Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I'm Having Commenting Issues

I really have been commenting on other people's doll blogs, but for some reason, Google is eating them! I'm really not sure what is going on, but I hope Google can get this fixed soon. In the meantime, I'm still out here.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Mattel Sanrio Clothes, J-Dolls, Re-Ment Little Twin Stars

A lot of people have been buying and reviewing the new Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, and Chococat outfits made by Mattel. They looked great, so I had my daughter pick up as many as she could find on her last run to Walmart. Unfortunately, one of the things not there was the Little Twin Stars two-piece top and skirt set, but I did get the Little Twin Stars blouse, which was good enough for this photo shoot! Back in May of 2017, I reviewed a Re-Ment Little Twin Stars set which featured a pink shoe, a blue shoe, a LTS purse, and a tiny LTS stool which really doesn't fit in anywhere. The shoes ended up fitting my J-Dolls beautifully, so I bought a second set, so I'd have two pink shoes and two blue shoes. I decided the LTS shirt/purse combo was too perfect to pass up, so here is Melanie wearing the Mattel top, with the Re-Ment purse and shoes. Adelheid is also modeling, wearing the Chococat dress and cat ears, carrying the purse, and wearing the blue Re-Ment shoes.
I really love this new line of clothes Mattel has put out. It's certainly a step up for them quality-wise, and I hope we see more of it in 2018. Now that I have the Chococat dress in hand, I suspect the reason the dress is not printed on the back, is because the back is a completely different material to the rest of the dress. The printed part of the dress is a very stiff cotton, while the back is a stretch material. You notice that the ruffle, which is the same fabric as the front, does go all the way around and has the same pattern. I'm guessing it was a fitting design choice here to make the dress out of different materials? Anyway, there might actually be a reason there isn't printed material on the back of the dress, while on other things like the red Hello Kitty shirt, there is.

Somehow I missed that the Chococat dress and purse set also comes with black cat ears! How cute! And they fit the J-Doll head, although I have the two ends tucked into Adelheid's hair, which might help.
I also love the pique material that the Little Twin Stars shirt is made out of. And the blanket stitch is a pretty alternative to the ubiquitous serged edge, but you still don't need to fold and sew down the edges. The Little Twin Stars print on this shirt is a far darker shade than the Re-Ment items, but I think the purse still really looks cute with the top. Melanie finishes off the outfit with a tulle skirt from the Shibajuku Girls line. It's not a perfect fit with the top, but the pink looks cute with the other pinks.
The purse also came with the Little Twin Stars charm, which is removable, not exactly surprising considering how detailed Re-Ment can make things.
For you J-Doll owners who might want to hunt up this Re-Ment set on eBay or elsewhere, here's a picture of the shoes, purse and stool. Seriously, what was the point of the stool? It's too small for anything, except maybe a footstool for a Kelly doll. Again, please remember you have to buy two sets to get a pink pair and a blue pair of shoes. You'll also get two purses that way, at least.
The Little Twin Stars items were fun to pair up here, but the real story is these great new clothes by Mattel. Is Mattel signaling that the company wants to create better quality clothes again as a whole? I really hope so. Also, there are a lot of blogging Barbie doll owners out there snatching up these clothes, and I hope a lot of parents are buying them too. Hopefully, sales will convince Mattel that better quality will still sell.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

My dolls are comfortably settled in with snacks and beverages to wait for 2018. I hope all of you have a great new year, and that your dolly dreams come true! :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Gift

I hope you all had a very nice Christmas. My family and I did, a very quiet Christmas which suited us. We also celebrated Eldest Daughter's birthday on the 21st, which makes this time of year even busier!

I didn't get anything doll related this year, but I did get a very nice gift that will help me create doll things: a new sewing machine!
My previous sewing machine was about twenty years old, so this is a serious step up for me! Eldest Daughter got my old sewing machine as a birthday gift, as she wants to sew more things than the few hand-sewn items she's produced. She then got a bunch of spare needles, fabric scissors, pins, and even a couple of patterns as Christmas gifts.

My new machine sews several very fancy stitches, which will be nice for both human and doll sized garments. It's something to get used to, though, sewing the fancier stitches, if you're not used to it. The machine slides the fabric back and forth to make the stitches, which was a bit startling at first. I didn't quite understand what the machine was doing.
I've been very bad about blogging here, which will definitely change. I'm going to renew my New Year's resolution of making four posts a month, but I also have at least one thing I can put up here this month. I also want to get the next chapter of my story up as soon as possible. Here's to a merry and productive Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ever After High Back to School Madeline Hatter and Holly O'Hair

If you read the news and gossip about Ever After High dolls, you've known since March that these dolls were coming out. Well, actually, by this point, you were probably not sure you would see them at all. The Apple White set with the desk and accessories became available, but where were the rest of the dolls? Then in September, you started seeing pictures of the rest of the Back to School dolls, but at that time they were only available at the Mattel store in California. And then finally, last week, the dolls became available for sale on Amazon. It. Is. About. Time. We'll talk a bit more about all that later. For now, let's look at the dolls.
As all current releases do, these dolls have the new smaller heads and smiling faces. These two, Meeshell, and Apple have all of the regular EAH articulation. There is also a budget Blondie, Darling and Cupid from this line, who only have bending elbows. Those dolls also have different clothes and accessories from the others. As far as accessories, I think all of the hand-held items are repeats from previous doll releases. My dolls' purses are recolored versions of Ginger Breadhouse's stack of books from her Book Party release. The laptops are from Apple White's Fainting Couch. I think the laptops are nice, even as a re-release. If you didn't get/don't want Apple's couch, you can acquire multiple laptops here for your girls to get on the MirrorNet.
Holly's headband fits in very well with previous accessories she's had. The flowers and braided effect on this piece is almost a perfect match for her Spring Unsprung belt, for example.
The shoes don't go with any older accessories as perfectly, but they have a kind of theme of flowers climbing up a tower. They are also completely original, I think. I don't recall any doll having shoes like this before.
This version of Holly's face is a little bit off. I think the eyes look a bit too big and intense, and I don't think the color of her lips suits the rest of her coloring, even if it matches her very bright dress. I've lined up original Holly, ballet Holly with the new smaller head, and Back to School Holly, so you can compare different versions.
Maddie's tiara and shoes are a bit puzzling to collectors. First of all, Maddie doesn't wear a tiara. She wears a teacup hat, or a headband with a teacup on it. Secondly, Maddie's tiara, dress and shoes all have roses, although the dress and shoes are in Maddie's colors. Those don't fit Maddie's theme either. My guess is the tiara and shoes were designed for either Briar or Rosabella, and then Maddie was made instead. That being said, I think this version of Maddie is just a lovely doll.
I had to take a picture of Maddie's boots in direct sunlight. The camera just wasn't picking up that bright pinky-fuschia color she wears. Although in the sun, I think the color here is a bit too hot pink. I just couldn't get a good color representation.
And here is a trio of Maddie's for another face comparison. We have original Maddie, Epic Winter Maddie, and the new Back to School Maddie. The original Maddie certainly looks less like the cartoon Maddie than the newer two, although none have Maddie's rather manic smile.
Also just so you know, the middle Maddie and Holly have both been rebodied. I don't think Ballet Holly had bending arms. I forget what Epic Winter Maddie's top half was like.

Since there isn't a lot to review with these dolls, I'm going to do a list of pros and cons of the two new girls, both as themselves and within the EAH line.

- More Ever After High dolls, and more of a chance for Mattel to see there might still be a market for these girls. Holly, Maddie and Meeshell are already sold out at their regular price on Amazon, and they're now only being offered at $42.99. I wish I would have thrown Meeshell in with this order, but the prices should come back down again, as they have with previous doll lines. When I ordered my two late last week, I grabbed the last Maddie at regular price.

- The hair items and shoes are nice, and the laptops are a great accessory.

- Both dolls have soft, non-gluey hair. And Maddie is just a very pretty doll. Holly may improve with new lip color.

- Full articulation. The three Back to School budget dolls, with bending arms only, are all still available at their regular price on Amazon. I'm not sure if that means just collectors are snatching these up, or if there are some parents who buy the articulated dolls for their kids.

- The "purses" are not only a recolor of something we've already seen, they're kind of boring. On the other hand, the books are consistent with the theme.

- Holly's face looks odd. Her eyes seem completely blank. The Ballet version of Holly's face is very delicate and pretty.

- The dresses are boring. Holly's only real theme item on the dress is the print of the skirt, which has several braided ropes. I didn't pick up the skirt very well in my picture, especially since it has the tulle overskirt. :( Maddie's dress doesn't have anything to do with Maddie, besides being in her colors.

- I didn't get a picture, but each doll comes with a student ID. Maddie's ID has Holly's signature on the back, and Holly's has Maddie's signature. That's just odd, and shows a lack of quality control.

- As an EAH fan pointed out, it would have been cute to name these dolls Book-to-School. That shows a lack of serious attention to detail with these dolls. Considering we've been waiting since March for these dolls, it's not like they were rushed onto the market, but it certainly doesn't seem a lot of time was put into designing these. If you go to Amazon, there are also new budget Ashlynn, Maddie and Briar Thronecoming dolls that are appalling compared to the original Thronecoming release. Why couldn't those dolls just be going to some kind of regular dance?

So I'm going to be brutally honest here. I'm glad I own Maddie and Holly. I'm going to buy Meeshell when she gets to be her regular price, especially since I don't have her original version. But I think we need to see better from Mattel if the line is going to continue. At this point, I don't know if Mattel wants it to continue, although if that's the case, why wait so long to release all these new dolls? September or October would have been a far better time to release Back-to-School and school dance themed dolls, if Mattel wanted to sell these to anyone but non-collectors. At this point, what parent is going to know about these new EAH dolls, and what kid is still a diehard EAH fan? Plus, Mattel has only now gotten around to releasing the "EAH/Monster High universes meet" book that so many collectors of both lines have been clamoring for. Is Mattel trying to make a few weak attempts to keep interest in EAH/MH alive while they retool? Or are they just throwing the last shreds of ideas they had out there to make a few more bucks?

It's obvious that Mattel's in trouble. Its earnings are down, and while this is partially blamed on the collapse of Toys R Us, Mattel is just not bringing its A game. The new Barbie body types don't seem to have been a big boost to sales relative to the hype they received, and what else is there very exciting from mainline Barbie, or any other Mattel doll? Now Hasbro is expressing interest in merging with Mattel (h/t EverAfterHighLove). Mr. BTEG agrees with me that the Federal Trade Commission probably wouldn't let this go through, but it does seem to indicate that Hasbro sees Mattel at a very weak point.

These dolls are cute, but if this is the best Mattel's got, I don't expect to see its financial future improve anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Our three friends here are on their way to a costume party. I think they're going to get the best prizes, don't you?
You will be seeing more of me in November!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chapter Five: A Letter

Addi and Sig started at the knock on Felicie's front door, but Felicie remained calm, at least outwardly. "It's probably someone coming by to get some of my produce or medicines," she said as she rose, and went to the front room of her cottage. Addi and Sig however, heard a tone of nervousness when she saw who was on her doorstep.

"Madame!* Welcome!"

"Isabel, please," said the visitor as she stepped into the cottage. "I'm passing through on my way to visit one of my friends. I wanted to take her a couple of your delicious jellies. I heard the berry crop was remarkably good this year."

"I'm honored. Please, take this comfortable seat here. It will only take a minute to get the jars out of my pantry."

This Isabel, however, did not sit, but followed Felicie into the kitchen. "Oh, forgive me, you have visitors already!" said the girl ingenuously.

"Yes. Madame de Corseul-Yverdia, meet my guests, Sigismund and Adolfina Jager. One of my friends from their area asked me to host them for a night. They're passing through," Felicie said firmly.
"Isabel, please," repeated the girl. "Titles are stuffy! Only my sister makes me use them."

Felicie rapidly moved to the pantry and returned with two glittering jars.

"Thank you, Felicie," said Isabel, laying some coins on the table. "My friend Rosamund will love these!"

"I hope she will," said Felicie, subtly trying to urge the princess towards the door.

"Oh, and I have a letter for you," Isabel added. "I imagine your postmistress was happy not to have to send someone out here. I hope you've enjoyed your stay here," she said to Sig and Addi. "Goodbye, Felicie!"
Felicie showed Isabel out, then returned and sat down with the letter. "You probably guessed that was Queen Eleanor's younger sister. She runs rather wild sometimes, but her sister spoils her. She's rather sharp, and oftentimes more curious than a princess should be."

"Rather coincidental, her visit," said Addi thoughtfully.

"Well, yes," said Felicie slowly. "I presume she was already passing this way, though, so perhaps... it's nothing."

"Let's hope so," said Sig cheerfully. "I hope your letter is good news. Should we leave while you read it?"

"Oh no," said Felicie. "I'm sure it's nothing important." She opened the letter and scanned over it quickly. "Hmm. Another coincidence. I wonder..."
"Is there something we can help with?" Sig asked after a minute or two.

"Well, you may as well know," said Felicie. "When my aunts fled this region, my eldest aunt moved to a quiet town named Beaumont, in the kingdom of Normandie. This letter is from her granddaughter, with whom I keep in touch. She's not part of the Marchen world, but she mentions in passing that there have been several break-ins in the capital city of Rouen, and she's worried, because the thieves have apparently moved on to the countryside. There's recently been a break-in at the summer home of the royal family, Roseraie."

Sig turned to Addi as she drew in her breath. "Roseraie has long been in the royal family of Normandie," Addi explained. "Supposedly, it was once a hiding place for one of the younger princes, who had been turned into... a beast."

Sig sighed. "I see. Felicie, do you know any Marchen who live there?"

"No, I only know my cousin. My aunt made the choice to leave the fairy life behind, for the safety of herself and her children. The truth is, my own fairy powers are rather limited. My mother worried about too much power leading to more evil. She only passed down some of her abilities to me."

"Louise might know someone," said Addi. "Ulfer clans try to stay in contact with at least the nearest clans in their regions."

"Hopefully she'll know someone to send to investigate, too," added Sig.

"Do you know, Sig, I think we ought to handle this ourselves," said Addi slowly.
Sig stared at his friend. He trusted her judgment, but he still felt his duty to point out that could possibly draw more attention to themselves than they wanted.

"More attention than you might know," said Felicie. "The current daughter of the king of Normandie is named Rosamund. She's likely to be the friend our inquisitive Isabel is going to visit, seeing as they're both royalty."

"That may make it all the important that it be you and I, Sig, that go."

"You know something, Addi," said Sig.

"No, I've guessed something. But I may very well be wrong. Do you trust me enough to draw possible attention to yourself, in the case that I am wrong? I imagine Louise can find someone else to accompany me."

"No, I've begun this, and I'll see it through. But I wish you could tell me what you suspect. You've always trusted me."

Addi sighed. "Let's get to Normandie and find out more about the situation. If we find what I think we will, I'll tell you what I'm thinking. We'd better get over to Louise's village and see if she knows a Marchen near Roseraie."

*Although the current story location is not in a unified France, it's obviously in an area of what today is France. I did some research on what princesses were called in French royalty, and my best guess is that Isabel's royal title would be "Madame de (her home kingdom.)  I'm taking a little license here, as the kingdom of France did not allow reigning Queens, as we see the Queen Eleanor is in this story. Therefore there really isn't precedence for what the younger unmarried sister of a reigning Queen would be called.