Wednesday, August 17, 2016

She Blinded Me With Science

As you may have noticed, I've had the same blog header for quite a long time. I keep wanting to do a summer beach photo, but I don't have everything I want to do that. Since back-to-school time is happening here, I decided to do a chemistry class picture, using the two Re-ment Science Class sets I bought recently. I feel now like maybe I should have filled the beaker with some colored water. :) Still, I did at least make sure both girls are wearing eye protection.
Neither set cost very much, because as you can see, neither set came with very much. Below is a picture of both sets together. One class was supposed to be boiling water. One class was supposed to be baking a toffee cake experiment. Neither are particularly scientifically rigorous. Maybe they're themed so little kids don't get the idea to try more potentially dangerous things. For the low price, I thought it was fun to have a few science bits and bobs.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Star Darling Sage, with EAH Raven and Farrah

First off, let me say that I blame my latest doll purchase on Doll Dimensions, although I was already feeling a bit of a twinge for not picking up any of the Disney Star Darling dolls when they went on clearance at my Target. But her recent review of Wishworld Scarlet pushed me into taking a special trip to my local Wal-Mart to see what they had left of the line. They didn't have any Scarlets, but I did end up coming home with Sage. She was marked down to $11.00, but when I got to the register, she rang up at $9.00. Woo hoo! Minus the stand, this is the same doll that the Toy Box Philospher reviewed, so you can go there if you want to see all the nitty gritty details. This doll has already been out for awhile, so I didn't plan an in-depth review. I really love Star Darling dolls for their inset eyes, and their fashions, anyway. Let me get out of the way here, that these dolls were produced by Jakks Pacific for Disney.

I've already said that I love her inset eyes. They look kind of freaky from the side, but who cares? She's adorable to look at straight on! Her hair is very silky, except for the curls at the ends of tresses, which are crunchy with gel. Also, I can see now why the eyebrows on the more basic dolls seem to be trying to creep up into the hairline. On these "fancy" dolls, the eyebrow placement makes more sense, because they're placed above the sparkly eyeshadow that she's wearing. I wish they would have done the basic dolls' facial screening differently.
She had already lost her star necklace by the time I took this picture. It really doesn't stay on very well. Her star headband is still attached with a rubber band, so I don't know how well it would stay in. Oddly enough, that rubber band curls down and around her neck/chin joint. I think that would have been very difficult to get a picture of.

This Sage does not have a normal human skin tone, because she is in the form she has when she lives with the other Star Darlings on their planet or wherever. I took a picture of Sage with Farrah Goodfairy from Ever After High, because Farrah also has slightly odd colored skin, being a fairy, I guess. In the comparison picture, I think Sage just makes Farrah's skin look almost normal. Maybe that's because Farrah's skin is not as shiny and translucent looking as Sage's. (By the way, what kind of a name is Farrah Goodfairy? Yeah, The Fairy Godmother does not really give one a base for good name matches, but I need to find a better name than Farrah.)
I knew Sage wouldn't fit into Ever After High clothes, but I wanted to see how Sage's clothes fit Ever After High! I chose Raven as being the best model, based on her coloring.
This also gives me a chance to show Raven's new boots. I read on an Ever After High bulletin board, that Bratzillaz shoes fit Ever After High. I bought a fashion pack to try from Amazon, which had the shoes that I wanted. From the front, they look like granny boots, but I don't think grannies wore stiletto heels. :) They still suit Raven wonderfully. As usual, the stilettos are a thin plastic which bends easily.

I tried Raven's top and pants/leggings on Star Darling Sage just to see what the fit was like. The leggings fit just barely, although I'm afraid Sage would stretch out the waist if she wore them for very long. Raven's top came nowhere near closing on Sage.

However, Raven rocks Sage's outfit! The waistline of the leggings is a bit loose, but they stay up. Raven's boots were a tight fit over Sage's leggings, so I left them off.
As on Sage, the sleeves are just a bit long for Raven's arms. Also, the sleeves still have a good bit of the seam allowance left on the inside of the sleeve, which makes the fit awkward. I'm not sure the picture I took shows this well. I wonder if the prototype Sage outfit was gathered tighter on the sleeves than the gathers on the actual top she wears. That would have pulled up the sleeves a little. You can also see that a lot of the edge finishings are large serger seams. I would care more if Sage wasn't just a play doll to me. Although it makes her original price ($19.99, I think) seem a bit iffy.
Sage's boots are darling, but far too small for Raven. A little silver paint on the buckles would probably look great. Like I don't have enough things I want to paint.
I forgot that Doll Dimensions wondered if Liv high heeled shoes would fit the Star Darlings. I have a pair, so I'll check, and post about it. I have some doll shoes that just came today, that I want to blog about, so I'll throw the Liv shoes in that post.

Two more things:
1. My backdrop was a room scene for Barbie made by Mattel during the Fashion Fever era. I threw some scrapbook paper down on the floor. The only problem is the walls are glossy and tend to reflect light.
2. I still want that Scarlet doll! She's still at Toys 'R Us, for full price. However, she is only $14.99, being a more basic doll, so hopefully I'll pick her up soon. I don't want to wait too long, in case she disappears completely.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Difference New Clothes Can Make

My Tonner Ultra Basic Daphne doll from 2010 came dressed in a white one-piece swimsuit, as befits a basic doll, right? Only, I've been remiss, for various reasons, in sewing many new clothes for my dolls over the years, so poor Daphne has just been wearing her white suit. I still have plans to sew, but I also happened to buy a Tonner brand doll shirt recently, that to me just makes Daphne shine.

I couldn't find Daphne's original white suit. I've made big strides in cleaning up my doll stuff, but obviously I'm not quite there yet! So here's a picture of Daphne, modeling a necklace that I bought at the Tonner convention.
And here's Daphne now, wearing the new shirt that I bought (not at the convention), with a basic black skirt.
It may be more obvious in person (and with better lighting!) but I couldn't help but love how much more Daphne is a standout in her new shirt.
And it's also nice quality, with snaps up the back instead of Velcro.
So Daphne's happy, I'm happy, and the other girls want new clothes too! I'm looking forward to making that happen.

And since I'm talking Tonner doll clothes, I read online that Tonner 16" dolls can wear some of the Teen Trends doll clothes, so I decided to try it out. It seems Ellowyne dolls are more like Teen Trends dolls in figure, but Tyler looks nice in this skirt from Teen Trend Courtney's Night Out pack.
It's big at the waist, but would look nice with a pullover top of some type to cover that. However, I was having problems with the tulle trim at the bottom of the skirt. It is supposed to show, but I was having problems making it hang properly. Oh well.

I have my eye on a table top photo studio set on Amazon. It seems to be the best way to get proper lighting for my pictures. Thanks to blogging, I've been taking pictures of my dolls again, and just enjoying my collection more, so I'd like to have proper equipment for the photography now. Something new to try out!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Improving Storage For Doll Items

In my experience, doll collecting is a lot more fun if you can easily find what you want, whether that is a new outfit, some jewelry, or even a backdrop or prop for display or photography. I wanted to show some pictures of a couple of changes I've made recently in how I store things related to my dolls.

First of all, I found a few double-decker small storage containers at Target. Unfortunately, these were being clearanced out, but there are probably similar storage items out there. I also picked up some more round stackable containers which are generally sold as a way to store beads for crafting. I already had some of those to store small snaps for doll sewing, but I've decided I also like them as a place to store doll jewelry, and some small accessories like sets of doll dishes. In so doing, I managed to cut down space in at least one of my doll drawers. I went from this:
to this:
The new containers are on top of the old container to show how much less space the new stuff takes
And since my drawer is deep enough to stack the two rectangular boxes on top of each other, it takes up even less space. Coincidentally, most of my 16" size doll shoes fit really well height wise and width wise in this container. In this picture you'll see how a row of shoes fits nicely in the box, with another row of shoes lined up the same way on the other side of the box. The shoes in the top box are loose because most of them are too tall to stand up.
Next, I've never really had a single place to store clothes for my 11 1/2" dolls. They've just been stuck in several plastic storage boxes, since I didn't have anything big enough to hold them all, especially the large, poofy princess dresses. What I ended up getting was an ArtBin Super Satchel. I consider it worth it just because I won't have to buy anything else to store 11 1/2" doll clothes in for a long time. As you can see in my picture, I haven't used very many of the separators available for this box. I might put another separator in on the right side, and put tops and jackets in the new, smaller space, and pants and shorter dresses in the second space. Right now, I also have Stacie size clothes in the top left. In the top right section, for now, are larger shoes, the ones made for My Scene dolls, that I want to keep. I also have my one pair of Liv doll shoes in there as well. I'd like to find a doll who can wear them, and who fits in my collection.
Lastly, like some of you, I've been buying more and more pieces of scrapbook paper, both to use for photo backdrops, and as wall paper and flooring in some of my smaller rooms.
After a couple of pieces of paper got a bit crumpled, I gave in and bought a case specifically for storing scrapbook paper. Sometimes I do hate spending money on storage instead of dolls, or doll furniture or jewelry or clothes, etc.! But protecting and storing what you've got is important as well, so I got a case.
I'd been in a storing-things-the-same-way-forever rut. It was nice to make some changes for the better. And in the end, it works towards the same goal of enjoying what I already have in my doll collection. Do you have any clever ways to store things?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rebodying Belle, and Ever After High Book Party Ginger Breadhouse

I've started getting into the trend of rebodying dolls with the new Barbie Made to Move bodies. However, the first doll I picked to rebody was an older doll, a Mattel Belle doll from... quite a while back. I have many dolls that would be fun to have out again, if they were a little more posable, including this one. I did have to wash Belle's hair, to clean out the rubber band that had dried out and stuck to her hair. I haven't managed to make her hair behave enough to avoid using a rubber band completely.

First, here's Belle dressed as a modern young woman. I quickly discovered that this top sheds sparkles.
She has the ability to actually carry books now. :)
And here she is in her original clothes. The dress is too big in the bust now, but it works. Now she has the ability to offer tea to a visitor to the castle.
And she can reenact scenes from the movie.
Below the fold, I'm going to put pictures of another older doll of mine who could really use a rebody, and my new Ever After High doll.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

OG LORI and Basic Ever After High Dolls at Target

I could write a bunch of explanations, but let's just say that between my daughter's recital, and spending some of the Independence Day holiday out and having fun with real people, there hasn't been a lot of dolly stuff going on. I did buy a few things I will share pictures of later this month; I'm *still* working on making my sewing and doll areas better organized. In the meantime, I saw some pretty nice new outfits on some of the OG LORI dolls at Target.

These three dolls were in the OG mini doll ballet studio. I'm thinking this was not marketing as much as a little girl "playing" with the dolls in the store.
The LORI line seems to be headed toward fall outfits. Is this actual planning, or just what they decided to produce next?

Some of these clothing pieces are cute, but I don't want the dolls. It is a very, very common complaint, though, that there not enough individual outfits produced, instead of dolls with outfits. However, I did end up not very thrilled with the LORI outfit that I bought to review, last year. If I see a 6" doll outfit that I want badly enough, I'll buy the dressed doll, keep the new outfit and donate the doll and the outfit I don't want to the Salvation Army or something.

I do feel like Our Generation missed the boat somewhat with LORI. They released some of the cars, campers, houses and furniture to some stores, right before Christmas, but never completely stocked them, leaving customers really interested in buying and not being able to. Even now, the LORI stuff is still just on an endcap, and there's usually only one camper, patio set, etc. when I look. I also still occasionally see people asking scalper prices for these items on eBay. In my opinion, OG should have introduced a new furniture set or a mini camping accessories set or something to keep people talking about the brand, after the Christmas fiasco. The posts I wrote about the LORI dolls are two of the most heavily visited posts of the ones I've written, so people were interested in this stuff. We'll see in the fall if they bring something new and exciting out for the Christmas season.

Speaking of brands, the Ever After High brand has been going through a lot of changes recently. Most of the EAH stuff that I saw at Target is on clearance. The only new dolls are the basics with the new smiling faces. I don't mind the basic line, as I'm sure it's profitable to have low costs EAH dolls available. As I've already talked about, I also bought two basic ballet dolls to do head swaps for the new faces. I don't mind the new faces either, although to me, they look more like younger siblings to the original dolls, and they may become siblings in my EAH collection. I do still want to see higher-priced doll waves, some with the older faces.

I've read people's opinions that while a smile is perfectly in character for Maddie, who is a Wonderlandian and enjoys craziness, Apple doesn't seem like she smiles much. I must admit I've watched all the EAH webisodes, and Apple does smile a lot, although a lot of times, it's in the prom queen/royal wave kind of way. Here Apple just looks like a little girl who wants to play. Then again, if their target audience for these dolls is three or four years old, that kind of friendly smiling face is probably appealing.
I also found a smiling Raven, although my pic is blurry. Even Raven does smile in the webisodes, though!
Maddie looks like she has molded on white tights. That seems a shame for the little girls who do like to redress these dolls.
When EAH was first produced, I thought Mattel was going to follow some of the same themes as Monster High. I thought maybe we'd see an Art Class wave, maybe a Magic Spell/"Science" wave. Most of the waves we've gotten recently seem to revolve around the latest Netflix movie release, and I've heard there will be no more Netflix releases after Epic Winter. I have no idea what direction the EAH brand will take, but there are still a *lot* of dolls that could be made. The reroot/repaint artists out there are already making dolls that older fans want to see, so I'm sure at least some of the dolls that people want to see will be produced, in one way or another.

ETA: I forgot I was going to include this picture I took at a Toys 'R Us, of a first and second release signature Darling Charming. As you can see, the newer release (on the left side) is lacking the bracelet and the paint on her neckpiece, that the Darling doll on the right has. Re-releasing signature EAH dolls with fewer details is not winning Mattel any friends, either.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quick Review of EAH Ballet Holly O'Hair, With an Appearance by Signature Holly

I'm not in favor of the direction that the Ever After High dolls seem to be moving in. Too many of them have next to no articulation, and molded bodices and legs. While the newest Signatures are similar to the original waves, even there the new dolls are missing several items, like earrings, that were included with older dolls. But since the new ballet line, featuring Apple, Holly and Briar, is quite inexpensive, at $5 a doll, I sprung for Ballet Holly and Briar just to get the new faces. Just so you know, the ballet dolls do NOT come with stands. I used one just to make picture taking easier.
Basic, basic, basic. Holly's arms don't even move out to her sides.
Holly's molded on bodice follows her theme with the flowers and braided trim.
The molded legs are gorgeous, but bending knees would have been nice.
Her hair isn't a bun so much as a roll.
She can't even sit well, not just because of how her legs stick out, but because her torso and legs can't quite make a 90 degree angle.
These new faces have appeared at the same time as the new faces for Monster High. I don't think there's as much difference between the EAH faces as between the new MH faces, though. Here's signature Holly with Ballet Holly.
Our ballerina's head is smaller, and she wears less makeup. Honestly, I think Mattel would only have had to put a little more curve at the sides of the lips on the molds they already had to give our EAH girls a smiling face. Maybe little girls also liked the smaller head when they did market research?

These dolls are fine for play by very young girls, and the price reflects the simplicity of the doll. I just hope the entire line doesn't go this route. After all the time and money Mattel has put into the storylines and the "themes" for each doll, it seems a waste to dial these dolls down for the younger set. The new signatures are okay, although lacking some of the details that the earlier waves had, that made them stand out. They're also lacking the diaries that came with every doll, which makes sense if the target age can't read very well yet, or read at all. In some ways the new Epic Winter line is an Epic Fail, though. Molded leggings (although with bending knees), less jewelry and fewer painted details make these dolls compare poorly to waves like Spring Unsprung or even Dragon Games. If Mattel makes more money overall selling to a younger age group, though, simpler is how it will be. I guess older EAH collectors will have to pick up older dolls they haven't bought yet, and/or work on customization.

Speaking of ballet, my youngest daughter the Dancer expressed an interest in Ballet Holly. Since I was already planning to do a head swap, the Dancer will get a new Spring Unsprung Holly's head on the ballet body. She also loves her Misty Copeland doll, which she received on Sunday. Misty is going to stay in the box.