Thursday, November 19, 2015

Do I want a Poppy Parker doll?

Hello Dear Readers,

Hot off the success of finally finishing that Eye Doctor Barbie review, I have another post to share with you. My pondering if I want a Poppy Parker doll.

Lately I've been thinking about adding a Poppy Parker doll to the collection. After getting burned three times in a row on vintage Barbie (all on Etsy BTW), I think I need a little break from vintage. However I am unable to take a break for dolls completely. For my interest in Poppy Parker I totally blame the doll club, several of the members are total Poppy Parker fangirls and I really think otherwise I wouldn't be so interested getting one. But while I want one, I'm not really sure that I want one, want one. I'm kind of interested in her, but not super duper I got to have one feeling. I think it would be interesting to own one, but I worry about not bonding with her, so it's kind of a weird place. I will point out that I haven't been to an official doll club meeting since September, so it's not like this was triggered by some doll I just saw, it's been a slow simmer. 

Poppy is available. She's been mass produced for several years now so it's not like it's a matter of hunting one down. I'm in a good position since there isn't a Poppy that I absolutely love, I'm just trying to find one for the best price. I freely admit I am cheap and I'm not sure how much I'll want to spend for a doll that I'm planning on actually redressing and "playing" with. I flip flop between wanting to buy just her head and put her on a Mattel body or wanting the whole doll to have the correct body for her to have the complete Poppy experience. I've been doing searches to find a nude doll at a decent price, but it seems that it would be more cost effective to buy a dressed doll and sell her clothes (depending on which doll it is). They did recently release some new dolls and you can find some of them at retail prices, but lots of times the shipping is so expensive so it's not that much of a deal buying the new dolls.

Not really sure what else to say, just putting my thoughts down in text.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Barbie Eye Doctor Playset From Mattel - Another Review!

This post is several months old. I don't think reviews are going to be an often repeated occurrence here on the blog. It takes me forever to get one posted since I'm so slow to take pictures and I just cannot shut up about mundane parts of the doll (especially the box). But at least the doll is still available on the shelves, so at least if someone is interested in it they can find it at retail prices.

A few weeks ago I had a job related thing up in Raleigh. It was an all day work event and the less said about that the better. Anyway, my father was my ride and spent the day at my sister's house. Since we were in Raleigh where there's a lot more stores than in Asheboro, I asked him to do me a favor. There are three newly released dolls that I've been looking for so I asked him to check Target to see if they had any of them. Out of the three, he was able to find one. The Barbie Eye Doctor play set. When it's in stock at (until it sells out in mere minutes) it's listed for 19.99, with prime shipping. Target sells it for 22.99. I had a 10 percent off coupon that brought it down to 20.69. So if you can find it on Amazon it is cheaper than Target, but only when it's being sold by Amazon and not a third party vendor that jacks up the price. I will be reviewing the African American version since that was the one they had at Target, but all the accessories are the same between the two versions. The only difference the head mold on Barbie and the doll's skin tones.  
Pardon the Reflection
The front of the box is rather simple. The majority of it is clear plastic allowing to see everything that comes in the set. At the very top are two pictures of the Kelly-like doll wearing two of the pair of glasses that come in the set. Below it is text proclaiming "4 pairs of glasses!". However, if you count the pair Barbie's wearing, there's actually 5 pairs in the set. At the bottom of the box it features the Barbie logo in large text followed by "Eye Doctor". I'm not sure if these new sets are replacing the Barbie I can be.... line, but I'm glad they're not using that same phase. It's always bugged me when it says "Barbie I can be .... some career", completely ignoring that there should be an "A" in the sentence. Below the text is a pink image with pink sparkles. I guess they hadn't reached their pink quota for the front and had to really jazz it up. It also has the 3+ age recommendation and the warning that it has small parts and is a choking hazard.

Moving on to the right side we have a repeat of the pink with pink sparkles background and a repeat of the Barbie logo. Not much to comment on.

On the left side we have an animated image of Barbie as she appears in the "Life in the Dreamhouse" series on Youtube. She's actually wearing the same outfit as the doll in the box, they even replicated the sewing construction in the image. I am impressed they even recreated the surging detail at the neckline of her shirt. However some creative liberties were taken of the image compared to the actual doll. The most noticeable one is that the image is of a white doll. Which I don't really understand. This is Barbie as an eye doctor, implying that the doll herself is Barbie. It's not Christie or Grace as an eye doctor, it's Barbie. They could have easily designed the box without displaying this image, or at least designed the image to look like the doll in the box. I mean wasn't that why Black Barbie in the early 80's so important? Because for once a black character was Barbie and not one of her friends? The image also features some other differences besides skin tone. The image has has silver colored earrings with pink stones but the actual doll doesn't have any earrings. She doesn't even have pieced ears. The box image also has different hair. On the box Barbie has a side part that's pulled back in the front and in the back part of her hair is pulled back in a high ponytail. In reality both versions of the doll just have a simple side part with hair that's slightly curled.
Pardon the glare X2
On the back of the box there's an image of the play set de-boxed, looking pretty much as it does in the box (no prototype pictures used here!). It also has a small blurb about eye doctors and what they do. At the top it has the Barbie logo repeated and a pink sign denoting it's the Eye Doctor set. I think the sign image is reused from that Malibu Avenue line. At the bottom features an image from the Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse series with Barbie playing a doctor .... to Chelsea who's covered in pink spots. I kind of get what they're going with this, but eye doctors and physicians are not one and the same. To the right of that image are two pictures of the African American versions in this line, Teacher and Eye Doctor. There's several other dolls in this line, but I guess they only come in the white version. Kind of weird to point out the limited options there are for African American dolls. At the bottom right corner is an ad for the Youtube show "Watch us online!" and in the bottom left corner is the Mattel logo and a production number.

Didn't take a picture of the bottom of the box just know it's got the usual legal speak, bar codes, and whatnot. This particular doll set was made in China.

Opening the box was really easy. I was able to push in and lift up the plastic tabs at the top to open the lid with minimal damage to the box itself. After that I was able to just slide the entire cardboard backer out of the box. I appreciate being able to open the box without having to tear into the box destroy it. It's so frustrating having to arm myself with a bevy of tools to open a toy box and usually all that effort comes at the expense of my hand and the items itself. Hopefully this is the new way Mattel boxes their toys.

Frustrating packaging.      
All of the dolls and accessories are displayed on the cardboard backer. We have Barbie on the right, the eye chart with the little girl underneath it in the center, and the chair with the eye checker ..... thingy on the right. For the most part they were all easy to remove. The majority of the items are held down by clear plastic t-straps. All you need to do is snip them and they come out really easily and most of them have lots of area to get your scissors in there's no fear of accidentally damaging anything. Barbie's head is anchored down by two of those small clear t-straps, but at least it's not three like sometimes we've been seeing. The chair is the hardest thing to remove. It is attached to the bottom of the box with two black plastic pieces. According to the cardboard instructions that they're also attached to (and partially blocking) you need to turn them. This was impossibly until I figured out that you needed to push the sides of the black plastic taps up since they have little nubs that are embedded in the cardboard. After I figured that out they were much easier to spin. So I was sitting there for a bit turning them, I assume I had to unscrew them, however this was taking forever with no progress so I gave them a slight pull and one popped out. It's not a screw, it's just a plastic tab that locks into the bottom of the chair, you just need to align it and pull it through the hole. Now I don't think I'm an idiot, but I really think the instructions could have been a little clearer, and not blocked by the pieces themselves. I could see this really frustrating children (and parents).

Removing all the parts of the play set leaves the cardboard backing as well as a small cardboard piece and the clear plastic piece the eye chart and small doll were attached to. Both of these pieces are easily removed by pushing in the tabs on them and sliding them out. Surprising to no one Barbie's office is very pink. I do appreciate the effort they did to actually make it reflect an eye doctor's office. They could have just slapped a vaguely doctor type office design on there and called it a day. If only it wasn't full of holes and tab slots, it actually could be used as part of the play set if it wasn't so damaged. I think it's really cute that Barbie has eyeglass wallpaper. Featuring pink on pink design it has repeated images of glasses. Looking closely at it you can see that the little glasses the set comes with are repeated of the images they used on the wall.
Barbie has a one room office. Now I've only been to a half dozen or so eye doctors, but usually the examination room is one room and where the glasses are displayed are in another room. I know this is just a box and they crammed it all in together since it's just a throwaway piece of cardboard. Starting from our left, on the side panel, Barbie's office has a display case full of glasses. It's black with a pink accented door. If you look closely at the glasses on display there's only two models repeated on all the shelves, just in different colors. On top of the display case is a circular mirror with a stand. I've looked into mirrors like that a lot when looking at myself trying on glasses. Above the mirror on the wall there is a picture of Ken (also his Life in the Dreamhouse incarnation) wearing glasses in front of a gray and white striped background. You do see a lot of glasses advertising at the eye doctor's so this is a nice touch. Moving to the center panel to the right of Ken's picture is a window. Apparently Barbie's office is in the city. The background features a window with the binds rolled up showing off the view. She is surrounded by several very simplified sky scrapers, including one pink one (shocker). Judging by the perspective it looks like Barbie's office is in the middle of her building. It's apparently a sunny day, but there are some clouds in the sky. Interesting side note, I'm not really sure how Barbie's window works. It looks like it has a traditional window set up at the top, but not at the bottom. It's either open or missing the bottom frame. If it's open, it must be some magic window because there's no way the visible frame could cover the part of the window that's open. Perhaps I'm over thinking it? Below the window and the biggest piece of furniture on the backer is Barbie's desk. It features a black desktop with white legs. On the far right there's a set of drawers with pink detailing and black handles. Also on the far right there's a chrome sink. Barbie also has a matching black, pink, and chrome stool for her to sit on. There is two spaces on the desk for seats, but only the stool is shown. Perhaps there's another chair out of view. On top of the desk Barbie has tissues, a vase with two pink flowers, five books of various colors and sizes, an eye machine (I think it's the tool they use to blow a puff of air into your eyes). Next to the sink they added a soap dispenser. On the wall Barbie has a mounted matte gray phone, with turquoise buttons and a pink cord. It's cute but I wish Barbie had a cuter phone. Yes, she's a doctor, but she still is a doctor with style! Diagonally from that we have Barbie's diploma, at least I think it's her diploma. It's a black framed image with a double black border. In the center it's yellow with the image of a pair of glasses.... I guess to denote she's an eye doctor. I guess we should all be so lucky it's not Barbie as a proctologist play set! It also features a black squiggly denoting text and a pink ribbon on it. Not sure how much I'd trust Barbie's degree, looks pretty home made if you ask me. Diagonally from that we have a shelf. It's a simple white shelf. On it there's a small display of glasses and two canisters, a smaller one with a chrome lid and q-tips, and a larger one with a pink lid and larger q-tips. Why does Barbie need so many q-tips?
Now that we're done with the packaging, it's time to talk about the contents. Up first, Barbie. Like I already pointed out I have the African American version, this doll and the other version have the same clothing and accessories. The only differences are the skin tone and head mold. The other version uses the new 2015 Barbie head mold, while this one uses (I believe) the Desiree head mold.
The reason why I only think it's the Desiree face mold is that while it is marked on the back of the head 2001 the smile lines on this doll looks less pronounced than how Desiree normally does.  It's a very pretty face, when I first saw it I thought it was a new variation on the Desiree face sculpt. Barbie has two toned shoulder blade length hair in both dark chocolate brown and milk chocolate brown color. It almost reminds me of Superstar Christie's hair, Christie's was a bit more vibrant though. It is a good length for play, however it is a bit choppy in the back. I wish Mattel would make Barbie's hair all one length. While it might look decent in it's default style, it can be limited when doing other hair styles. If it looks a bit messy, that's my fault. The doll's been kicking around my desk for months before I finally got around to taking pictures of it. Barbie has two tones brown eyes, natural eyebrows, and light plum colored lips. My doll has a factory flaw in her lip paint. To the right of her cupid's bow she has a small dark line. She came that way out of the box. I'm not sure how to remove it without damaging her lip paint. She also has an
issue with her hairline, on the right side a plug is out of place. It's not super noticeable (her glasses covers it as does her hair), but it is sad to see. She also has some hair coming out of her neck, which is becoming more and more common. There's a few indents on her face here and there from where her glasses were pressing into her. I think these will ease out in time.

Barbie has a basic body with 5 points of articulation (neck, shoulders, and hips). She has the belly button body with one traditional extended hand and one bent
hand that can go on her hips. She also has the usual arched feet for high heels. (Several other dolls in the line have flat feet). Like the Halloween doll she has hard plastic legs. I really do think rubber legs are a thing of the past. She does have a small gouge to her right leg about a half an inch up from her ankle on the outside. I can't remember if this was from packaging or from kicking around here waiting to get her picture taken. Either way she has it, so she's already showing some wear.

Barbie comes with some clothing and accessories. I'm going to start off with her clothing. 
Sadly despite looking like separate pieces, it's all one piece.
I was actually impressed when I first opened it, the shirt and skirt are separate in the front where they could have easily been attached, but it turns out the whole thing is sewn together in the back and on certain side seams. So close Mattel, so close. Barbie wears a classic white doctor's coat. It is made from a white broadcloth with pink stitching. On the right breast it has Barbie's name silk screened on in a pink cursive script, mimicking monogramming. Underneath that Barbie is wearing a black jersey knit tank top. The tank top features turquoise contrast stitching. Surging at the neckline, and a straight hem at the bottom hem. The tank top is only in the front and the partial sleeve holes are unhemmed, it's side seams are built into the coat. Barbie is also wearing a geometric patterned skirt. Made from an almost linen type of fabric it features a variety of greens and pinks diagonal stripes in a very interesting and varied pattern. It's hard to explain, so I'll let the pictures describe what I seemingly cannot. It also features an elastic waist, with contrasting white stitching at the top and bottom. The stitching on mine at the elastic casing is pretty wonky. Looks like the tension wasn't right on the machine. I'm not planning on keeping the outfit, but if I did, I'd end up fixing that because it would bug me. I will point out that despite the outfit being attached it wouldn't take too much work to separate most of it. With basic hand sewing skills and access to a seam ripper it wouldn't be too hard to remove the skirt from the coat and finish them so they could be used independently. I think the tank top is a wash (way too much work to save it instead of making your own) and could be cut out of the coat and leaving the coat it's own piece. It's a shame that Mattel wouldn't use a little more fabric, Velcro, and effort to make these pieces separate from the start. If they did, I'd be a lot more impressed with this play set.

Barbie comes with three plastic accessories;
an ophthalmoscope (thank you Google), 
 her glasses, 
 and her shoes. 
The ophthalmoscope is made from a black slightly flexible plastic. It has molded on detail as well as a handle for Barbie to hold it. It comes bound to her hand with a clear elastic in the box. The handle is actually in the palm of her hand leaving the ophthalmoscope resting along the outside. Now I may be wrong but I always put the handle side out since that would make it more realistically that Barbie was actually holding the item. The ophthalmoscope is interesting, and I'm glad they included it but to be quite honest, it looks like a fancy microphone. I know why they didn't, but I wish it had some painted elements on it to help it read as a doctor's tool.

It turns out that eye doctor Barbie also practices what she preaches, she doesn't just prescribe them she also wear glasses! Made from the same slightly flexible matte black plastic as the ophthalmoscope, these glasses remind me of the ones that came with Reporter Ken, but with some key differences. The biggest one being that these have rounded lenses and Reporter Ken had rectangular lenses. (I say lenses but both glasses have empty frames). On these new frames the plastic is actually a little bit thicker than Reporter Ken's. Also they were just rubber banded to the doll's head instead of having those burrs that were embedded in Ken's head (thank goodness). It does look like the glasses were pressing into the doll's forehead and left an indent in between her eyebrows, but I'd much rather have that (which will most likely come out with a dunk in hot water), than two large holes in her head like Reporter Ken had to deal with.

Barbie's shoes are made from a shinier much more flexible black (I think) vinyl. They are traditional Barbie high heels. They have a strap design around the ankle (with molded in buckles), and feature a keyhole element near the toes. They have slits in the back so you can take them off and put them back on easily. I actually really like these, I wasn't planning on keeping them, but I think they'll be sticking around. I will say that for an eye doctor these are kind of a mature shoe choice especially for someone they imply is on their feet all day. I know Barbie wears heels traditionally, but in this case I really think the flat foot and one of the new shoe molds might have been a better choice especially since Mattel seems committed in including that new style of shoe across the lines. I know that the Babysitter in the line has the flat feet (only available in the white version), but the teacher has high heels. I'm not complaining since I like the shoes and out of all of the pieces of the play set, this one will be sticking around. I just think that in this case Mattel could have done flat feet and it would have been a nice change of pace. (No pun intended).

This play set also includes a small Kelly sized doll. As far as I can tell this doll is just a random character and does not have a name. The doll uses the classic Kelly body but with a different head mold, I think it's new. The body is the later classic Kelly body with the molded on underwear and the wider set legs. The doll has five points of articulation, the neck, the shoulders, and the hips which isn't surprising since that's the same that classic Kelly dolls have unless they had a gimmick and had additional articulation. Like I said I believe the head is new. This doll has painted hair, I assume for cost cutting reasons. It has a molded in center part that's pulled back into two buns at the top of the head. Sort of like Street Fighter's Chun Li or Sailor Moon's Sailor Moon (without the parts that hang down). The painted hair on mine is a bit off. In places the paint goes below the molded in hair line and in places it goes above. It's not too bad, just odd that Mattel can't color within the lines they created. The doll has large brown eyes and bubblegum pink lips. My doll's lips are off center, so it gives her sort of a smug smile. Eyes look good though.

Since Mattel went with painted hair, the doll is a bit unusual in construction. Mattel doll's have mold seams that they usually hide under the doll's hair. Back when they made Fashion Queen Barbie (and Midge) they hid the seam by putting it under the fake headband. This new doll's seam line is around her neck! This leaves the doll with this scar looking line all around her neck. On mine all of the extra vinyl wasn't trimmed off so it looks like she has hanging skin. I have NO idea what they were thinking. It looks like she's been Jack the Ripper-ed. They also put the copyright information under her chin in raised letters. It's not that noticeable from dead on, but if you look at her from the side you can see part of it. Not really sure what that's all about, poor design Mattel, poor design. Oddly enough, looking at Joe or the Disney store male dolls that also have painted hair I can't see a molding line, I guess some companies construct their doll differently when they have painted hair. My doll also has some more quality control issues. On her cheek close to where the extra vinyl was trimmed off she has a small gouge. I kind of think the machine that trimmed off the extra plastic slipped? She also has two lines across her legs where the plastic strap that held her in place was too tight and left a mark on her. Dolls really should not be getting damaged by the packaging Mattel!

In the package the doll comes wearing one of the pairs of glasses the set comes with. Mine was wearing the yellow circle frames, I bet they all do. It is cute they had the doll coming already wearing a pair, but with mine they put the glasses on when the hair paint was still wet. The glasses are fine, but all along the back of the doll's head there's a line where the clear elastic that was holding the glasses on where it took off the paint. So there's another example of the packaging damaging the doll. The straps being too tight is one thing, but they really should wait until the paint is dry on these toys. The glasses are cute, they're bright and fit the doll well. However I do worry about how small they are. They are tiny. I understand that that's just how they are, and I'd hate for Mattel to do something to make them bigger. I would just worry about a kid playing with them since they're so small and could be easily swallowed. I know the package says 3 and up, but I wouldn't give them to a kid that young. Maybe a 6 year old would be a better age choice. These glasses do fit classic Kelly dolls, but with a catch. Those new dolls have smaller heads, so the glasses can be worn but they tend to bow a little in the center to accommodate fitting on the larger heads of the classic Kelly dolls. It does look cute and shouldn't have too much of an issue. I just wouldn't leave it on them in case it warps the glasses. Should be fine for a day or two just don't forget to take it off them before too long.

This little doll comes wearing a pink floral sleeveless jersey knit dress. The dress is simple, but it is fully hemmed. It closes in the back with a small bit of Velcro. Mine does have an issue where the inside hems have rolled showing the un-hemmed parts through the sleeve hole openings. This happens a lot with Kelly doll clothes since the hems are so small. The dress does have a gathered skirt, which is nice since they could have easily made it one piece. The skirt features more gathers in the front than in the back, which is another cost saving measure. It almost has too much gathers in the front leaving the fabric a little too raised. It's very easy to see up the doll's skirt because of this. I wish the gathers were a little more spread out to make that less of an issue. The doll's shoes are bubblegum pink colored high tops. They have a slit in the back for easy redressing. They have lots of molded in details including a cursive B "patch" on the side, however they are unpainted so it's really hard to see any of the details. I honestly do not like them. Mattel has TONS of cute shoe molds for Kelly, these read as baby booties to me. I know Kelly is supposed to be an older toddler (before they aged her up to Chelsea), but these shoes are way too juvenile for her. They seriously do no go with the dress at all. I plan on keeping the dress, it's a cute Spring outfit but those shoes are not staying. They will most likely be sold with the doll. If I can find a buyer for the doll since she has so many quality control issues.

Now onto the play set itself. It's actually rather simple and just consists of two main parts, the chair and the eye chart. I'm going to talk about the eye chart first. Standing at a hair over ten and a half inches tall it's mostly made from a turquoise plastic. It comes fully assembled and there's no easy way to take it apart in case you wanted to. It consists of 5 pieces. The main body, the hot pink rack on the side to display the additional glasses, the pink support back along the bottom, and at the top the glasses decoration is it's own piece that snaps into the base (I assume the smaller piece is easier to paint and it's the only part of the playset with any painted detail). The eye chart itself is a sticker. Looks pretty close to accurate for an eye chart. Mine does suffer from some slight peeling going on at the bottom and top. I do worry how it will age over time since this is a new item and already having some age wear. I guess if need be it can just be glued down again. The light pink support beam at the bottom is interesting. It has a hole on the left side that looks like something could snap into it, but there's nothing to snap it. I think they used this to secure it to the packaging. Which makes no sense. They could have done something less noticeable but with the same effect. When writing this post I realized that the beam is actually really easy to remove. It's supposed to be part of the design, but it just pops right off, so no wonder they needed to support it to the package. However they still could have done it better for both staying in the package and looking good out of the package. The eye
chart comes with three additional small glasses for the little doll. (I wonder if these glasses would fit Dawn, great now I want a Dawn doll). They are all are held in place by clear elastics, which I already removed. We have a black pair that mimics the ones Barbie wears, a purple/pink cat eye pair, and a light pink heart pair (which I think classic Kelly or maybe Stacie had in a larger size). The glasses are all cute and fit the doll that comes with the play set well. Like I already said, they do fit classic Kelly, but do get a little bowed since her head is bigger. I do appreciate that Mattel included some pairs that were a little more unisex than just the pink and purple ones. I've already put the black pair on my Tommy doll and really like how he looks in them, even though he can't wear them full time since I worry about them getting warped.

The second part of the play set is the chair. Made from five separate pieces, it's completely made from plastic and has no painted detail or stickers. It features a silver base designed to look like the chair can be lowered or raised (it cannot, it's stuck in one position). It has a double rounded base for balance, which does a pretty good job. There are times were you can get it off balance, but it does well keeping itself upright. On the bottom it has the copyright information as well as the two holes were it was adhered to the packaging. The chair on it is pink, a bit darker than bubblegum pink. It has two molded on armholes and a low back. The chair is designed for the Kelly sized doll. She can fit in it comfortable, the back comes to the lower part of her head. The chair is big enough for larger dolls, BUT only if they're nude and only because the chair is slightly flexible. I was able to get one of the new Made to Move dolls in this chair, but if she was wearing clothes there's no way she'd fit. The chair still did a decent job balancing her, even with her being a lot bigger (and longer) than a Kelly doll. On the back is a molded in Barbie silhouette logo. Coming out from the left side of the chair we have a light blue L shaped post. This post is stationary. However, with some minor effort I think you could remove it from the back of the chair and just have a regular chair. Not sure if you could do that without damaging the post, so if you do want to do that, it might be permanent. On top of the post is another post, this one is a darker blue and has some molded in decorations as well as a handle for Barbie to be able to use (although not very naturally). It can swivel around where it's connected to the lighter blue post. It also can swivel at the bast where it's connected to the silver eye .... checker..... thing. That part has molded in dials and gears doing decently to mimic the actual tool it's supposed to look at. It has two eye holes for the Kelly doll to look at. It's a cute chair, but it's stuck at that height, even though you can wedge Barbie in the chair, there's no way that item is going to let her look through it. Kind of limiting for a play set. I wish it actually could be raised or lowered.

And that's all you get in this play set. Including tax, I paid a little more than 20 dollars for it and do I think it's worth it? Kinda. I think this could be a decent teaching tool for a child who might need glasses or something fun if a child wanted to play at being an eye doctor. However for me, I think it's overpriced, but I'm not really the intended market for this item. I only wanted it because of the glasses it came with, specifically Barbie's. I have literally told Mattel that if they release a doll wearing glasses, I will buy it. Lately Joe has begun wearing glasses full time. I actually used to have only one pair of doll glasses (that belongs to Velma), but thanks to Mattel's newer releases, have managed to build up a small collection of eyeglasses. I really wanted these for Joe, and luckily since I bought it he's been wearing them. However, I think 20 dollars is too high for this mainly plastic set which is riddled with factory errors. I was going to resell it to recoup my costs, but I don't think it's worth it. I have seen it on sale (a while back) for 15, and I think that's a better price for it, IF you're willing to overlook all the issues it will come with.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What Should I Do?

Hello Dear Readers,

I have a story/question for you all.

Our story begins at the start of October. I placed an order at for a few things I needed to get, among those things was a Frozen Fever Anna doll that was on "sale". In reality it was like a dollar off, but I figured that I could use her outfit for a doll Halloween costume and if I resold the doll I'd make some of my money back and she did put me over the free shipping amount. So I placed my order and waited. The doll took a little while to get here, but when you get free shipping you take some concessions.

Once the doll arrived I opened her up, and immediately noticed she had an issue going it. It looks like when they were sewing the hem of the skirt the machine messed up and not only had some extra lines of wonky stitches, the skirt had actually gotten torn in two places right in the front. So I returned her. I am not keeping a doll that comes out of the box with issues as bad as that. That skirt really shouldn't have even left the factory. I also ended up returning something else from my order. I got a shipping label from Walmart, packaged them up in the box they came in, and mailed them back.

And waited again.

It took a while to get there, but eventually they got my return. I said I wanted an exchange, but one item had sold out so they refunded my money for that but sent me another Anna doll. This one arrived with a better dress, but now had a weird rust colored line in one of her eyes with some missing eye paint. Again, someone should have caught that at the factory. Unsatisfied with this new issue I decided to send her back. I was just going to return her since I'm not sure if there's any doll out there without any glaring issues. So I go back to to start the final return, and now they tell me the only way to return it is to go back to the store  AND they show they're not refunding me the tax I paid on the item. Shipping I understand since I didn't pay for that, but they certainly charged me tax the first time so I'm not sure why they weren't giving it back to me.

So I sent them an e-mail asking why I now had to go to the store to return an item that I never purchased in a store. I also asked why they were keeping my tax. That afternoon I got an email from They issued me a return for the amount of the doll plus my tax to my Paypal and said that they could set up a time for UPS to come pick up the doll or I could pick a time for when I wanted to return the doll (I think that's what they meant). The next day I sent an email thanking them for fixing the issue and asking for some clarification on how to return it by mail. I was fine with them scheduling a time with UPS, I've done that before with Disney Store. I live in an area where we can just leave the package on the porch and the UPS driver will come by and pick it up easy peasy.

And I waited again. 

It's been over 5 days and I hadn't heard anything back from Walmart, so I sent them a new email. This time I got the email returned to me saying the sender was undeliverable. I ended up sending it again and got the same response. It's weird because when I emailed the first time I never got anything like that and these were really quick. So I went back to and went through their email system and sent them an email about my return. I quickly got a reply saying that I did need to return the doll by mail and cannot return it to my local store. They told me to follow the instructions on the website, but when I go to the website I can't do anything with it since it already claims the doll, both dolls, have been returned. So right now I have my money back AND the doll, and I cannot for the life of me figure out any way to get the doll back to them.

The question I have dear readers is this, what would you do?  I'm spending a lot of time over a return that they should be wanting back, but they're certainly not making it easy on me. Should I email them again?
I'm getting nowhere slowly.

Monday, November 2, 2015

E-bay Updates

Hello Everyone,

Going to try to be a little more proactive in creating new content for the blog, even if it's just something as mindless as talking about my recent E-bay sales.

Sales have been pretty soft lately. I've been good about getting my old listings relisted each month using up the free listings, but creating new ads I haven't been as successful at. And I really should be, things are beginning to pile up again especially since I keep buying dolls for either their clothes and accessories, and justify the purchase by saying I'll get my money back if I resell what I don't want to keep.

Can't really make that money back when the items are just sitting around collecting dust, can we?

The previous week I actually did well and got about 11 new listings finished and posted on the site. From those new listings, I had three sell yesterday. I had lots of watchers on things, but very few bidders. I will never understand why people watch so many things and never bid, lots of times on my auctions you can get the item for the opening bid. You just have to bid to get it!

The items that sold weren't that expensive, but two of them went slightly over their opening bid prices! (And one of them actually ended up paying off the lot of items they came it, any sales from that lot after this is pure profit) It's also great that there's less clutter kicking around that I don't want. Two people already paid for their items and they're all set to go into the mail today. The third person hasn't yet, and I'm not totally sure if they will. They emailed me right before the end of the auction asking me if the Barbie outfit would fit Skipper. By the time I saw the question the auction had only 4 minutes to go and they had already placed a bid. I told them that the outfit was for the belly button body, and would be big on Skipper. I did mention that it should be fine on a larger doll like Teen Skipper. When the auction ended I saw their zip code, I don't think it's in the US so hopefully if they wanted it to fit the smaller Skipper dolls they'll just ask me to cancel their bid. I'd much rather cancel it now then mail it out and have then return it since it doesn't fit the doll they wanted it to even though I never said that doll's name in the listing.

I need to get a couple of listings done this week. I just hope that it'll be sunny tomorrow. I have the day off and pictures always come out lousy when it's rainy (like it's been for the past two days).

*Fingers Crossed* Come on sunshine!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Happy Halloween Dear Readers!

Sorry for being a non-entity for the past month and a half. My sleep issues have still not cleared up. I've been having an easier time falling asleep (most nights), but my newest party trick is waking up at 3 am and taking a while to fall back asleep and continuing to wake up during the night. Being so tired has really zapped my energy for everything but what I absolutely have to get done. I've been working the past few weeks to push myself to get a few things accomplished that I should be getting done. I've been meaning to get back to blogging, but it's just hard getting motivated for anything.... anything buy buying dolls. I still seem to have no problem doing that. (But I really do need to be better about it).

But me complaining about my life is not what this post is about, this is about the annual Halloween post and showing what the dolls are wearing for their costumes. I'm pleased to state that a LOT of dolls have new costumes this year. I think we only have three repeats AND I even sewed a few things this year!

Without further ado, here's Charlotte's shelf this year:
Close ups of each side:

You'll notice in the front we have Artemis in the purple Barbie Halloween cat/witch dress from this year's doll with Modern Circle wearing the Target exclusive orange variation. I will admit that I probably paid too much for both dresses (even retail was probably too high), but I just love the effect of these two dresses being almost symmetrical on the shelf. These dresses do have matching witches hats I added, but they are far too tall for the dolls to wear when on the shelf. Next to Artemis we have Joe kneeling since he's taking Kelly and Tommy out trick or treating and wanted to get a picture of him all together. His green spiderweb shirt is new, I finished it yesterday. I almost ended up throwing it out since when I was trimming off a seam allowance I accidentally cut into the fabric in a bad spot (and I was being so careful too!). I ended up patching it since I was so close to finishing it. I normally wouldn't have and started over, but for a one off thing that he'll most likely wear just one year, it's fine. Kelly and Tommy this year are repeats, British Guard and Princess. I like Kelly's princess costume, but hopefully can find something better for Tommy for next year. Behind Joe is Pierre wearing a pirate costume. I got this off a doll at the last doll donation project, it's Mattel from the late 90's. It was a just removed from box doll, so I snagged it just to steal the costume. They also had the female doll that I swapped for but nobody ended up wearing it this year. I also used their cardboard treat bags for Kelly and Tommy. Pierre looks great in it! It also fits Joe, but the V-neck of the shirt exposes his cobbled together neck joint. His sword is one my brother got at a military show years ago. It's a souvenir from a real sword making company in Spain. It's metal and has a real point (I have stabbed myself with it accidentally before). Next to him we have Audrey Hepburn dressed as Grace Kelly (because I love irony). She's wearing a vintage Hair Fair wig, Disney store Tiana's dress, and the fur stole from the 45th anniversary Silkstone. In front of her seated, because he's too tall to stand up, is Sebastian dressed as Tom Cruise in "Risky Business". Other than the socks I made everything he's wearing. He's holding the sunglasses since his head/hair is too wide for them and I don't want to break them. Behind him to his left is Ashely as Supergirl, another costume picked up at the donation meeting. She's wearing Trixie from Speed Racer's gloves and red boots I had. Not sure how long this costume will last since it has that fake leather that cracks and peels, but it works for this year. Standing front and center we have Charlotte. Breaking a recent trend, Charlotte got new clothes this year! She is wearing the cat ears from this year's Halloween doll (love them), a black bodysuit, a satin belt with glitter pumpkin buckle, an orange with black cats skirt, and black Mary Janes. I made the bodysuit, belt, and skirt. The belt buckle is actually a scrapbook decoration that I modified to be wearable. It's actually held on using Velcro to the belt, so I can swap it out for something else if I wanted to. (So you might get to see it again at Christmas). Her shoes are from the just released Raquelle Style doll. I love, love, love them. Just a word of warning, if you are putting them on the older dolls, make sure the strap isn't stretched any across the doll's foot. The older dolls have higher arches and I had a different shoe snap on the strap right in the center where it has a molding seam. As long as the strap isn't under any stress they'll be fine, at least they are so far and Charlotte's been wearing it for several days in a row now. To Charlotte's left along the back wall we have Mary Clair as a Genie, her usual costume. She just looks so good in it! Next to her we have the Number 4 Ponytail as an 80's flight attendant, another swap out from the Doll Donation Project. I'm not in love with it, but I figured it should get used at least once. I'm sorry she's hard to see, the shelf keeps getting new additions, so it's hard to get everyone seen in pictures. In front of her we have re-rooted Midge dressed as Juliet. Her dress is also from the donation project, and her pearl head decoration is from the 2014? Ballet Wishes Barbie. To her right we have Vanessa dressed as Snow White from the start of the film. The dress came in a random lot of stuff, the shoes are stolen from a souvenir doll, and her cardboard broom is from the Halloween doll. (Remember, the one that I complained that they might have well skipped, of course I ended up using it!).

The majority of the decorations are from the dollar store. except for the pumpkins behind Charlotte and next to Sebastian, those are from thrift stores. I added a few new decorations this year that will be repeats for next year, I especially love the Skeletons on the outer walls. They're so scale appropriate for doll sized decorations and they're so off in design I don't think the person who made them had any skeletons for reference! BTW, If there's anything I posted I didn't talk about and you want to know where it came from, feel free to ask in the comments.

So that was Halloween around here. Everyone got dressed except for Blaine (ran out of time and didn't have a decent costume for him). We had lots of new costumes and a pretty cute display. I'll probably leave it up for a while since right after that I'll want to put them into their Christmas outfits. (But I am thinking about making some Thanksgiving clothes to add to the holiday routine).

For me, I'm working today, which means I'm actually going to dress up. There's a Halloween costume contest at work. I'm not planning on winning, but you do get a free pass to wear jeans on a Saturday if you participate. I'm going as a Target employee since I still have my red shirt and name tag from when I worked there years ago. Last night when I went in I brought in a spare work shirt in case they demand I change. I figure that it would be funny, but I don't want to cause trouble.


Happy Halloween everyone, have fun and be safe! Hopefully I'll post something before Christmas!

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Hey, don't I know you?"

Last Saturday was the September doll meeting. I had specifically asked for the August meeting date off and didn't bother with asking the time off from work for this meeting but the stars were aligned so I could go to this one too. Which is good since I ended up having to do a few business related things there. Also I might not get the chance to go again until December. The end of the year always end up being my busy time and that was even before I started working so it's going to be even worse this year.

The meeting was good, but a little unfocused. It was one of our "play date" meetings without a theme and I'm not really sure how much I like those. It's not like we're very militant with our themes, anyone can bring anything they want to share. I tend to bring Joe a lot and there's very rarely a theme that he fits. Sure I try to dress him to be theme appropriate, but I usually just bring him because I want to and I have never felt he was unwelcome. However, I have long accepted the fact that it's not always all about me so if people like them they can keep doing them.

Anyway, per usual there were a few stops made on the way up to Raleigh. We were going to stop at the flea market we pass on the way up but it was overcast and there were very few vendors so we skipped it. Which ended up being a smart choice since we were a few minutes late to the meeting. (It didn't help that we managed to hit every red light along the way). We did stop at our usual two thrift stores, the PTA thrift store was a bust. It was all baby dolls and "collectible" porcelain dolls. At the other one I found a Rio doll from the Jem line. I quickly grabbed him so it wasn't until after I bought it I found out he had a mouse chewed foot and face! I'll probably be dumping him on E-bay and getting rid of him. I do have a small Jem collection, but don't want one with a chewed up face. At least he came with some clothes, they'll be worth something.
I also found another doll. She was on the bottom shelf with just her feet sticking out. I pulled her free and examined her up close, she was an inexpensive blow mold clone doll, but something about her looked familiar. I was looking at her when it dawned on me, she was a clone of Mattel's Sweet Sixteen. I know I've talked about Sweet Sixteen before, but I can't find the first post about her here on the blog. Sweet Sixteen was a short lived doll line from Mattel from the mid 70's. She used the straight leg Barbie body (sometimes with Francie arms) just with cheaper plastics. Her face comes from the Japanese exclusive Tuli-Chan doll, but with different hair and face paint. All the ones I've seen were made in Korea. As far as I know she had a single release and had no other dolls in the line. She had her own line of carded fashions, each ones were simply made casual outfits. I don't think any of them came with shoes. According to a reliable source, she was released by Mattel specifically for the clone market. She was an inexpensive Barbie like doll they could put out with Mattel quality without "tarnishing" the Barbie brand. That way Mattel could get the dime store sales without bringing Barbie into it. Interesting, right?
Sweet Sixteen didn't make a big splash. I'm pretty sure she was discontinued after one year. Even now those dolls can be found very cheaply online. She doesn't turn up all the time, but when she does she really don't go for a lot since there's really not a lot of interest for her. However, I like her. I have three of her including the first one that I re-rooted. (Never doing that again, btw). I am surprised that she was popular enough back then for another company to clone her. I guess the competition decided to one up Mattel by making an even cheaper copy of their cheap doll!
The clone doll is marked in two places. She has "Hong Kong" molded into the back of her head and "M. & S. Shillman. Inc Made in Hong Kong" written on her upper back. It's ironic that she's so well marked, I guess Shillman didn't want anyone knocking off their doll, no honor among thieves, right? She is a very simple clone doll. She has the usual thin clone hair and hair style with the center part that covers most of her scalp. Her bone straight, shoulder length, almost so light blonde it's white hair is very reminiscent of the actual Sweet Sixteen. She just has a center part compared to a side part on the actual doll. She has simple face painting again done in the style of the actual dolls. The biggest difference is that Sweet Sixteen has brown eyes with a streak of brown eye shadow and the clone doll has blue eye with no eye shadow.
Sisters.... or more likely cousins
The clone doll also has another big difference, her head is a ball joint (like most clone dolls) instead of a neck knob. Her body is a blow mold of standard clone quality. She has articulation at the neck, shoulders, waist, and hips. Her hands have a lot of molded in detail in front, but it's not very pretty. They gave her indents were the joints are in her fingers, it almost looks like she's wearing a ton of flesh colored rings on each hand. Her hip joint is the standard v-style joint. And on her toes she has two raised bumps to keep her shoes from falling off. (I've always hated those, sure they keep the shoes on, but they look so unnatural).
When I found her she still had the plastic band wrapped around her hair. She also came with what I
believe is her original swimsuit. I don't think she's ever been played with, which is not surprising. These clone dolls are very cheaply made so when they get played with it really shows with them. I did have to do a little clean up on her. I had to fix her part line, from the factory the very start of it was all brushed to one side. I also had to recolor her face slightly. Her nose and tip of her chin had lost it's coloring. Her swimsuit got washed, it had some spots on the top and the left side. They mostly came out, the might have stained the swimsuit after 40 plus years but I can deal with it. I also went through my shoe bag and found her an appropriate pair of clone shoes to wear.
I don't think she's an exact copy of Sweet Sixteen's head. I think they reverse engineered the doll, making the mold from the original doll. It would explain why her head is a very close match with some slight differences and smaller. But it's very obvious who she's supposed to be. I did some research into her, but couldn't find another doll like her. I think she's a fairly uncommon doll, but not particularly rare. It would be hard to find another one of her, but if I did she wouldn't cost that much. However that's not a big issue. I don't plan on selling her. She's joining the Sweet Sixteen collection as an interesting side note to her history.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Hello Everyone,

Just popping in to give proof to everyone that I haven't abandoned the blog ..... again. 

I did receive my grail doll in the mail, safe and sound. However I haven't even gotten started on her blog post. It's on my to do list, but I'm just having a hard time getting anything done off of it. Lately I've just been so unmotivated for anything. I've just been doing the bare minimum to get by, if that. Once in a while I do have a productive day, but those are few and far between. I just feel so tired and run down lately. Hopefully it will cool down soon and that will help both sleeping better and not getting so hot during the day.

I did want to share something with you. I went out to town today. I stopped into Hobby Lobby looking for small frames for a potential project. No dice on that front, but I did buy some fabric. I haven't been sewing lately, so I haven't been buying fabric. I have so much already that if I'm not using what I have I really shouldn't be adding more. However, I needed this fabric. I bought a half yard of an orange calico with black cats Halloween fabric that I'm either going to make something for Charlotte or Ashley from and a quarter yard of a Christmas patterned fabric which will be used for one of the male dolls for Christmas. I honestly could not pass that Christmas fabric up.

The pen is there for scale

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An Exciting update before work!

Hello Everyone!

Have to go back to work today. Working Sunday means I have an hour of signs to do before the store opens and since I'm commission and only get paid when I make sales it means I'm working for free... yay. And it's completely legal with how the system technically works, lucky me.

However I wanted to tell you all I got my grail doll! My top most wanted doll that I've been wanting for forever! I paid an arm and a leg for it, waaaaaaaay more than I've ever paid for a doll before and hopefully not a price I'll pay again any time soon. I'm still actually paying for it, I did the first giant chunk of it this morning after winning the auction followed by paying shipping and "handling" fee later. I hope it's not too bad, I already paid this company 44 bucks for the privilege of using their service.

I'm going to be a total meanie and not tell you what doll I got and make you all wait until it gets here for the introduction post. (Unless I get at least 5 comments on this post from people asking me to tell, since I seek power and validation from strangers on the internet regarding my hobby) It's going to be a long post since getting this doll was a real comedy of errors, but not comedy in the haha kind of way.

So excited for work, so dreading this doll!

Wait.... reverse those.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Talking about Saturday on Wednesday

My Saturday did not start off the best. I lost an auction for my top grail doll. While that was disappointing, I was not too bummed over it. I was going to be spending way, way, way more than I've ever paid for a doll before so it's not like I missed out on a deal. And while these dolls are fairly uncommon, but they're not impossible to find. I'm going to remain focused and keep checking for new listings. Maybe the next one will be mine! I will point out that being focused on one doll is actually good for me. I was bad at the end of July with my doll spending, but so far in August I have only bought one thing online, a tlc Barbie body that set me back 12 dollars including shipping. Compared to what I have been spending, that's so much better.

Even though I wasn't very upset the loss it did change part of my day. Last night I had decided on bringing two dolls to the meeting. I ended up bumping one of the dolls in favor of Joe. Even with not making him anything new for a long time I still wanted to bring him. I haven't been to one of these meetings since May and despite knowing everyone and with a job that I have to talk to strangers all day I still have anxiety for social situations so his familiar plastic face has a calming effect on me. I guess he's kind of like one of those service pets, but in doll form. I ended up sticking him in his most recent shirt, his old jeans, and some grey sneakers stolen from a One Direction doll. He also wore his glasses, now that I have more than one pair of doll glasses Joe has started wearing a pair all the time. He looks good in them, plus it helps cover up the fact that from years of play (and abuse) his eyebrows are mostly worn off. The other doll that I brought with me was Italian Barbie wearing Entrepreneur Barbie's dress. While I really like her, she's not as much of a doll I want to brag about so I don't mind if she's doesn't get a lot of attention.

Of course I made a few stops along the way. Up first was the flea market. I rarely go but it's coming to the end of summer and I figured why not? We were a bit early, so there weren't too many people there. There really were not many Barbie dolls at all. I did see an Action Man wearing a sleeveless hooded sweatshirt that could have worked for Joe, but he was unpriced and quite honestly, I could probably make one if I wanted it badly enough so I didn't bother asking the price. Shortly before we left I was looking at a different table with unpriced dolls when the seller came over and told me the prices. I ended up buying a Maddie Mod doll and a Mattel hero from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame doll whose name I can't remember for a quarter each. They'll both will be resold. I just bought Maddie since I've never had one and for a quarter might be interesting to see what she's like. Neither of them came in their original outfits but that's fine. They did come with clothes, some of which I might be using. We also stopped at the thrift stores, the PTA thrift store was a bust. I did find some doll clothes at the other one though. I found a Christmas baby dress that was in the doll clothes bin, I plan on using it for fabric, a Monster High Frankie as Cinderella dress (I looked for the matching doll, but no dice), and a green with pink flower jacket from a Best Buy outfit. They cost a dollar altogether. We were a little early to the meeting, so we stopped at a bookstore that was across the way. I just wandered around looking at everything since I don't need any more books but it was nice being in a book store. I did find a book for my mother based off a BBC show she watches. So that was kind of neat.

I got there a few minutes early but pretty much everyone was there already. I think when I got there we were just waiting for two more people to arrive. The majority of the club was there that day, I think we were just missing two people, but I'm not sure if one of those people is still part of the club. Some drama went down between them and another member. I'm curious to know what's going on, but I'm staying as far away as I can get. I like the doll club and everyone in it, but I am not here for drama. If I ever have to choose between the club and my love of Barbie, Barbie wins every time. We started off with some chit chat. Talking about how things are going and such. I really wasn't that chatty. Quite honestly I just don't have that much going on that's interesting to share. After the general chit chat was over we broke for snacks. After that it was time to talk about convention. Sounds like for the most part people had a good time, it was a good convention. People were showing off what they bought, the host of the meeting bought a MIB Barbie gift set for over 2,000 dollars! Which is a lot of money, but for what it was it seemed like a deal. I mean, it's way out of my price range, but if I saw that listed on E-bay I'd guess it would be listed for a bit more than that. People also showed off their items they bought in room sales and everything. Lots of interesting things, of course all of the hand made pieces I examined to see how they were constructed. I spent most of the meeting listening, which is what I expected. The dolls I brought didn't get that much attention, which again I expected. I even got a souvenir from convention! Theresa gave me a Barbie bag they had gotten. She's so sweet, I'm going to have to think of something to do to thank her. Someone also gave me a cute pattern they had gotten in the convention packet. It's for a pair of Ken "Romeo" pants and I believe a "Juliet" style dress. I'm going to have to do some research into how it all goes together since there's no directions on the paper. It's so sweet they thought enough to think of me to give it to me.

The meeting started at one. I planned on leaving at 3:30, which was the perfect time. I was the first one to leave, but the majority of the people were packing up by then. I don't like being the first person to leave, but I certainly don't want to be the last. After that my family (sans my brother) went to my sister's house. We had a late lunch and chatted. We ended up playing a new card game she had gotten "Exploding Kittens". It was fun. We played two games, Jesse won one and I won the other one. I liked the game, but I think we have more fun when we play other games. I prefer the games we play where we end up laughing most of the time instead of playing to win.

Overall, I did have fun at the meeting. I didn't do much talking but this meeting wasn't anything I could contribute to. I didn't go to convention so I really couldn't talk about convention. I am glad I went, it was nice getting out of my head and just doing something fun for the sake of having fun. Not to get too serious but I haven't been in a great place lately so it was good just getting out and take a break from it all. Sadly, this meeting did nothing to deter me from going to a convention at some point. Right now it's not a good time for me financially but maybe in the future I'll go. But if I did go, I'd want to start planning early. I'd be sewing a lot more and do room sales. I'd just have to think about pricing. I'd want to do simple pieces so that there's less to mess up on, but I'd want to price them so I'm getting a fair amount of money for my work but not over charging people. I have years and years to think about that.  

Friday, August 14, 2015


Tomorrow is the next doll meeting. 

It's the first one after the Barbie Convention so it's the meeting where people are going to talk about their experiences and show off their new finds from convention. I specifically took the date off from work a month ago so I could go. I'm usually pretty blase about going to Barbie Convention all year long but when it comes up and so many people I follow on Flickr and are Facebook friends with start sharing all their pictures and about how much fun they're having it makes me yearn to go. Usually this feeling doesn't last long especially when people start talking about all the issues that happened at convention and start sharing the prices of their "deals". I freely admit that I'm a total cheapskate but when people are talking about their deals and listing numbers that are way out of my price range I realize that convention is still too expensive for me to think about at this time. Lots of times the dolls I've bought online are considerably cheaper than their convention deal counterparts. But I'd still like to go one year just so I can have the experience of it.

Since I'm going to the meeting and it's been months since I've gone I would like to bring a doll with me, the issue being who. I have several new dolls that I would like to show off but the issue is this meeting really isn't about me. It's about the experiences that people had at convention so I don't want to bring a special new doll to just have them get pushed to the sidelines while people are showing off their new dolls. My dolls don't deserve that treatment! I thought about bringing Joe (my standard fallback since Charlotte doesn't leave the house), but he doesn't have anything new to wear since I haven't sewn anything for anybody in months. I've been wracking my brain trying to think of a solution to this.

Sad thing is, once I pick someone I'll spend a lot of time picking out what they should wear tearing apart my room in the process. Meanwhile for me I'll be wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and same old ratty shoes I've had forever. My clothes are just so boring!

Friday, July 31, 2015

I can't think of any cute Frozen puns for the title....

The other day in order to qualify for free shipping over at Shop Mattel I bought "Seasonal Sweets Cinderella". She was 9.99 before tax. I picked her because she came with a cute snowflake headband that I'm swiping for Charlotte. However I wanted to let people know about her shoes. They are made from a semi translucent blue plastic, the plastic is a little soft which causes the thin heel to warp, but they look good from the front. The shoes have a large snowflake design in front with two smaller snowflakes beside it.The reason why I'm telling you this is because they would work wonderfully for an Elsa doll, especially since Disney loves giving her basic flats. They do have to bend a little in the front, but they be worn by the Disney dolls with the articulated ankles. Like I said I got mine from the Mattel store, but I saw several of them on E-bay for pretty much the same price.

And for the doll, she's okay. Don't love this face mold of Cinderella, but her hair's cute. I'm not keeping her, she'll be donated for the doll donation project. Interesting note, she has the same molded on underwear as most of the newer Barbie dolls, but without the molded in Barbie head pattern, she apparently wears plain underwear!

The dress is awful. Bad color choices, cheap fabric, and a terrible fit. At least the headband's nice.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Familiar Faces in Familiar Places

So despite  my best efforts I once again managed to buy another doll, to the surprise of nobody. I was bored and poking around E-bay under the new listings and found a doll that was simply listed as Barbie. However she wasn't any Barbie. She was the 1979 Italy Dolls of the World Barbie.

Now I already own and have talked about this doll, what makes her special is that she that uses a different head mold that was only used one other time before Mattel stopped using it completely. I already bought one a few years ago but that one is in such great shape I feel bad doing anything with it beyond posing it. This one was a bit more played with so I felt I could enjoy it more. It was listed as a buy it now but with the make an offer option. I made an offer of 20 plus shipping, it was originally 27 plus shipping. My offer was accepted so I paid 26 and change for her in total, so it was like I got free shipping.

After I bought her and paid for her I looked up the completed listings for this doll, either she's come down a lot in price or I've overestimated what she was worth. I saw several dolls in better condition than mine selling for not much more than what I paid for. It's one of those live and learn moment. So if anyone is interested in getting this doll apparently now's the right time to do it since apparently she's not selling for very much.

Since I paid so much for shipping it meant she came priority and also luckily the seller was quick to get her into the mail so I wasn't stuck twiddling my thumbs waiting for her to arrive.

I was pleased to see that she arrived in a large, but not too large box. Now that I've been selling on E-bay boxes of various sizes are like gold to me. The majority of what I sell does fit in padded envelopes but I do have a lot that need to be shipped in boxes and you'll never know when you'll need a box of a certain size so I've been collecting them up whenever I find them.

She didn't come wearing any part of her original outfit. She came wearing the one piece pants and dickie to Wedding Todd's original outfit from the 80's. It's in played with condition, but not too badly. There's some light fraying to the ruffle in front and it does have a spot on the shirt that I'll have to try to get out. I'm hoping that won't be too hard to do. It was missing the closure piece in the back of the neck. I'm not surprised about that, it's literally a plastic ball that once it slips out of place is really easy to lose. I'm hoping to replace it with a snap if I can get it to stay in the vinyl collar. When she arrived the collar was held closed (and prevented a wardrobe malfunction) by a grimy bronze colored safety pin (which will be heading into the trash after I post this blog, I don't need tetanus). Right now my plans for this outfit is to I'm going to try to wash and repair it, then donate it to the doll donation group. I don't have the matching jacket for it, but maybe someone will find something it can work with so a doll can be dressed in it. Or maybe someone will want it and swap another item out for it. All I know is that I don't have a use for it.
Hi, I'm Sammy SafetyPin! Would you like lockjaw?

On to the doll herself. She's in nice played with condition. Her face paint is good shape. The only issue she has is a white line under her right eye. It looks like it happened at the factory after they had finished painting her eyes. It's not a huge issue, but I wish I could cover it up, it's a bit distracting. I know that I'm not skilled enough to do any type of paint touch up, so she will live with it. The biggest issue with her and the one that wasn't disclosed to me was that she's had some of her hair cut. The top layer of hair, the one that's coming from her part is only about an inch and a half long. It's annoying that I wasn't told about this but when she came her hair was a mess so it's not like the seller actively hid this from me. Since she's more for play it's not too big of an issue since it's still long enough too do some hair styles with.

Her body is in really nice shape, the only issues with it are some light scuffing on the right thumb
molding seam (this will be easy to remove) and some light scraping to the torso here and there. This doll really did not get much play. She even came with her original Superstar ring! I will be removing this and putting in the jewelry bag with the rest of my Superstar Jewelry.

As you can see she and her body are no longer together. Shortly after she arrived she got upgraded to a Fashionista Body. Her coloring is a bit odd, she's way too dark for the average Fashionista so I ended up putting her on the first wave Artsy body. Her skin tone has a bit more of a reddish undertone, but it's most likely the best match I'll get. I even have possible plans for her original body. I've been wanting to make a Hawaiian Superstar since I doubt I'll ever get one so I'm hoping this body will be a good base for one. Now I just need to get a Superstar head to dye to the correct color and re-root with black hair.

At least no part of her gets wasted! 

Except for that nasty safety pin....

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mostly all about ME! (but honestly, when is it not???)

Hello Dear Readers,

Life's been a bit crazy lately. I got a terrible sinus infection late last week that I've been struggling through as well as I could, then on last Monday I got a migraine at work. I was literally helping a customer at the register and kept having to adjust the screen because my eyes were too blurry to see the numbers. I ended up having to go home early. Luckily I did decide to go home because it was a very quick down hill slope from there. When waiting for my ride I almost passed out. Luckily I made it home without doing that and was able to fall asleep for several hours through the worst of it. I felt pretty lousy the next day. Usually after having a migraine the next few days my head is very sore and sensitive. Traditionally I take the next few days easy, but this time I could not, I had to work. I thought about calling out but I dragged myself in. A lousy job is even worse when you're not feeling well.  

Even after two days of full work shifts I couldn't rest. Yesterday I had to go up to Raleigh for some work training. It was a long day (I had to be there by 9 so I had to get up at 5) and at some times very stressful. I did learn a lot, but there are a few things that I was told or that I gleaned that I just don't feel comfortable with from a personal ethics standpoint. I really don't think this job is the best choice for me. I'm sticking it out for now, but pretty soon I think we'll be parting ways.

Luckily I have today off which is great since my room is a total mess. Being busy with work and very sick zapped all energy I had to do anything. I'm hoping today to work on it some and try to get some sort of handle on the situation. I have worked on it a bit already but work goes slow since I'm still sickly and tired. I'm going to do what I can but not push myself since I do need to take it easy so I will get better and not overdo it.

This blog post will not just be an update about me, but also about Artemis. You may remember that I bought some of the first issue Divergent Tris dolls for ten dollars from I bought them because they were almost as articulated as the first wave Fashionista dolls but in a lighter skin tone. I have a few dolls that could use a body like that, most importantly Artemis. I know that I said I was going to give one to my Disney Giselle doll but after getting them I decided that for the amount of time she's on display (she's literally in a box right now) I can wait until later to decide if she really needs articulation. So I ended up just taking one doll out of the box, I bought three, the other ones ended up in the closet as spares. They joined the two Sinatra Barbie dolls and the two Cheerleader Ken dolls. I'm amassing quite the collection of MIB articulated dolls waiting for heads!

The first thing I did after removing the doll from her box was remove her clothes. Surprisingly her pants and top are separate pieces. I wouldn't put it past Mattel to just give her a jumpsuit to make construction slightly cheaper. She also very quickly lost her head. Interesting to note that her head doesn't have glue in it. Meanwhile my collector Audrey Hepburn doll came with a head chock full of the greasy junk ....*grrrr*.

The head and clothes have gotten bagged and are due for Ebay any day now. I quickly trimmed down the posts on the neck knob and put Artemis' head on it, after checking to make sure it was a decent color match. It's not a perfect match, but it's actually closer than the body she was on before. Artemis is a Silkstone so while her face is a light color, it has more of a pink undertone than this new body. However it's close enough for me. When mixing and matching different lines and eras an exact match will be difficult to get. Besides there are plenty of dolls that come out of the factory with different colored heads and bodies since they're made out of different materials.

I like Artemis on this new body. She did have articulated legs before, but this is the first time she's had articulated arms with the wrist joint. I really like wrist joints, it allows a great deal of personality in posing. I did remove the black bird tattoo the body come with on the upper left of the torso. I lightly buffed it off with low grit sand paper. I still need to give it another go, there's still faint black smudges in spots but I just didn't want to be too aggressive with it and damage the doll.

One final things to comment on; the lower legs on these dolls aren't made from hard plastic like the Fashionista's are. It's the same type of plastic that they use for certain Ken arms. It's hard to describe, but it's a type of hard plastic, but doesn't feel as durable as the regular hard plastic. I do worry about this since Ken arms are more prone to scuffing and showing wear. And since I'm letting out all my fears about the legs I will also state that I'm concerned about how they'll age. If dealing with the 70's era dolls has taught me anything it's that two different types of materials touching doesn't always work out in the long run.

But hopefully we'll have lots of fun together before anything like that happens!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Barbie Moonlight Halloween 2015 Doll Review

I almost called this post "Halloween in July", but decided to go for a more straight forward title.

 On Friday I bought the newly released 2015 Halloween Barbie doll off of Amazon. Thanks to Amazon Prime, she arrived in two days, on a Sunday (that Sunday delivery is so cool and so weird). I'll be doing a review of her and her unboxing here on the blog. Not sure if that's going to be of any interest to anyone, but if they prove to be popular I'd be willing to continue for the few new dolls I do buy throughout the year.

Anyway, the play line 2015 Halloween doll is called "Moonlight Halloween". I paid 11.99 for her before tax on Amazon with free prime shipping. Her listing can be found here. I'm sure in time she'll be found in regular retail stores once we get closer to Halloween.

Her box is pretty traditional. She comes in a mostly cardboard box with a clear plastic window so you can see in. This reminds me of the boxes of my childhood compared to the clear plastic boxes with cardboard backers I've been seeing lately. However with this box, the cardboard is a lot flimsier. This feels more like.... knock off Barbie quality. It's just so thin and easily bent. On the front is the image of a white cat with a witch's hat on standing on a ramshackle wooden fence. Oddly enough the fence appears to be put together using screws. Looking at the fence construction (because you really need to know these details) it looks like the boards are inset compared to a traditional fence. How odd that the fence builder put all that effort into making a decent quality fence, but used sub-par boards. Hopefully that isn't an allegory for anything.

The left side of the box features the cat again in closeup. She is now sitting on the
pointed tops of the fence posts. However the stock art was just stuck on top of the fence art so she's just floating on it. There's no way a cat could sit like that on a fence like that. Behind her there is a sparking walkway leading up to a slightly creepy Addam's Family style house. (Don't follow the sparkles Barbie, it's a trap!) The despite it's cliche scary architecture the house looks like it's been kept in good shape. I did just notice that it doesn't have a front door. What kind of  house doesn't have a door? There seems to be a pink mist emanating from the door. Behind the house there's a full moon with some heavily stylized bats flying around. On the right side of the box there's another image of the fence post. I'm not sure if this is a repeat of the one on the other side. The sparking pathway, the house, the moon, and the bats images are all repeated on this side of the box. There's also a large pink vertical Barbie logo covering up most of the pathway. In case you didn't know who this doll was.

On the back of the box we are treated to a maze activity. We are told to help "Blissa" (the white cat apparently) find the house and so she can trick or treat. Interestingly Blissa's name is typed out with one cursive s and one non-cursive s. The majority of images on the back are repeated from elsewhere on the box. We have the same image of the cat from the front, the same image of the house from the sides, the same moon, the same Barbie logo, and the same bats just arranged differently. We now have a pink cobblestone walkway maze and the house now has a spooky tree behind it. The tree is actually bigger than the house! There's also some some tomb stones here and there among the maze. These people's walkways is through a cemetery?!? I don't know about you but no candy is worth traipsing through a cemetery in my opinion. (Unless it's peanut butter cups, then we'll talk). The maze is super easy. I know it's for kids, but there's only 4 pathways and two of them lead to the house, you literally have a 50 percent chance of getting it right by just guessing the way to go.

The box is easy to open. Two pieces of tape on top and a cardboard tab is all
that was in the way of me getting her out of the box. She comes attached to a cardboard liner. The liner once again makes use of the house, pathway, moon, and bats images. The bottom of my liner came pretty warped. It's really not a big deal since it's going to be tossed. The doll is attached to the liner at the head (three plastic tags), hair (by a clear elastic), upper right arm, waist, and one foot (clear plastic t straps). Using scissors she was pretty easy to debox. In good news her dress wasn't stapled down anywhere using those terrible small plastic tags. I hate those and how they damage the clothes no matter how careful you are removing them.

The Barbie doll in this set is pretty basic. She uses the new Barbie face mold and has light blue eyes
and medium pink lips. She has some of the worst blush I've ever seen on a doll. It's faint but it looks like someone just took the brush and plopped it on her cheeks. It's almost like how clowns do their makeup. I'd rather she didn't have any blush than these odd shiny circles the color of watered down blood on her cheeks. Not sure why they even bothered. She was made in Indonesia so I'll bet she has glue in her head, but her head isn't actually as stiff as some other dolls I have gotten. Her hair is straight with a side part. It's mostly blonde with a few purple streaks. Mine came with a few broken strands right out of the box. Her hair is really choppy. The hair in the back from the top of her head is really short, like if I hadn't removed her from the box myself I would have assumed some child had cut it. The majority of her hair reaches above the small of her back, but the shorter parts just reach above the back of her neck. I mean it's in the back so you really can't see it, but this is not very playable hair. If you look at the pictures you can see that my doll has her head pointed upwards. This is permanent. I can't get the doll to look down. I took of her head and she has the solid neck knob Mattel gives their cheaper dolls. I guess Mattel doesn't want Barbie to look any direction other than up. In my opinion that really limits playability.

Barbie's body is very limited. She has the belly button torso with
molded on underwear and has the modern palm to rear arms that just move back and forth. Her legs are hard plastic (do they even make rubber legs any more?) and are on the ball joint at the hips so that they can't move that far apart. The legs are very tight and hard to move. The legs on mine are prone to have the legs crossed with the right leg behind the left leg. You can move the doll's legs out of this position, but very quickly it reverts itself back to it. My doll also came with a gouge to her torso on her left side, near her rib cage. This happened at the factory since the dress and box were both undamaged. This doll reminds me a lot of the beach dolls I bought last year, except that the beach dolls had arms that could pivot. How come a 5 dollar doll has better articulation than a 12 dollar doll?

For Halloween this year Barbie has a cat theme going on. I'm not saying
she's a cat because despite her cat ear headband, her outfit isn't really a cat costume. Made from a shiny synthetic fabric her dress features a sweetheart bodice with pleated tulle shoulder straps. It has a faux fake corset in black with a fake ribbon tie front. The purple fabric that make up the bodice and the skirt has an images of black cats, black cat heads, and black sparkles. I love the cat, it reminds me of Gigi from "Kiki's Delivery Service". The dress closes in the back with Velcro. In typical Mattel fashion only the front is made from the nice fabrics, the back is just plain purple fabric. At least it seems to be the same fabric as the purple in the front, just without the pattern printed on. This dress is so cute, it's the main reason why I bought this doll in the first place. Mine does have a few sewing errors (the worst being the top point of the corset is off center), but I am willing to overlook them. I like how the dress has enough whimsy to be cute, but not so cute it gets too juvenile.

The outfit has three accessories that the doll comes wearing; the headband, the necklace, and the shoes. The headband is adorable. Made of matte black plastic it has little cat ears on it. The band on it is surprisingly thick, but I guess they had to do that to accommodate the cat ears since
they themselves are rather thick. At least like that you know they'll be a little sturdier. The cat ears do fit older dolls with smaller heads, it will just be a little loose on them. It does have a little bit of give to it, so it should also fit dolls with larger heads. I would just be careful about leaving it on them too long in case it warps the plastic. I will say that my pair came with little bit of excess plastic on them on the inside that wasn't trimmed off at the factory and it was sharp. Not sharp enough to cut you, but if you touched it it definitely hurt. I was able to easily trim it off with an Exacto knife, but anyone reading this review is getting this doll for their kids you might want to check the headband first for any issues. Even if you don't have an Exacto knife a nail file would at least work to dull the sharp part. The doll's necklace is also molded in same black plastic. It features a design of two strands of pearls with jewels randomly placed on it with two hanging pieces from the largest jewel. It kind of looks like it's dripping. It has no painted details. It feels really familiar to me so I think I've seen it before on another doll, perhaps in silver? I could be wrong it just feels like I've seen it before. Her shoes are made out of the same type of plastic. They are high heeled, opened toed, slightly platformed, gladiator style shoes. They feature molded in studs on the strap and what appears to be a zipper in the front. They also have no painted details. They have a slit down the back so it's easier to put them on and take them off the doll.   

Other than what she's wearing Barbie came with one accessory, a cardboard broom. Even though
she's clearly a cat, for some reason this doll is getting labeled as a witch. Even the product description refers to her as a witch and specifically mentions her witch's hat, even though there is no hat only the cat ears. The broom is rather disappointing. It's made out of a thicker cardboard than the box, but mine already came bent on the end and in the center straight out of the box. It has a pink handle and pink sparkles on the bristles. It's really nothing special and really should have been omitted. Even if it had come not broken it's not going to stand up to any real play. I am slightly impressed with how tall it is, but it's actually too tall for the doll. It's way too tall for any real broom (without her shoes on it reaches the same height as the doll's eyes) and it's way too long for her when she's riding it. And with the super pink handle it looks like the doll is riding on a pink light saber instead of a broom. This accessory is really a waste of cardboard.

So that's all that came with the Barbie Moonlight Halloween doll. This doll is a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. I am impressed with her clothes and plastic accessories. The dress is really cute and pretty decently made. It's a nice blend of cute and sassy but still child friendly. It's been a while since I found a Barbie doll that I had to have the dress from, usually I just steal their shoes. I am also impressed by her cat ears. Even though they are cat ears I can see them being fun for other outfits, pretending a doll is an animal or just an accessory for another outfit. The doll itself is where my disappointment lies. Her static body and chopped up hair really doesn't lend itself to getting played with. She's hardly going to be a kid's favorite doll since she's so limited as to what she can do. Yes she does have purple streaks in her hair but that's all she's got going for her. For not much more you could get the Director Barbie and that doll comes with arms that pivot at the shoulders, articulated knees and ankles, a full outfit, sunglasses, and two pairs of shoes. And her hair won't be as hacked up. I'd say that I'd be more comfortable paying 9.99 for this doll, mainly because I love the dress. However I'd much rather have Mattel sold just the outfit and didn't bother with the doll. But that's not how things goes, is it?