Saturday, March 3, 2018

February's Update, and so soon?

February was another up and down month just like January, but I think I at least broke even, if not came out slightly ahead.

I failed my goal of avoiding dolls just for their bodies way back on the 1st when I bought some Disney Descendant dolls at Walmart that were on clearance. I don't know why I bought them since the last ones I bought for their bodies over a year ago are still in the closet and I don't really even like those bodies. I'm just addicted to articulation. I'm trying to not beat myself up over it since there will be stumbles along the way in any goals to better oneself. I did get all the things I didn't want from the dolls listed on eBay so at least they're not sitting around while I get around to listing them. I want them gone! (And I want my money back!)

My vintage doll spending was also pretty bad for the month. I made it pretty far into the month without buying a single vintage doll, then the universe offered me a lovely swirl ponytail with nasty great ear, even green face for just 21 dollars including shipping and you just can't ignore a lovely swirl ponytail with nasty great ear, even green face for just 21 dollars including shipping. I'm still waiting for that doll to come in the mail, it takes time when you get the cheap shipping from Japan. If that had been my only vintage purchase I'd have been doing pretty good, but at the end of the month I went a little wild and won on auction one of the grail dolls I've been wanting for this year. She also hasn't arrived, but she was a pretty expensive buy. I had some money saved up for her, but 2/3 of her purchase price came out of my bank account and I need to repay it. I also did a big purchase at the start of the month of some more Mimi dolls. They're still on their way too (they were supposed to be here yesterday, but the post office never delivered *harumph*). This will be the last Mimi dolls for a long time, I still want some from a different line of Korean fashion dolls, but I should be done with Mimi for a while. I also bought a few dolls and doll clothes at the start of the month when I went to my doll meeting. I was on the hunt for the Care Bear outfits, which I did find. I also found a doll on clearance I wanted for her dress and some two dollar fashionistas. I bought 4 of the same doll because I needed her shoes (the Emoji Fun doll's pink heels are one of the only shoes I've found that fit Mimi doll's feet). I also went back at the middle of the month and bought more two dollar dolls, because they were two dollars.

I know it sounds like a lot of spending, and it was, but I've also been really good about working on eBay. I got a lot of things listed this month. I got everything that I bought this month for resale listed, except for doubles, one doll I need to clean up, and a dress I don't have room for. I also worked on a lot of other stuff. There's still plenty to go, but I've spent a lot of time working on eBay and getting stuff listed. And I had a pretty good sales month. There were some issues and problems (some my fault, some from other reasons), but I had one of my better eBay months. I was able to keep some of my expenses down with the profits from sales, not all of them but a decent amount. And I've even paid my bill for the month with what I've sold. There's still plenty to go, but day by day when I work on it, I get a little more done. I would say, for the first time in a while, I had more things leave than come in. I got lucky since eBay gave me several weeks of free listings so hopefully they keep doing that since I want to keep selling!

I still have plenty to list. I have tons of stuff that I bought for pieces or just one thing, but I've decided to also sell parts of my collection. I've realized that I just have too much things to really enjoy what I have. I'm nowhere near that point but I've been giving it a lot of thought as to what makes me happy and what I just have. Right now I know some things are safe; Charlotte, Joe, other named dolls, Japanese exclusives, the Hommes, Silkstones, but there's a lot of things I can trim down. Like the Tammy dolls, I don't have very many but I don't really love them, so they're going to move out in time. Same with Jem, I'm going to keep my first issue Jem, but Kimber, that Starlight Girl, and that other TLC doll can go. Vintage is also going to get trimmed down. Every vintage doll is different, but I have a lot of similar dolls so I think it's time to pick my favorites and let some of the others go. I also have a lot of  "well loved" beauties and it might be time to refine the collection. I know way back when I said I'd never run out of room for dolls, but I have and I want to cut back. It's going to be a lot of work, but I feel happy with that decision. The collection has been getting a bit unmanageable and I haven't been enjoying it. I like buying and getting stuff, but once I have it, I haven't been giving it the attention it deserves. It's time for someone else to enjoy them. But like I said, that's a long term goal since there's only so many hours in the day and there's still so many other things to sell first, but now that I've come around to that idea, it's going to happen.

I also did some sewing this month. Not much, but I did make a couple dresses for the raffle for my doll club's birthday meeting. I usually made two and donate them together, but I decided to package them separately and made a necklace to go with each them. I also made a dress for an event my friend is hosting, but haven't finished it yet. I also plan on making another dress for that, but haven't found the right thing yet. The theme is mod, which is not my strong suit. The deadline is quickly approaching, so I better get into gear.

The next doll meeting is the 10th, the birthday meeting. I'm hoping it's better than the last meeting. The February meeting was not my favorite, basically it was sitting around listening to the woman in charge and another woman talk about all the behind the scenes stuff that's been going on with convention. I could have skipped it and sent one of those bobbling bird things in my place and no one would have been the wiser. For a club who only has about half of their members having gone to convention we spend a lot of time focused on it. We also spent a lot of time at that meeting talking about that event the woman who runs it wants to do in 2019 where nobody is willing to say they don't want to do it and she wants to do it so much she's willing to overlook the lukewarm at best reception she's been getting. I still like the club and most of the people in it, but it's so different than when I started and I do feel my interest waning in it more and more. It just feels so stagnant and can't see it getting any better. I'll just have to see how things go during the rest of the year and see if I want to continue. I know there's other clubs in the general area, this one is the most convenient, but I'll have to see how I feel. It's not like I'm planning on being here forever.

For March, I am hoping to keep making progress on eBay and moving stuff out. It would also be nice if I could spend less. I am planning on skipping popping into all the Walmart locations on my way to the meeting (I'm on the hunt for the Minion outfits, even though I don't like Minions), but I am planning on stopping into a Toys R Us since I have a 5 dollar voucher to use, if I can find one that's not closing. I do know that I will have to place an order on Barbie Collector this month otherwise I loose my quarterly reward, but hopefully the dolls I do want (Chris Pratt from Jurassic World and the Women of Achievement line) will go on sale and I can use my voucher on those. I'm also hoping there will be a sale, but I don't remember if they do a sale in March any more and if you can even bundle the credit and a sale. There's also several new playline dolls I want, but I don't they're coming out for a couple months so I don't have to worry about those until later. Hopefully I can keep the eBay momentum going forward and keep slowing down my spending.

And hopefully getting my stuff from the mail in a reasonable time!

(I am working on the reviews and stuff for the past two months, but work is slow since my photo taking energy and typing energy has been laser focused on eBay, but I promise I have been working on it.)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Let's have January's update before the end of February, shall we?

Hello everyone.

January was kind of an up and down month. It was extremely cold which just absolutely destroyed my productivity. I do have plastic on my windows and a space heater but this year even those two things did not do much help when battling some freezing cold temperatures. I spent a lot of January bundled up and under covers trying to maintain a decent temperature, which has not been easy. We have had some mild winters the past few years so I guess I can't complain too much, but boy has this winter been brutal. It warmed up a bit at the end of the month, so that did help me be a little more productive.

My productivity did not apply to sewing, I honestly did not get any sewing done. I have to be in the right mood for it, and freezing cold temperatures are not it. There are a couple things coming up I need/want to sew for so I should be doing some soon.

I was better with spending in January compared to December (which was not hard to do since I was SO bad in December), but still not great. I did manage to avoid buying any dolls for their bodies, but did pick up a few vintage dolls. I bought a Titan American Girl head on Etsy for 57 dollars. She has some paint wear to her lips and darkened vinyl, but is still so pretty. Despite a general feeling of having too many vintage dolls, I don't think I can stop buying American Girls if I find them for a good price, Swirls have that same mindset I just seem to have less luck finding them at what I consider a reasonable price. That would have been my only vintage doll, but I did hang out with a friend during the month where I bought Sun Tan Dodi and a lovely brunette Sindy (who for an impulse buy I adore). I also managed to finish up the Hello Kitty clothing set from Mattel. This year has been so expensive for doll clothes. I usually don't buy doll clothes, but I've already spent a disgusting amount of money on doll clothes and plan on spending a lot more. I plan on getting the pretty much all of the licensed sets from Mattel. They're pretty cheap until you start adding them up. While I like them, (some more than others) I really don't have a lot of dolls to display them on. I don't have a ton of modern dolls to dress them in. I feel bad buying so many things and never really displaying them properly. I'm not helping myself when I say I have too many things by buying them and never using them. Also earlier in the month Walmart sold off their leftover Fashionista dolls from Christmas for five dollars and I went a bit overboard. I bought the ones I had my eyes on and several that I kinda just liked parts of since they were so cheap. In conjunction with that I was pretty bad with Korean dolls. I did a big splurge on a Korean website and bought four Mimi dolls. They're cheaper when you buy more at once, but they're still not cheap. I plan on talking about that experience in an eventual blog post in the future. Not all of the Mimi dolls are staying, but there's still several more I'm planning on getting. I'm hoping to quell my Mimi doll addiction in the near future. It's almost as bad as the American Girl Megablox addiction from last year and those were a lot cheaper per doll! Mimi already outnumbers Jenny and Licca dolls in my collection. Not the combined total just yet, but she's creeping up there. (And honestly, a couple of the Mimi dolls I bought just for their accessories, so I will be reselling some of them eventually).

I did make some progress on eBay. I really made myself focus and got the majority of the things that had aged out relisted. I wish I could say all, but a small amount of listings I couldn't find parts of and will have to redo. I have them set aside, so they will get worked on but I'm going slow for that. I did manage to get several new things listed, so I'm making progress in that aspect but there's still so much to work on. There hasn't been a lot of process since it's been so cold. I bought a lot of stuff in December for resale (bits and pieces of what I didn't want), so there's quite a backlog to work through. I really haven't kept up with it since earlier in the year so there's a lot to work thru.

January did bring an unexpected addition to our family this month, a kitten! In late January my father went out grocery shopping and found the kitten on a stretch of road where there's no houses darting across the road in front of some cars. My father stopped and chased him around in the snow trying to catch him. We posted online about the kitten, checked Craigslist, and called the local humane society about him and gave it a week for any updates in case he had a home and was just lost but got no replies, so he's ours now. He's incredibly friendly and docile (other than when he wants to play). I've never seen a cat who was so calm when dealing with a new environment. Usually cats kind of hide then gradually warm up to a new house, but the same day after getting here he was demanding people pet him and was curled up in my mother's lap. I was very worried about him with Willow since Willow is so skittish, but they've been getting along well. Willow's even been more playful since he showed up. Mato doesn't seem to be a fan, but he mostly just hisses at the kitten and tries to stay away from him.

Here he is a few days after we got him, he had missing a patch of fur on his nose.
At first we weren't sure if my dad found the kitten or decided we needed one and made up a story, but now we do agree he found it. I wasn't in love with the idea of a new cat (especially since it was just the one year anniversary of Simba's passing), but I do like him. He's a little nuts at times, but he is a kitten. I still haven't named him yet. I have a couple things in mind, but I haven't found the perfect name yet. Right now the top choices are Tanner, Tandie, and Fennel. However they don't feel perfect. It might be a while until he gets named, Willow took a while to get her name too. It just has to feel right.
Just from yesterday, he's hard to get a picture of since he's always moving around. He's already doubled in weight, he sure loves his kitten chow.
Right now my goals for February are to stop spending so much (spoiler alert, not happening so far), work on eBay a lot more, and get things more organized around here. Things are kind of all over the place and I'm not doing a stellar job keeping the mess at bay. Fingers crossed I'll make progress on that!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Aliexpress Shopping, Was it Worth it? - A Review!

Hello everyone,

I'm already falling short with my blogging goals for the year and in the first month! It's already February 9th and you've heard nary a peep from me. I've been flip flopping between being incredibly productive and being a lump that's unmotivated to do anything. I need something to light a fire under me!

But that's not what this post is about, it's going to be a review post! It's not going to be a Korean fashion doll review since I've been very slow on working on that. I started it and took the pictures, but haven't worked on it recently. Today's review is going to be a quick and short one (or at least as short as I can manage).

Around the middle of January I found some Barbie shoes over on Aliexpress. They were Barbie sized, but looked very different than your usual Barbie shoes. I asked around and it turns out they were recasts from an Ever After shoe. I ended up buying them because I thought they looked super cool, and with shoes like that they usually don't keep getting made. Once they sell out, they're gone. I had already missed out on some shrunken down Monster High shoes, so I was not going to let these pass me by. I bought them, but since I was already placing an order I spent some time looking for the Monster High shoes I had missed out on, since hope springs eternal. No luck on those shoes, but I did find a couple shoes I was interested in so I ended up buying those. Partly due to the fact that Chinese New Year is coming up and if I didn't buy them now, I'd have to wait until March to buy them.

This review isn't about the Ever After High shoes (they have yet to arrive), but another thing I purchased. One of the things I found was a small set of  doll accessories. It looked extremely cheap, but that's what kind of drew me to it. There's this twinge of childhood nostalgia that comes with certain quality clone items. I was also hoping that the shoes would be big enough to fit Joe's larger than Ken sized feet. I paid 1.78 for it including shipping from China and it arrived super fast. I don't think I've ever had something from China arrive so quickly. I'm still waiting for something I ordered in the end of November and despite the seller swearing they shipped it, I don't think it's actually coming.

Anyway, despite the items super quick arrival time it was a little disappointing right off the bat. In all of the picture listings they showed pictures of two sets, one white and blue and one blue and white. The listing said it was for one piece, but I wasn't sure if the set together was one piece or two pieces. Turns out they consider both items as separate pieces and send you one randomly. I got the one that's mostly blue with white accents. I don't know if I would have paid so much for them knowing I'd only get one item, especially since I now see they're selling it for 30 cents cheaper. Oh well, live and learn.

Here's a picture of the listing showing the item in the package 
(since I tore mine open the moment it arrived):

I will say that they packed it very well. It arrived in a simple plastic envelope, but it was wrapped in two layers of thick bubble wrap (which I reuse for my shipping).

The package is simple a cardboard backer with a molded plastic bubble that houses the contents. The front is pink with the image of a castle, butterfly, some flowers, and the text "Fashion Shopping". They don't look to be the same art style, so I assume it's cobbled together from a variety of sources. The majority of the text is in English, but there's a decent amount of another language. Unfortunately, I'm no linguist so I don't know where it's from. The back of the card is simple blank cardboard with three stickers. One with a bar code with Chinese characters and some numbers, one in English with the choking hazard information, and one with another bar code saying it was imported for Formosa S.A. and includes Paraguay, so I assume that's where that company is from.

Inside the package you get the following; a suitcase, a smartphone, a visor, a baseball hat, a pair of women's high top sneakers, and a pair of men's sneakers.

What's interesting about this set is that all of the items in this set are hard plastic, even the shoes. Also nothing is painted in this set, any color differences are separate pieces of plastic (or stickers in a few cases). I'm going to break down the items and discuss them one by one.

Staring with the woman's shoes, these shoes are designed to look like high top sneakers. They have a white upper part with a blue sole. They're kind of oddly shaped and don't fit. I tried them on Charlotte (first wave Fashionista) and had to really jam her foot in and couldn't get them in very far. Even if I could, I don't think they'd get much use, they're a pretty ugly sculpt. I'm not a fan of shoes that compensate for the fact that lots of fashion dolls feet are designed for high heels. I'd rather have a more realistic shoe even if it meant it looked like the doll was standing on tiptoe. I ended up breaking one of the posts when taking off the soles from the top part, so you can take them apart, but they are fragile. They're just going to end up in the pairs of shoes that I'll never use, but can't bear to throw

The men's sneakers have the same construction as the women's shoes, they just have a blue upper and a white sole. I like these in theory, just not in practice. They are so, so, so close to fitting Joe. But the posts that connects them actually make the shoe too small fit on his foot. I tried these on a pivotal Ken doll but couldn't see if they fit, the hard plastic actually scuffed up the doll's foot and didn't have enough give to put on the doll. They fit Joe better since I could take his foot off, separate the top from the sole and put them around his foot. That's the only way he didn't get scraped trying to put them on. It's a shame because they're actually pretty cute. I just wish I had someone who could wear them without getting damaged. I'm toying with the idea of removing the posts to see if I can get them on Joe's feet, but I'm not totally sure if they'd fit even if I did that and I'm not sure if I'd be able to figure out a way to keep the soles and uppers together. They'll probably end up in that same bag as the women's shoes.

The visor is made from a simple white plastic, I think this visor mold has been around forever. It's got a sticker on it that says "Vogue" in large pink letters with two images of highly stylized strawberries. It's okay, nothing special. A lot of these style visors have slits in the back to fit on the doll's head, but this one is all one solid piece. You can actually see on the back where they patched over in the back, I assume they reverse engineered these and used a visor that had the cut and they covered it. You'd need a doll with a pretty small head to wear it (another example of them reverse engineering since you end up with a copy that's smaller than the original) . I tried it on Joe and it didn't fit over his short molded hair, and he has a pretty small head. I did try it on Tommy (90's era Tommy doll) and it fits his head pretty well. It also fit's a Classic Kelly doll. It does have a pretty sharp bit of flash on the side. In fact a lot of the items have small bits of excess flash on them that need to be trimmed off. I don't recommend this set for a child, but if you did, I'd say a parent needs to go over all the pieces with an craft knife or file and trim off all the point pieces. It wouldn't take too much work and would make them a bit safer.

Tommy needs a reroot and some spot removal, he's well loved and from my childhood.


The blue baseball cap has a similar sticker like the visor, it just has a blue background instead of yellow. Same "Vogue" logo with the strawberries and everything. I bought this set partially for this hat, hoping it would fit Joe, but it's far too small for him. However, like the visor it does fit classic Kelly dolls, so it's not a total loss. I'd say this was my favorite piece from it. I like the male doll shoes, but since they don't fit and can actually damage a doll this hat is much better. I will say that the plastic on these items, while thin still feels pretty sturdy. I'm not worried about them cracking under normal play. I wouldn't try to force this hat on someone since I think then it might break, but just putting slight pressure on the sides it's not going to break. I do plan on removing the sticker before I use it, it's just silly.

Next we have a suitcase, this suitcase is tiny, I have bigger Barbie purses. It's made from white plastic and has a working handle you can actually raise and lower. It's designed to look like those wheeled suitcases. On the front is has a sticker with some flowers, grass shoots, and lots of circles. It does actually open, but the hinge is just bent plastic but over time it will wear down and break. It's also a pain to open. It uses the post system like the rest of the pieces, but in conjunction to having two small posts on the outer corners it has to massive posts on the inside. This makes it really hard to get open and it takes up a lot of space. The only thing that fits inside the suitcase are the women's shoes, everything else is too wide or too tall. I have no plans on using it, it is scaled for Kelly sized dolls, but mine aren't really the traveling bunch (and besides I do have Barbie sized suitcases I'd pack their stuff in if I was going to do a travel scene).

The last item is a blue plastic smart phone. This item is way oversized for the set. It's even too big to work for a tablet for the dolls. It's made out of the same plastic as the rest of them and has a sticker on the front that has some rather blurry looking apps on it. It's hard to tell, but it looks like the text on the sticker is in English. The phone is made up of two pieces that you can take apart, it's not easy but it's doable. There is a small empty space inside so you could keep things in there if they were tiny. This might work well for American Girl sized dolls. I don't have any to compare it to, but it looks like it might be the right scale.

So that's everything that came in the package. Was it worth it? Not really, even for the inexpensive price of 1.78 there's really not much I can use. I like the baseball hat, but didn't really need it. I was hoping the things would be better than they actually were. I'm not too upset since I didn't pay very much and now I know, but I would have liked it better if things were better. At least I don't do impulse buys like this too often, and hopefully you have gotten 1.78 in entertainment out of this blog post!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not the best start to the new year....

Hello Dear Readers,

I've removed the poll from the site.
It wasn't finished yet, but I felt it should come down because I'm no longer getting a Mimi doll.

But let it be known that I tried. I found one I liked on eBay, bought it on the 3rd, got notified it shipped on the 4th, then today (the 10th) woke up to an email from the seller that the doll was no longer in stock so they couldn't ship it and that I needed to contact them to get my refund.

I know that right after I bought the doll from them they edited the auction for a much higher price and sold a doll like that too. It said they had 9 dolls in stock, but I guess that's not the case. Not to be too cynical, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the person who paid more than me will be getting their doll.

I am lucky in the fact that this doll is a mass produced doll so it's not like a vintage doll who is going to be a lot harder to find. However the next cheapest option is around 50 dollars and I had a hard time justifying the doll at 35. I know shipping is expensive, but from what I know about these dolls retail prices, that's a lot to upcharge on shipping.

I'd like to say that it's not bothering me too much, but it has bummed me out pretty bad. I'm especially annoyed with the fact that they waited a week after I bought it and nearly a week after they claimed to ship it to tell me.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year, New Poll!

Hello Dear Readers,

This is just a quick post to inform everyone I added a poll to the blog. 
It's in the upper left corner and it's about what doll should be the one I review for the blog. 
I can't say for sure any of them will show up by the end of January since some of them were just ordered today, but I'm curious to know which one people are the most interested in seeing.

Hope everyone's been having a good 2018!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Out with the Old, In the with slightly less Old

Hello everyone,

After coming back for December I wanted to touch base before seemingly falling silent again. I enjoyed blogging and sharing those calendars with you all, but as you all could see lots of time I'd fall behind and would struggle to get caught up. I don't think I'm ready to commit to a lot of blogging, but I would like to be more active than last year. Right now I'm thinking about aiming for two blogs a month, one where I talk about what happened the previous month and a dolls only blog. I'm thinking where I do a doll review, a doll introduction, or just doll opinions. If for some reason you miss my unique voice in my habit of being 10 years behind trends I do have a Tumblr now and am much more active on it: A Bit of Aubrey's Mind Tumblr

But this post I also wanted to talk about my collection.
Right now my collection is in a bit of a change of focus.

I have a LOT of dolls and I'm at the point where I think I'm ready to scale back some and let a few go. I do plan on buying some still, but I want to be more focused on choosing what I buy and buy things I want instead of things I get a good deal on.

For a long time I've been very focused on vintage, but for right now I think I have enough. In all of December I bought one vintage doll and even before that my vintage buying had slowed down a lot. I have been purchasing a lot of newer modern dolls, but really scaled back on vintage. For the past couple of years I had a pretty big focus on Japanese exclusive dolls, and while there's still several I want to get honestly they are way out of my budget at this time. However I do want to focus some time on getting some European exclusive vintage dolls that are pretty high on my want list. Luckily Europe mostly got clothes which aren't of interest to me. Right now my biggest wants from Europe are the Hawaiian Superstar Barbie, German Francie, and Superstar faced Equestrian Barbie. There is also two dolls I am looking for that were Mattel made but produced in Europe. Those I've been on the hunt for but haven't found for sale yet. I know they do exist because I've seen examples of them online. If I do find them, I'll talk about them but I'm keeping quiet about the details since I think they're very uncommon and don't want to create competition for myself. Hawaiian Superstar and Francie are both going to be pretty expensive so I'm going to have to save up for those. That's part of my goal to focus, by not buying the 5 inexpensive dolls that I kind of want I can afford the 1 expensive doll that I really want.

I'm also getting more into South Korean fashion dolls. Someone on Tumblr posted some pictures of a couple and I've fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole. I am by no mean an expert, but from my research for play line fashion dolls there's two main ones in South Korea, Mimi and Jouju (or Juju as I've also seen). They are very similar to the Japanese fashion dolls I already have but they're different enough to want to add them to the collection. Mimi reminds me of a Jenny and Licca hybrid. She's an older teen like Jenny, but her face paint reminds me of Licca. There's a couple of Mimi dolls I like and have been doing research on. Jouju is very similar, but looks to be a cheaper doll. Her face paint looks more like decals and her hair seems thinner and a cheaper quality (it also might be nylon). I'd still like a couple of them to experience them in person. Would either of these dolls be of interest to people to see reviewed? Luckily there is a decent amount of these dolls available online. Information is hard to find, but I think the online prices are fair. It's around the retail prices with 10 dollars added in for international shipping. It seems expensive to me, but I guess the market is higher priced in South Korea than in the US.

There's also several Mattel dolls coming out that I want. Usually I just want dolls for their shoes or for their articulated bodies, this has not changed but there are a couple dolls I am looking for. I am still on the hunt for the newest Look doll, the sweater dress doll, but she's been sold out everywhere and I don't know if she's coming back to retail prices. I'm also looking for the boy from the Skipper babysitter line. Someone on Flickr did find him in their local Walmart but I don't think he's been widely released yet. I am also looking for the curvy Made to Move doll, but so far she's only been seen in Australia. I'm going to be buying a lot of Barbie clothes this year. I'm still on the hunt for the remaining Hello Kitty sets I haven't found yet. That line is going to be very expensive for me. I'm also looking at some of the not yet released Care Bear sets, and I know I will be buying every single Mario item that gets released. Part of me only wants to collect the things I know I'll use but I worry that once they stop getting produced they'll be much more expensive to get so I should get them all at retail prices while I can. 

I think I'm moving away from Silkstones again. After buying pretty much all of the 2016 line, I only bought four Silkstones in 2017 and two of those were older releases that I got super cheap. I do like the articulated bodies proportions, but the construction leaves much to be desired. Lots of times the joints are hard to move, or frozen and they are just so fragile. I have not broken one but I have seen some stress marks appearing on joints from limited posing. Also, I think I have enough of them. I think I have 20 of them and while I don't think I'm ready to start selling them, I do think that I'm ready to stop getting more. For a while they were dolls I used to replace vintage when I couldn't afford it, but now I have plenty of vintage so I think it's time to cut back on them. I do usually buy the "budget" Silkstone doll, but we'll see what happens this year.

I think I'm also going to be taking a break from Integrity. I cleaned up at their Holiday sale and got several dolls I wanted and several dolls that were cheap enough to justify getting. I usually only get the homme dolls so I think I have enough for now. I am getting the urge to get another Poppy Parker, but that's pretty low on the list. I do have a spare body (I might have two) so if I can't resist getting one I can at least just get her head.

I'm also going to try stop buying so many articulated dolls. For several years now I've been hoarding doll bodies and I think it's time to rethink how many I have compared to how many I'll actually use. It's good to have an assortment, but there's only so many I'll logically use, especially since the material they're made of will eventually start aging and break down. Like I said I am looking for the curvy made to move doll, but I'm going to try to cut back on buying new dolls just for their bodies. The majority of the dolls I have are on bodies I'm happy with. There's no need buying so many that I know I'll never use, even when I keep some for spares.

I know there's going to be some surprise purchases, some impulse buys, and some over shopping, but if I can at least try to keep things in order that would be great.

Here's to a new year, and a constant collection!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello and Welcome to Day 25 of our Christmas Calendar unboxing!

Just kidding those are both over and done with and the boxes are headed to the trash.

No, today was Christmas! I hope everyone had a great one! 
And I hope the people who don't celebrate had a great day too.

My Christmas was pretty low key, even more low key than when I usually say that. My sister and her husband spent Christmas in Florida with my Grandparents so my family held off on our big Christmas celebration until later in the week. Today we did a traditional Christmas dinner (we're doing a different meal with my sister since she's a vegetarian and her husband doesn't care for turkey, which is fine, more for me).

We also did one big present and one table present (which is a family tradition which I may or may have not explained on the blog). 

For the big present I gave my parents their wedding album, the album itself had seen better days so I replaced it with one that had acid free pages and I also digitized the album, which took forever! My brother got a very nice set of tools I bought the last day before my store closed. I paid nowhere near the retail price, but it was originally 200 dollars, and I got a very good deal for it.

My present was a very nice bundle of wooden dowels. I sometimes get the urge to try doll sized woodworking. I've gotten some supplies, some tools, and watched some tutorials, but never have the drive to finish what I start. I've kind of cooled on the idea of it since I have way too many projects to finish already, but it doesn't hurt to amass some supplies, as long as I keep it within reason. Maybe I will try it eventually.

We also spent some time watching some Christmas shows and movies together. In the late morning we watched two episodes of Bob's Burgers (which has become the show we all watch together when we do family dinners) and Arthur Christmas which was great. For dinner when we had leftovers we watched Olaf's Frozen Adventure together.

For my table present I got one of the Hello Kitty single packs. I had my mother wrap them (I will buy my own presents and pay for them, but I refuse to wrap my own presents) and had her pick one at random to give me today. I got the white tank top with the blue ruffle on the bottom. It's cute, but since it's supposed to also fit the curvy body it's extremely unfitted. That's the one I want to get a second one of and modify. I want to take off the ruffle and make it more fitted. However I'm not going to do that until I have another one to keep original. 

Overall it was a nice day, I did think the turkey came out a bit dry but that happens. I am looking forward to our bigger Christmas celebration, but this one was really nice. Sometimes it's good when you can just hang out together and be a family.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What's Behind Door #24? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Day 24 of our advent calendar unboxing!
Christmas Eve edition! 
I'm a little behind at the moment, I spent today finishing up all my wrapping (I got some done earlier, but still had a big chunk left to finish) and I also made the desserts for tomorrow. We're having cheesecake mousse and chocolate chip cookies. 

We find our day 24 door completely covered by the illustration of the Christmas tree. This calendar doesn't have a true center, but it's just to the right of the center. Today's door is double the size of the regular doors!

We open it to find...

a large chocolate Santa!

This chocolate is a lot more detailed than the previous ones, which supports my cobbled together molds from several sources theory.

And that is the finale of the chocolate calendar.

After finishing that up, I took it apart to see why the doors were so high for a lot of the chocolate. The clear plastic tray that houses the chocolate pieces is glued in several places to the box. Mine just got glued a little low. It didn't change the usefulness of the calendar, it was just a small cosmetic issue.

Barbie's door is on the first row over from the door with the doll on it. 
It's under the image of Barbie baking.

I also accidentally tore that door off too.  

Under that door we find....

some skis!

Made from that same silver/gray plastic these skis are a very realistic representation of the actual thing. They have a section in the middle for the ski boots to fit into. They fit snugly but not too tight. They will come off without too much effort but I think they'll stay on for average play. That does limit their use for dolls with larger feet (sorry Joe, no skiing for you). On both skis on the front and back there's some very pretty snowflake decorations. See Mattel, that's what I wanted on the ballerina outfit! 

Here's a very cropped picture of the entire outfit:

(Things are a bit of a mess and my usual photo taking section is not able to be used right now).

And that was the Barbie calendar. 
So was this set worth what I paid for? I say yes, but with a but. I got this calendar on sale for 15 dollars which I think definitely made it more worth it. Also I got to share it with you all, which again added to it's value. I think as a child I would have been a lot more impressed with the set compared to an adult. There were some really nice things in the set (the body suit, the tutu, the ice skates, and others), but there were lots of things that had construction issues or were slightly lazy choices for the set (the tiara, the doctor's jacket, the pink dress). I think I got my money's worth, but I don't know how much of this set will be used in my day to day collection. I've already moved a few things into the donate pile because I just don't see me using them ever. I think it's cute and if I got another decent price I think I'd buy another one, but I don't think this is the *best advent calendar ever*.

Thanks for joining me!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

What's Behind Door #23? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello everyone, and welcome to day 23 of our advent calendar unboxing!

I went to Walmart yesterday to pick up a present I had shipped to the store. I also had to get the yearly Gamestop subscription for my brother in law (Gamestop is in the Walmart plaza) and get the final present on my list. Since I was already there, I visited the toy department and found the Hello Kitty solo packs!  I also found two of the full sets, so I'm still on the hunt for the rest of them. They had them on an in isle display, the full sets were on the middle shelf, and the solo sets were on the bottom shelf. You better believe I dug through all of them to make sure I got one of every one they had! I also found and bought the floral dress Skipper Babysitter doll. I wanted to see if her dress fit Momoko. It does, the sleeves a tiny bit too short, the bust fits great, but the waist is pretty big on her. So it fits, but it's not super fitted. I think looser outfits would look nice on Momoko. I did not try the shoes on since they're ankle boots and Momoko has extremely fragile ankles. The Hello Kitty sets are going to be my Christmas presents, so I didn't get a lot of time looking at them. I'm just glad I found them, I was beginning to think I'd never see them! I think there's three more full sets to hunt down, then I can relax until the next series is released (which I think is Care Bears).

Moving on, we find our day 23 chocolate door on the far right on the calendar. It's just between a two windows where once again a creepy pair of dot eyed children stare at us.
Here you can really see the odd shape of that boy's head.

Peeling back the door we find....

please don't let that be what I think it looks like...

Oh it's a tree! (Ohthankgoodness)
It's a very short little squat tree with what might be some decorations molded in. The illustration has candles and ball ornaments, but the chocolate itself looks to have maybe some oversized balls in a couple of places, or else it's just some minor imperfections in the molding.

Our Barbie door is on the right side, second row in, second from the bottom.
Right on Barbie's bottom 
(I said I'd make no jokes about the placement, but I just had to crack at least one).

I'm incorrigible.

Behind the door we find....

a helmet!

Made from a very pretty light lavender color this helmet is very soft and squishy. I wonder if it's silicone? I feel like I've seen (and most likely owned) this same helmet before but in a different color. Part of me wants to question the safety of a helmet with so many holes, but I think it's based off a real helmet (it's been a long time since I've done anything that needed a helmet). It's cute, it's safety conscious, and it's a helmet. It doesn't fit super tight on Barbie's head, but I don't think it really needs to be. If it was too tight, it might be pretty hard to get off and the strap might break.

Let's see what we get for our last day! (Although based on what we're missing I have an idea as to what it will be.)

Friday, December 22, 2017

What's Behind Door #22? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello Everyone, today is day 22 of our Christmas countdown!

Let's see what the calendars have in store for us! 

We find our chocolate calendar door on the far right, three up from the bottom. It's the image of two dogs looking eagerly at the Christmas tree.
It looks like that mouse is warming his behind with that candle. 
I don't blame him, December has been very chilly.

Peeling back the door reveals...

a cross eyed teddy bear with a present!

The illustration is cute, little intense, but I think he's just super happy to see you.
That's my theory anyways.

Over on the Barbie calendar our door is one of those long thin ones on the left side, the second one in.

Can I just say opening these styles of doors are really hard?

In my efforts I managed to rip the door off half way. I wasn't planning on keeping this box, but after that it's certainly not as pretty looking in general. And after I ripped it I had a really hard time opening it up the rest of the way to get the entire item displayed.
It's not pretty, but it's open.
Opening it reveals a pair of ski .... poles (I had to look it up to make sure I had the right term). Made from the same silver plastic as several other pieces these poles are both sturdy but with enough give so that they won't snap with too much play. They are very simple, but do a good job emulating the real thing. They have nice handles so the doll can hold them. 
They're a little odd looking without skis, but they make a pretty good lance until we get those:
En garde!
 They are a little easy to lose, I already had one slip out of the doll's hand and fall behind the bed (I've since fished it out). I will have to find a place to store these, they're tall and I don't want to bend them.
I'm curious to see what tomorrow brings!