Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Madame Alexander Hollywood Cissy, a Modern Doll Rocking Vintage Glamour

Don't tell Cissy, but I thought this doll was a lot older than she actually is! Turns out Hollywood Cissy is only from 1999/2000. I bought this doll second-hand, and there is not a lot of information on the internet about her anymore. I have her original box, and probably her certificate of origin, but that box is buried under some other stuff, and I didn't consider it worth digging out.

Madame Alexander originally produced Cissy dolls in the mid-to-late 1950s. At that time Cissy had a resemblance, in my eyes, to the Miss Revlon or Toni dolls. She was the same height as now, 20-21", with a lady doll figure, and high-heeled feet.

Cissy came back with a makeover and a vengeance in the late 1990s. She was an extreme diva, and her most fervent collectors called themselves "Cissy Swine," as Cissy was a demanding dolly and always needed another outfit or more jewelry. Cissy is still produced, but the changes have turned off many diehard collectors. For one thing, the price has doubled or tripled; Cissy now is around $1000 at retail. New Cissy has bending elbows, but word is the vinyl is not as high quality as the earlier dolls. She also has a different face mold, that can appear "mean" or unhappy. As so often happen with doll lines, Madame Alexander changed the Cissy doll and got rid of lot of the things that drew in previous collectors. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on doll sales in the end, and I don't have those numbers. One more note, Hollywood Cissy also came with an African-American skintone, and black hair in the same style as my doll.

It's amazing what taking photographs can do for your appreciation of a doll. Cissy is on a shelf in my bedroom, so I see her every day, but when I put her in front of the camera, she really came to life.
She came wearing everything that you see in the pictures, and more that you will see below the fold. I think her wig is mohair, judging by the texture. Her eyes are sleep eyes. She has movement at her head, arms at the shoulder, waist, hips and knees, and can strike some nice poses, as you can see above.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Where Does the Time Go?

I'm working on my storyline, but in the meantime, I haven't been very good at coming up with posts lately. I'm frustrated with the projects that I've been working on, I haven't bought any new dolls besides Ever After High, stupid real life keeps getting in the way.

Speaking of projects that I'm not finishing, I picked up some cheap watercolor pencils at Michael's yesterday.
I've had a few plans in the back of my mind for some time for trying out watercolor pencils. I decided cheap pencils were a fine way to start, and if I'm not happy with the results, I can always try moving up to a better quality pencil. Preferably when I have a 40% off coupon at Michael's.

One of the things I want to do is improve Meg's face. She could use darker eyebrows, more color in her lips, maybe even some eyeliner like her design picture shows.
I have had a few ideas for posts, but I'm not sure if there is a lot of interest in what I wanted to post about. One of the posts I wanted to make was about the new LORI pony for the 6" dolls, and compare it to Lottie's pony. I also wanted to do a post about one of my older Cissy dolls; I thought perhaps people might be interested in seeing a doll you don't see much of anymore. I'm going to put a poll up and find out if there is any interest, and go from there. In the meantime, I'll be hard at work on my doll projects (hopefully!)


Saturday, February 25, 2017

TRU, Madame Alexander, EAH, Houses, Sparkle Girlz

About a month ago, I got a chance to go to the Toys R Us on the other side of town. This one is connected to a Babies R Us, which makes the store smaller, as Muff told me a while back her TRU is. However, this TRU often has different merchandise to the store closer to me, and as soon as I walked into the TRU on this day, I saw a doll line I've never seen before, and it was already on clearance.
Their story is that they are teenage princesses of the Planets of the Pentangle. When the EVIL Empress Geela takes over their planets, the girls disguise themselves as musicians and form a band called SpacePOP, because why not. Let's hit all of the tropes that we can! It bugs me that four of the five dolls have Greek and Roman mythological names (Athena, Hera, Rhea and Juno), but those goddesses don't seem to be linked in any way to the dolls or their stories. Indeed, Hera and Juno are the same goddess, one from Greece and one from Rome. The fifth doll is called Luna, but her character doesn't seem to be linked in any way to the moon, either. I was surprised to see that these dolls are produced by Madame Alexander. Honestly, I expect better from them. I was even more surprised to see that these dolls were at the MA booth at the 2017 NY Toy Fair, when this group was already on clearance at TRU in January. There was another set of the same doll wearing a uniform outfit, so maybe that's the next wave.
This doll reminds me of Draculaura.


At this TRU, Monster High and Ever After High were piled onto a square fixture with some other assorted toy items. I took a picture of the tall Madeline Hatter (17 in/43cm) and the super tall Madeline Hatter (over 2 ft/over 60cm), just to show you what they look like proportional to other dolls. I've never seen the super tall version in-store before.
I also saw a couple of houses that looked *not bad* for the price, considering they looked like they have some wood construction, and not just plastic. They also seem to come with some furniture that is not just plastic. My daughter would love the ballerina poster and dance barre in the modern house.
Lastly, since a lot of you like Sparkle Girlz outfits as good bargain outfits for your dolls, I took a couple of pictures of the ones that I saw at Walmart a few days ago. To me at least, the pink top outfit, workout outfit, and pink and black sparkle dress seemed new, but I don't keep up very well with these.

Speaking of Toy Fair 2017, what I saw looked pretty boring. Have you seen anything that you are looking forward to adding to your collection?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Farrah Lily reminded me that I have the perfect doll to feature for Valentine's Day: C.A. Cupid from Ever After High. Why she didn't occur to me on my own, I don't know! As the daughter of Cupid, she's all about true love and happily ever after endings. The outfit she's wearing is from a webisode called Heart Struck, where she has to clean up after a bunch of her arrows go astray and create some mixed-up feelings of love. She is so delightfully over the top in her ornate decorations and hearts motif.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shibajuku Girls Clothing Packs

I've seen information about the new Shibajuku Girls line of dolls online here and there. They have a sort of anime look, and their clothes are supposed to be based on Japanese harajuku fashion. I'm not interested in the dolls, but I did decide to check out a fashion pack when I saw them at TRU.

I didn't realize until I bought my second fashion at Target, that Rachael has already reviewed a Shibajuku Girls doll and her outfit, here. She's got some excellent comparisons of clothing swaps between the SG dolls and several different dolls. My post won't be nearly as comprehensive; I just wanted to show the two fashions that I bought. Also, while the fashion packs do come with one giant hair clip accessory, I didn't get pictures of those. The hair clips would suit a Pullip or Blythe or similar doll. The fashion packs do *not* come with the shoes or socks like the dolls come wearing.

The first outfit I bought was a black vinyl jacket and dotted tulle skirt. The skirt fits the Made to Move body, and closes in the back with Velcro. It's not exciting, but it is nicely made. Like the dress below, it has a ribbon underneath that goes between the legs. It fits a bit shorter on the Barbie body than I would like.
The sleeves of the jacket are far too small for a Barbie size doll, and also too short. I had to remove Ashlynn's hands to get the jacket on her, but the fit is fine once you get it on. The jacket is held together at the bottom by a piece of Velcro. For some reason, the sleeves are slightly gathered on the seam, which is odd for a "leather" jacket. I also nicked a small hole in one of the sleeves while cutting off one of those wretched plastic tags. Still, whenever Ever After High starts its motorcycle gang, Ashlynn will be ready.
Grrrr. I'm a Rebel.
Next is a dress, which I liked because of all the different colors, especially the ruffles at the bottom. It looks cute on Briar. For reference, this is a Ballet Briar who I rebodied. I also took down her bun/roll.
The facing of the neckline kept rolling up on Briar. I'm not sure if it's because of how it fits the Ever After High body, or if it will happen on the Shibajuku Girls doll it was actually made for. I can tack the facing down with thread, but the collar pieces don't lay nicely either. They're not completely finished underneath, only along the edges, which I think contributes to how they roll up. I suppose I could make a very tiny tack at the corners of the collar pieces, to hold them down. Or I could try steaming them flat with my iron. I'm afraid if I try to tack the collar pieces down, they will rip a hole in the dress.
The armholes in this dress are incredibly tiny, so the number of dolls it will fit are limited. I had to take Briar's hands off to get this on, just like the jacket above. The Velcro also sticks out a lot in the back. But at least the dress patterns go all the way around to the back *cough.*
At $9.99 each, these outfits are not *cheap,* although you do get the hair clip in addition to an outfit, if you're into those for your dolls. But these outfits don't really work for Barbie, who has fashion packs in abundance. There are no commercially produced Ever After High outfits, for example, out there, and a handmade dress from an Etsy seller will probably cost you more. The price point isn't bad considering these are somewhat uniquely sized. Also, if you like the outfits, but not the dolls, as I do, it's great to be able to buy the fashions separately. The other outfits I recall seeing were a pastel fabric jacket with a pastel tulle skirt, and the sailor schoolgirl uniform that Rachael reviews. If this first wave of dolls goes well, I hope we'll see more fashion packs down the line.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Entry in the Latest Requiem Art Sewing Contest

Some of you may know the Requiem Art name. She has an Etsy store that sells sewing patterns for several different sizes of dolls. She also has a blog where she talks about her patterns, and has an ongoing story featuring her Pullip dolls. She has had sewing contests in the past; this is the first one that I've entered. The theme for this contest was "Fancy." Do you think Ashlynn's gown is fancy?
I picked an Ever After High doll because if I win, I get free patterns in EAH size until 2018! And EAH are the dickens to sew for. I've successfully created patterns of my own for Barbie's size, and Tonner Marley, but I'd rather not try to create patterns for EAH. Although, now that I say that, I did come up with the pattern for the skirt above by myself. Fitting around the waist was a pain, though, and I'm still not entirely happy with how the back came out, but it didn't have to be perfect for this photo. :)

Anyway, voting should start soon on requiemart.com, and runs until February 7th. If you like my design, I'd appreciate a vote!
ETA: Vote for me here. I am entry number one in the Petite Slimline category.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ever After High 2-in-1 Castle Playset Review

This was my big Christmas gift from Mr. BTEG and my daughters. And I do mean big! Fortunately for me, I was able to rearrange doll displays and get this castle onto the top of one of my dressers.
I took a lot of pictures of this, and some of them are not perfect. One of the problems is that I was struggling to find a way to get decent lighting for the pictures. But I'm tired of putting off getting pictures of my great new toy online, so it is what it is. Loads of pictures after the fold!