Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

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.

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Doll Items for Sale

Since my daughter's wedding is coming up, I'm finally getting together all the dolly things that I want to sell. For now, I am putting them on Mister Dollface and trying to avoid eBay. I've only put a few things up as of September 24th; I want to steadily get everything else up over this week. For some reason, my ads are not showing up on my seller page yet. I'm giving it a little while for them to appear. I also should be getting the next chapter of my storyline up tomorrow or Tuesday! Have a good week!

9/30/17 I've added more things to Mister Dollface. I'm also going to add some items for sale directly on this page that I don't feel will draw much interest at Mister Dollface. There will be a tab on the top of my blog, with the link above to my Mister Dollface page, and images added of things I'm selling here.

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.