Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Let's Talk about February

Hello Dear Readers,

February is over and we’re pretty far into March and I figured I should at least try to keep everyone updated. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but it does help me. Even if it bores everyone else to tears, it at least gives me a record where I can look back and see what happened in the month.
February started off rough. That first weekend was my Grandfather’s funeral. That was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I might have already talked about some of this in the post I shared about his passing, but I don’t want to go back and see if I’m repeating myself. Honestly, I have no intention of reading that post again. I am glad that I could be there for my family, but it was rough. I miss him. I try not to think about it a lot, but sometimes it just hits me. I know the rest of my family is missing him too.
I have been trying to be better about keeping in contact with my Grandmother, but I’ve fallen into my old habits where I’m not calling. I seriously have to force myself to call. It’s just tricky because I have nothing new to talk about, work is boring and I don’t talk dolls with extended family. However, I really need to get back into it. I figure that if I can be a distraction for her that would help take her mind off things even for a little bit.
I have been working a lot this past month. The week after getting back from Connecticut I started putting in overtime. Since then I’ve started doing a little over 51 hours each week. It’s awful and really sucks up all my time, but I need to. I’m saving up for the next step in my life plan and quite honestly, I need the money. It’s going to be rough and it’s certainly not fun, but I need to do it. Right now, I am projecting the second week of August for when I’ll have enough saved up. Hopefully I’m able to keep saving up and won’t have to dip into savings.
I have been doing a lot better on doll related purchases for February. I did buy some dolls at the thrift store when up in Connecticut. I found a TLC Jewel Secrets Whitney and a played with but not too much 2015 Birthday Barbie. I already sold Whitney, her outfit, and the Birthday doll’s body and dress, and more than made my money back. I also bought a cheap Dollar Tree clone doll that was wearing a very nice condition vintage Barbie Registered Nurse outfit. There’s some rust stains on the hat and the zipper needs to be tacked down on one side but it looks really nice. It was so white in the bag I thought it might be the reproduction from a couple years back. I got the hat, dress, and cape. I’m not looking forward to hunting down the little accessories, but it might be nice to have. Still haven’t found a doll to wear it yet.
I was fairly good with doll purchases this month. I bought seven dolls at the thrift (it was Savers where they bag up their dolls in multiples). I sold two, and will be using some of the others for the doll donation project at the end of the year. I also bought the Mary Poppins’ Returns dolls, the standard Mary and Jack. Per usual I am just keeping parts of them. I’m keeping Mary’s shoes and body and Jack’s shoes and hat. Hopefully the parts I don’t want sell and I can get my money back. I also got lucky and bought the Pink Haired Silkstone doll when she came back in stock at Barbie Collector at the end of January. I don’t like paying 75 for a doll not in a formal dress, but I was super smitten with her. I’m planning on reselling her outfit and she’s already been rebodied onto Mary’s body since I hate how delicate the articulated Silkstones are. I wish I could have given her a belly button body but she’s that super pale almost white color and I didn’t have a match. I really like her. I also bought another of the “Blue Chiffon Dress” Silkstone, but only because I needed to spend 100 to use my Barbie Collector coupon. I’m most likely going to sell her off piece by piece to get my money back. I also bought the Barbie Celebration doll for her shoes and sunglasses (I’m a sucker for heart shaped sunglasses). I also way overpaid for a vintage doll. It’s my first vintage doll since December! I was looking for a different doll, found this one online and fell in love. I’m going to be mean and not tell you who she is and keep you in suspense (even though I doubt I’ll ever share her since I can barely do a once the month update). How about this, if I get 3 people commenting on this post asking to see it before I post another post, I’ll do a quick and rough introduction post for the doll.
Despite working so much, I am still working on eBay. I try to do one weekend day each week getting about 8 things done. I have had some decent sales, but with me it’s never enough. My goal for the month of February was to have more single sales than full dolls come in. I was ultimately hoping to make more sales than individual items (Head, body, and clothes), but it was not meant to be. However, I did do my first goal, so that means for my tallies for next month, the first doll doesn’t count!

See everyone in March (Most Likely April!)

Monday, February 4, 2019

A Sad Update

Hello Dear Readers,

My apologies for not blogging lately. I would say that I'm hoping to get back into it, but I just don't think I'll have the time. Back in October I started a full time job and that just takes up all of my time. I do get weekends off, but I've been working really hard on eBay trying to get a handle on the excess stuff I have around here that I want to sell. I haven't been doing much with dolls, but that certainly didn't stop me from buying more. I did keep a running list of how much came in versus how much I sold and the bought side was a lot more than what I got. I will just say I cannot be trusted around Walmart's after clearance Christmas especially when I find out the Harry Potter school uniforms look pretty cute on my Mimi dolls and they had Ginny for 5 dollars. I bought all six they had over the course of two days.

I did think about starting a monthly post where I talk about my top addition to the collection this month, but I can't this month. Despite buying a lot of dolls, I mainly bought them for their shoes, or their bodies, or their clothes. I only bought one doll head to actually join the collection, but he doesn't have a body yet since the one I bought for him, doesn't work. I don't have anything I like better for him so he's been banished to where I keep the other doll heads and who knows if he will ever get a body. I don't even want to admit to myself how long some of those heads have been waiting for bodies.

This post isn't just about me talking about dolls. This month I also lost my Grandfather. He passed away exactly a week ago today. I won't lie, it's been extremely hard for me. He was fine until two weeks ago . He had been having some health related issues in recently year but nothing major but two weeks ago he fell and fractured his arm. He was on the mend and did come home, but a few days later he had a massive heart attack and things went from bad to worse. He hung on for a few days, but started to get worse and on Monday he was gone.

On Friday my family and I went up to Connecticut for the funeral. That was one of the hardest experiences of my life. All of my Aunts and Cousins were there. I'm glad we could all be together at this time, but it was such a sucky situation for why we had to get together. I am very glad we were able to go, but I never want to relive this experience. I barely held it together myself and it's even more heartbreaking seeing everyone you love being in so much pain and not being able to do anything.

My Grandfather is playing the banjo. I never heard him play it, but he still had it.
I am absolutely gutted for my poor Grandmother. We are all rallying around her and she's dealing with it the best she can but my heart is absolutely broken for her. They were married for 68 years since she was 19. I've been working with my mother to think of ways how we can help her. We are at a disadvantage since we are so far away but we are going to work on making more of an effort to call my Grandmother and just keep in touch and we were thinking of things we could send her to help keep her mind off the situation. It's tricky since she's never been a stay at home kind of person, but the things we're thinking of are things to help her at home. She and my Grandfather lived in the same house since 1952, there's a lot of memories that she won't be able to escape from. Right now we're talking about any types of hobbies we can send her supplies for, books we can get her, and movies we can get she would like. 

My Grandparents at their 25th Anniversary. He was not usually so silly in pictures.
It's hard to explain my relationship with my Grandfather. It's been hard to communicate with my Grandfather my entire life since he had massive hearing loss. He had gotten sick as a child and lost a lot of his hearing and as time when on he had some genetic hearing loss. Despite always having a hearing aid, they never found one that was perfect for him. We would talk and when I got older our relationship changed where we did communicate more, he was one if the smartest people I know. He was incredibly mechanically gifted and would come up with amazing solutions to problems. I was talking to my mother about him and I just couldn't come up with words on how to describe him, he was just Grandpa. The best I came up with was he was a consistent, he was just who he was and his presence brought us all comfort. It's hard stating exactly what's changed, but everything has changed.

We weren't able to stay long, and we never went to my Grandmother's house. Part of me wanted to go and get that over with, but part of me just couldn't bear it. It's going to be rough figuring out a new normal. It's going to be rough.
I'm going to miss you Grandpa.    

Thursday, October 18, 2018

You can really hear the echo without any posts...

Hello Dear Readers,

I assume people have noticed the lack of a blog around here lately. You see, I was having some issues regarding the blog and had to .... retire it for a bit. Everything was reverted to draft form so I am hoping to eventually restore everything and get it back to as what it once was. I can't say it'll be any time soon, but hopefully it won't be too long.

I've had some changes in my life the last time I've made a post. I have a new job! I haven't started it yet, but training begins at the end of the month. I'm a little nervous about the job (it's a customer service job) and I don't love the drive but the pay is a lot more than I was making (and more than I've ever made before) so it certainly has some perks. It's also Monday through Friday! It was funny, in the interview they asked how I'd feel working some additional Saturdays I was like, "I've worked retail, weekends mean nothing to me". And really, I wouldn't mind working overtime since it's a really good rate. It's especially good since I have a very large (non-doll) purchase to save up for. I got hired through a hiring agency and it's a six month contract but hopefully they will keep me after that. Either way, it'll be a job for six months and I can figure out what to do after that.

Even with job hunting and several interviews I've also been putting effort selling stuff online. I haven't been as good as I should be, but I've been spending some time listing things in the hopes that it sells. I still have a lot more to go, I really let it build up more than I should have, but I've made quite a dent in what I had for resale. And if I'm being honest, I keep beating myself up for having too much stuff, but in a comparison with some collectors I know they'd look at my collection and my resell pile and say "Is that it?". Things are kind of slow right now, I've found that spring is when people are really buying but I keep listing stuff. It doesn't even have the chance to sell if it's just sitting around here gathering dust. I haven't started working on trimming down the collection just yet, there's still a lot of things to sell before I get there, but I'm making a mental plan for what I want to sell. In a situation like this is a lot better to mentally say goodbye to something before I actually do it, just to make sure I'm ready for it.

I have been kind of at a weird impasse with my doll collection, I know I keep saying that but it keeps being true! I've been kind of bored with Barbie and other 1:6 fashion dolls. I still have my favorites but things have been changing. I'm kind of taking a break from vintage. I have a lot and I've gotten several of my grail dolls so the drive just isn't there at the moment. There's still several grail dolls I don't have, but those are very expensive which are just out of my price range at the moment. I'm always still looking for a bargain, but I'm being a little more selective as to what is a good deal for me and the collection. Not saying that I haven't been buying things, but I've certainly slowed down and changed what I buy and for what reason.

I have been focused more on antique dolls lately. It really started when I won that bisque doll at that luncheon in April. It's a little tricky delving into this new dolly genre, I'm finding I have some of the basics (or at least figure them out using internet searches), but there's so much to learn. It's kind of frustrating going from Barbie where I have a lifetime of knowledge to antique dolls where I'm very much a novice. I'm having a hard time figuring out good resources for information. I just want to know it all now! If anyone has suggestions for resources or books I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

I'm trying to be smart with my antique doll purchases. I don't want it to be like Barbie where I wake up and find myself surrounded with them and overwhelmed. Also, I like them but they're fragile and I'm clumsy. I'm planning on keeping my collection very small (another reason to keep it small is they tend to be bigger than Barbie so space is a factor). As of right now I own two bisque dolls, five china head dolls, and two wooden dolls. I would like to add a male china head doll to my collection as well as a small felt doll like a Lenci but that's all that I'm really wanting. I did see a really cute bisque doll on eBay I put an offer in for but it was ignored until it aged out of the system. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. She was cute but nothing I had to have. All in all I'm hoping to keep the antique doll collection to about a dozen in total. I know I've added a lot to it recently, but even as the focus of my collection right now, I'm still not buying a lot. It's a lot of window shopping, which isn't a bad thing.

I think that's the big things that's been going on lately. I can't say for sure I'll be around that often, but hopefully there will be more content sooner. And maybe one of these days I'll actually take a picture to share!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

Let's talk about shoes! (Really, when aren't we talking about shoes?)

Hello Everyone.

Happy June! In a shocking turn of events, the Disney Store released all of the new Classic dolls today, color me shocked! They usually get released in June but traditionally it's been mid June and lately it's been dragging on until almost July with the dolls getting clearanced and slowly selling out during the course of the month. But not this year! This year it looks like they just pulled everything and put up the new stuff. They are having a sale right now on clearance stuff, but when I checked out of curiosity a week or so ago none of the classic dolls were on sale so I don't even think they did a big push to get rid of what stock they had left, they just took them off the site.

*Coming soon to a Disney outlet near you, I assume*

There's been a few changes this year. The princesses got their changes per usual. The biggest and most noticeable change is that the sidekick figurines are now gone and have been replaced with a plastic rings. Not terribly surprised over the change, the sidekicks were a really nice addition, but they were sometimes a lot of plastic and some of them had pretty small painted details. I'm sure a simple, but character appropriate, ring is a lot cheaper to make. Glitter is also back in the line, for most of the princesses. Several of the princesses now have a tulle overlay that has glued on glitter detail and some now just have the glitter applied to their skirts. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Rapunzel all have the overlay and Mulan, Tiana, and Pocahontas all have glitter as part of their outfit. Technically Elsa could be part of the glitter overlay club, but she usually has that, she really didn't change beyond losing Olaf and getting a ring. Ariel, Merida, Elena, and Moana didn't appear to change any either. I think Moana is now officially part of the Classics line, her box looks to be in the same style as the rest of the dolls, but we'll see if she's part of the sales promos for the line, if they're still doing that. She might have already been part of the classic line and I missed it, I wasn't checking for her. I still haven't seen the movie and she doesn't even come with shoes!

Speaking of shoes, there's only one doll that shows her feet (and is wearing shoes), good old Snow White with her tea length dress. It looks like they've continued the rubber legs with the flat feet and the internal clicking knees. But instead of what they did last year where they were on the high heeled flats, they now have the flat foot shoe mold that originated in 2012, I think, back when the dolls were a lot more articulated. Not terribly surprised, those shoes were designed for that type of foot and fit a lot better. Since nobody got an outfit change, I assume their shoe colors are going to also stay the same. That being said, there are a couple variables among them. Now that the flat feet are back, I'm curious if Merida is going to get her unique brown ankle boot style shoe again. I'm also curious if Rapunzel is wearing shoes since her dress now covers her feet, traditionally she does not get shoes but you'd think if they put her in a gown, she'd be more inclined to. I'm wondering if Elena has red flats or if she got to keep her unique shoe mold (or if they modified it for the flat feet), and I'm curious if Cinderella will have the same color shoes. She's the classic doll with the most shoe variations among the years. Sometimes they're clear, sometimes they're clear with glitter, and sometimes they're just blue.

I am curious enough to want to do some picture and video searches when they start showing up online, but not curious enough to buy them. You see, I don't like those shoes. I own two pairs, purple and gold. I find the toe part of them is a bit bulbous and looks weird on the doll. Also, the bottoms are totally flat and the sides are rather high so a lot of the dolls who are designed to stand on tip toe can't really wear them. So I'm not planning on getting these dolls for their shoes. I *might* buy a couple of them in time, but I'm not going to be hunting down these shoes in every color of the rainbow like I do with the other flat shoes that I adore.

There's been a few other changes to the Classic line, Gaston is back. He's the only villain currently in the line at the moment. Ursula came back briefly, but she's gone again. Not sure why Gaston is back, it's not Belle's year or anything. He's the only new doll, but several dolls are not online right now. I'm not sure if they're not online yet, or if they've been dropped from the line for this year. Hans is gone which is surprising. Also missing is Snow White's Prince, Prince Phillip, John Smith, Prince Naveen, and Flynn Rider. Several of the remaining Princes did get new outfits, Aladdin is now in his Prince Ali outfit, and Eric is now in his wedding outfit. It's funny for Eric since Wedding Ariel was part of the line last year, but not this year. I do think the wedding doll will be back, a couple months back people found three Princess dolls in their wedding dresses in stores (Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Tiana) so I think that's going to be a new line. I would not be surprised if Ariel comes back as part of that line. The wedding dolls did have the flat shoe mold, which is why I wasn't surprised to see it in the classic dolls this year.

If I was going to get any of the new dolls, I'd be most likely to get one of the wedding dolls if they came with white shoes. I'm not in love with those shoes, but I can use a neutral color like that. I might also get Belle since I have a doll that uses the fully articulated Disney body and right now she's using the high heeled flats but I'd prefer her in the flat shoe mold. However, these are low priorities since like I said, I don't really like those shoes.

Shame about the lack of the high heeled flats, but it's good for my wallet. Hopefully they do come back at some point since there's still a few colors I'd love to add to my collection (orange and light purple especially), but this year they're at least helping me be more kind to my wallet.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Barely Doll Related, but you do get to see me as a baby!

Hello Dear Readers,

It's been almost a week since I got back from my trip and I'm now in a place where I can talk about it. I went up to Connecticut to see my extended family. We made the trip because my dad's idiot brother made the ultimatum that either my Dad comes up when he's visiting or else he and my other uncle were going to come visit us, and we certainly do not want that. So my parents and I packed up the car and made our way north. I had the option of not going but I wanted to see my Mother's side of the family. On my dad's side both of my Grandparents have passed and the one good aunt doesn't make up for dealing with the rest of them. I half jokingly said the only time we'd be together as a family would be at my funeral. I feel a little bad since there is a couple people on that side I'd at least like to know as people, but it's kind of a package deal and in this case it's a package you refuse delivery on for your sanity. I was able to spent a lot of time with my Grandparents and my favorite aunt. Those are the people I really miss seeing since we moved south. The trip up wasn't terrible, it was 12 hours but that's the best that it's going to be. The trip home was terrible, I got sick, and we got stuck in traffic and it ended up being 15 hours. By the time we got home, I was very fed up with being in the car.

I did do a little thrifting while I was up there, I didn't find much. I bought a (found out later rather TLC) Barbie Basics Ken and a Birthstone Beauty Steffie doll in a crushed box. The thrift stores were kind of lame, most of them didn't have any dolls, and not even just a lack of fashion dolls. One of them had one mass produced porcelain doll and two baby dolls, and that's it for dolls in the entire store. Kind of a clunker in that aspect, but I wasn't there for shopping and it's not like I really need anything. I should still be working on downsizing, not adding more.

I got a lot of time to work on scanning up there. One of the things I worked on when I was there last October was scanning. Back then I got around a thousand pictures scanned, this time I did over 500. There's still a LOT of pictures to scan, but I got a big chunk done, and that's more than anyone else has done (seriously, I'm the only one whose ever scanned anything). And since this is my blog and you're my rapt audience, I'm going to share select ones with you (I promise it'll be less than the full 500).

They kind of jump all over the place, they're mostly kids since I didn't want to post any adults for *security* concerns. 

My Grandmother, age 13 or 14. She's extremely photogenic. I did not inherit that from her!
My Grandfather, age 6. He turned 90 last September.
My two oldest aunts, I wish the doll was better in focus so I could identify it. I'm not totally sure where this picture was taken, it looks like the den, but the windows are reversed to how they actually are. I think this is 1956?
My first birthday, June 1987
Me, Summer 1988. I wish I was still blond.
Christmas 1992 (I think) at my Grandmother's house
My cousin in my Grandmother's kitchen. My Grandmother's kitchen looks basically the same, new dishwasher but the same cabinets. My Great-Grandfather built those cabinets. That cousin is turning 40 in less than a month, don't need to say that, but I wanted to.
Me again. The dog behind me is Mac. Mac would go on to bite me in the face, leaving me with several scars. I assume this is before then (Mac lived a long full life post the biting).
"Red with Jewels" my mother's favorite childhood pet, wearing one of her favorite pieces of jewelry. The record cabinet and that small table are still in my Grandmother's living room. Red lived a full life, this picture was taken before he lost an eye in a bar fight.
My Great-Grandmother, you can see where my Grandmother got her good looks.

There's still plenty of work to do with the pictures. There's still tons left to scan, and I've done nothing with identifying or cataloguing anything. I did keep track of anything that was written on the backs of the images, but didn't do anything beyond that. I'm pretty good at identifying my Great-Grandparents (especially I only alive for one of them and they died when I was 6 months old), but there's a variety of people I don't know. It's a long term project, as I was telling someone, there's six generations of pictures in that house. There's a LOT of pictures.

And P.S. The cat didn't lose an eye in a bar fight. He did lose an eye, but we don't know how.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

April Update? And on time?!?

I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw off the floor. 

April was a much better month than March, for a variety of reasons.

For starters I had an *amazing* eBay month, with a record breaking 59 sales for the month. There is now an official weekly record of sales being tracked so I can state those numbers with accuracy. I got lucky since eBay kept giving me free listings (and I think people's tax refunds helped), but I did work a lot on refilling the empty spaces so there was a lot of things listed. There's a lot of slots I need to fill, and plenty of stuff that needs to get listed. I even sold two dolls that were part of the collection. There are twinges of sadness saying goodbye to a doll I liked enough to add to the collection, but I've realized that I just don't have enough time for everything and it's good to let some things go. I'm really working hard to trim down the collection to a more manageable amount. There is still a lot to go, but this past month really did help a lot. I feel that what's left (and I cannot stress how much there is to list still) is a lot more manageable of a goal.

My spending was down too. I did buy some things, more than I needed to but with so much going out I was able to pay for everything with my eBay profits. April was the first month since I've started this endeavor where I was in the black at the end of the month. I'm working hard to change that as we speak, but I had a very profitable month. I know every month won't be that good, but I am very pleased with how April went.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go to the doll meeting at the start of the month. We're down to one car at the moment that can do long trips and my father needed it for work and his time off request was denied. But thanks to my sister I was able to go, and stayed the night overnight at her house, that was weird. But it was the doll donation meeting and I like going to those. We were able to redress over 70 dolls for charity. And I was able to swap out for a few things. I got a couple pairs of shoes, some clothing pieces, and a few dolls (some of the dolls I plan on reselling). Overall it was a very good day and I'm glad I got to go to it. I am skipping the May meeting since I'll be out of town on that date.

I did get to see everyone at Bradley Justice's luncheon for the UFDC. The theme this year was Mod Barbie and it was AMAZING! I'm so glad I got to go. I will say that the sales floor was a little pricey for my tastes (I saw two people selling 75 dollar Bubblecuts, which is funny since I had brought a 25 dollar Bubblecut with me of similar condition), but I did buy a TLC Casey and a TLC Talking Barbie head on a 70's era body that was missing half it's limbs. I needed another project like I need another hole in my head, but I had to buy something.

Since I didn't buy anything else I ended up buying additional 25 raffle tickets. And I *cleaned* up in the raffle. I won SIX things. This is the third event he's hosted and I've gone to every one and have never won anything. I certainly made up for that this year. I think part of why I was so lucky is that some of the things I won weren't as popular. I won the chocolate factory I Love Lucy doll, the 2016 African American Holiday Barbie, a Taraka Jenny friend that was personally given to the person who donated it by Carol Spencer, a poorly restored antique doll (which I really wanted), the 2015? convention heart shaped box full of reproduction spike shoes (which I also really wanted, I put the most tickets in for that), and the most unique a box mock up for the New Years Japanese Barbie, also from Carol Spencer. It's the correct style of box, but it's totally white. The doll is wearing the correct hair and outfit, but wasn't given a face. The box backer is also made up of other packaging that Mattel had handy at the moment. I was really lucky to get her!

I think part of the reason why I got that prototype doll is because she wasn't properly marked. I remember Bradley saying he had gotten a prototype for the auction, but when the bag for tickets for her was only marked "Japanese". I did mention that she wasn't your average Japanese doll to a couple people in my club, but really only talked to the people I knew. So I think lots of people passed her by one they saw the outfit but didn't notice her lack of a face. And I think out of everything I put in tickets for I had the greatest chance for the antique doll. Most people there were Barbie collectors who aren't into that sort of doll, and the people who were there that collect antique dolls like the really expensive ones. This poor doll had lots of repairs done to her, and most of them pretty sloppy. I bought a book recommended to be about repairing them that I bought that I'm waiting to arrive. I've been doing a lot of research on this doll. She needs a lot of work, luckily she's pretty common and cheap so anything I do will only be an improvement. I've already removed her wig, pates (wig cap), and her improperly set eyes. She originally had sleep eyes and that's sadly been removed. I am thinking about building a new set of rocker eyes, but it's quite and undertaking and I don't have hardly any of the supplies. I am hoping the book will answer some questions. I also need to learn how to clean bisque, poor girl has lots of glue drips on her head from the wig. I'm just worried about stripping the color. But we shall see what happens. I can ask my friend for guidance since he also collects antique dolls, but I'm trying to do as much research as I can before I ask him. I'm always asking him questions and I don't want to annoy him. I'm at least trying to get a base understanding on my own before I start pestering him.

So that's where things are right now. I'm not working on eBay for the next week due to some unusual (but good) circumstances. I however do need get back to it, things keep piling up and I want more stuff to move out, I need to buy some glass eyes!

See everyone next month! (But I still owe everyone some the doll related post for this month)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fresh Dolls Sale

Hey everyone,

Quick post to point out that the Fresh Dolls sale is ending tomorrow April 16th at midnight on their website. I don't mean to sound like I'm shilling these dolls, but I am very excited for them. They've been showing some guy clothing sets over on their Instagram and I asked the owner, Dr. Lisa, if they'll be up for pre-order soon and she said yes. There's a camo bombers jacket that if it fit Joe I'd be beyond thrilled.

I recommend checking them out. They seem to be really interested in what collectors have to say.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fresh Doll Clothing Set - A Review!

 Hello Dear Readers,
Are people familiar with the Fresh Dolls? I've personally have heard of them and was a bit interested in them, but only recently got more interested in them when they announced plans to make fully articulated guy dolls. I guess I'm all full up when it comes to ladies, but say you're making a guy and I'm all there.

They're still working on them and you can see some work in progress pictures on their Instagram: Fresh Doll Instagram

And you can pre-order them at their official website here:  
 *Heads up, a video auto-plays on their website*

I have two of the guys on pre-order for August... maybe September. They were supposed to come sometime in the summer, but got bumped back because they added wrist articulation, which I am fine with waiting for. It was one of the things that I was bummed about when the dolls were first announced so the one month delay is totally worth it to me.

Anyway, I'm kind of getting off topic. Fresh dolls have two different doll lines currently for sale, single dolls and the deluxe sets which is a doll in a formal outfit and a separate causal outfit. They also have a line of outfits you can buy as well. (The dolls are currently on sale on their website for the next few days just a FYI). While I'm waiting for my guy dolls I wanted to check out some of their other products. So I bought one of their clothing sets. I think right now the clothing sets are only for sale on their website. All but one outfit was sold out at Walmart.com when I checked and I can't even find their listings on Target.com. I don't think they're on Amazon yet.

From the Fresh website I bought "Shorts Outfit" for 6.49, I didn't have to pay tax and since I pre-ordered those two dolls I got free shipping. They even shipped it shortly after I bought it and didn't make me wait until the summer to ship it with the guys. It arrived in a plastic bubble mailer super fast. They mailed it on Wednesday, I got it on Friday, from California to North Carolina!

From what I've seen there's five different clothing packs and they are all packaged in the same way. They are attached to a cardboard backer and placed in a clear plastic bag. There's a cut out on top for it to be displayed on a peg at the store. The entire package is bigger the the current Barbie single outfits, if anything I'd say it was about the size of the 90's era bubble packages for single outfits (but not Fashion Avenue, those were bigger). The front has a very nice display where you can see the outfit. It also has a drawn logo for the Fresh dolls with illustrations of three of the characters, a nice stylized clothing rack image behind the outfit, and the illustration of some accessories on the edge of the backer. It's for ages 3 and up due to it being a choking hazard.
On the back the Fresh logo is repeated in the upper left corner. There's also a small section of text describing the Fresh dolls and their mission. Below that there's a picture of the owner and founder of the company, Dr Lisa, and below that is an image of the first wave of Fresh dolls, including the single dolls and the deluxe set dolls. It also tells me to "Collect them all!". At the very bottom is all the trademark information, some logos, and the bar code.

Opening the set is very easy, on the back at the bottom is a small flap that you can undo and the entire cardboard backer slides out. It takes a little wiggling, but it's pretty easy.

I was surprised to see that the cardboard backer wasn't held together on one side and it opens up like a book. The only thing keeping it closed was the plastic bag. A company like Mattel would have either taped or glued the two sides together. I much prefer it being not attached together since it's a lot easier to de-box since I'm not fighting to open it. Also, if I wanted to keep the backer, it's a lot prettier than if I had to tear it open.

However, I did have to fight with de-boxing it since they used massive plastic tabs to attach the items to the backer. Something like this is fine for the shoes and purse since it goes around them, but leaves giant holes in the clothing no matter how careful you are when cutting since the act of putting the plastic tabs in itself causes giant holes in the clothing. I hate these tabs, I even hate the small ones Mattel and Disney uses. They leave smaller holes, but they still leave holes. I did contact Fresh Doll on Facebook asking them to look into different ways to attach their clothing sets and they did reply that they'd look into it. Hopefully they do, and hopefully they don't think I don't know how to remove doll clothes without damaging it. As someone who has de-boxed a lot of dolls I can assure you it's not my carelessness snipping causes those holes.

Anyway, with some scissors and careful cutting all the clothing pieces are freed from their backer. We get a top, a bottom, a purse, and a pair of shoes. All of their clothing sets have the same basic components, there is a swimsuit that comes with a hat instead of shoes but the rest of them follow the same pattern.

Up first we'll talk about the shirt, the piece I wanted the most from the set. The shirt is really lovely. It's made from a pea green colored fabric, I'm not sure what type of fabric. It's a thin woven fabric, the front of the fabric has a slightly fuzzy texture but the inside doesn't, it almost feels like a very thin velveteen, but I'm not totally sure if it is. It's a sleeveless top with black elastic spaghetti straps. Along the top and at the underbust there's a row of white trim that's sewn down with green topstitching. The bodice features four pin tucks which is a nice detail. The top is made from two pieces sewn together and the bottom part is slightly flared which is very pretty. It fully opens and closes in the back some thin hook and loop tape. There is a fair amount of sewing errors on the top. It's mostly excess treads that weren't trimmed off. Also the very top isn't hemmed, they use the white trim so they don't have to hem it, which is fine, most doll companies simplify their patterns like that. However they left these points in the fabric where the guides for sewing the straps on. It's a minor cosmetic thing, but it looks slightly sloppy to me. I do think I will be able to clean it up, it just needs some minor trimming for both the thread and the top. They were kind enough to put the plastic tabs on the top under the white trim and only attach the bottom part at the back. It does minimize the visibility of the holes in the top.

The set also includes a pair of shorts. Made from a very thin denim these pants have a very pretty medium wash color with yellow contrast stitching. It has topstitched fly and pocket detailing in the front. For an added bit of detail it has a rolled hems. It also closes in the back with some hook and loop tape. There's a small sewing error at the back of the shorts where the hook and loop tape was sewn down. It looks secure, just slightly sloppy.

The shoes that come with this outfit are a pair of black strappy sandals. They are made from a very flexible rubber and are designed for a high heeled foot (I don't think Fresh dolls have flat footed dolls yet, which is fine since most of my dolls have high heeled feet). They have two molded in buckles on both sides of each shoe. There's no painted details on the shoes, but I don't really think they need them. There is a slit on the back of the shoe to help get the shoe on and off the doll.

The final item in the set is a purse. Made from the same flexible rubber as the shoes this purse is a very traditional style. It has molded on straps, one side has the Fresh logo molded in and a bow detail. It actually has an opening and you could put something in the purse. I don't have any small accessories from the set that can go in there, but I have plenty of small accessories around here that I could put in it. I pushed my finger inside to show how wide it could go.

Now that we've talked about the set, let's try it on somebody! I don't have any Fresh dolls, so I had to use the next best thing, Mattel. Yellow Top Made to Move Barbie was kind enough to be our model. Everything went on her very easily. I was a little concerned about the shoes since the MTM foot is a little bigger than classic Barbie foot, but she filled them out wonderfully. The top looks amazing on her. It is slightly big on her, but you can't really tell. And I think that means a doll with a larger bust will be able to wear it too. That green is such a lovely color and so uncommon in doll clothes. I think it's super cute and modest, but fun! I'm a little less impressed with the shorts. They're very big on her. When the waist of the shorts sit naturally on her, they're pretty low, which is fine it's still an acceptable length, but the crotch ends up being very low. When you pull the shorts to where the crotch sits properly, the shorts themselves are around her natural waist and they're very loose. I can't really say I love these shorts, but I'm not using them on the doll they're made for. I think with some darts in the back I could get these shorts fitting on this body a lot better. I'm not sure I will since I know how to make shorts and while I tend to dress my dolls more modestly, I love a good short short and like showing off a lot of leg so it would be easier for me to make something from scratch. However if someone didn't sew, I think it would be easy to hand sew some darts in the back to make these fit Barbie better. I will say, when I got the shorts one of the legs was unrolled in the package, I fixed it since the sides were sewn and it had just unrolled. However, this left the legs uneven. They don't look uneven at the sides, but you can tell at the inseam one leg is lower than the other. You can pull one side up so it's not as noticeable, but it is what it is. The purse is very cute and I like it, but it's kind of just there. I think a nice summer bag would be really cute with this outfit. I like the purse and might try it with a different outfit so I think it has some value for a different outfit. The shoes are cute, but again I think I'll put something else with this outfit. I think it's fine as a complete set, but as someone with so, so many shoes and accessories I can mix and match with stuff I already have. 

Overall, I like this outfit. It does have some things it needs to improve on, there's some sewing errors they could work on and I would love it if they stopped using large plastic tabs but I think it's a really cute outfit. It's cute, modest, trendy, and works great together, or with other outfit pieces I already have. I really like that top and wish I had it in other colors. It's a perfect outfit for summer and with they way they constructed it will fit a variety of doll. Also, it just feels more realistic that what Barbie's been coming out with lately. I like a well thought out outfit like everyone else, but man do I like an outfit that looks like something a regular person would actually wear. 

I'm really looking forward to what else Fresh Dolls will be coming out with. They seem to be a great company that's focused on the right things, filling a spot in the market that's clearly lacking while not tearing down other companies products. The CEO, Dr Lisa, seems to be listening to what's important to collectors and trying to grow the Fresh Brand into something children and Collectors will want. Barbie will always be my number one girl, but I am very excited as to what Fresh Dolls will bring to the conversation and do recommend checking them out. They're also on Facebook and seem to be pretty active in announcing what's coming out.

I just wanted to add, I also tried the shoes on a Silkstone, the doll didn't fill out the toes as well as she could but the shoes fit nicely and stretched enough to fit. I'd worry about them stretching out the shoes if left on for too long, but Silkstones and Model Muse dolls can wear these shoes. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Let's talk about March .... in May ..... oops!

Hello Dear Readers,

Per usual I must apologize for the delay in my posting. You'd think setting myself such a low bar of two per month would be doable, yet here I am several months behind that quite small goal and I have no excuses.

March was not the greatest month for me.
The start of the month was fine, the doll meeting was fun. I was a little worried how things would go based on the guest list, but it really wasn't that bad. I didn't really do much. I continued to work on eBay (sometimes forcing myself to do so since it's not fun) and had a decent amount of sales. I bought several doll (more than I should have). It was pretty much business as usual.

However the end of the month things turned a lot worse. A situation happened that left me with the worst anxiety I've ever had. It was so bad I couldn't even sleep. There was just a lot going on in my mind. Things have gotten better now, but they're not back to normal completely. It's one of those things where you have to make a *grown up* decision and it's rough since it shouldn't be your situation to deal with, but you need to suck it up for the greater good. *Sigh*

I don't want to go into detail, but it means something big might happen. I just hate having to be the catalyst for big stuff like that since it means I have to be in charge and make sure it gets done, including doing most of the work.