Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quick Review of EAH Ballet Holly O'Hair, With an Appearance by Signature Holly

I'm not in favor of the direction that the Ever After High dolls seem to be moving in. Too many of them have next to no articulation, and molded bodices and legs. While the newest Signatures are similar to the original waves, even there the new dolls are missing several items, like earrings, that were included with older dolls. But since the new ballet line, featuring Apple, Holly and Briar, is quite inexpensive, at $5 a doll, I sprung for Ballet Holly and Briar just to get the new faces. Just so you know, the ballet dolls do NOT come with stands. I used one just to make picture taking easier.
Basic, basic, basic. Holly's arms don't even move out to her sides.
Holly's molded on bodice follows her theme with the flowers and braided trim.
The molded legs are gorgeous, but bending knees would have been nice.
Her hair isn't a bun so much as a roll.
She can't even sit well, not just because of how her legs stick out, but because her torso and legs can't quite make a 90 degree angle.
These new faces have appeared at the same time as the new faces for Monster High. I don't think there's as much difference between the EAH faces as between the new MH faces, though. Here's signature Holly with Ballet Holly.
Our ballerina's head is smaller, and she wears less makeup. Honestly, I think Mattel would only have had to put a little more curve at the sides of the lips on the molds they already had to give our EAH girls a smiling face. Maybe little girls also liked the smaller head when they did market research?

These dolls are fine for play by very young girls, and the price reflects the simplicity of the doll. I just hope the entire line doesn't go this route. After all the time and money Mattel has put into the storylines and the "themes" for each doll, it seems a waste to dial these dolls down for the younger set. The new signatures are okay, although lacking some of the details that the earlier waves had, that made them stand out. They're also lacking the diaries that came with every doll, which makes sense if the target age can't read very well yet, or read at all. In some ways the new Epic Winter line is an Epic Fail, though. Molded leggings (although with bending knees), less jewelry and fewer painted details make these dolls compare poorly to waves like Spring Unsprung or even Dragon Games. If Mattel makes more money overall selling to a younger age group, though, simpler is how it will be. I guess older EAH collectors will have to pick up older dolls they haven't bought yet, and/or work on customization.

Speaking of ballet, my youngest daughter the Dancer expressed an interest in Ballet Holly. Since I was already planning to do a head swap, the Dancer will get a new Spring Unsprung Holly's head on the ballet body. She also loves her Misty Copeland doll, which she received on Sunday. Misty is going to stay in the box.


Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Tonner Convention -- What I Brought Home!

I meant to get this post up several days ago, but it turned out to be more work than I thought it would, getting everything unpacked, sorted out and photographed. It didn't help that my sewing/doll area was in a shambles from deciding what I should take with me to the convention. Also, it didn't seem like I brought a lot home, but it seemed like an awful lot when I went to take pictures of all of it!

Let's start with the dessert event on the first night. In addition to a chance to buy the centerpiece, the doll I've already shown, everyone received a 17" DeDe Denton doll. Half of the dolls were fair with blond hair, and half of the dolls had browner skin, and dark hair. It was pure chance which doll you received, as they were wrapped in paper, and laid out on the tables. I got the blond one. She's already moved on to a new home, as I'm not fond of the DeDe Denton line. A lot of it, I think, is because I don't like her heavy black eyeliner. I'm also not in to rooted eyelashes.

That night the sales rooms were open after dessert. I was a bit disappointed, as they were rather small. Not only were there not a lot of tables, but there was not a lot of room to move around. Marcia was there, and I bought two hair barrettes for my dolls from her, as well as a working umbrella, 6" tall. I was also interested in buying a tiara, but she didn't have the space to have everything on show, and I decided to wait until the doll show on Sunday to look at more.
Something told me that this star barrette would look nice on Meg. She loves it.
This circle barrette doesn't look as good as I thought it would, using Basic Daphne as a model.
It suits this Sydney better, with her thicker, curly locks.
It will be difficult to get the strap around the umbrella, back through the buckle.
Pretty much like a real umbrella!
The more articulated dolls can even look like they're holding it!
At another table, there was a basket of random Tonner clothes, which two women were already rummaging through. I waited for a few minutes, then got impatient and moved in a little to start my own search. I practically grabbed this dress out of a woman's hands when I recognized it! She was in the process of putting it back in the basket, though, so it didn't turn all Black Friday-ish. :) I got the dress, originally made for a Patsy doll, for $3. It was a fantastic deal!
There was another Patsy two piece outfit in the basket, but it was made of a rather thin feeling material, and I didn't love it, so I passed on it.

You already know about the Ann Estelle doll that I bought. Here's some decent pictures of her, and a picture of her next to her "older" sister, an unarticulated Ann from the first time the Mary Engelbreit line was produced.


Poor Ann-on-the-left's wig is just not as nice as Ann-on-the-right's.
The lace-trimmed petticoat beneath Ann's dress was made with too much material, so that the fabric folds up on itself. I suspect that the petticoat was designed before the velveteen was picked to be the dress fabric. The petticoat just can't hold up the weight of that heavy material.
Oh, also, everyone had table napkins at the Ann Estelle luncheon that matched the print of 18" Ann's plaid skirt. I forgot to take pictures of those, but they're just pieces of fabric. I collected a couple from other people who didn't want theirs, and no, they hadn't used them. :) There were regular napkins at the table as well. I'll use the fabric to make something for my 10" dolls at some point. Here's the picture of 18" Ann on our table.
At the formal dinner event on the last evening, there was a small jewelry box at every place setting. This contained a necklace and a pair of earrings sized for the 16" dolls, or possibly the 17" ones too.


In the human sized silver tote bag that everyone received at registration, there was one doll accessory, along with a few other items like our name tag. I don't know if everyone got the same thing that I received. In mine was a red purse with white bows, made for the Ellowyne Wilde line.

And at last came the Mid-Ohio Doll Show! Tam has explained how much bigger the show used to be, on her blog. Here, I think there were only four aisles, with tables on either side. It took place in what had been the room where we had our meals at the convention, so if you've seen anybody's pictures of that entire place, you can tell how relatively small the room was. Not only that, but the aisles were pretty crowded. Plus, chairs for the vendors to sit on were not behind or next to the tables, but in front of them, which blocked some of the merchandise. Honestly, knowing that Marcia (see above) has an online store, I passed on buying anymore of her items. It wasn't her fault, but she was standing right in front of the tiara display, digging through a box for a customer, while a man was on one knee, stretched out to look at something, right behind her. And her chair was on the other side of her. I waited for a couple of minutes, but I didn't want to wait too long for something I can get at my leisure later on (and also when I've saved more money up!)

One of my biggest priorities was shoes for Ann Estelle and the gang. Having bought so many nude dolls, several of the poor girls had bare feet! Clothes I can make, but shoes are more difficult. I ended up picking up a pair of white Mary Janes, a pair of black T-straps, and two pairs of sneakers. The shoes were not specifically made for the 10" Tonners, and are a little roomy. On the other hand, the shoes with buckles slip on easily that way, and I don't want to mess with tiny buckles anymore than I have to.

I also bought a couple of pieces of doll jewelry, only I made a mistake there. For some reason, I thought the numbers written on the front of the package were the size doll they were for. Turns out, it was the chains that were 6" and 11" long. Oops. I can put them on new chains, or something. I also need to do something about the earrings I bought. Both the hooks are way too long, and oddly shaped.

Lastly, I got to meet a real life fellow doll blogger! I met up with Tam, of Planet of the Dolls, at the doll show, and then we had lunch before I had to head back north. It was so nice to talk to someone who likes dolls, as I do, and is a nice person besides! Here's the "selfie" that I took.
I've enjoyed sharing my experiences with you fellow collectors out there! Thank you for reading through my posts!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Tonner Convention Day Three Workshop, Formal Dinner Event, and PJ Party

There were seminars and workshops in the afternoons for both Friday and Saturday. The seminars were free, although reservations needed to be made as seating was limited. Friday's seminar was on the Wilde Imagination Company. Saturday's was a talk by Andrew Yang, about his great-grandmother, Mary Astor. Apparently there are going to be some dolls of her produced, and from what I've heard, they'll be wearing some sharp outfits from the 1930s. I didn't attend either seminar.

I chose to take a workshop on Friday which involved making a Tyler sized bag. The story behind the bag is that Marley Wentworth is now a fashion blogger, and she designed a laptop/tablet bag for some sort of competition. My workshop cost $15, which I though was very fair, especially since we got a pattern that we can use to make further bags. Here is a picture of our workshop materials.
Underneath the bag pattern pieces, there was a bag filled with four different kinds of non-fraying fabrics. We could use them however we liked, using one color for everything or two offsetting colors. The large gray rectangle in the bag is supposed to be a tablet. It wasn't until we were into the project that we were told that our instructor, Jay Barrett, had designed his own mold and cast our "tablets" out of resin. The colored pictures are supposed to be computer screens, which will fit inside the tablet. There were also metal pieces to use to attach the straps to the bag, some pins to stick into the bottom of the bag to give the bag feet, and some bits and pieces to decorate the bag if you wished. I'm sorry, but I'm too tired too remember the correct names for some of these pieces, or look them up! I enjoyed the workshop, even though my bag turned out far from perfect! But it was a good starting point for me to try to make a better bag, which is a doll craft that I've never tried. By the way, Jay came all the way from Australia for the convention, which I though was neat.

Apparently, there were serious problems with the shoe making workshop on the previous day. The glue wasn't holding together at all; I believe participants are getting mailed supplies to make another set of shoes. Jay mentioned on Saturday that the glue had been affected by the air pressure changes in the plane when the person who ran the workshop traveled there (I got the impression that wasn't his workshop, but I'm not sure.) I suppose it would be a lot of hassle to run around and buy workshop supplies once you get to an event like this, but it certainly caused problems on Friday. Word got all around the convention about how badly the workshop had gone.

There were two other workshops, a ribbon dress workshop, and a Betsy McCall workshop. I didn't hear anything about those, or see any of the results.

Saturday night was the Big Event, the formal dinner event. Some people were decked out to the nines, some were in between, some were mostly casual. I noticed that while a lot of people like dressing for every event, there were lots of people who didn't, and neither did I. The centerpiece was a Tyler doll preparing one of her designs on a model. Each model was completely different, different mold, different hairstyle, different costume. I actually won the first chance to buy the centerpiece, but I passed, as $400 was too much for me to spend. :( Multiple numbers were drawn for the centerpiece, because there were tables which hadn't had anyone pick the first number that was drawn. So, our table hostess was the second number picked, and she bought it.


In the middle of the room was a catwalk. After dinner, there was a fashion show, featuring about twenty of Tonner's doll fashions created in human size. I only recognized a few of the outfits, and couldn't get good pictures. Some of them are on the Tonner Doll Company's Facebook page. We were also told pictures of each centerpiece would be online, but not where. I don't know. I heard before the convention that there was a Tonner convention Yahoo group, but could never find it.

Robert left the stage and the room with one of the models, who is apparently a good friend of his from his Bill Blass designer days. One of the Tonner people, who'd done most of the announcements for the meal events, told us that it was now time to clear the room so it could be set up for the evening's pajama party. At that point, many of us wondered if there was going to be an event doll, as we all expected. One woman in another part of the room eventually yelled out "Where's our doll?" It honestly seemed like they accidentally passed over that part, although it could have been for show, to get us excited about the doll. Someone ran to get Robert back, and he came back up to the stage, while the table hosts/hostesses got out the dolls, which had been under the tables. We had to wait to open the box until everybody got their dolls out of the shipper, which was a time consuming process. In the dim light, the doll looked gorgeous, although not my style. It wasn't until I took some pictures of her that I noticed an issue.
Someone had rather sloppily put on her eyeshadow on her left eye; not only was it crooked, but it ran up into her eyebrow.
Fortunately, they had some extra dolls, and I was able to swap her out at the doll show today. However, it left me a little disappointed in what had happened. For one thing, when I showed the doll to a woman behind the table, who was Tonner's executive assistant, she said, "That's eyeshadow." I said, "It runs over her eyebrow." The light was not great in the room, although better than last night, but it made me a bit uncomfortable that I had to explain why the doll was defective. This was a limited edition doll, the climactic doll of a 25th anniversary celebration convention. She has a face mold that was made especially for this convention. I feel a flaw like this should have been checked before the dolls were handed out. Also, one of my tablemates got a doll where the inside box, not the shipper, was already pretty banged up. She got a fresh doll that night, but again, it just felt disappointing.

I would also like to point out, that although I said in a previous comment that the two dolls were "free," they were of course included in the price of our convention package.

The pajama party started pretty quickly after the dinner was cleared out. I missed quite a bit, because I wasn't staying in the hotel the convention was held in, and I had to go back and change into pajamas. Also, I forgot to bring back the little piece of paper that got people into the pajama party (there was nobody at the doors by the time I got back.) Because of those things, I missed out on getting this doll case in a silver stripe pattern. Yeah, I could have tried to get one afterwards, and yeah, it retailed for a lot of money, but I don't have room for it and don't know how often I'd use it, and I was super tired by that time. At previous conventions, the PJ party has apparently been pretty fun, involving dancing. Last night, there were snacks, but the only things that happened were the drawings for the raffles. I totally missed the raffle room, so I wasn't involved in that at all. Several people won more than one item, so according to my table hostess, they must have put in a lot of money for raffle tickets. The last drawing was for a OOAK resin Ellowyne in a hand beaded and hand sewn dress. Robert did some of the work, but I think I heard he had help? This drawing was a reverse raffle. Twenty five people were called up onto the catwalk which was still there from dinner. As each number was called, that person had to leave; the last person standing won. On the giant screen during the party was a slide show of the contest winners. Robert didn't seem like he was feeling it last night. He was probably as tired of the rest of us; he might also have a really dry personality, which how he came off in general, from what *I personally* saw of him at the public events.

Some people had great nightwear for the party. One man was wearing a striped nightshirt and cap. My Hello Kitty loving tablemate was dressed in pajamas that made her look like a giant Hello Kitty.

And that's it for the convention! Wow, was I exhausted by last night, and so were a lot of others. Overall, I'm glad I went. I think I'd always regret missing this opportunity of going when it happened so close to where I live. It was also good for introverted me to get out, and meet some doll people. But there were some letdowns, although that's probably normal. This was the first convention of any sort that I've ever been to! I'll put up at least one more post about the other things I either bought or was given, and my experience at the doll show today, which included meeting Tam of Planet of the Dolls!




Saturday, June 4, 2016

2016 Tonner Convention Day Three Luncheon Event

Tonight I'm only posting about the luncheon that took place today. I'm so tired, and there's still the doll show tomorrow! It's been a great time, and I'm glad I got to experience it, for sure. I'll finish up the convention report over the next couple of days. I know when I was researching what this convention would be like, I found very little out there, so I hope I can help someone else with this.

Lunch's theme was Cheery Cherry Mary Engelbreit. I've posted pics of Ann Estelle and some of her friends here before, and it seems the line is being started up again. At the luncheon, we also got to see Ann Estelle grown up, into a doll who uses the Ellowyne Wilde body. And the table centerpiece was from Tonner's new 18" My Imagination line, but the doll was wearing a Mary Engelbreit outfit. The one at our table was a brunette, but there were also a blonde, a redhead with short hair, and I think I saw a darker-skinned doll with dark hair. Although the doll in the picture wears glasses, no glasses came with the actual doll. This was probably because the My Imagination dolls don't come with glasses, and the original picture was probably a prototype. The doll's original basic line dress and sandals were also in the box.

The woman who won the centerpiece doll actually wanted to buy her this time! She was the woman who collects American Girl and Magic Attic, so it was right up her alley. She's saving this doll for her granddaughter in a couple of years.

I bought A Bit Younger for myself. She has the Ann Estelle face, but brown eyes, and the new, more articulated, Patsy body. I'll take good pictures of her when I come home. Mary Engelbreit herself was at this event. There was a video about her career over the years, and then there was a short Q&A period. I asked how old 10" Ann Estelle is supposed to be, as I've wondered for a while. Robert said he pictured her as 6 to 7, while Mary pictured her as 7 to 8. So they settled on 7. :) Afterwards, Robert and Mary had a signing session. I had both of them sign my certificate of authenticity for A Bit Younger.
I brought my Ann Estelle and Lilah to this luncheon. They attracted some attention, especially Lilah, who is a rarer doll. I made them matching sister outfits, some of which I threw together right before the event! But I got to meet a couple of new people who saw me with the dolls, so it was worth it.

2016 Tonner Convention Day 2

Today was a lunch event, and a dinner event. There were also a couple of workshops to make things for your doll. I signed up for a workshop tomorrow afternoon. And of course there were the ubiquitous sales rooms, a room featuring some of Tonner's lines over the years, and the competition room. There is also a raffle room which I haven't been into yet.

First of all, the lunch event was based on Comic Con, and the event doll was Agatha Primrose, cosplaying Alice in Wonderland. This doll was available for purchase after the luncheon. She was cute, but I'm only bringing one doll home with me, if that, and she wouldn't be high on the list.
The centerpieces on the tables were large plastic figures such as Batman, Super Mario, and Darth Vader. At our table was a Stormtrooper, which I ended up walking away with after two other women at my table passed because they had flown here, and it wasn't worth it to them to ship the item home. I'm sure Mr. BTEG will find a place to put it. This time, the centerpiece was free, but again, only one person could take it from each table. The table hostess has a card, and at every event, everyone at the table writes down their name next to a number. The individual's number is how the centerpiece prize is drawn, and the individual and table number is how the door prizes are picked. Today, the super-hero themed cloth under the figure also came with it, but the original person who won the Stormtrooper claimed that, which was fine with me.

At every place setting was a box of three DC superhero doll-sized tees.
Here are some other pictures from the lunch, including people dressed for the ComicCon theme costume contest. Sorry about the weird lighting. My camera does have different settings, but I'm not even sure what setting I should use in the conditions.
Fezzes are cool.
Does anyone know who the centerpiece figure is?
A look around the room.
Some people costumed their dolls too.
Meg didn't get a costume, but was proud to show how she could stand by herself.
Supergirl, Catwoman, the Tardis, Harley Quinn.
Black Panther, Queen of Hearts, and a tablemate festooned with Hello Kitties.
The final winner of the cosplay contest, shown above, was a young miss cosplaying as... Agatha Primrose, and holding her doll wearing a matching outfit. She posed with Robert for this picture.

I find Agatha Primrose kind of interesting, because description-wise, she is a lot like my daughter the Dancer. My daughter plays Pathfinder, likes the Hunger Games and Doctor Who, cosplayed as Anna from Frozen, and is going to GenCon with her dad in August. Clothes wise, though, Agatha dresses like no teenager I've ever seen, even the nerdiest of them. Maybe they wear that stuff in upscale Manhattan.

Everyone was assigned a table number at the beginning of the convention, and sits at that table for all the meal events, but the actual table number locations get switched around for every event. This time, my table was at the front of the room, and we were first to get in line for lunch! For some reason, iced tea was provided at every seat, even though I'm sure many people didn't drink it. I don't think anyone at my table did. One of my tablemates requested lemonade, so I got some of that as well. It was very refreshing.

The presentation at lunch was the history of the ComicCon phenomenon.

Dinner event below the fold!