Monday, February 4, 2013

Collector Spotlight on LeeAnn of Prego

Recently I was able to catch up with LeeAnn who co-operates the Prego doll board.  LeeAnn is an avid collector of many types of dolls, and a great administrator of the doll board and is a lot of fun to interact with. 

 I remember when I first stumbled onto Prego years ago and was almost overwhelmed, LeeAnn was so kind and complimentary and welcoming to me, as I know she always is with all the doll collectors on the board.

Hope you enjoy getting to know her better!

Q: How long have you been collecting dolls as an adult?
I've been collecting dolls as an adult for 15 years. We had just moved to Pennsylvania and one of my neighbors showed me her beautiful doll collection. I got brave and asked her about the dolls figuring maybe I could afford just one. It was Gene Marshall.

  Q: Do you remember your first doll as a child? As an adult?

The first doll I had as a child was a ponytail Barbie. I actually still have her but she's been WELL other words she's a mess. I still remember my grandparents taking me to the store and I'd walk up and down the doll aisle, which in comparison to today, was very small. 

Buying a new Barbie was special and exciting. Getting home, opening the box and getting that first smell of a new Barbie. LOL..don't laugh but I think everyone remembers that smell. There was nothing like it.

As an adult collector my first dolls were Gene Marshall's. Right off I bought Blue Goddess, Pinup and Red Venus. I remember looking at them thinking they were the most gorgeous dolls ever. After's been a roller coaster ride of collecting... Tonner dolls, Fashion Royalty and ball jointed dolls have made their way into the collection.

Q: What kind of dolls do you currently have?

Currently I'd say I'm all over the place with collecting. I own some Integrity Fashion Royalty, most of which are the 12 inch Poppy Parkers. I'm trying to be more selective with the Fashion Royalty dolls and limit myself just to the Poppy's. (Note: I have recently added a couple of the FR16 inch dolls.) 

It's hard to keep focus when doll companies reveal their new lines. The dolls are so beautiful and you want them all, which anymore, is just impossible.

My collection continues to consist of repainted Tonner dolls, the majority of which have been repainted by Laurie Leigh Beautifulfaces and American jeZebel. It never ceases to amaze me that an artist can take one doll and give her so many different looks. 

I also still have quite a few Tonner dolls with their original makeup. Bewitched Sydney Chase, Focus on Fashion Sydney those are dolls that I have always felt were perfect the way they were.

Q: What part of collecting dolls do you enjoy most?

One of my favorite parts of doll collecting are the people. I love when people are enthusiastic about a doll. It doesn't matter what doll because we all have our own tastes. That's part of what makes collecting fun too, we DON'T all like the same things. How boring would that be. LOL.

I love to see how everyone displays their dolls. The creative dioramas and the fabulous designers. The digital camera era is fantastic because it makes it easier for everyone to share the things they love.

Q: Your doll photography is breathtaking… can you share any tips about how you do it?

I appreciate the kind words about my doll photographs. There are so many talented photographers out there who truly know about photography. I've always sort of felt that if I take a good photo it's by sheer luck. LOL.

If I were to give a couple of photography tips I would say: Natural lighting is always by far the easiest way to take doll photos. I have photography lights but rarely use them any more. It's just easier to try and get a photo when there is natural light. 

 Also, be aware of what is in the background with your doll. Is there lint on the fabric? Do you have clutter around the doll that isn't necessary to the photo? It can distract from your subject. You don't have to have a professional set up. A piece of tag board or black velvet fabric works great as a backdrop. Just make sure that there isn't a lot of other 'stuff' in the photo that will take away from the doll or outfit.

Photoshop is also a great tool to use. There are very few people that can take a beautiful photo and not do just a bit of touch up. Lighting, color correction, adding photo effects or just removing those pesky stray hairs. Picmonkey is a great site that allows you to do a lot of photo editing for free or you can choose to have a membership.

Q: Do you have your dolls on display in your home?
I have a doll cabinet in my living room that displays the majority of my dolls with their original makeup. The rest I keep in the doll room either in a smaller doll cabinet or on the doll shelf. When I started collecting dolls my husband built a shelf unit in one of the bedrooms. I think it was his way of encouraging me to keep them in one place and not all over the house. I go through a lot of canned air keeping them dusted. My feeling has been if I can't keep them out to see them then I must not really need them.

I will say that I keep my Iplehouse resin collection in doll bags. The dolls are large and take up quite a bit of space. It's just my preference to keep them safely tucked away unless I'm fooling with them.

Q: Do you see your taste in dolls or fashion changing?

Over the last couple of years I've noticed that my collecting habits have changed. New purchases have consisted of the larger resin ball jointed dolls. Having so many different doll lines and doll companies is nice but it makes it really hard to keep focus on your collection.

I love the resin fashion dolls, Fashion Royalty dolls and of course the Tonner dolls. For me though, I think I've gotten overwhelmed by all the choices and maybe have become a bit burnt out on vinyl least for now. I'm living vicariously through everyone else's photos. Doll money these days, tends to go more for the larger resin dolls. Larger more expensive dolls equals fewer dolls. You have to be a bit more selective in what you buy.

Q: Can you tell me a little about the doll board, Prego?

Alex and I started Prego 10 yrs ago in July. There was a smaller version of Prego a year before when Vicky's Doll Board was still up. Vicky's had become so negative and it wasn't fun to play dolls. So Alex and I decided to start a board that originally was for Sydney Chase. Slowly other dolls started making their way onto the board which wasn't a bad thing. 

I think Prego gives everyone a place where they feel that they can share their love of collecting.  I should say I HOPE they can enjoy their love of collecting. We want everyone to feel welcome to play and get away from the real world for just a little bit.

Running the board has been a lot of fun and challenging at times. I've met so many wonderful people over the years. I often think about members that have stopped posting and wonder if they are no longer collecting or if real life has gotten in the way of play. We've also had members pass away over the years. Prego is a family of sorts and it hurts when we lose someone.

Q: Can you share a bit more about yourself?

Personally, I've been married for almost 27 yrs (wow), have three great kids and a wonderful son-in-law. Lilly is our little poodle and she'll be 3 yrs old in May. We were really lucky to adopt such a good little dog after losing our little poodle Jake.

I'm a bit of a homebody and love doing stuff around the house. Last year my project was all the yard work and it looks like it will be the same again this spring. Jeff says it's become as obsession and, well I guess he's right. I like to moan and groan about the work but in the end I enjoy being outside on a beautiful spring day.

A couple of other things besides dolls that I enjoy are sports and reading. I love baseball (Go Phillies) and hockey (Go Flyer's). I'd be totally lost without my Kindle. With increasingly bad eyesight I truly appreciate having a device that lets me continue to enjoy something I love so much, reading.

Finally I'd like to say thank you to all that have posted through the years on Prego. So many people have shared beautiful photos of their dolls, their talent as designers and shared about their families. I don't think Alex and I ever dreamed that the board would be what it is today or that it would be around for so long. We appreciate everyone playing, sharing and contributing in whatever way to the board. :-)

The End.


  1. I've always wanted to know more about LeeAnn. (We've just had our 27th anniversary, btw.) Love Prego. This series is great! :)

  2. Loved learning more about you, LeeAnn! You are such a sweet lady, and incredibly talented photographer and I always enjoy seeing your dolls. That pic of DD is one of my favorite pics! "Cracks" me up. :P
    P.S. I totally hear you on the smell of a new doll. Every time I get a new doll, I open up the box and close my eyes, and breathe deep. Smells like Christmas. It's right up there with new baby smell (except the stork hasn't brought me any of those in quite some time. Sigh.) :P
    P.S.S. Thank you, Kari, for interviewing one of my favorite doll collectors!