How Isabelle came to live with me…

Back in 2010, I had a very dear doll customer ask me if I had seen the Dianna Effner Little Darlings dolls. I hadn’t, but as she described their sweet faces I decided I should investigate and take a look at them. I went to The Doll Studio (here) (click on Vinyl Studio Dolls on the left sidebar) and saw the most darling little dolls. (aptly named… “Little Darlings”) There were only 2 different sculpts used, but the way the eyes and lips were painted and the use of all kinds of wigs made it seem like there were hundreds of possibilities for the dolls. My interest was definitely peaked and I actually became obsessed with the dolls. (I bet I looked at Dianna’s website 20 times a day… no joke!) Every time this doll customer would email or call me, she’d ask me what I thought and each time I had a different doll that was grabbing at my heartstrings. I was in love but *sigh* I didn’t have the $300 plus dollars to buy one.

Then came a phone call one day from my customer (friend) and she asked me if I could pick one, which one would I choose? By this time I had kind of settled on a favorite… Isabelle! Something about her; those dark brown eyes, her dark hair and just the sweetest little girl expression ever painted on a dolls face. _____ said she would like for me to make some clothes for her 2 dolls and she would buy them from me. That was kind of hard since I didn’t even know the dolls body measurements. We talked about me getting the measurements from her dolls and I could give that a try…. but she said, “I have a better idea…I’ll just buy you a doll for Christmas and then we’ll both be set…You will have your own doll and then you’ll be able to make MY doll some clothes!” There was a little back and forth of “no” then “yes” then “no” then “yes” and finally the Yes’s won! I was in tears and she was so excited to do this. She told me I could pick out whatever doll I wanted and have her painted however I liked. Then it got really hard… you have the choices available, so what do you do? In the end I decided on Isabelle with pretty brown eyes and instead of the long Miranda wig, I asked Dianna if she could cut it off at shoulder length. Then began the waiting for sweet Isabelle to arrive. Fortunately in 2010 it was only about a 4 month wait.

____ asked me to give her a call when the box arrived so she could hear my expression over the phone. I still remember that day, walking out to the mailbox and finding a box from The Doll Studio, knowing that Isabelle was inside. I called _____ and as I took the lid off the box, all I could say was, “Oh, Oh, Oh” about a dozen times. Never had I ever seen such an adorable doll! I cried and muddled through some small talk and then I just looked at her. I couldn’t quit looking at her. She was unbelievably pretty and adorable and darling and gorgeous and so childlike all wrapped up in one doll! After I got off the phone, I took her in my sewing room and propped up her opened box on my sewing table. I would leave the room and 10 minutes later go back to see if she was still as pretty as she was the last time I was in there. She was! I did that all day long. Finally I decided she was pretty and was going to stay that way.

Here is Isabelle the day she arrived at my house:





Isabelle was by far, the absolute nicest gift ANYONE has ever given me in my entire life. I cannot thank ____ enough for her thoughtfulness and kind heart of giving me such a wonderful treasure. That’s what Isabelle is to me… a treasure… so is my friend _____.

So, without further ado, let me show you Isabelle in a few of my favorite photos. She was the start of my Little Darling collection and I now have 3….wishing I had 13! If you don’t have one of Dianna’s dolls, you really should consider it. The wait for one of dolls to be painted by Dianna is now over a year and almost a year wait for some of the artists who were trained by Dianna to paint the dolls, but it is SO worth the wait… Here’s hoping lots of you have “Oh, Oh, Oh” moments too!







Okay…I guess I better quit… I think you see how sweet she is!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. She is my favorite too of all your dolls! SO pretty!!

  2. Linda Doyle says:

    I have always wondered about those pretty little dolls you sew for in addition to AG dolls Isabelle is just adorable and looks like a real little girl, to me, Jeanne! What a lovely thing for someone to offer to buy the doll for you, in exchange for outfits! I find that doll people are the nicest, most generous people around, don’t you? How tall are these dolls? They seem smaller than AG, and if so, how hard is that to sew for them, especially in the exquisite outfits you make for them?

    • HI Linda,
      Yes, I could sew for these sweet little 13″ dolls exclusively and be very happy. They are so childlike and so much fun to make clothes for. My friend was very gracious and didn’t buy every single outfit I made for them, so others would have a chance at some too, which was very nice of her to do.
      They are very easy to sew for. I’ve perfected a few patterns that fit very well and just adapt most of my outfits from those few. I have Isabelle, Lian and Janie… all different but all so sweet to sew for.
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. How sweet! What a wonderful friend you have! Your Isabelle is just precious! Love all the outfits too. Your sewing skills are amazing. :o)

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Yes, my friend is wonderful and so giving. Isabelle is such a precious gift to me and I’m so very thankful for her. Thank you for your kind words about my doll outfits. I truly love what I do!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. On this sad day reading about the Effner’s loss, your post brought happy moments reading about the wonderful gift of Isabelle you received.

    • Jan,
      I feel the same way and almost didn’t post it, but it was scheduled to go on today, so I just let it. It’s hard to think of anything except what Dianna and her family might be feeling right now.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Linda Doyle says:


    Regarding what Jan said, exactly what happened? I seem to be out of the loop!


  6. Linda,
    This morning we got news that Dianna Effner’s husband died yesterday. She is the artist that paints the Little Darlings dolls. We don’t know any details but it was a shock to all of us on the Little Darlings doll forum. The news has everyone stunned.
    I’ll keep you informed, Linda, if I hear anything else.
    Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Tomi Jane says:

    Jeanne – what a lovely story behind your Isabelle – she is one very special doll to you, I’m sure. It says so much about the generosity of your friend……….and also the ability of you as a doll costumer 🙂

    Tomi Jane

    • Thank you Tomi Jane,
      It is my favorite doll story and the lady who gave me the doll considers herself Isabelle’s Aunt! She asks about her all the time. She says her girls and Isabelle are long lost cousins.
      So glad you enjoyed the post today.
      Blessings, Jeanne

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