My First Barbie – Pretty Changes

5 May

Imagine – you wander on down to the library. You mention to the guy behind the counter that you`re a bit bored of the same old crime novels and romances. He says casually that there is a popular new book out, and gestures over to the shelves where Harper Lee’s new novel is displayed. Imagine – you bend down to take a stone out of your shoe and discover its a pearl. Imagine – you wake up and a formally nondescript bush in your garden has suddenly decided to produce huge and beautiful flowers that also happen to be your favourite colour.

OK, I exaggerate for effect (again). But listen, I`ve had a pretty damn decent day.

I`m visiting my folks again and today, while my son was busy baking with his Nana, my sister turned up. I was working on a sewing project – she asked me what I was doing and I showed her. She said, out of the blue, that she had some Barbies somewhere and she used to make clothes for them. Casually, I said she should bring them over some time and I might take some photos for my blog. She went home.

She returned unexpectedly several hours later, and she was bearing gifts. There was a pile of playline clothes including some very nice pieces. There were some well executed handmade items, which I shall certainly show off at some point (I think I have mentioned before that my sister was always crafty). And there were some dolls.

Some of these dolls were run-of-the-mill – my favourite Cali Girl, a Simba, a generic 90s blonde. There were two who absolutely were not ordinary at all. I am saving one of these for a future post, so I won`t spoil the surprise. When we got to the other one, she said “oh! I think this one used to be yours”, and there was my childhood Pretty Changes.

I should explain that I had no idea where this doll might be up until now, although I’ve thought about her often enough. My Father sometimes gets in a certain mood, and at these times he feels compelled to go up into the attic and throw things away. Edwardian wedding dress? Off to the tip! (Oh yes he did). Unopened jewellery box? Well, we can`t keep hold of everything! Quite reasonably, I presumed that my Pretty Changes had ended up as landfill.

My Mother now says that she “couldn’t even get me to play with a doll” when I was a child, but thats not the way I remember it. Pretty Changes was important to me, and I spent a lot of time with her. Yes, I thought she was pretty, but I also thought she was mischievous, brave and friendly – that was the personality I gave her. As far as I recall, she was the only Barbie I ever had as a child, which gave her a special status. At first, I was disappointed that she wasn`t pink-garbed and long-haired, but after a while I actually liked her more because of it, and I thought her multi-function outfit was so cool. Of course, she doesn`t have it any more, so I’ve dressed her in some of my Sister`s stash of playline which is sort of the colour of her original outfit. In my haste to photograph her I haven’t even bothered to set her up in a scene, but she’s a great doll and I think she can carry it off.

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There is something else I wanted to mention about this episode. I asked my sister why she had all these Barbies and outfits hanging round her house. I tried not to sound judgemental about this (well, how could I?) but I was really curious. She looked a little taken aback and said “what, you don`t remember? We used to go shopping for doll clothes, there was this place where there were three in a pack for a fiver”. I certainly didn`t remember this at all and she was vague about the details, but I`m presuming that this happened during the time when I was a teenage collector. Interesting. So if I hadn`t infected my sister with an interest in dolls during this period, she might not have rescued my Pretty Changes from her landfill destiny … I asked my Sister if she would like me to give her some nice new dolls and clothes in return and of course, being a grown-up, she said “no”. But I will anyway. I bet she likes them.

Oh yes, speaking of brilliant gifts from relatives, did I ever mention that I have relatives in Japan? They visited recently and the boyf mentioned my interest in re-ment to them. I showed them some re-ment on the eBay UK and they were very shocked at the prices, as they are cheap and plentiful products in Japan, commonly sold in supermarkets. A few weeks later, my Mum and Dad received this in the post for me:

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I was so pleased. I don’t think there can be many doll collectors who don’t like Alice in Wonderland, and actually I have an Alice doll who needs an overhaul. Also, I don`t often talk about dolls I want as I prefer to concentrate on the dolls I’ve got, but I’ve tried for the Silver Label Alice so many times without success. I always promised myself that if I could get hold of her, I would have an Alice special. Time to start trying again!

I suppose all this is another upside to disclosure. Thanks, relatives everywhere who have provided me with dolls and props. They are much appreciated xxx

ADDITIONAL: It has come to my attention that Pretty Change’s smiley face dress in these pictures is a “Joe Boxer for Barbie” item, manufactured in 1999. No idea where and how the Sis came to be in possession of this!

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9 Responses to “My First Barbie – Pretty Changes”

  1. bat6660 May 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Sounds like you had a fantastic day love.

  2. barbielea May 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Yup x

  3. tagidoll May 7, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Funny you should post this, I was actually thinking of my childhood barbies the other day and my absolute favourite then (and the only one who has a story) was a Christie doll in a bikini. Only problem is I can’t remember her line’s name, only remember her lime yellow or green bikini and me thinking she was the prettiest of all the dolls in the shop. I know she has gone to the tip, my mother threw out all our old toys when we were ‘too old’ for them (hehe) but I’m really considering tracking down another. If I can work out who she is of course. So happy you had a great day โค

  4. barbielea May 7, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Awww sorry to hear that your toys ended up on the tip. I am lucky I have a big sister who hoards stuff away. About your Christie, of course I don’t know how old you are so I’m not sure what year your doll might be from, but there’s palm beach christie who had a painted-on yellow and lime green bikini, she was issued in 2001 – and she’s very pretty indeed. There’s also Beach Blast Christie from the late 80s who wears a green and yellow swimsuit. If I come across any others who might fit the bill on my travels, I will post a reply to this comment with details – I know how irritating the whole identification trawl can be! Thanks for posting ๐Ÿ™‚

    • tagidoll May 7, 2012 at 8:52 am #

      No worries, so awesome of you to offer to help! I’m 26, and I’m going to assume I was about 5 or 6 so we are talking roughly twenty years ago about, probably very early 90s. Probably. My mind isn’t so clear on exact dates… I know her swimwear was either lime green or yellow because I distinctly remember thinking the bright colour looked really good against her dark skin and not boring at all – and I was all so sick of pink things and the doll my sister picked was in a pink bikini. I’ll assume she picked Barbie and they were both from the same line but…it was so long ago!

  5. barbielea May 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Hi Tagidoll – this identification issue has nagged at me like a split fingernail all morning! (I love identification, it’s so satisfying when I get it and I learn a lot browsing through the photos and databases). I’m presuming that Palm Beach Christie is much too late and Beach Blast is maybe a little early (though it might still be worth checking it out). I also found three more good candidates as follows:

    Sun Jewel Theresa 1993 – green swimsuit

    http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/44752000@N05/5959785798/

    1991 dazzle beach Shani – yellow bikini

    http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/silveraquarius/3819761708/

    Hawaiian fun Christie, 1990 – green and yellow bikini

    http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=280699765723

    Think the last is most promising, have a look and let me know if any of them are your doll ๐Ÿ™‚

    • tagidoll May 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      I’m glad to know you loved the challenge XD Hawaiian fun Christie certainly fits the best of those three, although I really like Dazzle Beach Shani, how pretty is she? The one I came up with myself was Glitter Beach Christie, and I was certain it was her until you showed me Hawaiian Fun XD

      Only problem with either doll is I do not remember a grass skirt accessory or the bottle of glitter cream. Possibly (and likely) my mother took it off me to stop young me making a mess but the only way I could hope to find out is ask her when I see her next, and hope she remembers.

      I’m tempted to buy both anyway, just because. >_>

      • barbielea May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

        Yes, I really like Shani but she`s a bit HTF ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I love the Teresa, myself – her eyes are beautiful. Its funny what you remember and what you don`t, though. I know I had Pretty Changes from new, but I have absolutely no memory of a hairpiece coming with the doll – I only know she had one from seeing her boxed recently. Could be a similar thing, I suppose – My sister or my Mum might have taken it away from me to stop me eating it or messing it up straight away or something. When you get your doll(s), its possible it will trigger you into remembering stuff you didn`t know you knew. Enjoy, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. amystika18n April 22, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    I found a Pretty Changes at my last flea market trip last month. She’s the opposite of yours-she still had her original outfit and it’s still in good shape, but she looks awful-thin hair and washed-out face.
    The way you have it styled, the Joe Boxer nightie really works as a daytime dress!

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