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Postscript to the Past: Theresa Merritt visualizes hidden figures in history
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Lady With a Past

In addition to being a first-rate doll artist and historical researcher, Theresa Merritt is a born conversationalist. Probably because she loves history so much, she is gifted with the ability to share stories of her life, her ambitions, her dreams, and her accomplishments. Theresa doesn't just answer a question; she weaves a tapestry of intrigue and excitement.

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Celebrating a Fresh Start with Gretchen Anthony’s Reborn Creations
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Southern Angels Nursery

While the new year is still in its infancy — I have to confess, I am having a hard time writing "2017," it doesn't seem possible — my focus for this week is understandably on babies. Yes, I am highlighting the little faces and wiggly toes that make the world that much sweeter and enjoyable. It makes sense to celebrate baby dolls in January because of the "New Year Baby." Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about, or has this onetime popular icon gone the way of the Discman, the Walkman, and the transistor radio? (Try wearing a Walkman or a Discman while you jog or speed-walk around town. You might as well be dressed in a Paul Revere costume — that's how antiquated the headgear has become!)

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Real-Life Miss Peregrine? Meet Linda Michel’s Contemplative Dolls
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos Courtesy of Linndolls

The year 2017 is beginning, and the aspect of a brand-new, clean-slate existence is certainly appealing. Everyone has baggage that they've overstuffed with regrets, missed opportunities, poorly chosen words, and roads not taken. For some people, this emotional baggage is a simple carry-on-luggage–sized worry; for others, it is a lifetime of not being sure that the right choices had been made; perhaps their path took a wrong turn and the road just kept wending away from them.

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2016 in Review: A Golden Age of Female Re-Imagining?
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

When I look back at what I've chronicled for the aptly named Doll Chronicles, I have to declare that 2016 was the Year of the Real Woman. Now, in the doll industry, that shouldn't be such an earth-shaking proclamation. After all, the majority of doll artists are female; the overwhelming abundance of doll creations are female; and the consumer base is very much female-centric. Like Beyoncé has sung, who rules the world? In the doll world, it has always been girls. And I guess that is why the Year of the Real Woman is so definitely different. From dolls that represented women who — God forbid — wore a size 12 to a headstrong, capable 12-year-old Disney princess, the world of dolls was given a much-needed makeover. This year many girl dolls became young women.

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Paradise Galleries: Memories of Christmas Past
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

As the countdown to December 25 continues — it's less than a half week away . . . Yikes! — it's tempting to shed one's equanimity, isn't it? In other less sophisticated terms, it's easy to lose one's cool. Funny, when living in the Northeast, Northwest, or the Midwest, when temperatures are dipping down as far as they can go, emotions often spike higher and higher. People at the mall can be reaching boiling points when it comes to waiting one more minute on line. Folks who are taking the easier route — doing all their browsing and buying online — can feel their passions bubbling over when UPS or FedEx loses or misdelivers an item. Ah, the unexpected "joys" of Christmas shopping.

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Welcome to the Dollhouse: Historic Houses of Odessa swing open a door to a dream
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

The holidays are the best time for doll aficionados, don't you agree? Whereas all year round, one might be met by suspicious or quizzical looks when a doll reference is dropped — "You mean, you STILL PLAY with dolls?" — during the Christmas season, tolerance reigns supreme. Since December 25 is a day when adults often indulge their childlike wonder and excitement — getting and giving oversized plush-animal slippers, comically decorated PJs, socks with emojis emblazoned on them — the request-and-receipt of a doll is greeted with seasonal understanding. Any quirky gift can fit snugly in a stocking, so all is right with the world!

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Yuletide Paradise: Hawaii’s Bo Bergemann discovers her inner snowman!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Bo Bergemann

I was so happy today to receive an e-mail from Bo Bergemann, an artist who is often associated with tropical climes and swaying palm trees. Even though paradise-like locales and temperate breezes pop into my mind when I think of Bo, she's also extremely connected to Christmas and all things "merry and bright." If Santa's elves learned to master the hula dance, and traded in hot cocoa for coconut juice, Bo's dolls would be right at home at the North Pole. (Or, more likely, the re-named Very Hot and Sultry Sunny South Pole!) Though most of her dolls have an "Ariel, the Little Mermaid" vibe, she is quite adept at coaxing out her inner Olaf, the jolly snowman from "Frozen."

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Heidi Plusczok’s career blends creativity, love
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Plusczok Puppen

Thanksgiving week was a rollicking and frolicking one for me. In addition to my own children, I invited my little niece and nephew to come back home with us after Turkey Day, where we pretty much destroyed the myth that tryptophan makes you tired. (That's the amino acid that is found in turkey and supposedly accounts for Uncle Joe immediately snoozing after the last drumstick is devoured.)

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