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, 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!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Changes at TRU for 2017

I ran out to my local TRU a few days ago, to get the EAH Birthday Ball Cupid and Duchess to go with my Birthday Ball Blondie. It became imperative to get them, after I saw that Target is now starting to stock the same version of these dolls, only without wrist articulation. Now that the less articulated dolls are out, I don't feel safe buying the dolls on Amazon anymore, either. So it was off to TRU to get the original versions. I bought the last Duchess at my store, and there were only a few Cupids left. As with Blondie, I'm pleased with the dolls for what they are. They have all the EAH articulation, plus their hair is very soft and not too thin, and their clothes and accessories have some level of detail.

I thought TRU was only going to be going to be carrying the Wellie Wishers dolls, but it seems a good bit of my TRU has changed into an American Girl Place, at least for the modern AG girls! I feel perhaps TRU and Mattel are both feeling a bit of a financial pinch since they seem to be trying to milk the AG brand for all that it's worth. I'll admit that it was neat to see all this stuff in person, and I do like the two American Girl dolls that I have. This set-up at TRU makes me wonder if the historical dolls might be on the way out completely, although I have no concrete reason to believe that. I will admit that the latest historical doll release, Melody, seems to have been hugely popular, and Felicity is also making a return. Still, I've also heard AG is releasing a modern doll for Felicity's line as well. She is the character who will go back to Felicity's time for the "choose your own" adventure style book that other historical girl dolls have. I'm not the target market for these dolls, however, so whatever happens, happens for the American Girl line.
The display case model scheme was also carried into the Barbie aisle, which was just past the aisle that looks like a mini Claire's store. The actual Claire's store that was only a few minutes away from where I live, went out of business a few months back. But that's neither here nor there. Let's look at the Barbie aisle.
I guess you could also call this aisle the Mattel doll aisle, since as you can see, Monster High and Ever After High dolls are on the back left side of this section. People may not like the changes that are being made to Monster High, but I wish EAH was getting as much attention paid to its line as MH is getting. I can only assume the interest in EAH is just not as strong.

I didn't have time or energy to check out the rest of the doll sections, although I'm wondering now what they look like. I'm sure Hasbro has a pretty decent section with all the Disney dolls, except for Moana, who has her own large area near the front of TRU, since her movie just came out. I'm sure I can find an excuse to go to TRU sometime soon to find out. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Plans for 2017

I looked over my New Year's dollie resolutions from 2016, to see how I did, and what I wanted to change or continue this year. Last year, I managed to post four times a month for the first half of the year. The second half of the year got really crazy, and there is still some chaos and stress at Casa BTEG, so I don't feel too awfully about meeting my posting goal for the whole year. I'm going to shoot for four posts a month again anyway. I like to keep this blog active.

I was planning to photograph my 10" Georgia doll, but she needed a wig, which I never bought. I also have a Patsy that I need to re-wig. I've never bought a doll wig before, and I keep second guessing which wigs would look best. There are also a *lot* of choices out there! I ought to make the wig thing a higher priority this year, so these dolls can be complete.

Of course, I wasn't sure last January that I would be buying much, and then I went crazy about Ever After High, as you'll see when I blog about one of my Christmas presents. It didn't hurt that most of the EAH dolls I bought were marked down, being older releases. I was thinking seriously about getting another Makie, but that didn't happen, after the company suddenly disappeared.
At least Meg has a lot of doll friends to play with.
Other than Ever After High dolls, I bought one curvy Barbie, one petite Barbie, two Star Darling dolls, and a discontinued LIV set that I bought mostly for the display window. Unless I fall in love with another doll line this year, my doll purchases will probably be down. However, I've also purchased some furniture, and a LOT of accessories like Re-Ment. That will probably continue in 2017.
I've found making time to sew doll clothes difficult. This is probably partially because of my depression issues, and partially because of a schedule which changes every day. I keep trying for big blocks of time to get sewing (or knitting) done; what I need is to do a little at time when I have the opportunity. For some reason, I don't feel motivated to go to my sewing table unless I can get a huge amount done at once. That's just holding me back.

I have a couple of construction projects that I want to begin, but we don't have space for me to take on a big project right now. Likewise, I've been trying to paint doll accessories in my sewing area, which involves a lot of moving things around. I'd like to set up a dedicated space for painting (which I will probably share with my husband and daughter, who paint gaming miniatures.) That crafting space won't be free until later in the year.

Lastly, I've been thinking about starting a running storyline here featuring my dolls! I have an idea that I'm trying to develop into a working plot; hopefully I'll get it started within the next month.