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. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†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. ūüė¶ ¬†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. ūüėõ ¬†(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. ūüėõ ) ¬†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. ūüė¶ ¬†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. ūüėÄ ¬†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. ūüėõ ¬†(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. ūüė¶ ¬†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.

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Madame Alexander

Since one of my two Cyber Monday purchases from Amazon was a new Madame Alexander play doll, I thought I’d also show the few other Madame Alexander dolls in my collection. ¬†(The other purchase was a copy of the Loeb version of the¬†Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, because…um…because I’ve been meaning to read it, and I thought a recent translation was my best bet. ¬†And they gave me a 30% off code to use on a single book. ūüėõ )

Okay, so I’m going to go in chronological order here. ¬†As best I can. ¬†(I’m a little fuzzy on the order of #s 3 and 4, but I¬†think I’ve got them in the right order.) ¬†Weirdly, except for this new one, every single one of these came from Tuesday Mornings. ¬†(That’s because they’re all modern dolls, so discount prices were necessary, ’cause I just don’t like them enough to pay full price. ¬†They don’t have the same charm as the wonderful vintage dolls in the museum. ¬†Someday I hope to talk them into a display of all the Madame Alexander dolls in the collection, so I can do nice photos of all them. ¬†I’ll be sure to post the photos if I do manage it. ūüôā )

Little Bitty (?)
Little Bitty (?)

I don’t remember exactly what these were called, but they’re small and cute. ¬†The face reminds me a lot of Nancy Ann Storybook dolls, only a bit more detailed. ¬†(I should have done a shot of my sole Nancy Ann for comparison’s sake!) ¬†Anyway, she’s not leaning to the side because I did a bad job posing her: ¬†she’s leaning to the side because one of her legs is significantly shorter than the other. ¬†I don’t know if that’s why she ended up at Tuesday Mornings, or if the store originally selling her just couldn’t move her. ¬†(There were a few others, as I recall, so probably they just weren’t moving, and got shunted off to Tuesday Mornings instead, and I just had the misfortune to like the one with the factory error.) ¬†I’ve not seen this type at Tuesday Mornings since getting this one (and this was years ago, mind you), which is a pity, because she’s definitely my favorite of my Madame Alexander dolls.

Coquette Cissy
Coquette Cissy

I’ve never bothered removing this one from her box because she’s so nicely visible within the box. ¬†Besides, the box amuses me, in that it promises “up to the minute fashion” despite that the entire line seems to have gotten stuck in the 1950s. ¬†(Not as visible on this doll, but some of the others they had were in casual clothes, and they were very ’50s casual clothes.) ¬†She’s a pretty doll, though. ¬†Definitely the next favorite after the tiny Irish girl.

Take-Along Friend
Take-Along Friend

Unlike the previous two, this one is a playline doll. ¬†They had at least one other, but I picked this one because of her River Song hair. ¬†(And this was long enough ago that I didn’t yet realize that River Song didn’t have that hair when she was a child…) ¬†I am noticing, looking at the photo, that it looks like her shirt’s neckpiece came unfastened during the photo shoot. ¬†If I’d noticed that sooner, I’d have re-shot. ūüė¶ ¬†Anyway, she’s a cute doll, but the lack of elbow and knee joints must have hampered her play function a bit. ¬† However…

Check the shoes!
Check the shoes!

I don’t like the orange color, but the shoes are otherwise quite awesome. ¬†I want more shoes like this in the right size for my other dolls. ¬†Wait, let me revise that statement slightly: ¬†I want more shoes like this in the right size for my other dolls without having to pay $30 or so a pair. ¬†That seems a bit much for doll shoes… ¬†(Maybe I’m just cheap?)

Enchanted Prince (or something like that)
Enchanted Prince (or something like that)

I was a little on the fence about this guy. ¬†He was expensive for a Tuesday Mornings doll (about $60, I think) but on the other hand, he’s in a (basically) Medieval outfit, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Middle Ages. ¬†Plus he comes with a sword, which is always cool. ¬†What tipped the scales in his favor (I kid you not) was that I saw his limited edition certificate, which was numbered, and said he was #108 in his run. ¬†As a¬†Suikoden fan, I suddenly felt like I absolutely¬†had to have him. ¬†(I know, that’s a lame reason. ¬†But…this was years ago, before I was doing so much crazy expensive Internet doll buying.)

So now we get to the Cyber Monday purchase. ¬†(At long last, you’re probably thinking!)

"Pixie Doodles"? Um, seriously? Sounds like a snack you'd buy in Ankh-Morpork...
“Pixie Doodles”? Um, seriously? Sounds like a snack you’d buy in Ankh-Morpork…

So, I’d been curious about these since seeing a couple of small shots of them from Toy Fair on Confessions of a Doll Collector’s Daughter. ¬†(They have two things going for them that I like: ¬†fairies and colorful hair. ūüėõ ) ¬†Then on Cyber Monday, Amazon was putting these up as Lightning Deals, at about half — or was it 60% ? — off, and I decided it was okay to buy one, because even at that price (about $13.50 or so) they still weren’t particularly moving. ¬†I picked this one (called “Purple Pizzazz”) because of her purple hair, mostly, but also because I like it when I can add dolls to my collection that have different skin colors than just “pale peachy.”¬† (I think that’s one of the things I love about Monster High: ¬†the skin colors are so diverse that most of them aren’t actually physically possible. ¬†And why¬†shouldn’t the sky be the limit on people made of plastic?)

Out of the box
Out of the box

I absolutely could not get her to stand up unaided for more than a fraction of a second.  I think it was all that hair overbalancing her backwards, because her feet are quite flat, and her body seems pretty stable.

Anyway, from looking at the pictures on Amazon, I had thought the dolls’ faces had a bit of a Winx Club vibe, but seeing her in person, I realized that they really didn’t at all.

See?
See?

I should have picked an unboxed Winx, I realize, but…this was the one that was convenient. ¬†Let me show their faces side by side so you can see what I mean.

Madame Alexander 12Madame Alexander 11

The overall shape of the face — rather, of the head — is a little similar, but the faces themselves are radically different. ¬†As are the body shapes, of course, but that much I had known from the start. ūüėõ

Madame Alexander 13

There are two aspects to this doll’s function as a play doll. ¬†One is the Crayola-related aspect, which I’ll get to in a minute. ¬†The other, of course, is her basic aspect as a plaything. ¬†And this aspect, I think, will greatly reduce her appeal. ¬†Because what is a child going to want to do with a doll? ¬†Make her sit, move her arms and legs, turn her head, all so she can be seeming to take part in various activities, right? ¬†Well, all of this doll’s joints are ridiculously averse to movement. ¬†Getting her to sit wasn’t too bad, but for a long time I thought her elbows only functioned to pivot her arms, and wouldn’t bend at all. ¬†The knees required more work to bend than they should have, but not too bad. ¬†Even the head didn’t want to turn. ¬†I imagine that a child playing with this doll — and from her appearance, and the fact that she comes with washable Crayola markers for drawing on her dress, she’s decidedly aimed at a younger child than most playline dolls in my collection — would either grow frustrated trying to move her from one position to another, or would break her joints. ¬†I was particularly worried that I was going to break her elbows before I was going to get them to bend. ¬†(However, as they did¬†not break, perhaps they’re more sturdy than they feel?) ¬†If they want this doll line to last, I would recommend that they redesign the body and give it better joints.

Stickers!
Stickers!

In addition to the markers, she also comes with two sheets of stickers. ¬†One to be colored¬†on and then stuck on her wings(?), and the other a little sheet of sticky “gems”. ¬†Now this part of her play aspect — like the markers for drawing on her dress — is unlikely to disappoint a creative little child. ¬†I’ve not used any of the markers or stickers yet (but I probably will eventually, as her plain white dress is in need of some color) but I know Crayola usually makes good product, so I’m sure they work fine. ¬†The stickers have cute designs, so any kids who want to put them on her wings (or legs, or arms, or head, or dress, or anything else they can think of) are unlikely to be disappointed, except for the fact that there are relatively few of them.

All in all, she’s cute, and looks sweet sitting on my shelf (even if she looks a bit¬†pathetic, being right in front of a Blythe and three Pullips) so I’m not sorry I got her, especially since she was such a deal. ¬†But I’m also not sorry that I passed on getting the others on the Lightning Deal sale. ¬†As they are, these Pixie Doodles don’t do much to appeal to me.

Anyway, there are a few more photos — mostly because I couldn’t tell if with or without flash was better in that lighting — in the gallery, if anyone’s interested. ¬†It occurs to me that I should have taken a group shot to show the different sizes of these dolls. ¬†Why do I only think of these things too late to do anything about it? ūüė¶

I got this post about 90% ready to go last night, and I should have pushed forward and finished it, ’cause I¬†knew I had a package waiting at the post office. ¬†But I thought it was my AmiAmi order from before Thanksgiving (primarily two Pure Neemo XS boy bodies). ¬†Turned out it wasn’t, as Mandarake has amazingly fast shipping….

…so you can look forward to seeing the photos after I debox him tomorrow morning. ūüėÄ

(Also, I’ve finshed Suve’s faceup now — just need to seal it — so I’ll be able to share her proper look, too. ¬†But perhaps in a different post. ¬†I’m also planning to get to work on Pyrrha and Len tonight, too…and to try and fix Yuki Miku’s wrist, as I went to Michael’s on my way back from the museum today and picked up (in my ludicrously large purchase) a little drill intended to put holes in beads…)

World Doll Day Exhibit

I spent this weekend setting up a doll display at the museum where I volunteer, to celebrate World Doll Day this coming Saturday. ¬†So, I thought I’d share the display with you all! ¬†Everything in the photos to follow is the property of the Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum. ¬†(If you’re in the area, please come by and see the exhibit! ¬†At the moment, it’s scheduled to stay up until the end of July. ¬†Though that might change; the dates haven’t been run by the director yet. ¬†I doubt she’ll object, but…one never knows anything for certain.)

The exhibit is exclusively on the first floor, in the two parlors. ¬†The house dates to 1850, and has two parlors because at that time houses for the well-to-do had to have a “gentlemen’s parlor” and a “ladies’ parlor” so that men could visit with the man of the house and women could visit the lady of the house without them having to consort with each other. ¬†(How shocking it would be to have to speak to the opposite sex in public!) ¬†The gentlemen’s parlor faces the street, so I’ll start there, just as a tour of the house would. ¬†(I will not be trying to share the basic tour information, however. ¬†In part because I work down in the basement with the collection, and have only spotty knowledge of the basic tour’s contents.)

The Gentlemen's Parlor
The Gentlemen’s Parlor

I didn’t photograph the sofa in this parlor, because only one of the dolls on it was put out for the display; the rest were already out. ¬†(As the museum is half toy museum, half historic house, there are always some toys on display. ¬†I just like seeing the toys take over like this, the way they always do at Christmas.) ¬†Turning along the same wall the desk is against, we pass by the fireplace and reach the piano:

Eugene Field's piano...with guests.
Eugene Field’s piano…with guests.

Since it’s the gentlemen’s parlor, I thought all the dolls on the piano should be male dolls. ¬†Hopefully Eugene wouldn’t be offended that I put Mortimer Snerd right beneath his photo. ¬†(I think he wouldn’t, though; I think he’d have enjoyed Mortimer Snerd.) ¬†I’ll show close-up photos of the various dolls in a bit, but for now let’s move on to the ladies’ parlor.

The table is set up for a tea party, so I decided to turn into a dolly tea party by putting a Nancy Ann doll at each place setting:

Dolly tea party!
Dolly tea party!

 

There are two sofas in the ladies’ parlor, and I filled both of them with large(ish) dolls:

1st sofa
1st sofa

I’m not sure why the picture came out sort of yellowed like that. ¬†But considering I was having to use a flash (normally not permitted, naturally) I didn’t want to take any more photos than necessary.

2nd sofa
2nd sofa

Opposite the sofas is the piano. ¬†As with the one in the gentlemen’s parlor, I opted for all ladies on the ladies’ piano. ¬†(I don’t think there would have been two pianos in the house in the 19th century, btw. ¬†But what furnishings the museum has was partially dictated by what people donated, you know? ¬†And the one in the gentlemen’s parlor actually belonged to Eugene Field, if I recall correctly. ¬†This one may have some association with the family as well, though I’m not positive. ¬†Like I said, my knowledge of the basic tour information is spotty at best.)

The piano ladies
The piano ladies

Beside the piano is a chair that I filled with a particularly large doll:

Huge doll!
Huge doll!

And this seems like the ideal time to shift from showing the over-all room to showcasing some of the individual dolls.   Continue reading