Don’t frighten the seafood.

LOL, sorry, that garbled nonsense was in a spam I just deleted, and I had to use it! 😀

Also, I’m sorry I’ve been flaking out so much lately.  (Like having just forgotten Blind Box Monday for the second time in three weeks.)  I think the combination of April A-to-Z and April CampNaNo is too much for me, even without classwork.  (Though things have been pretty stressful offline in other ways…)

Here’s what this post was supposed to be called:

Feves

I just discovered these recently.  Fèves are the little things they put in Epiphany Cakes in France to…um…make someone win Epiphany?  Sorry, I’m not religious…and I’ve spent too long on Wikipedia already today, working on an A-to-Z post, so I really don’t want to go look it up right now.  Thing is, I think traditionally they’re supposed to be just little ceramic babies.  Only at some point, some clever person in France decided that that was boring, and that they should make them more interesting.

And oh boy did they succeed! 🙂

I found this shop on Etsy called ValueARTifacts that specializes in feves.

So.  Freakin’.  Cool.

I bought a lot of them (though I wanted to buy so many more!), but I’ve only got a few pictures so far.

How could I resist such a cool miniature replica of the Nike of Samothrace?  The photo doesn’t really do it justice, either; it’s incredibly hard to photograph something this small and get all the detail.  (Though at least I got most of the detail.  It’s just the one spot on top of the chest that’s washed out.)

I got a couple more photos to give you a sense of scale…

“It’s okay, I caught it! No damage done…unless she had a head when we started…”

😀  My pre-order of the Super Sailor Jupiter SHFigurarts arrived a day or two before the feves, so it seemed fitting to have her show off how their scale compares to 1/12 scale.  (Speaking of feves and Sailor Moon, a different store on Etsy had a set of feves from the early ’90s that consisted of the five inner senshi…unfortunately, it was about $115, which is way more than I want to pay for something that small…though if it had been the outer senshi, I might have paid it anyway…)

“How cute! A little Winged Victory paperweight!”

Speaking of washed out, the feve is really washed out in this shot. 😦

Anyway, I did photograph one other feve…ironically, because I was planning on using it in April A-to-Z, only then I changed my mind about what to use for “P” and ended up not using it after all:

(There was this whole series of “Babylonian” ones, and I couldn’t resist getting the sets with this guy, Gilgamesh, and the lamassu…)  I had planned on using it in my April A-to-Z because my theme is mythological figures used by the Megami Tensei super-series of video games, and then covering the original myths, and I had planned on doing Pazuzu for “P”:

Image copyright Atlus, but provided by the MegaTen Wiki. Click for link.

You can see why I wanted to show off the feve! 😀

Anyway, as the Sailor Moon example proves, the feves aren’t all based on ancient cultures…though all the ones I ended up buying were.  *cough*  Even though the Hermes with the Infant Dionysos is hardly worthy of Praxiteles’ original.  (But I couldn’t resist it!  I love that statue.  I’d love to see the real thing someday…)  They’re a bit small for Blythe and Pullip, for the most part (depending on what the feve represents), but they’re dollhouse perfect. 🙂  I’m probably going to be using them for little mini-rewards to myself for getting things done… 😉

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I apologize for the text-only post, but I can’t hold this back.  I’m just so disappointed.

Lately, it’s seemed like Mattel was really working to repair Barbie’s bad reputation.  They introduced new body types that were less sexualized and slightly more realistic.  They just announced three new dolls in the Sheroes line, two whose appearance had utterly nothing to do with their success and importance (Katherine Johnson and Amelia Earhart), and one whose appearance only impacted on her career in so far as she painted a lot of self-portraits (Frida Kahlo).

Things were looking up.

And then…they collapsed back down again.

Today during my lunch break, I saw a post about how Mattel has whored Barbie out to a cosmetics corporation to flog their product.  Seriously, Mattel, think before you act!  This is exactly the kind of crap that gave Barbie a bad rep in the first place!

At least they had the sense to see to it that they wouldn’t be put on sale in the US, but still!  This is the age of the internet, so it’s not like American consumers won’t find out about it.  People will find out about it, and then there will be even more of those online “essays” about the evils of Barbie, trying to make me feel like I’m a traitor against womankind for buying the occasional Barbie.

I’ve never been bothered by the random announcements of clothing line collaborations, since Barbie’s always been something of a clothes horse, but make-up?  Really?  How shallow can you get?!  Why is make-up even still a thing?  It’s not as though normal people on the street need or should use it.  It’s a necessary evil for performers on stage or film, but regular people?  It serves no purpose!

Ugh…

I could — and kind of want to — go off on a very long rant about the pointlessness of make-up and how terrible it is that people are still pushing make-up at little girls, but since the thing that prompted this is make-up for adults, I’ll hold off on that one.

I just…I am really ticked off about this.  Maybe that’s irrational, but I can’t help it.

1990s onward

We’re starting with one I was actually tempted to put in the 1980s…

Anyone else out there who’s my age probably doesn’t need me to tell them I’ve named this doll “Darla.”

For those who do need me to tell them that, let me explain:  this doll’s costume is almost identical to one worn by the henchwoman (and fashion model) Darla in 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.  I really, really wanted to find a photograph of the actress in the dress, or at least a convenient YouTube clip showing the scene in question, but none of the clips seemed to be the right scene (even though it’s really funny, with Diana Rigg mocking three high fashion dresses (which her character had designed)) and I couldn’t find any photos of it, either.  (Irritatingly, there were lots of photos and clips from later in the scene, after the three henchmodels left and Miss Piggy came in.  Which, I suppose, is not surprising, now that I think about it.)

Anyway, Darla here is a CED doll, designed by Laura Meisner and Doug James, and was probably released sometime between 2003 and 2006.  Officially, her name is Colin Elia Dehan, and she’s supposed to be an African-American of Nigerian heritage, but she’s totally Darla, which makes her African-English.  (Um, probably.  Carla, Marla and Darla didn’t have much in the way of dialog, so maybe they’re not English?  (I mean, nationality didn’t seem to mean much in that movie; Charles Grodin didn’t put on an English accent, despite playing Diana Rigg’s brother.)) Continue reading

1980s, Part One

We’re starting the 1980s right at the beginning with a doll released in 1980:

No, I don’t have one in box. This image is from the Strong Museum of Play. Click for link.

I wanted to include that photo so that everyone could see exactly how Mattel decided to title the doll.  (Not to mention the text under the title!)

Now this one, I do own. 😀  And just as the box promised, she is beautiful. 🙂 Continue reading

1960s with the Barbie Family (Sort Of)

I’m stepping up the pace here, covering two dolls instead of one.  Luckily, there’s a theme…

Yeah, don’t get excited.  This is the 1990s reproduction.  (Hence the “sort of” in the title of the post.)  I would love to have one of the real thing, but they cost about $800, minimum, so…not happening.  Not without the invention of time travel.

I like this view better, because it almost hides the fact that she’s only wearing one shoe. 😛  If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you’ve seen both this doll and these clothes before.  The repro Francie was in my post about the petite Barbie I got, and the reproduction of the Gad About fashion (which came on the reproduction of the Caucasian Francie) was in my post on…um…well, I called it a “clone” post, but most of the dolls are more “similar to” than “clone of” type dolls.

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Blind Box Monday

So, this was an impulse buy (as most blind box figures are, after all), influenced by two factors.  One, I liked the package. 😛  Two, the display promised that the rare find was a purple glitter pet.  And I love things that are purple and things that glitter.

I’d like the hard plastic doll purse better if it didn’t say “Barbie” on it.  I mean, that’s fine if I want a Barbie to carry it, but what if I thought it would match a Pullip’s outfit?  Or a Lammily outfit?!

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AZIAM Yoga Doll Niyama – Comparison and (sort of) Review

I have literally been planning this post since December.  I bought this doll as part of a Black Friday sale.  That’s how long I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to take pictures.  (Although the lack of good photography space around here is a large part of it.  To the extent that I literally took all these dolls over to my brother’s (much cleaner) house to take the photos.)

Anyway, AZIAM Yoga Dolls is a new(ish) line of dolls with a mission.  And I’m feeling too lazy to try to paraphrase it, so I’m going to quote their website instead:

The AZIAM Girlz brand is dedicated to teaching girlz to love who they are, as they are. Using the basics of Yoga to teach positive self- and social- awareness, we have designed clothing, accessories, bags, yoga products, jewelry, headwear, games, programs and books to make the Yoga experience more colorful for our Goddess in Progress™.

And so on.  So this is an independent doll line attempting to bolster girls’ self-image and helping them build up a positive outlook on life, et cetera.  A noble goal, well worth supporting.  (And OMG, when I was on the site to get that quote, I noticed they have a plush meditating cat.  I think I may need that.)  I’ve been keeping tabs on the prices since reading about their Toy Fair 2016 appearance at Confessions of a Doll Collector’s Daughter.

So, way back in late November when I bought this doll, there were two dolls on the site that got the maximum sale.  One was a Californian blonde, and the other was a Brazilian brunette.  Obviously, I went with the brunette.  (I mean, okay, yeah, I have lots of brunette dolls, too, but…I’m pretty sure blondes still outnumber everything else.  (I’m looking at you, Mattel.)  It would have been cooler if the redhead or the African-American had been on the sale, but they weren’t.  I’m not even sure they were in stock.  I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen that website list them as being in stock, in fact.)

So here’s Niyama in her box…in a really lousy photo. 😦

And here she is out of her box, in a much less lousy photo. 😛  In person, the first thing that always strikes me when I look at her is how odd her skin tone is.  It doesn’t really feel like a shade found in human beings, though I lack the appropriate terminology to explain why.  (I think the brown needs a touch more red in it?  Maybe?  I don’t know…it’s more of a gut reaction than anything logically definable, and the color doesn’t come through totally accurately in the photos.)  Probably the first thing you noticed in looking at the picture is that her knee joints are really ugly. 😉  Nothing to be done about that; the design is necessary to give her the full range of motion required.

Okay, the title promises a (sort of) review, so let me get that out of the way before I get to the comparisons, which will make up the bulk of the post.  (And will contain large amounts of nude dolly yoga, so be forewarned!)  Her range of motion — as you’ll see in a moment — in the legs is impressive, and well worth the unattractive joints required.  The clothes are nicely made, and her accessories, while nothing special, are quite acceptable.  The box proclaims that her yoga mat can turn into a “Girl Power Cuff”, AKA a slap bracelet, which is true…and also means that her yoga mat is really, really narrow.  You’ll see it in one of the photos below.  As to her clothes, I don’t know if she can really share clothes with any other dolls.  Maybe Barbie.  I forgot to check that, unfortunately.  (Although as I was dressing her again after the yoga photos, I started putting Barbie’s pants back on her by mistake, and they were fitting, so I think she probably can wear at least some Barbie clothing.)

One of the main selling points on any doll is, of course, the doll’s face.  And that’s where it all gets largely subjective.  Unfortunately, I look at the faces of this doll line, and I’m not impressed.  Something about them just doesn’t speak to me.  They’re a little like Winx faces, but not quite as charismatic, or something.  But, as I said, it’s subjective.  I don’t much care for the faces, but I can only speak for me:  I’m sure there are others who like them, and I haven’t the foggiest where the majority opinion lies on the subject.  (Actually, the majority probably lies with “never heard of it/don’t care.”)

Okay, so moving on to the comparisons!  The main comparison, of course, will be a Made-to-Move Barbie.  Specifically, the African-American one from the first wave:

But there will also be cameo comparisons with other dolls, two of them new.  (One, in fact, literally arrived the day I took these photos!)  So before I get on with the comparisons, let me introduce the new dollies.

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