Onwards to 2016! The lessons learnt in 2015.

I’ve been seeing a lot of reflection posts for 2015, but I didn’t make it in time (working till the last day boo!). However, 2015 was a really exciting year for me in dolly-collecting, and I feel that I’ve matured a lot and really worked out what I love, don’t love, and what (dolly) resolutions I have for 2016. I think this might be my first -true- blog post, so beware, pic heavy, long, and rambly.

I had a few dollies in 2014, and was slow to start. My first, was a Hatsune Miku that my brother bought me for my birthday,  and I ummed and ahhed for a very long time before I bought my second Pullip. I quickly had a few on pre-order, and was searching for my grail at the time, Alice du Jardin Mint. I looked at her photos for over half a year before I actively began searching for her online. At the time, I wasn’t aware that Groove would eventually re-release her.

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It took me over a year before I managed to snag her when she came back up for order. It was between her and Kiyomi, and I think, even to this day that these two are the Pullips that I love the most. I have bought heaps of girls in between, but am still waiting to pick up Kiyomi. Instead, I ordered Nanette at the time, but I soon realised she was too fancy for me, and she languished on a shelf.

So, it still stands that one of my biggest regrets was not picking up Kiyomi when I had the chance. And that brings me to point 1:

1. If you really love a doll, get that one. Don’t compromise. 

I wish I had learnt that lesson when I started. I picked up so many dolls to fill the hole (and this is true with Blythe as well) that I never was truly satisfied.

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At the beginning, I found that I had a “catch-them-all” type of attitude, where after picking up one Pokemon, I wanted to move onto another. There are very few girls that I really, really love playing with – a lot of them, are so beautiful that I tend to display them more. Pullips fall into category 2 for me. I almost exclusively just photograph and play with them in their stock form (unless it’s a custom doll), whereas with my Blythes, I almost always re-dress them. I think it’s because the Pullip stock dolls are so well stylised, and the stock is so fitting that I rarely find the need to change them.

Because of this, I find that I play with my Blythes and my selected custom Pullips much more. I also feel a guilt, because I think that they could be much better loved if I sent them on to someone who would play with them all the time.

For almost 18 months I did not sell a single doll. I couldn’t, they were all part of my little family. I think I amassed a collection of over 30 dolls in different families. I started to feel overwhelmed, because I could not give them enough attention.

(On the left is the Pullip Family in August, and the right the Blythe Family)

It wasn’t until I started making customs, weirdly enough that I realised I could let the girls go.

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My first really serious commission was for the lovely Angie from Omochacrush. I absolutely loved making her, and I have to say that it was amazing having encouragement from someone I so admired to pursue making the girl. You can see Angie’s review of the doll here. I was super nervous sending the girl away, and then when I did… I realised I could – and that I really should send my girls to houses that would love them more. I really loved a whole bunch of girls at the beginning, but as my tastes matured, I realised which ones were really “forever girls” and not just temporary visitors.

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I realised I had a talent for creating girls (and drawing symmetrical eyebrows) and I loved, loved, loved seeing my finished girls in their adventures in their new homes.

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Do you remember Thalassa? She travelled all the way home to Elisa in Chile, and my heart skips a beat every time I see photographs of her!

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Thalassa with her Kangaroo, Picture by Elisa
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Thalassa with Luperca in a very adorable outfit! Photo by Elisa

In light of this, I will start whittling down my collection to my “Forever Girls”, so my others can have more fun and be more loved in other homes, and the girls that I thought I was getting to fill the little gap will now be sent to their own forever homes.

Now, let’s talk Blythes.

My collection is very much tied with the Australian Dollar. Because of some governmental kung-fu this year, there was a period of time where Blythes were cheaper for me to collect then Pullips, as I could purchase them in Yen for second hand. The first ever Blythe I picked up was Minji, my Curly Blue Babe. She was the first one I well and truly fell in love with.

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The photography has gotten better this year too (this was in Feb)

I slowly collected a few stock dolls. I kind of loved their humungous faces, and I lusted after some special girls, like Bianca Pearl. And then I fell into Flickr, and I finally understood the beauty of a custom girl. There was just something about them, the uniqueness and the cuteness and character to their faces.

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Bianca remains the classiest stock girl I own.

And then… along came Nori. Nori was my first-ever proper custom girl that I asked to be made completely for me. She was different to my other customs by Forty Winks (at the time) because she was made for me, by Freddy Tan, with a vision that we both had.

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Nori after we won a small plushie at the Tivoli in Copenhagen.

Nori travelled the world with me, and I think it was because of her that I fell into the rabbit hole that is Blythe.

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She also stands like a champ, which is awesome.

Over the year though, I still added more Blythe girls to my collection. Yesterday, I started my journals and I asked myself – If my entire collection had to be given away, or my house was burning and I had to save one girl – who would it be? And yes – it would be Nori, because we have scaled volcanos together.

She’s also my husband’s favourite, which means it’s likely he’d save her from the fire too.

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He carried her around in his jacket while we climbed glaciers and things.

Same thing with Kiyomi, I always lusted after some certain Blythe dolls, from the fabulous Hola Gominola to the equally fabulous K07Doll.

So that leads me to my next goal of 2016 – to get a K07Doll. I’ve already been thinking of who to send to Ken, and he’s been wonderful so far.  So that brings me to the next point – similar to the first.

2. Save for the girl you really want.

So, after all of that… what are the 2016 Resolutions for Project Doll House? Dolls I have realised are a wonderful release for me, and I so enjoy photographing and blogging about my girls.

Keep Creating

I love making stuff. I love making dolls. Step 1 is to wrap up the 3 commissions (almost there!) from 2015, and move onto 2016.

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Keep taking photos

Over the year I’ve seen my skills for photography increase a lot, and I have to say this is attributed to hanging out with my dolls and learning to photograph them. Discovering Instagram (@jannmakesthings) this year, also really helped with my enjoyment of the hobby (So many pretty dolls on there! *_*)

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Having gorgeous girls like Toffee help.

Keep up with my Dolly Friends

I’ve met some truly amazing people over the past 2 years in the Dolly community, and I hope to be able to keep in touch with all of them. From Olive, my go-to confidante for all things dolly (at all manners of hours, thank you, time differences), to Freddy, who is always there when I have a doll question that needs a seasoned pro. Of course, Angie too, who without some very nice encouragement I would never have made dolls! And so, so many other wonderful people!
Keep Blogging!
This one is important! I want to keep up the dolly blog and make sure it is as up to date as possible.
Creating the Forever Collection
This one is also a space necessity one tied to practicality. I want to re-home some of my girls to homes that can play with them more, as well as reduce the dollies to one shelf for space-saving needs (they currently have two!), and make space for new girls. (The husband has said we have a dolly real-estate problem!) This also means I’ll be updating the wishlist soon 😀
Have more giveaways!
I loved hosting my giveaway last year, and I hope to have another one (or two) this year. My schedule is looking so packed (with mainly non-dolly things), so I really want to slip one in. I had so much fun creating Emmeline, and she was such an awesome idea.
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Wow… that was long. Best stop while I’m ahead.
So, how has the dolly year been for you? What have you learnt in 2015 about dolly collecting? Any wishes for 2016?
I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas, and an even better New Years. Let’s have a fabulous 2016.