Savannah and Jamie from Maru and Friends

Meet Savannah from Maru and Friends! Savannah is 20″ tall and has a body made completely of vinyl. Her beautiful sculpt was done by doll designer Dianna Effner for this Florida based doll company. I’ve talked about Maru and Friends before here on the blog, reviewing both Maru and Tanya. Today, we’re going to talk about the 20″ Savannah and 13″ Mini Pal Jamie.

Savannah has the most gorgeous face in the Maru and Friends line! Her pale skin paired with the beautiful coppery hair and delicately painted features make Savannah one of my favorites in the series. She has inset blue eyes that sparkle and quality lashes.

Her freckles are adorable and her face shape is perfect! Savannah really does stand out on a doll shelf, even among other dolls in the series.

Savannah wears a cute tan outfit with colorful collars and sleeves. The outfit utilizes velcro, which is a bummer, but it looks great on her. It also allows her joints to move well. I love, love, love her boots! They look great!

As far as articulation is concerned, these dolls do have their limitations. A huge perk of their body is that, because they’re totally vinyl, they stand well. They have good movement in their necks, shoulders and hips. They do not have elbow or knee joints. That being said, the lack of some articulation is fine with me, as these dolls have so much quality in them that I can forgive the exclusion of elbows and knees.

Compared to Savannah, Mini Pal Jamie seems very small. That being said, she’s still 13″, so Jamie is big in her own right! Made of the same quality vinyl as the big dolls and sculpted again by Dianna Effner, the mini dolls are fantastic options for doll collectors who may not have space for a doll as large as Savannah or the other Maru and Friends dolls. Unlike the 20″ line, besides the girls, you can also pick up some male dolls, as well!

Jamie has the same articulation as a 20″ doll. Her skin is paler than Savannah’s– almost too pale for my taste. It’s definitely the most porcelain looking doll in the line, skin tone-wise. Jamie has beautiful tiger eye colored inset eyes and blonde hair that is done up with cute curls in the front. She wears a blue dress that is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

While I like the idea of the Mini Pals, I think I prefer the 20″ dolls. But, these mini dolls are great for those who don’t have the space for the large dolls (not that I have the space, at the moment) or prefer smaller sized dolls.  Either way, I think Maru and Friends are very well made dolls. I love them! What do you think of Savannah and Jamie? What size do your prefer? Let us know in the comment area!

October 17, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Dolly Review: Maru and Friends Tanya

Last year, I reviewed Maru from the Maru and Friends doll line.  To my surprise, I received an e-mail early February from the company asking if I’d review another one of their dolls.  Of course, I said yes!  Up for review today is Maru’s friend Tanya. Tanya is 20″ tall and vinyl.

Meet Tanya!

Meet Tanya!

If you’re familiar with Tanya’s original release, you may notice a small difference in the doll I’m reviewing.  The original release had crimped hair with lots of body.  The second version, the doll I’m reviewing today, has been out for two years and has silky hair with a light curl to it.

Tanya

Tanya

With a face sculpt by Dianna Effner, Tanya is a cutie.  Tanya has a pensive expression, which I love.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that while Maru and Tanya share a sculptor, they’re not identical.  That doesn’t always happen in doll lines of this size.

Maru and Tanya

Maru and Tanya

Her almond eyes are a gorgeous coppery brown, very much like a Tigers Eye (the stone).  They look amazing on her olive colored vinyl.  Just like Maru, she has ‘real’ upper eye lashes and painted on lower lashes.

Tanya

Tanya

Another feature I love on her face are her chubby cheeks, brushed with a light rouge.  Her lips are a natural mauve like color.  If it weren’t for the faces on these dolls, they’d be like any other 18″ doll line.  However, Dianna Effner’s craftsmanship is seen clearly in this series and that is a huge reason why they stand out amongst others.

Tanya

Tanya

And look at her profile. Gorgeous!

Tanya

Tanya

Tanya is wigged.  As I mentioned before, her silky hair is chestnut (with some red shades tossed in for good measure) with a light curl.

Tanya

Tanya

When compared to promo shots, it doesn’t seem to have as much body as you’re lead to believe. However, it feels nice and, while it lacks body, the style (a basic side part) is very cute on her.

Tanya

Maru and Tanya

For the most part, I like Tanya’s outfit.  It’s a knit two piece that consists of a long turquoise sweater with hidden snaps and a belt, and leggings made in the same color.  Under her sweater is a spaghetti strap top and, of course, white undies. I love the sweater.  There are so many small details that they didn’t need to put on her outfit, but did anyway.  Her pockets, for example.  I love them!

Tanya

Tanya

As far as cons, the outfit might do well with another snap, higher on the sweater.  Sometimes, the garment puckers in a weird spot across the chest.  However, I love the color, especially on this dolls skin tone.

Tanya

Tanya

The outfit is completed with black riding boots.  While I like the way they look with the outfit, the shoes seem to hinder Tanya in a way Maru wasn’t.  Tanya has a really hard time standing and I think it has everything to do with the heel on her boots.

Tanya and Maru

Tanya and Maru

To get Tanya to stand while wearing the boots, you have to stand her so her torso pushes forward more so than you might assume.

Maru and Tanya

Maru and Tanya

Tanya

Tanya

Speaking of joints, Tanya has a head that can tilt in multiple directions.  She has shoulder and hip joints, as well.  Tanya doesn’t have joints in her elbows, knees or ankles.

Tanya

Tanya

I hope these dolls receive elbow joints one day.  While her shoulder and hip joints allow her to move well in all directions and hold poses well, elbow joints would be a nice addition to her body.

Tanya

Tanya

As far as quality is concerned, Maru and Friends are completely worth their price point.  They have far more vibrancy than similar lines and have some of the best face sculpts I’ve seen.  I highly recommend taking a peek at Maru and Friends.

Maru and Tanya

Maru and Tanya

Tanya

Tanya

You can find Maru and Friends online, on facebook and on youtube.  If you live in the Florida area, you can actually see these guys in person at one of their showrooms in Miami and Coral Gables.

Do you own Tanya? What do you think of her?  Which Maru and Friends doll is your favorite?  Share your thoughts below!

 

*This product was sent to me for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

March 18, 2015. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 9 comments.

Dolly Review: Maru and Friends Maru

Earlier this month, I wrote a quick introduction to a 20″ doll line called Maru and Friends, in preparation for a Maru review.  Since then, I’ve played around with Maru quite a bit and I am finally ready to give you guys a full review!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Her adorable little face was crafted by Dianna Effner.  The Maru and Friends line was a passion project of doll collector Maritza Gutierrez.  Her goal was to make a doll line that would more realistically represent the girls who were playing with them.  For an overview of the line, check out my earlier introduction post.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

American Girl vs Maru and Friends vs A Girl for All Time

American Girl vs Maru and Friends vs A Girl for All Time

Right off the bat, I was surprised by how Maru towered over other dolls within her price bracket.  At 20″ tall, she’s taller than both American Girl and A Girl for All Time.  She’s completely vinyl, which gives her body a nice weight to it. She feels substantial and well made, warranting the price tag of just over $120.00.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru has well working joints, possibly the best joints I’ve seen on a doll of this size.  Her neck tilts in all directions.  It holds its pose well and allows for a lot of movement.  Continuing down, her shoulders and hip are jointed.  They also hold their poses surprisingly well.   Unfortunately, Maru is missing the ever important elbow joint, so she can’t carry items as well as I would like.  Her arms do have a nice curved look to them, though.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru stands like a champ.  Even with her arms in various poses, she balances on her own.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Wigged, Maru has hair that is easy to style.  They even offer styling services through the company, much like American Girl.  In Maru’s case, she has nicely wigged dark brown hair that goes down her back and fringe/bangs.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

The thing I like most about Maru is her adorable, childlike face.  The inset, glass like eyes and ‘real’ eyelashes are two features that really make Maru’s eyes pop. The almond shape of her eyes looks really nice, too.  This doll definitely smiles with her eyes.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Her round face features full cheeks, a cute nose and mauve lips.  Maru has light coloring above her eye lids and light blushing on her cheeks.  Overall, her face is relatively clear of heavy make up.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru comes dressed in an outfit that has 9 pieces total, which is a lot considering what her competition comes with.  Accessories that American Girl would charge extra for, like Maru’s purse and hat, come packaged with Maru from the get go.

Maru and friends

Maru and friends

Her outfit itself includes a three quarter sleeve orange shirt, a striped orange vest, an orange scarf, a brown corduroy skirt, brown tights, white undies and brown boots.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

There’s so many pieces to this outfit, I’m amazed.  The number of separates shows that those behind Maru and Friends tried to put out a doll that was worth the price, which is a very good thing.  How is the quality of the clothing? It’s on par with other companies in the 20″ doll market and fits well.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Now, the one thing that bugs me a little?  I don’t know of any other doll that is similar enough in size to interchange outfits.  My American Girl’s stuffed torso is much wider than this vinyl Maru and A Girl for All Time is much shorter.  A reader messaged me about asking if she might fit Karito Kids clothing, but as I don’t own one of those, I don’t know for sure.  If anything, that might be the closest to this doll in height, but I have a feeling they might be thinner than Maru and Friends due to Karito’s fabric torso.  As others have commented on my introduction post and box opening, it is annoying when a doll is so specific in size that it can’t wear other doll line’s outfits.  I realize they want you to purchase Maru and Friends brand clothing, but still, it would be really, really nice if we could find a doll line that might be in line with this one, outfit wise. EDIT: It looks like Petalina, based in the UK, sells outfits that are Maru friendly!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru comes with a certificate of authenticity and a picture book.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru is a beautiful doll.  Her face is really captivating with the glossy brown almond eyes.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

I had a ton of fun photographing her for this review!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

If I could suggest any improvements, they would be these: I would love to have seen elbow joints on her.  I think elbow joints would have opened her up to a lot more pose-ability.  Also, I would work on the website a bit to make sure the finalized dolls are the most prominent graphics.  For example, owner images of Tanya have different hair than the product page and Maru is shown wearing two different outfits on her product page, making it hard to tell what outfit you actually receive when you order.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Is Maru worth the cost?  Totally.  I will always be a fan of American Girl dolls, but they’re falling behind a bit when compared to dolls like A Girl for All Time and Maru and Friends.  For more information on Maru and Friends, check out their website.  You can also find them on Facebook or you can visit them in person if you live in the Florida area.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

What do you think of Maru from Maru and Friends? Leave your thoughts below!

*This doll was sent to me for a fair and honest review.  All opinions stated are my own.

July 22, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 29 comments.

Introducing: Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends made its debut in 2008.  The doll line was the brainchild of  Maritza Gutierrez, a doll collector turned doll designer.  To help bring her vision to life, she enlisted world renowned doll sculptor Dianna Effner to give her dolls a realistic, childlike look. If you’ve been collecting long and have an eye for porcelain dolls, you most likely know that name, as it’s graced the insides of doll magazines for years!  (Her Expressions site has some interesting doll making tutorials you may want to check out!)

At 21″ tall, these dolls are similar in size (about 4″ taller) and price to A Girl for All Time and American Girl.  Maru and Friends are made of vinyl and have jointed shoulders and hips.  Their head tilts in all directions.

The line currently consists of five characters.  The character that brings the line together is Maru, a Latina doll.  When we meet Maru, she is traveling to America from her home country to live with her aunt and uncle.  At school, she meets other girls in similar, but different situations.

Maru and her Friends

Maru and her Friends

Maru’s friends include Tanya, Raven, Jamie and Savannah.  My favorite of her friends is Raven.  Savannah is, also, very cute, with her ginger hair.

Outfits for Maru and Friends

Outfits for Maru and Friends

Outfits for Maru and Friends

Outfits for Maru and Friends

Of course, a doll needs outfits.  Maru and Friends offers a nice variety of clothing for the line.  Outfits include the adorable bathing suit line, collectable outfits (like the Cozy Collection above) and cute ‘fashionista’ fashions (also pictured above).  The sweater set is adorable, isn’t it?  I, also, like the Rock Star look that Tanya is modeling in the pictures above.

Friends Forever Armoire

Friends Forever Armoire

Maru and Friends have some pretty cute furniture pieces, too.  The color scheme isn’t terribly exciting, they’re all stark white, but the sets look like they are well made.

Tea Table

Tea Table

Color would add a lot to these furniture pieces, but I like the look of them.  The bunk bed is my favorite.

Sleepover Fun Bunk Bed

Sleepover Fun Bunk Bed

Maru and Friends dolls are wigged and have hair that is easy to comb and style.  They even offer styling services!  Those in the Florida area can see these dolls in person at Aventura Mall, Town Center at Boca Raton and Coral Gables. Check the website for exact addresses or call the number below.

Maru and Friends Florida Locations

Maru and Friends Florida Locations

It looks like they host a good number of activities and even do tea parties!  If you can’t make the trip to Florida, don’t fear– you can order these dolls online, too.  For more information on Maru and Friends, check out their website or visit their facebook page.

Why am I writing about this company, other than the fact that the dolls look adorable?  Well, I received one for review and wanted to give you a little insight into the doll before posting a full overview of Maru. When she arrived,  I put together a box opening video!  It’s been live on my YouTube channel for a week or so now, but, in case you missed it, here’s your ‘first look’!

A full review is on the way, so stay tuned!  Until then, why not check out the Maru and Friends website and let me know what your favorite doll, outfit or furniture piece is!

*Photo credit: http://www.maruandfriends.com

July 6, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Dolly Review: Tonner’s My Imagination Starter Doll

For the past two years, I’ve seen My Imagination, Tonner‘s vinyl 18″ doll line, on display at New York Toy Fair. It took a while, but I finally have one to review here for the blog. Sent for review from Tonner, today’s review is a My Imagination Starter Doll (Ginger/Redhead).

Tonner's My Imagination

This My Imagination doll is 18″ tall and completely vinyl. There’s no plush torso on this girl! Because of this, she stands well once you position her properly. She’s the basic version of the doll, not the deluxe, so unfortunately, that means she has limited articulation. (The deluxe version with knee joints and a removable wig has yet to be released.) Her head has a nice range of motion.

Tonner's My Imagination

She also has shoulders and hips that swivel out in all directions. The My Imagination Starter doll (who doesn’t seem to have a character name) does not have elbow and knee joints. Her body has some weight to it and her limbs are sculpted nicely. She has well sculpted hands and feet, too, which sometimes get forgotten on these larger dolls.

Tonner's My Imagination

The redheaded My Imagination Starter doll wears a yellow sun dress with white polka dots. The finishing touch? Cute, simple, white sandals with velcro straps. While basic, the look is super cute. It allows the unique face sculpt to shine!

Tonner's My Imagination

Speaking of the sculpt, I love the My Imagination face. With its round shape, chubby cheeks and large almond, inset eyes, the My Imagination look is striking. It’s a quirky sort of face and I can see some similarities to Magic Attic, which Robert Tonner had a hand in, as well.  Now, this may be my imagination (pun intended), but to me, her eyes seem to be asymmetrical. Her inset eyes (with ‘real’ lashes) are a glossy, vibrant yellow color, almost like Tigers Eye (the stone).

Tonner's My Imagination

They look really great, considering the strange color choice. In promo photos, her eyes look green, but my doll definitely has golden yellow eyes. She has light blushing on her cheeks and a childlike look to her.

Tonner's My Imagination

The My Imagination wig, non-removable, is something I’ve heard mixed things about. Some people think it’s fine, while others have told me they felt it was cheaply made. I stand in the middle. As far as the cut and style, I love the basic ginger bob. It looks fantastic on this sculpt. I personally prefer this face mold with short hair. The basics with long hair are nice, but this face, in my opinion, calls for a shorter hairdo.

Tonner's My Imagination

As far as the quality of the wig, I can see where people have found fault. My doll, which because it was sent for review could be a ‘second’, has a lot of flyaways and ‘shorter than they should be’ hairs. Her wig also has a very dry feeling to it. I expected it to be softer to the touch. I’d imagine that if you had a starter doll with longer hair, the dry wig would be the cause of more irritation. For me, with this short bob’d look, it’s not a huge problem.

Tonner's My Imagination

One of the nice things about My Imagination is that Tonner is able to produce a ton of adorable outfits based on their licensed properties, like DC and Wizard of Oz. (I personally would love to see a Gone with the Wind inspired outfit for My Imagination one day!) Sent alongside this doll was an outfit, specifically, Glinda‘s from The Wizard of Oz. This pink dress has all the flair necessary for an 18″ play doll. (Notice, if you visit the product site for this outfit, the ginger haired starter doll looks to have blue eyes, not green or this doll’s golden eyes.)

Tonner's My Imagination

The dress, baby pink in color, has a butterfly decorated bodice and a long flowy skirt decorated with sparkly sequins. The dress uses velcro, just like the basic dolls sun dress. Now, with this dress, you’ll want to be careful with the velcro. There were a few times when I thought I was going to snag the fish net fabric of the dress when I accidentally hit it with the velcro. Below is a photo of this My Imagination doll with Wilde Imaginations Patience, also playing the role of Glinda.

Tonner's My Imagination

Besides that, though, the dress fits the My Imagination body great. It’s not too tight for her and doesn’t choke her torso. The sleeves have a tendency to fall down, but look great at both her elbow and shoulder.  The look is completed with a tall pink crown that fits really well and looks surprisingly good with this dolls red hair. She also wears a pair of pink flats.

Tonner's My Imagination

Overall, I adore this My Imagination doll. She may not have many points of articulation and the wig may be a little dry, but her sculpt is fantastic. I really do adore her face sculpt, especially her eyes. Some may find them slightly eerie, because of their shape, color and unevenness, but I love the unique look Tonner’s My Imagination has. I am looking forward to the day when Tonner releases more dolls in new and different sculpts and skin tones. (Currently, all the starter dolls have the same face mold and skin tone.)

Tonner's My Imagination

For comparisons sake, I thought I’d group Lydia (A Girl for All Time), Maru (Maru and Friends) and this My Imagination together for a photo. You’ll notice the My Imagination doll falls right in the middle of these height wise. All three brands have unique faces and, in my opinion, are fantastic examples of what 18″ dolls should look and feel like!

Tonner's My Imagination

What do you think of Tonner’s My Imagination line? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

May 31, 2016. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 8 comments.

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