Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

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!