Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Pullip Alice du Jardin Eye Mechanism

Since I'm adding six more pictures to show how Alice's eyes look in different positions, plus the mechanism in the back, I decided to just make a new post out of it. The original post is here.
Looking left
Looking straight ahead
Looking right
Lots of Pullip collectors like to repaint the eyelids with patterns like dots or stripes or even fancier designs. I'm not sure that's my style. Also, you can leave one eyelid open and one shut, to make her look like she is winking.

Lastly, here is what the changing mechanism on the back looks like. The lever in the middle moves the eyes back and forth. The rods on either side are what open and close her eyelids. I still had a bit of a problem getting her left eyelid back open. The rods pop in easily; I have a hard time getting them to pop back out. It doesn't help that I don't want to mess up her hair too much, and you really have to sweep it back just to access the rods. In this picture you can also see how her wig is rooted.
I think her changing eye looks will be fun for pictures. I've heard the movable eyes in Tonner's Patience doll are fun, except when they get too out of control and go cross-eyed or wall-eyed. Do you think you would like a doll with movable eyes, if you don't have one?

Also, Mr. BTEG glued Alice's shoe back together for me with Aleene's Tacky Glue.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Groove Pullip Alice du Jardin

For a while, I put off buying a Pullip doll, because the JPGroove official website was advertising some kind of future sale, and picturing three dolls that I was already interested in buying. I was hoping the three dolls were going to be sold in a reduced price three-pack. Instead, the dolls were full priced, but you also received two bags of eyechips, two bags of shoes, and a wig. In other words, Groove is dumping stuff from the Make It Own line, that didn't sell. Well, I certainly could use more shoes for my J-Dolls, and any Pullips I might get in the future that have wonky shoes. The spare wig looks very nice too, although I didn't get a picture of it. So I don't have anything to complain about there. You'll see the extra shoes at the end.

When I pulled Alice out of her shipping box and paper wrappings, I had an "Oooooh" moment that I haven't had in quite a long time, when viewing a doll in-box for the first time. As far as I'm concerned, for a higher-priced doll,  you should be impressed when you first view it. I knew exactly what she looked like; I've seen lots of owner pics of her. But just viewing her in person made me excited to own her.

Let's go over her head, clothes and accessories. As you may know, Pullips have a small lever in back that lets you turn their eyes from side to side, and also open and close the upper lids. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pick of the eyes in different positions. And when I closed the eyes, at first I was afraid I wasn't going to get them open again without brute force. It's been so long since I got Alice, that I've forgotten exactly how I did get them open. I'm pretty sure there's also a knob on the back of her head. Either I had to push that in, or the actual lever, to "release" the eyelids. I took some new pictures later to show how her eyes work and made it into its own post, which is here.

Alice's hair is gorgeous, and mostly in ringlet curls, but there are lots of loose hairs that create frizz. I'm very thankful that I have my Pleasant Company American Girl wig brush. I've been gently trying to brush her hair and incorporate some of those loose hairs into the curls. It's only going so-so, though. I may just have to accept some frizz, because it really doesn't spoil her look. What is a problem is that her bangs look crooked. I say look, because I haven't tried yet to re-adjust her wig, to see if that fixes the problem. If not, I'm going to very carefully give her a bit of a trim.
She's a very attractive doll, though not everyone's cup of tea. But I'm fine with her over-sized head, and I love her outfit, which is very well made. It was a little bit startling at first to see the J-Doll body, that I'm so familiar with, with an enormous head and outfit to match, but I'm getting used to her.

It was a surprise, however, to find out that there's no way to attach the huge brown bow firmly to her head. There is a stiff headband underneath the bow, yes, but it doesn't fit her head snugly, and it doesn't seem bendable to where it would fit. So her bow has to be carefully laid on top of her head. Considering her large noggin already makes her difficult to pose, this is just another challenge. She also came with the stuffed rabbit and stand. The rabbit is wearing a small clock-face pendant, as a small nod to the very loosely interpreted Alice in Wonderland theme. I'll tell you a bit later on why she's not wearing shoes.

Her costume consists of a dress with net underskirt and ruffle, an elaborate apron, and ruffled cuffs on her arms. I'm not sure whether those are supposed to be pushed up to the end of her sleeves, or worn as cuffs on her wrists. On the one hand, they tend to slip down and cover her hands in a very impractical fashion if they're worn on her wrists (although what part of this costume is practical, really?) On the other hand, they look strange right below the sleeves, at least to me. Like if they were meant to be there, why not just sew them onto the actual sleeve cuffs?

I called this clothing piece below an apron, because that matches the Alice in Wonderland concept. This is really an elaborate overdress, that could be worn as a dress on its own. I'm going to have to try to get a non-blurry picture of this. The viewing lens on my camera is so small that it's impossible to tell whether a picture is blurry until I upload it. And I've already put off this review for way too long as it is.
Underneath the dress is an underskirt made mostly of net, with a ribbon, a ruffle and lace trims. You can also see her underwear, and her stockings. Those stay on her fairly well, as opposed to most of the stockings that I've gotten with J-Dolls. That may be because these are made of a stretchable knit, as opposed to large-scale pieces of lace, as many of the J-Doll ones are.
Even without all of the fancy outer trimmings, the dress itself does not disappoint. I left the underskirt on, but the dress has its own ruffle with row of lace, tucks in the skirt and puffed sleeves, darts on the front of the bodice, a bib with pleated trim, and neckbow, although that is actually a separate piece. I'm almost scared to untie it, if I ever wanted to redress Alice. Would I ever be able to tie it again?

I only have one ridiculously small quibble with the dress, and that is that the stitches on the outside of the dress are made with white thread, instead of cream, which would not stand out as much as the white. But considering how well the entire costume is made, and how elaborate, that's really nothing but the perfectionist seamstress in me talking.
And now, for the shoes. Oh, those infamous Jun Planning/Groove doll shoes. If you've read any of my J-Doll reviews, most of the shoes don't even fit, although that's nothing compared to the pair that disintegrated before they even came out of the box. You can be sure, then, that I wasn't necessarily going to expect that a nice pair of shoes was going to accompany any Pullip, as oftentimes they wear the same shoes that I've already had bad luck with. From the pictures, however, Alice's shoes seemed like they might be one piece, and even sturdy. And indeed, the pink part is one solid piece, that fits relatively well (the giant rose covers the fact that there's lots of room between the upper part of the shoe and her foot.) The one-piece gold bow and straps are also sturdy enough. However, apparently if something can go wrong with a Groove doll shoe, it will. When they came out of the box, both shoes looked like this:
However, within about fifteen minutes, one shoe ended up like this:
At least the pink part is still one sturdy piece, and the bow hasn't broken into little pieces! Yeah, I may have low expectations here, but at least that means that the parts can be glued back together. Conceivably. I tried Loc-Tite super glue this afternoon, and the glue was more interested in sticking the shoe and my fingers together, than sticking the gold piece back to the shoe. However, that was only a first try. I'm sure there's lots of other things I can try, so I haven't given up yet, although it means Alice did not get to pose in her shoes for this review.

She also came with a stand. It's rather nice, with a large base and nice waist grip. The only problem is that the upright part of the stand is telescoping, which can mean it's difficult trying to stand up a doll with bending knees and ankles. At least for me, Alice wanted to collapse at the knee just as much as she wanted to stand straight so I could fit the grip to her waist. Also, the base and the upright section are two separate pieces, which kept coming apart, as the hole in the base, and the post of the upright section, are both very shallow. And of course, there's the fact that Alice is very top-heavy, but that's nothing to be surprised about.
To sum up, I'm really happy with my purchase. The body is nice, I like the face, the hair is perfectly acceptable as is (at least it's not filled with glue), the clothes are gorgeous, and her hairbow and bunny accessories are cute. I may get a tiny hairclip and sew it to the bow, to keep it in place on her head. The shoe coming apart is something that I would imagine could happen with any shoe with separate pieces glued together.

And speaking of shoes, here are the two shoe packs that came with Alice.
Nothing exciting, which is why I imagine that they didn't sell well. I myself looked at buying these a couple of times and decided against it. But I'm not sorry to own them. You'll probably see them on my J-Dolls at some point in the future.

The two packs of eyechips are not exciting, unless I decide I want to restyle a doll in the future, which is always a possibility. The wig, though. I haven't taken it out of the package because it seems so delicate, but this is the wig I got.
Photo belongs to Groove and is only to show the wig I received.
If I was going to pick a wig, this is the one I would have chosen, being the most elaborate. If you're going to get a wig-with-purchase, why not make it a more complicated 'do rather than a simple short cut? When I say it seems delicate, I only mean that I don't want to disturb those long ringlets until I'm ready to put the wig on a doll. And this also means that I can buy a Pullip who might be less expensive, but whose hairstyle didn't interest me, and swap wigs. Saving money, yay!

How do you feel about big-headed dolls? How do you feel about her Loli fashion? Any tips on how to glue Alice's shoe back together again?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Room Box Design

First off, I have to credit Jatman of JatmanStories, and Mr. BTEG, for some of the ideas that I used to make my room box with swap-able windows/floors. Jatman offers a tutorial about how she makes her roomboxes here.

It all started because I found moving boxes at Lowe's home improvement store, that are made of thicker cardboard than the standard moving boxes. I figured that would be especially ideal for making doll living spaces, so I bought one and brought it home, to do an initial try.

At first, I was thinking about just placing wall and flooring papers in the box permanently. It was Mr. BTEG who suggested the idea of being able to switch floors in and out. How to do it securely, was my question. At first, I thought of using pins, or small bulldog clips. However, Mr. BTEG came up with what I think is a far better solution: Velcro.

So here is the box, with sticky-back Velcro on the cardboard walls. The floor is a piece of foam core with scrapbook paper taped on it with double-sided tape. I felt this was the best way to secure the paper, as glues do not work very well on foam core. This floor admittedly is very patchy. I should have had four pieces of paper for this to work the best, but I only bought three. When I went back to Michael's, they were either out, or they don't carry this paper anymore.

The foam core piece for the floor is cut so it fits exactly into the box. The wall pieces will then stand directly on top of the floor piece.
So on the walls of the permanent cardboard box structure are pieces of sticky-back Velcro loops. On the papered walls of foam core, that I can swap in and out, there are corresponding pieces of sticky-back Velcro hooks. I got the idea from Jatman of using white Contact Paper to cover the raw edges of the foam core.
One wall is stuck to the cardboard box, flush against both the floor and the side of the cardboard box. Then, the other wall is set in, pushed tightly against the other wall, so there is not very much of a visible seam.

The green rug is a sheet of scrapbook paper that has a nice paisley design and also the illusion of texture, which gives it the appearance of a rug. There was a sale on scrapbook paper when I bought this at Michael's, so I bought the same design in at least two other colors. The rug is especially useful here to help hide the patchiness of this floor.

And that's my roombox! It's very simple, but I think the effect it produces is nice. I can cover all three side of the cardboard box with scrapbook paper covered walls, or use the same idea with a larger box, or have a larger box with maybe only two sides for different lighting and photography options. The nice thing about the cardboard box "foundation" is that it is relatively sturdy. I will also be creating walls with cut-out windows, and putting some kind of paper behind the right side of the foam core wall, to create an "outdoor" view.

I hope all of you who celebrated Easter yesterday had a very nice one. Life has been a little chaotic here at Casa BTEG, so I wasn't able to get an Easter photoshoot together. Hopefully, everything that's been making life crazy here will be resolved very soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Been really busy today, partially putting this room together. Barbie and the gang are hanging out a friend's waiting for the limousine to pick them up before they head out to enjoy the evening at their favorite Irish restaurant/bar.
St. Patrick's Day is a big deal around here. I actually did see a stretch SUV limousine parked outside one of the local Irish restaurants at about three, and the restaurant had to be packed to the rafters, considering the parking lot was overflowing. I also saw at least three limo-buses driving around, one with people all dressed in green clothes.

The shamrock lights and shamrock paper I got during my latest trip to the craft store. I'll be blogging about that; I picked up a lot of really nice things on that trip. I'll also be writing a post about my new room box set-up, which you can see above. Floors and walls can be switched in and out, and now I just have to create a bunch of nice window and floor sets to use.

Erin go bragh!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IKEA Furniture

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. BTEG and I drove from our house on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio down to the IKEA in Columbus, to buy a bunch of items that we have been needing for quite some time. Since we did buy several big items, the drive was worth it, and it was also fun browsing, and picking up a few things here and there that we could also use. One of the things that found its way into our cart was the toy bedroom furniture set from IKEA, of course. :) While this set has been around a while, and there are lots of pictures out there, I wanted to show you my own pictures that I took. Plus, I've never seen who could fit in the bed when it is stretched out to full size, and I've always been curious to know how Barbie would look. That picture will be at the end. :)

Mini American Girl Kirsten told me that she was a natural fit to model this furniture, seeing as it is her size, and also came from a store that originally came from Sweden, just as she did. She also told me that if I brought her along on our next trip, she could teach me how to pronounce all the Swedish words everywhere. I dunno, we enjoyed making up wacky pronunciations, just for fun. Or trying to use the German pronunciation that we are used to, to pronounce some of the words, which may not be the right way to pronounce Swedish. Anyway, on to the pictures.
Okay, I don't remember furniture looking like this back in Sweden.
The bed comes with a comfy pillow, mattress, and blanket.
The bed also comes with a plush dragon. I would prefer my Sari doll, made for my size.
The wardrobe is a great height for me, and even has a metal rod where I could hang the clothes that I don't have.
Somehow, a picture showing the chair, that Kirsten is sitting on at the table, didn't make its way into my folder of pictures. Not quite sure how that happened! Anyway, the chair is just a little red chair, suited for dolls Kirsten's size. As I said, there are lots of pictures out there of this IKEA set. It's been around awhile. The colorful striped rug also came with the set. It's solid red on the other side, and is reversible.

The blanket that came with the bed can be problematic. It's a stiff felt type fabric, and doesn't have any drape. It has a giant fold on one end, as does the mattress, to accommodate for the fact that the bed can be stretched out, and wouldn't lay well over Kirsten in the bed, nor Barbie, for that matter. Of course, that wouldn't matter for most of the small kids this set was actually made for. :) My two daughters had Duplo dolls with furniture and bedding very similar to this when they were little, and exactness was not a concern to them.

I do have making more clothes for the mini AG dolls on my list. Actually, I thought it might be fun to try to make a mini version of Kirsten's spring outfit, since I do have mini check pink gingham. I also might now have to try to make mini dolls for my mini AG girls. The list just keeps getting longer. I did not know Kirsten could be so good at throwing shade.

And yes, when the bed is stretched out all the way, it does fit a Made to Move Barbie doll. Her head and feet come just to the ends of the bed, but she could sleep in it. It might actually be convenient for Barbie's Studio Apartment.
So is this picture going in the IKEA catalog?
I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spirit Abigail by Just Play, Addendum: The Knee Breaking Is Common

I first noted the Spirit line in August of last year. Wow, these dolls have been on the shelf for a lot longer than I remembered! There were a variety of dolls and toy horses released for what was apparently a Netflix series sequel to the Spirit horse movie. There were three 11 1/2" dolls released of the three main human characters: Lucky, Prudence and Abigail. I was not the only doll collector who noted at the time that with the relatively nice-looking articulation, the dolls might provide good donor bodies. I'd been waiting for the dolls to go on sale, but that just wasn't happening, and finally I decided I'd pick up an Abigail doll to see if she'd make a good body donor.

I decided to take preliminary pictures of Abigail while she was still all in one piece. Little did I know that state of things would last for a shorter time than I expected....
This is how Abigail came, wearing a pink shirt, plaid leggings and some odd-looking boots. I'm surprised that none of the characters get helmets, except that the horses are sentient in the show and I guess would never throw their riders.
Here is Abigail with Petite Barbie, Teen Skipper and Made-to-Move Barbie. Without the giant head, Abigail's body is somewhat between Petite Barbie and Teen Skipper in height.

While in the process of getting Abigail's clothes off to get some pictures of just her body, I bent both of her knees, and when I bent the second one, I heard a crack, and suddenly Abigail's left calf was loose. She was still wearing her leggings at this time, so I didn't know exactly what had happened. I was afraid maybe her knees weren't meant to bend, but the right leg had bent just fine. When I got the leggings off, I saw what the problem was.
Abigail's leg *was* meant to bend, but the connecting post had just snapped. I did take some more pictures, for anyone who is still thinking about getting one of these dolls, but I got less and less enthusiastic the more I examined the doll, even after the leg snap. For one thing, the top of poor Abigail's loose lower leg looked rough and chewed on.
For another, the plastic of her legs made her look like she had burn scars and scratch marks. She also had staining on her leg. I'm presuming that came from the leggings, because the boots don't really touch her leg very much, plus the leggings covered her legs entirely.However, the staining is kind of angled, like her boots. Since the doll was already broken at this point, I don't think I cared very much how it happened.
Here is Abigail's right knee, with the intact knee joint. Sorry for blurry pictures. By this time, I was just taking pictures for posterity. I knew Abigail was going back to the store, and I just wasn't that interested.
Of course the other question when acquiring a new doll, especially for a rebody, is if the clothes will fit other dolls. Petite Barbie looked like the best option as far as size. I didn't want to try the leggings in case there was a staining issue, so I just stuck with the top. Unfortunately, Petite Barbie, while short, is still meant to be an adult female and therefore has a bosom, if small. Abigail is still supposed to be a girl, or a very young teen. Therefore, Abigail's top was super tight across the chest. Otherwise, the top would make a cute dress for our petite gal (who really should have a name this far into the post!)

There are also a couple of sewing mistakes on the back of the dress, which you can have with any doll, but which I wanted to point out.

Not even the feet were a good match for Barbie (or a similarly sized doll.) Abigail's feet are huge next to Made-to-Move Barbie, and they're also wedge shaped, being much wider by the toes. At least the broken leg made it easy to take comparison shots. XD

I suppose Abigail's big feet would be balanced out by her big head, if you were playing with the doll as is. And her boots are the same way, very large but balanced by her over-sized noggin. But they looked quite out of place on Barbie.
In the past, even if I've been iffy about a doll, I don't believe I've ever advised not to buy one. I don't think this doll is worth buying, even on sale. If you have a child who is really into Spirit, the dolls might be worth it, although I would still go with the smaller dolls because then you get all the horses too. If you were buying this doll as a possible body donor, on the other hand, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.

ETA: Based on a comment which somehow isn't showing up on this page (maybe the commenter deleted it?), I went and looked at reviews of the 11 1/2" dolls on Walmart's site. A full seventy-five percent of Lucky and Abigail's reviews said that the knees broke, and also mentioned the Prudence doll as having faulty joints. There were also mentions of little girl tears, which just makes me angry. The only super positive review was from a grandmother who *wanted* to buy them for her grandchildren, which wasn't helpful at all. I also discovered that Breyer made horse and girl rider sets from this series, so check those out if you want a set for a child.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!

Our lovely model shows us the accessories I bought for the Lunar/Chinese New Year celebration. They are two separate ORCARA sets put together, from their Happy Chinese Festival Celebration series. Despite the name, the sets in this series are not all strictly Chinese/Asian festival related. There is an Easter/spring one, which I have, and there is also a Christmas set with some kind of large bird waiting to be carved. Which always reminds me of the Chinese restaurant scene from A Christmas Story. Although the bird in the ORCARA set, fortunately, does not come with its head.

Peanuts are apparently very common for Chinese New Year, and you can see those on the blue plate, which is the only item that did not come from one of the Chinese Festival sets. I believe the filling of the cake-looking items on the white plate, is pineapple.The red round serving dish looks exactly like a Chinese candy box for the holiday, that I found online. You will have to scroll down there to see the picture. I also took a clear picture of the character on the tea pot, in case any of you who know the language wanted to see it.

I don't celebrate this holiday in the human world, but I've getting more interested in some Asian cultures lately, and I thought the above sets would be fun for my dolls to have. I wish health and prosperity to all of my readers, no matter the season! :)