Monday, September 18, 2017

Ginny Doll Wardrobes by Vogue, for Tam

Yesterday, my Ohio doll blogging buddy, Tam, put up a post with a nice wooden doll wardrobe that she found at a Goodwill thrift store. She asked if anyone had any information on it, and I do! I not only happen to own a few of those wardrobes, but I also own a box from one of them. I'm also going to show you a similar plastic wardrobe that I own, since they were both made by Vogue, for its 8" Ginny doll.

Here are the boxes.
The box for the plastic wardrobe is in sad shape, but is worth keeping around just for the information. I'm going to post copyright dates and item numbers at the end of this post, if you're interested in that kind of stuff.

The plastic wardrobe has the Vogue and Ginny names on the back. The wooden one does not. Tam's has a sticker that says made in Taiwan, but no manufacturer info.
Here are the wardrobes side by side. I have included mini AG girl Samantha, as well as one of my 8" Kripplebush Kid dolls, so you can see what the furniture would look like with the taller doll.
And here are the insides of the wardrobes. The plastic one has hooks, which the wooden one does not, and a little, loose, two-drawer piece, to hold Ginny's smaller items. The hangers in the wooden one are genuine Ginny, although I don't know what year they were made. The bottom drawers on each both open, and come out.
The wooden one has the advantage of being sturdier. Also, I have another plastic wardrobe like this that has yellowed with age. Still, if you have small dolls, I wouldn't hesitate to grab either of these.

Some furniture pieces similar to Ginny's were made for other 8" dolls, as they were very popular during Ginny's heyday. For example, I found this "well-loved" dressing table for a doll named Matilda, whom I've heard of. It is being sold by Australian eBayer sparklesandstring. I am using this picture for informational purposes, not to sell this item. As you can see, the flowers and gold plastic handles are rather like those on Ginny's wardrobe. I wonder if one doll company licensed out the furniture designs to another one?
For that matter, the box for Ginny's wooden wardrobe show the bottom drawers with one handle each, while all three of my wooden ones have two small knobs each. This may just be a change in production, though.

And if you want the super detailed stuff, here is the copyright info on each of the boxes. The plastic wardrobe box photo did not come out very well, because of its poor condition. They were copyrighted 9 years apart, with the wooden wardrobe coming out second. Also, just like Tam's wardrobe, my wooden one was made in Taiwan. By 1987, Vogue Dolls was owned by Dakin. I really only associate Dakin with stuffed animals.
And here is a blurry picture of the side of the plastic wardrobe box, so you can get an item number.
So Tam, and my other readers, I hope that was not more information than you wanted to know! But I hope at least some of it will be of interest. If any of you have seen any other furniture similar to this made for other dolls, please let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 11, 2017

J-Doll Abbott Street Review

I've been holding off on buying any more J-Dolls, even though I had some on my wish list, because in my opinion, the retail price was just too high for the quality of the doll that you got. However, I was fortunate enough to read about sales at the online Groove Store that is in English and ships to the US. One of the sales Groove runs is a sample sale, which means dolls that were on display at conventions. The dolls usually don't come with a stand, and they may not have all their accessories. Supposedly Groove is very good about inventorying the sample dolls and letting you know what you're getting; there are no refunds. I ordered two dolls and it looks like both of the dolls came with all their accessories. The stands aren't that great, in my opinion, so I wasn't worried about getting one of those. I did end up not getting a stand with either doll. Shipping was also very minimalistic. This is how the box looked when I opened it.
When I pulled away the paper, the dolls were wrapped in plastic with their accessories loose. This is probably how they were transported to and from conventions.
Since I have a lot of great pictures of each doll, I'm going to review them one at a time. Today I'm reviewing the blond on the right. This J-Doll has the Type 4 body, and originally came out in 2010. She is named after Abbott Street, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Even after looking it up online, I can't really say much about Abbott Street. Some of it looks like a business area, some of it looks like residential, with gorgeous lines of trees on either side of the street. I didn't see many pictures of actual shops or housing.

So my girls needed names! I have named J-Dolls in the past, based on the streets they were supposed to represent. However, I just wasn't feeling Abby as a name for this doll. Since she's from Australia, I could have been somewhat cliche, and named her Sheila. I didn't feel like doing that either. I decided to name her after my favorite Aussie doll blogger, Rachael (only I changed the spelling; sorry Rachael!) So Rachel is her new name, unless the blogger Rachael objects!

Even though my first view of my new dolls was through plastic, I was reminded again of how delicate the faces of the J-Dolls are. Rachel also has shades of pale pinks and browns on her face, that come together really well with her hair and blue eyes. She's probably one of the prettiest J-Dolls I've bought yet.
Being from Australia, she of course has to have a hat. But Rachel seems to be a very girly girl, so she's put her own spin on it, adding a pink cameo on the front.
Some of her hair is held behind her head with a piece of off-white lace. I don't know how long that will stay on; it doesn't really seem to be firmly attached.
Her dress seems very boho, with her multi-tiered skirt. She has also decorated her dress with a belt and a chain, with circular and leaf-shaped charms on the chain. On her legs are lace knee-high stockings. She finishes her look off with what we in the US would call cowboy boots. Of course, she has also girlied the boots up by adding lace trim and applique.
As you can see in the middle pic directly above, she also has a jacket that she is wearing half on, half off. When I took pictures on the day with the Angelina Ballerina house background, I couldn't get the jacket on, because her right hand would not come off (and still won't!) However, I wanted to get some more pictures with better light, and this time, I managed to very carefully work the lace sleeve of the jacket over Rachel's right hand. With the left hand, it is far easier to do, as the fingers on her left hand are curled up. As is usual with J-Doll jackets in my experience, the jacket is very prettily detailed, but could have used a bit more material so you could see more of it from the front. Also, there is a loop in the threads woven through the top of her dress, where the thread got pulled. I'm going to have to try pulling the green thread straight, with tweezers.
And speaking of details, I really do like the details in her necklace, especially the fact that Groove used a lobster-claw fastener, which is rare in dolls Rachel's size. I also like all the lace and tiers in Rachel's skirt.
It seems, however, that the purse made absolutely no impression on me, since I only realized when I sat down to write this review, that I took no pictures of it at all! I didn't want to do a *third* photo shot with Rachel, so let me share this manufacturer photo, where the purse looks pretty much like what I got. Like her hat, the purse is made out of a kind of suede material, but Rachel has girlied it up with lace. Girlfriend really likes lace!
In the past, I've talked about my good fortune in getting J-Dolls that didn't have cracks in the plastic of their limbs. Well, my luck did not hold out here, although to be fair, these dolls were technically second-hand. I have no idea what previous handling these dolls had. Rachel's right arm has a crack near her shoulder joint.
When I went through my older J-Doll posts, I noticed that Abbott Street was on a wishlist I posted in 2015. Getting her in only two years isn't really that bad! I'm happy with the price that I paid for her, too. I've learned to enjoy these dolls for their beautiful faces, lovely inset eyes, and their poseability. The clothes and accessories can be hit or miss in terms of quality; I like most of what Rachel came with. Ironically, the boots are the sturdiest pair of J-Doll shoes that I've gotten to date, yet the lace on them makes the boots look a little off to me. Still, I am happy to have added her to my collection.




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chapter Four: Felicie's Secret


The sun shone with a gentle warmth as the three adventurers started up the low hill behind the village. The castle was only a couple of hills beyond, but even as the trio approached the base of that hill, no ruins were visible.

"It's still a real tangle of trees on this side," Felicie said as she pointed upwards. "On the other side, several of the trees have fallen, or died. The cold north wind is hard on that side in the winter" She turned to Addi. "Your cousin's village is only a short walk northwest from here."
"Now," Felicie said in a louder tone, "let me show you how to gather these rose hips."

Addi and Sig had already decided that Sig would make the first clandestine trip up to the old castle. Felicie was completely absorbed in her work, and Addi laughed at Felicie's surprise upon looking up and seeing Sig gone.

It took Sig longer to complete his investigation than Addi. Sig relied on his visual tracking skills, and his ability to blend into the trees and tall grasses. Addi's talents were her speed, and her enhanced sense of smell. Although her eyesight was also keen, Sig's years of training had made him almost as good as picking out the smallest details as Addi herself.

On Addi's return, she and Sig quietly made sure that they were ready to leave, and after a little more work with Felicie, they headed back to her cottage.
Sig glanced at Addi a few times as they made their over the gentle hills, wondering what she was thinking. The cozy village below them, and its bucolic peace, to Sig's eyes, was a comfortable contrast to the desolation he had seen at the ruins. The trees and vines, once set out to protect the castle, were now aiding in its destruction, and wove in and out of crumbled walls and empty windows with blank stares. Sig had actually been surprised to find the footprints of a human, probably a female, among the clusters of animal tracks. Still, he reasoned, it was probably just another botanist like Felicie, or at most, someone else curious about the place. Certainly its bleakness told of a time that had come and gone, leaving only faded emptiness.

Out of courtesy, and a lack of any important information, Sig gestured to Addi that she should speak first, once they were seated again at Felicie's table. Used to Addi's crisp, practical nature, Addi's first words to Felicie still hit him like a clap of thunder.

"Were you planning on telling us that you're a fairy?"


If Sig was startled, Felicie was completely calm. She even smiled. "You are as intelligent and observant as your cousin Louise said you were."

"But how did you figure that out?" Sig said.

"Partially by my senses, and partially, I admit, by guesswork, " Addi replied. "Beings who are born with magical gifts, like fairies, have a slightly different scent than unmagical mortals." Felicie nodded.

"So you could tell right away that she was magical, and you never told me," Sig said. "Did you not trust me?"
"Oh Sig, I trust you absolutely. But I didn't know, Felicie, what kind of being you were. For all the book learning that I've had, and stories that I've heard, I've not been able to travel and meet many others from the Marchen world before. I've come across witches, but they're simply normal humans, whose magic isn't innate. The mostly likely creature you could be was a fairy, especially since I knew for a fact that fairies did live here, but I decided to see what other clues I could pick up before I shared my knowledge. And then I discovered something further at the castle.

"One thing I have noticed, on the evilest witches I've met -- do you remember Beru, Sig? -- was a hint of sulfur. And there was a stronger odor of sulfur at the ruins today, especially strong along the path of those human, or seemingly human, footprints we saw."

Sig was pleased that Addi took it for granted that he too had noticed the signs that any creatures but animals had been there recently. "So whoever walked through there was someone else who has embraced evil. And you could tell it was someone magical."

"Yes. And the underlying scent was very similar to Felicie's. After that, it was a guess, but an informed one." Addi turned to Felicie. "That last fairy that lived on here, that helped rescue Princess Constance. That was..."

"My mother," Felicie said. "She told me her story, and brought me up to work with the other Marchen in this area, like your cousins, to be on watch for any new evil that might arise. I didn't want to tell you I was a fairy, Addi, because I wanted to see what evidence you could discover on your own. Your cousins got close enough that night to sense the presence of evil, but they didn't want to draw attention to their whole village by doing a deeper investigation. A magical being might even recognize them as Ulfer in their wolf forms. You and Sig knew enough about our world to investigate, without drawing attention to anyone here as a Marchen."
"Except you," said Sig.

"Well yes, an evil fairy could probably tell right away that I'm another fairy," said Felicie with a sad smile. "But we couldn't trust a non-Marchen with the story either. Better to put me alone at risk than an entire village of Ulfer."

"You said another fairy could *probably* tell," said Sig. "Do you not know for sure?"

But before Felicie could answer, there was a knock at her front door.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Quck Post

Just throwing this up here to say that I am still alive, and I really, really want to post the next chapter in my story. But I had a bad weekend and a busy day today. And then finally one of the tires on my car got a big hole in it and shredded itself by the time I could get off the freeway. So I don't know how I'm going to be spending tomorrow, either. I'm too tired to even crop and throw up some pictures I've taken while shopping recently. I hope you all are doing well.

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Stuff at Target and Walmart Plus a New Doll Line and Horses by Just Play

Let's get right to the new line first! I don't know if any of you remember a movie called Spirit, which was made by DreamWorks. Apparently, there's a new Spirit movie coming out on Netflix, with three human girls (I think the first film just had horses.) The pictures I took were what Target currently has on the shelves. If you want to see (most) everything that will be produced, go to Just Play's Spirit page

What caught my eye first was the 11 1/2" doll. Her name is Lucky, and she appears to be the main human character in Spirit: Riding Free. She actually seems to have decent articulation!
I presume at least her knees bend, and she also has wrist articulation in addition to bending elbows. As you can see from the box next to Lucky, most of the horses being produced are far smaller than the deluxe doll. At least three of the horses will come with a 5" doll version of one of the three girls from the movie. No individual horses are seen on Just Play's product site, but I saw one in Target, as well as mini Lucky and her 7" steed.

I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of all the horses. I just grabbed a couple because we were in a hurry. If you look past Lucky and Spirit's box, it looks like one of the other mini dolls with her horse was also on the shelves. All three of the girl characters, Lucky, Abigail, and Prudence, will be produced in mini size with her horse, and 11 1/2" size without a horse. It looks like there will be a deluxe Lucky and Spirit set in the 11 1/2" range that will also include a novelization of the movie. From the pictures, the 14" Spirit looks as blocky as the mini Spirit above, plus the taller Spirit has a mechanism where she can "really" eat carrots (carrots included.) However, the Lucky in the deluxe set with the horse is wearing the same costume the Lucky dolls here are. Yeah, it's her signature outfit, but it might give parents more incentive to buy both the individual doll and the doll and horse set if they looked somewhat different. Anyway, it's exciting to see something new being produced.

Also at Target was a new Our Generation veterinarian examination room. I really like the counter with sink and the cupboard above. I wonder if that furniture would work for the 16" tall dolls. I kind of think it would. For some reason, I especially like the very realistic looking paper towel roll holder.
Oh, look, it's my finger.
Lastly, there's a new entry in the DC Super Hero Girls line. Starfire has been produced with her sister Blackfire. At least in the Teen Titans cartoon series, Blackfire and Starfire were really not best buds. Then again, in the adult DC universe, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are sociopathic killers, so whatever.
I saw this camping themed playset at Walmart a few weeks ago. I think most of it looks very promising: the chairs, the fireplace display, the couch and the coffee table. Plus the coffee table and the couch have a fake wood grain which is a touch of realism you don't always get with Barbie playsets. But repaint those chairs and the fireplace back wall and they'd be nice for display, too. I'll be getting this at some point.
Lastly, I saw this Barbie Club Chelsea doll, and wanted to share a picture with you. To me, she looked like a total vampire toddler, like she would burn up in the sunlight. The blank stare doesn't help her spooky appearance. In the store, her pale skin seemed to "glow" even more. Maybe she's the baby from Twilight. In which case I guess she would just sparkle in the sun (blech.)
Come play with me!
Have you seen anything new on toy shelves? Are you looking forward to a new toy that's yet to appear?



Monday, July 24, 2017

Sewing for 16" Dolls, Designed By Me -- Update with Movie Answer

Now that Eldest Daughter has moved out and is getting married, Mr. BTEG and I, with the help of Youngest Daughter, are reconfiguring the second floor of our home to give us more room to pursue our hobbies. A table for my use is going into our new hobby room this week, so I'm holding off taking doll pictures until that happens. In the meantime, I talked with RagingMoon about some of the 16" doll clothes I sewed a very long time ago, and she expressed interest in seeing some of the pictures. And when I say a long time, I mean at least fifteen years or more. So you'll also get to see some older dolls.

First up is Franklin Mint's vinyl Lily doll. Her more famous FM counterpart was Josephine; they share body and face sculpts, but Josephine got the wardrobe trunk and all the outfits. They were dressed in clothes from around the turn of the last century, and their figures were also perfect for the era, featuring the S-bend that was popular in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, their bodies are not really articulated. Anyway, here's a cotton chemise and drawers that I made for Lily.
And here's Josephine wearing a petticoat that I made, and a muslin 1890s balloon sleeve style bodice that I was drafting, and then a green chambray dress.
Here is Tonner's Daphne wearing a two piece jacket and skirt outfit. This outfit is the only one for which I did not design the pattern. The pattern is the work of Vince Nowell, who at one time was extremely famous in the doll sewing and collecting community.
I owned some dolls from the Gene line by Mel Odom for many years. Here's Madra wearing a dress from a pattern that I designed. In this one, I was going for the feel of a 1930s day dress.
Here is a raven-haired Madra wearing a costume I made for a secret gift exchange, run by the owner of a Gene doll forum that I was on at the time. You win the internets for a day if you know the movie from which I took this costume. I'll update with the info after a few days, unless somebody guesses it first.
So, the movie was a 1939 film called The Women. The entire cast of the movie, including some pets and other animals seen in the film, was entirely female. The three leads are all well-known names in film: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell. I based this costume off the dress that Joan Crawford wore in the climactic scene of the movie. She's wearing it in this still of the three stars of the movie.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a gold fabric that was as "sparkly" as the dress Joan is wearing, but I thought that it still turned out okay. I've always thought that the doll Madra's personality in the Gene line was perhaps partially based on Joan Crawford. Madra is a Hollywood star like Gene, and she usually plays roles like Joan Crawford does here; Crawford's part is that of an assistant at a perfume counter, who's out for a wealthy husband, and doesn't mind being a home-wrecking hussy to get one. (Does anyone use the word hussy anymore?)

I accepted a commission to make a dress from the opening scene of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, which would fit the Gene doll. The collar in back ended up being a real pain to draft. I lined the whole thing in white, to try to prevent staining.
And lastly, an entire costume which I designed and made myself, for an Ashton Drake design competition for Gene. This one I've had on my blog before, but I don't know how many of you have seen it. The look for this one is from 1907.
I hope all of you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane! Once my table gets up in our new hobby room, I'm going to try to get some photography backgrounds and my photo tent set up permanently, or at least mostly permanently. I do have lots of new things to share!