Dolly Review: Jun Planning Ai Ball Jointed Doll Painted Sage

For months now, the web has been abuzz over a number of Jun Planning dolls being found in discount store, Tuesday Morning.  They’ve eluded me and my mother every visit– until now!  My last visit to Tuesday Morning brought two new kinds of dolls into my diverse collection.  One of these was the much talked about Ai Ball Jointed Doll.  The other, a J-Doll, will be reviewed in a different post!

Ai Ball Jointed Doll, Painted Sage

Ai Ball Jointed Doll, Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Ai’s were manufactured by Jun Planning, maker of Pullips and J-Dolls.  According to Pullips and Junk, a fantastic Pullip site, these were released between 2007 and 2013.  Both Ai’s my mom and I picked up during this shopping trip, Painted Sage and Cuphea, were released in 2007 and 2008.  There are multiple face molds and face ups.  Many, if not all of the dolls, seem to be named after flowers.  A quick side note here:  the cashier was totally freaked out by all the dolls we purchased during our visit.  She seemed to think Painted Sage was strange looking. Me?  I think Painted Sage looks just right!

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Ai’s are made of ABS and are around 5″ tall.  Originally priced around $79.99 (according to the Tuesday Morning tag), those who find them at Tuesday Morning could walk away with one for $29.99.  eBay seems to have these guys around the $30.00 price point, as well.  A fantastic price for an adorable starter BJD like this one.

Painted Sage Without Wig

Painted Sage Without Wig

Like your traditional BJD’s, Ai’s are customizable.  They have a magnetic head cap that allows you to get into the head and change the eyes.  A note to those who might be giving this to a child.  The magnetic head cap on my Ai is covered in magnet fragments.

Painted Sage Headcap with Factory Velcro

Painted Sage Headcap with Factory Velcro

Painted Sage Headcap with Magnetic Fragments

Painted Sage Headcap with Magnetic Fragments and Eye Mech

It seems that this isn’t normal, though, as my mom’s was just your normal magnet.  Before giving it to a child, I would double check that the head cap is fragment free.

Hujoo Baby, Ai Painted Sage, Junky Spot Nano Rabi

Hujoo Baby Is, Ai Painted Sage, Junky Spot Nano Rabi

I’m not exactly sure what size eye came with Painted Sage, but it must be around 10mm, because the head is very similar in size to the Hujoo Babies, who wear that size eye.  Eye putty is included, in case you need it.  My Ai, Painted Sage, has a contraption in its head that allows the eyes to stay in without putty (as seen in an earlier photo).  My mom’s Cuphea, however, needed putty to hold the eyes in.  (Strangely enough, my mom’s putty was in a fancy cardboard box, while mine was just packaged in a plastic bag!)

Painted Sage's Wig

Painted Sage’s Wig

Velcro in Wig

Velcro in Wig

Painted Sage is wigged.  She has factory placed velcro on her head and inside her wig.  Lining the pieces up can be hard to do, but the wig stays on well, even when a little off.  For those with Hujoo babies, you’re in luck!  With velcro, this wig size seems practically perfect for tiny Hujoo’s.  Painted Sage has a long, dirty blonde wig.  It’s nice and looks high quality.  I can’t say I know what wig size this is, though.  What wig sizes fit your Ai’s?

Hujoo Baby is, Ai Painted Sage, Junky Spot Nano Rabi

Hujoo Baby is, Ai Painted Sage, Junky Spot Nano Rabi

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

She is jointed in multiple places, including her shoulders, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.  Because she’s classified as a ball jointed doll, she is strung with a thin white string.  If your doll is flopsy, you may want to re-string her.  Painted Sage arrived well strung.  She stands well on her own and holds poses.

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

The only other tinies of this size I have are made by Hujoo.  They have a joint in the torso area.  Ai’s don’t have a torso joint.  A torso joint would have added a nice bit of extra pose-ability, but Painted Sage does well with the joints she has.

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Ai’s come with a number of accessories, depending on which one you get.  Painted Sage wears an adorable off white dress with red decorations. She wears pantaloons and an apron, too. According to one description of her, she was styled with Little Red Riding Hood in mind.  Her main accessory is her blue hooded cape.

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

I love her cape. It’s so neat and looks fantastic on her.  It gives her a very ‘mystical’ kind of feel!  She comes with socks and shoes, too.  I had a lot of trouble getting the shoes over the socks, so in the end, I took the socks off.  The shoes are okay, they just fit oddly.

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

They’re my least favorite part of the outfit and varied between the two dolls we picked up during our shopping trip.  They seem both too large and too small at the same time.

Baby Hujoo Is in Ai outfit, Ai in a Mattel outfit, Nano Rabi in Ai pantaloons

Baby Hujoo Is in Ai outfit, Ai in a Mattel outfit, Nano Rabi in Ai pantaloons

If you’re looking for clothing for your Hujoo tinies, you should definitely keep an eye out for Ai’s.  Outfits with long sleeves will be a bit troublesome on anthro’s, but short sleeve or no sleeve Ai outfits should fit Hujoo tinies.  At least, my Hujoo baby fits Painted Sage’s outfit.  I couldn’t test it on my anthro’s, unfortunately, because of her paws.

Painted Sage and Kero

Painted Sage and Kero

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Painted Sage has an adorable face up! I love her wide eyed expression.  She has a white shadow directly over her eye that is topped with a very light red.  She has light brown eye brows and pursed mauve lips.  I don’t see any blush on Painted Sage.

Packaging of Cuphea

Packaging of Cuphea

Ai’s are packaged in a white, magnetic box that looks like a book.  The packaging is solid and totally reusable as a treasure or accessory box, but, in my opinion, a little over done.  I imagine the dolls could have been a little more affordable when they first debuted if the box hadn’t been so fancy.

Painted Sage in AG Mini Room

Painted Sage in AG Mini Room

Painted Sage in AG Mini Room

Painted Sage in AG Mini Room and Eraser Pizza

Painted Sage was a steal at $29.99 and totally worth every penny I paid for her!  The Ai Ball Jointed Doll seems like a great little starter doll for those who are interested in BJD’s, but don’t want to take the leap into expensive resin. Because she’s ABS, she’s durable and purse friendly.  She photographs really well, too!  If I were you, I would most definitely add ‘visit Tuesday Morning’ to your next to-do list!

Painted Sage

Painted Sage

Do you have an Ai Ball Jointed Doll?  What do you think of yours?  Have you scouted around your Tuesday Morning?  Share your thoughts below.

October 14, 2014. Tags: , , . Category: Introductions & Reviews, Category: Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Dolly (Book) Review: Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo by Alan Scott Pate + a Contest!!!!

Earlier this summer, I reviewed a comprehensive guide to antique Japanese dolls by Alan Scott Pate, published originally in 2005.  A companion book by the same author was published by Tuttle Publishing.  This time around, author Alan Scott Pate concentrated on the art of collecting Japanese dolls, specifically ningyo.

Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo

Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo

Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo is different from Pate’s past work in many ways.  Where his original title was a textbook look at how dolls were intertwined in Japanese culture, this book was written for the beginning collector.

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

Its 260 pages cover a multitude of topics. Part one (pages 10-38),  includes chapters on the art of collecting in both Japan and the United States, the first doll shops and collectors, and the introduction of ningyo in Western culture.  I found it fascinating to read about the pioneers of Japanese doll collecting: Shimizu Seifu (1851-1913), Nishizawa Senko (1864-1914), and Tsuboi Shogoro (1863-1913).

All born in the Meiji era, which started in 1868 and ran through 1913, they were known in their time as the three great toy collectors.  These three took it upon themselves to “preserve, document, and understand better the various ningyo and toy forms which populated the Japanese cultural landscape” by introducing “a systematic approach to collecting ningyo” (pg 26).   According to the author, “the concept of collecting these beautiful objects, to intentionally acquire and organize them… for ones appreciation, dates only to modern times and the efforts of the men mentioned above and their peers.”  Peers, being those in a society started by Seifu for the appreciation and study of Japanese dolls and toys (Odomo-kai, in English ‘Big Babies Club’) (pg 27).  This chapter, also, features some amazing collection photos from the early 1900’s showcasing one of the members of the Odomo-kai, Endo Takeshi.  This vast collection features rooms filled with ningyo of all shapes and sizes.

Gosho-Ningyo

Gosho-Ningyo

Part two (pages 48-249) focus’ on the different categories of ningyo, of which there are many!  Pate’s 2005 publication went into great detail about specific dolls.  This new book talks about what the characteristics of each type are and a little bit of their history. The type of ningyo’s discussed are: festival dolls (hina-ningyo, musha-ningyo and tableau dolls), display dolls (saga-ningyo, gosh0-ningyo, isho-ningyo and iki-ningyo), wood dolls, clay dolls, mechanical dolls, theatrical dolls and play dolls. While many of the artisans are unknown, this chapter features some fantastic photographs.

Gosho-Ningyo

Gosho-Ningyo

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

As with Pate’s first book, the gosho-ningyo’s captured my heart.  Gosho-ningyo’s are known for their big heads and white skin.  Made of wood, sometimes completely and sometimes hollow, they have a very childlike look to them.  Nishizawa Senko helped popularize this form of ningyo, by collecting all the different regional names for these (there were a lot!) and promoting the idea of using one common name for them- gosho-ningyo’s.  Gosho-ningyo’s were originally gifted “within the imperial culture of Kyoto of the eighteenth century” (pg 111). By the end of the eighteenth century, gosho-ningyo’s were “avidly sought after in all levels of society, particularly samurai and merchant classes.” (pg 111).

Friendship Doll

Friendship Doll

The play dolls, ichimatsu-ningyo, are some of my favorites, too.  I love their large size and round faces.  In 1927, 58 Friendship dolls, also known as ‘dolls of gratitude’ or, in Japanese, torei-ningyo, were created in Japan and sent to the United States as “ambassadors of good will“.  Of all the ichimatsu-ningyo shown in this book, the Friendship dolls are my favorite.  Can you imagine being one of the recipients of these beautiful dolls in 1927?  (These were sent in response to the United States sending 12,000 ‘blue eyed dolls’ to Japanese children through the World Friendship Committee.)

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

IMG_9693

Peek Inside!

Written with a new collector in mind, the information in “Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo” isn’t too heavy or dense.  It is written in a user friendly sort of manner that gives you just enough detail to understand the ningyo’s importance and their place in Japanese society, along with each types unique characteristics.

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

Part three (pages 252-257) helps you get a handle on how to start collecting ningyo’s.  And, honesty, after seeing all the beautiful photos, how could the thought of adding a ningyo to your collection have not crossed your mind! Pate talks quickly about the proper care and handling of ningyo’s and tips on finding pieces for your collection.

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

I thoroughly enjoyed this ‘walking tour’ of sorts on ningyo’s.  This doll line is a fascinating one, as the title of Pate’s book states.  If you’re looking for an introduction to antique Japanese dolls, this is the book for you.   “Japanese Dolls:  the Fascinating World of Ningyo” by Alan Scott Pate is sold on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Peek Inside!

Peek Inside!

Want to win a copy of “Japanese Dolls: the Fascinating World of Ningyo”?  Fill out the form below!  You have until October 20th to enter.  The two winners (yes, two!) will be e-mailed by the publisher.  Good luck!

October 2, 2014. Tags: , . Category: Introductions & Reviews, Category: Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Dolly Report: American Girl and My Thoughts on BeForever

One of the first doll lines I saved up my allowances for as a kid (4th grade through 8th) was American Girl.  Back in the day, American Girl had a neat freebie they offered future customers.  They would send a ‘saving guide’, so to speak, that would help you keep track of how much money you had saved.  Actually, it was really quite cool and totally useful, especially when your allowance evened out to $4 a month! (I can’t find evidence of this kit online and my mother doesn’t remember it, but I swear, I’m not making it up!)

The Pleasant Company Releases (Felicity, Josefina, Felicity, Addy, Samantha and Molly)

The Pleasant Company Releases (Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly)

There were many dolls I had my eye on, but the first doll I decided to purchase was Molly, the WWII doll.  Who didn’t love Molly?  She had some great outfits and the mixture of bangs, braids and glasses was adorable.

After Molly, I started saving again and eventually purchased Samantha, who’s stories were slightly earlier than Molly’s, taking place in 1904.  Samantha was a favorite of mine from the get go.  Her long hair gave a little more leeway for styling (A purest from a young age, I have never removed Molly’s braids!) and her outfits and accessories were just fantastic, so very different than Molly’s (also very neat) accessories.

The cycle continued until I had added two more dolls to my collection, Felicity was the third.  Felicity stood out amongst the other dolls in the catalog because of her lovely red hair.  To this day, I’m still very happy to have picked her up pre-Mattel. Last, but not least, I bought a Girl of Today made to look like me.  All of these were ordered before Mattel purchased Pleasant Company and averaged about a doll a year.

American Girl Dolls, believe it or not, were launched in 1986, making them young’ins in the doll industry.  Pleasant Company was founded by Pleasant Rowland.  Pleasant had noticed a gap between the ages represented in popular doll lines, noticeably the lack of  a doll meant to look between 8-11.  Marrying the idea that the dolls would give girls (and boys) a more personal glimpse into the past, American Girl dolls were born.

The first three dolls released were Samantha, Kirsten and Molly.  Interestingly, I learned from the American Girl Wiki that these dolls were developed by Gotz. (I’ve never been a huge fan of Gotz, so this was very surprising news!) I’m kicking myself for having never purchased a Kirsten doll while pre-Mattel.  Each of these three dolls lived in very different times.  Kirsten represented pioneer times.  Samantha represented the Edwardian Era.  And Molly, my original American Girl, represented the World War II era.  Each doll was accompanied by a chapter book that would give readers a glimpse into the world these dolls lived in.

In 1991, Felicity was released.  She lived during the Revolutionary War.  Felicity was the first doll to model a fleshtone body, unlike her predecessors who had white muslin bodies.  Addy, a Civil War era girl and the first black American Girl doll, was released in 1993.

In 1995, the Girl of Today line was introduced and allowed girls to create their own American Girl doll by choosing from various hair colors, eyes colors, and skin tones.  They came in a really awesome outfit that included a fun vest and awesome hat that was a pretty perfect representation of the mid-90’s girl!  Josefina joined the American Girl gang in 1997, representing the history of New Mexico prior to it becoming part of the United States.

In 1998, there was a big change with American Girl.  Pleasant Company sold American Girl to Mattel for a whopping 700 million dollars. She stayed on as an adviser for a few years after this sale.  I, personally, wish this deal had never gone through, as I believe the quality went a bit down after being purchased by Mattel.  They didn’t change much in the very beginning, but I feel like some of the magic was lost after Mattel picked these dolls up.

The first doll to be released after the Mattel sale was Kit, a girl living through the Great Depression, in 2000.  Of all the Mattel releases, Kit is the only doll I really love.  Her freckles and bob hairstyle make her look adorable!  2000 is also the same year that Pleasant Rowlands steps down from her advisory position with the brand and gives Mattel full control of the line.

In 2002, Kaya was released. Her stories focused on early Native American history.  In 2004, Mattel begins releasing friend dolls for past releases, starting with Nellie, Samantha’s friend.  The next historical doll wouldn’t be released until 2007.  That doll was Julie, a girl growing up in the 70’s.  In 2009, Rebecca was released, representing early twentieth-century America during the second wave of European immigration.  Marie Grace, a girl growing up in 1850’s New Orleans, joined the group in 2011.  The most recent historical girl to hit the stage was Caroline, who’s books focus on growing up during the war of 1812. Caroline is my least favorite doll.  I don’t like the look of her at all.  2009 brought along a new historical doll, Rebecca, from the twentieth-century America during the second wave of European immigration.

American Girl has steadily been changing the direction of the doll line by retiring certain beloved characters (including most of the original Pleasant Company girls– Felicity, Kirsten and Molly and others) and creating new illustrations and outfits for those that have stayed on in the line.  The Girl of Today line eventually was rebranded as Just Like You and now is currently dubbed My American Girl. And in 2014, the Historical Dolls were to be rebranded, as well.

BeForever Girls

BeForever Girls

My Thoughts on BeForever:  

A few months ago, Mattel really changed the game by re-branding the Historical Girls as ‘BeForever‘.  I’m not against change.  Change is important in keeping doll lines vibrant.  However, I can’t say I’m exactly on board with everything Mattel is doing with American Girl, especially with the Historical Girls.

Officially, the BeForever  line consists of Kaya, Caroline, Josefina, Addy, Rebecca, Kit, Julie and the once retired Samantha.  BeForever girls have a whole new line of clothing, accessories, furniture and new storybooks.

Some of the dolls have been tweaked a little, as well. One minor example is Kit’s hair, which has been cut a little shorter than her original doll.  There’s something about Samantha that looks different to me, too, but I just can’t put my finger on what it might be.  Who knows, it could be my imagination.

The one thing I love about this line is the inclusion of Samantha.  I am a huge fan of Samantha and her stories and am very happy they took her out of the vault.  It gives me hope that one day, some of the other retired dolls will come out and play once again.

That being said, Samantha’s outfits disappoint me a bit.  I really only like two of them, the others just don’t feel like Samantha.  It could very well be that I grew so used to the older outfits that these just don’t seem to fit the character in my head.  Still, though, it’s disappointing.

Samantha's Holiday Set

Samantha’s Holiday Set

Samantha's Fancy Coat

Samantha’s Fancy Coat

Kit, however, has some adorable outfits in this BeForever line.  She would win my ‘best dressed’ for sure!  Her Meet Kit outfit is adorable, as are her Christmas outfit and Floral Print dress!

Meet Kit Outfit

Meet Kit Outfit

Kit's Holiday Outfit

Kit’s Holiday Outfit

Kit's Floral Print Dress

Kit’s Floral Print Dress

Julie’s Patchwork Dress, Floral Jumpsuit and Calico Dress look fantastic (or should I say groovy?), too.

Julie's Patchwork Outfit

Julie’s Patchwork Outfit

Julie's Floral Jumpsuit

Julie’s Floral Jumpsuit

Julie's Calico Dress

Julie’s Calico Dress

As far as accessories go, Julie’s Egg Chair? I love it! The lack of jointing in American Girl dolls might make her look a little strange sitting in it but for more jointed 18″ dolls?  One nice feature about this, though, is it doubles as an MP3 player speaker, which makes it way more than just a doll prop.

Julie's Egg Chair

Julie’s Egg Chair

Samantha’s bike is another winner, though, again, it suffers from the lack of jointing. Her best accessory, though, has to be her Ice Cream Parlor!

Samantha's Ice Cream Parlor

Samantha’s Ice Cream Parlor

And Kit? She has an fantastic typewriter and a super fun Homemade Skooter. She also has a really nice School Desk set and Bed.

Kit's Homemade Scooter

Kit’s Homemade Scooter

Kit's Typewriter

Kit’s Typewriter

I’ll be totally, 100% honest here, I don’t care very much for the rest of the BeForever girls. They don’t excite me. I’m sure there are people that love them, but alas, I don’t.  Much of it has to do with the lack of excitement I felt towards the Mattel releases post Kit.  Kit is adorable and I’d love to have her, but the rest just never made me go ‘oh, I need that in my collection!’.

If anything, this rebranding made me recognize what I suspected already– I have fallen out of love with American Girl. I still love my American Girls (Molly, Samantha, Felicity and my Girl of Today) and the items that came out around their era, but the new items? They’re just not pulling at my heartstrings as much as they used to.  That’s not to say that I’m completely giving up on the line, because there will always be a part of me that looks forward to opening up an American Girl catalog or visiting an American Girl Store, but for now, I’m not feeling the awe that once surrounded the American Girl line.

Resources:
http://www.curtdanhauser.com/AG_Collecting/Main.html

http://www.agplaythings.com/

http://www.americangirl.com

http://americangirl.wikia.com/

Do you have fond memories of American Girl? What are your thoughts on this new BeForever line?  Share your thoughts below.

September 24, 2014. Tags: , , . Category: Articles and Doll Histories, Category: Uncategorized. 8 comments.

Dolly Report: Monster High Freaky Fusion

By now, you’ve probably seen some of the newest Monster High line to hit store shelves, Freaky Fusion.  There are a lot of dolls in this line, which features four new hybrid characters, four fused characters, four characters who are ‘playing’ fused and finally, three Walmart exclusives.  By far, the most interesting of the characters in this line are the four new characters, Bonita Femur (Skeleton/Moth), Avea Trotter (Centaur/Harpy), Sirena Van Boo (Mermaid/Ghost) and male doll Neighthan Rot (Unicorn/Zombie).

Those characters by themselves would have made a fine line, but Mattel took it a step further by fusing eight of our favorite characters together to form four unique Monster High Students.  The prettiest of them, in my opinion, is the fusion between Draculaura and Robecca, who form Dracubecca.  Her look is adorable.  Mattel kept Robecca’s riveted skin, gave it Draculaura’s pink coloring, gave her a head of dark hair and a fun steampunk outfit.

Monster High Banner 1

Another standout fusion is Cleo and Torelei, forming Cleolei.  Just the idea of these two being forced together like this is awesome.  The standout feature on Cleolei has to be her face paint.  The gold eye enhancements look so good on the tabby skin.

Venus, one of my personal favorites, merges with Clawdeen in the this line to form Clawvenus.  Clawvenus is, well, interesting, to say the least.  She’s definitely a doll you’ll either love or hate. The mixture of Clawdeen and Venus’ traditional hairstyles is pretty rad, but I’m not sure Venus’ coloring was the best choice on this doll.

Lagoonafire, a fusion of Lagoona and Jinafire, falls in line with Clawvenus, for me.  I’m not sure what I think of her, actually!  On one hand, I do think she’s a pretty cool doll.  On the other hand, she could easily come off as very strange looking.  Jinafire’s eyes are very distinctive, even on a Jinafire, which makes them stand out even more on a doll with Lagoona’s coloring.  The effect is different and startling, but strangely interesting!

Freaky Fusion

Freaky Fusion

These four basic dolls are ‘playing’ like they’re fused, meaning they aren’t true mixtures of two characters, but one character who is inspired to dress like another. Ghoulia is decked out in a Draculara-esc look. Her dress and headband are adorable.  Frankie‘s look is inspired by Clawdeen.  Slowly, but surely, I’m warming up to this Frankie.  It is nice seeing a Frankie with volume to her hair.

Operetta is my favorite of these four dolls.  She’s adorable in her Frankie inspired look! I love seeing Operetta with straight hair and Frankie’s outfit looks so cute on her!  Last, but not least, is Scarah wearing a Toralei inspired look.  I think Scarah, in general, is a cool doll.  This is a fun look for her.

Monster High Banner 3

Exclusive to Walmart are three basic ‘Save Frankie’ dolls: Jackson, Clawdeen and Draculaura. I have yet to see these in person, but the Draculaura looks like she could be a winner.  Even Clawdeen looks pretty neat.  I will need to see her in person to make a real assessment, but I like the ponytail and the face paint.  And Jackson, well, he’s Jackson.  I still prefer Holt.

Monster High Banner 3

Mattel created a neat three story Catacomb playset to go along with the Freaky Fusion line.  I have a few of the smaller Monster High playsets and they do add a nice backdrop to photoshoots.

As expected with a line this large, these Freaky Fusion dolls tie in with an all new movie release. Here’s the synopsis. “The Monster High Freaky Fusion ghouls go deep into the catacombs of Monster High to help Frankie look for clues about her past and learn more about her family scaritage. There, they inadvertently set off a time machine that takes them back to the year 1814 where they meet Sparky, a misguided, teen scientist obsessed with the creation of life. Sparky follows Frankie back to modern day Monster High, causing a lab accident in which eight ghouls fuse into four new monsters!”

Monster High Banner 3

By choosing between “this” or “that” pictures, you can find out your Freaky Fusion percentage.  There are four questions per quiz and one quiz for each fused character! Find your results by taking the fun quizzes on the Monster High Freaky Fusion page.

What Freaky Fusion girl (or guy) is your favorite?  Did you take any of the quizzes? What were your results?  Compared to other Monster High lines, how does Freaky Fusion rate? Share your thoughts below.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions stated here are my own.  To find out why I occasionally do sponsored posts, read my About Me.

September 22, 2014. Tags: , , . Category: Articles and Doll Histories, Category: Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Dolly Review: Monster High Freaky Fusion Sirena Von Boo

Part mermaid, part ghost, Sirena Von Boo is one of the three new female’s who made their debut in the Freaky Fusion line.  While not my favorite, Sirena is a nice addition to the Monster High line.  Sirena has a head of rooted dark blue and light purple hair.  Styled in two pony tails with two braids hanging down one side. Her look is what I would expect from a mermaid themed doll.

Sirena

Sirena

This hair seems to be closer to the texture of Twyla‘s, thicker and frizzier than other Monster High dolls.

Sirena

Sirena

My favorite thing about Sirena is her coloring.  Her skin has an iridescent white tone to it which I love!  It is both fish like and ghostly. She has fin shaped ears. Her earrings are different on each side, one being a simple ball, the other being a cool loopy chain.

Sirena

Sirena

Sirena’s face is much cuter than expected.  Her sea blue eyebrows are, again, done in the shape of a fin.  Her bubbly eyes are very colorful, with yellow, green and pink highlights.  She doesn’t have cheek color.  Sirena doesn’t really need any, though, because of the cool reflective look of her sparkly white skin.  Sirena’s lips are a nice light purple/pink tone, that works really well with her color palette.

Sirena

Sirena

Her arms are mermaid like in look, but ghost like in coloring. She has fins on her forearm that have a nicely done gradient, that moves gently from white to dark blue, and black webbed hands.  Her arms have the traditional jointing we’ve seen on past dolls.  She, also, has a fin that runs down her back.

Sirena

Sirena

Sirena

Sirena

There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to Sirena’s outfit.  Because she’s part mermaid, she only wears a top.  In this case, her top is nice.  It’s nothing to write home about, but I do think it looks good on her.

Sirena

Sirena

It’s a one shoulder shirt with black fringe, reminiscent of fish net, that covers a green, octopus like design.  Sirena wears a wrist band on each hand that has looped black thread, which emulates chains.  She also wears a chain necklace.

Sirena

Sirena

Now, the big thing– her tail.  I love her tail for a few reason.  First, I love the texture of her tail and the added chain details around it.  Second, the gradient that goes from white to grey to dark blue to black is done so well.  It’s a nice, gradual change, which makes her tail rather life like!  And the third thing I love about her tail?  Her tail is what allows her to stand, making the less than stellar stands Monster High dolls tend to come with not necessary!  That will always be a plus in my book!

One let down in regard to the tail is that it doesn’t tilt left or right, it just moves forward and backward.  The same goes for her dark grey fins at the base of her tail.  I wish Mattel had jointed her waist in a way that she could tilt in other directions, for photography’s sake.

Sirena

Sirena

Overall, I like Sirena more than I thought I would.  Her coloring, especially on her tail, totally won me over.  What do you think of Sirena?  Share your thoughts below!

September 20, 2014. Tags: , , , . Category: Introductions & Reviews, Category: Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Collector Spotlight: Nella

Collector Spotlights are some of my favorite things to post here on Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter. Why? Because it gives collectors a chance to tell their story– and everyone’s story is different and interesting! Here’s the newest spotlight post!

Collector Spotlight Badge

Collector Spotlight Badge

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I’m known as Nella online. I’m 21 years old university student and live in Central Canada. I speak both English and French fluently. I’m a huge history buff and lover of science.

Playtime

Lottie (Cherishdoll Slim Pia)

Q: How long have you collected? How did you catch the collecting bug?
A: I’ve been collecting since 2006, so about 8 years now. I’ve always had the collecting bug though. When I was a kid, I collected interesting rocks, mini toy Furbies from McDonalds and Groovy Girls.

Q: What do you collect? Describe your collection.
A: The focus of my collection is Asian ball-jointed-dolls (also known as BJD’s or ABJD’s), though I do have a few that are the exceptions to that rule. The odd ones out are my 11cm Obitsu doll, my pose doll, who has no articulation, two Monster Highs, two Disney Fairies and one action figure. So I have 22 dolls, 14 of which are BJDs. Most of my dolls are from Chinese companies. My dolls vary in size from 11cm to 62cm. I prefer dolls with smiles, large eyes and unconventional features. My dolls may not all be pretty but they have character. I have a secondary collection of anime figures, most of whom are articulated.

Hodgepodge of colour

Haitsu Kyaa (Obitsu 11cm), Lottie (Cherishdoll Slim Pia), Finn (Bobobie Bao) and Viviana (IslandDoll Jessie)

Q: What made you latch on to doll collecting?
A: Honestly, I’ve always loved dolls, so it was a given that I would end up collecting them in some way. The reason I chose ball-jointed-dolls as my focus, instead of antique porcelain baby dolls or vintage Barbies, is the customizability and articulation. I’m a very creative person, so being able to make my dolls unique and use them as an artistic outlet was kind of a big deal.

Q: Do you share this hobby with anyone? Did anyone inspire you to to collect? Who would you like to share this hobby with?
A: I’m lucky enough to be able to share this hobby with my sister and one of my cousins. It’s actually because of my sister that I found out about these dolls to begin with. She’s a huge inspiration to me, even though our collections are very different.

With her blade

Tazyep (Impldoll Gela) (Kewpie83’s note- love this one!)

Q: What are your ‘grail’ items? Have you found any of them yet? Why are they your ‘grail’ items?
A: My grail items are Volks Super Dollfie Cute Sora, Sugarble Serena with Naga tail and Soom Cheshire Cat. The reasons why they are my grail items is different for each one. For Sora, she was the very first full-set limited doll that I liked. Everything from her face to the fact that she’s an adaptation of Puss in Boots caught my eye.

As for Serena, it’s all about the Naga tail. I followed the articles about the crafting of the tail and swooned over the final production photos. A half-human, half-snake doll with a fully jointed tail? How neat is that! Cheshire Cat’s grin is infectious and charming. Once I saw him in person, I knew I had to get one of my own. I actually was able to purchase the precise one that made me fall in love with that doll and he’s the only grail I’ve gotten so far.

Profile: Han Lishuang

Han Lishuang (Dollzone Shuang Er)

Q: Spotlight a few of your favourite pieces in your collection. Tell us their story.
A: I hate to play favourites since all of my dolls embody characters in my stories, but aesthetically, my favourites right now are Lily Dahl, my Souldoll Lily C and Han Lishuang, my Dollzone Shuang Er. They’re easily the prettiest dolls I own and both have an air of grace about them.

Not just a pretty face

Lily Dahl (Souldoll Lily C) (Kewpie83’s note: This doll is adorable!!!!)

Q: Do you collect in box or out of box? Why?
A: I collect out of box. I get the most enjoyment out of playing with my dolls and handling them, not staring at them like a museum exhibit.

Q: What is the most fun aspect of collecting?
A: The most fun aspect of collecting to me is customizing. It’s amazing what a change of outfit and a new faceup can do.

Profile: Benjy

Benjy (Kewpie83’s note: Cool hands!)

Q: Do you have any personal stories you’d like to share that deal with your doll collecting?
A: Two of my most interesting stories about doll collecting have to do with how I got my dolls. The first one is the story behind my Souldoll Tiffee. She was the very first ball-jointed-doll I saw in person. My sister bought her second-hand and introducing me to ABJDs. In the spring, I came home from school to find that the doll had arrived. When she handed her to me, I knew I had to have one of my own. Even the fact that the doll’s head spun around like in the Exorcist when we passed her between us didn’t stop my enthusiasm! So two years later, when my sister decided to sell her, I bought the doll. She’s been repainted, given a new style and different eyes and wig but she’s still the doll that started this whole crazy adventure.

Professor

Souldoll Tiffee with modified eyelids

The second story has to do with my pose doll. What happened was that I was spending the summer at my family’s cottage and my Granny took me into the closest small town. We decided to go to a second-hand store that we had never visited before. I was milling about and one of the workers approached me and started asking about the doll I had with me, my third BJD. So I told her about ball-jointed-dolls and mentioned that I have a doll collection. The worker then pulled down this gorgeous doll from one of the top shelves and wound her up. I had never seen such a beautifully painted face and decided to buy her. When I was being rung up by a different employee, she gushed that ‘Linda’ was finally being sold. It turns out that this doll had been sitting unsold for so long that the employees had named her. I thought she looked more like an ‘Emily’ or an ‘Emma’ but I wanted to keep that bit of her history, so she’s now called ‘Emmalinda’.

Emmalinda

Emmalinda

Q: What advice would you give new collectors out there that feel they need to ‘hide’ their hobby?
A: My advice to new collectors that feel the need to hide their hobby is to not disguise their passion for any hobby or interest. While it doesn’t need to be known to acquaintances if you don’t feel comfortable with sharing that information, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Finn up a tree

Finn (Bobobie Bao)

Q: Give me 3 tips (in general) on how to cultivate a great doll collection.
A: Three tips on how to have a great doll collection, eh? One, have a theme. It doesn’t need to be super precise, but you need to know your tastes. Don’t fill your collection with dolls you don’t love because you think you need to have a complete line to be a collector.

Two, pace yourself! I’m not the most wonderful example of this, since my collection has ballooned in the past two years, but it’s still very important to keep in mind. By pacing yourself, you can figure out whether you really do want a particular doll or if it’s a passing fancy. Plus, you have more time to appreciate the little things about the collection you already have!

Lastly, my third tip is to get out there and have fun! Meet other collectors and share your passion.

Q: Are you a doll customizer? Talk to us about what you do!
A: I am a doll customizer of sorts. Since I collect ABJDs, it’s easier to customize them than fashion dolls. I’ve painted almost every single one of my dolls. My most ambitious custom is one I’m currently working on, Nagisa, a normal skin Bobobie Pixie. I’m blushing the body and head to be a cool brown colour and I’m completely reshaping the bust. I’m also working on my first Monster High repaint.

Q: What kind of future do you see for this hobby?
A: I think the doll collecting hobby will continue to change and evolve in the future. There may be less brick-and-mortar stores and local doll clubs, but I think the global online community will take their place. It’s a hobby that will never go away since there will always be interesting dolls and those who enjoy them.

Chaos, Fear and Serenity

Little Chaos (Fallindoll Force), Horu (Ninodoll Woo.U) and Noah (Doll Family An Ping)

Q: Last, but not least, if you feel there was something I didn’t ask, write it down anyways!
A: Just because my collection is focused on ABJDs doesn’t mean I don’t like other dolls. I love many different doll lines and I’m always interested in seeing people’s collections. If I didn’t collect the dolls I do, I would probably have Kurhns, Pullips, Ever After High girls, Liccas and Barbies from the late 60s. Who knows, maybe someday I will!

Q: Links to your blog, flickr, etc.
A: https://www.youtube.com/user/NellaCuriosity
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fastfeetnella/
http://fastfeetnella.deviantart.com/
http://fastfeetnella.blogspot.ca

For those who prefer to watch spotlights, here’s the video version, edited by Nella!

I would like to think Nella for sharing her collection with everyone!  Nella, feel free to use the badges in this post to spread the word about your spotlight post!

Blog Badge

Blog Badge

Be sure to check out Nella’s websites for more photos of her awesome collection and don’t forget to leave kudos here in the comments or on her various sites!

If you want to be highlighted in a Collector Spotlight post, go here for more details!

 

September 19, 2014. Tags: . Category: Articles and Doll Histories, Category: Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Dolly Review: Lalaloopsy Girls Peanut Big Top

Fun fact– did you know that Lalaloopsy started life as Bitty Buttons? Back in 2010, when the line debut, the adorable button eyed dolls with a rag doll look were called Bitty Buttons and were sold throughout that entire holiday season as such.  Shortly after that, Bitty Buttons dolls started arriving under the name Lalaloopsy.  Speculation is that MGA had to change the name due to copyright.  It was all for the best, though, as Lalaloopsy is by far a better name than Bitty Buttons.

Lalaloopsy Girls

Lalaloopsy Girls

Now, onto the review on hand, Lalaloopsy Girls Peanut Big Top!  Right from the start, these new adorable 1/6 scale Lalaloopsy’s caught my eye!  They truly are ‘sew’ cute!  It was tough choosing my favorite of the Lalaloopsy Girls, but after some deliberation, I decided on Peanut Big Top.  In a  strange way, she reminds me a lot of the current version of Pinkie Pie, from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

The Lalaloopsy Girls are made of the same hard material as the original Lalaloopsy’s. Peanut has dark purple hair.

Curly Hair

Curly Hair

It’s molded around the skull in a side part with two fun pigtails made of curly, comb-able hair made of pliable vinyl.  (It’s not the ‘silly‘ hair or ‘loopy‘ hair we’ve seen in the past.)  I like the style of my dolls hair, but I imagine you could style this pretty easily into braids or lower pig tails.

Cute Face!

Cute Face!

The Lalaloopsy face really lends itself to this smaller size.  It’s adorable, as usual.  Her button eyes and round face make her stand out among other 1/6 scale dolls.  Peanut has baby pink cheek color and red lips.

Hanging out

Hanging out

Her 9″ body shares many of the key elements in your traditional Lalaloopsy body.  Her limbs are slightly over sized in length.  Her torso is, also, long.  Her limbs still have the usual ‘rag doll’ charm to them with her slightly bow-legged legs.  Her arms move just as freely as a Lalaloopsy doll, though Peanut is much easier to prop up for photo shoots!

Outfit

Outfit

Shoes

Shoes

Shoes come off!

Shoes come off!

Peanut wears a stylish outfit inspire by the circus.  Featuring a red ringleader-esc top and a striped black and white skirt, with some fun yellow tool finishing off the look, she radiates fun!  I love this outfit.  It fits her well and helps define her character.  Peanut wears fun pink sneakers, which are removable.

So cute!

So cute!

Peanuts with her elephan

Peanuts with her elephant

Lalaloopsy never ceases to surprise me.  Of all the spin-off lines Lalaloopsy has thrown at us, this is my favorite!  What do you think of MGA‘s new Lalaloopsy Girls?  Share your thoughts below!

September 10, 2014. Tags: , , , . Category: Introductions & Reviews, Category: Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Skipper Highlight Reel- Brunette 50th Anniversary Skipper

While it would be hard to tell from the general lack of media on this, 2014 is Skipper’s 50th anniversary.  In January of this year, Mattel released a blonde reproduction Skipper dressed in her Happy Birthday fashion from 1965.  It quickly sold out (and by quickly, I mean in less than a week).  I had the misfortune of missing the blonde January release.

While part of me was slightly upset about missing this, being a Skipper collector first and foremost, I didn’t make it a priority to purchase on the second hand market.  The prices were too high for a doll that pretty much mimicked the 30th anniversary doll (albeit in porcelain).

Many people contacted Mattel regarding the super short release of the blonde Skipper and eventually,  Mattel announced a re-release, this time in brunette.  This release, I was totally on board with!  A brunette reproduction?  Okay.  Take my money.

50th Anniversary Skipper

50th Anniversary Skipper

Bill Greenings 50th Anniversary Skipper doll was worth the wait.  While I do think $40 is a bit much for a doll that doesn’t come with a second outfit, Mattel did a great job with this release.  She definitely looks the part and besides her legs not feeling vintage’y, she’s feels and looks like a proper reproduction.

50th Anniversary Skipper

50th Anniversary Skipper

Personally, I wanted a little more hoopla from Mattel regarding Skipper’s anniversary.  A box set with re-productions from throughout Skipper’s history or even a new vintage  set with Barbie and Skipper in matching reproduction outfits would have been great.

50th Anniversary Skipper

50th Anniversary Skipper

My biggest beef with this release is dressing Skipper in the Happy Birthday outfit (been there, done that).  This would have been a great opportunity to showcase something else.  In the same respect, I would have loved to see a doll case or some fun novelty items with Skipper graphics, not just a t-shirt.  That being said, Mattel still has time to do some more fun Skipper stuff, so my fingers are crossed they’ll surprise us with more!

50th Anniversary Skipper

50th Anniversary Skipper

What do you think of the 50th Anniversary Skipper?  If you could have designed one Skipper item for this 50th, what would it have been?  Share your thoughts below!

And of course, don’t forget to check out my other Skipper Highlight Reel posts!

September 10, 2014. Tags: , . Category: Articles and Doll Histories, Category: Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Walking the Toy Aisle

My mom and I recently took a walk through Toys R Us.  Here’s what we saw while Walking the Toy Aisle!

Fun and Colorful

Secret Door

I love the look of this Barbie and the Secret Door doll.  It reminds me of the lemon head Kelly’s from the early 2000’s.

Barbie

Pink and Fabulous Barbie

Barbie

My Fab Fashions Summer

Ken and Barbie 2 Pack

Ken and Barbie 2 Pack

Barbie

Barbie

Usually, Barbie is on this least for less than positive reasons.  However, I think Barbie‘s have been slowly getting prettier of the past year.  Their faces are becoming less inflated and their make up is looking much better. There are still some scary ones, but Mattel’s design team is going in the right direction.

Mystix

Mystixx

Mystix

Mystixx

Color me shocked– Mystixx are still going strong.  Here’s a look at the Rococo Zombie’s line.

Moxie

Moxie Ice Cream Bike

This is such a cute set!  What a great prop!

Merida and Horse

Merida and Horse

This is one of the prettiest Merida‘s I’ve seen.  And her horse– love it!

MLP

MLP

MLP

MLP

Pony Mania has taken over the Pony aisle!  As Zecora is one of my favorite My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters, it’s not super shocking she’s one of my favorite Equestria Girls!

MLP

MLP

MLP

MLP

Not only were there new Equestria Girls, but there were a lot of new Pony Mania ponies in usual size.

LPS Rooms

LPS Rooms

If you haven’t seen the Littlest Pet Shop rooms, check them out. They’re adorable!

Mario Kart

Mario Kart

So this is not a toy, but how cool is this kid friendly Mario Kart?

Heads up, I picked up a Yuki Kimono Lalaloopsy for $15.00 today at Toys R Us, so if you’re in the market for one, you may want to stop in this week! Have you seen anything new, awe inspiring or just plain wacky in the toy aisles?  Share your thoughts below!

September 4, 2014. Tags: . Category: Articles and Doll Histories, Category: Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Dolly Review: Monster High Freaky Fusion Bonita Femur

My favorite of the three new Freaky Fusion girls is Bonita Femur, which is surprising, seeing as her promo shot was my least favorite.  Part moth, part skeleton, she’s pretty awesome.  Like the other three girls (Avea and Sirena), she has the ability to stand on her own, due to her large wings.

Bonita

Bonita

Starting from the top, Bonita has long rooted white hair, highlighted with streaks of pink and black.  It’s styled in a pony tail. When compared to other Monster High dolls, this style is very simple. However, it works for Bonita.  Any other style would cover up her wings, which are the standout piece on this doll.

Bonita

Bonita

She has a plastic hair accessory, that, honestly, I don’t feel does much to add to the outfit or hair style.  It also looks a little fragile.  If you are giving this to a child who plays around others who might put small things in their mouth, you may want to keep an eye on this hair piece.

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita has pink skin and moth like ears.  I love her ears.  They look great on her and are a nice change from the usual ear molds.

Bonita

Bonita

She has purple features, including purple eye brows and eyes.  She has heavily painted eye lashes, highlighted with a light yellow eye shadow.  What I love about Bonita’s eyes are their size and shape.  They are bug like, but not too bug like.  Bonita has deep mauve lips, with purple liner.

Bonita

Bonita

Being half moth, half skeleton, Bonita has a very interesting body.  Her torso is all skeleton.  It’s wrapped in a clear plastic binding to help her outfit fit properly.  Her arms and hands are, also, skeleton-like.

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Her legs, however, are all moth.  They are molded to look fur-like.  The mix of creatures is pretty interesting and works well.

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita is dressed in a black dress with dark pink lacing embellishments.  Colorful moth designs finish the look.  Bonita wears a plastic yellow belt that matches her yellow shoes.  It’s a nice outfit choice.  I like the uneven cut on the skirt.  The colors look great on her light pink skin.

For having a huge pair of wings on her back, the outfit fit well and seems to stay on as it should.  Mattel did a good job at designing an outfit that shows off her neat spine and wings and covers what it should.

Bonita

Bonita

By far the coolest feature on Bonita are her wings.  They look so neat in person and, while they do take up more space than usual, they allow her to stand on her own without the usual hit or miss Monster High stand.  Her yellow wings are outlined in a bright pink that moves into a black towards the bottom. The wings are one piece and are removable.  I, personally, don’t plan on removing them.  The center of the wings is very spine-like, bringing in the idea of her being part skeleton.

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita

Bonita may take up twice the space on my shelving, but she’s totally worth it.  She’s a great edition to the Monster High line with her cool wings and unique eyes.

What do you think of Freaky Fusion Bonita?  Share your thoughts below.

September 4, 2014. Tags: , , , . Category: Introductions & Reviews, Category: Uncategorized. 3 comments.

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