Discarded dolls given a new lease on life…

My hubby’s niece sent me a link to a video that I thought I might share. The article leading up to the video can be controversial if you let it, because it’s about whether or not we should let our children play with Barbie’s and Bratz dolls when they are so overly painted up and have such unrealistic bodies. I grew up with Barbie’s just like many of you and maybe I was just naive, but I never remember thinking, “Oh, if I could just look like Barbie” or “I wish I had long legs and a skinny waist like my Bratz doll” (which I never owned one of them). I just played with my dolls and made clothes for them…that was the fun I had with them. I never secretly longed to look like them.

When you click on the video, you’ll meet this woman from Tasmania (just south of Australia) who goes to thrift shops and buys discarded dolls that are broken and dirty and turns them into something some little girl might love to have. She has the sweetest spirit about her and you can just tell how much she loves the dolls she fixes up. The video, Tree Change Dolls, (HERE) is 7 minutes long and you can see the process she goes through wiping off the dolls makeup and painting them with a much softer look. Sometimes she molds shoes on their feet when their feet have been cut off or are missing. She’s very creative in how she changes them. Ultimately she was looking for a less glamorous doll for her daughter to play with and this new business of hers has really taken her and her husband by surprise. Even her mom is involved in knitting the new little outfits for them. Her husband just loves what she does for the dolls and you can tell he is her biggest fan! I really enjoyed the video and hope you will too. It’s very heartwarming.

Now, I’m someone who very much, LOVES a pretty doll…after all, I have Isabelle and Lian, whom I’d put up against just about any doll, so don’t think I’m a “plain Jane” kind of doll lover. I have over the last little while, discovered that the child like dolls are what pull at my heart strings and I do like them to be pretty. I had a doll customer tell me once, “Jeanne, buy the prettiest dolls you can afford, because pretty dolls sell doll clothes better!” She was right and I listened…and then I bought Lian!

The comments underneath the article are varied as any controversial subject is, so just read them if you like, enjoy the video if you’re able, and then go look at your dolls and give them a big smile! That’s what I’m going to do!

Oh…and we must not leave without a picture…. can anyone guess what this is?


I’ve been busy doing a little “fussy” cutting!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne


  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, are those the dresses for your two nieces for the wedding? Since I don’t’ know the size of them, I can’t really tell if they are for dolls or children!! I was wondering when they would get made, and I thought fairly soon.

    Oh, yes, that video was really something I enjoyed. I have seen this before, and am all for it! My youngest sister was “doll age” when Barbie’s came out, and my mother was very much against getting one for her, which she eventually did, but I remember how much my mother was against them for their figures and makeup! Honestly, I don’t remember wanting to look like them either, and by then I was a teen! They were just “dolls” to me!

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Linda,
      Yes, the two little flower girl dresses are in the works! I don’t want my niece to start panicking that her Aunt Jeanne won’t have time to get the dresses finished. It’s gloomy outside today, so after I do a few things around here, it’s sewing time!

      I’m glad you liked the video. It was so touching to me how she’d find those dolls and know in her heart she could make them into something sweet.

      I think Barbie’s back in the 60’s was different than it is now…it’s a shame too, because I think of how much fun and how much enjoyment mine brought to me and wish it could be that same way now… guess not…
      Thanks Linda,
      Hope the sun’s shining 2 hours north…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    Jeanne, I see that you have started on the flower girl dresses. First thing I noticed was the placement of the pattern on the flowers. Proportionately, you have the flower centered exactly in the center of the each bodice. That is an art – congratulations!! Though we all can not attend the wedding we look forward to the pictures of not only the little flower girls but the bride and her attendants!
    Barbie dolls etc. I am one who just does not like them. As an adult I see them differently than I did as a child. Of course, I wanted one in the worst way but my mother said, NO, NO, NO !!! It was 1959 and I was 8 years old and {ALL} many of my friends were getting them and the clothes. I was so left out with my baby dolls. Then Christmas came and I received a Tammy doll with a case filled with handmade clothing. I was so excited but Tammy was not Barbie and I knew this. The awakening moment for me, and I sincerely had not noticed this, my mother said NO because “Barbie was too busty”. All I cared about was dressing her and the clothes with the storyline. From then on all I could do was look at Barbie’s bust !!! Times were so different back then regarding sexuality.
    oh, and yes, my own daughters had Barbie’s & clothes but not the Barbie house, {which I still hear about}, even though my girls are 45 and 44. My grand daughters have Barbie’s and everything else that comes along…… Frozen. Shall we talk about the need for more and more Frozen??????……………….. Yes, Grandma bought the Frozen dolls for Christmas for the Butterflies. They even named their adopted little old white dog, Olaf.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Jeannie,
      Yes, I did a little “fussy cutting” so they would look nicer in the pictures. I tried to do the same with the skirt panels too. I hope it works…My brother is a great photographer and I’m hoping he’ll get some good shots that I can share with you al.

      My older sister had (and still has) her Tammy doll. Oh, how heartbroken you must have been with Tammy instead of Barbie… Yes, those “boobies” got many a mom in an uproar.
      I’m glad my mom gave in because Barbie helped me hone in my sewing skills…somewhat.

      I know all about the rage with Frozen…who doesn’t?
      Thanks so much Jeannie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Hi Jeanne. Ah, yes, the Barbie doll controversy goes on. Barbie dolls look more realistic today, but in the 1960s they were just dolls, like Linda said. Even as young as I was, I knew people didn’t really look like that. My daughter had loads of Barbie dolls, but preferred stuffed animals and American Girl dolls. Bratz dolls never appealed to me, so I never bought those for my daughter and she was never interested in them either.
    I did see this video about Tree Change Dolls. Her repaints make cuter dolls than the originals in my opinion.
    I didn’t realize how large that floral print for the flower girl dresses is, wow! The dresses will be so, so cute! The fabric reminds me of vintage pillowcase fabric which I love.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Morning Cindy,
      I’m glad you liked the video…it was the first time I had ever seen it. Her dolls were cute, weren’t they?
      Yes, that fabric is on the rather large side…and I told my niece I’d do the best I could. I picked the smallest flower in the print to put on the bodice, since Nora’s dress is so tiny. I wanted them to match at least somewhat. I’m hoping to work on them today… The fabric does have a sort of vintage appeal to it…
      Thanks Cindy,
      I hope it’s sun-shiny up where you are…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. I love the video about Tree Change Dolls too. I think the Bratz dolls are much cuter with the plainer faces. I had Barbie dolls when I was a kid and never thought about her figure..just played with them.
    The little flower girl dresses are going to be so cute!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Morning Regina,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the video. When I first saw her painted dolls, I kind of thought, “blah” but as I watched the little girls playing with them, they really loved them! By the end of the video, I found myself enjoying them much more. They looked like regular little girls.

      I’m hoping to make some headway on the dresses today…
      Have a wonderful weekend,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Hello!
    Looks like two little girls are going to have their dresses for the wedding soon. Can’t wait to see them finished.
    I have loved dolls since I was little but have been thinning them out to my nieces and thrift shops over the years. A lot of my dolls reflect the 50’s.
    I’ll add to the group, the shape of Barbie never bothered me. I liked her glamor and the clothes. She was just a doll but my friend and I had had so much fun with them.
    What is important to me, any doll I purchased has to have thick and beautiful hair. With AGs, not so sure Mattel makes good hair anymore.
    May I say this to Charlotte T. – May is a good month for a wedding! And yes, the lilacs are so full and heavy with fragrance and perfect for bouquets. Your wedding sounds beautiful. Knew a lot of PKs!
    Thanks for the site of the woman in Tasmania. Got to see this.
    Have a lovely day!

    • HI Paula,
      Yes, the dresses are in the works…
      It seems that most of the subscribers in my circle of friends had Barbies but the shape of her never bothered anyone. Too bad it does today… :o( I had lots of fun with my Barbie’s too.

      I’m still enjoying my lilacs that my neighbor gave me. They ARE wonderful flowers!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. P.S. Thank you for passing along the video of the gal in Tasmania. It is so neat seeing a well-played-with doll being spruced up! Loved it. Years ago, I took the typical Kens with blonde painted hair and repainted them to have other colors as well as gray hair. I had so much fun.

    • HI Paula,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the video as much as I did! I thought it was fun to watch..and I did 3 times…
      I bet your Ken’s were dashing!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. I remember seeing that video …isn’t she the sweetest lady? The girls were really loving the redone dolls too.
    I think Jeanne B’s mom and mine must have compared notes…my Mom made sure we didn’t have ANY Barbies as well. She really didn’t like them either…we had Ginger and Betsy McCall.
    The Flower Girl dresses are going to be adorable. Tell your brother we want to see lots of pictures ! 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Kathie,
      Your comment about your mom and Jeannie’s mom being together with the Barbie dolls is too funny. I had a Barbie but I also had an original Betsy McCall too. I wonder what I did with her…
      I hope the flower girl dresses are sweet too and I will have lots of pics for everyone to see.
      It’s going to be a wonderful wedding, I think…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. I watched the video and have to say the repainted Bratz dolls are much prettier with the repainted faces. I didn’t care much for dolls as a child (although I like them now!), but I did have Barbies and spent many hours sewing clothes and making furniture for them. I had the Barbie with the bald head that came with three wigs and little curlers, and I also enjoyed styling those wigs! I must have been a really goofy kid!

    I love that fabric for the flower girl dresses and can’t wait to see them finished. I noticed how you fussy cut the fabric for the bodices and think they will look adorable.

    • I had already seen the video. Lucky lady with such a supportive husband. I need to ask my daughters if Barbies figure bothered them or if that was an ideal they wished for themselves. I once tried sanding a HP doll I had to get rid of her tummy. I wanted a doll with a more adult body.

      • Jeanne W says:

        Hi Jan,
        I think it’s wonderful that her hubby can get so excited for her hobby and how it’s taken off.
        I have to ask…and I’ve tried to figure it out…what’s an HP doll? Just curious…
        blessings, Jeanne

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Carolyn,
      I think this lady is so special to do this from those dolls who are being trashed. It sounds like your Barbie’s were totally pampered!
      The flower girl dresses are coming right along and I’m very pleased so far… we’ll see what you all think!
      Blessings, Jeanne

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