My dive into the world of doll ownership has been a steep learning curve, one of the false starts, hits and misses.
The purpose of this post is to give the new owner some tips that will enhance your doll experience. Maybe even the longstanding owner will find something of interest too.
One key element that I've found to be hugely important is that of lighting. There is a narrow band of lighting in which your doll almost seems to comes to life.
The light has to be not so bright that it becomes obvious she is only a doll, but also not too dark that you can no longer make her features out.
At this point, all her imperfections, nicks and marks magically disappear. Her beauty becomes even more perfect.
Another trick is to turn all her nicks and marks into a positive. I just imagine them as scars or moles or imperfections of the skin. Let's face it, everyone has imperfections on their skin so to me it is simply another factor that adds to the doll's realism.
In fact, imagination is another key factor in doll enjoyment. You have to exercise your imagination with her otherwise you won't get the most out of her. It's a case of meeting these dolls half-way, and you will then be greatly rewarded.
A mistake I made with my first doll was in buying a non-standing one. It wasn't until I actually started interacting with her that it became obvious that paying a bit more for the standing foot option is of paramount importance.
This is because it hugely increases the sense of realism. So with my next doll, I made sure to rectify this. I'll never forget the first time I stood her up and turned her head so that her eyes looked into mine.
It was if she had come to life before my eyes. The use of ambient lighting increases this feeling even further.
I would also recommend buying a variety of clothing for her. For me this been another learning experience, it's been somewhat hit and miss but now I think I have cracked it.
A good site for buying clothes is ASOS. You can search using a wide variety of choices search as brand, colour, size, type etc. They have a measurement guide which I took advantage of by inputting my doll's measurements and this indicated that she was a size 8.
(My doll is 5ft 6). For those who own shorter dolls, they have a Petite selection too. Another benefit of ASOS is that their prices are reasonable too.
One mistake I made regarding clothing was that of buying a couple of black leather garments, including a black leather mini skirt. Not to be recommended. My first doll ended up with black staining all over her thighs.
This was successfully removed using doll cleaning cream. You will find that some clothing you buy for her just does not look right, even when it fits. Is this because these dolls have got their own minds?!
Once you've got the clothes, actually fitting them is another learning curve. One good tip I find is that if I am putting something with sleeves on her, I hold her hand in mine and then put my own hand through the sleeve along with hers.
This helps to protect her hand and makes it far easier to put the hand through the sleeve.
Whilst I am on the topic of clothing, I should mention shoes. I purchased a pair of black high heels. These fit well, but it's a shame that you can't stand them up in heels. Let's hope someone finds a way around this at some point.
On to washing. I had great trouble standing her in the bath for a wash. This is because she would slide a bit and also I was worried about the studs in her soles scratching the ceramic surface.
This was solved by purchasing a rubber bath- mat. Problem solved, she now remains firmly in place whenever I stand her in the bath. This reminds me of something that happened shortly after I had bought my latest doll. I had stood her up in the bath, facing the shower.
I had to leaver her for a few minutes and I then heard an almighty crash. I ran back upstairs at the speed of light and found that her feet had slid backwards and she was lying face down in the bath! This was a nightmare. Thankfully she was undamaged but my lesson was learnt.
I would also recommend putting her in as many different positions as possible. I find that this has the effect of her constantly engaging my interest. Sometimes I even forget that I have moved her so when I go back into the room I get a pleasant jolt.
Wigs too are another key factor here. I would recommend getting a good quality wig. The one she comes with is usually just a basic wig. Be aware of scam sites though.
I fell for one called WIGSMART which is actually based in China. Thankfully I got my money back. A good wig site is SIMPLYWIGS. They were able to recommend some wigs for me based on my description.
I even told them that it was for a doll! A good test for these sites is whether they have a contact address in England, otherwise, steer clear.
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