Tree Change Dolls Bring New Life

The transformative 'make-under' of Sonia Singh's Tree Change Doll (photo courtesy of Sonia Singh)

The transformative ‘make-under’ of Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Doll                                               (photo courtesy of Sonia Singh of Tree Change Dolls)

I grew up with my four sisters in Tasmania playing outdoors a lot and most of our toys were second-hand, ” Sonia Singh, creator of Tree Change Dolls

When my friend Karen shared this sweet story about Tasmanian artist Sonia Singh and her project to create Tree Change Dolls, I was touched. You see, Sonia Singh and her mother find discarded dolls and give them a new lease on life by giving them a complete and organic ‘make-under.’ The results are immediate for the young girls who love dolls and want to play with them. Because not only is Ms. Singh giving these dolls a new life but she is also creating an opportunity for girls to actually see themselves in the dolls, who appear more natural and child-like.

Ms. Singh began by collecting discarded Bratz dolls at local flea markets. With loving care she began the process of removing their heavy makeup (Bratz dolls sport heavy makeup) and then creating a fresh palette. Ms. Singh redesigned each face to look natural and with the help of her mother, an expert knitter who created original outfits for the dolls, renamed them Tree Change Dolls.  After posting her story locally to her Facebook friends it immediately when viral touching a chord with people everywhere. Says Ms. Singh: “I’m really happy that my work has not just inspired people in terms of dolls and toys, but opened some discussions about issues to do with women in society. I’ve had a few really nice emails from children. I had a really nice email from two little girls in Vienna who said I had inspired them to have a go themselves to create their own dolls. I think that’s lovely.”

I think that’s lovely too, Ms. Singh! Read more about artist Sonia Singh and her Tree Change Dolls, here. Image courtesy of  Sonia Singh’s of Tree Change Dolls.

Note: Turning Fashion Inside Out and Melissa Kaplan Guarino were not compensated for this endorsement. All opinions are my own.

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Iranian women and the great unveiling

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Yesterday, for an early Mother’s Day treat, I saw a documentary with my Mom and Dad, called The Iran Job: it tells the story of an American basketball player from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who is hired to play in Iran for a season. His world of basketball and the danger and drama of a pending Iranian revolution come together in a poignant story of friendship.

What I remember most from the film, are the female friends he meets; young, modern Iranian women who want to fight for their freedom and for what is right. He is surprised to discover that it is this country’s women who show great strength and courage.

I came home from the movie to the news that today, there is a new campaign on global social media, called: The Great Unveiling: Iranian Women are Ditching their Head Scarves on Facebook. Continue reading

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Five Days of Dressing for Success: Telling the best story with social media

Karly's recent Instagram posted for Dress for Success Morris County: Three ways to wear a t-shirt

Karly’s recent Instagram posted for Dress for Success Morris County: ‘How to wear a white t-shirt to the office!’

Karly Richter got her start working in visual merchandising for Nordstrom, but soon realized that what was missing was the personal connection with people. Says Karly, “One of the biggest things that I missed from my experience was working directly with customers and making a difference in their personal lives. You can inspire people in the way you style a mannequin, design a beautiful window or create an easy shopping experience for them, but only when you are personally shopping for people, can you give them the confidence they need.” So, Karly, who had volunteered as a personal shopper for Dress for Success in NYC and fell in love with the entire experience, returned to Dress for Success Morris County, and has been in charge of developing its social media networks since October 2013. I met with Karly to talk about what she is doing now and why the addition of social media is making a big difference to DFS Morris County.

MKG: What does your job entail?

Karly: I post inspirational styling pictures for women going to work every day. Continue reading

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Prom: Now/Samantha …

Samantha's original dress choices

Samantha’s original dress choices  – black and silver vintage and mint green contemporary

Samantha's second choice/second dress - strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha’s second choice/second dress – strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha is a junior in high school and she is my friend Karen’s daughter. I have known her for her entire life. In fact, I have known her since she was in her mother’s womb. After speaking with Samantha today I find it hard to believe that she is the same age that her mom and I were when we met. Here is Samantha on prepping for the prom …

I will be going to two proms this year: my boyfriend’s school prom is this Thursday and my school prom is May 17th. Almost from the minute I was invited, I started to feel pressure to find a dress, about two months ago. I began my search at the malls but found nothing and then searched on-line and didn’t find anything there either. Fortunately, I finally discovered two dresses at a local consignment shop, each for under $50! I know some girls who are spending up to $600 for just one dress, so two for $100 is quite a find for me. One is a mint green, contemporary style; the other is a black and silver vintage dress. They both fit well which is important to me. I needed to make a few slight adjustments to the mint green and I took it to a tailor. I have a pair of silver shoes that are a fine back up but I am hoping to find another pair before the proms. Recently, I wasn’t as sure about the black dress (I think because I’m not as comfortable wearing black in the spring). My boyfriend took me to the mall where I found a deep purple strapless dress with silver embellishment. I love it! I used gift cards to purchase the dress, so again, I was lucky …

I did feel pressure to purchase two dresses, partly because of the pictures that we will be taking, but mostly because my friends will be wearing two dresses. If they were wearing one dress for both of their proms I would probably do the same …

I decided to post my dresses to a Facebook page made for my school that exhibits every girls’ dresses. But I didn’t do the same for my boyfriend’s school. I found out that someone else will be wearing my dress at his prom but I’m okay with that because there will be many people. I will be getting a mani-pedi this week as well as having a spray-tan. I had an appointment to do my hair professionally at a salon but I think I will do it myself and save the money …

I think the biggest differences between going to the prom then, when you and my mom went, and today, are: the dresses are more outrageously priced, the preparation for the prom is more intense, and there is much more pressure from your friends to prepare in a certain way …

I am excited to go to the prom. Right now, though, I am thinking more about the preparation than the actual prom. I think that many girls feel the way I do and enjoy the preparation more than anything else.” ~ Samantha

I think that Samantha shows us that pressure from friends continues to be a big deal in high school. And no one should underestimate the power of the image in today’s world.

What do you think?

to be continued …


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PROM: Now/Miranda …

Miranda's prom dress - look at that detail in the back!

Miranda’s prom dress – look at that detail in the back!

Miranda is a senior in high school and will be going to her prom in early June. Here is what Miranda shared with me about prom, now …

It was very hard to find a dress; it took me two months of on-line shopping. I decided to do all of my shopping on-line because I knew I would find the right proportions. I am over 5′ 7″ and I wanted the right fit, and these days on-line shopping provides accurate measurements. When I saw this dress it really stuck with me. It’s a light pink and feminine style. The popular colors of the season for girls are nude, soft pink, dark blue/navy blue and red. And yes, I have posted it on Facebook already, noting the color, so that others will know what I’m wearing and not copy it. Most girls are doing this …

To prepare for the prom, I will be getting my hair and professional makeup done at a salon. No spray tanning for me. I tried it two years ago and I did not like it! Too much orange! I will also be getting a mani-pedi …

I am happy to go to my prom. Sometimes it’s overrated; people say it’s the second most important day after your wedding day. I think that’s silly. But it is a special day. It makes girls feel really beautiful and it boosts confidence. All the girls are so nice to each at prom; they compliment each other and wish each other well. That doesn’t always happen with girls, you know. But on this day, there is a positive atmosphere and a judgement-free-zone for all of high school …” ~ Miranda

to be continued

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PROM: Then …

The table shot from my Senior Prom - that's me in the middle

The table shot from my Senior Prom – that’s me in the middle

Everyone’s prom experience is a right of passage; a chance to step into the world of independence and young adulthood. The truth is that for a girl the preparation for her prom is just as monumental as the rest of it. Because for every generation of girls, that preparation becomes the main event as much as any dancing and dining. I’m interested in understanding how this preparation has changed since I attended my prom – all those years ago. And I will be doing my own investigative reporting in the next few weeks to understand prom as it is today.

First, I must go back. The year was 1978 (from this photo you can see there is no denying that it was the 70s!); I was a senior in high school and this was … my Senior Prom. Here is what I remember about the preparation: overall, I didn’t experience much pressure. My cousin Drew (a year younger than I) lent me the dress which I adored! It was a long, one-shoulder, soft chiffon style dress with a light peach background and pastel-colored flowers. So there was no shopping craziness or pressure to find the perfect dress – the dress came to me. I don’t remember doing my hair in any special way or what makeup I wore, although I think it was minimal, and I didn’t get a mani-pedi. At the time I didn’t know what that was. Looking at myself I see that I have a tan, which is rare for me; I’m pretty sure that I haven’t been that tan since. But the tan was natural because I knew nothing about spray-tanning. My date and I met at my house and my parents took a few snapshots, simple and easy. There was no pre-party photo-taking. And in this picture I am sitting next to my friend Karen who is still my dear friend.

In about a month, high school juniors and seniors will be attending their proms. Girls will be shopping for their dresses, and preparing for the special event in whatever way they can. I’ve heard that often means registering your dress on Facebook so that others won’t buy the same one, and not only getting your hair done in a salon, but having a mani-pedi, and perhaps getting a spray-tan as well.

to be continued

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