Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like the day after Christmas!

I ended up going out into town the day after Christmas. The reason? To hit up the after Christmas sales. I was hoping to score on Christmas ornaments and Christmas candy. Christmas candy ended up being a total wash, nobody had any on sale. I guess they've decided that it still retains it's value the day after Christmas and won't knock down the price until further after Christmas.
Christmas ornaments however were still fair game. By 10 in the morning when I rolled into the Hallmark store in the mall they had signs up saying that all ornaments were 50 percent off. I looked through the remaining stock and picked out two ornaments for my sister (never too early to shop for Christmas 2015!), one for myself, and a Phineas and Ferb ornament for my mother (the reason why I went out in the first place). That Phineas and Ferb ornament was a pain to find. It was on the display unit away from the other Disney ornaments. I almost left the store without it since I thought they were sold out. Luckily I searched again for it and found it on my third go around. Can you believe I spent 35 dollars on ornaments, so I would have spent 70 dollars at full price.... and that's just for four ornaments! It's mind blowing how expensive they are.
I was able to avoid the Hobby Lobby after Christmas sales. I normally hit them up for tulle that I use in sewing (they have huge rolls that are pretty cheap after Christmas), but skipped them this year. I'm still working my way through rolls that are over two years old at this point. The only color I'm missing from what they offer at Christmas is the florescent green and I rarely use that color. I bought a roll of white last year in case I ran out of the one I've been using for several years now and I'm still not even close to running out so I haven't even touched the "new" roll. So I was good and didn't bother going.
However I was bad and went to the thrift stores that were open. Surprisingly most of them were open the day after Christmas. However, there were slim pickings at them. I did find a still sealed Apples to Apples travel game for two dollars. We have that game already, but this one claimed to be all new cards. Haven't played yet, but we shall see if it is all new. I also ended up stopping by one of the Antique stores on Sunset. They didn't have a lot of new things, but I did see a booth that had some Monster High dolls! I'm not activly collecting them, but if I do find them I will look at them. They had one Lagoona (missing a hand), one Frankie, and a Create A Monster Witch and Cat. I already
have Frankie and didn't want a Lagoona that was missing parts, but I did pick up the Witch. She was nude and without a wig but I really do like her. She's got such pretty coloring. She reminds me of that new character, the witch singer. But this one didn't have that purple and orange streaked hair (no hair at all in fact). She was 5 dollars, but was half off. Everything in that booth is always half off. So for 2.50 I thought she'd be a good purchase, even if I didn't decide to keep her. Quick question for my Monster High collecting readers, is the witch supposed to have really stubby fingers on one hand?
My witch has really short fingers on her left hand, but a normally sized thumb. The fingers haven't been cut, but are seriously shorter than they should be. I guess they just weren't molded properly. She's in nice shape, knees are a little loose and she has a couple spots on her head that might need the acne cream treatment. I am glad I got her, she's so striking!
When I got her the witch had one pink thigh. I was willing to live with that, but as I carried her around the store I wondered if the cat, who was pink, had a green thigh. I went back and checked, and sure enough she did. I decided to get the cat too, mainly because I wanted the completely green witch. She was also 2.50. She came with her original black t-shirt, a purple and blue bobbed wig, and first issue Deuce's pants. No tail or ears though. She's mostly in good shape, except she has a stressed out knee joint. I guess someone was a bit too rough when removing her leg. I'm not sure if there's anything you can do to to fix that. I'm just being careful, it's not like I'm going to be removing the legs. I really don't like doing that since the posts can be so delicate.

So that's my two newest Monster High dolls. I like the witch much more than the cat, even with her stumpy fingers. Right now I'm not sure if the cat will be staying. They're here right now, but who knows what the future holds. I only like Monster High, so eventually they could be on the chopping block. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello Everyone,

Per usual this post is a little late, but I hope everyone that celebrates had a happy holiday and I hope all that don't still had a good day. My day was mostly okay. Dinner had a few new kinks but everything mostly worked out (few things I will NOT be doing again next year). After dinner my family opened presents, followed by games. I will admit games was a lot of fun. I got several nice presents (some of which will be shared with you in time) and I think everyone else got some nice presents. A lot of work went into the day, but I think it was totally worth it.

I wanted to share with you the picture of Charlotte's shelf this Christmas season.
You might notice there's someone missing.... Charlotte didn't get a dress made for her. Poor Charlotte, the shelf's named after her but she didn't even get a dress this season! I didn't even start one for her! And the worst thing is, I was actually doing a lot of sewing this December. In the picture above Artemis, Audrey Hepburn, Joe, and the Ponytail Barbie are all wearing brand new outfits. I just ran out of time for Charlotte. I finished Audrey Hepburn's dress on the 23rd and didn't have time with everything else I needed to do. Luckily Charlotte's understanding.

Also new this year is that Reindeer figurine, I had to display in on the shelf, I just love it. For a project that I was hesitant on even buying in the first place it came out wonderfully and it's proof I can actually finish something! And so far the Elmer's glue is holding the rhinestones on wonderfully. The knee hugger elf is also new, I found him a thrift store for three dollars earlier in the month. He's made in Japan according to the sticker on his back. They just put him out at the store and I snatched him up so fast when I saw him. The little nutcrackers are new too. They were pins that I popped the poorly hot glued pin backs off of. They are practically perfect scale for the dolls!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Oooh Girl, your face is beat!" (Don't worry, it's a good thing)

Hello everyone,

I'm trying to be sightly more proactive in introducing new dolls on the blog. The paper box top (that I was hoping to throw out once I got it empty) has once again accumulated a stack of dolls I want to share with you all. Some of these dolls date as far back as as September! Ugh, I really need to be better at this. I'm not sharing with you one of those older dolls just yet, but I will be sharing with you all one of my newer acquisitions. I actually got her the same day as TNT Skipper, just later in the day.

At the doll meeting, one of the doll club's members was selling a bunch of his dolls with the hopes of raising enough money to buy one much more expensive doll he really wanted to get. I already had contacted him about one doll he had and that doll was waiting for me when I arrived (more on that another day), but there was another doll he had that I was interested in, but was really trying to talk myself out of getting. This was not my first time trying to talk myself out this particular doll.  
He had posted all of the dolls he was selling over on Flickr and I forced myself to not comment on the picture that contained the doll I was interested in. I had also talked myself out of emailing him over it. I literally had to close an email draft and step away from the computer. I thought it was behind me, however I was not expecting to find an entire spread of dolls for sale when I walked into the meeting. I did try to be good and while I looked at her I did not try to buy her (it helped that I didn't have enough money on me). I was hoping that someone else would buy her and my struggle would be over. At least two people almost did. The first person who had the doll ended up putting it back when they found out who the doll was.
At the end of the meeting he was packing up the doll that didn't sell when I commented to him how she was almost sold a couple of times and that I was trying to avoid her. He suggested I make an offer on her. I told him that I didn't have any money but he was fine getting paid later. I offered him ten (same price that the other person who put her back was going to pay) and he accepted. Apparently I was destined to get this doll, or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Who is this doll that ended up coming home with me? Why it's Rupaul, the famous drag artist! 
A little information for people who don't know, you address a drag artist by the gender which they are presenting at that time. So this doll will always be addressed as she. 
Rupaul the RuDoll was made by Integrity toys. With her, she's my fifth Integrity doll to join the collection (third full Integrity doll since Vanessa and Pierre are both on Mattel bodies). Her body is different than the other two dolls I have that came with their original bodies. Her body has limited articulation. She can move at the neck (not very well), shoulders, bust, waist, and hips. I don't mind the limited articulation, not every doll needs lots of joints. I do wish her legs were able to be straightened, the right one always needs to be slightly forward. I keep forgetting that and trying to push is back and it's getting an indent from her hard plastic rear end. I believe this is the same body as the basic ITBE dolls that Integrity released several years back. I actually like it for what it is. The arm sculpts are very elegant and graceful, I wish the bent hand was a bit more versatile but I can live with it as it is. Rupaul has somewhat different proportions than vintage Barbie, but I was able to get her to wear clothes made for them pretty decently. I bought her nude, so it's interesting to see what I have that fits
her. I think the outfits that aren't super tight on Barbie she can wear. She's got a larger bust but a smaller waist. Pants might be difficult since she is so tall (which I like since the real Rupaul is very tall). She does have left and right specific feet like the Model Muse bodies, but I think her feet are larger. I was able to get her to wear some Barbie shoes I had, but only if they have a bit of flex to them. Hard shoes just couldn't fit. Luckily she's the only doll with feet like this, so she doesn't have much competition for shoes that fit her. That is if she ever gets dressed, I have a lot of dolls ahead of her waiting to be dressed.
I did do some slight customization to her. I removed her large hoop earrings (don't know if Integrity dolls get green ear, but I want to avoid the risk) and her necklace. I'm also trying to straighten her hair. As a child who grew up in the 90's, I loathe crimped hair. I'll most likely never get it straight, but I can at least ease it out some. I do really like her, she's a really pretty doll. For a doll that I was really hesitant about getting I like her a lot. I've been playing with her a lot. She even got to wear a Christmas outfit this Christmas. I will have to be careful with her though, she's almost at the height of the shelves on the bookshelf and I don't know where she could go if she ended up too tall! I'll have to be careful what shoes she ends up with, nothing too tall!

Totally unrelated, can you believe there's only two days until Christmas! I have so much to get done! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Surprising Finds in an Unsurprising Places!

This week ended with a bit of a down slide. I totally ruined something yesterday by accident, something I literally just got in the mail minutes before. I'm just so upset with myself, I should have just thrown my money in the trash and cut out the middle man.

So that seriously bummed me out, but I'm trying to not dwell on it. But it's hard not to.

Anyway, last Saturday was my December doll meeting. It was our Christmas meeting. We were meeting at noon so I had to leave the house pretty early. However, it wasn't early enough to pass over going to the thrift stores and it's a very good thing we stopped in.
At the first thrift store, I had amazing luck. I walked in and literally straight in front of me was a small plastic tub of dolls. On it was a sign saying all Barbie dolls were 75 cents, which was music to my ears so I quickly dove in. It was mostly early 2000 dolls, but I did pick up a few things of interest. I snagged a Moxie Teenz doll (with a later discovered broken ankle), a Glinda doll, and an Action Man. I did have a random Theresa in my hand for a little bit, but when I couldn't find her missing shoe back into the bin she went. There wasn't too many dolls in the box, but they were all jumbled in together so I went slowly to make sure I didn't miss anyone. I had just put down a recent Ariel doll when I noticed one doll standing in the corner. She had Skipper hands. That doesn't mean much since they used those same hand molds well into the 80's. I pulled back her hair that was covering her face and was very surprised what I found. I'll leave you in suspense for a few more seconds but I will tell you that I immediately picked her up and added her to the other dolls I was getting. Out of all the dolls I had found, she was going to be leaving with me.

What I had found is a mod TNT Skipper. She's one of the older ones made in Japan before they
switched over to making them in Taiwan. She has straight brunette hair. This is my first TNT Skipper with the straight hair and my first brunette. I do have two sausage curl versions, but they're both blondes. So I am very excited to find her, but it's not like I would have turned down a blonde either.
Skipper is in very nice shape, her worst issue is two pin pricks to her right foot. She also has two small tears to the bottoms of her feet, I still have to put glue on
them. When I got her she had a drop of white paint on one of her hands, but some light scraping with my fingernail it came off. I did have to straighten her hair out some, it was mostly in nice shape, but at the very start of her part line it all wants to stray to the left, she's wearing a plastic band over it to try and train it to lay on the correct side. I did so a slight recolor to her nose and two spots on her legs that went pale. It sound like she needed a lot of work, but it was all very minor sprucing up. She really is a stunner. Her hair is nice and full, her makeup is flawless, and her eyelashes are beautiful. She's a wonderful example of the TNT Skipper. I'm just thrilled that she's mine, and can't believe she only cost me 75 cents!

A quick end note, the doll meeting was fun. We didn't have too many people this year so it was a nice intimate group. However it ended rather appropriately at 3:30 with the majority of people rushing out then. I didn't think it would end so soon so wasn't getting picked up until 4. Luckily there were a few people who were still there at that time. The hostess, while gracious, seemed pretty ready to be done with the meeting and get about her Saturday, so I felt kind of out of place. Had I known when the meeting was going to be over I would have planned accordingly. I wrote down the time the meeting ended and hopefully can keep tabs on that to see if there's a pattern so I'm not left feeling uncomfortable like that. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New shoes, New Shoes, NEW SHOES!

I went to Walmart yesterday, the first time for December. I was braving the crowds because I wanted to get the current version of Clue for a present, I even had a coupon. However much to my dismay, they were all sold out! I ended up buying it online and being unable to use the coupon. It was either that or risk not getting it by Christmas. I sent Hasbro an email about the situation hoping they might do something about it, but they just sent me a reply explaining why I can't use a coupon online, which I knew. Oh well, it was only two dollars and I'm hoping I won't have to buy another Clue game for a long, long time.

Anyway, since I was in the toy section, I had to check out the Barbie section. I was hoping to find the Career of the Year Director Barbie since she has the new articulated ankles that I'm curious about. Walmart doesn't have her listed online yet, but I was hoping the store might get new toys first since it is the Holiday season and the more they keep the shelves full the more they sell. They didn't have her, but I did find something there I wasn't expecting.
*History Lesson Time* 
Back in the 1960's Mattel sold "pak" items for Barbie. They were an inexpensive alternatives to their full outfits. Most of them were single clothing pieces, but they did have some accessory and shoe paks. They were designed to mix and match so you could add them to what you already had for Barbie for a bigger wardrobe. Why am I tell you this, you ask? Apparently they are back!

Hanging on pegs at Walmart was the new version of it! Packaged in cardboard and plastic these new paks look a lot like the vintage ones. I glanced through them briefly. I saw a couple different straight skirts and a few different style of shirts. I didn't look at the clothing options too much because I'm not really interested in the clothes since I make my own. However, they also have shoe/accessory paks and those I was very interested in. I had actually found pictures of them online several months ago but didn't know this was that line. The online pictures didn't show packaging. One of the shoe paks I was very interested in, so I was very excited to find it. I didn't think I'd see them until 2015 but here they were literally dangling in front of me. They were priced at 4 dollars, which seems slightly high to me since they sell full outfits for around seven, but I will admit I'm cheap.
Luckily there was just one accessory set that was a must have so I put it in the cart. After I checked out I was looking over the receipt, it had only rung up at 2.44! I was still in the store at that time, so I rushed back to the toy department and picked up the other two accessory sets. They were a lot more tempting at 2.44! I freely admit I have a shoe addiction, but at that price I can totally justify it!

These new paks are in very simple packaging. It is a thin cardboard front and backing with a bag containing the items sandwiched between them. On the front is a picture of Life in the Dream House Barbie with a cut out so you can see the contents of the bag. In the upper left corner small icon denoting this is an accessory pak compared to one that held clothes. The packaging is held together by a pink plastic hanger. You need to remove this to get the pak open. I was able to monkey around with mine and open it without damaging it. It's a throw away piece, but I have an idea to reuse mine. You could also just cut the bag open or tear it free from the hanger.


I wasn't able to find out what this line is called, the package just says Barbie. It also doesn't look like the individual accessory paks have their own name. I'll be identifying them by their colors. I'll be showing them off  and talking about them in order of least liked to most liked.

Up first we have the bronze and turquoise pak. All paks contained the same number of items and the same type of item. You have something for the head, a necklace, a bracelet, and two pairs of shoes. One pair is for the traditional high heeled foot and the other is for the new flat foot style dolls. In this pack the turquoise shoes are the ones for the flat feet. I don't have any of the new flat feet Barbie dolls, but they did fit the Disney Princess dolls with the articulated ankles. I did try them on Francie, but her rubber foot didn't want to go into the shoe fully and I didn't want to force it. Both shoes are made from a slightly squishy rubbery material and have slits in the back, The wedge heels of the bronze pair have molded on roses. The bracelet is a simple bronze plastic piece molded to look like large circular beads. It's not very flexible, but is easy to get on and off and has enough grip to stay on the doll without worrying of it falling off. The necklace is molded metallic gold plastic. It is in the design of a chain with a watch hanging off the end. The necklace does not fit the best. It seems to float on the doll. If you push it down it lies properly on the doll, but just doesn't have the weight it needs to sit on the doll properly. The headband is my favorite piece from this pak. It has a molded on flower on the top. it has molded on studs to the top as well. This piece actually fits older dolls with smaller heads, I had it on Charlotte and it fits wonderfully. The purse is made from a slightly flexible brown plastic. It has molded on fringe. It's an okay item, just not my personal style. The strap on mine is slightly warped, not sure if this is intentional or it just happened in the package. A quick dunk in boiling water should fix it.

The next pak item is the silver and pink one. This one has a pair of flat sandals. They have closed toes
with an ankle strap. They are also opened in the back. These can fit the regular feet, but the strap doesn't wrap around the ankles as well as it should. These also fit the Disney Princess dolls, but their feet are wider at the toes so they don't fit as comfortably as I assume it would for Barbie. The heel shoes are made out of a fairly squishy pink plastic. They're cute, not exactly sure how to describe them, but they're cute. The necklace is another plastic piece with a geometric design. This necklace fits nicely on Barbie and sits on her where it should. It's the best fitting necklace of the group, I just wish I liked the style of it better. The bracelet is made from a slightly translucent pink plastic. It has molded in zigzags in it. It doesn't fit Barbie's wrist that well, the bracelet is more oval shaped than Barbie's wrist. It's not going to fall off right away, but I'd be concerned about it coming off with actual play. Luckily it's big enough that if it did fall off it should be easy to see. This pak comes with a pair of sunglasses. Made from a smokey plastic they are very geometric in design. So geometric they look pretty unisex. I haven't tried them on Ken yet but I bet he can wear them well. For the purse in this pak we have a silver bag purse. Made from a slightly flexible plastic it has molded design to look like it's quilted. It doesn't open (none of the purses open). It's very cute. It looks big, but it's completely hollow so it's also pretty light.

Our final pak is my favorite! I loved it when I found it online and when I found it in store I just had to have it! The flat pair of shoes are a pair of black flats. They have absolutely no heel and are the only pair that are right and left specific. They have a molded design on the toe, but I'm not sure what it is. These are my favorite shoes from all of the paks. They fit Charlotte (but tend to slip off), however they fit Francie like a dream! You can jam Living Barbie's foot in them, but they are tight. The Disney Princess dolls can wear them, but you see a lot of their toes. The heels are made from a slightly squishy pearlized pink plastic. They have a wedge heel and have cut outs.... in the shape of a cat face! Yes, this entire pack is cat themed! (Excluding the black heels). These are so cute, much cuter than I was expecting. The bracelet for this pak is made from a matte silver plastic. It has a little molded on cat had on the front! It also has little studs along the edge. The bracelet fits nicely so it will be hard to loose when it's on the doll. I seriously love this bracelet, it's so cute. The necklace for this set is made out of a slightly pearlized pink plastic. It's not the same material as the shoes, but they're a close match. It's molded into the shape of double chains with a cat charm at the center. The chain detail is actually molded in the front and the back, but the front is more detailed. This necklace also suffers from fit issues. It needs more weight to lay properly on the doll. I'm not in love with the chain part of the necklace, but I think the cat charm is very cute, I have an idea to reuse it. Not sure if it will ever happen, but it might be repurposed. This set came with another headband, and was a major reason why I wanted it so badly. It's made from plastic with a metallic silver finish. This head band has cat ears! It also has molded on studs along the edges, could do without those, but the ears are adorable. You will be seeing these next Halloween with my cat costume (well, the doll's costume, not mine). These also fit older dolls like Charlotte very well. She's wearing them right now. These are just amazing. The final item from the pak is the purse. It's made out of a black plastic and is molded to look like a cat head. On the back it has a fake molded on zipper, I like that they did that detail. The cat's face is painted pink to show off the details. This is the only painted item in all of the paks and is painted very nicely. In the package it's protected by it's own plastic bag, which I thought was a smart way to protect the paint. Much like the rest of this pak I absolutely love it. Not sure when I will ever find a use for it, but it's so blasted adorable! I actually went and bought two of this paks, I just knew that one wouldn't be enough!

Overall I'm very pleased with these new paks. I think it's incredibly smart that Mattel is getting shoe options for the new flat feet dolls out early and cheaply. My only issue with this set is that the necklaces aren't designed well and that one bracelet is a little loose on the wrist. I love that it has a variety of styles and they're so inexpensive. I was so impressed that the day that I got them, I emailed Mattel to let them know how much I loved them and that I hoped that they were going to continue the line. You all should know by now how much I love getting new shoes! (even though I have bags and bags of them I don't use). I just think of it as a collection within the collection! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Quick Christmas Post

Hello Everyone,

Hope everyone is having a productive day, I know I am trying to. Can you believe there's only 14 days until Christmas? It's crazy how fast the season is just rushing by this year. I have gotten a lot done, but still have a lot to do. Christmas is my busiest time of the year and I have been trying to get as much done as I can. I'm lucky that I started my Christmas shopping so early, it's 99 percent done with just a couple things remaining. However, I still have plenty to do before the big day. Some of those are personal projects and some are things I have or need to do for others. I'm expecting to get it all done before the big day, but it might be a bit of a photo finish. I should be getting back to work, but I wanted to share something with you.

That's my titan American Girl on the straight leg body I got earlier in the year. I believe I already introduced her on the blog. Since I'm running out of room on the vintage shelves she currently lives on Charlotte's shelf, which means she gets a Christmas dress. I didn't make this one for her though. I made it last year for the Blonde Ponytail. It's a perfectly lovely dress, but it never seemed to work for the Ponytail. She did wear it last year, but she is slated to get a new dress this year. That left this dress free for someone else. (I actually have a couple spare dresses). I'm still not totally in love with this dress (I honestly wish I had made the skirt a touch longer), but I like it a lot better on her than the
ponytail. Her coloring works much better for it. I also made her necklace, ironically it was made for a third doll, but ended up not working for her either. Her shoes are those white pumps I bought from China (which I still love with a passion). Her purse is vintage and borrowed from another doll (who will be getting it back in time). Her glove is also vintage, but actually belongs to her. I just have the one but I like it because it covers up the fact she's missing the top of her right index finger. This doll might not always live on Charlotte's shelf, but for this Christmas she gets to be just as festive as the rest of them!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reporter Ken from "Barbie In Princess Power" - A Review!

Hello Everyone,

I bought a new doll the other day. I know that's not a rare occurrence, but this is a new doll. Mattel recently started releasing the dolls from the 2015 movie "Barbie in Princess Power". While the dolls are interesting, only one of them I actually wanted, Reporter Ken. The doll himself was kind of dull, but he came with a pair of black eyeglasses and those are hard to find. I only have two pairs of adult glasses, a repro cat eye pair and the 90's round eye glasses that came with the Scooby Doo Velma doll. However both of these glasses are claimed and rarely share them. Sometimes Joe likes to wear glasses, so sometimes I borrow the Velma pair but never for very long. I was excited to find this new pair (I do like the older style better). The doll sells for 10.99, but I bought him on sale at Amazon for 8.99 with free shipping. I was hoping to find him at Walmart and use my Mattel Voucher on him, but they were taking their sweet time to get him in so I got impatient and just bought him from Amazon.  I'm going to do a quick (for me) review of him in case anyone else is curious about him.

It's been rainy and overcast all week, so I didn't take any pictures for this review. You can see the promo shots (and buy him from if interested) over at Amazon.

The Packaging: Ken was packaged in a clear plastic bubble with a cardboard backer. There was a molded tab for easy opening, but the cardboard tore when I used it and it really didn't help any. He was held down with plastic threads to his wrists, hips, and ankles. For a doll that doesn't have hair or much head movement he was still stapled in the back of his head with those terrible plastic ties. Since he doesn't have real hair he's left with two holes in the back of his head. He really didn't need that, I don't think he was going anywhere.

The Doll: Ken is your pretty standard Ken. He has blue eyes with dirty blonde molded hair that is styled in the "duckbill" hair style. For a doll that costs almost 11 dollars, he's pretty much the same doll as a 5 dollar beach line doll. His only pivotal joint is his neck. His arms and legs only move forward and back. I don't care for the newer Ken hand mold, he looks rather zombieish when his hands are in front oh him. They're not very natural and only look the best when they are at his side. When I got mine his hip joints were creaking whenever you moved them. I think it was just some excess glue in them, but I was worried something was going to snap as I tried to move his legs. Mine has a bit of a factory flaw at the neck. I think they had a problem with the molding machine. The bottom of his neck on his head isn't very even. I think they had to cut it by hand, and they left a little excess plastic right under his jaw. If you look around the neck in the back the "skin" isn't as smooth as it should be. Also the Mattel copyright information is very blurry. The rest of the head looks fine, it's just his neck at the very bottom that has the issue. It wouldn't affect play or anything. His neck still works like it should.

The Clothes: Ken comes to you wearing a one piece outfit. It has a light blue, short sleeved, collared shirt, a pair of blue skinny jeans with light blue top stitching, a "lightning" pattern tie, a brown faux leather belt with a gray belt buckle. That is all one piece. The outfit is okay quality. There is a little messy stitching in the back where the Velcro is sewn down. The collar is un-hemmed as is the tie. They're just glued to keep them from fraying, so I bet with actual playing they will start fraying. The sleeves on the shirt aren't as tight as they are in the promo pictures, but the rest of it looks about the same. My belt buckle is actually on backwards. It has a little molded "2" on it that should be facing inwards. I tried the outfit on Blaine from the Generation Girl line (early 2000's body), his thighs were too thick to pull the pants up. I tried it on a vintage Ken and while it did fit, vintage Ken has a longer torso so the seam between the shirt and the pants were a little stretched. I didn't try it on my Fashionista Ken, but I'm pretty sure his legs would be thin enough to wear it. Ken comes with molded plastic black squared heeled dress shoes. They have an slit in the back for easier putting on and taking off. I was hoping these would fit Joe since they looked pretty big in the promo shots, but his feet are too big for them. (Darn). They did fit Blaine, so they should fit most Ken dolls, which is nice because they are a very versatile shoe mold. 

The Accessories: Ken only comes with one accessory (I guess a reporter doesn't need anything to record the news with these days), his glasses. The reason why I was interested in this set in the first place. The glasses were... different than what I was expecting. They've changed from the promo shots. They're a lot more square than the ones shown. I was worried the promo ones might be a little too cat eyed looking for Joe, but I'm not sure if these square ones are an improvement. In a shocking twist, they are attached to Ken's head. In the back, they have the burrs anchoring them into Ken's head like they do with modern Barbie earrings. Also I will say that they had a clear elastic holding them in place that covered his eyes. I'm not sure how those elastics will react over time to the eye decals, there wasn't any wear with mine but he was new. I would be concerned over the decals adhering to the elastic as they aged. I boiled the head and was able to easily remove the glasses without any damage to the head or the glasses. I plan on trimming off the plastic burrs so I can use them with other dolls. However, this leaves Ken with two holes in the side of his head that I can't do anything about.

Overall: Am I happy with my purchase? Sort of. I like some aspects of the doll, but only bought it for the outfit. I could have purchased that same Ken for 5 bucks in a swimsuit and sunglasses for 5 at my local Walmart (I went there yesterday and they were swimming in swimsuit dolls). And that one wouldn't have any holes in his head. The outfit is okay, but the un-hemmed parts are going to start fraying with any real play and that's just stinks. Toys should be more durable than that. The shoes are nice, but I don't really need another pair of Ken black shoes. It's good to have, but I wouldn't have bought the doll just for the shoes. The glasses were slightly disappointing since they've changed from the promo shots and now look slightly like these knock off ones I could buy on E-bay for 4 dollars and get three pairs of (They aren't exactly the same though). And I can only use them on other dolls after I remove the burrs on them. I'm going to have to question any dolls with glasses from Mattel from now on in case they do that again. What would happen if I liked the doll but hated their glasses? I'd be left with a doll with holes in it's head! So I guess I'm glad that I bought this doll, but wouldn't buy another one and wished I had been patient enough to get it with my 6 dollar voucher from Mattel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving (those that celebrate Thanksgiving that is). Mine was mostly good. Ours was delayed until Sunday since my sister was away for the actual day (doing something fun). Which really isn't a big deal to me, the holiday is the important thing. When you celebrate it really doesn't matter. My day was slightly colored with what had happened the night before. I was was cross over some things and talked to my parents about it, and my mom got upset over it, and was possibly mad at me. It was just a real mess and the sooner I put it behind me the better. I think things are fine now, but in this case only time will tell. But the food came out well and we all had a good time so the day itself was good.

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over we can start talking about Christmas! I won't lie, I've already been doing Christmas stuff. Since I was sick last year and nothing got done outside of the basics I wanted to celebrate properly this year. I've already done the majority of present shopping for the family, started wrapping some of them, and started decorating my room for the holiday.
The majority of my decorating is decorating Charlotte's shelf, which means dressing the dolls that live there in their Christmas outfits. Several of them do have their own Christmas outfits, but several of them do not. That's because they're either new from last year or I don't like what they wore last year. And there's also Charlotte who in an ideal world would get a new outfit each year. I haven't been sewing much lately, but I decided to give it a go last week. I decided to make Charlotte her new Christmas outfit. I was going to start with a black bodysuit since her last one was given to a Silkstone right after I finished it, ages ago and she needed a new one. I also had an idea of using it in a Christmas outfit. I've been having decent luck with sewing knits, so I wasn't as concerned about messing it up. It came out pretty good. I did have one issue with lighting since it was dark and I was sewing at night and it caused once leg hole to get messed up. It's not too bad, it's just cut lower than it should be and causes a ripple in the fabric when the doll's leg is out. I'm not too concerned since it's not seen when there's something covering the lower half. And if it bugs me too much I can make another one. It's not like I can't use another black bodysuit.
After that I made a skirt. I wanted a Christmas fabric skirt to make it fitting for Christmas. I thought I was going to use some green holly calico fabric I have but when I was getting it out I found a red with candy canes fabric I've had for ages. I can't tell you how long I've had it, but if it was a person I could be in a common law marriage with it by now. I really like it, but it's over-sized print doesn't work well for Barbie sewing. But when it's a large full skirt enough of the print is seen to make it readable. The only bit of machine sewing was from attaching the skirt to the waistband, I sewed the rest of it by hand (it was mostly hemming). I also made the belt, but it's really simple, it just has a snap sewn to the back with a fake buckle on the front.
And I actually really like it. It looked really cute on Charlotte. However, it didn't stay with her. I wasn't in love with it on her. I already knew this was something that could happen. I did try it on another doll that needed an outfit. It sorta worked for her too, but again I wasn't in love with it. That doll was on the pivotal body and the bodysuit was very loose, also the skirt fell oddly on her waist. I ended up trying it on Artemis. Artemis has a Christmas dress already, but it's a really early one I made so there's a lot of sewing issues with it. She and Charlotte have the same body type so there isn't any fit issues. I think it really works well with her vintage styling, so she gets to keep it. However, this is just for Christmas. Once everyone goes back to their regular clothes Charlotte gets her bodysuit back. It's not fair to take two from her!

And back to the drawing board for Charlotte (although I already have another idea for an outfit for her).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Obsessed

Hello everyone, this post might fall under things that are interesting to just me, but since it's my blog I get to write it and you have to suffer through it (or just read enough to know you don't want to read any more and click the x icon closing the page).

But first a quick update. This past week was a bit of an down then up. I started off in a bad/sad mood partially due to E-bay now charging me for re-listings and me only discovering that after I had renewed them all and are now 15 bucks in the hole. Grrr. But the week did end with me finally getting a doll that I've been really wanting for a slight better than average price. However you don't get to hear about him just yet since he's my Christmas present and will be packed away shortly until the 25th. I "got" him early since I had to check his condition and to see if he was a good fit for my collection. Luckily I like him, so he'll be staying.

Anyway, this post is going to be about shoes. Disney Store flats to be exact (Yes, again). One of my last posts was a list breaking down the shoes (both style and color) that comes with the current Disney Store Classic dolls. After extensive research I have now compiled a list of every color that Disney has produced their flat shoes in, including dolls they no longer make and dolls that no longer come with shoes. Just two quick comments, one I just found out there's two different style of flats, one for the flat foot and one for the heel foot and I didn't make a distinction which is which and my color findings could end up being wrong so please don't take the following list as gospel.

The shoe colors I have found so far are:

Black - Coronation Frozen Dolls (Disney Store and JCPenny), Vanessa
Brown - Classic Merida
Burgundy - Classic Mulan
Clear - Cinderella Princess Pets
Dusky Blue - Classic Cinderella
Gold - Collector Aurora from live action Maleficent movie (Gold Dress Version)
Green - Classic Tiana
Hot Pink - Classic Sleeping Beauty
Ivory - Rapunzel Wedding Dress (Classic and 12" Limited Edition)
Light Blue - Talking Merida Doll 
Light Pink - Ariel Palace Pets
Light Purple - First Issue Rapunzel (Current dolls are shoeless)
Medium Blue - Elsa
Yellow - Classic Belle and Classic Snow White

The dolls in italics are no longer sold by the Disney store and are only available from secondary sources. Also, there might be another variation of blue out there. The blue flats that come with the Sleeping Beauty gift set look to be a richer blue but I have not seen them in detail to feel comfortable giving them their own category.
Out of all the colors listed I currently own clear, dusky blue, light pink, and yellow. I have black and ivory coming in the mail. I bought the Coronation Frozen dolls from JCPenny just to steal their shoes. I found someone on E-bay selling the Rapunzel Wedding dress and snatched it up since the doll goes for twice what I paid easily. I've done searches for the remaining shoes but they're hard to find on second hand sources. What I've been finding are the Mattel versions, are missing their shoes, or are MIB and go for more than what the Disney Store asks for them (specifically Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and Tiana). However I am confident that I will eventually get them all, or become obsessed with something else and stop spending so much time and money on one type of doll shoes.
Luckily my obsessions burn bright and quickly and I'll soon move on to the next thing.  
(But hopefully after I get a few more colors before that happens!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kinda new...ish.... sorta?

As you may remember back in June I was giving a bag of dolls parts. In it was several things I needed including several 70's era bodies, some assembly required. I started working on repairing them as soon as I got them and managed to get two bodied finished before I changed gears and started working on other projects. I already shared with you two dolls that I completed.
However there were still a couple bodies that I hadn't finished that have been languishing on my desk ever since. The other day I bought some more dolls in need of restoration and while I was waiting for them to arrive in the mail I forced myself get back to working on the dolls that still needed work. I was getting two new dolls, so I wanted to get two dolls completed.
The first one I worked on was a Living Barbie body that I needed to reattach the arms. I did finish it, but her head is another project that is waiting to get done so I'm not going to talk about it in this post. 
The other doll I got finished I will be sharing with you now though.

I'm pleased to introduce to you all Walk Lively Miss America. She'll just be going as Miss America from now on since she actually can't "walk lively" anymore.
I got her head in that random bag of parts from the Antique Mall years and years ago. It's the same head that Quick Curl Kelley and Free Movin' P.J. came from. I think with Miss America here I've used up all the heads that came in the bag (that I kept, I did sell some random doll parts that weren't Barbie that I knew I'd never use).
Her head is in really nice shape, uncut hair, beautiful makeup, perfect eyelashes, just a really nice head. The Steffie face mold is still not my favorite head mold that Mattel uses, but I have been adding several examples of it to the collection. Miss America is the first one to join the collection so I have a bit of soft spot for her. This one is my second one in the collection. The first one is on the correct body that I found years ago at the Goodwill in town. I'm pretty sure I have another Miss America head with cut hair. I don't know what it is about me, but I keep finding her!
Anyway, Miss America is now on your standard 70's era Barbie body from Taiwan. It's been so long since I started this project I can't remember everything that I had to repair on her. (Let this be a lesson to me in writing these posts in a more timely manner) Since I can't remember (and got it done the first go around) I assume that her arms and one leg were pretty standard repairs. The reason why she took so long to repair was because of her right leg.
Whenever I get a doll with a broken (and usually melted) limb joints I try and salvage as much of the original limb posts as possible. I take the broken piece out the limb, scrape off the melted plastic from both parts, and glue the post back together. Then I use the glue and rebuild what I just scraped off so I can put the limb back on. However since the parts I got in this lot are not from the same doll I was unable to piece the limbs back together. I did end up just replacing some of the knobs, but was running out of hip posts. I actually only have one left. I didn't want to spend 20 bucks to buy another kit, so I decided to try something new.
Using the nail glue I put layer after layer on the remaining bit of the leg knob that was still attached to the doll's torso. Using another leg knob as a guide I built the one up to the correct height. I also used that knob to determine where I needed to file down the knob so I could snap the leg on. I wasn't sure if this was even going to work, the nail glue might not be strong enough to support this leg. I was actually worried that the new nail glue leg post wasn't going to be strong enough to have the leg snapped on in the first place. But I was able to push it on and have it click into place. However, I had failed to put the nail polish on the leg to create a barrier to avoid the leg melting again, so I had to snap the leg off and redo it all over again. That's one of the reasons why this repair took too long. I didn't want to deal with it again after messing up the first time. The second time I did put the nail polish on, so it gets to stay on.
I put it on about a week ago and so far the leg has been staying on. I have been moving it around some, but I have been gentle with it. It's not a repair I would do for a doll that was going to be played with by a child, but for me it works. I'm not sure how well it will least over time, but it is working for now. And if it doesn't hold I can then get the replacement kit and do it over. At least the first thing I tried is the free one.

Welcome to the collection Miss America! 
(she's my second one, does that make her the runner up?)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Disney Store Doll Shoes - A List!

As you know if you read the blog post about my new shoes from China that I like the rubbery flat shoes that come with the Disney Princess dolls. However I actually do not own any of these shoes. I did own a pair once, a black pair that came on the Vanessa doll from the Little Mermaid gift set. However she did not stay here since I had to return the set like 3 times to get a Vanessa doll that was riddled with production errors and giving up when it was apparent that was not going to happen. While researching online which doll came with what shoes I compiled a list of what I found. The following doll information was taken from pictures of the 2014 line. I included Anna and Elsa because they are technically "Classic" dolls, but they do not fall under the 2 for 10 dollars each deal like the rest of the dolls. I believe they are 16.95 each?
 
Anna: Black Boots
Ariel: No shoes included
Cinderella: Medium blue flats
Elsa: Medium blue flats
Jasmine: Light blue curled toe flats
Merida:  Medium Brown flats
Sleeping Beauty: Hot Pink Flats
Snow White: Yellow flats
Pocahontas: No shoes included
Rapunzel: No shoes included

How annoying is it when a doll does not get shoes included? I don't care if they don't wear shoes in the movie, they should always be included with the doll. These are toys for children that are meant to be redressed. And it's not like they're going for total movie accuracy, Cinderella has light blue flats on! And for a movie that has her shoes being such a HUGE part they should try to get them somewhat close to the originals.

Anyway, for the following dolls I was able to find some pictures from previous years releases. I can't guarantee these dolls still have the same shoes in the 2014 versions.

Belle: Yellow flats (2012-2013 Classic doll)
Evil Queen: Black high heels (2012-2013 Classic doll)
Maleficent: Black high heels (2012-2013 Classic doll)
Mother Gothel: Plum high heels (2012-2013 Classic doll)
Mulan: Burgundy flats (2012-2013 Classic doll)
Tiana: Green flats (2012-2013 Classic doll)

I've also included the current 12" singing doll.

Singing Dolls:
Tiana: White High Heels
Briar Rose: No Shoes
Ariel: No Shoes (no feet in fact)
Merida: Ice blue flats

If I forgot anyone that's because they were sold out at the Disney Store online and that's the site I used to compile this list.
I will say that I noticed that as I was working on this list a LOT of dolls missing from the Disney Store online site that I know they've made in the past. I'm not sure if they're sold out or no longer in production. I didn't see Gaston, Charlotte, King and Queen from Brave, King Triton, Genie, or the Fairy Godmother. There could be others missing as well, those are just the ones I remember. Basically all they had in stock where the Prince and Princess with a few villains scattered in. Maybe they're streamlining the line and only leaving "main" characters?

Anyway, I hope this list helps anyone looking at the shoes. I was hoping to find someone had black flats, but no dice. I'm still looking for a "unofficial" source for these shoes. I want some, but really don't want to spend 10 dollars for one pair.   

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Hello Dear Readers,

Haven't been posting much because October put me through the ringer. I do have a lot of things to share with you (I'm months behind), but I'm having a hard time committing words to the page right now. I'm sure this will pass and I'll be back blogging before too long. But as usual I dressed dolls for Halloween. I didn't get everyone on Charlotte's shelf dressed (including Charlotte and Joe), so I just pulled out everyone who wasn't dressed and posed everyone who was dressed for the picture.




Along the back row going left to right we have Vanessa as Snow White (this is the doll I brought to the October doll meeting), Audrey Hepburn as Cinderella, an American Girl as a Cat, Midge as a Fairy (Midge is on that shelf just for today. I got that outfit recently and just had to have someone wear it!), Mary Clair as a harem girl, and a Blonde Ponytail as Little Debbie. On the far left we have Pierre as a Circus Barker (I cheated, he's been wearing Todd's Wedding Tux for a few months and I didn't bother changing him), and Artemis as a Water Goddess (I just wanted to use that outfit). On the far right we have Re-rooted Midge as a Fairy Queen, and Modern Circle as a Sexy Witch (which she will always be since I love her in that costume). In the center we have Ashley as a mermaid, Kelly as a Princess (which I bought another Kelly doll to steal that costume from), and Tommy as a British guard.

I tried mixing it up some, but we do have some repeats. I did have the added benefit of having some new dolls on the shelf this year. This is Audrey Hepburn's, the American Girl's, and Midge's first Halloween on the shelf so I could reuse their costumes and not have it be a true repeat. I also got some new costumes. Ashley's, Midge's, Kelly's, and the Ponytail's outfits are all new. From what I remember the only real repeats are Vanessa, Midge, Mary Clair, Tommy, and Modern Circle. And the majority of those are repeats because I loved the costumes on them. Tommy got stuck in the guard uniform again because I don't have much for costumes for Tommy.

But I've blathered on enough, Happy Halloween everyone! Have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Always learning something new.

Like usual I was over on Etsy checking out what was newly listed. Even when I've vowed that I'll be better about spending money on dolls I can't help myself from checking the new listings. I can do a pretty decent job keeping staying away from eBay, but Etsy is a lot harder for me to stay away.
It was mid-morning when I did a quick peek as to what was new. There wasn't very many new things from when I checked the previous night before bed. However, there was something of interest... it was a Julia doll head. I wasn't actively looking for another Julia doll, but I had a body and was tempted by the idea of adding a second one to the collection. I had looked at one on eBay, but that seller wanted 20 dollars including shipping for that one and I just couldn't justify that price. The one I had just found was in comparable shape for 12 including shipping. I did spend a little time thinking about if I really did want it, but in the end I decided to get it. But imagine my horror when I went to buy it and Etsy wouldn't load! No matter what I did I kept getting an error page. Even though I just found it moments ago I'd be devastated if someone bought my Julia head out from under me! So I anxiously waited/refreshed the site hoping it would pop up and I could buy it. Etsy seemed to be taking their sweet time fixing the issue. I looked online to see if it was a site wide issue or I was just getting affected by it. I never found an answer to that. Instead I had the bright idea of using my browser history to go right back to the listing page and that worked! I was able to check out and buy the Julia head without issue.... or so I thought. But when the rest of the site started working again, my doll head was still listed for sale! In a panic I contacted the seller saying I had bought it (they had my money according to Paypal) and it was still showing up as for sale. I wanted to contact them and stake my claim in case someone else bought it after me. "See, here's proof that it's mine, sorry other buyer". The seller contacted me back saying it wasn't an issue with Etsy, they had two heads and when I bought the first one it automatically re-listed the ad for the second one. I didn't point out that the sparsely written ad specifically stated you were going to get the head that was pictured and she only had one doll head photographed. I just hoped that my head was the head that was pictured and I wouldn't have any surprises.
The head got into the mail rather quickly, so I wasn't waiting too long for it. The seller did pack it nicely. It came wrapped in tissue paper, in a small box, in a padded envelope. I'm glad my family knows I collect dolls. Could you imagine if they accidentally opened one of these packages without that knowledge? They would have assumed someone was sending me a dire warning.
Anyway, the head was the one pictured from the listing and is in amazing shape. Her hair is stunning (red like most of them get) and looks to be in it's original style. Her makeup is gorgeous, I can't see anything wrong with it, and she has really nice eyelashes. It's a really nice Julia head.

However, there is a bit of an issue with her.

And it's not with her head, it's with her body.

The issue is that the head is too dark for the body. This is the second time I've had this issue with this exact body! It's been forever since I talked about it, but I bought the body at the Swell Doll Shop several years ago (before it closed obviously). When I got it, it had a different head on it. I thought I was buying Christie, but it turns out it was a Talking Julia head on a (what I thought) TNT Julia body. The talking Julia head was a lot darker than the body. I had them together for a while, but the color difference was just too much so I ended up splitting them up and listed them separately over on the Dollpage hoping to recoup my expenses. When I found this new head I thought I had finally found a use for that body and have one less ad to keep renewing despite not garnering any interest. But sadly, this new head is also too dark for this body, but I will say that it's not as bad as a match as the original one.
 And that's my new thing I learned, I don't have a Julia body. I have a Christie body. Apparently, Christie has a lighter skin tone. I didn't know that because I don't have a Christie and I've never seen one in person. However, at the last doll meeting I did get to see one and that doll's coloring was almost the same at the body I have. I honestly never would have guessed that, most Mod Barbie dolls are interchangeable with their skin tones so I would have thought that Christie and Julia were too.
That little tidbit, while good to know, doesn't really help me right now. I already spent the money and have the Julia head. For the time being I'm going to keep them together, but I will be looking for both a Julia body and a Christie head so I can put them on their correct bodies/heads. I do really want to get a Christie, she's just hard to find at an affordable price.

But I've managed to get even harder to find dolls at a reasonable price, so I'm sure in time I'll get my Christie and complete my Julia.
Learning experiences like this keep collecting interesting, right?
Right?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Finding Footwear in Foreign Lands - A Review of Ming's Dream Workshop

Since I haven't been sewing a lot lately, I haven't been talking much about a problem I've been dealing with lately, a lack of shoes. Now I will admit I have shoes, lots of shoes in fact. It's just the majority of the ones that I do have are much too modern to use with for the vintage dolls. And since I have more vintage dolls than any other kind, their shoe needs are kind of important. I did buy a couple pairs of shoes from someone at the September doll meeting, but 4 pairs of shoes (that I love and will end up using at some point) does not really address my problem that much.
And Mattel does not seem interested in my plight. They do sell accessory packs that include shoes, but they are the modern type of shoes that do me no good (but are tempting at 3 dollars). The last time they released a more traditional shoe pack was several years back for the Barbie Basics line. I hunted every Target for that pack only to find it at Walmart (I thought it was a Target exclusive). The shoes are for the Silkstone/Model Muse style feet so only a few of them fit the Vintage dolls, but I was still thrilled to get it. But since it's been several years since that release without any additional shoe sets put out it doesn't seem like it's something they plan on continuing. Which is a shame since it sold for 20 dollars and it's something I never saw on clearance. They could easily churn out a few more and they'd sell. I know I'd buy them!

Anyway, since Mattel didn't want my money I turned to another option, the internet. I had purchased doll shoes from Dollclothessuperstore.com several years back but wasn't interested in going there again. They have a limited stock, the seams weren't finished that nicely on several shoes, and their shipping prices are crazy. Also the one pair of Francie shoes I bought (which I loved) came with a mis-molded side that caused it to split the first time I put it on a doll. Instead I tried a new resource, Aliexpress.com. A website that allows you to buy direct from factories in China. I had never bought anything on that site before but I had known people who had.
Just a small warning for people curious about that website, be careful. It can be a real gamble when shopping there. I know that people who bought some "unofficial" Monster High dolls ended up with dolls with holes in their faces from poorly poured vinyl. Also, it's obvious some listings just stole the pictures of the items from the actual sources (in case you're looking for "unofficial" releases) so who knows what the actual product looks like. They do seem to have a decent return policy, but you might have to ship back to the company which will be expensive. So take caution in what you buy there, my feelings on this website is simple, don't spend any money you can't afford to lose in case you end up with a pile of junk.

*Also, they don't take Paypal for payment, but do take most other forms of payment.*

On that site I found a seller that was selling Barbie shoes. There are lots of sellers of doll shoes but most of them sell shoes in large lots where you cannot select the type of shoes you get. Most of these are in bright colored plastic and all modern shoes, which are no use to me. The seller was called Ming's Dream Workshop. They also sell doll clothing, some doll jewelry, and a few pieces of doll furniture (none of which I bought). They have a minimum order of 20 dollars to place an order, but they do offer free shipping. I did have to contact them a few times (one of the items I wanted to buy the site was messing up the shipping prices) and they contacted me quickly and their responses were professional and answered my questions.

I will admit that I wrestled for a couple weeks about placing an order on Aliexpress. That's a lot of money to me right now, and it was a lot of risk on such an unknown company. But I did need shoes, and they do have a return policy. Also, I decided it would be (somewhat) worth it to know what kind of quality they had so I could share it with my blog followers (and the rest of the internet). See what I do for you? And if the shoes were not to my liking but still acceptable shoes I could always donate them to the doll donation project or give them to my cousin's kids. I do have somewhat higher standards for dolls compared to a child (I hope).

However, there was a little misunderstanding. On their page it says you can get free shipping on orders of 20 dollars (which is all of them since they have a 20 dollar minimum) and it also says you can get 5 dollars off an order of 25 or more. I thought that both deals could be used at the same time since their main banner doesn't say otherwise. So I placed an order and contacted them about the 5 dollars not coming off my order of 25 or more. They emailed me back saying that the offer was for free shipping (a 5 dollar value) OR 5 dollars off an order of 25 of more (which isn't that the same deal?). It was after I heard back from them that their side banner had "or" written between the two offers. However their main banner did not.

After being told that, I decided I was going to scale back my order. I had spent 25.48 back when I thought that I was going to get an additional 5 dollars off, and since this was a totally untested source and I was worried about the quality I wanted to change my order and place a more cost conscientious one. However when I went back to the site a few days later, all the prices had gone up! Not by a huge amount, but I'd end up getting a lot less for the same price. Luckily the site keeps your orders as pending for a long time, so I ended up biting the bullet and spending the 25.48 to get the shoes at the original price.
Aliexpress does this thing where they hold your money as pending before releasing it to the seller. I think it's for 10 days. My money went through fine and I was told that the seller shipped my item. HOWEVER, this happened on the .... 18th of September (or so). The seller allegedly shipped right after they got my money. They gave me a tracking number, but it was wrong. The dates were from January and it went to France. I understand mix ups happen, but my tracking info was wrong. On the package a date of September 27th was stamped. Not sure what that corresponds to, but it was in the mail at least by the 27th. That's just what happened to me, I'd hope it was just a one time mix up.
It arrived yesterday (I actually had to sign for it). The shoes came in a simple gray plastic mailer envelope that had been folded over several times. I had to cut it open carefully to get the shoes out. The shoes were all together in a long plastic zip lock type bag that was wrapped securely in bubble wrap. I was very impressed with how well they packaged it for shipping, especially for free shipping. 

I got 38 pairs for my 25 dollars (before the price increase). However I only bought eight different styles of shoes (and several in different colors). I pulled out a variety of dolls to try the shoes onto to see who they fit. From my collection I grabbed a Silkstone, Charlotte (first wave Fashionista), Mary Clair (Pivotal knee Fashionista), Tuesday Taylor, Audrey Hepburn (Pivotal body), a belly button body (with rubber legs), a Liv doll, a standard Monster High doll (Gigi Grant), a vintage Barbie, and a 70's era doll with bend legs (similar to any older bend legs doll 60's-early 80's).

So let's talk about the shoes! I will say that going forward that all pictures shown have been taken from the seller. I do not own them, and will remove them if asked.


Up first we have some hard plastic heels. These shoes are an exact copy of the Disney store high heel shoe. They are in fact such a literal copy they have the Disney copyright markings molded on the bottom. I have one pair of actual Disney store shoes and these seem exactly the same, made out of the same material and everything. I bought these in four colors; brown, rose pink, light pink, and green. I got two pairs of each color. I can't remember if they have other colors, but if they do they were sold out. I don't think the Disney store sells dolls that use that color shoes so these are most likely made from the same molds instead of old stock from Disney. They fit Charlotte, the belly button body, and the 70's era doll. They would also fit the Disney store dolls I assume, I just don't have any of those dolls. These are a cute style heel, but they don't fit too many dolls (I was hoping they'd fit Silkstones). I'm not sure if I would bother buying these again. I like the style of them, but they are rather large and make the doll's feet look big. I guess I would pick up any other colors I didn't have if I was placing another order just for the variety, but wouldn't go out of my way to place an order just for them.












After that we have some flats. These are made of a rubber material and have a hard to describe molded in details. It's like ripples in the plastic, but it's intentional all the shoes have it. If I had to make a guess I'd assume these are copy of Tinkerbell's shoes, most likely also from the Disney store. (They are totally unmarked). I got them in green and rose pink. I know they also have them in blue, but were sold out when I made an order (Sadly, since I could actually use blue). They fit Mary Clair, Charlotte, Vintage (with bowing in the back), 70's era doll, Silkstone (with slight bowing at the front), Audrey Hepburn (with slight bowing at the front), and the belly button body. These are a cute costume type flat. I don't think I'll end up using the ones I have, but if I did place another order I'd buy other colors just to have them, but just one pair. Getting two would be kind of pointless. I was hoping these would be more like the Disney Store flat shoes they sell with their Classic Dolls. Those flats I love and wish I had some of. These shoes could work for ballet slippers with a little imagination.












From there we have some Cinderella heels. They are made from clear plastic with silver glitter imbedded in them, These look so much like Mattel shoes I'll bet they are knock offs from a Mattel Cinderella doll. These shoes are actually really nicely molded. They have the heart in front like the slippers have in the movie. They also have some swirly decoration at the sides that I'm not sure if are movie accurate, but aren't super distracting. These are the larger type shoes that comes with the newer dolls, but they are smaller than the glass slippers that were sold in that Mattel Disney doll shoe pack from several years ago (It's not the same mold or a recast since those shoes also had a triangle shaped decoration instead of a heart in front. Why Mattel, why???) . I bought two pairs of these. They fit Charlotte, Mary Clair, 70's era dolls, and the belly button body. They are thin and not that flexible so it only fit dolls with thinner feet. These are cute, in hindsight I'm glad I bought these, but if I place another order I won't buy any more. I really don't need more Cinderella shoes, especially when they only fit such a limited number of dolls. (And only have one Cinderella dress to use them with).

After that we have a pair of purple heels. These are simple pumps, but boy do they have a weird shape. I've never seen a pair of shoes like this before, they're just not pretty. They are marked on the bottom with a cursive B (I assume for Barbie), but I've never seen a barbie shoe like them. They kind of have a scalloped edge to them, kind of like vintage Jem shoes, just Jem's shoes are prettier. These just look so clunky and awkward. They're really thin, so they only fit Charlotte, Mary Clair, 70's era doll, and the belly button body. However all the doll's feet bow the sides out. I do not like these shoes at all, they're just poorly designed. I'm glad I bought just one pair to test how they looked (they sell it in several other colors). However I would never buy this style of shoe again, I just don't like it and the fit is not very nice. Also, the toes have an unnatural arch that doesn't allow the shoes to stand on their own. They always fall over, I can't them posed like in the seller's picture.

After that we have a pair of red open toe shoes. These are a bit of a disappointment. In the pictures they look like the open toe sandals that are for the Silkstones and Model Muse feet. However, these are tiny. They look nearly identical the shoe for the Silkstone shoes, just in a smaller scale. I would bet these were reverse engineered from the original shoes to make the mold. These specific shoes have holes in the bottom like they should belong to the number one Barbie dolls. They are left and right specific, which brings me to my only problem with my order. I bought two pairs and end up with three left shoes and one right shoe. It's not a horrible problem, with the shoe on the doll you can't tell too much that the shoe is on the wrong foot, but it should be noted. These shoes fit Mary Clair (arch of the shoe does not follow her foot exactly) and the belly button body the best. It also fits Charlotte (not very well), the 70's era doll (does not fill out the toe section perfectly), and vintage (they stretch out the band that goes over the toes and I'd be worried about them splitting it over time). Actually if you look at the pictures it looks like the left and right shoe are reversed in them. I personally wouldn't buy these shoes again. They fit so few dolls I own that they're really not that practical. Also since I did get a mismatched pair I'd be hesitant to order any more shoes that are right and left specific like that. But when I placed my order they were only 40 cents, so it's not like they were super expensive.

After that we have a pair of shoes made from the same mold as the last pair. Almost the same mold, these are just missing the holes in the bottom. They are made out of a clear plastic instead of red. I only bought one pair of these and got a correct left and right shoe. They fit the same types of dolls as the red ones. These are cute, but I'm not sure if I would bother buying them again. They fit so few dolls they're not that great of an asset. It's a shame because if they fit vintage they might be a pretty good asset. They're slightly more stretchy than the vintage open toe shoes so they're less likely to split. But it is what it is.

The next item is a little different, it's not a Barbie shoe. Ming's Dream House has a small assortment of shoes that they claim fit Monster High or Liv Dolls. The majority of them were sold out but I purchased the least offensive one they still had so I could see how they fit (and who they fit). It's a heeled shoe, made from a purple plastic with very little give. It has a strap at the ankle and a molded plastic flower at the toe. I tried them on Tuesday Taylor but they were not anywhere close to fitting. I was hopeful she might be able to wear them, she's so hard to find shoes for. I also tried them on Monster High and Liv. They were never going to fit on Monster High, their feet are too long for the shoe and the strap was too small for them, it did fit Liv perfectly. So perfectly that I bet they are copies of a Liv shoe. I'm glad I bought this one pair, but I don't think I'll ever order it again. Not sure when I'll even use this pair, I don't have that many Liv dolls. So be careful when purchasing Monster High shoes, just because they say they fit does it mean it will. I should mention that on the back between the sole and the heel one of these shoes has a tiny bit of plastic that's slightly sharp to the touch. It won't cut you or anything, but for a parent getting these shoes for their kid they should check them first. I'll use a nail file to smooth mine down, it's a simple fix. 

After that we have a pair of boots. These were from the Barbie section. I wasn't in love with the boot options they had, but I wanted to get some type of boot to see how the quality is. They're pretty decent quality, however I'd hope so since they were the most expensive at 1.60 just for them. They're made out of a white rubber with molded in details. These are the only shoes I bought with any painted details. The painting is mostly okay, there's a few red bars that are a little poorly painted on one of them. However these boots are HUGE, especially in the feet. I'm thinking these are copies of Bratz shoes, they look like Bratz shoes in their styling. However they have opened feet so most Barbie dolls can wear them. They also have a slit in back to make it easy for them to go on and off. They fit Mary Clair, Charlotte, Silkstones (but their calves are so big they gape open in the back), Audrey Hepburn, and Vintage. I tried it on Tuesday Taylor but her knee were clicking as I tried to put it on and it was giving me resistance so I gave up. I bet it would fit the 70's era doll as well, but I didn't want to stress the knee joint trying it on. It does not fit Monster High or Liv. I would buy another pair of boots from this seller based on the quality, but wouldn't buy these boots again. I don't care for over sized shoes like that. However, these would work well for people who liked the Myscene shoes. 

Our final item is the reason that I was so tempted to make this entire purchase in the first place. It's a pair of classic white pumps. Made from a slightly flexible plastic these shoes are AMAZING. They look almost exactly like vintage Barbie closed toe heels (well close enough for me). I love, love, love them. They're just really nice and they're so simple they'll go with everything. They fit Charlotte, the belly button body (little loose), Mary Clair (little loose), 70's era doll, Silkstone (bowing at the front), Audrey Hepburn (Bowing at the front), and Vintage (like a dream). I simply love these shoes. I actually bought 18 pairs, and would totally buy them again. I'd most likely buy a bunch of them at the same time again. My favorite thing from the lot. I will point out that technically these have a set right and left and I ended up with one pair of double lefts but I honestly cannot tell which is right and left by looking at them so it will be fine.  

And so, those are my new shoes. Am I happy with them? Yes, for the most part. I like most of what I bought and am impressed with the quality of them. However, I did pay more for the experience of being able to select my own. Those lots where you get random shoes are cheaper, but the cost savings really isn't worth it when you don't like most of the shoes you get (or any of them). I would go back to Ming's Dream Workshop to buy more shoes if I needed to. I'm not in love with the price increase of them (those white shoes went up 20 cents each, and would have cost me 3.40 cents more if I had replaced my order), but that's what the market dictates. I'm just lucky that I placed an order right before the increase. Now that I'm thinking about it, those white shoes would be the only items that I would reorder from what I purchased. I might order some of the other shoes I bought in other colors, but there would be no other repeats. But that's just for my needs. I don't have that many dolls with the thinner feet. For someone who collected newer dolls a lot of what I bought would be perfect for them. I'm mostly glad with what I purchased (a couple of them would have been knocked off my buy list had I seen them in person), but now I know. I just hope my reviews and comments could be of any help.

So while I had a good experience with Ming's Dream Workshop, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable giving them a carte blanche seal of approval. Just because my experiences were (mostly) good doesn't mean it's all going to be like that. There's still plenty of shoes on that site I didn't buy and each production batch is different. So please, be careful when placing an order. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frustration.

A big thank you to everyone who wished me luck for my job interview, and to everyone who kept me in their thoughts. However, it ended up being a mute point. The guy never ended up calling me to set up an interview on Friday. *Sigh* Sadly it's an employer's market and they can do whatever they want. It's just very frustrating to me. I'm holding out a little hope that Friday ended up super busy and they never got a chance to call me and I'll hear from them on Monday. It's an unlikely scenario, but I can at least try to think positively.

It is so annoying to be lead on like this. I even cut my hair! However, I'm more bummed over the fact that I didn't get a chance for an in person interview for this job. I had been meaning to cut my hair and donate it I was just procrastinating and at least this gave me the push to finally do it. It's just hair, it will grow back out.

I did get some mail today (one doll related item and one not), so at least the Universe is rewarding me for my sacrifice. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I sure hope it's worth it

I'm going to start this post off with a picture:
See that pile of hair next to Charlotte? (big round of applause for Charlotte being our comparison model) That came off me. Yes, I cut my hair today for the first time in like two and a half years.

And I so didn't want to.

However, I have a job interview tomorrow and my Mother suggested I cut my hair and I agreed with her. It's a little more professional looking for a man to have shorter hair. (Darn society norms). I dragged my feet on it as long as I could, but tonight I bit the bullet and did it. The hair that is no longer attached to me will be packaged up and sent off to Locks of Love. The hair that is still attached to me will be heading off to a job interview tomorrow. I am rather nervous about it. It's for a managerial position in a retail (fabric) store. I don't have a lot of experience being a manager (and none being a manager of a retail location), but I know the product and I'm a quick learner. I'm just going to have to go in and prove that I can do the job. Nerves be darned!

Wish me luck!
(And wish me fast growing hair, I miss being able to twirl it around my finger!)  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Celebrating Halloween Early with the Guys and Ghouls

Today was the October meeting for my doll group. The theme was Monster High, but it ended up being more of a traditional Halloween themed meeting. I think I saw about a dozen or so Monster High dolls, and the majority of those were from one person who collects them. It's not that surprising there were so few Monster High dolls, since we are technically a Barbie group and not everyone who collects Barbie would also have Monster High. I personally didn't bring any Monster High dolls either. I only own five of them, and other than Gloom Beach Frankie (who is still nude) they're all wearing their stock outfits. I did try sewing for them way back when, but their tiny size and highly stylized bodies really did not lend itself well for sewing success for me. Once I get back into Barbie sewing with more success, then I'll give Monster High another go.

Instead I brought Vanessa, my lone female Fashion Royalty doll (head anyway, her body is Mattel). I did spend a long time wrestling with who to bring and what they should wear before deciding on Vanessa. I did want to bring someone wearing something I made, but the majority of my costumes are early pieces that have lots of sewing flaws. The only one I liked was the Little Red Riding hood costume, and I brought that two years ago to my first meeting and I don't like repeating like that. I ended up putting Vanessa in a Mattel made Snow White dress (because I love the irony). I also gave her a plastic Barbie sized apple I got recently. I thought she looked pretty cute (although, the fit of the dress was pretty loose, I guess the pivotal body is a somewhat slimmer than the tiny body Mattel uses for their Disney princess dolls).  While I thought she was cute, I guess I was alone in that since I lost the costume contest! *Cries!* I'm really not too upset since it's not like I made the dress or anything, and while I liked the prize the winner got it's not like I couldn't live without out it. (A pretty hand made Barbie sized sheer cape made out of a glitter spiderweb pattern material).

However, it wasn't just the winner that got prizes at the meeting. I actually was a little gift giver myself. Since joining the club I had compiled a few small, tiny, mostly unimportant things that I thought other people in the group might like. But I've been hesitant in giving them to them. I like giving people gifts, I just hate the whole giving it to them part, especially when it's something so small as a stand. (I've never been good with gift giving with people I'm not super comfortable with). But I had several things to give out, and everyone that I had things for were going to be at the meeting so I decided to just do it and get it over with. Also by doing so, there's that fewer things in my life/room that I don't want. I ended up giving out three of the items that I had brought, I still have one thing I didn't get to give to someone. The opportunity never presented itself to give it to them. I'll be seeing them again soon so I can give it to them then. I'm proud that I gave those items away and they can now go live in their new owners houses instead of mine.

And speaking of going things going to live at a new house.... I didn't leave the meeting empty handed. I know, things should be going out and not having other different things coming in to replace them. But someone at the meeting was selling a Silkstone I didn't have, nude, for 20 dollars. Which is a really great price when you realize that I don't have to pay shipping. (And those dolls are heavy!) Also, I had 13 Silkstones and I just don't like having that number, so by getting one more I had 14, which is a number I like much better (Why yes, I can keep justifying this doll, thank you for asking!). It was a pretty simple transaction. I gave the person my 20 dollars, they gave me the doll wrapped up in a plastic bag with a stand included.

I didn't even look at the doll until I was back at home after the meeting. The doll that I had bought
was "A Trace of Lace". She was released in 2005 and has brown mid-back length brown hair with a side part. She has blue center facing eyes with blue eyeshadow. She reminds me a lot of Artemis, which isn't too shocking since they both have a lot in common looks wise. They're both brunettes with shorter hair and blue eyeshadow. However Artemis has side glancing eyes and I will admit I like those better. I guess because they look more like the vintage dolls they're emulating. I do have several of them with front facing eyes, so it's not a huge deal that this new girl has them.
Trace of Lace is in mostly good shape. She was a display doll, so she doesn't have too many issues. Hair and face paint are nice (I actually brushed out her factory set since it was messy). Her issues mainly lie with her arms. She does have staining at her wrists from some gloves she was wearing when redressed. This isn't a huge deal, it's very faint and right now she has acne cream on with the hoped of removing it. However, she does have some more pressing issues with her right hand, it has a couple of scuffs to the front, and it looks a cat took a few nibbles on the underside of her thumb. It's something I can live with, but I wish I had been told before hand (no pun intended). For the most part I won't even notice these issues once she's dressed and in the collection. But how many times must I learn the lesson that I need to look at dolls in detail before I buy them? I will say that I don't think looking at the doll up close would have helped me too much. I had already committed to buy her and don't know how to politely back out of a deal like that without ruffling some feathers. So I would have bought it either way.
But if I do ever decide to do a body swap, I have a perfect doll to do it to. (Artemis is actually on a different body because I broke her first one yeeeeeeeeeeeears ago). But for right now she can stay on her original one. Silkstones are hard to match skin tone wise. I will say that I haven't totally bonded with her yet. I was playing around with her and trying out different hair styles and while I liked some of them I didn't find the perfect one for her. I think she's a very pretty doll, but right now that's all I think she is. I'm thinking that she looks so much like Artemis that I'm having a hard time being truly subjective about her. All I can see when looking at her is her similarities and her differences. 
But I mean, not every doll can be *GASP, TRUE LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT*. That would be seriously exhausting and quite honestly dull. If every doll was like that, the ones I do click well with wouldn't be so special. Also, it would make trimming the herds nearly impossible (which is not happening right now, but I'm thinking for the distant future). I'm sure we will find our groove, even if it's an uneasy truce (looking at you Red Moon.)