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Monday, August 21, 2017

Black hole sun

This is not in any way related to dolls, but I got some neat pictures so I thought I'd share.  A band of the U.S. is experiencing a solar eclipse today, and my neck of the woods just happens to be getting the best of it right now.  Malden is out of the range of totality, but we ARE getting a partial eclipse that's just as neat.  I don't have the equipment to photograph the sun itself, but I did get some great pictures of the shadows the sun is throwing.  Here's what they looked like at 1:03 p.m., CDT.
At 1:19 I went outside again and the sky was bizarrely dark.  The shadows had narrowed quite a bit.
Totality occurred in Cape Girardeau at 1:21 p.m., CDT.  At that time the inside of my house was very dark, dark enough that had I not known an eclipse was occurring I would've looked outside for thunderclouds.  Indeed, it may storm later in our neck of the woods, but for now God has allowed the Legion of eclipse enthusiasts to view what they came for.

The moon is moving off now and the sky is lightening back up, but I must admit that even though I was not in the path of totality I still had fun with this eclipse.  God willing, I'll be around for the next one; to my delight, the next total eclipse, seven and a half years from now, is predicted to come right over Malden.  Lordy...I guess that'll mean another month fielding calls to the library about eclipse glasses.  Truthfully, 90% of the phone calls I got at the library last week were people asking for those danged glasses...which we very quickly ran out of.  Anywho, this was a lot of fun, and I hope that anyone still in the path will have fun viewing this too.  Please be extra careful with your eyes!

Much love,
RagingMoon1987

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: Ideal Kissy

Another Ideal doll???  Hey, this isn't even the last one!  Kissy is my mother's doll, and she arrived in Mama's life in 1963, at the beginning of that complicated part of childhood known as pre-adolescence.  Grandpa gently told Mama that Kissy would be the last doll she received for Christmas due to her age.  Oh yes, I remember getting a speech like that when I was the same age...only Daddy was more blunt, stating flatly that I was "too old to be asking for a Barbie" at my age.  Yeah, fun times.  I did eventually get the Barbie that I wanted, and Daddy became more accepting of my fondness for dolls, but that's for another post.  Anyway, Mama's Kissy is well-maintained and much-loved by the whole family, so what better doll to review?  Here she is.
In all my years of doll collecting, I've NEVER seen another Kissy...not in real life, anyway.  I've seen tons of them online, but not in any of the shops or flea markets I've frequented.  As I mentioned above, Kissy is an Ideal doll, and from what I understand she was fairly popular.  She was sold from 1961 to 1968 (a good run for a doll) and came in a number of sizes and variations, but all had the same gimmick.  Ideal tried to make their dolls' gimmicks fairly obvious from their names, and so it is with Kissy; if you gently press her arms together she'll pucker her lips and make a kissing sound.  Most Kissy dolls (including mine) function this way, with the sole exception being Cuddly Kissy, whose mech was activated when one gently squeezed her tummy.

Some Kissy dolls were younger babies like Cuddly Kissy is, and the last edition was modeled to look like a child of about four, but mine is designed to look like a toddler and she's sized so as well.  Here's how she compares to her Ideal comrade Crissy and to Denise, one of my American Girl dolls.
Twenty-two inches is a lot taller than eighteen, folks!  For some reason size discrepancies like this weird me out a bit; Kissy is clearly a much younger child than Crissy and Denise are, but she towers over both of them.

Regarding hair, I've seen Kissy dolls that had dark hair, but mine is a little blonde.  It's straw-colored and appropriately short, with a left side-part.
The right side has a longer hank of hair that I suspect may have held a hair ribbon or some sort of decoration like that.  Some illustrations show Kissy with a bow in her hair, so I think she may have had one.
The rooting is a little thin, and the plugs show in places.
Mama says that when Kissy was new here eyes were blue-green, and they still have a definite blue-green tinge.  I thought they'd changed over the years, but I'm wrong.  Topping the eyes are soft rooted lashes and delicate eyebrows that are a little too red to match Kissy's hair.
Moving down, Kissy has rounded, rosy baby cheeks and a slightly open cupid's bow mouth.
Notice that Kissy has a small hole molded into her mouth.
This surprised me initially since this doll is not supposed to be a drink-and-wet doll, but then I remembered that this hole probably helps her make her kissing noise.

Now to the body.  Like Crissy, Kissy has a vinyl head on a hard plastic body, and that plastic body is where the gimmick "lives," so to speak.  But that's where the similarities end.  Being a toddler, Kissy has an appropriately shaped toddler body with a rounded torso and stubby, chubby arms and legs.
She's got a few rolls of baby fat here and there like all good toddlers do, and she's got the cutest little belly.  See how it sticks out?
I love her little bellybutton!
Kissy's limbs are also appropriately shaped; she's got little fat puffs on her elbows...
...and five stubby little fingers with knuckle creases and nails molded on.
In a similar manner, Kissy has chubby little legs with dimples on her knees.
...and her feet are...surprisingly shapely for a toddler's!  Well...okay, they're squat and boxy from the side...
...but from the front it's easy to see that she's got surprisingly long toes for such a young child.  She's also got little toenails molded in.
Okay, I think I've made it loud and clear that I like the way this body is shaped, and that I think it's appropriately shaped for a doll that is supposed to depict a toddler.  However, I can't say that I love this doll's joints.  Kissy is jointed at her shoulders, hips, neck, and oddly her wrists, and all joints have a great range of motion.  Her little hands rotate due to that wrist joint.
She can sit, stand, hold her arms up, or hold them out, and unlike Crissy, she can turn her head without me breaking anything!
The problem is that these joints feel extremely loose, like they'll break if they're pushed too hard.  I have to be extremely careful about moving this doll's limbs, and I also have to be careful that she's properly balanced before setting her down, as a fall could be disastrous for this doll.  I even use extreme care when picking her up; usually I lift a doll this size under the arms, but in Kissy's case I don't want to stress those shoulder joints any so I have to get her by the waist.  That's not easy to do because my hands are small and Kissy's waist is wide.

Regarding clothes, Kissy is another one of those dolls that's a special shape, but don't have to worry terribly about dressing difficulties for a number of reasons.  One of those reasons is that this particular doll has most of her original outfit.
Kissy's shoes are currently MIA but very much alive, as I've merely stored them somewhere and have forgotten where.  They're mixed in with my doll clothes though.  I know that much.  Kissy also had a hat but that piece IS gone and was long gone before I even knew who Kissy was.  The hat that she now wears is one of my old hats, probably dating back to the Cherry Merry Muffin days or longer.  Otherwise Kissy's outfit is complete, and that's a fairly easy feat since her outfit is a one-piece romper anyway.  Kissy's romper is made up largely of red and white gingham.
The sleeves are little cap sleeves and should be puffy, but I think they've been laundered a few too many times to puff out much.
The armholes are trimmed with delicate white lace that has remained in good condition over the years.
The bodice has a white collar that is trimmed with the same lace.  I have trouble getting this to lie flat sometimes.
At the waist are these two white flaps...I'm not sure what they're for, unless they're just there to look cute.  Each flap is topped with a single red button.
In back these flaps taper off into ribbons, which tie to make a sash.  These too are a little tired and could do with a light ironing.
Also at the waistline is something that I either never noticed before, or noticed and forgot.  This ribbon looks like just a wadded-up strand of ribbon...
...but when I unfolded it I discovered (rediscovered?) that it serves as a name tag!
Below the waistline the bodice flares out, creating an illusion that this outfit is two pieces.  This effect is enhanced by a white lace-trimmed ruffle.
Under this ruffle lie some little attached...bloomers?  Shorts?  Balloon britches?  Either way these bottoms are constructed similarly to the sleeves, being puffy, gathered at the legholes, and trimmed with lace.
I'm not sure if these were supposed to be fitted, but if they were, then they need new elastic.

The back of the romper opens up and is held shut with three stainless steel snaps.  The loose fit of the garment can be adjusted with the sash.
Ideal was good about releasing sizeable wardrobes for their dolls, and Kissy did have some extra outfits available...but I've never seen them, online or in person.  Despite her large size, her age, and my inability to find factory-made clothes, Kissy is not a hard doll to redress if one chooses to, provided one knows what size clothing to shop for!  As suggested above, Kissy can wear stuff for human babies, but getting the correct size makes all the difference between looking cute and looking comical.  The two pictures below show my attempts to buy clothes for my dolly.  The first image shows Kissy in an outfit sized for a one-year-old.
Children today might get more excited over characters from Frozen, Cars, or Dora the Explorer, but for me, it's all about Winnie-the-Pooh, Big Bird, Charlie Brown, and Bugs Bunny.  See Pooh and Piglet? 
Ahem...where was I?  Yeah, despite Kissy being built similarly to an older baby, she isn't the same size as one, and this outfit is WAY too big for her.  It's impossible to see her cute little leggings, in fact.  If she were a real little girl I'd just say "No biggie, she can grow into it," and toss it into the closet for a month, but Kissy is NOT a real little girl so I can't do that.

Lemonade from lemons, though.  Poppy Elizabeth, my biggest Cabbage Patch Kid, can wear the one-year outfit without it looking too stupid.  It's still a little bit too big, but Cabbage Patch Kids are goofy-looking anyway so no problem.
Further, Kissy can wear Poppy's onesie, which has one of my favorite critters on it:  frogs. 
It's sized for a six-month-old and is thus still a little roomy, but the fit is better.  Besides, who likes to sleep in too-tight pajamas???  Still, it would probably be wise to at least try another size smaller.  I don't mind experimenting on the smaller end of the spectrum because if a zero-to-three-month outfit proves to be TOO small, Sally the Creepy Baby can wear it.  Here's the Winnie-the-Pooh outfit again, because I want that to work sooooo bad for Kissy!
I couldn't find this outfit in a zero-to-three-month size, so I got a three-to-six-month sized outfit instead.  The fit is not perfect, but it's not as ridiculous as the one-year outfit.  There are other options too, if one doesn't care for the hit-and-miss sizes and styles of baby clothing.  Jan's Doll Closet has several cute dresses for the various sizes of Kissy doll, including a few that have her name on the bodice, and a few in yellow, and a few with polka dots.  There's even a replica of Kissy's original outfit!

Time to wrap it up, and this is one of those times where I can't muster up much criticism.  My main problem with Kissy is that she's fragile, more so than most of my other vintage dolls.  I'm not sure how these joints are attached, but the connection is fairly loose and I have to be careful with how I pose this doll.  Otherwise Kissy is a great doll.  Her mech still works, her eyes are bright, her paint is nice, and she's fairly easy to dress.  She's a very pleasant doll to own, and I'm glad Mama kept her nice.

Love,
RagingMoon1987

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lil Outrageous Littles review

As I noted two days ago, our local stores got their new stock in and got a whole slew of new stuff for the shelves.  One of the lines now present is the Lil Outrageous Littles line.  Lil Outrageous Littles (appropriately shortened to LOL) are made by the one and only MGA Entertainment and bear a passing resemblance to the long-defunct Bratz Babyz.  They have been fairly popular, enough so that some stores have been placing a one-per-person limit on them.  I've seen several reviews already, and now it's my turn to take a crack at this.  I got one of the larger pods and one of the smaller ones as well.
The larger pods hold seven surprises inside and the small ones have five, each surprise being concealed by a layer of cellophane.  The back of the pod shows what I get.
These were fairly pricey, by the way; the larger pods were almost seven bucks and the little ones were five bucks.  I guess I'll figure out soon enough if it was money well-spent or if I should've left these alone and grabbed some more Sparkle Girlz clothes.  I'm going to tackle the big one first, the one that has the most to offer and the most to potentially disappoint.  Notice that the front of the pod says there are over thirty-five of these to collect.  I don't think I want to go that far!
The bar code is a baby bottle!
Also noteworthy is the first perforation; it's printed like a zipper.
Alright, enough stalling.  The first layer revealed this slip of paper with a secret message.
Hmm...angel face, magnet, and purple devil face...I admit that I had to cheat to figure this one out.  In case some of y'all have to too, here's what it says.
Too true!  Second layer now.  It too is marked with a zipper (as are all the perforations), and the pod underneath is starting to show...
...or is it?  Maybe the inner cello layers are pink.  We'll find out.  Under THIS layer are these stickers.
These are self-explanatory.  Feed or bathe the doll, reveal one of four gimmicks.  I'll either have a mini-Gene Simmons, a kid that needs its butt busted, one that wets, or a squallbag.  Yet another spin on the old drink-and-wet gimmick, I see.  Pretty cool.

The inner cellophane is indeed pink, along with a baby begging me to free her.
She also insists that she can grant wishes.
Alright then, kid.  I wish for a million bucks!  Moving on, the next layer revealed part of the pod (which is indeed pink), and with it, a compartment holding a baggie.
Polka dots!  The baggie held this, a good-sized baby bottle.
This bottle looks more like an insulated coffee mug than a bottle.  It's made of soft magenta vinyl and has black and pink details painted on.  Very cute!

The next layer of cellophane has the opposites that I think the secret message was talking about.
Challenge accepted, Small Lady.  Next layer revealed another compartment with another polka-dot bag.
I think this one holds the shoes.  And...
...SHA-ZOWIE!  Magenta boots with black laces, molded seams, and simple little treads.

Last bit of cello has a very posh Little.
It's hiding a final exterior compartment.
The compartment in turn is hiding a small outfit, painted in the same color scheme as the shoes and bottle.
Of all the colors under the sun, I had to get a doll dressed in pink.  Oh well, can't be helped.  So here's my ball of confusion, fully unwrapped and ready to be opened.
Here's the sight that greeted me when I did pop open that ball.
The lower half of the pod is a little living room area, and the upper half holds more stuff.  Here's all that stuff spread out.
The pink arch-shaped thing is a handle for the pod, to allow it to double as a carrying case, and one of the leaflets is a set of instructions.  The other leaflet is a checklist, so I hopped on there to see if I could identify my doll by matching the outfit.  I was able to, but let's open up everything else first and see if y'all can figure out what the theme is.  The smaller baggie is a good clue, as it holds an accessory (little pink devil horns).
Finally...here's the doll.  She's not the genie, so I don't guess I'm going to get my million bucks.
Looks like I'm about to find that the simple life ain't so simple.  When I get her clothes on it becomes obvious that she is Spice, the little devil doll who dared me to open the pod on the fourth layer of cello.  See?  
The checklist divides these dolls into subcategories (just like my other blind bags), with the categories being Popular, Fancy, Rare, Ultra-Rare, and "On My Way."  Spice is marked with a blue circle, meaning that she's "popular."  Any of these dolls can have any of the gimmicks, meaning that one of y'all might get a Spice who pees, while I got a Spice that cries.  Hmm...why do I suddenly want to sing the Betsy Wetsy jingle (linked video is rated PG-13 for innuendos)? LOL, anyway, my particular doll cries.  See the hole in her pupil?
Her PUPIL???  We don't cry from our pupils!!!  I have to submerge this head in order to fill it, by the way; the bottle mouth is apparently only an open hole if the doll pees or spits.  Now to the nitty-gritties:  Spice is three inches tall, so the "little" label is accurate.  Her body is made of hard plastic, while her head is soft vinyl and is detachable. 
All of these bodies can pee, by the way.  See the hole in the neck?  
If I wanted to drill out holes in Spice's mouth and neck socket I could modify her into a peeing doll...but I don't think I want to do that.  A doll that shoots water from her pupils is enough for me.

Spice's hair is painted black and is molded into a high ponytail.
Her mastoid processes (the bony bumps behind the ears) have little notches in them to accommodate the devil horns headband.
I've learned that these dolls can have sloppy paint, but Spice appears to have dodged that bullet, as her eyes, mouth, and eyebrows are all painted without any glaring foibles.  Oh sure, she's got some speckles around her hairline, but noting super obvious.  Notice that she has pink eyebrows and blue eyes.
She looks quite a bit like the modern-day Littlest Pet Shop figurines with those goofy doe eyes.
Theoretically Spice's pudgy little baby body should have five points of articulation (shoulders, hips, neck), but motion is only great in the neck.
Spice's arms don't move much at all, and while her legs do move enough to allow her to sit, they make the slots in her outfit gape badly.  If Spice had any panties or a diaper on that wouldn't be a problem...but she doesn't, and I wish she did.  I see a bad moon rising.
Spice's tights are painted on, by the way.  Not my favorite method of putting on clothes, but I can't think of a better way in this case.

I think that covers the doll, so let's look at the now-empty pod.  It has various textures on its exterior, patterns that I have to line up if I want the pod closed again.  The interior of the bottom half is molded to look like a crash pad, complete with holder for that bottle...
...while the top half has a molded water line, complete with bubbles and a rubber duck.  Obviously it's meant to be a bathtub.
The bottom of the pod, the plastic cap that covered one of the surprise compartments, serves as a tray of sorts, similar to what one might see on a high chair.  It's molded with a single piece of pizza and some popular abbreviations.  LOL is visible at the bottom edge, and to the right IDK is visible as well.  I think I can also see an OMG on the left.
Miss Emily had trouble getting her tray to fit over the doll, but I've discovered that if I turn the doll around so she's sitting on the edge of her cushion, the tray fits fine.
Finally, the very top of the pod has a feet-shaped hole.
This serves as a stand, and it works very well.
If I pack everything very carefully, Spice and all her accessories will fit inside the pod so I can make use of that carrying case.  That function works surprisingly well; once I have the pod properly lined up and snapped shut, it stays shut.

Now that y'all have seen what the larger of these dolls are like, let's look at the so-called "Lil Sisters."  These have five surprises rather than seven, and their wrapping is the same as that of the bigger dolls, so I'm just going to peel that plastic off.  The pod is a smaller clone of the large pod, right down to the shade of pink used.
Here's the two "external surprises," as I've started calling them.  I got another message and another sticker.  The message is no secret to me because I've seen it on another blog.  Here it is for you viewers at home.
You thought that I would need a crystal ball to see right through the haze!  LOL, more song references!  Anywho, this one consists of the aforementioned crystal ball and a star.  Here's the answer if you're stumped.
Sometimes these are hard to figure out, but they sure are fun, nonetheless.  I have seen this one though, so that makes me wonder if the Little inside is one I've seen reviewed.  Now here's the sticker, the same sticker that all the Lil Sisters come with.
Bathe her and see a surprise.  Only some of the larger Littles come with the change color gimmick, but all of the Lil Sisters do.  The effect does vary from doll to doll, and once I opened the first accessory I knew what my doll would have stamped on her...for this is a crown, and accessory that I saw on Miss Emily's blog.
The other baggie contained a blue pair of shoes, which I already know will be too large for the Little inside.  Like Spice's shoes, they've got nice painted and molded details.
Now, time to reveal my Lil Sister, who will be adorable.  She's the sublimely smug Lil Miss Baby.
Lil Miss Baby is the younger sibling of another Little that I've never seen named Miss Baby.  Miss Baby appears to have a pageant theme, so it would make sense that Lil Miss Baby does too.  Looks like she just won Ultimate Grand Supreme, with that huge crown and that equally big grin.
As I noted above, Lil Miss Baby's accessory shoes are too big.  They're supposed to fit the larger Littles, but this blue doesn't match Spice's outfit well.
They match her eyes though, so I guess I could make this work.  But then I looked inside the shoes and saw these little depressions.  See them?
These depressions are the same size as Baby's dinky little feet.  With a little maneuvering and gentle pressing I was able to get these shoes to go on and stay on.  So these shoes could be for either size doll.  Spice's shoes have these same little dents, so these children could share shoes if I wanted them to.  The crown also requires a little bit of work to put on, but it fits Baby better than the shoes do.
Unfortunately those shoes are going to have to come off again so I can look at Baby more closely.  Baby is quite a bit smaller than Spice, at 1.75 inches tall.  She is only articulated at the neck and can thus tip her head in all directions. 
These Lil Sisters come in a few different poses, but Baby is standing in a similar position to Spice.  She wears a blue diaper, which is a step up from the nothing that Spice and the other dolls her size have.
Baby's diaper is where the gimmick lives.  Run cold water on this and a little white fleur-de-lis is supposed to appear.  I couldn't get this to work well enough for pictures, but Baby does have a subtle fleur-de-lis shape stamped on her tooshie so I know it's there.

That leaves the head, I believe.  Baby's head is made of vinyl like Spice's, but not as soft.  Her features are molded and painted on and though simple, they're full of personality.  Baby's eyes are molded shut and her tiny pink mouth is done in a laughing expression. 
Her hair is brown and is styled into a braided updo, very pageant-worthy.
Oh yes, I also got this.
Believe it or not, this pod can be made into a rather cumbersome keychain.  This feature holds keys, but I'd hate to attach this keychain to my lanyard!  The chain makes a good handle, but I wish it had been left out and replaced with a real handle like the bigger pod has.  The onterior of the small pod is humdrum, just a couple of cushions.
Now, let's take a look at these two together.  While they're obviously not sisters, they certainly do make a cute pair.
Hot or not?  Do these little dollies make the grade for me?  Would I recommend them to a child?

BAD
*Pricey, especially for blind bags
*Stiff; the larger dolls have very tight joints and the smaller dolls have none but the neck.
*Paint can be iffy; Spice and Baby dodged that bullet, but not all of them will.
*Small pieces can be swallowed or choked on.  Do not give these to small children.
*Packaging, while clever, can be a bit hard to deal with; some of the layers stuck together.
*First two surprises are throwaways.
*Clothing hangs open in the back.

GOOD
*Original.  I've never seen a mass-produced toy presented like this before.
*Cute, if a little goofy.
*Sturdy, though I'd take all accessories off before subjecting either doll to my throw-the-doll-across-the-yard-and-see-what-happens test.
*Play value is surprisingly high for such a small figure; clothes and accessories can be shared.
*Pods double as homes and carrying cases instead of needing to be pitched.
*Colorful!  I got one doll that's dressed in pink, but this line isn't drowning in the pink like some lines do.
*The surprise element of this toy is fabulous...until one tarts getting a lot of duplicates, that is. 
*There's a certain amount of mixing and matching possible with these.
*Good replacements for the Bratz Babyz, for those out there who might like the Babyz. 

These are cute, not question about that, and I can see why they're popular.  Indeed, I want to try my hand at these again as soon as I can.  These are not appropriate for small children though, and they're fairly expensive for such a small item.  One DOES get one's money worth out of these through the surprise element and the cute toy inside, but I'd still wait until a good sale, especially if anyone is wanting to buy several of these at once...if that's even allowed at a store near y'all!  I was able to grab two at once, but as I said above some stores are imposing a one-per-person limit.  I think I said that somewhere above...heck, I can't remember anymore.  See y'all tomorrow. 

Hearts,
RagingMoon1987