry-on-luggage–sized worry; for others, it is a lifetime of not being sure that the right choices had been made; perhaps their path took a wrong turn and the road just kept wending away from them.

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2016 in Review: A Golden Age of Female Re-Imagining?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 16:14

When I look back at what I've chronicled for the aptly named Doll Chronicles, I have to declare that 2016 was the Year of the Real Woman. Now, in the doll industry, that shouldn't be such an earth-shaking proclamation. After all, the majority of doll artists are female; the overwhelming abundance of doll creations are female; and the consumer base is very much female-centric. Like Beyoncé has sung, who rules the world? In the doll world, it has always been girls. And I guess that is why the Year of the Real Woman is so definitely different. From dolls that represented women who — God forbid — wore a size 12 to a headstrong, capable 12-year-old Disney princess, the world of dolls was given a much-needed makeover. This year many girl dolls became young women.

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Paradise Galleries: Memories of Christmas Past
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 16:55

As the countdown to December 25 continues — it's less than a half week away . . . Yikes! — it's tempting to shed one's equanimity, isn't it? In other less sophisticated terms, it's easy to lose one's cool. Funny, when living in the Northeast, Northwest, or the Midwest, when temperatures are dipping down as far as they can go, emotions often spike higher and higher. People at the mall can be reaching boiling points when it comes to waiting one more minute on line. Folks who are taking the easier route — doing all their browsing and buying online — can feel their passions bubbling over when UPS or FedEx loses or misdelivers an item. Ah, the unexpected "joys" of Christmas shopping.

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Welcome to the Dollhouse: Historic Houses of Odessa swing open a door to a dream
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 16:21

The holidays are the best time for doll aficionados, don't you agree? Whereas all year round, one might be met by suspicious or quizzical looks when a doll reference is dropped — "You mean, you STILL PLAY with dolls?" — during the Christmas season, tolerance reigns supreme. Since December 25 is a day when adults often indulge their childlike wonder and excitement — getting and giving oversized plush-animal slippers, comically decorated PJs, socks with emojis emblazoned on them — the request-and-receipt of a doll is greeted with seasonal understanding. Any quirky gift can fit snugly in a stocking, so all is right with the world!

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Yuletide Paradise: Hawaii’s Bo Bergemann discovers her inner snowman!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 18:23

Photos courtesy of Bo Bergemann

I was so happy today to receive an e-mail from Bo Bergemann, an artist who is often associated with tropical climes and swaying palm trees. Even though paradise-like locales and temperate breezes pop into my mind when I think of Bo, she's also extremely connected to Christmas and all things "merry and bright." If Santa's elves learned to master the hula dance, and traded in hot cocoa for coconut juice, Bo's dolls would be right at home at the North Pole. (Or, more likely, the re-named Very Hot and Sultry Sunny South Pole!) Though most of her dolls have an "Ariel, the Little Mermaid" vibe, she is quite adept at coaxing out her inner Olaf, the jolly snowman from "Frozen."

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Heidi Plusczok’s career blends creativity, love
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 15:47

Photos courtesy of Plusczok Puppen

Thanksgiving week was a rollicking and frolicking one for me. In addition to my own children, I invited my little niece and nephew to come back home with us after Turkey Day, where we pretty much destroyed the myth that tryptophan makes you tired. (That's the amino acid that is found in turkey and supposedly accounts for Uncle Joe immediately snoozing after the last drumstick is devoured.)

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Making Goodwill Come Alive: Amy van Boxel’s dolls are illuminating
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 15:44

Photos courtesy of Amy van Boxel

Now that we are officially in the upswing of the holiday season — radio stations are sprinkling Christmas tunes into their playlists — we all have certain songs that we look forward to hearing more than others. I admit I like all the old familiar standards — the Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day crooners can make me tear up as I listen to them crisply enunciate the themes. (The lyrics from "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" particularly slay me: "Through the years, we all will be together — if the Fates allow . . . ") It's a rare Noel opus that talks so beautifully and poignantly about future celebrations where revelers may no longer be around to attend. It makes you appreciate every day with one another, doesn't it?

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Making Goodwill Come Alive: Amy van Boxel’s dolls are illuminating
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 15:44

Photos courtesy of Amy van Boxel

Now that we are officially in the upswing of the holiday season — radio stations are sprinkling Christmas tunes into their playlists — we all have certain songs that we look forward to hearing more than others. I admit I like all the old familiar standards — the Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day crooners can make me tear up as I listen to them crisply enunciate the themes. (The lyrics from "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" particularly slay me: "Through the years, we all will be together — if the Fates allow . . . ") It's a rare Noel opus that talks so beautifully and poignantly about future celebrations where revelers may no longer be around to attend. It makes you appreciate every day with one another, doesn't it?

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Fanciful Flurry: Elizabeth Cooper’s dolls are heart-melting little snowflakes!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 16:49

Photos courtesy of Cooper Dolls

Yes, I know it is still November, and Christmas is MORE than a month away, but if you're anything like me, you are desperate for that jolt of holiday bliss right about now. The musical "Mame" birthed lots of popular songs, but it also debuted a caroling standard — a tune that gets played on the radio every Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.

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Saluting the Zawieruszynskis: Learning the A to Z’s of Doll Artistry
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 10 November 2016 20:42

Photos courtesy of Henry & Zofia Zawieruszynski

I've worked in the doll industry for a long time now, and my path has intersected with many of the same people time and time again. That's one of the heartening things about being in a niche profession for more than a decade. (Actually, two decades now — sheesh!!!!) While I am always joyful to see new blood coming into the doll world, it also pleases me endlessly when I get to chat with and spotlight familiar names and faces. Such is the case when I've been able to interview and break news about the always evolving, always impressive Zawieruszynskis.

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