Not too many women are known for having a Barbie doll with a replica of their wedding dress, but Joella Smith is the exception.
The 67-year-old Tyler resident had only one Barbie doll growing up, but now she has over a hundred that she restores, makes outfits for and creates unique hairstyles for as well.
A true doll lover, Smith has two favorite hobbies, one being quilting and the second one sewing outfits for her Barbie dolls.
"My husband bought me a doll once that reminded him of me and it made me think of my own Barbie doll that I still had and (I) decided to recreate my wedding dress for her and use the same pattern," Smith said.
After that Barbie doll was restored, Smith began to collect Barbies at swap meets and restore them.
Smith gives them a full bath, shampoos their hair and cleans them in case they were worn out and need extra care, then thinks of designs or gets inspiration from patterns or Barbie collector's books.
"I love to sew, so two of my hobbies are together when it comes to my dolls," Smith said. "I am still a little girl at heart, which is why I think I enjoy making their outfits and looking at them."
Smith used to live in San Diego, California, and moved to Tyler in 2013 with her husband.
In her spare time, Smith works on her dolls whether it is while she watches TV or when she has the time to do so. She creates dresses and outfits with crocheting, sewing and beading that require time, patience and skill.
Aside from the outfits, Smith also creates hose for their bare legs, sleeves, hats and any other accessory she might think they need.
For certain dolls, she styles their hair in what she considers the most suitable do, whether it is a braid or an up-do, all-depending on how manageable the hair is.
Besides the dolls, Smith spends most of her spare time quilting and creating quilts which she donates to her church and are given away to victims of sex trafficking.
Ironically, she had three boys, so Barbie dolls weren't a part of raising her children. However, Smith, who stayed busy as a full-time mother and military wife, has enjoyed restoring dolls for the past 20 years.
"I never had the chance to play and create outfits for dolls before, but now I am just making up for the lost time," Smith said.
A CLOSER LOOK
Joella Smith is open to creating outfits for any other doll collectors who are interested. Call 619-565-5673 for more information.