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Whimsical and Wonderful: Find out why Xenis rules the world of wooden dolls
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Marlene Xenis

I recently had the chance to chat with Marlene Xenis, the owner and driving force behind Xenis Gallery. We were talking about the ever-changing, always-evolving demands of owning and running a handmade business. (And this exchange was for DOLLS magazine's sister publication, HANDMADE BUSINESS! How fortuitous!) Here are some of the highlights of Xenis's view of what it means to be an intelligent entrepreneur and an artistic soul — two very essential ingredients for success and longevity.

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Downton Abbey Divas: Meet the porcelain versions of fan favorites
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Doll photos courtesy of Creations in Porcelain
"Downton Abbey" photos courtesy of PBS, WGBH, Boston

Gosh, it's nice to be liked! Or, at least, to have one's blog postings liked so many times. Last week's look at Monica Reo's porcelain version of Claire Randall from the "Outlander" series netted a bunch of thumbs-up "likes" and a large flurry of curious e-mails from readers. They all adored Claire's classic good looks and her spot-on costuming. The recurring question in all the feedback was "Can we see more of Claire? And more from Monica Reo?"

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Outlander Odyssey: Monica Reo’s Claire Randall doll is out of this world
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos Courtesy of Creations in Porcelain

One of the greatest joys of penning a doll blog is the chance to see so many lovely dolls visiting in my in-box. It's always a delight when I get a note from an artist acquaintance — my far-off, faraway friends — and they are eager to share a brand-new design or theme with me. Just recently, I got a very upbeat, happy e-mail from an artist that I have always admired. I've seen her work over the years, and what always impresses me is how cinematic and literary her creations are. When Monica Reo sits down to coax a doll out of porcelain, she is channeling fantastic film directors, romance-novel authors and all of us ladies who love to read, watch and swoon!

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Dream Catchers: The Gorjuss Doll collection lets you fill in the blanks!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Santoro London

August 7 is National Doll Day, but for us doll enthusiasts, that is just like any other day on our calendars. It's akin to the exasperated mom who looks at her brood of offspring and declares, "Every day is children's day — I don't need to celebrate it specially on November 20." However, it is nice to see the object of our shared affections — the doll — given its 24 hours in the sun. When it comes to hobbies and pastimes, the doll still garners its fair share of double takes and headshakes. After all of these years of being purchased and displayed, dolls still make some adults uncomfortable and confused.

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Lasting Impressions: Berthe Morisot’s doll paintings are invitations to dream and discover
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos Courtesy of Princeton University Archive

It was more than a simple, pleasant surprise when I discovered the Impressionist exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum. It was actually a joyful moment — a great mating of happenstance and happiness. After all these years of residing in the Garden State, and trekking out to Princeton for theater and walking tours, I finally went into the campus's fine-arts museum ... and, oh boy, was I glad! (Though for purposes of this week's posting, I suppose I should say, "Oh girl, was I glad!")

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Who’s Your Dada? Two women might actually be the founding “fathers” of this art movement
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of National Gallery of Art

The other day I was in our car and the classic Police song "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" came on the radio. Since I've heard that song repeatedly over the past 35 years, I took it in stride. Maybe I hummed along, or perhaps I even warbled a couple of the nonsense syllables, but my daughter and her friend found the lyrics to be hilarious. At ages 10 and 11, they consider themselves to be the arbiters of musical taste, and this ditty obviously didn't rate high in their estimation. They kept giggling about the sound of "do do," implying that it had to do with bodily waste, and the "da da" made them laugh uproariously about infants and baby talk. As they discussed what the song could possibly mean, I got to thinking about Dada, and I'm not talking about my father or theirs.

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Mad About Dolls? Collecting is one excuse for committing Liz Taylor in ‘Raintree County’
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Movie Star News, except where noted

If you are a follower of this blog, you know two sure things about me: I love old movies and I love dolls. When I can blend the two together, I am as happy as a hog in slop, a purring housecat on a sunny windowsill, and a poodle that has unearthed a trove of buried Milkbones. In other words, I am really, really psyched!

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Royal Intrigue: The Secret Behind Dolls, Divas, and the Downfall of Marie Antoinette!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

If the July Fourth holiday weekend didn't provide you with enough razzle-dazzle, there is always Bastille Day to look forward to. Held on July 14, it venerates the French people's storming of the legendary, impenetrable prison back in 1789. This mass revolt and insurrection was the kickstart of the Revolution that claimed the lives of laborers and lords, average joes and the aristocratic gentry. Today the event is marked by firework displays, marching bands, and musical performances. It is the Gallic version of America's Independence Day festivities.

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