I attended my first ball-jointed doll convention, Oberon’s Ball, in San Diego last weekend. It was my first, but it definitely won’t be my last!

I read about the convention on Den of Angels, an Asian BJD message forum. A mini convention sounded ideal, as I planned to bring my daughters along–assuming I could extract promises of their best behavior (or blood, whichever came first).

The convention started at noon. I was thrilled to meet several dealers, including Pam from Dollovely. Pam presented a super-easy sueding demo, which will save me from burning my hands with hot glue. It was simple, and something that was so much less intimidating to see in person than read about online.

My own wish list grew by leaps and bounds at Ms. Cholong’s DollHeart booth (those outfits and Peak’s Woods dolls are gorgeous), and at the Pixiedust Designs booth: Robin’s collection of tiny BJDs were simply amazing. Just seeing the dolls in person–some redressed, some with modifications, some original–made me see they are much more impressive than their promotional photos suggest.

There was a costume contest, including best fairy, best steampunk, and best owner/doll combo. The girl who won the last category is someone I “follow” on Twitter. It’s fun to put real faces to screen names.

I felt like a new collector–but some were even newer to the hobby than me. Yet even the experts made us feel comfortable and at home. I was delighted to see the age range of the collectors–from young collectors to older ones, male and female alike–we all loved dolls. I felt like I belonged there. I can’t wait for next year!