Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010!

The first few hours of 2010 daytime. I am awake at 7:15 a.m., alone typing this post in the living room. The sky is blurred from the revelry of fireworks as I think of days to come. Life plans are important, I've realized a bit later in the game -- but not too late. If you live, you still have that chance. One plan is to learn something new everyday, a new enriching experience. Go back to exercise -- seriously and create the results, practice new creativity, see old things in a new light and be at peace -- with everyone, everything, most importantly, yourself.

Happy New Year everyone from me and  Scarlett! 

One last, before the year ends: Tonner Scarlett "Kissing Ashley Goodbye" Portraits

Kissing 2009 goodbye in 2 hours 45 minutes, so I thought of doing portraitures of Scarlett ("Travelling with Mother...") in Tonner's "Kissing Ashley Goodbye".  Among the dresses in which Vivien Leigh's beauty was highly complemented, the Christmas dress in which she desperately tries to hold on to every second with her illusion is in my opinion one of the best. Why? The innocent girlish sweetness of the dress is at variance with the turbulent mature passion of a woman that demands for love. "Demand" being the operative word in Vivien Leigh's crafting of Scarlett -- whereas other aspirants exhibited "begging for love", Vivien Leigh's interpretation was unique and faithful to the characterization of Mitchell. "At variance" for while Scarlett displayed porcelain-like fragility of beauty and decorum as admonished by Ellen 'O Hara and Mammy, inwardly, she was endowed with the Irish-determination and gumption that stood out in the war-torn South.

I have posted pictures of the Franklin Mint version of this dress ("How Could He Resist") which is more faithful in color, length and accessories to the film. The Tonner version fails in the cameo (which was originally all black, and which I repainted to reveal that cute cameo silhouette).
The boots of this doll is red, whereas the Franklin Mint version uses red pumps. The Tonner version has a overly voluminous skirt. One has to iron the pleats (lukewarm) to tame the large skirt. I wonder how those women moved in small houses with such large skirts.

As the new year ends, we kiss it goodbye: holding on to its lessons, and letting go of its sad moments. And while we hold everything in memory - be they sweet or bittersweet, we must remember to Scarlett, we will, after the wars in our lives are over -- we will.

"When the war is over Ashley. 
When the war is over."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tonner Scarlett "Travelling with Mother to Savannah" doll repaint

In previous posts about Tonner's "Travelling with Mother to Savannah", I posted pictures of the ensemble. Here now is the doll wearing Tonner Melanie's dress to Scarlett's Wedding. I think the "immaculate" pale blue is an excellent complement to the doll's supposedly fair complexion. What I find unique about the "Travelling with Mother to Savannah" doll is  its hairstyle -- it has a very defined middle part that goes all the way to the back.  Something you don't find in the regular  Tonner Basic Scarlett. The hairstyle is very much Civil War inspired with two braids crowning the head and intertwined at the back. The hair is very tight and I had to loosen it a bit to bring it down as much as possible. The effect is a hairstyle that can wear the Franklin Mint Wedding Gown (which unfortunately because of its rarity) I do not have. I am thinking Tonner will re-create this sometime soon as it still has a strong "want' in the marketplace. And I foresee, it may be priced at a premium price than the rest of the line (hope not, we've had too much of overpriced dolls which sell for less than half at year's end).

The inspiration for the portraits are Cecil Beaton's photographs. A famous photographer for royalties and fashion.  Now why wear Melly's blue gown? First, I think the fabric is very much similar to ones worn for  Victorian portraits. The gown captures the light and drapes in a billowy, balloon-like manner. Every fold seems to behave in the same manner fabrics do in Beaton portraits.  The fan is from Ashton Drake's "Love After the Hours". Unseen here are the bonnet that comes with the Melanie blue ensemble and the white gloves. I wish Tonner would use more of fabric that drapes and captures the light well.  It really is a sight to behold in person versus the organza they choose to use. The outfit is completed with charming period shoes with buckle in pal blue, stockings  and hooped skirt with layering of tulle.

I hope you enjoy the portraits and Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Looking Back: Repainted Tonner "Don't Look Back"

Remembering the old happy days as a Southern belle

Looking back, in a previous post, I said I would try not to look back (consider purchasing) Tonner's "Don't Look Back". Reason being, I didn't find it really too much of an authentic Civil War Costume. Well, here I am eating my words. And Dave (of Daveland did challenge me if I could live up to my decision). I didn't Dave! That's what happens when you see lots of photos of this doll and how beautiful the outfit seems to "really" be on it.  Beyond that I hesitated because of the price. What the heck! Money comes back but the immense joy of holding, posing, photographing and repainting a doll like Scarlett is priceless! Sounds like the MasterCard ad, right? Well whoever made that ad surely got it right.

The doll has been repainted and I think this is one which I really pressured myself by getting the first stroke right. I hope I did. I haven't shaded the doll yet. There are times when you just have to stop. What I like about her? The dress drapes beautifully. I love beautifully draped dresses on dolls as they make the dress look more in proportion. The hat which was a big issue by one post in Prego (vis-a-vis the Franklin Mint version) was actually negligible (unless of course, you've actually seen the Mint version which I conclude from photos of it to be more in synch with the film).

Portrait of a lady

The doll's hair has long curls at the back which I managed to set aside to be more faithful to the scene. Although shown briefly, the scene doesn't do justice. And eating my words further, I must say: It is a must buy for any GWTW doll fan to have this.  Perhaps like Ashley, how could I not be smitten by Tonner Scarlett's charm in this ensemble.

"That woman doesn't exist anymore." 

This is the last, I hope post of Tonner Scarletts for this year (unless the price of the drapery dress of Tonner goes down on sale). Well, here she is, me eating my words, and finally feasting on another: the joy of looking back...and now looking forward to 2010 for another joyful GWTW doll collecting. I hope Tonner or Franklin Mint will be more gentle with their pricing -- that among others is part of my simple Christmas wish list.

How can one resist not looking back?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lost and Found: Travelling with Mother to Savannah

When Tonner released the first publicity pictures of this Walter Plunkett "lost costume", not many were smitten.  "Travelling with Mother to Savannah" may have been done for that part wherein the newly-widowed Scarlett (who manages to make people believe that her mourning state of emotions were meant for her dead husband, Charles Hamilton) visits her Aunt Eulalie and Aunt Pauline (Ellen's sisters) in Savannah. One may think that being a wealthy Robilliard may have merited this dress for a visit. But then again, personally, I find the dress inappropriate to the look of the Civil War, and to the age of Scarlett who was then in her teens. I find this costume too adult for the young Scarlett, and too ostentatious. If ever this was made at a time of mourning for Scarlett, it would have been inappropriate by Ellen O' Hara.  Black and no frills was the fashion for mourning women that time, no more, no less.

(Walter Plunkett file from, a rich resource for GWTW costumes)

So why did I buy it?

I guess it was a tribute to Plunkett who I believe made the most wonderful costumes in Hollywood at that time. I guess I was also curious about how the dress was made, what the material was, and somehow -- regardless if the doll was Scarlett or not, the dress does make an impression -- although a bit too loud and edgy. Also, she was on sale and when not in control the "click to buy" button is the last thing you should really look at.  Lastly, when depression happens they say, stay away from things that can create an impulse.

That said, I still am loving this costume for what it is. The ivy design at the bottom is too large and would have been more elegant if done in an understated elegance sort of way. The doll you see is the Tonner Business Mill doll sans bangs, tucked under the hat.

The doll has an overlay cape -- very Victorian with fringes all around. It is cut in a diamond shape and reaches the back of the doll's full skirt.  Underneath is a full skirt separate from the top. Nope, there is no blouse on on top save for a fully fitted cream bodice attached to the cape. The bodice  which has beautiful studs as buttons is attached to the cape and has sleeves. The sleeves are adorned  with ruffles at the ends and a band of black at the cuffs.  Thus there are two pieces: skirt and cape with attached bodice. The cape is made of soft silky material which easily moves, the fringes give it weight. The real doll is dressed in stockings. The ensemble is completed with a hat accented with soft,  red feathers the color of which is similar to those in "Welcoming Guests with Melanie" gown. The real doll has a braided hair at the back similar to the Tonner Business doll without bangs (but at the moment  has not been repainted). That doll would have been perfect with the Christmas with Ashley dress. It also comes with black pumps -- black versions of the white ones for "Don't Look Back".

Above some photos I managed to take fast before the battery dies. So what's next for Tonner GWTW lost costumes: I am hoping they do the dress supposedly of the  "last take" and never-before-seen scene.
Do I love her? Well, might as well be happy with the decisions you make in life. After all, they aren't anybody else's but yours. = ) Happy doll collecting everyone. There seems to be no remedy for a fever as Scarlett fever.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Scarlett Fever: An introspection

"Click to buy", the button says. You stare at the button. You stare at the next button: "Proceed to checkout". This past 2 months, I found myself doing more than just stare. Yes, I purchased the UFDC Convention Doll "Return to Tara", Tonner's  "Don't Look Back (when I said I wouldn't turn and buy a $200+ doll), and now "Travelling with Mother to Savannah". Crazy I know. Oh I do know, specially when it costs 48 Pesos to 1 Dollar.  But they come from savings, hard-earned money toiled even during weekends. And they come to fulfill one dream: To see, to hold, to repaint a Scarlett doll. Well, that need has become even more strong the past few months. Hmmmm...perhaps that's what happens when dark clouds hover (I won't even go there). But the doll helps. The anticipation. The letting go of the anticipation. The box from the courier. The ripping of tapes -- sometimes you even wonder where your adrenaline comes from in ripping them out so fast with no cutter in hand. Then, the reveal. The vinyl figurine that lies ribbon-tied to the box. Skirt all flowing and large it occupies most of the space. The tightly done hairstyle -- sometimes too tight. And the facial paint that will be gone in a few days only to be replaced by hours and hours of meticulous strokes of a brush (I am often amazed at how much time passes in the mere creation of an arched brow). So what's the point of this all? Well, it can be crazy as seen by some. Dolls are sometimes never taken too seriously -- more so the Doll Collector. Yup, I get them the stares from friends whenever they venture into my room to see a new doll standing ready for a photoshoot.  Why am I writing this? Because I think it can be a never-ending fever. A Scarlett fever. We have that -- maybe not for Scarlett but for some other doll theme, but it's the kind of fever that surges everytime a new doll comes out. Ooooh's and ahhhh's. It's the kind of fever that doll companies fuel with exciting collections and thrilling looks.  It's time to put the doll to rest. Tomorrow is another day. 2010 will be another year to work hard and play hard -- with dolls. So let the fever stay and be balm for moments when the world gets crazy. The truth is the world is crazier than all the doll collectors put together. That's why we need them and escape. Transported to different worlds. Imaginations that create mini stories and scenes. I am not afraid of the fever, really. I am not even wary of being called crazy, nor do I get annoyed with people giving me looks like: are you crazy? Not another one. For as long as the world is crazy. For as long as life can be crazy, I have this. And it helps us push the craziness aside -- for the meantime.

Okay...coming soon. "Return to Tara" and "Travelling with Mother to Savannah".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turnaround Girl: The Fabulous Fashion Royalty Lana Turner doll

Lana Turner's Gone with the Wind audition


David O. Selznick called her "inadequate...too young to have a grasp of the role". For a then young Lana Turner, perhaps this was true given the demands of the role. But not all dreams are foretold by a loss.  In fact, while  it would seem that Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner's life, nicknamed Judy,   (born Feb 8, 1921) would be uneventful, her eyes were set on bigger things than what had been pre-destined.

It was a sip of Coke in sunny California (where she journeyed with her mother to look for greater job opportunities) that would seal the deal on her career.   Success  perhaps quenched that thirst for a bigger role in life.  It was there in the small cafe, whilst sipping the Cola, that she was spotted by the publisher of Hollywood Reporter who referred her to Director Mervyn LeRoy. The rest is history.

"I made my first movie without ever considering my walk-on would be anything more than a one-time job. If I could have foreseen everything that was going to happen to me, all the headlines my life woul make, all the people would pas through my days. I wouldn't have believed a syllable of it!", Lana said.


Fashion Royalty dolls were not ones I would consider buying -- then. I guess it was just too hip, too modern and too flashy for my traditional taste in dolls. But when they came out with the Lana Turner Fashion Royalty Collection I knew it was a must-have. Thanks to Rudi Truel who gave me that chance. More than that he introduced me also to a doll collectors from the Philippines. It was my first time to see a Gene doll, and thought Mel Odom did really brilliant work with that doll (it is really unfortunate that Gene will retire soon according to reports).
At any rate, I did a little repaint on this doll to tame her original eyebrows and lipstick: softened the brows to be less like the "evil queen", and pink lipstick almost nude. She doesn't look like Lana, but certainly exudes the Turner glam aura.

"Stunning" seems insufficient a word to describe this doll.  Embellished with crystals on her neck and dressed in a glorious, glorious glorious gown with rich applique of black embroidery all over the skirt, she is a sight to behold. Fashion Royalty's doll figures are made with articulation that gives you immense possibilities in posing. Face is given prominent cheekbones and a model pout. She also has little eyelashes that accent the slant of the eyes. Her hair is tightly done with spray and covers the back of her head with 3 large sausage curls -- very Grace Kelly, in my opinion.  The gown is definitely immortal and while I could not find the scene in which Lana Turner wore this, I  think it can still be worn by hollywood royalty on the red carpet  today (I am reminded of Audrey's white gown in "Sabrina" -- hint, hint Tonner). No wonder Jason Wu, the designer is making waves now and made a spot in Vogue Magazine.

Audrey Hepburn's gown in Sabrina (

The details of the doll are amazing. And if that reflects the kind of detail that goes into every Fashion Royalty doll, then they are worth getting. The shoes have fragile straps that look real and have tiny ribbons that make them look beautiful on the doll's feet (one for the left, one for the right). She comes with stockings and a beautiful petticoat trimmed with black lace and a white satin.

The box is designed with a velcro attachment that seals the doll very well. When you open the box, at the bottom is a small drawer, when pulled contains the stockings and other paraphernalia that comes with the doll. The back of the box is designed with a beautiful Lana Turner portrait (trivia: She is said to have shaved her eyebrows one time and it didn't grow back; henceforth, it was always drawn). She comes with an acrylic stand with the signature of Lana Turner (a beautiful detail ). The entire package comes with a mini-booklet on Lana's biography, warranty and COA. 

The doll  is befittingly called "Love Story". I agree,  for its over-all design is something you will definitely fall in love with.

More pics of this doll, coming soon.

*Notes on Lana Turner bio from FR mini bio booklet. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Miss Scarlett!

Just playing with Photoshop. Might as well maximize this subject. I'm well now and ready to head back to the grind. I have always wanted to work in a less stressful country -- New Zealand, Canada perhaps or maybe Austria (that's what you get from watching "Sound of Music" every summer as a child). Well, this is perhaps a last portrait before I head back to the office.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UFDC Tonner "Return to Tara" Scarlett Repaint Part 2: Introspection

While doing this doll, my thoughts went to the doll's name "Return to Tara". Pondering on Scarlett's uncompromising love for land and home. "Land is all that matters, it's the only thing that lasts", Gerald 'O Hara tells his daughter. She would not realize his words until perhaps his demise.
In the Philippines just a few months ago, the land that mattered, on which homes of many stood were devastated by a major flood. Rains for days poured, unrelentingly. No one was spared. People went to their roofs bringing whatever food or clothing and valuables they could. There is no rich or poor in the eyes of  mother nature. Pets who were left tied died. Dogs, cats were seen hanging on trees and electric wires after the flood receded.  A young couple was killed locked behind closed glass doors of a fastfood restaurant, perhaps thinking that the waters would not rise that high. When I think of Scarlett, I am inspired by her spirit and her want to "do anything to bring Tara back to what it was." But what of the inner Tara inside of her, and beyond that inside us. Can we bring back the splendour of what we were back to what it was? Scarlett had her answer and perhaps we should too. Courage or gumption. Nothing should take our inner Tara away from us "while we got breath  left in our bodies". And so, we must conquer the world like Scarlett with her mother's curtains and roosters feathers on our head. This is why Gone with the Wind is immortal to me. Beyond the love story, beyond the beautiful gowns, it is about the iconic and legendary Scarlett O' Hara who will forever be conquer whatever fate brings her way.

This is how we create our own lives. There is no such thing as destiny. Destiny is whatever we make of our own fate.  Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

UFDC Tonner "Return to Tara" Scarlett Repaint

I've had fever the past few days. Must be the change of weather. What to do? What to do? One look at the Tonner "Return to Tara" doll -- it's time to "return" to repainting. It's been awhile. And I think I need more practice since I've been forgetting the steps. Well, here she is with rolls on her side and a pensive look -- must be the fever.

I was also able to scan a photo of a the scene where she wears the dress. A close shot of the hairstyle shows the bun to be much bigger at the back, whereas the doll has a bun that stops chin-length. I would think it was a hair attachment that Vivien wore during the scene. She had so many hairstyles there, it must have been torture on her hair. In real life, Vivien Leigh had curly shoulder length hair, so I surmise that there must have been a lot of hair extensions and attachments during the filming.

This doll still needs some finishing touches -- or retouches if I find something else that needs to be improved (from how I see it).

To all those posting comments. I've been a hard time replying, sometimes my comments get posted, most of the time, they don't but I do really, really appreciate your comments. Thank you for joining me in this journey into Gone with the Wind.