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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

La Dee Da Sunflower Burst Cyanne review

This will be the last review I do before the LASIK surgery, so you may not be hearing from me in awhile.  But y'all are used to that, right?  LOL, anyway the doctor said I have to keep my eyes closed for at least twenty-four hours after the surgery, and after that I may have some problems with blurriness and sensitivity to light.  The blurriness should resolve on its own, but it'll still be hard to see.  Either way I'll probably be out of commission for awhile.  But for now, I'll distract myself (and hopefully entertain you) with this review of my new La Dee Da doll, Sunflower Burst Cyanne.
The La Dee Da dolls are by Spin Masters, the same company that used to make LIV dolls.  Right around the time that the LIV dolls were being phased out, these were being released.  So it might be safe to say that these are LIV's replacement.  The line consists of four characters that have banded together to form a fashion line named "La Dee Da," hence the name of the dolls.  The four characters are leader Dee (whom the "La Dee Da" label is named after), girly-girl Cyanne, wild child Tylie, and glamorous Sloane.  Each character has a brief biography on the La Dee Da website; these reveal a bit about each character's personality and fashion style.  Cyanne is fifteen, and confides to us in her bio that she loves spicy tuna rolls, the color aqua, cute shoes, "flouncy" skirts, and "over-the-top makeup," among other things.  Hmmm...I don't have as much in common with her as I did with Daniela (a music-loving brunette), but she still sounds like she'd be a fun person to be with if she were real.  LOL

Here's what Cyanne looks like up close.
She is a little goofy looking with that huge head and those equally huge eyes.  This doll definitely won't be everyone's cup of tea; my sister hates La Dee Da dolls, for example.  I'll admit that I wasn't a huge fan in the beginning, either; I guess I was expecting them to be more realistic like the LIV dolls are.  However, Cyanne has a sweet, approachable expression on her face, not haughty or overly vampy like some teenaged dolls look.  If you give her a chance, she'll grow on you.

The top and sides of her pumpkin-orange hair are pulled back, and the whole shebang is then tied back in a single, neat ponytail.  The ends are uneven.
There is a very, VERY conspicuous cluster of plastic sunflowers sewn to the top of Cyanne's head.  The leaves are fabric.
This decoration was sewn on; I thought it would simply clip or snap on, but it was sewn into Cyanne's hair.  I cut it off so it wouldn't clash too terribly with other clothes she might wear, and now I need to figure out how to put it back on!  Not a difficult task, but first things first.  I've learned from the Toy Box Philosopher that La Dee Da hair tends to be sparsely rooted; this proved to be something of a problem with Viva la France Cyanne, while Dots of Style Dee had better hair.  Let's see how my Cyanne fares.
Yep, that's pretty thin rooting, alright.  It's not quite as thin as Viva la France Cyanne's hair, but it comes pretty close.  The hairline is thickly rooted, however.  Said hairline renders the rest of Cyanne's thinly rooted scalp invisible, so she looks pretty good with her hair tied back.  She also looks good when her hair is down:
This hair is a very nice texture, by the way.  It's smooth and silky, just like LIV doll wigs.  Oh yes, and I love the color.  It's close enough to red that I just love it.

Now, eyes.  La Dee Da dolls have fun eyes.  They're not the stunningly beautiful inset eyes that LIV dolls had, but they're still fun; they all utilize bright colors and garish makeup, and sometimes the two eyes have different styles of makeup.  So it is for my Cyanne.  Here's what her left eye looks like.
Her left eye is pretty plain for someone who loves over-the-top makeup.  Just some very pale yellow eye shadow and long, dark eyelashes.  The eye itself is an aqua color (hey, Cyanne's favorite color!) with a flower petal design around the pupils and sparkles of light in the pupils themselves.  Hmmm...she's got stars in her eyes.  Maybe she's got an alter-ego as a rock musician.  LOL!

Classic rock jokes aside, Cyanne's right eye is more interesting.
It has the same paint job as the left eye, but with the addition of some long yellow...I'm not sure if those are supposed to be flower petals or stamens.  Either way, it looks like it's supposed to be some sort of flower part painted above her eye.

The rest of Cyanne's makeup is fairly minimalistic.  Her lips are a lovely shade of glossy orange.  There are a couple of chips, but as small as the mouth is the chips are not noticeable to the naked eye.
I wore lipstick like that in high school.

Her cheeks have some faint, reddish-orange blush, so faint that it's next to impossible to photograph.  Not tremendously over-the-top makeup, but then again that might be a good thing.  The theme IS Garden Tea Party, after all.  Folks don't normally wear a lot of makeup when they're out of doors, particularly during this time of year.  Besides, overly flashy makeup would've detracted from that cute outfit!
The dress is supposed to resemble a sunflower, and it achieves this goal nicely.  To me it also resembles a costume like a ballerina would wear.  Something like this maybe, but in a different color?  Anyway, let's get to the nitty-gritties.  The top part of Cyanne's dress is made of aqua sateen.  It has transparent rubber straps to keep it from falling down.
The waist is embellished with another plastic sunflower.
The skirt has four layers.  The top two are made of glittery yellow tulle and are cut to resemble the petals of a sunflower.
The third layer is orange tulle and has an even hem.
The bottom-most layer is a smooth orange fabric and has an even hem.
Note to parents:  Cyanne has painted orange panties underneath this dress, so you don't have to worry about her flashing her bare hiney when she bends or falls over.

For footwear Cyanne has blue knee-length knit stockings that are constantly falling down,
...and these cute shoes.
These shoes don't stay on too well, a problem common to a lot of the La Dee Da dolls I've seen in reviews.

Oh yes, there's also these!
Cute little leaf earrings that add to the flower theme.  These are removable and can be swallowed, so if you are a parent with small kids, wait a few years with these dolls.  The earrings are the only pieces of jewelry that Cyanne came with.

Cyanne comes with four accessories.  She has this booklet:
The booklet has four pages.  The first introduces Cyanne and her friends and explains the reason for the tea party theme (one of her friends got a new apartment with a rooftop garden, which served as an inspiration for the clothing).  The second page breaks down Cyanne's outfit, highlighting her favorite parts.  The third and fourth pages have instructions for a cute craft idea.

Believe it or not, the most revealing part of the book was on the back cover.
Remember earlier when I said that Cyanne's dress had a ballerina vibe to it?  It turns out that Cyanne really IS a ballerina...or at least, she was during her childhood.  That explains the appearance of the dress!

In addition to the booklet Cyanne came with this cute little teacup and saucer, both of which echo the flower motif:
And this stand.
The stand is a piece of crap, by the way.  Cyanne is so top heavy that she has a hard time standing anyway, and the "stand" does little to help.  Cyanne is usually either standing like this...
Wardrobe change!

...or like this.
Nine times out of ten she falls over after starting to tip like that.  Forget tightrope-walking, getting this doll to stand is enough of a balancing challenge!

Cyanne herself is no help, by the way.  As I mentioned above she is top heavy; she has a big head and a very small, very dainty body, so staying upright is a real chore.  The body isn't very flexible, either.  She has joints, but they're small and not particularly mobile.  Her hips are a hybrid ball and peg.  She can kick forward very well, but cannot kick back at all.
These hips also have some rotational movement.  Cyanne can turn her toes in...
...and out.
The knees are a hinge joint.  They bend almost to a right angle, but not quite.
The shoulders are your classic ball joint.  They have both lateral movement and back-and-forth movement (my particular doll has loose shoulder joints).
Cyanne and her Garden Tea Party pals each have one arm bent and one arm extended, unlike the prior La Dee Da lines.  When I saw this in the promo pics I thought "Maybe they have jointed elbows like the LIV dolls!"  They don't.  That's something of a letdown, but I can understand why these arms would not be jointed.  They're already thin enough as it is; a joint would probably not be feasible on such a small limb.

Lastly, the neck.
Cyanne can turn her head left and right but can't look up or down, which is a shame.  With those expressive eyes Cyanne could definitely benefit from a head that could tilt.

Now, extra outfits.  I love dolly clothes, and I'm eager to see how La Dee Da outfits compare to LIV outfits.  I never bothered to count how many extra outfits were made for LIV dolls, but there were a bunch.  My Daniela dolls must have over a dozen.  The La Dee Da dolls don't have that many outfits available...not yet, anyway.  Currently there are seven outfits available for Cyanne and her colorful friends...or fourteen, depending on how you count them.  Each of the outfits come with different layers, pieces, or accessories that can give the overall ensemble a new look, so one could say they're getting two outfits for the price of one.  The nautical outfit above has a red romper underneath the blue dress, for example.  It's cute, but of the four outfits I have my favorite one is the picnic-themed outfit (I took this picture before cutting her hair ornament off).
The hem has a string running through it that can be pulled tight or let out.  This changes the style of the dress.  When the string is pulled tight (see above) the dress has a bubble skirt.  When the string is untied the dress has a circle skirt.  Untying the string also reveals a line of ants along the hem.  So cute!  I would advise discretion when letting a small child play with these, though; those shoes are extremely tiny and come off easily, and the evening gown has pieces of jewelry that can also be swallowed.  Keep these outfits (and the dolls themselves) away from young children and pets.  Also keep in mind that these outfits will probably look different on another doll.  Cyanne's orange hair clashes with this pink dress somewhat, but the same dress would look terrific on a doll with pink hair (and several of these La Dee Da dolls have just that).

So...bad news and good news time.

*Cartoonish features.  There's currently a push for more realistic dolls (check out this hideous hunk of plastic that overly-realistic parents are trying to ram down our throats), and this doll is about as realistic as a three-legged unicorn.
*Very top-heavy; this doll has a big head on a small body and is thus very unstable.  If you've ever tried to balance a lollipop on its stick then you know what I'm getting at.
*The stand is very little help in keeping her upright.
*Shoes fall off.
*Low level of articulation, and the joints that do exist have a poor range of motion.  Cyanne's neck and knees could definitely use improvement.
*She feels flimsy in places.  I definitely would not subject her to my "throw-her-across-the-yard-and-see-what-happens" test.
*Not very versatile.  Cyanne is supposed to look like a sunflower, and even when she is wearing another outfit that sunflower vibe comes through.
*Not for small children.  Pieces can be swallowed or lost, and this doll can break if treated roughly.

*Nice hair.  Very smooth and silky.
*Well-painted face.  This is undoubtedly not the case with other La Dee Da dolls, but my Cyanne is nearly perfect in the face paint department.
*She's very colorful.  If I were a little kid these colors would definitely have pulled me in.
*Cute!  Not overly vampy or seductive like a lot of other modern play dolls.
*Outfits are cute, well-made, and can be changed around some.  This also applies to the extra outfits that are available for these dolls.
*She does have a stand.  It doesn't always work, but it's better than no stand at all.
*Cute little accessories.
*She sticks to the theme.  She looks like a sunflower, just as the package says she should.
*Possibilities for imaginative play.  The Toy Box Philosopher noted this when she reviewed her Dots of Style Dee.  She said she could envision some little kid pretending that these dolls are magical little fairies or sprites, and I agree with her..
*NOT PINK!!!  One of my pictures does show Cyanne in a pink outfit, but thank God, it's not the only color she and her friends wear.

So this doll isn't perfect.  She falls over easily (even with the stand), she feels a bit fragile, the shoes can fall off easily, and there are tiny accessories that can get lost, eaten, stolen, or broken.  And lastly, she's one of the LIV doll's successors.  The discontinuation of the LIV dolls left a void that's difficult to fill, and these new girls have a long way to go if they're going to fill it..  However, Cyanne and her splashy friends are fun dolls.  They're colorful, they have cute outfits, they're innocent for the most part, and they have the potential to inspire a lot of creative play.  I can easily picture a little girl picking one doll from each series and assigning different personalities and attributes to each one.  Suppose a little girl has Sunflower Burst Cyanne, City Girl Dee, Lollipop Swirl Sloane from the Sweet Party line, and Kabuki Cutie Tylie from the Runway Vacay line.  An imaginative child could cast Dee as the street-smart, real-world city girl, Sloane as an otherworldly being made out of candy, Cyanne as a sprite that lives inside a flower, and Tylie as an anime star.  Well...okay, maybe they won't get THAT creative, but you never know!  It's never safe to underestimate the imaginative abilities of a child, and these dolls could definitely help build on those skills.  Based on the pros and cons, I would recommend Sunflower Burst Cyanne to a girl between the ages of seven and eleven.  The box says "ages five and up," but if you have a five-year-old I'd hold off unless she's careful with her things.  If Cyanne didn't set your world on fire, do some shopping with your kid and see if there's a character she likes.  There are PLENTY of options to choose from.

I don't know when my next post will be, but it's already in the making.  I found something unusual at a local junk shop, and I'm chomping at the bit to share it with you.  When my eyes are healed I will post it.

Cordially Yours,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who gets to come along?

As of right now it doesn't look like I'm going to be continuing my schooling this fall.  I have LASIK surgery scheduled for the second of August and I don't know how long the recovery will be.  The clinic sent me an information packet yesterday, and I'm afraid.  I wasn't afraid until I read the disclaimers and the side effects, but now I'm very nervous about it.  Anyway, the recovery may be lengthy so I will probably be staying close to home this fall.  Add to that the fact that I don't have an apartment or a set of wheels yet, and all that equals up to a firm anchor in Malden for the next couple of months.  While I'm here I plan on getting my affairs in order, getting my bags packed and my things organized, and making some plans.

One of the things that I do want to do is decide which dolls I want to take with me.  The dorm rooms at SEMO were horrendously drab, and I ended up taking some of my girls to liven the place up.  This time around will be no exception, but I can't take ALL of them with me.  Who stays home?  Who goes with me?  Who can I live without?  Who am I so protective of that I won't even photograph?  Who can be easily replaced in the event of a theft?  Who has a place to stand in my room?  Who doesn't?  LOL, that's a lot of "who-this" and "who-that!"  Cue the guitars, LOL.  But that was what I had to ask myself.  Eventually I got it whittled down to thirteen names.  Thirteen out of the three-hundred-some-odd dolls in my group.

My Scene Nolee and Svetlana (Barbie dolls)
Back in the days when I hadn't worked out all the bugs with my watermark.  LOL

Perhaps a third of my doll collection consists of Barbie dolls, but these are the only two My Scene dolls I've ever owned.  They didn't appeal to me when they were in stores; I bought Nolee at Dollar General shortly after they were discontinued because I fell in love with her black hair.  Svetlana was a secondhand find; I found her at one of the antique marts that I frequent.  Back then that particular store carried modern dolls for reasons I'll never know.  But anyway, I bought Svetlana, combed her hair, and redressed her.  The two of them joined me at SEMO and served as conversation pieces.

Cinderella (Heritage Signature Collection)

This porcelain doll channels more of a Rapunzel vibe than a Cinderella vibe, but she has glass slippers so that leaves little doubt about her identity.  Cinderella was a Christmas present from my grandmother one year, and since I had no place to put her at home she joined Nolee, Svetlana, and me at Cape Girardeau.  She was the biggest doll I had there, and I always liked to pretend that she was supervising the activities of her smaller dolly friends.  Yes, I still like to pretend!  The year that I had her, I had plenty of reasons to want to daydream.  But let's not revisit that little nightmare.

Melody and Miss September (Barbie dolls)
Melody (left) is a redressed My Melody Barbie, and Miss September is a redressed Miss Sapphire Birthstone Beauties Barbie.  Both of these were gifts from a friend, and both have the Steffie face that I'm so fond of.  They suffer from a problem similar to Cinderella's:  my room is too crowded for them!  They have no place to stand, so they lie on top of another doll's box.  This is no way to treat dolls, especially dolls that were gifts, so they will probably come with me.

Alice in Wonderland (Madame Alexander)
This Madame Alexander #1551 Alice was a very recent gift from my mother, so perfect that she even has her hangtag on her wrist.  She resides in the box that Melody and Miss September lie on top of.  I consider her too pretty to hide away in a box, so she will be coming with me as well.

Lucy Ricardo (Mattel)
You may remember Lucy from this blog entry.  She is one of five dolls that I had up on a very high shelf in the front room.  I don't know how, but one of my cats got up on that shelf and knocked all the dolls over.  No serious damage was done, which I consider lucky since Lucy has small parts that are easily lost (the bottle, the spoon, and her shoes).  Now Lucy and her shelfmates have to sit in a curio cabinet.  This would be fine, except that the shelves are not tall enough for the dolls to stand up straight.  That won't do.

Katniss Everdeen (Mattel)
Katniss is another doll that I have reviewed, and was another of the dolls up on the shelf.  She has three arrows that could have been lost had she been knocked to the floor.

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge (Midge doll)
Midge is the third victimized shelf doll.  I have very recently reviewed her.  Her poseability and all-around cuteness make her a must-have.

Miranda and Mary (Barbie dolls)
Miranda (left) is a Pioneer Shopkeeper Barbie, and Mary is a Barbie had a Little Lamb.  They also were shelf dolls, and Miranda got the worst of it.  She did get knocked off the shelf, and one of her shoes got lost.  I have the other shoe tucked away in my pocket, but I'm still looking for the mate.  I'm not going to cry too loudly if I don't find the shoe (a lot of pioneers went barefoot anyway) but it's the principle of the thing!  I've had Miranda ever since I was eleven, and she was the first really special doll I'd received so I kept her nice.  She was perfect, nothing missing...and now those shoes are gone.  I was ready to strangle the cat, I was so ticked.  Mary's lamb also got knocked off, and I consider myself lucky that one of the dogs didn't find it and chew on it.

Heather (Seymour Mann)
She's just a tad creepy...and difficult to photograph.

Heather is a large porcelain ballerina made by the Seymour Mann company (one of my favorite companies).  She is one of the items I got during my most recent antique mall hop; we originally went in the hopes that I could walk off my kidney stone, and my mother insisted on spoiling me a little while we were there.  I ended up coming away with four dolls, and Heather is one of them.  She, like Cinderella and most of the other dolls on this list, has no place to stand and look pretty, so she'll end up coming with me as well.  I do need to get her a proper doll stand, and then she's good to go.

Sophie (Midge doll)
Sophie is my booty call.  Whenever I need a doll to photograph or model a new outfit, I get her out.  Sophie is very special to me because she has red hair and a Steffie face, and she was one of the first Steffie-faced dolls I bought.  I've also done some cosmetic work on her and photographed her in some unorthodox places.  Based on that history her presence in my apartment is not really an option.  She HAS to come.

That brings the count to thirteen dolls.  Two porcelain, one vinyl, and ten Barbie dolls.  Diverse enough to be interesting, small enough to be controllable.  Of course, I can't guarantee that I won't gather some more newcomers while I'm at Mountain Home; I did that when I was away at SEMO and I probably will again.  When I do, you can guarantee a new review.  Until then, cheers!

Yours Truly,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random stuff and a Life in the Dreamhouse Midge review

It's turning out to be one of those summers.  You probably know the type; maybe you've even experienced one.  You start off the summer with these sky-high plans, get all geared up to go through with said plans...then you sit back on your fat, lazy rear and do next to nothing.  Yep, that's been my summer.  I was supposed to get an apartment down in Mountain Home, and I was supposed to get my drivers' licence.  Did I do either of those things???  Uh...not exactly.  I've sat at home, watching television and packing on the weight (LOL).  The highlight of my summer was having a friggin' kidney stone.  July 13th was very painful, but there is a possibility that I may pass it on my own this time.  The last two times I've been sick with kidney stones, I ended up having to have surgery.  This time I may be able to get away without it, so keep me in your prayers.

Then there was Nik Wallenda, doing what he does best.
Walkin' the tightrope stretched around the world...

This year's walk was a lot more exciting (and frightening) than the Niagara Falls walk, because Nik didn't wear a tether this time (he was required to at Niagara Falls, as seen in the image above).  He spent the entire walk praying that he wouldn't fall, and I did much of the same thing.  Having watched him do stuff like this two Junes in a row, I have to wonder what will go down NEXT June!!!  LOL

There is also Sister's new boyfriend.  Oh, I didn't tell y'all about that?  Yes, Sister has a new boyfriend, he has been absolutely TERRIFIC to my sister, mother, and me.  He works at Toys R Us and was able to procure a Life in the Dreamhouse Midge for me.
This particular Midge doll is done up to resemble her character in the Barbie web series "Life in the Dreamhouse," which I know very little about.  Barbiecollectors.com has six characters listed (Barbie, Midge, Nikki, Summer, Teresa, and Raquelle) and each of them have been made into dolls.  I probably won't be getting all six of these, but seeing my childhood buddies Midge and Teresa back on Barbie's friend list is a delight.  Also entertaining to see is the Raquelle doll, whose face is molded in a smirk.  I may have to get Raquelle; according to the BC website she's supposed to be the villain of the story.  Such a character would add a bit of spice to my dominantly sugar-and-spice collection.

Alrighty, let's get this review on the road.  Here's Midge's lovely face.
She has the Steffie face, something that a lot of my favorite dolls have.  The head mold was originally for a 1970's friend of Barbie's (also named Steffie), and it has been used ever since then for numerous other Barbie friends.  In this case the mold has been modified, being bigger than normal.  Recently Mattel has been giving Barbie and her friends rather large heads, and Midge is no exception.  This inflated size may not be obvious when Midge is by herself, so here she is with Sophie (California Dream Midge).  Sophie also sports a Steffie head, but it's the "normal" size.
Midge and Sophie

Another example of this can be seen on the Traveling Twig's blog.  In her blog Heather compares a My Melody Barbie to Midge and the difference in head size can be clearly seen.  Some collectors hate this, by the way.  They aren't huge fans of what they have dubbed the "swelled heads."  I myself am ambivalent; some dolls look fine with the larger head, and some do not.

Right.  Where were we?  Oh yes, hair comes next.  Midge's hair is light red, waist-length, and slightly wavy with a deep side part.  The fibers are smooth and shiny but will tangle if mishandled (just like all other Barbie dolls).  Treat Midge's hair with respect and it'll stay looking nice.
Her bangs are also parted, and they are held in place with that product that Mattel likes to put in doll hair.  I'm not a huge fan of a lot of styling product in doll hair, so I'll probably comb that crap out.
Underneath the bangs are eyebrows, which I think look clownish.  They're just solid bands of orange paint.
They're a nice shape, though.  They're smoothly arched, not up too high or too low.  They help give Midge a pleasant, approachable expression.

Midge's eyes make me chuckle a little.  They're these enormous blue orbs, ringed with dark eyeliner and topped with rooted eyelashes.  They remind me of how the original 1963 Midge looked!  She has a bit of a vacant look that I'm not entirely in love with.  The eyes are very well painted, however.  Under the lids is a line of blue paint, suggesting a shadow.  Not something I see too often in a doll.
Midge has fairly heavy eye makeup.  It's pink near her eyes, then dark, then light and shimmery up towards the eyebrows.  It's pretty, but I'd have chosen something besides pink for the area close to the eyes.  A definite improvement over Michelle's pink eyelids, however.
It's the same shade of pink, but it looks better on Midge.  Go figure.

Midge has freckles like all good Midge dolls should.  But look very closely...
My Midge has lopsided freckles!!!  The left set is higher up on her cheek than the right set.  Not a huge deal.  After all, these are small dolls, and a lot of the Midge dolls on Flickr also have cockeyed freckles.  It also adds a touch of realism to her, since no one in this world has perfectly aligned freckles.  Just be sure to look over these in person; you never know when someone might fall asleep at the assembly line and stamp the freckles on Midge's forehead!

Lastly, those lips.  Those lovely Steffie lips.
Steffie lips look good in just about any color; here they are a matte pink, just a shade lighter than bubblegum pink.  It's an okay color, but I wish it had a bit of shine to it.  

Now to clothes.  You may recall from a couple of past posts that I'm quite fond of doll clothes, and Midge does not disappoint.  She comes with an extra outfit (as do the other members of the Dreamhouse crew).  But first things first.  Here's Midge's stock outfit.
Another of my gripes about Michelle was her top; it was just a panel of fabric sewn across the opening of her jacket.  Midge's dress and jacket are not that way, however.  They are two separate pieces, which pleases me.
The jacket is a bright cinnamon pink with white polka dots.  POLKA DOTS, FOLKS!!!  The sleeves are three-quarter length and are hemmed nicely.
The dress is constructed to look like it's a top and skirt set, but it's not.  The two pieces are sewn together, just like my LDD Beast's suit.  The top of the dress is a sparkly red fabric.
The skirt is short and has three ruffled tiers in the front.  The fabric is navy blue with pink and red roses printed on.  Each tier has a pink hem that coordinates with the roses.
Oddly, the back of the skirt is not tiered.  It is just one panel of fabric.
I'm thankful for that blue, though.  It breaks up what would've been another dominantly pink outfit.

Midge's second outfit, which she is currently wearing, is dominantly blue.  It has a very interesting combination of patterns on it.
The top of the dress is...I'd call that color cornflower blue.  It has white polka dots printed on it.  There are short frills at the armholes which I guess could be called sleeves.  
The skirt is sky blue with pink, white, and darker blue squares on it.  The squares are interlocked, making the skirt look like it's made of plaid fabric.  The hem is bubblegum pink, which coordinates with the pink cardigan.
Technically Midge could wear the cardigan with this dress...
She doesn't look too thrilled.

...but I think that would be polka dot overkill.  Yes, it is possible to overdo it with polka dots!  The cardigan also does not fit well over the shoulder frills that this blue dress has.

Midge's shoes are simple black high-heeled sandals.  They don't really match a thing she's wearing, but they don't clash either so Mattel made a smart move on that one.
These are tight, by the way, tight enough that the rubber bands are unnecessary.  I haven't even tried to take them off, the fit is so close.  Luckily Midge has small feet, and these outfits are pretty easy to get off and on, so the tight shoes do not hinder her much.  I love the style of these, too; I'd have at least tried to wear these...back during the days when I could wear high heels.

Midge is fairly well-endowed when it comes to accessories.  She has a purse and a full set of jewelry.  They're very simple, though; the purse is made out of shiny, hard pink plastic and does not open.  It does have a cute design.
Midge's jewelry is lackluster; all pieces are done in flexible gold plastic.  The earrings are cute, but they're long and sometimes catch in her hair, which I hate.  These don't come out, so I'm stuck detangling Midge's hair a lot.
The necklace is all one piece.  Stock photos suggest that this was either supposed to be a different color or have a design painted on it, but neither of these things came to be.
The bracelet has two rows of gold balls.  It fits tightly but comes off with relative ease.
That pretty much covers it for clothes, so let's move on to the body.  I'm pleased to announce that Midge is jointed, as are all the Dreamhouse dolls.  She has twelve points of articulation; everything moves but her ankles.  Her body is comparable to those of several other dolls that I have, so time to bust them out. 
Alexandria looks like she's going to eat Midge.

Alexandria (left) and Artemis (right) are both Fashionistas with articulated bodies, but they have highly dissimilar joints.  Alexandria has well-constructed hinged knees, while Artemis has the less mobile, less sturdy pegged knees.  You may recall from this blog post that Artemis came out of her box warped.  At first glance Midge appears to have a body like Artemis's, something that made me shudder.  She did dodge the warped joint bullet, but I still want to compare knees.
See how similar Midge and Artemis look?

As it turned out I didn't need to worry.  Midge has excellent mobility in those knees.  She can bend them back and rotate them as well.  She can stand bow-legged or knock-kneed.  The knock-kneed stance is particularly cute...but when she stands like that I can't shake the thought that Midge has a little secret!
What are you hiding behind your back?
"Uh, nothing!"

I can already tell you that Midge's knees are vastly better than Artemis's, but I didn't think she could beat out Alexandria.  Alexandria can bend her knees to a sharp angle and sit very well.
But check this!
Here's what they look like sitting together.
Artemis can hardly bend her knees, and Alexandria's hips splay apart like a bimbo on Quaaludes.  Midge is capable of sitting like a lady (the longer skirt helps somewhat).  Again, Alexandria doesn't look too thrilled to be bettered by this newcomer.

Now let's compare arms (I always have fun with this part).  For this one  Alexandria and Michelle will help.  Of all my girls, Alexandria has most flexible elbows and wrists, and Michelle has the stiffest.  I expected Midge to fall in between.  BUT...guess what?
At first there doesn't seem to be much difference between Alexandria and Midge, but take a gander at this!
Cue the bagpipes.

Midge can touch the top of her head.  Not well, mind you, but she CAN do it.  Alexandria and Michelle cannot.

Lastly, this.
Midge can touch her face (or her forehead, at least), and she can do so quite solidly.  Alexandria can also touch her head this way, but she can't rest her hand flatly against her forehead like Midge is doing.  She looks like she's scratching her head, in fact.  And Michelle...well, I'll let this pic speak for itself.  I had to hold Michelle in this picture, by the way; Alexandria and Midge are sitting, but Michelle can't sit in her tight skirt.  LOL, random, but I couldn't resist sharing that little tidbit!

So that settles it!  I'm surprised to report that Midge has better joints than Alexandria, one of my most flexible dolls.  The only thing she and Alexandria are equal on is the torso joint; both dolls have the same range of mobility there.  Other than that, Midge has a superb body.  The only thing that concerns me about this body is durability; joints tend to be weak points, both on dolls and on humans.  Midge doesn't feel fragile, and I could detect no signs of cracking or splitting at the joints, but then again I won't be subjecting my dolls to the abuse that little kids sometimes do.  That brings us to the bad/good part of this review.  

*Midge's expression is a little vacant.  Not too much, but enough to put off some.
*The freckles are skewed.  Again, not a huge gripe, but beware of poorly painted dolls.
*The jewelry is a bit lackluster.  Again, not a huge problem.
*Tight shoes.  That could be a source of frustration for a child.
*The flowered skirt is only tiered in the front.

*Red hair.  Enough said.
*Extra outfit!
*Outfit is very cute.  There's some pink, but there are other colors to break up the monotony.
*Tight shoes.  Yes, I'm including this in both categories.  Shoes that don't come off can frustrate a child, but not as much as shoes that constantly fall off!
*Highly detailed eyes.
*Rooted eyelashes!  Some people hate these, but I love a Barbie doll with rooted eyelashes.
*The cardigan is a separate piece, not just a top with a panel of fabric sewn in.
*The face is well painted.  The only flaw is those skewed freckles, and they add a touch of realism.
*Joints are not too loose, but not too tight either.  She feels sturdy.
*It's hard to beat that Steffie face!
*Oh yes, she also was a gift.

In other words, the good things far outnumber the bad things with this doll.  She was full of surprises, in fact.  I NEVER expected her to be able to outpose Alexandria, but she did.  I also was not expecting her face to be as pretty as it is.  When I learned that Midge had a swelled head I initially wrote her off; I couldn't picture an inflated Steffie head being attractive.  Most Steffie fans want their head mold un-fooled around with, and I'm no exception.  It took some pictures on Flickr to sway me back, and I'm certainly glad I changed my mind!  Midge is a lovely doll with long, shiny hair, beautifully painted eyes, thick, "real" eyelashes, and a fabulous body.  Add to that the fact that her clothes can be shared around with other current Barbies, something that I need to tinker around with a bit.  I'm curious to see who wears it best.  In short, if you're thinking about getting Life in the Dreamhouse Midge, I say go for it.  She's a keeper.

Lemme see...next post, next post.  It won't take two months for me to get it posted this time, I promise you that!  Let's just say that I have a move coming up, and I'm trying to decide which dolls to take with me.  I think I have it figured out, but I'm going to post it anyway.  Just for the heck of it.  I also have a new La Dee Da doll (FINALLY!!!), and I'll be doing a review on her too.  Until then, stay cool; it's still pretty hot out there!

Oh yes, here's what Midge looks like in her other outfit.  I probably should've done this earlier, but here she is.
Yours Truly,