Saturday, December 30, 2017

Out with the Old, In the with slightly less Old

Hello everyone,

After coming back for December I wanted to touch base before seemingly falling silent again. I enjoyed blogging and sharing those calendars with you all, but as you all could see lots of time I'd fall behind and would struggle to get caught up. I don't think I'm ready to commit to a lot of blogging, but I would like to be more active than last year. Right now I'm thinking about aiming for two blogs a month, one where I talk about what happened the previous month and a dolls only blog. I'm thinking where I do a doll review, a doll introduction, or just doll opinions. If for some reason you miss my unique voice in my habit of being 10 years behind trends I do have a Tumblr now and am much more active on it: A Bit of Aubrey's Mind Tumblr

But this post I also wanted to talk about my collection.
Right now my collection is in a bit of a change of focus.

I have a LOT of dolls and I'm at the point where I think I'm ready to scale back some and let a few go. I do plan on buying some still, but I want to be more focused on choosing what I buy and buy things I want instead of things I get a good deal on.

For a long time I've been very focused on vintage, but for right now I think I have enough. In all of December I bought one vintage doll and even before that my vintage buying had slowed down a lot. I have been purchasing a lot of newer modern dolls, but really scaled back on vintage. For the past couple of years I had a pretty big focus on Japanese exclusive dolls, and while there's still several I want to get honestly they are way out of my budget at this time. However I do want to focus some time on getting some European exclusive vintage dolls that are pretty high on my want list. Luckily Europe mostly got clothes which aren't of interest to me. Right now my biggest wants from Europe are the Hawaiian Superstar Barbie, German Francie, and Superstar faced Equestrian Barbie. There is also two dolls I am looking for that were Mattel made but produced in Europe. Those I've been on the hunt for but haven't found for sale yet. I know they do exist because I've seen examples of them online. If I do find them, I'll talk about them but I'm keeping quiet about the details since I think they're very uncommon and don't want to create competition for myself. Hawaiian Superstar and Francie are both going to be pretty expensive so I'm going to have to save up for those. That's part of my goal to focus, by not buying the 5 inexpensive dolls that I kind of want I can afford the 1 expensive doll that I really want.

I'm also getting more into South Korean fashion dolls. Someone on Tumblr posted some pictures of a couple and I've fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole. I am by no mean an expert, but from my research for play line fashion dolls there's two main ones in South Korea, Mimi and Jouju (or Juju as I've also seen). They are very similar to the Japanese fashion dolls I already have but they're different enough to want to add them to the collection. Mimi reminds me of a Jenny and Licca hybrid. She's an older teen like Jenny, but her face paint reminds me of Licca. There's a couple of Mimi dolls I like and have been doing research on. Jouju is very similar, but looks to be a cheaper doll. Her face paint looks more like decals and her hair seems thinner and a cheaper quality (it also might be nylon). I'd still like a couple of them to experience them in person. Would either of these dolls be of interest to people to see reviewed? Luckily there is a decent amount of these dolls available online. Information is hard to find, but I think the online prices are fair. It's around the retail prices with 10 dollars added in for international shipping. It seems expensive to me, but I guess the market is higher priced in South Korea than in the US.

There's also several Mattel dolls coming out that I want. Usually I just want dolls for their shoes or for their articulated bodies, this has not changed but there are a couple dolls I am looking for. I am still on the hunt for the newest Look doll, the sweater dress doll, but she's been sold out everywhere and I don't know if she's coming back to retail prices. I'm also looking for the boy from the Skipper babysitter line. Someone on Flickr did find him in their local Walmart but I don't think he's been widely released yet. I am also looking for the curvy Made to Move doll, but so far she's only been seen in Australia. I'm going to be buying a lot of Barbie clothes this year. I'm still on the hunt for the remaining Hello Kitty sets I haven't found yet. That line is going to be very expensive for me. I'm also looking at some of the not yet released Care Bear sets, and I know I will be buying every single Mario item that gets released. Part of me only wants to collect the things I know I'll use but I worry that once they stop getting produced they'll be much more expensive to get so I should get them all at retail prices while I can. 

I think I'm moving away from Silkstones again. After buying pretty much all of the 2016 line, I only bought four Silkstones in 2017 and two of those were older releases that I got super cheap. I do like the articulated bodies proportions, but the construction leaves much to be desired. Lots of times the joints are hard to move, or frozen and they are just so fragile. I have not broken one but I have seen some stress marks appearing on joints from limited posing. Also, I think I have enough of them. I think I have 20 of them and while I don't think I'm ready to start selling them, I do think that I'm ready to stop getting more. For a while they were dolls I used to replace vintage when I couldn't afford it, but now I have plenty of vintage so I think it's time to cut back on them. I do usually buy the "budget" Silkstone doll, but we'll see what happens this year.

I think I'm also going to be taking a break from Integrity. I cleaned up at their Holiday sale and got several dolls I wanted and several dolls that were cheap enough to justify getting. I usually only get the homme dolls so I think I have enough for now. I am getting the urge to get another Poppy Parker, but that's pretty low on the list. I do have a spare body (I might have two) so if I can't resist getting one I can at least just get her head.

I'm also going to try stop buying so many articulated dolls. For several years now I've been hoarding doll bodies and I think it's time to rethink how many I have compared to how many I'll actually use. It's good to have an assortment, but there's only so many I'll logically use, especially since the material they're made of will eventually start aging and break down. Like I said I am looking for the curvy made to move doll, but I'm going to try to cut back on buying new dolls just for their bodies. The majority of the dolls I have are on bodies I'm happy with. There's no need buying so many that I know I'll never use, even when I keep some for spares.

I know there's going to be some surprise purchases, some impulse buys, and some over shopping, but if I can at least try to keep things in order that would be great.

Here's to a new year, and a constant collection!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello and Welcome to Day 25 of our Christmas Calendar unboxing!

Just kidding those are both over and done with and the boxes are headed to the trash.

No, today was Christmas! I hope everyone had a great one! 
And I hope the people who don't celebrate had a great day too.

My Christmas was pretty low key, even more low key than when I usually say that. My sister and her husband spent Christmas in Florida with my Grandparents so my family held off on our big Christmas celebration until later in the week. Today we did a traditional Christmas dinner (we're doing a different meal with my sister since she's a vegetarian and her husband doesn't care for turkey, which is fine, more for me).

We also did one big present and one table present (which is a family tradition which I may or may have not explained on the blog). 

For the big present I gave my parents their wedding album, the album itself had seen better days so I replaced it with one that had acid free pages and I also digitized the album, which took forever! My brother got a very nice set of tools I bought the last day before my store closed. I paid nowhere near the retail price, but it was originally 200 dollars, and I got a very good deal for it.

My present was a very nice bundle of wooden dowels. I sometimes get the urge to try doll sized woodworking. I've gotten some supplies, some tools, and watched some tutorials, but never have the drive to finish what I start. I've kind of cooled on the idea of it since I have way too many projects to finish already, but it doesn't hurt to amass some supplies, as long as I keep it within reason. Maybe I will try it eventually.

We also spent some time watching some Christmas shows and movies together. In the late morning we watched two episodes of Bob's Burgers (which has become the show we all watch together when we do family dinners) and Arthur Christmas which was great. For dinner when we had leftovers we watched Olaf's Frozen Adventure together.

For my table present I got one of the Hello Kitty single packs. I had my mother wrap them (I will buy my own presents and pay for them, but I refuse to wrap my own presents) and had her pick one at random to give me today. I got the white tank top with the blue ruffle on the bottom. It's cute, but since it's supposed to also fit the curvy body it's extremely unfitted. That's the one I want to get a second one of and modify. I want to take off the ruffle and make it more fitted. However I'm not going to do that until I have another one to keep original. 

Overall it was a nice day, I did think the turkey came out a bit dry but that happens. I am looking forward to our bigger Christmas celebration, but this one was really nice. Sometimes it's good when you can just hang out together and be a family.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What's Behind Door #24? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Day 24 of our advent calendar unboxing!
Christmas Eve edition! 
I'm a little behind at the moment, I spent today finishing up all my wrapping (I got some done earlier, but still had a big chunk left to finish) and I also made the desserts for tomorrow. We're having cheesecake mousse and chocolate chip cookies. 

We find our day 24 door completely covered by the illustration of the Christmas tree. This calendar doesn't have a true center, but it's just to the right of the center. Today's door is double the size of the regular doors!

We open it to find...

a large chocolate Santa!

This chocolate is a lot more detailed than the previous ones, which supports my cobbled together molds from several sources theory.

And that is the finale of the chocolate calendar.

After finishing that up, I took it apart to see why the doors were so high for a lot of the chocolate. The clear plastic tray that houses the chocolate pieces is glued in several places to the box. Mine just got glued a little low. It didn't change the usefulness of the calendar, it was just a small cosmetic issue.

Barbie's door is on the first row over from the door with the doll on it. 
It's under the image of Barbie baking.

I also accidentally tore that door off too.  

Under that door we find....

some skis!

Made from that same silver/gray plastic these skis are a very realistic representation of the actual thing. They have a section in the middle for the ski boots to fit into. They fit snugly but not too tight. They will come off without too much effort but I think they'll stay on for average play. That does limit their use for dolls with larger feet (sorry Joe, no skiing for you). On both skis on the front and back there's some very pretty snowflake decorations. See Mattel, that's what I wanted on the ballerina outfit! 

Here's a very cropped picture of the entire outfit:

(Things are a bit of a mess and my usual photo taking section is not able to be used right now).

And that was the Barbie calendar. 
So was this set worth what I paid for? I say yes, but with a but. I got this calendar on sale for 15 dollars which I think definitely made it more worth it. Also I got to share it with you all, which again added to it's value. I think as a child I would have been a lot more impressed with the set compared to an adult. There were some really nice things in the set (the body suit, the tutu, the ice skates, and others), but there were lots of things that had construction issues or were slightly lazy choices for the set (the tiara, the doctor's jacket, the pink dress). I think I got my money's worth, but I don't know how much of this set will be used in my day to day collection. I've already moved a few things into the donate pile because I just don't see me using them ever. I think it's cute and if I got another decent price I think I'd buy another one, but I don't think this is the *best advent calendar ever*.

Thanks for joining me!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

What's Behind Door #23? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello everyone, and welcome to day 23 of our advent calendar unboxing!

I went to Walmart yesterday to pick up a present I had shipped to the store. I also had to get the yearly Gamestop subscription for my brother in law (Gamestop is in the Walmart plaza) and get the final present on my list. Since I was already there, I visited the toy department and found the Hello Kitty solo packs!  I also found two of the full sets, so I'm still on the hunt for the rest of them. They had them on an in isle display, the full sets were on the middle shelf, and the solo sets were on the bottom shelf. You better believe I dug through all of them to make sure I got one of every one they had! I also found and bought the floral dress Skipper Babysitter doll. I wanted to see if her dress fit Momoko. It does, the sleeves a tiny bit too short, the bust fits great, but the waist is pretty big on her. So it fits, but it's not super fitted. I think looser outfits would look nice on Momoko. I did not try the shoes on since they're ankle boots and Momoko has extremely fragile ankles. The Hello Kitty sets are going to be my Christmas presents, so I didn't get a lot of time looking at them. I'm just glad I found them, I was beginning to think I'd never see them! I think there's three more full sets to hunt down, then I can relax until the next series is released (which I think is Care Bears).

Moving on, we find our day 23 chocolate door on the far right on the calendar. It's just between a two windows where once again a creepy pair of dot eyed children stare at us.
Here you can really see the odd shape of that boy's head.

Peeling back the door we find....

please don't let that be what I think it looks like...

Oh it's a tree! (Ohthankgoodness)
It's a very short little squat tree with what might be some decorations molded in. The illustration has candles and ball ornaments, but the chocolate itself looks to have maybe some oversized balls in a couple of places, or else it's just some minor imperfections in the molding.

Our Barbie door is on the right side, second row in, second from the bottom.
Right on Barbie's bottom 
(I said I'd make no jokes about the placement, but I just had to crack at least one).

I'm incorrigible.

Behind the door we find....

a helmet!

Made from a very pretty light lavender color this helmet is very soft and squishy. I wonder if it's silicone? I feel like I've seen (and most likely owned) this same helmet before but in a different color. Part of me wants to question the safety of a helmet with so many holes, but I think it's based off a real helmet (it's been a long time since I've done anything that needed a helmet). It's cute, it's safety conscious, and it's a helmet. It doesn't fit super tight on Barbie's head, but I don't think it really needs to be. If it was too tight, it might be pretty hard to get off and the strap might break.

Let's see what we get for our last day! (Although based on what we're missing I have an idea as to what it will be.)

Friday, December 22, 2017

What's Behind Door #22? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello Everyone, today is day 22 of our Christmas countdown!

Let's see what the calendars have in store for us! 

We find our chocolate calendar door on the far right, three up from the bottom. It's the image of two dogs looking eagerly at the Christmas tree.
It looks like that mouse is warming his behind with that candle. 
I don't blame him, December has been very chilly.

Peeling back the door reveals...

a cross eyed teddy bear with a present!

The illustration is cute, little intense, but I think he's just super happy to see you.
That's my theory anyways.

Over on the Barbie calendar our door is one of those long thin ones on the left side, the second one in.

Can I just say opening these styles of doors are really hard?

In my efforts I managed to rip the door off half way. I wasn't planning on keeping this box, but after that it's certainly not as pretty looking in general. And after I ripped it I had a really hard time opening it up the rest of the way to get the entire item displayed.
It's not pretty, but it's open.
Opening it reveals a pair of ski .... poles (I had to look it up to make sure I had the right term). Made from the same silver plastic as several other pieces these poles are both sturdy but with enough give so that they won't snap with too much play. They are very simple, but do a good job emulating the real thing. They have nice handles so the doll can hold them. 
They're a little odd looking without skis, but they make a pretty good lance until we get those:
En garde!
 They are a little easy to lose, I already had one slip out of the doll's hand and fall behind the bed (I've since fished it out). I will have to find a place to store these, they're tall and I don't want to bend them.
I'm curious to see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What's Behind Door #21? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello Dear Readers, and Welcome to Day 21 of our Christmas advent calendar unboxing. 
We're in the home stretch! Will I keep this up until Christmas???
(Spoiler alert, I won't and now I'm playing catch up, but if you're reading this long after Christmas, I'm totally doing it daily. I super promise you.)

We find our day 21 chocolate door at the upper left corner of the calendar. As I've said before, there's no top door on the rows on the far left and right so this door while on the second row is actually the top one in the corner. The door is on a house where two dot faced children stare at us creepily.
 Guess what? 

We're going to split them up.
 Noooooo, don't split us up!

Serves them right for standing with a fault line in between them. 

Splitting up the Shining Twins we find ....

A guy on a sled! Luckily we have the illustration because if I was just looking at the chocolate I'd have no idea what was going on.

We find the 21st Barbie door on the bottom row, third from the left. 

Opening the door gives us...

 a pair of skiing boots!

These were so hard to get out. Most of the shoes had a spot in the backing for your finger to help ease them out but not these. I could not get them out for a while since I didn't want to use too much force and damage them. I eventually used a pair of scissors on the inside of one to pry them off the backer. 

 After fighting to free them I'd say it was worth it. Made from a slightly squishy white plastic, these boots look pretty good. In my very limited skiing knowledge these look like what I've seen. They have a bunch of straps molded in for nice detail. They also have the Barbie signature logo and the Barbie silhouette logo at the heel on both shoes. I don't have a flat foot doll handy to test it out on, but I do see a little molded bump for the doll's foot to rest on, so I bet a doll with flat feet couldn't easily wear this. Made to Move dolls should be fine. They have molded on B's on the bottom which means they fit the original and petite style foot. They're pretty cute and look pretty realistic. And I'm glad she has shoes, she was pretty cold skiing barefoot!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What's Behind Door #20? A Christmas Surprise!

Hello everyone, can you believe we are already at December 20th? 
Both calendars are both mostly empty as we quickly make it to the 25th!


We find our chocolate door on the very bottom left corner of the calendar. It has the back of a dog looking at Santa's bag of presents and the lower jaw of that deer who's just ... staring at us.

We open the door to find ....

 a man's head!

I didn't think it was that kind of calendar, unnerving indeed.

I assume from his collar and hat he's some sort of jester character. He look a lot like the moon from the 14th. They even have similar headbands on. I'm all for artist's having a style, but could this be intentional? 

Maybe he's the man in the moon... who is not in the moon...
It's interesting to note that in the illustration he has a very round nose, but the chocolate piece has a down turned nose. I'm guess it's just easier for them to make the chocolate like that instead of following the chocolate exactly (but now that I'm thinking about it, which came first, the candy molds or the illustrations). It would make more sense if they were cobbling together a bunch of sources for the molds instead of following the illustrations. 

Anyway, our Barbie calendar door is in the middle row, two down from the top. The calendar doesn't have a true center, but it's as close as to the center as it gets. We're back on the illustration of Barbie as the ballerina.

Pulling back the door we find...

a bodysuit!

We finally get the bodysuit for the skiing outfit and we can change the doll out of the dress. It was quite an interesting look for her with those goggles on.

Made from a synthetic knit, which is actually very nice feeling, this bodysuit has green, purple, and white designs on it, including the Barbie signature on the front. It has a little circle on the bottom for the "TM" but it's empty (I guess it was too tiny to print). I really like the purple fading into white on the legs on her lower legs. Surprisingly the print even goes to the back! (I assume because it was easier to construct it that way than sew in a blank back). It's extremely fitted, you can even see her molded on underwear in a few places. It's in decent shape, there's a few minor sewing errors here and there, I might need to reinforce the back since the stitching has already started to come apart. It was a bit difficult dressing the doll in this, her hands did not want to go thru the sleeves. My dolls really aren't skiers, but I think it's a nicely designed outfit base. I'm kind of impressed by it.

Let's see what's in store for us for tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What's Behind Door #19? A Christmas Surprise!

Welcome Dear Readers to Day 19 of our Advent Calendar Unboxing!

Day 19 already? This month has just flown by. I bought my third to last present today. I just have two more things to get, but those are just going to be quick trips to the store to get, I just have to physically go to the store and do it. It'll take like 10 minutes once I actually get there. 

We find out day 19 chocolate door on the far right, two below the day 18 door. This one has the image of a very Santa-esque old guy and a snowman with a menacing smile. 

I would not trust that snowman.

We may not know what's lurking in that snowman's mind, but we can see what's behind his door...

It's Santa (I think) with a sack full of presents!

On the Barbie Calendar, the day 19 door is on the far right row. It's three up from the bottom, right above the day 17 door. It's got the skier Barbie's arm and chest on it.

Let's see what's behind the door....

a pair of goggles!

I'm a little surprised, I was expecting a new base outfit, but goggles it is. I *think* they're goggles. They look like they're designed to mimic goggles, but they're actually more like sunglasses in their construction. There's not much to say about them. They're made from a pink translucent plastic and are a little hard to get correctly on the doll's head. I at first tried putting them over the doll's hair and couldn't get them to stay. I did push them into the doll's hair and did eventually get them to stay. I just don't like messing up the doll's hair like that.

They're a little odd since she's still wearing her baking outfit, but they're generic enough so it could just be some protective goggles for Barbie to wear when she's cooking. Barbie really gets into cooking and is all about eye safety!

See you tomorrow for day 20, gosh almost the 20th!