A Life of Faith - Carpatina - Dream Doll Designer - Living Dead Dolls - Magic Attic Club - Paola Reina - Stardust Classics

A Life of Faith

This Christian-themed doll line began production in 1998 and ceased operations in 2006. The dolls were based on characters from Martha Finley's books, but the Mission City Press republication underwent a few changes for good reasons. An ironic fact about these dolls is that some have developed red eyes, which make them look rather demonic. Obviously it's not demons, just low-quality acrylic. The rest of the dolls are high quality, and they can wear American Girl clothes and sport tank tops better, being all vinyl instead of soft-bodied.

Violet is Elsie Dinsmore's daughter. She is described as imaginative, sensitive, and family-oriented, but she also loves traveling, studying, and adventure. I acquired a Violet doll when I was fourteen, but I was not at all religious. You see, I wanted a doll that could wear clothes fit for American Girl dolls and was all vinyl. I was a Hot Topic kid who saw Violet's goth-punk-alternative-whatever potential, and yes, I managed to put together an outfit. It was a really weird time for me. Years later, I feared I'd given Violet away, but luckily I hadn't. She was still in storage at my parents' house. I believe her eyes have changed a bit. Instead of a chocolate brown, they're more of a mahogany, but I like the "new" color.


Like Just Pretend and Magic Attic Club dolls, Carpatina dolls are slim and all-vinyl. Curse my teenage self for having been more interested in American Girl dolls! Especially because Isabella and sleep-eyed Emma are no longer made. Yet, Carpatina has been in business since 2002 and is still kicking. This is a line for doll collectors who love high fantasy and historical fantasy. The dolls are beautiful and the outfits are elaborate. There is also a clothing line for American Girl dolls, plus sewing patterns.

Emma is the third Carpatina doll and part of what I'd call the "original three," as she's canonically Julia and Isabella's cousin. The doll with sleep eyes was discontinued some years ago and then revived with fixed eyes later. I didn't think I'd get a sleep-eyed Emma any time soon, but one day she popped up on eBay and was still (partially) tied down in her box. Emma is fascinated by women such as Guinevere, Queen Elizabeth, Maid Marion, and Juliet. With a magic moonstone necklace, gifted by her Great-Aunt Cordelia, she's able to step into their shoes and live lives that demand wit, bravery, and love.

Julia is one of the first Carpatina dolls (the other is Isabella). She, too, was given a magic moonstone necklace by her great-aunt. The medieval period is Julia's favorite, and she often visits places in epic legends and fairy tales where she can be a princess, meet fair ladies and knights in shining armor, or have a dragon.

Dream Doll Designer

I remember my mom giving me a CD that we got in the mail, and I remember how obsessed I was with it. Dream Doll Designer was a unique doll line for its time. The program allowed you to customize your own 18-inch, all-vinyl doll on the screen before ordering her (and even her outfits). There were so many possible combinations that I was too late when I finally made up my mind—the company had gone out of business. Its run was surprisingly short, lasting from 1997 to 2001. I never got to order a doll, and I'm still salty about it. Luckily, there are sites such as eBay and Mercari, but these dolls are rare.

Penny was originally a showcase doll named Sarah. I purchased her on eBay in 2022, making her my first Dream Doll Designer doll. Her bright brown eyes are what really drew me in. They probably aren't the original color. They look as if they might've changed over the years, most likely due to low-quality acrylic and not sun exposure since she hadn't been removed from her box prior. Nonetheless, they're beautiful. For some reason, Penny struck me as a "Wild West" steampunk doll. Her outfit is from Carpatina.

Living Dead Dolls

This line of horror dolls has been around since 2000, but it started with handmades in 1998. Ed Long and Damien Glonek are creator and co-creator, respectively. I've known about Living Dead Dolls since middle school, but I didn't start collecting them until December 2021. I used to spend a chunk of my time as a teen browsing the official website, reading the backstories and forum, wondering where the heck I could purchase certain dolls that had been "laid to rest." Eventually I gave up and forgot about them, and then years later remembered them. There's something so charming about these little terrors, and I daresay some of the boys are the cutest of boy dolls.

Candy Rotten was originally a handmade doll that predated Sadie, one of the first Living Dead Dolls. It wasn't until Series 35 when she finally joined the undead. I bought her from the same seller who sold me Isaiah (Resurrection variant), and for some reason I imagine Candy and Isaiah being chaotic, unrelated siblings.

Isaiah is probably my favorite Living Dead Doll, specifically both versions of Resurrection XI (please, don't make me choose). Not only do I dig the cyberpunk look and the fact that he's a blogger, but I also find him being a robot interesting since the Biblical Isaiah envisioned a post-mortal future (65:20). Also, Isaiah bears the inverted cross on his shirt, which is actually the Cross of Saint Peter. The satanic association is a modern invention. Of course, the doll's creators didn't intend anything remotely pro-Christian, but it's all still funny to me.

Magic Attic Club

How in the world did I not know of the Magic Attic Club as a kid? Established in 1994, the Magic Attic Club is about a group of girls who live in the same neighborhood and discover a magical mirror in their neighbor's attic. When they dress up in front of it, they're transported to a different time. Their adventures aren't just a fun escape—they learn about themselves and resolve issues they're facing through the fantastical experiences they have. I still can't believe I missed out on such a great doll line. Unfortunately, after a few (unwise) changes, the Magic Attic Club was discontinued in 2004.

Heather was my first Magic Attic Club doll, ordered on Mercari. Fortunately, she was adult-owned and arrived looking and smelling nice (although she shed a bit). I think her eyebrows were stamped slightly higher than most other Heather dolls', which I like. Heather is sensitive and caring and dislikes competition. She enjoys art, fashion, and ballet. She's also Jewish.

Keisha arrived with Megan, both in near-mint condition. She's a rare and expensive find these days, though not as much as Chloe (who was produced for a year). Keisha likes cheerleading, photography, and singing, but she also likes to be helpful and volunteer at the local nursing home. She celebrates Kwanzaa with her family.

Megan is an only child with divorced parents. She lives with her mother and aunt, but she's particularly close to her father, as they share a love of reading. She aspires to be a writer like him. Although my parents aren't divorced (but they should've been), I relate most to Megan, which makes her my favorite, being an only child and a writer myself.

Paola Reina

Made in Spain, Paola Reina dolls are designed in multiple sizes and can either be all-vinyl or soft-bodied. Apparently, Paola Reina offers one of the most extensive and varied doll catalogs in the world. These dolls also have a vanilla scent baked into their vinyl.

Sylvie is 43 centimeters tall, which is around 16 inches. She wasn't cheap, but she's excellent quality and discontinued. I don't know much about her character. I don't think there's an official story behind her, so I named her Sylvie and imagined her as a spunky forest witch who meets Laurel one day.

Stardust Classics

This was such a beautiful doll line and, like Dream Doll Designer, it only lasted from 1997 to 2001. Seriously, look up the outfits and accessories. I'm so mad that only three dolls were created. Stardust Classics was as '90s children's fantasy as you could get. Yes, there was the Magic Attic Club, but Stardust Classics had almost no contemporary elements. The dolls share the same face mold, but the subtle differences between their eye colors and paint jobs manage to make them look very distinct. There are two versions of Alissa and Laurel, one with sleep eyes and the other with fixed eyes. The sleep-eyed versions were produced earlier and are overall better quality.

Kat was my first Stardust Classics doll. I bought her on eBay (new) and realized my mistake too late when I found her for much cheaper on Facebook Marketplace (also new), but that's life, I guess. She's stunning regardless and her book was included. Kat is an adventurer and uses her aunt's time machine to explore different eras.

Laurel was a pretty lucky find. She'd been removed from her box, but she was in good condition, had her book, and was under $60. Laurel is a fairy who grows curious about the world beyond her woodland home.

A Life of Faith - Carpatina - Dream Doll Designer - Living Dead Dolls - Magic Attic Club - Paola Reina - Stardust Classics