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.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Work, work, work. I'll never get my desk clean!

I'm so far behind sharing new dolls with you all that I'm just going to share my newest dolls first and work my way backwards. I really need to get back into it, the box lid that I keep my new dolls in (that I had been hoping to throw out months ago) is overflowing with dolls and things yet again.

Anyway, this post starts off with a usual set up. I was over on Etsy seeing the new listings when I found someone listing a small lot of broken dolls. All together it added up to two dolls, but they were not the correct two dolls. One of them was all there, (but separate) but the other doll was two different dolls. They were broken but all the damage I could see were things I've repaired before. The best part was the price, it was only eight dollars including shipping. I really appreciate when people price things accordingly. You cannot believe the number of times that I find a totally trashed doll that someone is asking a fortune for. But this lot was a really nice bargain, so I quickly bought it.

It arrived when I was sick (a day later than it should have, it does not take 26 hours to get from Greensboro to my local post office). And just an example for how sick I was it arrived, someone brought it to me, and it took me several hours to open it. That never happens! Usually I tear into my mail with the gusto of a starving man getting a loaf of bread. And that was after I had been sick for a while and was on the mend.

Now let's start talking about what was in the bag instead of how I came to own the bag. Our first item
is a head. It's the head to Malibu Barbie. She's one of the earlier ones marked on the neck rim as made in Japan. She's really nice condition. She has really nice makeup and her hair is really nice. It's not even brittle like they sometimes get. She does have one spot of paling on her cheek and one small spot on the inside of her neck rim that I'll need to reinforce with vinyl glue (looks like a molding flaw), but she's in really nice shape. I'm totally on the fence as to what to do with her. She was the item in the lot that I was the least interested in, but she's really nice. But I already have two Malibu Barbie dolls in the collection and at least one waiting to get dressed. I really don't need that many, I originally wrestled with adding one. Right now I'm thinking that this new one will join the collection, but will end up reselling the one that's not dressed yet. She has the brittle hair. I think this one will get the spare Mexico armed Malibu body I have. I don't like mixing eras like that, but at least the Malibu doll with the Mexico arms will be different from the other two.

The next item is the full doll from the lot. However when I got her, her body was alone, and her head was on the other body from the lot. What we have is Live Action Barbie. She's actually in really, really nice shape. Her head was off because like with the majority of the Live Action/Living Barbie dolls the neck knob just slips out of the neck and falls into the head. I own .... 5 of these types of dolls and only had one that came with it's head attached. Luckily it's an easy fix and works well. I'm not playing with these dolls, but from general use (including dressing) have yet to have a head fall back off on me. Live Action is simply stunning. Her makeup is perfect and she still has the majority of her eyelashes. Her hair is long and full, and two toned. The front of her hair is platinum blonde, but the back of it is a honey blonde. I haven't popped of her limbs to check for melting yet, but her body is really nice too. She did have a bit of melting on one of her breasts that I already removed. Interesting note, it's almost dead center on her breast and the melting isn't as smooth as it usually is. Removing the melted plastic left her with a spot that almost looks like a nipple. Weird, right? Anyway, all her joints click and hold poses wonderfully. She's just a really nice doll. She still needs a little sprucing up (one side of her hair won't stay flat, it's pulled back in the picture) but is well onto her way to be a wonderful example of this doll. She's my first original Live Action Barbie. I already have Ken and P.J.. All I'm missing is Christie, but I'm not holding my breath for her since she's so hard to find and is so expensive when she does show up.

Our final item from the lot is a body, Quick Curl Francie's body to be exact. This body is actually the reason why I wanted this lot in the first place. I'm always in need of a Francie body. While the head was not included in the lot I know it belonged to Quick Curl Francie because she was being sold by the same seller in a different listing, she was just on a Walk Lively Miss America body and was listed for 30 bucks, which I did not have (and I really didn't want a Miss America body). Francie's leg was
off in the listing, which is a common issue for dolls from that era. However like I said I've repaired that kind of thing before, so I was confident I could repair it. Francie's leg ended up being the worst part of it, she's actually in really nice shape. She did have Live Action's head on her neck so I was worried there would be melting since the Live Action head sits lower on the body than her original head would, but there wasn't any problem. The neck knob had one tiny spot of melting that was super easy to remove. I did check the arms for melting, but they actually didn't have any. I did put nail polish on them before putting the arms back on to try and avoid any melting. Interesting note about the arms, the arm joint feels differently angled. I haven't compared it to my first Quick Curl Francie but these arms feel more angled out so when you move her arms in front of her they go out more than normal. I could be way off, but they just feel that way. I think this one is an early doll since the rear markings are pretty noticeably changed from Japan to Taiwan. But again I haven't checked my other doll, that could be the same and I just never noticed. Francie did have melting at both legs, I ended up popping off her other leg so I could repair it. However, Francie had the lightest melting I've ever dealt with. I literally got both legs finished in one day. She was such a simple fix. I've already contacted someone about getting a head for her. I was hoping to meet them at the last doll meeting, but they ended up not going. I'm not sure the next time I'll be seeing them, might not be until December which just kills me! You know how I feel about waiting! 

However, I guess I can wait until then. It's not like I don't have plenty of projects to keep me busy until then. Including finishing up the small details on the dolls I just talked about. Not bad for eight bucks right? I got some really nice dolls for a really nice price, with not a lot of work.

Now where to find room for them!?!

I have survived!

Hello Dear Readers,

Quick update on me, long story short I'm alive. I woke up on the morning of the 23rd absolutely freezing. I was shaking, my teeth were chattering, and nothing I did warmed me up. I turned off my fan, put several blankets on, put on more clothes, and broke out the heating pad. It wasn't until the heating pad was cranked up full did I finally warm up enough to stop shaking like that.
I was hoping that would be the end of it, but it was just the start. I suffered for two days with a fever and chills spending most of my time sleeping or trying to. After a few days like this I looked up my symptoms that it turned out I had a sinus infection. My nose wasn't very stuffed, but everything else matched up perfectly. I got some medicine and things have been on an upswing. I'm still on my way back to normal, but I'll take it. My neck is still a little stiff (I strained from the awkward positions I had it in when sleeping so many hours and drinking water at an incline), and my head is still a little cloudy but I certainly feel better than before.

And you want to know something really annoying? On Tuesday when I had my first bad chills, I gave myself a migraine, so I had to deal with that too!

I've never had a sinus infection like that before, and hope it never happens again.
Awful, awful, awful.