Friday, February 26, 2016

Suuuuuuper Tempting (Articulated Male Body)

I need to be shopping like I need another hole in my head. However I woke up today feeling tired and lousy so I've spent the day loafing about. One of the loafing about activities including looking for the Disney Store Flutter Rosetta doll. This is one of the dolls that is wearing the flat shoes I've been obsessed with getting. The only reason why I don't already have her is because she wasn't released in the United States. I don't understand why but for some reason Disney only released her in foreign markets. They released all of the other Flutter dolls they produced here, just not Rosetta. So she was hard to find and when you could find her she was expensive and shipping was a nightmare. I refused to pay that much for her since she was only a play line doll and shouldn't cost too much more than the other dolls in that line, so I never ended up getting her. I was holding out hope they would release the doll on the US site, but apparently it's not meant to be. They've actually stopped selling the Rosetta doll on the UK site and have stopped selling all dolls but the Tinkerbell doll on the US site. It's shame since all the dolls use the same head and body molds they could easily finish out the line (Silvermist and Iradessa never got any dolls in this line) so a child could have their favorite doll from the series.

Anyway, this post is not actually about Rosetta, or even Disney (I never actually ended up finding the doll anyway, not even at a higher price than retail). That search continues.

I was over on Aliexpress with the hopes of finding her shoes separately or with an outfit. There have been times where I have found different colors of that shoe being sold in a Chinese made outfit, it's why I have a purple pair. No luck on finding a red pair, but I did find something interesting.

An articulated male doll body with removable feet and hands. I'm not sure where the torso originated from. The molded on underwear looks a lot like the Fashionista Ken ones, but they don't have waist articulation or nipples. I do know that the hands and feet are from the pivotal Ken bodies. I don't know if those bodies the hands and feet are removable, I don't think they are. The arms and legs could be pivotal Ken's as well, but I can't say for sure.

I am very tempted by this doll for two reasons. First of all it looks like the body could work for the Disney Prince dolls. Those dolls use the neck knob body system to keep their head on, so these bodies should fit those heads without any issues. I have several Disney Prince dolls and while I like the heads, I hate how static their bodies are. I could live with internal rubber knees, but I would love wrist articulation. I adore wrist articulation, it really make a body so much more expressive. I also am curious about this body for Generation Girl Blaine. He is on his original 2000's era Ken body (which is less articulated than the Disney Prince dolls). He has a knob on his head that fits into the body, but I'm wondering if I could cut off the neck knob on the body and sand the opening wide enough to fit his head. I would love to get him some articulation. He's the last of my play dolls on his original static body. I don't want to modify the head any since if I messed that up I'd ruin the doll, I'm much more comfortable wrecking a body than the head.

I haven't bit the bullet and bought any bodies yet, but I am super duper tempted. Has anyone bought these bodies yet or know anyone that has? I'm curious about the quality.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The end of the Dynamite Girls?

I got an email the other day from a doll dealer I had purchased from in the past. It was a generic "look at what's new!" email. I haven't bought anything from them in a while but I like getting emails from them since lots of time those emails will be the first place I'll see some dolls. This mainly applies to Integrity dolls since I don't have any real resources to see what's on the horizon. This last email was showing off their new releases of the Color Infusion line.
I did check out all the dolls and they are interesting. The line has two men and three women dressed in what I would consider club clothes. I liked one of the male dolls the best, but I balked at 110 dollar price tag and decided that even though I liked him, I'd be much better served waiting for the Dynamite Girls line. However I've heard rumor that this new line will actually be replacing the Dynamite Girl. I am saddened if this proves true because I was really hoping for new Dynamite Girls dolls to be released this year. Now that I'm working they were a good (when found at retail) opportunity to purchase an Integrity doll at a decent price. I was hoping for new releases last year, but they didn't have any new dolls. I was hoping they'd be back this year, but I guess they might not be back at all. Which is very disappointing. Even though the Dynamite Girls sold out extremely quickly and the prices have been jumping up each year, it's still sad to see a line end that still had so much potential. I guess Integrity would rather drop the line and create a new line that doesn't have the "budget" connotations of Dynamite Girls.

I freely admit that I don't know much about Integrity dolls. I know a few people who collect them and I personally only dabble in them (mostly in their male dolls). Now are the Color Infusion lines popular enough to replace the Dynamite Girl line? I know they sell Color Infusion at convention because whenever convention is over they flood the secondary market. And a great deal of them just sit there. Out of all the lines I see from Integrity, Color Infusion seems to be the one that doesn't rise in value. The men seem to sell better than the women, but they use the same bodies at the regular homme dolls. The women use the same bodies as the Jem line and the Katy Keene line, and neither of those lines have really set the world on fire. I personally feel one of the issues with the Color Infusion line is the bodies. I've only seen one of them in person and I was surprised with how big their feet and hands were. I didn't have Joe on me at the time, but I'm pretty sure their hands and feet were extremely close in size. I think if they had a different body that was easier to share shoes with what's already out there, they'd be more popular.

Do you dear reader think that the Dynamite Girls run is over and Color Infusion is their replacement?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Online Dolls DO Count

February has been an expensive month, and I just cannot stop spending! 

I really, really, really need to curb my spending. I have been better the past few weeks, but I should still be better than that. This story is a few weeks old but after I found out my work hours were being slashed so I really have no excuse.

I was checking out the new listings on my arch-nemesis, E-bay. When bored I scope out the new listings and usually can walk away after a few pages finding nothing I want. However this time I found something I wanted (Gosh, how many times have I written that exact statement? I really should just say "I was on E-bay..." and you all can fill in the rest).

Anyway, I found a listing for an American Girl. For some reason American Girls are one of my favorite vintage dolls. I can pass by even Ponytails at decent prices, but American Girls I will always want MORE. Which is weird since one of the reasons why I don't like Bubblecuts is because their hair is too short, but American Girl's hair is really not that much longer....

So this new doll had been listed as a possible prototype Bubblecut (say that three times fast), but I knew she was a short haired American Girl who needed some light hair styling. I found out after she arrived that she's the first release with the shorter hair and without any Made in Japan markings. I ended up snatching her up at 64.99 with free shipping. Yes, it's a lot of money for my usual expenses but even American Girl heads get listed for more than that so I decided to jump on it.

She's mostly in good shape, well she's from good shape from the waist up. She has the course blonde hair that just needed some light brushing to get it back into it's correct style. Her face paint is nice, she does have wear to her eyelash ridges and her right eyebrow is a little faded. Her lips are a pale coral color but are in the process of oxidizing to a buttercream color. Her torso is nice with minimal play wear. Right now she's not suffering from any cracking at the shoulders that some of the American Girl's get. Her arms are very nice with all her fingers and a lot of her original nail polish. Her legs are where her issues are. Her right leg is the better of the two. It's only issues are some deep chews from the calf down. It's a shame since it's a very nice leg without those issues. Why vintage child, why couldn't you keep your teeth to yourself!?!? Her left leg however.... mess. It also has chews, but it's broken at the knee and torn and hanging on by a small big of vinyl. I'm surprised the leg has held on this long.

She will be a very pretty doll with some work. Luckily I've been experimenting with bleaching Malibu Barbie legs and had some success so I'm feeling cocky that I'll be able to replace her legs and have a really pretty doll. The only thing I don't like about the Malibu legs is that their hips and smaller and I really like how wide the American Girl's hips are. It's very hourglass shaped which is lovely for their mid-60's fashion.

However I don't have any Malibu dolls to use for their legs right now, so I'll have to hunt for some. One more project added to the pile, but at least this doll's introductory post is finished! 

Dolls Found In Town Don't Count

So the other day I went into town with my father. Since we've both been working our jaunts into town have slowed down, but we still try to make the rounds every once in a while. That day we went out to hit up the thrift stores as well as a few other stops. It was pretty slim pickings, but I did manage to score an inexpensive small lot of modern doll clothes in it that I'm going to add to the doll donation swap out pile. So that was nice.

We were going to leave the downtown area and head to our next stop when the truck wouldn't start. (It's been doing this a lot, and I think it's a common issue but they still won't do a recall to fix it). Usually we just have to wait 10 minutes then try it again. Most of the time that works, but sometimes you'll have to wait beyond that. Since we were stuck waiting for the truck to "rest" for at least 10 minutes I suggested we go to one of the other shops on the strip. Might as well spend that time doing something fun instead of awkwardly waiting for the truck to finally decide to start.

I ended up picking to go to the last shop on the main stretch to visit. I haven't been there for a while, and out of the three stores on that block I have gotten some pretty good deals there (mainly being the 3.25 Happy Family Neighbor doll that I sold for 90 bucks on E-bay!). So we headed on over.

There wasn't a whole lot to see, this place doesn't have a huge amount of turn around so most of what was there had been there the last time I had been, but sometimes you do strike gold. I was almost done wondering the first floor before heading upstairs when in a case I spotted a Skipper box. I immediately drew in closer. The box was in the back behind some overpriced 70's era boy's toys. I could see the edge of the price tag, but couldn't see anything that was written on it. (I HATE when something is in a case and I can't see the price). I went around to the back of the case and tried to peer down through the glass top to see if I could read the tag. I still couldn't. I thought about asking the price, but I knew from previous experience and from what I could see the prices on, that seller tended to be on the higher end of pricing. Then I noticed that the back of the case was opened and it didn't even have a lock. It just had a sign saying they were watching us. *Eyes dart around suspiciously* I gingerly opened the case to look at the price sticker, I was slow in case I wasn't supposed to be doing that and was going to get yelled at (I just want to know how much it cost!). Pulling back the door finally revealed the price, 15 dollars! I was shocked and thought maybe it was just the box without the doll. I picked up the box and it certainly felt heavier than had it been empty. I gently pulled the lid off and there she was, a Titan Skipper, wearing a total hodgepodge of an outfit waiting for me to take her home. I brought her over to my father and made him verify the price was only 15 dollars (watch me miss a 0 and it be 150), but she wasn't and we paid our 15 dollars and got out of the store. I kept my poker face on until I got back to the car. I didn't want the check out person knowing how excited I was. I think they were also the seller since they made some comment to me about the doll (that was incorrect) but showed they had more knowledge of the item than the average person.

Oh, and the truck started right up after we got back and didn't give us any trouble the rest of the day.

The rest of the trip was uneventful other than trying desperately to keep Skipper's box safe. It's survived 50 years, it doesn't need me ruining it 50 seconds after owning it. We all made it home safely and I quickly removed her clothes and cleaned her up.

So let's talk about my 15 dollar buy! Like I said, Skipper came with her box. It is the original box with Skipper in her classic swimsuit standing in front of Barbie and Midge. I'm pretty sure Straight Leg Skipper had just one box. This one is marked 1963 and has pictures on the sides of her and Skooter showing the many additional outfits you could buy for her. The box is for a Redhead (stock number 0905) and seems to have 3.70 and some small mark I can't make out written in large faint black lettering (perhaps a price she was sold for?) on the bottom flap. She comes with her original box backing too, she's missing her liner though. The person who sold it to me taped the price sticker to the bottom of the box liner. I really wish people wouldn't do that. Even carefully removing it could cause damage. For someone who sells antiques they of all people should know that tape + paper = damage. The box top and bottom are in fairly nice shape. The bottom has one corner that's split, but the other three are good. The top doesn't have any splits and has minor to fair wear on it. Overall I think it's pretty good for a piece of card stock that doesn't usually last beyond when they first get it. Definitely a nice addition to my collection.

*Spoiler Alert*
When I got her Skipper's biggest issue was that she was dirty. I don't think she got played with too much but she did have 50 plus year of surface dirt on her. A quick wash and hair combing and she was back to looking lovely. She's one of the brighter carrot colored red heads and it's such a lovely shade of red, much brighter than vintage Midge's hair color. She has an extremely tiny rub to her lower lip but other than that her face paint is lovely. She could stand to get a little more in depth cleaning but overall she's just a wonderful doll. She alone is well worth 15 dollars in my opinion. Luckily she wasn't wearing her original swimsuit so she didn't get the red stains that so many Skipper dolls get. I do need to spend a little more time on her hair, her bangs tend to want to not lay as flat as they should.

When I found Skipper was was bundled up in several random pieces of clothing. She was like a nomad wearing everything she owned on her journey to me. It's an interesting blend of Mattel clothes, something I haven't identified yet, and poorly made home made pieces. I guess I'll start with her outermost layer and work my way down, kind of like a mummy. Perched on Skipper's head was a hat. It took me far too long to identify it, but it's actually the sleeping cap to Francie's "Tuckered Out (1966). It's missing the flowers on top, but still has the gingham bow. I actually have the nightgown that this bonnet belongs to. (However the buttons on the nightgown are warped). It's always amusing when I stumble across part of an outfit I already have part of. I so rarely buy Barbie clothes since I usually just want to buy the dolls. The next clothing piece I came across was something I have yet to identify. It reminds me
of a tutu. It was wrapped around Skipper's waist like a tutu. It's a band of pale pink fabric with a short skirt of silver with metallic threads woven in netting. The ends of it are unfinished with minor fraying. It does fit Skipper, it's just a very short skirt. I'm not sure where it's from. If it's home made, it's a lot nicer than the rest of the home made clothing she was wearing. Part of me feels like I've seen this before, but I just cannot place it. I put a picture of it on Flickr, so I'm hoping someone might be able to identify it. If anyone here know what it is, please let me know in the comments. Underneath that Skipper was wearing an apron. Made from a medium weight woven white cotton,
this apron is clearly hand made. It has no hems and the only stitching is on the waistband with large clunky stitches. However they did make the effort to close the ends of the ties at the waist. I assume a child made this, reminds me a lot of my early sewing projects. It's a bit discolored, but not terribly so. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with it. Under that Skipper had on a skirt, kind of. Made from a loosely woven yellow ... burlap?, Skipper had it gathered at her waist with a green rubber band. A rubber band that snapped on me when I was trying to take it off and I have
not seen it since. The skirt has been stapled in the back as well as the waist to create the shape of the skirt. I actually like this fabric and might see if I can salvage it and make a pencil skirt for Barbie. We shall see.

And finally Skipper was wearing the white short sleeve shirt from "School Days" (1964). It looks to be in really nice shape, except it's yellowed. Ironically only in the places that weren't covered by the yellow skirt, I guess I know the skirt fabric is not going to stain. I'd like to fix it, but I'm so bad at stain removal I'm sure I'd just mess it up. The clothing was really just a bonus since I would have bought the doll with or without them, still nice to get especially since I didn't have either of the Mattel pieces in my collection before this.

So now I have a new to me Skipper, and one with her original hair! The majority of the Skipper dolls I have I've had to re-root their hair. She's so lovely and I got her for such a great price. The only issue is where do I display her box? I want to make sure it's safe. I don't have very many boxes. I have one Barbie box and the box backing for Ken and Tammy. Any suggestions? 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Personal Ramblings, Minor Doll Chat

I found out the other day the Handcock Fabrics in my town is closing. The company declared bankruptcy and is closing several stores in North Carolina, our local store included. I'm not sure how long they would have lasted even if they hadn't closed for that reason. Whenever I'd go in there, it was pretty dead. I'd freely admit that I'd wander in during non-peak hours, usually before or after work or during my lunch break, but lots of times it was extremely quiet in there. I wonder if they would have done better if they didn't open a store at the mall and went with a standalone store instead. The local mall is extremely quiet (it really is a dying mall) and they might have had better luck if they had their own location instead of hoping being in the mall would bring in customers.

I will miss being able to wander through there when I had extra time at work. I did stop on Saturday after I found out it was closing. It made me very sad being in there. I didn't buy anything because everything was actually more expensive than before when they were not closing. Also I didn't need anything, I haven't had much time for crafting lately so I really don't need more fabric when I haven't touched any on the pieces I bought at that store a couple of weeks ago when they were having a really good sale. (My fabric spending has really been low lately, which is good since I have so much and so little time to sew).

But that might be changing soon, I might soon be out of a job. Things are not looking good where I work and our hours have been slashed. The company as a whole isn't doing well, and we are in the same dying mall as Handcock and we are at more of a disadvantage since we're at the back of the mall. The hours have been so stretched thin that lots of time there's one person covering two departments. Tomorrow they have nobody scheduled to work in my department and the other department has to cover the entire day, which is crazy. I've asked around and people do seem under the impression that they're trying to keep the store open, but I wonder if their extreme cutting of hours is actually going to end up killing the store. If one person is working two department there's going to be a fair number of sales we're going to end up losing just because we're only one person and can't do it all. This week I have one day at 5 hours, and I'm lucky. Out of my department of 4 people (we had 5, but Kelly left last week for a better job) only two people have hours, the full time person and me. Lots of people in the store don't have any hours. They keep talking about how March will be better and I hope so. Working like it is now is so stressful. They managed to make an unpleasant job even worse.

And while I don't love my job, there's things I do like about it (beyond the paycheck). The people I work with are mostly great people. They are dedicated and do the best they can for the customer. The problem is, the customer's are not there. We just don't get a lot of foot traffic and even when we do make a sale lots of times something will happen in the pipeline that ends with it getting cancelled. Something that's not our fault and even if we spend hours trying to fix it (which has happened) sometimes it still ends up costing us. The company as a whole really needs to rethink some things if they want to stay in business, well beyond our little store.

So I have a lot of free time this week. Lately I've been unproductive and just terrible at getting things done, however this week I've managed to be pretty productive. Yesterday I spent some time organizing some things and today I did even more. I got my bedside table all cleaned up and organized a ton of stuff around my work desk. I did a lot of small detail orientated work that I've been skipping. The desk is still a mess but is better than it's been in a while so I am making progress. I'm going to start job hunting in more seriousness this week too. Even if we don't close, if my hours remain this low it won't really be worth it working there.

I really need to cut back my spending. I've been so bad this month and we're only a little more than halfway through. I am going to try really hard on not spending any more. I've saved up a small chunk of change from working and I will NOT spend it on frivolous things when it's for me moving out and onto my own. So I will need to be better about my spending since I know there's a few splurges that I will want to do during the year. Specifically if there's any Dynamite Boys this year from Integrity and I know I'll be buying the new Disney dolls in June since I'm still addicted to the shoes they come with (hopefully they're still using them and they have new colors). I'll just need to curb my spending, focus on finding a new job, focus on E-bay sales, and focus.

One day at a time people, am I right?