Welcome to Never2Old4 Dolls!! This blog is intended to be a gathering place for doll lovers of all ages. Interested in connecting with other doll lovers? Head to the "Interviews" page to read some great interviews with doll lovers, doll artists, and doll collectors from all around the world. Do dolls inspire you to channel your inner creative goddess? Click on the "Tutorials" page to find how-to instructions for all kinds of things to make for your dolly friends. Want some recommendations for great books featuring dolls? Go to the "Dolls in Literature" page for reviews and links. Want to check out all the great doll-related info and products available online? Head to the "Links and Resources" page. Sit back, relax, grab your favorite little gal (or guy), and get ready to be inspired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doll Blogger Interview: Beast's Belle from Never Grow Up: A Mom's Guide to Dolls and More

Today's interview is with doll blogger, Beast's Belle from the popular blog, Never Grow Up:  A Mom's Guide to Dolls and More.  I "discovered" her when searching online for reviews of the Journey Girls dolls.  I'm thrilled to have her participate in my interview series.  I know you'll love reading her answers to the questions.  She has taken the time to thoroughly think through each question, giving great examples of how dolls have been and continue to be an important part of her life.  After you've read the interview, be sure to pop over to her blog (CLICK HERE) to check it out.  She has a great deal of information and I love looking at all the great photos of her dolls.

N2O4Dolls:  Tell us a bit about yourself.  

Beast's Belle:  I'm a stay-at-home mom to three girls (ages 8, 6, and 4) and I've been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 10 1/2 years.  I enjoy dolls, Disney movies (especially "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled"), writing, drawing, singing, and acting.  Most importantly, I'm a follower of Christ and strive to please Him in all that I do.  

N2O4Dolls:  Obviously dolls and Disney are your passion.  Tell us about how you got started collecting dolls, how long you’ve been doing it, and what prompted you to start your blog, Never Grow Up?

Beast's Belle:  Well, I kind of have two different doll collections going.  Aside from a few dolls I had growing up, my Disney doll collecting started back when I was in my second year of college.  It was a really small local Bible college, and that year there were only 5 girls living in the dorms.  I lived locally but visited the dorms all the time and got really close to the girls there.  Since we were all Disney fans, we assigned a Disney Princess to each girl who best represented her character or interests.  I was Belle. :)  That was the year that I realized "Beauty and the Beast" remained my favorite Disney movie, and that's when I started collecting "Beauty and the Beast" dolls and other items in earnest.  My "Tangled" collection started shortly after the movie was released. 

As far as my 18" dolls, I started getting interested in them again about 3 years ago when I read this online review of the Gotz Little Sisters dolls:  http://debonairdesignsblogspot.blogspot.com/p/18-gotz-dolls-american-girl-doll.html

I really wanted to find a Gotz Little Sisters Tess doll for myself, which I eventually did.  That rekindled my interest in American Girl and other 18" dolls...and the rest is history. ;)

I got the idea to start blogging after a meeting with my writing coach.  She had been coaching me through a series of books I was working on (coincidentally, I'm still working on the books!).  In one of our meetings, she happened to mention that authors nowadays are expected to have a blog about their book once it's published.  I thought it might be a good idea to try out this blogging stuff before it was important. ;)  By this time, I was in full doll mode, so I decided to start a blog about dolls.  And from that simple concept and completely noncommittal beginning, Never Grow Up was formed. :)

Jane Austen and Unicorns was a blog I started shortly after Never Grow Up because I loved the idea of my dolls having their own blog.  And Belle's Bulletins was originally a side storyline on JA&U, but it grew much more than I expected until it became its own blog.  I've really had fun developing all of the characters for my secondary blogs. I especially love writing for Maggie.  There's nothing more fun than writing a sarcastic, opinionated post. ;)


N2O4Dolls:  What type of dolls do you collect?  Tell us about your collection: where you keep it, how  you acquire new dolls, etc.
Beast's Belle:  I guess I partially answered this in the last question. ;)  I collect 18" play dolls, including Gotz, American Girl, BFC Ink, and Alexander Girlz.  I also have a 21" Karito Kids doll and two 14" Hearts 4 Hearts Girls dolls. In addition to my bigger dolls, I collect 12" Disney Fashion dolls from "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled".  I do have a few exceptions in my Disney collection:  four 17" Singing dolls, a Disney Animator's Collection Belle that is around 16", and an 18" Disney Princess and Me Rapunzel doll.

Aside from that, I have a couple of Moxie Teenz and LIV dolls, some Barbies, a few Lady Lovely Locks dolls, and other random toys and dolls from my childhood. ;)

I try to display as much of my collection as I can.  I figure that the whole point of having dolls is to be able to have them out and enjoy them. :)  I have Disney dolls in my curio, on top of my curio, and on one of my shelves.  My 18" dolls are all set up in room displays (aside from my two Pre-Mattel historical dolls).  I love setting them all up and making them look just right.  My daughters love coming into Mommy's room because there's so much to see! ;)


At this point, I'm pretty much maxed out on space, so I'm trying to avoid actively adding to my collection.  I do a lot of thrifting and reselling to fund my collection.  The nice thing about this is that I get to photograph and enjoy lots of dolls and toys and then pass them on to someone who has the space for them. :}  

When I do acquire new dolls, though, it's usually through a secondary market, such as eBay, Craigslist, or thrift stores.  Of my current 18" doll collection, only one was purchased brand new (Hayden, my My AG #55).  The rest were purchased secondhand.  Emma, my #41, was a doll I won through The Doll Wardrobe Blog's giveaway. :D  She was my first modern American Girl doll.

While I've found a couple of my Disney dolls in thrift stores, most of them are purchased new from the Disney Store online.


N2O4Dolls:  Please share a few childhood memories that include dolls.  This could include dolls you owned, dolls you wanted, dolls in books, favorite gift that was a doll, etc.

Beast's Belle:  I've loved dolls for as long as I can remember, so several memories come to mind right away. :)

For my 11th birthday, my grandparents got me the Mattel Classic Belle and Beast dolls, along with the "Beauty and the Beast" piano book.  I remember that the gifts were wrapped in "Beauty and the Beast" paper.   I still have those dolls in my collection. :)

That same year for Christmas, my mom gave me a porcelain baby doll that she had made in a local class she was taking.  She was the same size as a real baby and had a beautiful pink satin dress with lace trimming, also handmade by my mom.  She was stuffed with beans or beads in her bottom and feet, so when you held her, she rested in your arms just the way a real baby would.  I named her April and played with her constantly.  She remained my favorite doll for many years.

At some point during my childhood, I happened across a couple of the "Lonely Doll" books by Dare Wright.  I remember being fascinated by the books.  The author used black and white photographs of her doll, Edith, and several stuffed bears for the illustrations.  The way she photographed them was so vivid and lifelike, you felt like the story had actually happened.  I've remembered those books all these years, and Dare Wright's doll photography still inspires me when I take pictures of my own dolls.

Another memory I have is one that I've shared on the blog before.  In the early 90s, the Pleasant Company (who made American Girl dolls at the time) had a promotion where they sent display dolls to school libraries for a month.  The idea was to get girls interested in the dolls and their books.  At the time, there were 4 dolls:  Kirsten, Samantha, Molly, and Felicity.  My mom worked in our school library, so I always had extra time to sit and stare at the beautiful dolls on display.  They were all beautiful, but I fell in love with Felicity.  I loved her pretty red hair, her outfit, and the fact that she was a horse lover like I was at the time. :)  I always hoped that Felicity could come home with me.  Unfortunately, my parents weren't able to afford such an extravagant gift, so I never got my Felicity as a child.  That made it all the more special when I found her secondhand as an adult, thought. :)  Whenever I look at my Felicity doll, I remember that time as a little girl, watching that doll and wistfully dreaming. :)

N2O4Dolls:  How has collecting dolls and writing your blog inspired your creativity in other areas?

Beast's Belle:  One unexpected area that I can think of right off the bat is my photography.  I've never considered myself much of a photographer, but I really admired other online doll collector's photos (and Dare Wright's photos from her books, as I mentioned earlier).  I knew that the best blogs had pictures, so I wanted to have them on my blog too.  I started playing around with my camera and discovered that I had a knack for it!  I got even more interested in my photos when we got a new camera, a digital Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS.  I don't know that I'll ever be the type to handle a really fancy camera, but I love the simplicity and beautiful pictures of my Canon camera. :)

I don't know that I ever would have gotten into photography as much if it hadn't been for my blogs. :) 


N2O4Dolls:  Tell us about your experience in the online doll community.  What have been some of the highlights?

Beast's Belle:  I have really enjoyed getting to know the online doll community.  I've met all sorts of doll collectors and doll fans that I never would have met otherwise.  It's always great to "meet" others with similar interests.  It's almost like meeting the family members you never knew you had. ;)  

In addition to the joy of getting to know other people who share this same fascination, it's been great to learn from the vast amount of knowledge that exists in the online doll community.   One of my favorite online doll communities has been the AGPlaythings forum.  I've learned so much that I never would have known about American Girl dolls and their compatible brands.  

Overall, it's been a wonderful experience getting to know my fellow online doll collectors.  I've loved every minute! :D

N2O4Dolls:  Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Beast's Belle:   Well first, I'd like to thank you for having me here. :)  I'd also like to encourage anyone reading this that you truly are "never too old for dolls".  If you enjoy dolls, then don't let others take that joy away.

We live in a world where little girls are being forced to grow up way too fast.  My 8 year old has already had her classmates tease her about her dolls at school.  I find that heartbreaking.  I'd much rather have my 3rd grader enjoy dolls than be into boys and high heels, like some of her classmates. :{

Adults aren't off the hook either.  I still have people who give me strange looks when I set up a doll for a photo shoot out in my front yard.  ;)  I could let that bother me (and sometimes, I have to admit, I'm a little embarrassed), but I don't have to.  I've learned so many things and made so many new friends through this hobby.  Dolls inspire creativity, teach us about history, and more.  And besides, they're just plain fun!  So here's to all of us who can't seem to put our toys and dolls away! ;)  

N2O4Dolls:  Thanks so much for the interview.  I loved reading all your answers and love your blog as well.  


  1. American Girl dolls are the best! I collected every single edition. I just wish there were cheaper brands with the same quality sold in stores.

    Chris Jeffery

  2. where can i get those Belle dolls??? :o