Looking for something?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: Glori and Longlocks, Dawn's friends

Over the past few weeks my Longlocks doll has been popping up quite a bit, so now it's time to shift my attention to a toy company that I've not yet talked about.  Longlocks is one of the many friends of Dawn, a six-inch fashion doll created by Topper Toys.  Dawn was introduced in 1970, outsold Barbie for a brief period, inspired numerous clones (Palitoy's Pippa is the most remembered of these), and by 1973 she was gone, felled by Topper's going out of business.  My little Longlocks has seen a long, hard life of use and abuse at the hands of children, and she was a free gift with a purchase anyway so reviewing her doesn't seem very fair.  So I got a Glori doll to compare her to.  Don't ask how my twisted mind works.
Glori is another friend of Dawn's, being a member of the "Original Four," as the first four girls are sometimes called.  The Original Four consisted of blonde, blue-eyed Dawn, brown-eyed brunette Angie, green-eyed redhead Glori, and African-American Dale.  As the series progressed more friends were added, including three boys (Gary, Van, and Ron), a set of majorettes that were super cute, a handful of fashion models, and a ton of clothes.

I did say I wouldn't fully review Longlocks, but she will be popping in and out to compare hair, facepaint, and body shape.  Believe it or not, these dolls occasionally had different bodies, and we may get to see an example of that, but for now let's look at Glori.
Like Barbie, the Topper dolls had various head molds, though they didn't vary in expression like Barbie's friends' heads did.  Glori's mold was most commonly numbered "K11," and that's the mark my doll has.
Longlocks' head could be marked with either an H17 or a P17; mine has the former.
Both Glori and Longlocks have soft, smooth hair in relatively good condition, but individual hairs have a mind of their own.  Glori's rogue strands are particularly annoying because they want to fly right in her face.
Some areas of these dolls' heads are thinly rooted, though that's not terribly noticeable on a doll of such a small scale.
Glori has bangs and Longlocks does not, though neither doll had a set style.  There are Glori dolls without bangs, but mine has 'em.  Most K11 dolls do.
I can only imagine what it must've been like to paint such tiny faces.  Both Glori and Longlocks have simple brown one-line eyebrows that can vary a lot in position.  Notice that Glori's eyebrows are higher than Longlocks' are.
Y'all know something?  Those thick eyelashes are a little creepy!  I'll bet y'all a million bucks that my sister would absolutely hate these.  Ahem...where was I?  Underneath the eyelashes are painted eyes.  Glori's are grass green and are looking to her left, while Longlocks' are sky blue and looking to her right.  Both dolls have dusky blue eyeshadow, with Glori's being more obvious.  Glori is missing a few eyelashes in her left eye, and said left eye is painted askew, making her look slightly drunk.  It's possible to see the detail that was attempted with these eyes, though; notice that Glori's right eye has a small light cluster.
Both dolls have dainty noses and thin baby-pink lips that curve up into a calm smile.  Glori's lip paint is paler, though I'm unsure if she was painted like this or if she's faded over time.  I doubt the latter since her eyeshadow is still intact, but uneven fading can and does occur with dolls.  Barbie dolls with lemon-colored lips are testament to that.

Not visible in the picture above are ears.  The dolls have flat little ears with no earrings or holes for earrings.  Earrings would've been a cute little touch, but that would've been tricky to do on such a small scale.
Much to my surprise, these dolls have a lot of variation in their bodies.  Some are heavier than others with larger bottoms, wider hips, and thicker legs, while others have visible navels, collarbones, or nipples.  These differences weren't/aren't drastic enough to prevent clothes sharing, but they're noticeable to those who know what they're looking for.  Sometimes this difference in size factors into the way a doll ages, and here is where the story gets a little interesting.  Wikipedia (not the best source) claims that dolls with thicker legs have knees that turn green, while the Dawn Doll Archive attests that it's the dolls with slimmer legs that get green knees.  I find it hard to believe that I'll get two dolls with drastically different bodies given my short time collecting, but if I do then I may be able to tell which site is accurate.
Glori and Longlocks DO have some differences, but let's talk the things these dolls have in common first.  Both have necks that swivel but don't tip.
I like necks that can tip, but with a doll this small a tipping neck would've been pretty tricky.  The shoulders and hips are similar; they swing back and forth but not outwards.  Longlocks' joints are very loose, which I understand is normal for a well-used doll.
Neither doll has collarbones, nipples, or navels, that's for certain.  Both dolls have twist waists, but for reasons I'll never know, the waist joints are set at a slant.
I've seen Barbie clones with slanted waists, but never brand-name dolls like this!  There's got to be a rhyme or reason for it.  Maybe it's to make these dolls look like they're dancing?
No, that's definitely not it.  Maybe it's...oops, I forgot arms!  Go figure on the waists.
Both dolls have the same basic mold with straight elbows and five fingers.  However, Glori's hands appear to be wider and slightly less well-molded than Longlocks' hands.

Now below the waist.  When Glori arrived I thought that she had thicker legs than Longlocks did...and indeed she does.
According to the Dawn Doll Archive this would mean that Longlocks should have green knees...but she doesn't.  Glori does.  It's not a nasty dark shade of green like some corrosion-damaged dolls have, but it IS visible, particularly on the left knee (seen below).
Okay, so one of my dolls has knee stains and one doesn't.  Not a huge deal since even NRFB dolls get green knees.  I should probably also point out that neither of my dolls have a single knee that can hold a pose.  Apparently the joints were not only bad about turning green, but they also broke easily.  Now that that's out of the way, let's look briefly at the sculpting of the lower leg.
Glori's legs may be a micron or two thicker, but aside from Longlocks' rather prominant chew marks (one of which I had to mend with Super Glue) there's not a lot to say.  They both have shapely little calves and dainty feet.  The feet have holes in them to accomodate the stands that these dolls once wore.
Regarding clothes, Glori came in part of an outfit called "Sock it to Me."  It is missing its pink shoes and pink tights.
The seller warned that the closures needed mending, and they do.  Easy fix.  The rest of the dress is in great shape.  It needs washing, but otherwise the fabric is very robust.  It's got an appropriately retro paint blotch print, plus two beads on the back that would have accommodated loops of elastic to hold the dress closed.
Longlocks' raincoat ("City Slicker") has this same problem with elastic.
Like I said, it's an easy fix.  Otherswise these tiny outfits are extremely well made.  The hems are all fixed...
...as are the seams.  The seams on Sock it to Me are a little ragged, but nothing is threatening to come apart.
The front of Longlocks' raincoat even has little chains on the front.
On such tiny outfits the hems can be problematic, especially on outfits with stiff fabric like City Slicker does.  Thus the coat can look a little bulky on Longlocks' tiny frame, but not ridiculously so.  Raincoats always look a little bulky anyway.

Of the two pairs of shoes I have for these dolls, the only pair made by Topper are Longlocks' pink rain boots.  Needless to say they fit perfectly, and they too have holes in the soles to accommodate the pegs on the doll stand.
The other pair is handmade by FashionDollStuff, and Etsy store that specializes in sparkly doll shoes.  Longlocks usually wears these.
I have no idea how this lady puts these shoes together and I probably SHOULDN'T know for her sake, but they're cute shoes, cute enough that I ordered another pair for Glori.  Hers will be hot pink closed-toed heels, and hopefully they'll match her dress.  If you like these shoes but aren't a Dawn fan, no worries!  There are other options to choose from.

In addition to the FashionDollStuff shoes and the Topper dresses I've got two crocheted dresses from another Etsy shop called Bender's Vintage Rose.
Christmas gown for Glori, blue ballgown for Longlocks.  The Christmas gown has a white tulle underskirt.
The blue gown came with a sparkly blue wrap...
...and an underskirt made of the same fabric.
This fabric is pretty and has good drape, but I'm terrified that it'll ravel.  It's very loosely woven, and such a fabric is difficult to hem.
The wrap does have a hem that is holding up very well, but the same hem would've added a lot of bulk to the skirt.
The backs of both dresses fasten with snaps.
The front of the Christmas gown has a large-for-this-doll white poinsettia sewn on that adds a nice seasonal touch.
Since these are small crocheted items there are a few loose ends poking out in places.  Not many, but a few.  This one is the only one I could find that's clear enough to photograph.
Overall these are cute, well-made little dresses, but they deserve a little extra care when being put on or taken off a doll.

The dress that Longlocks wore for part of the review was made by me.  It's my first stab at making a Dawn-sized outfit.
I'm not thrilled with the result, but it covers Longlocks' nakedness when she's not wearing the other outfits.  The gauge is way out of scale for such a small doll, and the shoulder straps are bulky.  If I attempt this pattern again I'll use a finer yarn.

Good stuff/bad stuff time!

*Hair is thin in places and a little frizzy, both probably due to age.
*Glori's eyes are wonky. 
*Eyes are a little creepy, due in part to the thick eyelashes.
*Joints are loose, though again that's to be expected from Dawn dolls this age.
*Knees are broken and in Glori's case, turning green.
*Elastic on clothes wears out.
*The dolls' small size likely means that shoes and other accessories were easily lost.

*Longlocks escaped errant paint, and Glori's paint is mostly good except for that eye.
*Well molded.  I don't always comment on that, but these dolls are so tiny they had to have been hard to mold into shape.
*Interesting body variations.  I didn't get a doll with a navel, nipples, or collarbones, but I did get two that are different below the waist.
*Fairly sturdy, especially for such a small toy.
*Clothes are cute and well-made.
*Given these dolls' past popularity, it's easy to find handmade stuff for them.
*Can share clothes with multiple other small dolls of the era, like Pippa and Mattel's Rock Flowers.
*Perfect props for ball-jointed dolls and American Girl, if you're into that.

I'm not entirely surprised that these dolls were popular given their tiny size, which allowed them to fit into a pocket or the palm of someone's hand.  Plus, they had everything Barbie had for a fraction of the size, and probably a fraction of the cost too.  Not that Glori and Longlocks don't have their problems.  Most of my particular dolls' problems are related to age, or to little brats abusing their toys (again), or due to my own tendency to nitpick, but the weak knees are a problem that Topper needed to rectify.  Maybe they did attempt to rectify said problem; maybe that's why they tinkered around with different body shapes.  If that's the case, then it unfortunately didn't work.  Both of my dolls have broken knees, but that's really the only problem that these dolls had straight out of the factory.  So...my verdict?  These are worth the effort if you're interested in seeking one out.  They're not hard to find; eBay has plenty, and Etsy has several as well, including some that are customized.  The customized ones are pretty pricey, but as is they're usually not very expensive.  If you're more into big dolls, these will still make good props for the bigger dolls.

Regarding my family, Mama is continuing to recover, and her first post-op checkup is tomorrow.  I have another Dolly Dress Discussion waiting in the wings, so I'll fill y'all in with what the doctor says then.  However, Grandma is continuing to weaken; she cut her leg while trying to get into the library yesterday (which was an effort even without the bloodshed), and she happened to do this in front of her/my/our boss.  She told Boss Lady that she was quitting right then and there, and Boss in turn gave me Grandma's old position.  So an era came to an end yesterday; no more of me running into the library to kiss Grandma and drop off some sort of food item or magazine.  At the same time a new era has been born...one which I'm very nervous about.  For now I am head librarian at Malden Library, something that I don't have a lot of experience in.  Running Campbell wasn't a huge deal because it was a fairly small library, and Holcomb's library had almost no patrons at all, but Malden's library is big and busy.  I do have one coworker who is willing to teach me the ropes, and my boss is being very kind about the whole mess, but I'm still nervous.  Time will tell how well I do.

Much love,

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dolly Dress Discussion: Barbie and the Beat outfit

Remember when I said I'd find a special outfit for my old Dee Dee doll to wear?  Well, I found it.  The box was too beat up to photograph well, so I won't show that, but the outfit itself made it here okay.  It's a Barbie and the Beat outfit dating from the early nineties; I would've loved to have found a Barbie and the Rockers outfit (Dee Dee is a second-wave Rocker), but the only one available for a reasonable price was this one, and I think it's hideous.  The box showed Midge modelling this outfit so I think this was intended to be for her.  However, I'm giving this outfit to Dee Dee, because it matches her gloriously fiery eyeshadow.
I love Dee Dee's face paint and am thus always trying to find outfits that will compliment it.  Thus why I chose Midge's orange outfit over Christie's blue outfit.  But y'all don't get to see this puppy on Dee Dee yet, because I've got to review it!  As with the United Colors of Benetton review, I'll be making frequent references back to older Dolly Dress Discussions, with Shani and Yue-Sai making sporadic appearances as this post progresses.  So here's this bad boy deboxed.
Four main pieces plus shoes, the same as Shani's four plus shoes, but less than the highly accessorized Benetton outfit.  The style is pretty dated, much more so than either Shani's outfit or the Benetton outfit.  This is not terribly unlike something Jem and the Holograms would've worn, which flummoxes me a little.  Jem had already been cancelled by the time Barbie formed the Beat, and the Beat was her third foray into the not-always-glamorous rock scene.  The Rockers were first, then the Sensations, and then the Beat.  There was also a Dance Club line in there somewhere; I'm not sure if they were a band or just a group of friends that liked to go dancing.  Anyway, the Beat line came with six outfits (I managed to get a semi-decent picture of the back of the box to show y'all this), and they had a neat feature that the Rockers and the Sensations neglected to do.  See if you can figure out what that feature is by looking at the picture.
The words "GLOW IN" are visible at the top of the picture, which should provide a clue.  Yep, these little outfits have paint patches that glow in the dark!  Some of the outfits have more and some have less.  Barbie's outfit in the center of the bottom row has the most, while my outfit is one of the more sparsely painted sets.  No biggie, it's a treat to have anything glow-in-the-dark at all!

Since we just discussed glow-in-the-dark stuff, why not start with the outfit piece that actually glows:  the overshirt.
The overshirt is this unusual acid-washed combination of dark blue and orange.  This material feels very tough and durable, and indeed it has no stretch to it.
The sleeves are fitted full-length sleeves with Day-Glo yellow lace trimming the top length.
The front of the shirt has a panel sewn on that looks like a pocket.  It's not a pocket though, but rather a patch that has the glow-in-the-dark paint on it.  There are glowing polka dots, hearts, and stars of varying sizes on this panel, plus these same shapes in pink and gold glitter.
As y'all can see from the somewhat crummy picture below, the yellow paint does indeed glow in the dark.
The back of the shirt closes in the usual way, with a strip of Velcro.
The interior seams are not quite as nice as the seams on Shani's outfit or the Benetton outfit.  They're sturdy, but they're also a little ragged.  This seam also has the tag.
It's a very fitted top, but not too too tight to accommodate the other top.
This is a very simple orange tube top, made out of orange jersey knit..  It slides up over Dee Dee's feet, no Velcro required.  The back has the required seam that allows for shaping.
The seams are the kind that like to flip outwards when this top is put on, but in this case it's easy to tuck them back in again.  Now to the skirt.
The skirt is VERY SHORT, as you'll soon see.  It's made out of the same material as the overshirt:  dark blue and orange acid wash.  The sides have Day-Glo yellow panels on the side, which add some fullness to the skirt and tie the look together.
Like the overshirt, the skirt has a Velcro closure.
As I said above, the skirt is very short, but luckily this outfit came with a pair of shorts to wear underneath.
These tie the overall look together further by coordinating with the tube top.  They're made of the same orange knit fabric.  Two seams run up the backs, just like seamed stocking from days gone by.
No Velcro for this piece either.  The elasticity of these shorts hold them in place, but they're also hard to get pulled up.  And that would be the end of it, except that these shorts have one more nice detail:  the legs are trimmed in lace.  Not Day-Glo yellow lace, but delicate orange stuff that provides a last nice visual contrast to the outfit as a whole.
Lastly, shoes.  Dee Dee's new shoes are plain high-heeled pumps that the vast majority of Barbies had once.  These shoes break up that monotony a little by being bright orange.
These stay on Dee's feet without the use of rubber bands which is always a nice bonus.

Now, as always, let's see Dee Dee in the whole outfit.
Barbie and the Beat orange outfit.  For Dee Dee.  Not for anyone else...except maybe Shani, who would look fantastic in orange.  I like Shani as she is right now, but she'd definitely rock this outfit.

Okay...I believe that is three semi-vintage, mint-in-a-not-so-mint-box Barbie dresses that I've looked at in depth.  My favorite thing about this outfit, and indeed the other two as well, is the color.  These are all bright, happy, splashy colors that have brightened up what has otherwise been a stressful month for me.  See how they look together?  Shani continues to wear her new clothes, while Yue-Sai retains part of the Benetton outfit.
It's even more fun when I add in Alabama and Lanying, both of whom are still wearing Yue-Sai's stock clothes.
I don't like this Beat outfit as much as I like the Benetton outfit; it's very dated, and the pieces do not mix and match as easily.   It CAN be done; the simple orange pieces go great with denim or black fabric, but for the most part this outfit is meant to be worn as a set.  Not a huge deal, as Shani's outfit can't be mixed and matched around much either.  However, the Beat is like Shani's in that new looks can be created with the adding or subtracting of pieces, like so.
So the Beat outfit isn't as fun to play with as the Benetton outfit, nor is it as classy as Shani's getup, but it's still well-made and colorful, and Dee Dee rocks it like the Rocker she is.  I'm not the least bit sorry I got any of these outfits, and there may be more to come when the next paycheck rolls around.  There's a Sensations outfit on eBay that screams Shani's name, and a Totally Hair outfit that would look good on a brunette or a redhead.

If only my non-doll life were going as well!  Mama, thank God, is okay.  She's semi-ambulatory and is still the same klutzy, noisy, enjoyable mama that I've known and loved all my life.  No, my concern now lies with her mother, who is suddenly weakening to the point that I have to drive several blocks at nine in the evening just to help her get out of her chair.  Granted that's only happened once, but it's not at all fun to see.  I know my mama is worried, and I'm afraid that that worry will adversely affect her own healing.  So...y'all know the drill.  I much appreciate the prayers and positivity that our fine readers have sent, and I humbly ask that you keep them coming.