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Thursday, December 31, 2015

On dolls and floods

As y'all may or may not know by now, the 2016 Girl of the Year was unveiled today.  Her name is Lea Clark.  She appears to be Caucasian (again) with light brown hair and a Josefina head.  She is the third, repeat, THIRD doll to have a bit of an ecological twist in her story, the other two being Kailey and Lanie.  Granted, she does like photography, which sets her apart from surfer chick Kailey and do-nothing Lanie.  But more than ever it seems like American Girl is scrabbling for ideas for their Girls of the Year.  Talolili and I discussed that a bit on Facebook earlier; we both agree that Lea is cute, and I personally am looking forward to seeing what her wardrobe will contain, but for the most part Lea feels like yet another rehash.

Grace, meanwhile, is sold out.  Some of her items are still up on American Girl's website, but Grace herself is gone.  Gone away, into the archives and into American Girl History.  May the folks who got her thoroughly enjoy her.

Regarding My Twinn, the speculation wheels are still spinning, particularly in the Facebook group that I'm a member of.  One person heard that the company is folding completely, another heard that they'll be back up by January sixth, and a third heard that they may take an extended holiday and then come back.  For reasons that I've discussed in the past, I'm inclined to think the first reason is the correct one, but I may be completely wrong.  Another bone of discussion concerned a picture that I took.
Twenty-three inches is a lot more than eighteen!  Rael is a full head taller than Xenia, and that size difference triggered the discussion.  One woman remembered a slogan that My Twinn had long ago, one that showed a Twinn next to an American Girl doll.  The text accompanying the picture proclaimed "We're heads above the competition!"  Another woman commented, "What a shame it didn't stay that way!"  I'd been sensing an air of unhappiness around the group for a day or so, so I sniffed around for the root of it...and discovered that the root was one particular woman, a lady whom I'll call Miss L, and her dolls.  Miss L bought...oh, I think she bought twenty-one of the 18-inch models in the short time they'd been available, and in that short time eighteen of the twenty-one had eyes that clouded over and/or changed color.  Brown eyes turned a funky pinkish-lavender, blue eyes turned cloudy, and it was just a mess.  It was really sad, because Miss L bought dolls with beautiful faces. 

Miss L isn't the only one, of course.  Two of Miss Emily's four dolls (Frances and Ramona) have eyes that either faded or changed completely.  Frances's eyes changed in less than a year.  BahamianAGDollLovers has a similar story to tell; she uploaded a video about her MT doll Dera on February 15th.  On December 4th she reported that Dera's eyes had turned purple.  Again, the time frame is less than a year.  My Xenia is fine so far, but quite frankly, I'm just waiting to see what happens with her eyes.  I figure it's just a matter of time before hers turn too.  I knew that it wasn't unheard of for the eyes of 23-inch models to turn, but as Rael shows it's not as widespread as it is with the 18-inch dolls.  This suggests to me that the larger dolls were of higher quality all around than the smaller ones; I know this is true of Rael.  I don't mean to put Xenia down because I like her, but Rael is superior in almost every way.  Her eyes are bright, her eyebrows are well-drawn, her body is soft, her hair is shorter and less coarse, and she poses rings around Xenia.  She poses rings around all my dolls, in fact!  Anywho, I'll keep my eyes on the My Twinn website and see what goes down, and I'll be watching Xenia as well.

As a last little dolly tidbit, I've determined that unless something very serious comes along, 2016 will be the year that I get my first ball-jointed doll...or at least, my first resin ball-jointed doll.  Ju-hwang is a ball-jointed doll, but she's made out of plastic and isn't allowed on Den of Angels.  Anywho, my doll will be the grail doll that I spoke of in a prior post, an Angel of Dream boy named Tao Huandao.  I have a story cobbled together for him (most ball-jointed doll owners have backstories for their dolls), but I'm not going to reveal it now.  LOL, gotta keep you waiting!

In non-doll news, the rainstorm that hit during Christmas dumped a crap-load of rain on the central part of the country.  Every body of water in the area, from the drainage ditches to the Mighty Mississippi, is out of its banks.  This is what it's like in Cape Girardeau, a place that I called home for part of my early adulthood.

Cape Girardeau is located right on the Mississippi River, so close that it requires a flood wall to keep the water out when the river gets high.  The wall is five hundred feet long and twenty feet high, and the side that faces the city is painted with images of famous Missourians.  Experts estimate that it would take a flood stage of 55 feet to top the wall, twelve feet above the highest flood crest recorded in Cape.  Now...that being said, notice that in the picture above the water already is at flood stage.  Cape city officials ordered the flood gate closed long ago, so as far as I know the downtown area is okay.  But if we have a bad winter with a lot of snowfall, even up north, things could get ugly.  Malden is twenty-five miles from the Mississippi River, but after the flood we had in 2011 I know anything is possible!  I need to ask Mama if we've got flood insurance...y'know, just in case.  It may never happen to us, but better safe than sorry.

I know it's already the new year for some of y'all, but I'm still watching the clock.  We've got two hours to go here in Malden.  See y'all soon, and thanks for helping make it a great year here at Confessions of a Dolly Lover.  Your comments, opinions, and input have been greatly valued.

Happy New Year,

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Day at Grandma's, part two

Sister and Brother-in-law finally made an appearance, so today we got to open presents.  The weather in Malden is horrible, so Xenia and Denise had to stay home.  I guess they'll have to meet Shirley some other time.  Grandma was ecstatic; she cheered and hugged Shirley like the long-lost friend she is.  But wait, there's more!  I also got something.
Remember when Xenia and Denise thought they heard someone in one of my boxes?  They were right.  This is a 23-inch My Twinn.  She has an Ariel head, just like Xenia does.  I knew something was up because I found her on Etsy and showed her to Mama, and then very shortly after she disappeared.  Mama says she's been here since shortly before my birthday in October.  I've chosen the name "Rael."  So now Denise and Xenia have a new friend to meet!  I won't review Rael since I feel that's looking a gift horse in the mouth.  If you want an in-depth discussion of 23-inch My Twinn dolls, see Miss Emily's post or Char's post at Doll Diaries.

In addition, Mama ordered a tie-dyed bathrobe from apriljunebug on Etsy.
The weather, as I said above, is atrocious here, and the robe is thick and hooded, so I'm using it as a coat right now!  

Unless Mama or I find a surrendered Denika on Etsy, eBay, or in a junk shop, Rael will probably be my last of these.  The company is once again shutting down, and I don't know if it's for good or if it's just temporary.  The Adopt-a-Friend page where I got Xenia is completely barren, and the items that are left over have had their prices slashed to pieces.  I'll include a link to the website (click here), but there isn't much left.  I'm sorry to see the company go (again), but I can't say it was a tremendous surprise.  The constant sales, the discontinuation of dolls Rael's size, the inactivity of the Facebook page, and the sudden disappearance of dark skin tones were all red flags.  Plus, the company has tanked twice before.  I assume that the high price and complex process of customization, declining quality, and competition from companies like American Girl are what sounded the death knell for My Twin, but that's strictly an assumption.  The scuttlebutt online is that MT wants to give it another whirl after the new year, but quite frankly, I'll believe that when I see it.  In the meantime I'll love Xenia and Rael, and I'll resolve to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas!

Merry belated Christmas and God bless,

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day at Grandma's

It's Christmas Day, always a big affair in the Moon House.  Or it usually is.  My sister and brother-in-law aren't home yet, so we're pushing back gift opening until tomorrow.  That hasn't stopped certain little snoops from getting into the packages, though.  Denise is Jewish, but that doesn't stop her from enjoying watching the rest of us open our presents.  When I told her and Xenia that a Shirley Temple doll was in one of the boxes, they started digging.  (Denise's dialogue is red, Xenia's is blue, and mine is purple.)

"Are you in there?"
No, Xenia.  That's my sister's stuff.  Shirley is in Grandma's pile.

"Which pile is hers, then?"
"Wait a minute, I hear something in that box."
"Which one?  The big striped one?
"Yeah, that's the one"
That's my pile, Xenia.  Shirley isn't there.

"Well something is in here.  I can hear it."
"Hello?  Who's in there?"


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Necessity is the mother of invention, part two

I wasn't expecting to make a second post like this, but my stupid anxiety problem reared its head again, and when I get antsy, I get crafty.  After visiting Ravelry (per a reader's very smart suggestion) I found patterns for some of the other dolls that I've got.  The last time I talked about Monster High dolls, so this post is going to be for the Bratz.  Yeah, I know that the relaunch brought some new clothing packs with it, but get this:  the new Bratz don't have the same body as the old ones do.  Based on what I've read, the new clothes don't fit the old dolls well.

The first pattern I attempted is a Sticka till Barbie pattern.  Sticka till Barbie has knitting patterns for Barbie, Bratz, and...Monchichi???  I thought Monchichi was furry enough to go around nekkid!  Anywho, this is Bratz pattern #31.  Model is Style It! Tessa.
The pattern calls for "yarn suitable for 2 mm knitting needles," so I chose this sherbet-colored wool blend, the name of which has unsurprisingly escaped my mind.  The finished product does not have a lot of stretch or drape to it, and that's proven to be a bit of a detriment because I made the dress too small.  It fits Tessa like a babydoll dress, and I think it's supposed to fall lower on her waist.  Sasha can wear it better due to her older body, but it's still a struggle to get it on her.
If I try this pattern again it will probably be with baby yarn.

This next dress is from Sticka till Barbie as well, though I can't remember which pattern it was.  Model is Style It! Maci.
The pattern called for fine-gauge yarn on size one needles, so I used Aunt Lydia's Crochet Cotton.  The results came out fine except for one slight problem:  the pattern was a Barbie pattern, not a Bratz pattern.  Apparently Aunt Lydia's stuff is a little TOO fine-gauge to suit this pattern.  So I adjusted the placement of the dress's snaps a bit and made it fit a Bratz body.  It's just a tiny bit too big on Maci, but it's hard to tell.

Next pattern is from Appletree art n crafts group knits.  Sultana Vafeiadou drafted this one.  Model is first-wave Jade.
I used sock yarn again, Red Heart Heart and Sole in "Bayou" on size one needles.  I got the gauge too tight again, not ridiculously so, but enough that it's a pain in the butt to get this on Jade.  If you knit a bit on the tight side, I recommend a size two knitting needles instead of a size one.

Fourth dress comes from Nina's At My House.  I used size four needles and I Love This Cotton! in "Sock Monkey."  Model is a budget Meygan, the one whose hair I had to cut.
This pattern is extremely easy; the only stitches required are the knit stitch and the purl stitch.  Therfore, this is an excellent pattern for a beginning knitter.  I modified the pattern to make the skirt a little fuller, and as a result this dress fits the best.  I didn't have to take in the back or bend Meygan 's arms to get the dress on.

With Monster High and Bratz out of the way, that leaves the Lalaloopsy Girls and the Equestria Girls.  My search for Lalaloopsy Girl patterns has so far been fruitless, but I did find some things to make for the Equestria Girls.  Stay tuned for a third installment of this series! 

Best wishes,

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Twinn scuttlebutt

It's been a long, difficult week for me.  The woes with the furnace triggered a nasty anxiety flare-up and I ended up back on my medicine.  I feel better now that the problem with the furnace is rectified (it needed a new filter, silly me), but it may take another day or two before I feel 100% again.  I consider myself blessed to have a patient mother and an equally patient repairman.

Alrighty, with that out of the way, dolly news time.  When I reviewed my new My Twinn doll I had my doubts about MT's longevity.  They're always having sales, they phased out the 23-inch dolls and the dark skin tones, and their Facebook page was never updated.  

Wait a minute.  WAS???  Yep, if you try to find MT's Facebook page, you get a lovely redirect page instead.  Not that it mattered much, since the page's admins never monitored any activity on there anyway.  Heck, I sent them a picture of Xenia when she arrived.  I wanted to show them that she'd gotten here in one piece and to say thanks, but I got no response whatsoever.  

The sudden disappearance of My Twinn's Facebook page doesn't prove that the company is floundering once again, but it's definitely not a good sign.  That makes me glad that I got Xenia when I did.  However, I urge y'all to take my words with a grain of salt.  I have read nothing either confirming or denying My Twinn's closure.  When and if I do, I'll post an update.

Both Talolili and I have posts in the making, so keep your eyes peeled!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Mattel's Andy Warhol Barbie

Well, it's the first day of December and Mattel has finally given us some official information regarding the next doll in their Platinum Label Series: Warhol Barbie. The doll has an edition size of 999 will retail at $100 and is supposed to go on sale on 12/3 at the Barbie Collector and The Ron Robison  sites, but strangely enough, Bloomingdale's started selling the doll days ago. She's sold out there now (of course) and I'm stumped as to how people found out about her being there so quickly. I was Googling (It's totally a real word) this Barbie nearly everyday LOL but rarely got any news. There's also unfortunately a lot of negativity surrounding the design of the doll from collectors. From her hair looking "Terrible." To the outfit and accessories not being authentic to Andy Warhol. I for one think the doll is a nice representation of Barbie paying homage to Mr. Warhol and not her actually trying to BE him. I imagine she just sees him as her role model for inspiration, to be unique and artistic.

My two main concerns are that the actual doll will look like the prototype images and that everyone who wants her will get a chance to buy her as there's so much competition for these limited dolls (scalpers ruin it for everyone). I also don't think Tokidoki or even Moschino had this sort of reaction from fans. Don't get me wrong, they had their issues, too, but I believe it was mostly aimed at how Mattel chose to sell and promote the dolls and not the actual dolls themselves. That doesn't seem to be the case with this one, though. As usual, there are even some Warhol Barbies already up on eBay but at inflated prices. Over 5x the original cost... I for one will be trying to get her on December 3rd and I wish the best of luck to all those who are after her. She's quite the interesting Barbie doll.