Monday, October 17, 2016

Checking Out for a Few Days

Hello, readers! I just got my photography set-up that I ordered, but it'll be a few days before I can play with it. My sister-in-law just had surgery today on a badly broken ankle, and I'm going to spend a few days with her. I'll be reading everyone's blogs, but I might not be commenting. Is anyone making any dolly plans for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ever After High Birthday Ball Blondie Lockes

My dolly time has been off and on lately. Not only that, but I'm working on projects which are taking me a while to complete. One of those projects is painting the accessories for one of the latest Ever After High dolls, Birthday Ball Blondie Lockes. I was going to put these pictures up after I finished changing up the accessories, but I've decided to make the doll her own post, and the painting one another. I need to blog more! Besides, there several things I wanted to mention just about the doll.

This doll was part of a release of three, Blondie: blue, Cupid: pink, and Duchess: purple. Target had two exclusive Birthday Ball dolls, Rosabella: yellow and Cedar: orange. Those dolls were scented, and were clearanced out at Target just before the three newer dolls came out. Blondie, Cupid and Duchess have simpler dresses, no scent, and no tinsel in their hair, unlike the two exclusive Target dolls. These three also seem to be sold only in TRU. If there's going to be an online story about these dolls, we haven't gotten it yet. We don't even know whose birthday is being celebrated.

Normally, Blondie Lockes has blond hair, but for this series, all the dolls have unusually colored hair, and Blondie's is blue. She is articulated, and comes with a headband, collar necklace, and "birthday present" purse. No earrings, no bracelet, no ring, and no stand. I used a spare stand to pose her nicely for pictures.
Her face is nice, and her bangs are not gelled overly scrunchy. When she wears the necklace, it hides the fact that the neckline of her dress is off.
Her hair is fairly thickly rooted. There's a baldish spot where her headband goes, but it's not too bad, and her scalp is painted blue to help cover that up.
She has holes marked where she would have earrings. This will make it easier for me to give her earrings, which I will probably do at some point. I've been collecting loose stock from various Ever After High dolls on eBay, but I don't have anything I want to give Blondie, yet.
She has the standard dots on her lower lip, intended to enhance her looks, I guess. Not all the more basic dolls have these dots. My Book Party Ginger Breadhouse, for example, does not.
It wasn't until I had Blondie near a window and direct sunlight, that I noticed that she has some kind of gold glitter across her forehead, above her eyebrows. I'm not sure if this was meant, or if it's some glue residue from gelling her bangs? I do plan to get Cupid, and possibly Duchess, from this series. If I do, I'll check out the foreheads.
This doll retails for $14.99, although she already is selling for less on Amazon. That's not bad, for a doll that is still workable; she has good face paint, an articulated body, and decent hair. The blue hair also makes for a unique doll to add to a collection, even if you have other Blondies.

So in case you're wondering what painting I'm doing: I'm painting the bows and ribbon down the front of Blondie's purse a light blue. I'm painting the feather in her hairband a pale yellow. There are "pearls" in front of the feather that are also going to be light blue. And in the marketing pictures for Blondie, the ribbon in the middle of her bows, on her headband, was gold. I tried it and it looks nice, so I'm going with that. I'm torn on whether or not to do anything to her necklace or shoes. I might paint the bows on her necklace a blue something like the color of her purse now. And I was thinking about yellow for the rosettes on the front of her shoes. Maybe!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lots of New Stuff at TRU, Including Made to Move Barbie with Fashions!

I had to drop off my daughter off near my local TRU today, which meant, of course, that I had to stop in to TRU. I was totally stoked when I saw that there was a new Made to Move Barbie, wearing a dress and with other clothes and shoes! I'm going to save her picture for last, though, and start with Monster High. I'm not into the line, but I know that some of you are.

Are these fashion packs new? I don't remember seeing them in stores, but that doesn't mean they're new. If they are, dare I hope for EAH fashion packs? At $4.99, I'd probably buy every different one.
This is the first time that I've seen Welcome to Monster High Draculaura and Frankie. I think they're cute, and they're still articulated. Not a lot of accessories though, besides the photo booth masks.
It seems like Mattel is going for packs of items with Barbie. I suppose they're doing it with Christmas gifts in mind. There are two large fashion packs.

There's also a 5-pack of Fashionista dolls, most of which have already come and gone in stores. This might be a fun pack for a girl, if you didn't have any of the dolls already.
I also saw two dolls with extra fashions/accessories, in what seems to be a new line, Malibu Avenue. The smaller fashion pack above is also Malibu Avenue. Is it too much to hope for some packs with a single outfit and pair of shoes, like Fashion Avenue? I mean, if I had a nearby doll friend, I might be able to split out one of these large packs with her, but I don't like enough of what's in each pack, to buy it just for myself. Same goes for the dolls below.

Of course, some of this stuff might find its way to somewhere like a Tuesday Morning eventually. I bought a set much like Malibu Barbie above, recently. Here's a couple of pictures of her. As you can see, I wasn't getting good photos through the plastic, so I gave up on it.
And finally, the new Made to Move Barbie! She wears a dress and this outfit comes with a microphone. She also has a scientist's white coat over a simple dress, and a soccer uniform. There is also a toy microscope, and a soccer ball. I was disappointed that only Barbie was on the shelf, but judging from the pictures on the box, I'm hoping at least the other three out of the first four MtM Barbies will come out in this type of set. I'm looking forward to seeing what type of clothes will come with the other dolls.
Will any of these items be on your Christmas list?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tracing Doll Sewing Patterns

When I sew doll clothes, I find that occasionally I have to trace something, usually markings for darts. Holding the pattern and material up to the window technically works, but my hands usually slip at some point, so the markings don't end up perfectly accurate.

Being a girl on a budget, for the longest time I used this toy Barbie light box to do tracing.
The light it gave off wasn't as bright as I might have liked, but considering that I bought it second hand off of eBay, the price was much better than a more professional style. However, this Barbie light box finally stopped working correctly. I needed a new light box, but I'm still on a budget. I decided to poke around Amazon just to see what kind of prices I was looking at, and quickly managed to find a light box that is inexpensive, and meets my needs. Funnily enough, it's made by Darice, which is a company I just discussed in my last post. Its specialty is inexpensive crafting items, and my new light "box" fits that description! It's a sculpted piece of plastic, with a light bulb underneath, and an electrical cord to power it. It does get hot; the instructions recommend you only leave it on for two hours at a time at most. The instructions also say that you should use the light box on a heat-resistant surface. I'm using an old wooden cutting board that Mr. BTEG and the Dancer have already used for painting role playing miniatures.

For less than $9 (we have Amazon Prime), it's a great solution, considering I'm not doing artist quality tracing here, and don't need a $40 or more light box. Crayola also currently has a tracing light box for children's art projects, but it didn't suit my simple needs enough to make it worth slightly over twice the price.
So have I been sewing? Actually, yes! I think I'll have an outfit to share with you soon. I also have a backlog of things I would like to post, but now that I'm over the worst of the nasty cold that I had, I'm hoping I can get back to my 4 posts a month goal. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, are you planning crafting projects for the colder weather to come?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Browsing at Target, Shopping at Pat Catan's. LORI Adds On, EAH Takes a Dive. Outdoor Furniture!

I've had a cold for over a week. Ugh. While I've not been feeling too awful, I really didn't feel like sitting in front of a computer and composing a blog post, either. But I'm slowly returning to feeling like a human being again, so today I'm sharing some pictures of things I looked at when I was at Target picking up a few things, and also some stuff I actually bought at one of our local craft stores a bit over a week ago.

If you want to get back at a sibling or an in-law for something, nothing says "Ha ha!" quite like giving your niece or grandchild or whomever, the Barbie Sparkle Style Salon, with a comb full of glitter, and a real working sink. Wet glitter everywhere!
Target seems to think there's a new Trolls movie coming out that's going to be a thing. Shrugs.
Jaye reviewed the set below. Apparently most of the pieces work with 12" dolls, so that's positive. I've heard there's another set of little accessories like this one, which I'm hoping my Target will get in before Christmas. In a positive note, my Target has wrapped the LORI section so it still has an endcap, and also is partially stocked into the Our Generation section. Hopefully they're going to rectify the mistakes of Christmas Past and have enough merchandise available on the shelves this Christmas.
Plus, your 6" dolls will be able to have horse riding adventures with new horses, a barn, and a horse trailer. This also gives the already-released LORI car something new to tow. I was ready to head home at this point, so I only took a picture of the horses that were there. I don't know if there will be any other horses released. These horses might at least be able to become ponies for taller dolls.
Also, Mattel has re-released some of the signature Ever After High dolls. I can see the appeal to Mattel of having some dolls of popular characters available in stores, that aren't currently represented in the latest theme lines, like Ballet or Epic Winter. But I'm giving the execution a big fat F. I've talked about this before, but the new Signatures just aren't up to the quality of the old dolls, and yet they're asking just about as much money. When I saw Cerise Hood at Target, I just had to gripe about this.

So here we have Cerise Hood. Less packaging than the original dolls. You don't get the thick diary entry from the character anymore, just that flat card in the right hand corner.
What disturbed me so much was the purse. The picture below shows the purse you get with the current Signature doll.
This purse below? This was the purse you got with the original Signature Cerise Hood. With the lovely checked detail on the top of the basket that made EAH the stand-out line that it was. Seriously, Mattel? It's not like the original dolls and accessories are NOT STILL AVAILABLE second hand and at places like Amazon. It's so obvious the shortcuts you took this time around. Cerise also doesn't come with the ring and chunky bracelet she was wearing before, in this incarnation either. I don't have pictures of my own of those, though.
Honestly, this makes me worry about Mattel's future. Even if I give them the benefit of the doubt and say the quality is going down because of a poor economy, it still doesn't bode well that Mattel had to cut these corners to keep them at a price where people will buy them. Yeah, Mattel lost the Disney Princesses, which was a big indicator of issues in itself, but Hasbro hasn't proven yet that there's huge profitability in that market either. There are two things I know for certain though. 1. Adult collectors alone can't keep a playline doll line afloat. 2. Mr. BTEG informed me that a short while back, LEGO almost went under. Yeah, that LEGO. Which, by the way, has a huge market of adult collectors.

On a happier note, I stopped by a local hobby store called Pat Catan's. It's a local chain; I don't know quite how many stores it has or where. I found a few really great deals!

Back in May, I posted about some mini garden type decorations I saw at a Michael's craft store. Michael's had lanterns on a short shepherd's hook type stand. For $1.19 each, I found just lanterns at Pat Catan's. I'm just not sure why they're described as "sleeping cats" in French and Spanish. I didn't realize that was a term for a lantern.
I also had to snatch up these wooden pieces of furniture which are much larger than the general 1/12 scale that you find at craft stores. The chairs were $3.95 each, the table $1.27. I haven't measured them, but Cerise's picnic basket is still in the picture to give you an idea of what a nice size these items are.
Don't worry, Mr. BTEG. These things will be off of the robotics table by the time that you get home.
You may have noticed that the items above are all Darice brand. Darice is an inexpensive local line of craft items which Pat Catan carries. Apparently, Michael's recently bought out Pat Catan's just to get the rights to sell Darice items; at least, that's the rumor that I heard. Now I wonder if Pat Catan's will disappear as a chain, and if Michael's will jack up the price on Darice stuff. Michael's has a reputation for being more expensive than other local craft stores. I'm kind of hoping that Michael's wanted to acquire Darice items as a way to also appeal to the crafter with the smaller budget, and we'll still get Darice's wide line of items, plus the same good prices.

So do you have any thoughts about new items on the shelves? Crafting? Mattel, for better or worse? I'd especially love to hear thoughts on Mattel, or even any good dirt you have. :)

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.