Partial Mail Call

I’m so unmotivated to take pictures right now.  I can’t explain it.  😦  Anyway, because of that, there’s a lot of stuff I want to show you that I didn’t end up taking pictures of.  (This is, after all, like two and a half months’ worth of purchases we’re talking about.  And I’ve been down in the dumps, which means I’ve been spending more money, ’cause I’m a moron.)  Hopefully I’ll get motivated later on and take more pictures.  Hopefully better ones, too.

Anyway.  So new clothes and wigs were something I wanted to fill you in on.  I finally got Ivy some new shoes:

There’s something massive about them that doesn’t really come across in the photo:  in person, they’re like a girly version of the Frankenstein monster’s boots.  And they don’t entirely match Ivy’s butterfly outfit.  (Though I’m admittedly at a loss to guess what would match it.)  Fortunately, I got her a new outfit that matches her rainbow booties, but I’ll show you that a little later on.

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Toffee Doll

So, my last April Alternative Challenge post is a new doll I got a while back off Amazon, from a line I’d really never heard of before.  The line is called Toffee, and I’d see them sometimes on the “customers also viewed these items” links at the bottom of the page for other dolls I was looking at.  (Can’t even remember which other dolls showed those links.  Maybe it was some of the less common Pullip dolls…)

I had looked at a few of the Toffee dolls and found them intriguing, but not quite enough to be worth their price, as they tended to be Pullip-priced, or higher.  Then a while back I saw one that was much cheaper, and decided to go ahead and pick her up.  (This was before Amazon screwed me over regarding the Cupoche Alice, of course.  Have I even told you guys about that yet?)

This doll was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive, tying in with the Hellboy comic.  (As you might guess from the box. 😛 )  Clearly, someday I need to go to San Diego to experience their Comic Con.  Seems like they get the most amazing exclusive dolls. Continue reading

Monster High Minis

I had hoped that week three of the April Alternative Challenge could be Princess Elizabeth.  (Which would have been especially appropriate today, since it’s the Queen’s birthday.)  Alas, she’s still at the dolly hospital. 😦  And if I’d had more time, I could have put up a really freakin’ awesome Princess of Power post (it will be coming eventually, I hope) but I have two major projects due on Monday, so I’ve been freaking out trying to get them done.  (And they still aren’t done, either.  I have to go back to the library on Sunday (skipping work!) and possibly on Monday, too.)

So this post is sort of slap-dash.  For which I apologize.

Anyway, so maybe you’ve seen the tiny, ragdoll-like Monster High Minis in stores, if you frequent the Monster High aisle.  (I know many don’t, especially since the reboot.)  They’re about as tall as the distance from the knuckle of my thumb to the tip (wow, that’s a precise measurement!) and super-cute, but Mattel’s sort of tricksy about them:  they sell some in sets where you can see what you’re getting, and the rest in blind boxes.  The visible sets get you hooked on the cuteness, and include little fliers to show you all the other ones you’re missing out on, and then you end up buying the blind box ones….and I’ve been kind of hooked on blind box figures lately anyway.  (Though that’s another post entirely. 😛 )

So I was trying to resist the lure of getting anything other than the packaged sets.  Then I was at Walmart looking for various stuff I didn’t find, and found an 8-figure set of Season 2 of the Monster High Minis (why do blind box figures get “Seasons” instead of something more normal?) and I just had to get it.  Mainly for these two:

Pineapple Deuce.  Pineapple.  Deuce.

How could I resist?

There were some other really cool ones in the set, too:

These two were exclusive to the set.  (Actually, I think the two fruity ones may have been, too…not that “fruity” is what they call them…) They’re also the only “gem” ghouls in the season.

So, a werewolf mermaid…is a weremaid?  Merwolf?   Yeah, I think I like that one…

 

Anyway, the background on the set had super-adorable illustrations of a strawberry Draculaura and a lemon Rochelle, so I found myself studying the little flier inside for the whole contents of Season 2, and there are so many of them that I just need, in that awful doll-collecting itchy way.  (Or maybe Clawdeen’s fleas feared the ocean water and jumped onto me?)

And then I had a look at the flier for Season 1 out of one of the packaged sets, and found that it actually had some pretty cool stuff, especially the space ghouls:

Though, honestly, I didn’t get this Frankie from a blind box.  I got her with the carrying case…

Most of those 28 minis came from sets of 3 (and the set of 8), but there have been a few blind box purchases, too…just enough that there’s actually one more mini than can fit in the case.  (I’m hoping Season 2 when it gets fully released will have a different case, maybe with more room, a more transparent cover, and a new mini to go with it.  But I’d settle for just a different mini…)

I guess this one’s supposed to be the new ghost, but to me she’s Spectra.  Because they have the same color scheme and all.  Anyway, she’s the odd one out, but she still has a home to live in, ’cause most of the blind box minis come in nice, interlocking lockers…

See?  She’s got a nice flat in a small high-rise.

But it seemed a bit lonely this way…

…so I let some of my other blind box figs move in, at least for the time being. 😛


Well, I realize that’s not been much of a post, but I have to go make dinner and then finally get to work on my school work for the day.  (I had to go to work today, so I didn’t have much time to work on my projects.)


Oh, I almost forgot!  There’s a project on Kickstarter right now to start a Fashion Doll Museum.  If anyone out there is interested, check it out — and pass it along to anyone else who might be interested, too!

Kimport Dolls

For the second week of the April Alternative Challenge, I thought I’d do a little something different.  Instead of showing you part of my collection yet again, this time I’m going to tell you something about dolls I don’t have.

Kimport was a company based in Independence, Missouri.  (Independence, btw, was the birthplace of Harry Truman, but it’s now generally viewed as more-or-less a suburb of Kansas City.  I haven’t got an opinion on that, personally.  Though I think I’ve been there once…)  Run by the McKim family, Kimport imported foreign dolls, and ran a newsletter through which they sold the dolls they imported, as well as selling domestic dolls.  The newsletter started in the 1930s, and went for decades.  (Though I don’t know specifically how long; trying to Google “Kimport” was not useful. 😦  And if you add “dolls” then you just get ten thousand links trying to sell you dolls.  Was there ever a time when search engines were useful for obtaining information, instead of just trying to get you in touch with people who want to sell you things?)

Aaaaaanyway, the Kimport dolls were hand made in traditional (or contemporary) garb of the country in which they were made.  I’ve recently been very interested in these dolls, because the museum where I work has a small binder filled with Kimport newsletters.  A few weeks back, I scanned in all those newsletters.  They were from a brief two year period, starting in 1941.

This is the personalized cover page that was in the binder in front of the newsletters.  (I’ve de-personalized it by blanking out the name of the person to whom this “certificate” was made out.  That seemed uncool, broadcasting someone else’s name like that.  (I think it was the name of the person who donated the binder to the museum, but if so it was her maiden name, rather than her married name.))  As you may or may not be able to tell depending on your screen resolution, the page was signed by Betty McKim, one of the family running Kimport.  Behind this cute little page were a few loose advertisements for dolls, and some blank pages, on one of which the owner had written out the names of the dolls she had gotten from Kimport.  (I really should have scanned that in, too…)

The newsletters weren’t just advertisements for the dolls that Kimport was selling to the members of its doll club.  There were also informational articles about various doll types and manufacturers (articles on unusual materials, on wax and bisque, and articles on Margarete Steiff and Lenci, for example), and even war news.  Seriously.  War news in a doll newsletter.  Not massive amounts of it, but there was one — pre-Pearl Harbor, at that — that started out giving an update on “the situation in Greece.”  (Though of course then it moved on to talking about Greek dolls Kimport had brought in earlier.)  There was even one piece that was half article, half advertisement, talking about how no new doll stands were being made, because the metal was needed for the war effort…but that Kimport still had a few old ones lying around that were still for sale to those who needed them.  Mostly, I want to show you how Kimport advertised the dolls, and how the dolls really look (though there are a few cases where I don’t know what they really look like), but first I want to share a few text-only pieces that I found interesting. Continue reading

Bubbly Bliss (Midi) Blythe

I figured I’d still try to do an alphabet theme for the April Alternative Challenge, so for this first week, a letter from the first quarter of the alphabet.  And that makes a perfect time to show off Stella, Miss Bubbly Bliss, both my first Middie and my first translucent Blythe

I don’t know if it’s because she’s a Middie or if it’s because she’s translucent, but her limbs have a soft, flexible feel to them that my Neo Blythes don’t have.  I feel like her face is more expressive than the Neo Blythes; either because it can be angled as well as turned, or because the wheel to move her eyes gives them a larger range of positions than the four positions for eyechips in a Neo.  (Probably both?)

Her strawberry blonde hair came in two huge banana curls; I’ve done my best to spread them out while not losing the curling waves, but it doesn’t look as good as the promotional photos.  (There’s a shock, right?)

As you can see in this close-up, she has a special color of eyelashes, which are — I think — supposed to match her hair.  This shot also lets you see the stars at the top of the bodice of her dress, and the little bubble-like beads on the straps.

But you may be thinking “wait, didn’t the promotional shots show another accessory?”

This is how I’ve been having her wear her headband between deboxing and today:  loosely balanced on top her head like a rakish little crown.  I really like how it looks this way.

But in the interest of photography, I tried to put it on her “properly,” like a normal headband.  Elastic headbands that go all the way under the back of the head and I, well, we have a troubled relationship.  We’re not really on speaking terms, though I still have a few tossed higgledy-piggeldy on my dresser with an assortment of other hair accessories I don’t use anymore.  But I thought it would be all right on a doll.  The head isn’t constantly moving around and inviting the band to slip, so it should be all good, right?

Wrong.  It might be okay on a Barbie or something, but on a doll whose head is bigger than her body?  Just getting it in place was ridiculously difficult, and then it was messing up her bangs and pushing altogether too much of her hair away from her face.  And when I tried to adjust it a little, I ended up yanking one of the stars off. 😦

So it’s staying a crown on Stella.  (Weirdly, I just stuck the loose star back in place, and it’s staying there.  Even though it had been sewn in place, not glued.)

A nice little comparison shot of the three sizes of Takara Blythes.  Though I could have sworn the Petite was actually facing the camera at the time when I took the photo.  *sigh*  I decided to use Dark Rabbit Hole for this shot instead of Romana so that all three dolls would be stock.  (Even if Stella isn’t wearing her headband “correctly.”)  I wish Petites had the ability to tilt their heads up like Middies.  Or, for that matter, that they just didn’t look so downcast all around.  (That’s one thing at least that can be said for the LPS version:  they look straight ahead instead of down.)

Now, earlier, I said something about how the face of my Haruka (Sailor Uranus) doll had a luminosity that put me in mind of photos of translucent Blythes.

Well, as you can see here, the two types of plastic are decidedly dissimilar, so I’m still at a loss to explain just what it is about the plastic (vinyl?) of that face that’s so unique, so hard to describe.  (Not to mention hard to photograph!)  Just thought I’d tack that on here, since I mentioned it before.


Not a stunning post — Stella deserves better — but it’s better than I’ve done in a while; at least I managed to clear off the photography area in the doll room for some pictures.  But the door into the room’s been kept shut all winter (for a number of reasons, including the cost of heating this house) so the air in there is all strangely stale, and I’m still recovering from being sick, so being in there isn’t good for me right now, and I didn’t want to risk any more photos.  (Oh, speaking of photos, the link to the gallery for this post is here.)

Fortunately, next week’s post is going to be shaking things up a little, and won’t involve any photos of my own doll collection…even though there will still be plenty of doll photos!

And with that little mystery, I shall take my leave. 😉

April and Other Updates

So, for starters, I thought I should admit — as April is almost upon us — that I won’t be doing April A to Z this year.  😦  I’ve enjoyed doing it the past two years, but I have two research projects due this April (in the same class, despite that the “final exam” date is in mid-May) and I’ve been sick all month, so I haven’t been able to get anything done on anything at all.  (In fact, I spent a whole week doing almost nothing but sleeping.)  However, it turns out that there’s a new, less posting-intensive April challenge available, only requiring one post a week (an improvement over my posting here of late), so I’ll be doing that instead.

I’ve found myself going crazy wanting to do doll shopping while I’ve been sick.  Mostly I’ve been able to relegate that to “extensive browsing,” I’m glad to say, but a few orders have been made.  (Of course, what I really wanted was to be able to go doll shopping in person, which probably helped make it easier to resist the online shopping lure to what little extent I was able to do so.)  Alice’s Collections has had a spring promotion going on for some time, wherein you get a massive discount on a tiny little deer BJD (pet-style, not anthropomorphic) if you spend a certain amount of money on accessories, or buy a regular doll over 25 cm.  (And I do mean massive, btw:  $10 instead of $120.  But I also mean tiny, as it’s only 12 cm tall.  But for $10, that’s okay.)  The promotion ends at the end of the month, so I couldn’t wait any longer in the hopes that another sale would kick in to mitigate the cost somewhat.  (And I couldn’t pass it up, ’cause it’s a deer doll!)  Thankfully, I held back from buying a YOSD satyr girl (though I really want one!) and just bought accessories.  I got some new clothes for Arthur (again), some protective garments to protect various dolls from staining, a green wig and green eyelashes for the dark fairy — I mean, dryad — and…uh…I think there was more than that, but I’m having trouble remembering what.  Maybe some clothes for Juliet, too?  Oh, no, that’s right!  Shoes!  I bought some new shoes for Ivy that wouldn’t contrast so badly with her current outfit.  (I still need to get her a different outfit that will match her cute rainbow shoes, though…)  That should be an interesting package when it gets here, but it won’t be for at least a month, because they have to have the deer made.

There have been a few Etsy orders, too.  I ordered some shoes and socks for Betsy, and some white bloomers from Patsy, but they haven’t come yet, because while the shoes and socks were pre-made, the seller has to make the bloomers before the order can ship.  At about the same time I ordered some Mattel dolls from the ’80s and ’90s, mostly because there was one I’ve been wanting for some time now.

(Hint)

And just last night I finally ordered some dresses for the light and dark fairies.  (Well, fairy and dryad.)  It’s been hard to figure any dresses that would work for them, because I want them to be able to wear their wings and their clothes at the same time!  (And most sellers don’t post photos of the backs of the garments to show how low — or not — they are in the back.)  But I think these have low enough backs that they’ll work, and they just look so much like fairy dresses, you know?  My biggest worry is that they may have been made for a slightly more slender doll, and therefore might not fit. 😦  If they don’t, they’ll certainly fit Houston, in which case Ellowyne could wear what Houston is wearing, and one of the fairies might be able to wear Ellowyne’s dress, but…I’m really hoping they’re going to fit, since they’d be so perfect otherwise.

More than anything else, what I’ve really been finding myself drifting towards (almost obsessively) in the past few weeks is the idea of adding a vintage 8″ Betsy McCall to my collection.  I know I looked at some earlier and thought I’d prefer the Tonner version, and it’s not that I’m not happy with the Betsy I have (she’s adorable!) it’s just that somehow the vintage ones have started calling out to me of late.  I’ve found a couple of them that are actually quite affordable (much more so than 8″ Tonner Betsys!) but I’ve been dilly-dallying, not sure which one I wanted to order.  One of them is slightly cheaper and has nicer hair, but the hair is rather similar to my Tonner Betsy.  The other one is slightly more expensive (and has higher shipping) and has less nice hair, but she’s got her shoes.  Both are wearing vintage clothes that don’t particularly appeal to me, but finding them replacement clothes will not be difficult. 😛  (In fact, I’ve found a pair of nice vintage dresses on Etsy, and the seller who made my 14″ Betsy’s dress has some that would look gorgeous on the smaller Betsy, too…though then they’d feel even more like clones than they already would. 😛 )  Before I bought the fairy dresses (about $60, with shipping from Germany), I was thinking I might choose between the two Tiny Betsys and order one soon, but that is not to be after all…

…because this morning I got an e-mail from Ruby Lane about a change to one of the items on my wish list.  I don’t like that they send those e-mails (I keep wish lists so I can find things again, not necessarily to keep abreast of their price fluctuations) but in this case it turned out to my advantage.  The item in question was a 16″ Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll in need of repair work.  Primarily in the form of re-stringing, as she’s in pieces, but her face also needs some re-painting.  The photos aren’t great (or I’d share them), but they seemed good enough to assure me that the doll is actually in pretty good condition other than that she’s unstrung; the crazing seemed minimal, and her eyes are evidently undamaged.  (I think they must be tin, rather than glass.)  Modern Madame Alexander dolls don’t always do much for me, but the old composition ones are lovely, and I’ve been wishing for a long time that they weren’t so deucedly expensive.  So then here’s this girl, reduced down to $25 because of her TLC-needed condition.  I don’t know how much it’s going to cost me to have her fixed up at the doll hospital (if it was just the stringing, I’d try it myself, but I’m not about to try painting her face), but I know the total cost will still be way less than buying one in perfect repair.  Of course, I’ll also have to find her something to wear (she’s only got undies right now), but that won’t be hard to do on Etsy.  Still, her shipping was pretty pricey ($15 shipping feels like a lot on a $25 doll!), and given the doll dresses just last night…8″ Betsy is going to have to wait. 😦  Especially since I’ve so far only worked two days this month, due to my aforementioned sickness.  (Man, my paycheck will be pathetic this month.  Maybe they won’t even bother with it, and they’ll just tack it onto next month’s wages.)  But I’m on my second round of antibiotics now, so hopefully I’ll be back to normal by next week.

Anyway, I thought I should also mention that Bubbly Bliss has arrived, and she is gorgeous. 😀  I’ll do a proper post once I’m not sick and can take proper photos, but I did take a box shot before I freed her from her paperboard prison:

Given all the stars, I’ve decided to name her Stella.  She’s so tiny and cute!  And that translucent skin tone is amazing.  It’s easy to see why the translucent Blythes always sell out so quickly, and then skyrocket in price.  I was a little surprised by the roll wheel in the back to operate her eyes; I guess I was more expecting a little lever like on Pullips.

Once I’m well again — and have gone to the library to research the blasted take-home test (which is configured in such a way that you can’t do your primary research for it over the Internet, because this professor should have retired ten years ago) — I’m hoping to finally do the massive cleaning my place requires, which should let me add more doll shelves (so many more doll shelves!) and finally open some poor lasses (and at least one lad) who have been languishing in their boxes awaiting the day they can be released and join their fellows.  And hopefully I’ll manage to set myself up a nice workspace where I can do face-ups properly.  At this point I’ve got four BJDs (and that little deer on the way) in need of a face-up, and I still want to buy that grape Nano-Rabi from the Junky Spot, though that one probably won’t get any face-up anyway. 😛  (I almost ordered him the other day, actually, but I wanted to add on the DIY eye kit so I could make the perfect new eyes for the dryad, but I realized I didn’t know what size she needed. 😦  I need to take one of her eyes out and measure it, I guess.  Ack, that sounds gross.  I suppose I could also be all pedestrian and contact the artist on Kickstarter and just ask what size the eyes are….)  Anyway, the point of this paragraph is just to say that if things go to plan (like that ever happens), then I’ll probably still be pretty quiet on the posting for a while, but then it should pick up again with a considerable improvement in quality over what there’s been lately.

Sailor Senshi (+ a Comparison)

I’ve been meaning to get these photos taken for a while now, but I’ve been sick.  However, on learning that today is the 236th anniversary of the discovery of the planet Uranus, I realized it just had to be today.

Over…what’s it been, two years?  Well, however long it’s been, as you likely know, Groove’s put out a large number of Sailor Moon Pullip dolls.  And the more they put out, the more I got irritated that I didn’t really know the franchise, so I didn’t know if I wanted the dolls.  (Though obviously, getting them would be a bad idea all around, because I don’t have all the money in the world, and I have already run out of space in this house.)  I kept saying to myself “gee, maybe I should actually watch that show someday.”

Yes, you heard me right.  I’d never seen Sailor Moon before.  Because it came to America at just the wrong time, you know?  I was getting into anime by that point, but I’ve always been a “subtitle only” type of gal.  (Though I’ll make the occasional exception in the case of theatrical Studio Ghibli releases.)  And it was so much a “for kids” production (and I was in my 20s), and it sounded so stupid, and blah blah blah.  So, fast-forward to present day.  One day last year, I went into the used everything store I like to go to, and in one of their toy cases I see three dolls on the top shelf:

Two of them were super-cheap ($9.99 if you can believe it!) and the third was ridiculously not-cheap (I think she was $35.99!) but there they were, and certainly cheaper than the Pullip versions!  Well, one of their sale weekends (when used toys are 33% off) rolled around, and I decided to go ahead and chance it on the cheap ones, because they were so very affordable.

But that left me with two dolls of characters I knew nothing about.  I mean, from the Pullip releases, I knew they were Sailor Neptune and Black Lady, but that was all I knew.  (Well, okay, I knew a little more than that:  I knew what Black Lady’s deal was (sort of) and I knew that Sailor Neptune was half of the lesbian couple that the dub tried to claim were “cousins.”)  So I decided it was high time that I finally watched Sailor Moon.  But the show’s not on Netflix, and trying to buy the DVDs of the whole show was gonna be nuts.  Then my co-worker let me know the show is on Hulu (subtitled, thank God!) so I signed up for that service, and started watching.

And to my surprise, I was really digging it.  I mean, yes, it’s silly and juvenile, but there’s a charm to it.  And the first season had a very Ranma 1/2 feeling to the animation, and especially to the opening credits.  (The fact that Makoto is definitely an escaped Ranma character absolutely added to that feeling, of course.  I so want the SHFigurarts of Sailor Jupiter so she can interact with my SHFigurarts of Ranma-chan…but she’s so freakin’ expensive!)

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