photo courtesy of Kathi


Part five in my series on the obsession passion 
for the big-headed doll known as Blythe. 

Interview # 6, Kathi from Atlanta, Georgia
also known as kathi_minikatie on flickr
photo courtesy of Kathi
Please honor the fact that these photos belong to Kathi
and may not be used in any way without  permission

~ ~

R: Thank you, so much, Kathi, for agreeing to do this interview on one of our favorite subjects…Blythe

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, you family, pets, and hobbies aside from Blythe, etc.

K: I live in metropolitan Atlanta in a suburb NE of the city.  My immediate family is just me and my two furkids – Baby, my 18yo cat, and Katie, my 8.75yo miniature Australian Shepherd.  
photo courtesy of Kathi
I’m fortunate to have my older brother living within a few miles of me and my younger brother and sister are each within an hour’s drive in different directions.
photo courtesy of Kathi
 Right now Blythe is my current hobby and provides all the playtime and escape I need from life’s stresses.  Prior to Blythe all my free time was spent scrapbooking with friends.  I seem to be a “one major hobby at a time” person though, so I haven’t scrapped much at all since I dove into Blythe in May of 2009.
photo courtesy of Kathi
R: I remember trying so hard to resist jumping into the Blythe ‘pool’ and then something in 2006 hooked me and it’s been a growing love affair ever since.  

Tell us about the first doll you fell in love with and when that was.  Can you even imagine NOT having a Blythe now?

K: I remember reading my friend Mara’s (*redmara* on Flickr) blog and seeing a post about Blythe and reading about how she wanted one.  Not too long afterward, Mara purchased her first Blythe and brought Sam with her to a scrap booking weekend getaway.  I spent most of that weekend playing with Sam, crocheted her a hat and a few other items, and was very intrigued.  
photo courtesy of Kathi

So intrigued that I ordered my first Blythe, a Rosie Red Encore, shortly thereafter on Memorial Day weekend in 2009 from eBay.  When my doll arrived and my sister saw her for the first time, she immediately remembered that I had Blythe dolls in 1972.  Frankly, I only vaguely recalled them from 1972 and was amazed that my sister remembered them (which means she played with them after I quit playing with dolls).  
photo courtesy of Kathi
 That prompted a search of our parents’ estate home and, at this point, we’ve pretty much cleared it out or at least gone through most items, so it doesn’t look like I’ll locate my childhood Kenners, but I’m still hopeful that they may turn up in a box somewhere and won’t give up hope until we’ve cleared the house of all contents.

At this point, I can’t imagine not having a Blythe, but my hobbies tend to have a season in my life and often fade over time.  That hasn’t happened with Blythe yet and if/when it does, no doubt I’ll keep one or two of my girls forever as a remembrance.

R: One thing that I so love about your Flickr page is how you have all your girls listed with information about them - when you got them, what mold they are, etc.  It actually helped me learn more about the different molds.  I thank you for that.  

Is it your nature to categorize this way, or is it something you felt was important to do, this Blythe documentation, for yourself or for others? 

K: Um, that would be yes, yes, yes and yes!  I remember when I first started searching Flickr looking at Blythe before I purchased my first doll and there were so many dolls I loved, but if they weren’t tagged or in a set with information about what Blythe they were, etc., I was too new to Blythe to know which doll they were or if they were a custom, then who had done the custom work I loved so much.  

photo courtesy of Kathi
I fell in love with Rosie Red because my mom called me Rose Red as a child, but I didn’t even realize there were two versions of this doll, so I ended up with the Encore instead of the Rosie Red BL that I fell in love with in the beginning.  And really this is the major reason I suggest newbies to the hobby join Flickr and the forums and research, research, research before diving in head first and buying, buying, buying.  Getting to know Blythe and what you love about Blythe can save you dollars in the long run.
photo courtesy of Kathi
And I document my Blythe sets for me since I can’t always remember the details about a specific doll.  Once my Blythe family took off and started to grow, I honestly couldn’t recall which mold each girl was, so my Flickr sets are a handy reference and ensure that I don’t forget any girl’s specifics.  Although I don’t have an issue remembering or distinguishing face molds now, I’d still forget other details if I didn’t have them listed somewhere.

R: Was there anyone that you turned to in the Blythe world when you first started collecting?

I almost hate to use the word collecting because it seems so impersonal when talking about our ‘girls’, doesn’t it??

K: Of course, my friend Mara started collecting just before me, so it’s been wonderful having a good friend to share this hobby with along the way.  And I recall in the beginning I also spent many hours on the Blythe forums J - there’s always someone willing to help on the forums.

photo courtesy of Kathi
R: You have some wonderful shots of a few Dolly Meets, how did these come about and what goes on during a meet like these? Did you have the opportunity to meet doll friends that you only knew online through Flickr?

K: I love Blythe Meets!  My very first Blythe meet was the first BlytheCon in Atlanta in October 2009.
photo courtesy of Kathi
  It was fantastic to meet so many Blythe collectors that I only knew through online, not to mention a lot of the local Atlanta collectors that I had not met before BlytheCon – a truly awesome experience and I hate I had to miss BlytheCon Portland this year.  Anyway, most meets just require one person to start a thread on one of the forums to determine a date and place.  I’m pretty much up for a meet any time and look forward to them.  During a meet you often get to meet the person behind the dolls that you see on Flickr, you get to see so many great dolls in person, and the chatting with and getting to know other enthusiasts is just the best.  Not to mention all the dolly photos that happen at a meet!

Morgan Orton kicked off a thread on Blythe Kingdom to organize a southeast Blythe meet in September and I am so looking forward to it.  There really is nothing better than meeting people in your area that share the same interests.

R: Do you have a favorite girl or favorite mold at this point?  And is there an elusive doll that is on your wish list.

My favorite girls are those that tug at my heart which is pretty much all of my girls or they wouldn’t be here with me.  I truly believe that if they don’t speak to the heart then they are a candidate for a change, either in looks or in scenery (i.e., a new home).  I love variety and have limited funds and space, so often one girl needs to travel in order for another to come home.  

photo by Kathi

I haven’t rehomed that many girls and those that I have rehomed were due to limited funds (read I blew my budget because I let my heart rule my head and purchased a doll I had no business buying at the time) or I felt I had thoroughly enjoyed the girl while she was with me and I was OK with letting her go so someone else could enjoy her as much as I had.
photo courtesy of Kathi
As far as a favorite face molds go, that is usually secondary to whether the girl speaks to me and tugs at the heart.  With that said, I think my Flickr sets tell a different story – EBLs definitely rule in my Blythe family!
photo courtesy of Kathi
 I’d also add BL’s to this category even though I currently do not own any BL’s.  Running a close second to EBL dominance would have to be custom FBL’s.  While I am not fond of the FBL mold in a stock doll, I really love many of the FBL customs I see and can’t wait for my second FBL custom to arrive home. 
photo courtesy of Kathi

Honestly though I don’t dislike any mold and have RBL’s and SBL’s living with me now and have owned ADG as well.
Is there an elusive doll on my wish list?  Yes, you could say that.  It seems I see new customs that I’d love to own or custom girls that I’ve admired and were recently adopted out, and I missed them of course, almost on a daily basis.  But really I think my core wish list is pretty much the same as it was in late 2010 when I created my 2011 wish list on Flickr.

R: Now let’s talk about your rerooting of the dolls.   First of all, you do an amazing job.  Your dolly hairs are just breathtaking.  When did you first decide to try your hand at this and how long does it typically take for you to do a complete head?  Do you do custom reroots for customers or only for yourself?

K: First, thank you so much for the sweet compliment!  When I first started searching Flickr and adding Blythe dolls to my favorites, it became apparent that 1) I love custom Blythes and 2) most of those customs had mohair or alpaca reroots.  And 5 of my first 8 Blythes are/were mohair or alpaca reroots. 

photo courtesy of Kathi
So, although I’ve never really considered customizing a Blythe, I’ve always entertained the possibility of doing a reroot and finally dove in and completed my first mohair reroot in October 2010.  So far I haven’t really tracked the hours involved in a reroot.  I do knot method reroots and secure each knot with glue, so that takes a little bit of time.  

photo courtesy of Kathi
 Based on my reroots to date, most take about a week from start to finish and that’s working on the reroot pretty much full-time during the day with a fair amount of Blythe computer time mixed in.
photo courtesy of Kathi
Now that I have a few reroots under my belt and am confident in my work, I had recently entertained the possibility of accepting reroot commissions.  I had even begun to prepare by purchasing some fibers and scalps, but then a full-time work opportunity came along and, well, I have to work to keep a roof over my head.  So, while I may not be able to accept a reroot commission, I certainly plan to continue to do reroots and hope to be able to offer completed reroots to others like I’ve done in the past.

R: As if that wasn’t enough, you have amazing skills with dress designing and sewing for your girls. What is your inspiration and do you mainly sew only for your girls?

photo courtesy of Kathi
Thank you again.  In the beginning of my Blythe collecting, I resurrected my crochet skills and was enjoying crocheting hats and dresses for my girls.  That coupled with the idea I had for a boho style dress prompted me to take my sewing machine out of storage (where it had been for 16 years or so) and open my Etsy shop, Everyday Fabulous by kathiminikatie, for Blythe in the summer of 2009.  

photo by Kathi

photo by Kathi

All of my girls became models for the shop and while they have worn all of my designs, they only got to keep a small handful until just recently when I set out to make each of them a dress from vintage hankies that had belonged to my mom.  
photo courtesy of Kathi

I’m still working on completing that project and hope to eventually revisit some of my prior Blythe clothing designs and make a dress/outfit for my girls to keep.

At this time, my Blythe Etsy shop is pretty much dormant since I just went back to work full-time, but I hope to continue to offer new designs and revisit old designs in the future once I develop a routine and find a way to fit my *want to do* in with the *have to do*.

Oh, and my inspiration – mainly styles I remember from the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was a growing up, current styles that would translate well to doll clothing, and my favorite inspiration is looking at vintage sewing patterns – for toddlers, girls and women.
photo courtesy of Kathi
Did your Mom sew for you when you were younger and if so, did she have the biggest influence on your love of sewing now?

Yes, my mom did sew clothing for me when I was young. 
photo courtesy of Kathi

photo courtesy of Kathi
I remember a few outfits that she made me that were truly favorites in my wardrobe at the time.  Most of her sewing for me was costumes – whether ballet, tap dance, or ice skating.  I was involved in many such activities growing up.  I really didn’t get interested in sewing and needlework until home ec class in the 8th grade.  Then interest waned again until I picked up cross stitch and embroidery in the early 1980’s.  Sewing didn’t appear again until I purchased my first home in the early 1990’s.  Shortly thereafter I purchased my first sewing machine to sew drapes and pillow covers for my home and somewhere along the line became interested in heirloom sewing and silk ribbon embroidery and pursued those crafts for a few years.

Last year I ran across my silk ribbon embroidery supplies and have planned a winter outfit for Blythe that incorporates silk ribbon embroidery in the form of penguins dancing under a starry sky on a navy blue corduroy pinafore – think Happy feet!  I see it paired with a faux fur bonnet tied under the chin with pom-poms on the end of the ties and a muff (just like I wore in Minnesota winters growing up in the 1960’s) or even with a long striped stocking hat that doubles as a neck scarf.  I have the vision and the supplies on hand – we’ll just have to see if I can execute in time for this winter!

R: I keep my girls so very young…they never reach the teen years.  What age do you feel your girls are?

K: I honestly feel my girls can be any age depending on how they are styled.  Of course, I have some that I tend to dress younger based on their looks and some that look more mature, so I tend to dress them more mature – definitely pre-teens and early teens.  
photo courtesy of Kathi
 I don’t feel any of my girls are younger than 10 or 11 J.  When their look becomes stale or monotonous to me or I’m looking to find the love for a girl again, the first thing I do is search the wardrobe for a different vibe than normal and style the girl accordingly.

R: Now for the question that always tickles me.  How many girls are in residence with you at this moment?

K: I currently have a family of 27 Blythes.
photo by Kathi
R: Thank you, again Kathi, for adding to the fun of this series and for all the help you have given me along the way with my relentless questions about the different molds.  You were so gracious with all my queries.  It's been great fun getting to know you and your girls.  And thank you, so very much, for the beautiful photos and painstaking information you put on your Flickr pages that really help the learning process. 
Well, my friends, that concludes week #5
I truly hope you are enjoying the series 
There is more fun until then



Awishdream said...

Truly loved Kathi's interview. She has so much talent! Her dolls are wonderful. Thank you Rella for all the work you did to interview these wonderful ladies!!


Terri Gordon said...

Hi Rella, Thank you so much for doing these wonderful interviews, I am learning so much. Her dolls are beautiful. I want to wish you a wonderful weekend. Hugs, Terri

Betzie said...

Was so happy to see a new interview today Rella! Thank-you!!!
So fun to read and see the photos...I feel like such a newbie but this helps! If I could only be a one hobby at a time person like Kathi that would help, but hard for me to do. Lovely dolls and clothes Kathi and I too, love the mohair reroots! Gorgeous.

Ana Cristina Caldatto said...

Rella suas Blythes são divinas!

Cinderella Moments said...

Those outfits are incredible!