Friday, January 29, 2016

Stickley Rocker in 1/4 Scale

A common theme this year among many collectors seems to be cutting back on buying dolls and getting more enjoyment out of the dolls they already have. One of the ways I plan on getting more out of my doll collection is by improving my displays, so they are nicer to look at. Personally, I like to have my dolls displayed in somewhat real dioramas, and I need more furniture for that. I'm not against plastic furniture for my 1/6 scale dolls, but furniture for the 1/4 scale dolls is relatively hard to find, plastic or otherwise. My latest purchase in that scale is a Stickley rocking chair from this shop, made to scale using an original Stickley plan.

For those of you who don't know the related history, Gustav Stickley was an American who was in the forefront of the American Craftsman movement, similar to the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain. These movements were an attempt to go back to quality, handcrafted items in a world where more and more items were factory mass-produced. It started in the late decades of the Victorian era, and kept going into the first few decades of the 1900s, although it obviously still has popularity today. Another name for this style was Mission. In the US, think of Craftsman bungalows, with beautiful built-in wood furniture. Frank Lloyd Wright was an important architect in this style. Here is a picture of a real-life rocker that looks similar to mine, right at the Stickley furniture website.

Now that explanations are out of the way, let's look at this beautiful piece of doll furniture, made of oak.




The seat feels like leather. I'm not sure if it is. Leather was used in the Craftsman movement.
Now matter how I tried, I couldn't get the camera to focus on the back of the rocker, instead of lower down.
And here a couple of pictures for scale. Our model is Tonner's Fairytale Basic 16" vinyl doll, with the Kay head sculpt. She wears an outfit made by me, inspired by 1907 fashion.

I think this rocker suits the 16" doll quite well, don't you? Do you have plans this year to get more out of your current doll collection?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Liebster Award

jSarie at Revenge of the Toy Box has presented me with the Liebster Award. Thank you!



The rules for award participation are as follows:

RULES:

  1. Thank the person who presented you the award and link back to their blog
  2. Post the award image on your blog. 
  3. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter. 
  4. Nominate 5 blogs with less than 200 followers. 
  5. Create 11 questions for the nominees to answer. 
  6. List these rules in your post. Inform the people you chose of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog and link them your post.

 1. What was the first doll or figure that started your collection?
Caboodles Barbie. Mr. BTEG bought her for me because I liked Barbies, and I liked her miniature Caboodle makeup carrying case. It was the first doll I got as an adult.
2. What were your favourite doll-related moments of 2015?
Getting my Makie doll Meg, and finally getting my second American Girl doll, Caroline. Sewing more for dolls than I have in years. And finding more doll bloggers on the internet!

3. What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Toy Fair, first of all. Can't wait to see what's new for 2016!

Secondly, I'm looking forward to making more doll clothes for my Etsy store, and more clothes for my own dolls. Struggling right now to find time and energy to finish another dress.

Lastly, I'm going to the 2016 Tonner Convention!!! It's being held in Columbus, OH, and might be one of the only chances I'll have to attend a doll convention close to where I live. It's the Tonner company's 25th anniversary, so I'm looking forward to seeing if there are any souvenir dolls made from retired lines.

4. Do you have a favourite doll in your collection?
I don't really have a favorite doll so much anymore. There are dolls within some of the lines that I collect, that I like more than others. One of the top favorites is still Calendar Girl Sydney.
5. Do you have a favourite size of doll, and if so, which one and why?
Probably the 16" dolls. They are a nice size to sew for, and to display. I love my American Girl and Madame Alexander Cissy dolls, but I really don't have the space for more than two or three each. Playscale size and smaller dolls are easier to display and find furniture and accessories for, but sometimes you can't get as much detail with the smaller dolls.

6. Do your dolls have character back-stories?
Not really. At some point I would like to, but there are other things I want to do first, like sew them more clothes and improve their display spaces. Back-stories are not really a high priority.

7. Do you prefer to buy character dolls or blank slates?
I prefer blank slates, by far. The only doll that I have that looks someone in real life is one of the Tonner versions of Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. And honestly, she doesn't look exactly like Judy's character. Any doll that's supposed to be Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland, but doesn't look like an actor or actress in real life, I can ignore the story they were given. Even my American Girl 18" Samantha and Caroline are not entirely the dolls as written about in their stories.

8. You can have any doll maker make the doll of your dreams. What does it look like?
She'd be an 18" vinyl doll, with golden brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin. She would wear a blue dress with lots of tucks and insertion and lace. She would have silk stockings and high button boots. She'd have a few pieces of gold jewelry, earrings and maybe a brooch. She would have to be at least 18", I would think, just because of how complicated I would like the dress! I would have the Tonner Company make her; the company has done really well with vintage styled dolls in the past.

9. How do you protect your dolls from damage (sunlight, hungry pets, angry children, wild animals, etc)?
I keep my dolls out of direct sunlight, and up on shelves or dressers. At one time we had a cat who was very fond of eating anything net or tulle that came his way. One of our cats now will also occasionally chew on things, so I have to keep them up out of her reach. She has never tried to jump up there. Fortunately, my children are well past the age of messing around with my dolls.

10. How do you store your dolls?
Store... hmm. I have most of the dolls in my collection out on display. I wish I had lots of enclosed shelving with glass doors. Since I don't, I try to store my dolls in bookcases or cubes so they get less dusty.
11. How do dolls fit into your everyday life?
Dolls keep me company. Not that I talk to them ever, nor do I change around a display or redress a doll everyday. But I get enjoyment out of looking at them; each one has a personality that seems to come through. I always have a plan in mind for what I want to do next involving my collection, even though everyday life often precludes my plans.

I nominate:
1. Presto at Growing Up Is for Quitters
2. Farrah Lily at Cozy Comforts and Dolls
3. Lisa at Once Upon a Doll Collection
4. Addy at Dollyton City
5. RagingMoon1987 at Confessions of a Dolly Lover

My 11 questions are:
1. What was the first doll or figure that started your collection?
2. Is there a retired doll or doll line that you'd like to bring back?
3. Have you ever acquired a grail doll?
4. What are you looking forward to in 2016?
5. Do you have a favorite doll line or manufacturer?
6. Any doll lines that you've moved on from?
7. Do you have an idea what dolls you would like to acquire this year?
8. What would your dream doll accessory be? I'm talking things like furniture or a car or a set of dishes.
9. If you were to write a paper on an era of doll history, which era would you pick?
10. Do you do any creative activities related to your doll collection?
11. How do dolls fit into your everyday life?

And this makes post number four for the month of January, so I've fulfilled a resolution for this month! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Makies Tea Set

Last week, the Evil Genius family was at CodeMash, a learning event for computer developers. Mr. BTEG's employer sent him, but as he was provided with a four-person room, the rest of the family was able to tag along. Family attendance is indeed encouraged with KidzMash, which is a learning track for the younger set. My daughters were too old to get much out of KidzMash, but they were able to do things with Mr. BTEG, including working on a robot, so that they really got a lot out of the trip. It also doesn't hurt that the event is held at the Kalahari Resort Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio.

How does this relate to Makies? Well, lately, Mr. BTEG has been getting into 3D printing. There is a a 3D printer at the public library in downtown Cleveland, for which you pay a low price per hour. Mr. BTEG told me there would be a free 3D printer at CodeMash, if you could get an appointment. I showed him my Makie doll, and he helped me look around for 3D doll stuff that I could print. (No, I don't hide my doll purchases from Mr. BTEG, but he doesn't really have much interest in checking out the new stuff I buy.) Turns out, MakieLab has its very own design page on Thingiverse.com, a place to download 3D printed designs. The thing I especially liked among the Makies designs was this tea set. Mr. BTEG was able to grab some design time on the 3D printer, and had a set printed up for me. It's very rough and needs sanding, but I wanted to show it in its original condition. Keep in mind that it took three hours to print this set.
These were the bases where the items sat while they were printed.
The set in its entirety. Four cups, cream pitcher, sugar bowl, pot and two lids
The inside of a teacup
The sugar bowl and its lid
And here are two pictures of Meg holding tea set pieces, for an idea of the size.


I was planning on getting some pictures of Meg in the waterpark, but I actually ended up getting bored and coming home early. I did get some pictures of Meg lounging in our room; this is the one I like the best.
I wonder what "the next thing" will be with the Makies, since the company is moving to the US. In the meantime, I'm wondering if the 3D printer downtown will be good enough to print out some boots for Meg. She could use some more shoes!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Toys 'R Us Trip: Moxie Girls Ice Castle and Disney Star Darlings

I took a ride with Mr. BTEG to the other side of town yesterday; he wanted to go to Microcenter. In the line of stores there was also a TRU. I didn't find a doll I couldn't live without, or at least one I couldn't get far cheaper on Amazon. :) Seriously, it was nice that they still had Ever After High Spring Unsprung dolls, but I was disappointed to see they were still charging full price.

A few play dolls, though, caught my eye that I thought were worth blogging about.

The first thing I found interesting was this Princess Ice Castle play set. Not because of the play set, but because the dolls included appeared to be Moxie Girlz. Sure enough, the MGA copyright mark is on the box, but it is also a TRU exclusive. Note that this picture shows two boxes, one stacked sideways on top of the other.



I've seen a few bloggers mention the new Star Darlings, which go with a new Disney television show. I saw some of them at TRU, and took some pictures. The bigger boxed dolls were $19.99, the smaller, $14.99. The dolls for sale online at Disney come with a light-up stand, for $10 more than the big box dolls. The smaller boxed dolls are what they apparently look like on Earth, without their star personae.

First the three more expensive dolls.



Next, the two "Wishworld" dolls.

The dolls and the outfits are cute, although the outfits don't match a promotional article I read about these dolls that talks about how not all fashion dolls need to wear mini skirts, and the Star Darlings were going to be something different. I mean, most of these skirts are over leggings or tights at least, but still, pretty short skirts. I like the clothes anyway, in general. The dolls are supposed to be 10.5" (26.67cm) tall. I wonder if any of the outfits or shoes would fit other dolls. Separate outfits would be great if other dolls can wear these clothes, but since these dolls are based on the Zodiac, and therefore there will be twelve dolls, I think separate outfits would be too much to add on top of that.

What really appeals to me about these dolls is the eyes. The eyes remind me a bit of Bratzillaz, and while I didn't care for those dolls, I really did love how the eyes looked. The eyebrows are ridiculously far apart from the eyes on the Star Darlings dolls, but still, this face is adorable.
Are you finding anything good at your stores now that they're restocking toys?

Stay tuned! My next post is about something cool related to Makies! (Although not about the move to the US, which is the big source of conversation right now.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Plans for 2016

I've had vague ideas about what my 2016 doll collecting and blogging goals should be, but when I took some time to really solidify my plans, they boiled down to putting more time into my hobby! I still want dolls to remain fun, but I want to push myself a little farther this year. I'm hoping that I won't burn myself out on doll collecting, but that I'll get more out of it if I put more into it.

I would like to add a few more dolls to my collection, but I'm not in a huge hurry. I have some J-Dolls on my wishlist that I'd like to acquire if I find them at a good price. I picked up a Georgia doll for my 10" Ann Estelle crew, and I'll be posting some pictures of her. I wouldn't mind picking up a few more dolls in that size. I might think about getting another Makie.

I did dip my toe into the world of Ever After High dolls! I had some store credit at zulily from something else, so I was able to pick up Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman for only $13.99, including tax and shipping! Yeah, like I needed another type of doll in my collection, but there are a few I've thought about getting that I still really like after a period of months, so I couldn't resist kicking my collection off with a fantastic deal.

Sewing more doll clothing is a big goal. Buying dolls on a budget often means buying nude or basic dolls, so there's not a lot of doll clothing going around to begin with. I also need to make more items to sell in my Etsy store. Yes, I know you're not supposed to start an Etsy store with only one item. I'm hoping it will be a motivator for me personally to sew more if I have a shop open. For sewing doll clothes in general, I need to remind myself that the more I sew, the better I will get.

I would like to write four new posts every month. Usually in a good month I publish three. I figure if I do more sewing, more doll dioramas, and more traveling with Meg, I'll have enough to write about. Speaking of which, Meg is accompanying the Evil Genius family on a trip very soon! I'll tell you about it when we get back. I also have a surprise or two that I hope to share as the year goes on!

I'll close this post with a couple pictures of Ann Estelle in the dress that I made for my Etsy store.