The History of Dollhouses

Dolls are a widely valued item within both the older and younger generations. Whether you have a passion for collecting or playing with them, dolls have and will continue to play an important role in many people’s lives.

Just as precious as the dolls themselves are, their houses are just as exquisite. There are two interpretations for a dollhouse. For the older generation, dollhouses were classic Victorian homes built of sturdy wood. For the little girls in our lives, they relate a dollhouse to Barbie’s dream house built of plastic.

While we are not discrediting the newer dollhouse models, which are easier to move and play with, we can’t forget to pay tribute to the classic dollhouse. The dollhouse has a long history that began in the 16th century.

Originally, dollhouses were built strictly for the wealthy. Sir Edwin Lutyens built one of the most famous dollhouses in 1921 for Princess Marie Louise, which she gifted to Queen Mary. The house reaches nearly five feet and includes many intricate details. This famous dollhouse is now on view at Windsor Castle. The attention drawn to the above famous doll house inspired many to acquire their own dollhouse.

Two of the most popular styles of dollhouse were the Georgian and Victorian. The Georgian style included the ‘stately’ orders of the country home while the Victorian was designed with asymmetrical designs and details. Dollhouse styles evolved as we moved into the later generations. Newer styles of dollhouses include stockbroker, half-timbered “semis”, rural cottages and super-modern apartments.

What once was classified as the ultimate toy has turned into a model of history and of timeless beauty and art. Many artists still delight in crafting tiny accessories to accommodate these beautiful homes. You can find accessories at craft shows and exhibits all over the country.

Gigi’s Dolls has a wonderful collection of classic-styled dollhouses and accessories, all at affordable prices. Be sure to visit our page at


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Top Reasons to Join a Doll Club

To the average person, a vintage Barbie, Ashton Drake or Shirley Temple doll might just be another doll, but to a collector they are a treasure. For avid doll collectors, there’s a unique passion for acquiring new additions to a budding collection of timeless and classic dolls.

To share this passion, you can join a doll club where people with the same interests are excited to talk and show off their collections. There are doll clubs all over the country. In fact, we have a worldwide doll club here at Gigi’s Dolls. Your membership entitles you to discounts at our shop and to share you passion for doll collecting with us and many others.

Other reasons to join a doll club include: (ideas and information provided by collect

1. You’ll learn new information from others about the dolls you own that you might not have known about.

2. Whenever you start a collection it’s a good idea to learn about the things you’re collecting. With a doll club, you can learn new information about dolls you are interested in acquiring.

3. You can make meaningful relationships with people who have similar interests as you. Plus, together you’ll explore the world of doll collecting and invite more people to join.

4. When you join a doll club, you’ll be exposed to doll expos, shows, conventions, and collector-only events. These are one of a kind events that are worth going to and which we love to get involved with!

5. You can take part in organizing doll events whether for leisure or for charitable reasons.

Doll clubs are a wonderful way to share your hobbies and passions with like-minded people. A doll club like ours will help you expand on your doll knowledge and increase your collection. To learn more about our club, feel free to click on this page from our website,


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Boys and Dolls: Are Dolls Only For Girls?

Every little girl loves her dolls. Every little girl should love getting a new baby doll, Barbie, or anything else girly that she can play house and the like with; boys, on the other hand, should love their cars, trucks and action figures. Ultimately, is this really how it should be?

It became clear for some of us how the majority of people thought it should be when McDonalds Happy Meals became gender specific. As a young girl, this left me with a dilemma. I wanted to be girly, but I also wanted to gain my father’s approval and feel like I could like the boy stuff, too; after all, my favorite color was blue. I often opted for the boy’s toy, as my mother would order, “one girl’s happy meal and one boy’s happy meal, please.” (The one “girl happy meal” was for my sister, who stuck to her girly roots.)

As society becomes more and more tolerant of ideals that stray from the norm, this may not have seemed so strange, however, there are still some believers that when girls act like tomboys, it’s one thing, but boys should absolutely not be playing with dolls. Is this fair?

On an ABC News episode of “What Would You Do?” they explored a toy store’s shopper reaction to just that scenario: a young boy wanting nothing more than a Barbie doll. A young boy actor and adult male actor strolled into the store as the young boy grabbed a Barbie holding it close and proclaiming that he wanted nothing more. The father was stunned and confused. One woman offered the solution of providing the boy with a Ken doll to play with (since Ken is a male). Another woman, who happened to previously be a kindergarten teacher, had a different perspective.

“This is very natural for a 5-year-old to want to engage in and play with dolls,” she reported to ABC, “Just encourage them to explore. Explore whatever they want to do. This is the time.”

Just because a boy is more apt to want to explore and play with dolls does not necessarily mean his gender identity is skewed. In fact, it could mean the exact opposite some experts argue. It could just be a child’s way of wanting to explore a father-like roll. Children learn by watching and playing, is having a boy act as a caregiver really something we should discourage? Ultimately, we should encourage children to explore what interest them. This is a time of learning and exploration, and curiosity is the key.



The World’s Largest Teddy Bear Collection: A “House of Memories”

Teddy Bear Collections

It’s rare to find a person that can say that they have never owned a teddy bear. There’s something about a teddy bear so appealing to young children and adult collectors, alike. For a child, the friendship and comfort they receive from their first teddy bear is a strong emotion, one that is never forgotten. For adult collectors, the teddy bear brings back those fond memories of youthful wonder.

There are many accomplished teddy bear collectors out there with an impressive inventory of the cuddly toys. As of 2012, however, none have proved more successful than Jackie Miley, current holder of the record for Largest Collection of Teddy Bears.

According to the Guinness World Records, Jackie Miley, 63, resident of Hill City, South Dakota, has faithfully been collecting her bears since 2002. Interestingly, Jackie is one of the exceptions to the youthful discovery of teddy bears, never really owning one in her youngest years because of the constant transition into foster homes. Some might consider her a late bloomer, because it’s clear that she has more than made up for lost time with her fuzzy friends now. In August of 2012, reported that Jackie’s collection had reached an astonishing 7,790 teddy bears – each of them different.

Because of the large number of bears Jackie has come into possession of, they have been relocated to their own special house right across the street from her apartment. The bears’ home is lovingly referred to as Teddy Bear Town, which also serves as a museum and gift shop for those wanting to see the bears for themselves.

Very much enjoying the bringing back memories for her visitors, Jackie often calls Teddy Bear Town “a house of memories.”

“I’ve got people’s very first bears. I’ve got bears in memories of people who passed away . . . It brings back childhood memories,” Jackie reported according to

Jackie may have missed out on the love of a teddy bear as a young girl, but this collection continues to bring her and many other teddy bear enthusiasts joy. Do you remember your first teddy bear? Chances are you can find it hanging out at Teddy Bear Town with over 7,000 of its closest friends! If you ever find yourself in Hill City, South Dakota, take a trip by to see for yourself. Also check out some of Sherry’s Teddy Bears and other animals we have featured on our website.

A Struggling Young Doll Maker’s Inspiring Journey

It’s always inspirational to see the passion a young person has for a hobby they love and enjoy. Their eyes are bright with the possibilities of where their unique creativity could take them. Arriel Turner, 15, of Baltimore, has an amazing talent for creating expressive dolls; each one is unique, decorated, and a true work of art.

When she was 12, Arriel was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, half of which is cancerous. Besides her rare struggles and impressive talent for sewing and embroidery, she is no ordinary 15-year-old girl. Arriel was active playing piano, and even has an alternate enjoyment for learning the Japanese language. However, perhaps what sets her apart the most is her drive and compassion for helping her family financially through their collective struggles.

It is difficult for any family to band together and make it through the dark times that a tumor, such as Arriel’s, can bestow upon them. An emotional and financial burden, medical hardships can be devastating. The Turner family is no stranger to the pain and hardships caused by medical misfortune. Arriel’s father, Mark, suffers from prostate and bladder cancer; her mother, Tina, who home schools Arriel’s brother with autism, suffers from diabetes and lupus.

As both of these strong and loving parents are on disability and unable to work, Arriel took it upon herself to raise money to help financially, and furthermore spread awareness of her family’s fight against their restraining illnesses. The response was overwhelming.

“I needed something to get my mind off of things,” Arriel said in an interview for WBALTV 11 in Baltimore, which first aired in December of 2012, just in time for the holiday season. After the story first aired, hopeful buyers flocked to the Woman’s Industrial Exchange (which promotes craft and community) in Baltimore. They sold out of her dolls almost immediately. “Her dolls are on back order right now until July,” said Treena Moore of the Woman’s Industrial Exchange.

Upon hearing that Arriel would be bringing more dolls, more people traveled to the store the very next day, some waiting for four and five hours, some traveling from New York, all to see the brave young girl behind the needle and thread and some to get her autograph on their doll.

Beyond the purchase of her dolls to help her family, Arriel wants their new owners to love and adore them. “I hope that they are happy and they like them,” she said.

Her family is continually amazed with the intricate detail that Arriel displays on each doll. Mr. Turner noted that she is a perfectionist and is never completely happy with the dolls, though everyone else is amazed. Though the tumor has left Arriel tired, and affected her eyesight and memory, which frustrates her as she learns Japanese, it’s clear that her creativity has not faltered as she continues to produce amazing dolls loved by many.


Read more about Arriel and her story here,, view Arriel’s dolls for sale at the Women’s Industrial Exchange, or reach out to the turner family directly by emailing

Doll Collecting 101: 4 Tips for New Doll Collectors

Collecting something gives a person a sense of pride in their collection. It takes a great deal of patience, determination, and knowledge to be successful at collecting; doll collecting is certainly no exception. There is always a pivotal moment in a doll collector’s life when they decide to commit to the hobby. If you have recently taken up the hobby yourself and are unsure how to proceed with it, here are four helpful tips to get you started.

Focus your collection.
Putting a focus on your collection is going to help you on your quest. Decide what dolls appeal to you most. If you decide to broaden your horizons and just collect dolls in general, you’re going to end up with a collection that doesn’t make much sense. Other setbacks include space being taken up (quickly), and never truly finding rare or unusual dolls that are out there waiting for you. Pick a type of doll and stick to it, when you feel as though you have sufficiently collected it, start on a new quest!

Collect with a pal!
Collecting alone is, well, lonely. Meet friends online or see which of your friends are interested in collecting with you (if you haven’t already discovered some). Not only is it more fun and exciting, but it’s a great way to socialize and also very informative. You will learn valuable information from a friend who has been in the game for a while, and will be able to share fun information that you find out along the way, too!

Have a discerning eye.
Know when to buy and when to leave something behind. Especially if you are just beginning your journey, you’ll want to purchase everything. This will quickly leave you out of cash and shelving. They do say that “good things come to those who wait,” and just because something looks appealing right now, doesn’t mean it’s the doll for you. Learn about it and if you think it’s going to make a great new addition to your collection, get out the cash.

Don’t be too cheap!
While it’s absolutely true that you should always try to get more for your money, that isn’t always in reference to quantity. If you want to love your collection, it should be based on quality. Just because you bought 10 dolls for 250 dollars does not mean you got a good deal. You could have purchased one amazing doll for the 250 dollars, and been much happier for it! More isn’t always better in this case!

No matter what kind of tips you follow, you must always remember to have fun! This isn’t another job, this is a hobby and you deserve to love it. Doll collecting is fun and can get exciting, but don’t take it too seriously. Dolls, while some are more valuable than others, are all made with the same intention – to put smiles on the faces of their owners! Make yourself no exception. Happy collecting!



American Girl Dolls Come and Go

Looking back even ten years ago, it’s clear to see that dolls and toys in general consistently undergo big changes. Throughout the life timeline of the highly celebrated American Girl dolls, much has changed, and now the evolution of these staples of girlish history is more apparent than ever. Today, the company has made the decision to “archive” some of the dolls that pioneered the brand.

The dolls were created so that the young girls of today could connect with the brave young girls of the past as their friend. The dolls gave girls pride in the diversity and overcoming of adversity of American girls of generations before them. The “Historical Characters” line of the American Girl dolls each came with a book taking you through the doll’s personal story. The full line of historical girls has grown over the years and includes the well-known Addy, who bravely overcame slavery; Kit, who stayed strong through the Great Depression; Molly, who was active in helping the World War II effort; and Josefina, who was the youngest in her family, but helped take care of her family’s ranchero after her mother’s passing.

American Girl noted that they will be archiving select characters in an effort to introduce girls to new American girls from other notable historical times. Some might remember Felicity, Kirsten, and Samantha, who have all earned their permanent place in the archived collection.

Taking their place are the Girls of the Year, which are introduced yearly with a special backstory and hobby, in an effort to expose girls to different eras moving forward.

American Girl dolls will continue to inspire girls to take risks and opportunities, letting their dreams flourish. While there is a little less history involved in the mix, they will continue to look toward the future, which is ultimately what we hope for our children – harness the present, learn from the past, but look toward the future.

How to Clean Porcelain Dolls Carefully

Kate Middleton Porcelain Doll - Dolls for Sale - Gigis Dolls Porcelain dolls represent youth, girlishness, and perfection; it’s no mystery that these dolls make the perfect gifts for children and collectors alike. Porcelain or ceramic dolls are very fragile, and exist for aesthetics and sentiment. Though some play with their dolls, most do not, some porcelain dolls never leave their original package.

Unfortunately, when you display your doll outside of her box, the dolls are no match for time and dust. Artisans create porcelain dolls by hand, using ceramic and paint to create a doll that is embodiment of perfection.

When you look at you porcelain doll, you want to remember her as the first time you saw her: perfect and beautiful. Cleaning your porcelain doll is important; cleaning her properly is crucial. Some soaps and cleaners may contain abrasive agents, which doesn’t work well with porcelain.

  • Washing the Clothing

Some dolls have ceramic clothing as well, if that is the case, you can skip this paragraph- because we do NOT want you throwing your doll in the washing machine. You can usually wash and tumble-dry doll clothing, just check the tag as you would your own clothing.

  • Dusting the Body / Box

Small dust particles that you cannot see get on the doll, washing the clothes help, but there will be leftovers. Dust can get in the doll’s hair, eyelashes, and small crevices. The best way to ensure that you remove all dust and debris from the doll is to use a blow dryer or canned air. Keep the temperature cool, and use direct air to clean the doll in a thorough and meticulous manner. Play special attention to the hair.

  • Washing the Hair

When cleaning the hair, you have to use a damp cloth and avoid water as much as you can. If the wig gets too wet, it could ruin the glue and subsequently, your doll’s hair.

  • Cleaning the Body

Simply use plain, lukewarm water. Test this on a very small, hidden area. If this does not remove the paint, then you can continue with the rest of the doll. Damp cotton balls work great for the face and small areas. If the doll is very dirty, you can try mild dish soap or baby shampoo- just run a test with it first, to make sure the paint stays intact.

If you follow these rules and clean your doll monthly, she will remain beautiful and perfect, just the way you remember her.

Nine Fun Barbie Facts You Might Not Know

Barbie Facts

Image Courtesy of katieswisher | Flickr


At 54 years young, Barbie has had quite an eventful timeline thus far. Easily marked as the most popular doll in the world, Barbie is truly an icon. As with any iconic image with such a magnitude of popularity, there have been shocking innovations, controversy and the like.

For even the most active collector of these beautiful dolls, there are still fun and interesting facts to be discovered. Let’s take a look at some of the most rare and interesting facts sprinkled along the prestigious life of the Barbie doll!

1.) She works hard for the money.
In her life thus far, Barbie has had more than 80 careers! Her resume includes rock star, presidential candidate and paleontologist. Smart AND beautiful.

2.) Bellisima!
In the Dolls of the World® Collection, the very first nationality Barbie represented was Italian.

3.) I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.
If you placed them head to toe, the amount of Barbie dolls (including her family and friends) sold since 1959 would actually circle our green planet, earth, more than seven times.

4.) Living in Barbie’s shadow.
Barbie has five sisters who, unfortunately have to live in her shadow. There is Skipper who was introduced in 1964, then Tutti, a twin introduced in 1966, next came Stacie in 1992, then Kelly in 1995, and last, but not least, Krissy™ in 1999.

5.) America, the Barbie-ful.
As the most popular collecting hobby in America, doll collecting comes second only to stamp collection – This comes as no surprise to us!

6.) How many doll-ars?!
When the first Barbie doll was purchased, she only cost $3.00! Times, they are-a changing.

7.) A wardrobe to be reckoned with.
Mattel is, unbelievably, one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world thanks to Barbie and friends! They have used more than 105 million yards of fabric to create their clothing over the years.

8.) Shoes are a Barbie’s best friend.
Shoe enthusiasts everywhere would drool over Barbie’s collection! In her closet, Barbie has more than one billion pairs and over one hundred new clothing additions each year. Lucky girl!

9.) That doll was made for walkin’.
For the very first time in 1999, Barbie walked without the helping hands of a doll owner. Also, in 2000, she actually inline skated by herself! Many people can’t even do that, so kudos to Barbie!

Check out these and more fun facts about our friend, Barbie, at the link below. For all you Barbie collectors, don’t forget to check out the new and exciting Barbie dolls in Gigi’s Dolls’ collection right on our website!

Source via Mattel, Inc.


Taking Barbie Collecting to an Extreme

Collecting Barbie

Barbie enthusiasts exist all over the country, with the old and younger generations taking much delight in Barbie’s classic beauty. While it’s common to collect a few Barbie’s for play or display purposes, one man took the word “collecting” to an extreme.

Stanley Colorite of Hudson, Florida collected his first Barbie doll in 1997 and today, he has 2,000 Barbie dolls and 1,000 Ken dolls. With a 7-bedroom home, he’s devoted 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom to his dolls and doll accessories.

Colorite stated in a Huffington Post article, “I remember seeing her and thinking she was beautiful. I bought her straight away and it’s just gone from there.” He and his partner spend a substantial amount of money each year working on his collection. Buying at least twenty Barbie’s a month.

Stocking up on Barbie for this avid collector has become quite an obsession, “The Barbie’s take up four rooms of the house but I won’t stop collecting until I run out of rooms” Colorite said.

Colorite even collects Barbie accessories including an airplane, motorcycle, limousine, and camper van. In addition to the other 3,000 outfits he owns, he also owns an Oscar de la Renta outfit!

Colorite is not the only person who built a large collection of Barbie dolls, since her beginning, Barbie has remained a favorite collectible. At Gigi’s Dolls, we carry an extensive and impressive Barbie collection, which is conveniently viewable on our website.

*Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post