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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dolly Dress Discussion: Best Fashion Friend Barbie dress

Let's talk about Barbie again.  Yeah I know I could be discussing and reviewing other things, but when I get an idea for a blog I don't like to let it slip away.  Anywho, 2015 has brought a new big Barbie to stores...or so I thought.  Turns out these aren't as new as I initially thought.  But anyway, this isn't the first time Mattel has done this; in 1976 there was the eighteen-inch Supersize Barbie, and the 1990's saw My Size Barbie, who was three feet tall and could wear child-sized clothes.  I thought My Size Barbie was ugly as sin, but that's beside the point.  Today I ventured over to Wal-Mart's toy section as I often do, and I saw the Best Fashion Friend dolls.  Here's what one of them looks like.
That's right, kiddies!  Barbie, Teresa, and Nikki are all now two feet tall, so tall that they had to be laid down in the shelves they were on.  Debbie Behan Garrett at Black Doll Collecting has an excellent photo of BFF Barbie next to an old My Size Barbie, and this page shows how BFF compares to a regular doll (it's in Czech, but the images are good).  As a little aside, Miss Debbie's post is from October of LAST YEAR.  I wonder why my part of the country is always the last to get new stuff?  

So this is old news.  Why do I bring this up, you ask?  Because Mattel has released extra outfits for their extra-large poppets, that's why!  Dexter, Missour's Wal-Mart had three, and there are others available elsewhere.  I bought the one that looked the most conservative, just in case the pieces were smaller than they looked.
BFF Barbie's shoes are molded on so these outfits don't come with extra shoes of their own.  This fashion contained three pieces.  It has a fuzzy, sparkly vest, a sleeveless blue top, and a salmon-colored leopard-print skirt.  The vest sheds like mad, the skirt already has threads hanging off the hem, and the top has holes in the front from where Mattel tacked it to its packaging.  I really hate those plastic tacks; they're the same kind that you find in your doll's head when you're trying to take her out of the package, and they're the purest of all evil.  

Anyway, I bought this with the intention of trying it on some of my dolls.  American Girls are too thick in the body, but Ana Ming and Crissy are slim enough.  Crissy went first and...I'm not really sure what to think!
Maybe shoes would've helped complete the look a bit.  Crissy's frame turned out to be too lean for this outfit.  The skirt fits fine, but the top is entirely too baggy.  I had to pull it back and tuck it into the skirt in order to make the front lie flat.  It's probably just as well that the outfit doesn't fit her; I think it's too adult for a pre-teen doll like Crissy.  Ana Ming has always projected a slight air of maturity, so let's see how she does.
I'm not in love with this look either.  As with Crissy, it makes Ana Ming look...well, a bit worldly.   On a positive note, the outfit fits Ana Ming way better than it does Crissy.  I still had to smooth out the front of the top, but not as much.  The skirt's pinkish-orange tones match Ana Ming's lips, which is something I had not expected.  And as a final little touch, Ana Ming has shoes that she can wear with this outfit.

In short, I'm not terribly impressed with this outfit's construction, and it has a trampy vibe about it that doesn't suit either Crissy or Ana Ming.  However, I bought the thing, and it fits Ana Ming, so it's here to stay.  Now I'm curious about the other two outfits that I left behind; one of the tops had long sleeves which may or may not fit Ana Ming.  It'll be interesting to test out, provided I get my hands on the outfit before some little kid does!

Happy last day of August,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The return of Tokidoki Barbie

Can you believe that August is almost over already?  Usually the month seems to just crawl, but not this time!  Maybe having Mama home made it go a little faster; in years past she would have spent the early part of the month prepping for school, and the latter half teaching.  Again, not this time!  Anywho, it's been a quick month and Birthday Season is just around the corner for us.  And as in 2011, I have my eye on a certain very unusual Barbie doll.  Y'all remember this little gal, right?
I assume that you do remember her, but I could be wrong so it's time for a brief history lesson.  This is the first Tokidoki Barbie that Mattel released, and I fell in love with her as soon as the promos hit.  I loved her pink hair, I loved her Steffie face, I loved her tattoo, and I loved her Cactus Friend, Bastardino.  Then parents freaked out about her tattoo, the doll became a hot item, and she sold out before I could place an order.  Tokidoki was a Gold Label doll, meaning there were about 25,000 produced.  What galled me was the fact that most people who bought up this doll were not even collectors, but rather price gougers who thought legit collectors needed to pay more than the fifty dollars Mattel was asking for.  So I didn't get my Tokidoki Barbie then...but I may have a chance to get another one this year.  Look what Mattel's got now!
This is in honor of Tokidoki's tenth anniversary, and this time she's going to be a Black Label doll, meaning I have a chance of finding her at Wal-Mart, like I did with first-wave Katniss and several other items in my collection.  I'm going to be honest:  I don't like this doll quite as much as I did the first one.  She doesn't have a Steffie face (I'm a Steffie fan) and her dominant color is pink.  However, this doll DOES utilize a face sculpt that I don't yet have in my collection.  The sculpt is called the Karl sculpt, named after a doll that paid tribute to designer Karl Lagerfeld.  Tokidoki's spiny little comrade is also pink, and her name is Polpettina.  I liked Bastardino, but I like Polpettina better in spite of that pink.  She's not a sickeningly garish pink like most of the pink on the doll, but rather a soft, pale pink.  She reminds me of strawberry ice cream, one of my favorite treats.  Oh yes, as a final little touch, this Tokidoki Barbie also has a huge tattoo.  Pictures of the details can be seen here.

So basically this new Tokidoki Barbie is going to be just as flashy as her predecessor, but not as hard to come by.  That's good news for me, but not for those who enjoy the thrill of the chase.  For those of you who like a challenge, Mattel threw you another bone to chew on.
Apologies for the lousy quality of this picture; I had to make do with what few stock photos I could find.  Anywho, I like this sassy lassie a lot better, but guess what?  She's a Platinum Label doll, the hardest of the hard to find.  Mattel is offering her up in the form of a treasure hunt on the Barbie Collectors site, so if you want to find this doll, go to Terri Gold's page and follow her instructions (link to her post is here).  I wonder if her Cactus Friend has a special name like the other two?  His closest match on the Tokidoki website is Malandrino, but the two are far from a perfect match.  In fact, this Cactus Friend looks like he may be a cat!  I say this because Malandrino is very clearly a dog.  (UPDATE:  this black cat may be named Buddy; he looks strikingly similar to the black Cactus Cat in this video by Toy Genie Surprises.)

So there you have it.  I have another chance to own a Tokidoki Barbie, as do the other collectors out there who missed out on the first one.  Yeah, she's not the same as the old one, but beggars can't be choosers.  I'm very excited for this lovely lady's release, and as soon as I find one the rest of y'all will get a review.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Playing Dolly Doctor: Belle, Yasmin, and Barbie

Round three.  This group involves Disney Princess Belle, Bratz Kidz Yasmin, and what I think is a member of the Barbie Look gang.
It surprises me that my friend's daughter has a Bratz Kidz doll, since she was a very small child when they were available.  Oh well, her loss is my gain.  As with Merida and Yasmina, I've always wanted a Bratz Kidz doll.  I passed them up during my late teens because I was losing interest in the dolls I had by that time and I figured "Why bother?"  That's what I get for attempting to think (LOL).  Seeing the Barbie Look doll in the hands of a child chagrins me somewhat, as these dolls are meant to be for older kids and adult collectors.  On the other hand, those stiff limbs are made of some tough plastic so I guess no harm done.  I'm just glad the child didn't try to use this doll as a club!  As for Belle, well, there isn't much I can say about her.  I kept her because I liked her face, and because I like Disney Princesses.

Into THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM the trio went, and they spent a night in there.  Here's how they look now.
I want to try and replicate Yasmin's old hairstyle, because the original doll looked like this:
Or maybe she's this one!  Both dolls have frosted lips like my doll, so it's hard to tell.

Regardless of which doll my Yasmin is, I'm thrilled to have her.  The Bratz Kidz were adorable.  I think that modern-day parents take things too seriously, but I love how MGA Entertainment listened to their complaints and tried to make a creation that was less racy but still appealing.  The Kidz look the way I'd want my little girls to look, if I had little girls.

Digression over, cleaning these three up was relatively uneventful.  I've got two more dolls and a couple of heads to do (that's right, heads!), but since I've started a new job that may take awhile.  Just keep your eyes peeled.

Yours truly,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Playing Dolly Doctor: Rapunzel, Merida, and Yasmina

Since I touched on these three in my last post, I thought I'd make them the next victims of THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM.  They are, from left, Magic Night Out Yasmina Clairvoya, Rapunzel from "Tangled," and Merida from "Brave."
Rapunzel and Merida both had some crud on their faces, so they've already been washed some in this picture.  Rapunzel was fortunate enough to have her dress buried in the pile of dolls, but Merida and Yas weren't.  Naked or no, I'm thrilled to have these three aboard.  I've wanted a Merida doll ever sense the movie "Brave" came out (never mind that I've never seen it), and I love Yasmina's hair color!  Since it's short, I didn't have to put up with tangles like I did with my first-wave Meygana.  Rapunzel, on the other hand, promised to be a living nightmare.  She's got almost a foot of hair, and eleven inches of it were tangled.  Merida has curly hair, so she may only need a night in THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM to get it to behave.  I've done that with two other curly-haired Barbie dolls, and both times their curls came out perfect.  Just don't brush.  Finger-comb while the hair is slippery with conditioner, but don't brush.

Here's how these fine ladies look now.
Yasmina has a few gimmicks that made me hesitant to put her in a damp plastic bag overnight, so I just washed her hair.  Rapunzel's rat's nest required a braid to keep it under control, and I may do something even more drastic if I can't get it looking the way I want it to.  As for Merida...well, my prediction turned out to be right.  Dipping her head in some conditioner brought those curls back to life, and now she looks like she should.  I'm only sorry that I don't have a proper dress to put her in; she may get something handmade for a change of pace.

Rapunzel, however, does have a proper dress.  Don't believe me?  Take a gander!
Yes, that is a small watermelon that she's sitting on.  I wanted to be creative.  Keep your eyes peeled for my third group!

Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Playing Dolly Doctor: Catrine, Mulan, and Lagoona

Once again I find myself pushing back reviews to do something that sprung up.  What sprung up this time?  Well, my best friend has a daughter who had a ton of dolls.  This weekend she sacked up a bunch of them and gave them to me.  My job was to comb through the sack, pick out what I wanted, and then...well, she told me to throw what I didn't want away.  I didn't, and now the items in the sack are waiting to be trundled off to the local Goodwill.

Since these dolls were playthings, you can probably imagine what they look like.  Yep, their hair's a mess, their clothing is gone for the most part, and they look like they just walked into the teeth of an F4 tornado.  Anywho, I picked out what I wanted, and hereafter will be a series of posts showing before and after images of these dolls.  I kept about sixteen of the dolls, so this will take awhile.  

My first three victims for THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM are first-wave Catrine De Mew, Mulan, and second-wave Lagoona Blue.
The three dolls are in good shape for the most part, though Lagoona is missing part of one arm and her leg fins.  No worries, it'll just give her character!  I can say she got her arm bitten off by a moray eel during her last foray into the sea.  No, these girls just need some spa treatment, which is what THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM is.  THE BAG is a large Ziploc bag.  What I do is I take a doll, wash her hair with whatever I have on hand.  Since doll hair is usually plastic my choice of soap is dish soap like Dawn.  I wash their hair and bodies and I comb out the tangles.  If the tangles are bad I use a salad fork, and if they're just regular tangles I use a doll brush.  These dolls' tangles fell into the regular group, so crisis averted.  After that I put in some conditioner.  Never use the leave-in stuff; it just goms up over time and you have another mess on your hands.  After the conditioner I put the dolls inside the Ziploc bag and leave them for a few hours.  According to Doll Reader this creates a sauna-like environment so the kinks can straighten out.

Since I got a late start on this little project I left these ladies in THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM overnight.  After taking the dolls out of the bag I rinsed the conditioner out of their hair, dried them off, and combed their hair.  Air-drying took awhile, as usual.  
Mulan's hair is tied back because it's still kinked from the original style it was in, and Lagoona, like all dolls of her character, has some flyaways that I'm going to have to play with in order to control.  But for the most part that was simple and fun.  Pretty easy, right?  Well, these three weren't so bad, but the next group may not be as much fun.  I've got Rapunzel, Merida, and a Bratzillaz waiting in the wings, and all three of them will be nightmares.  Thank God that Bratzillaz doll has short hair!  LOL

Yours truly,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I've been nominated by Barb the Evil Genius to participate in this award.  Since I'm a bigmouth and I love to talk about myself, I'm going to participate!  If you don't know the rules (and you quite possibly do), you get ten questions to answer about yourself, and then you must nominate five fellow bloggers to do the same.  So...here we go!

1. Do you collect anything other than dolls?
One could safely say that I collect collections!  LOL, I collect doll clothes, rocks, knitting supplies (especially needles), and trinkets.  Most of my trinkets are tiny novelty toys and odd cast-off stuff like dried bones or bottle caps.  Go figure.  LOL 

2. Why did you start a doll blog?
I started a doll blog for a few reasons.  I have some Facebook friends who like dolls, but for the most part they've got their own hobbies.  Starting a blog seemed like a good way to meet other people who shared the same passion that I did.  It's also a great way to recommend a good doll to collectors, or to warn them about a bad one!  And of course, I did this for the sheer fun of it; I like taking the pictures and sharing my opinions and experiences.

3. Do you have one particular doll that is the favorite in your collection?

Yes, I do.  This is Astrid, from the J. Misa Porcelain company.
I don't know if she originally had another name; "Astrid" is the name I chose for her when I received her.  Astrid was a gift; I was seventeen, and my grandfather had been hospitalized.  Since I like to snoop I mosied down to the gift shop to see what they had, and Astrid was there.  My intention was merely to show her to my grandmother without asking for her, but I guess Grandma liked her too!  You can see how the story ended (LOL again).

4. Your favorite doll accessory?

I like shoes.  Shoes are often the first thing lost off of a new doll (depending on the size of the shoe), and certain sized shoes are hard to find.  So when I find a pair of doll shoes that will fit one of my girls, I go out of my way to get them.

5. Do you know exactly how many dolls you have in your collection (you don't have to tell the number of course :-) )?

I stopped counting long ago.  If I were to count every single one I think the number would come out around three hundred.  Most of them are small, so storage isn't a huge problem...yet.

6. Do you play any instruments and if so, what?

Unfortunately I'm more fond of music than I am gifted.  If I could learn any instrument in the world, I'd pick something unusual like a balalaika or a set of bagpipes.  

7. Where is your most favorite place you've ever been?

Columbus-Belmont State Park in Hickman County, Kentucky.  My father was a historian and he loved taking the family on trips to forts and other historical sites.  Columbus-Belmont was a Confederate strongpoint (don't hate), and it's close to the sites of two battles so there were a lot of graves.  I was only two or three when we went there, but I remember how beautiful the scenery was.  There were the graves and some old cannons, and even a big anchor!  For some weird reason, we never went back to Belmont, not even after I got old enough to truly appreciate it all.  My father was a superstitious type, and he had this strange fear that if we returned, there'd be some big catastrophe and we'd never make it home.  So I've never been back to Belmont, even though it's very close.  My intention is to return someday.  

8. Where would you most like to visit, that you have never visited?

I've got several places on my bucket list; the highest place on the list is Banff, Alberta, because the scenery is beautiful.  Plus, it might be a good place to learn how to ski.  I'd love to learn how to ski.

9. Is there a retired doll or doll line that you'd like to bring back?

That's a tough choice.  There are a lot of lines that I missed out on because they existed before I was born, and there are also some good ones that I DIDN'T miss out on!  If I had to pick a single line it would be the Ideal Crissy line.  The whole line was cute, dolls, clothes, concept, and all.  Their concept, hair play, is about as timeless as one can get.  I mean, what little girl doesn't like to play with hair???  Plus, since Crissy and her friends were supposed to be young children, there wouldn't be any overzealous parents harping about boobs and skimpy clothes and oversexualization.

10. If you could design your own doll, what would it look like?

I'd want her to be a blue-eyed redhead, because in real life that's a very rare combination.  She'd be about seventeen years of age and be dressed in seventies-style garb (bell-bottoms, tie-dyed shirt, the works).  She'd be a bigmouth like me and have joints all over like the LIV dolls.  And of course I'd want her to come with a ton of outfits so that little kids wouldn't have to scrounge around for clothes.

Alrighty, now it's my turn.  I present to you a few of the same questions as above, plus a couple that I made up myself.  I think that's how it works.  Anywho I nominate:

D7ana at A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures

Pandora at Pandora's Dolls
KAF FRUM at .....A little doll will do it.....
Michelle at BlytheLife.com
Rhonda F at Living A Doll's Life

To thee I present the following questions for you to answer if you choose to participate:
1. How old were you when you started collecting dolls?
2. Why did you start a doll blog?
3. Do you have one particular doll that is the favorite in your collection?
4. What hair color do you prefer your dolls to have?
5. Do you know exactly how many dolls you have in your collection (you don't have to tell the number of course :-) )?
6. What does your family think about your dolls?
7. Do you ever take your dolls out in public?  If so, where do you like to take them?
8. Do you remember your first doll?  If so, who was she/he?
9. Is there a retired doll or doll line that you'd like to bring back?
10. If you could design your own doll, what would it look like?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quick post about American Girl-related speculations

For some strange reason I always get bitten by the American Girl bug around this time of year.  Go figure, maybe it's something in the water...or the cilantro!  Anywho, back around the time that GOTY Isabelle came out, there was a petition for an American Girl with a disability.  As you may or may not recall, blonde, plain-jane Isabelle left a sour taste in the mouths of some of us here on Blogspot; Nethilia wasn't happy, Miss Emily wasn't happy, and I wasn't happy either.  I mean heck, Isabelle was cute, but she was as bland as unsweetened oatmeal!  Nothing original, not even the concept or Isabelle's pastime.  I figure that it was from the brains of other disgruntled AG fans that the petition was sprung.  By the way, if you haven't signed the petition yet and want to, it's still up and only needs 4,350 more signatures.  I'm not a tremendous fan of Change.org because they like to spam my e-mail inbox with liberal causes that I have absolutely no interest in, but every now and then they do have a cause I'm behind so I put up with the junk mail.

Why do I post all this now, you ask?  Well, this is STRICTLY A RUMOR, nothing confirmed or anything, but the scuttlebutt online is that the new 1950's girl Mary Ellen (folks have FINALLY started splitting her name) may be handicapped.  Think about it for a minute:  the 1950's saw the birth of vaccinations, but the early part of the decade was still plagued with warnings about swimming pools, March of Dimes posters (see below), and children sporting leg braces, wheelchairs, and (God forbid) iron lungs.
Yep, I'm talking about poliomyelitis, better known simply as polio, that oh-so-unpopular virus of yore (or not so yore in some parts of the world).  The virus sickened, crippled, incapacitated, and even killed its patients.  Adults occasionally come/came down with it, but polio was (and still is) largely a childhood disease.  The disease is an ancient one, but it was particularly bad here in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th Century; American Girls Samantha (1904), Nellie (1904), Rebecca (1914), Kit (1934), Ruthie (1934), Molly (1944), and Emily (1944) all lived during this time frame.  All seven managed to come out unscathed, but based on what I've been reading, Mary Ellen may not have been quite so fortunate.  Rhonda F has heard rumors that Mary Ellen sports a weak leg from her bout with polio, though like me, she cannot confirm this.  The National Catholic Register also touches on this, as do several of my fellow bloggers.  If this rumor IS true then I hope she comes with a little brace on her leg or some sort of nod towards her victory over this nasty illness.  Not that I'm glad some people have to wear braces on their legs (even today), but imagine how creative that would be!  It reminds me of the games my sister and I would play with our dolls; there was always someone that the other dolls would help out.

As another little tidbit, I heard it through the grapevine that GOTY 2016 is supposed to look a lot like Kanani, a.k.a. GOTY 2011.  Judging from the pictures that Lissie and Lilly provided, the mini doll doesn't look a thing like Kanani, who was a girl of color.  The mini doll looked...y'all ready for this?  She looked BLONDE AND BLUE-EYED!!!  I hope to our Heavenly Father that GOTY 2016 looks more like Kanani than THAT!!!  Jeez, the mini looks more like Barbie in American Girl form!  Furthermore, even if the doll does look like Kanani, guess what?  IT'S NOT ORIGINAL.  The current GOTY, Grace, looks a lot like Chrissa Maxwell from 2009.  If you don't believe me, check this out!
Grace (right) sports freckles and lip gloss, and her hair is different from Chrissa's in both style and length.  Other than that they're pretty much the same doll.  Same eyes, same skin tone, same head mold.  If Mattel is having to dip into past ideas for their GOTY dolls, then it may be time to hang up the idea completely, or let it sit for a couple of years while they come up with some new ideas.  I was hoping, since 2016 will be an election year, that maybe GOTY 2016 would be the daughter of a politician.  Since all ideas are just speculations as of right now, that could be a possibility...but I doubt it.  I'd better be careful what I wish for, though; since Mattel is out to make a buck they'd give a politically-themed doll a personality that matches what the majority claims to think.  Guess who thinks the majority is a bunch of whackadoodles?  This chick.

All information posted above is not set in stone.  Please do not take what I or my fellow bloggers have said regarding Mary Ellen and GOTY 2016 as 100% factual.  If I hear anything that is rock solid, I'll either tell you myself or link you to the info.  Until then I've got to complete a couple of reviews and give my old Felicity a date with some braid spray.

Yours truly,

CORRECTION!!!  As mentioned in the comments below, Maryellen's name is NOT split at all.  This is obvious now that Maryellen has made her debut, but I thought I'd cover my rear just in case.