Monday, July 19, 2010

Ellowyne finally arrived!

Even before she was officially named Ellowyne - when she was yet a prototype of Robert Tonner tentatively called Gwendolyn, I have longed for this doll. Upon her release, when all of the fashion doll message boards and forums were abuzz with the news, I was as excited as anyone, yet I waited. I have learned the value and virtue of waiting. In the case of dolls, waiting will sometimes net you better stuff at lower prices! Remember how expensive the first Fashion Royalty dolls were? Not only were they expensive, but they were stiff - no articulated bodies (except bending knees) back then. Also, (and this is just my humble opinion), Adele Makeda - the only AA doll in the bunch, was rather homely back then! Over time, she got prettier, more fierce, all of the bodies became articulated, and the prices came down!

So.....I learned that by waiting, I can get better dolls at lower prices, but I'm sure you already knew that, right? Back to Ms. Wilde: I loved her from the time I saw her grace the cover of Haute Doll magazine back in 2006. She was pretty, had an "emo" backstory, wide eyes, a big head, and just seemed a bit off - kind of like me, I guess. She was lovely, but I thought I would wait for one of 2 things: an incredible sale (a frugalista like myself rarely pays retail for anything), or for an ethnic friend to materialize. It didn't much matter to me whether the friend was Latina, Asian, or African American, but I want my Ellowyne (or friend) to be of color. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Her only friend is Prudence, and I find her a bit prudish (could that be what inspired her name?) and constipated looking. So I waited for a sale, but with the exception of a few gently used, nude dolls posted for sale on different message boards, her price was rarely significantly reduced.

Last week, I was killing time and browsing different doll-related websites, when I thought I would check out Wilde Imagination just to see what - if anything was new. Too my delight and surprise, they were having an incredible sale on their basic dolls. I immediatly added the red head to my shopping cart. (shipping was free too!)

She arrived today, and I just adore her. Her hair looked redder in the pictures, but other than that, I have no complaints. I was also pleased to discover that she and Goodreau's Mirror are close enough in size to share clothing! The downside is that because of her big ole Miss Peach head (you might want to google that if not familiar with the comic strip), Ellowyne looks a bit odd with Mirror, but viva la difference! Luckily for Ellowyne, I had been working on new outfits for Mirror, so she didn't have to hang around in her undies for long. (she doesn't need anything else to be blue about!)

The two of them; Ebony and Ivory, Salt and Peppa, Day and Night, Big Melon Head and Normal Head - whatever you choose to call them, are modeling their new outfits which are available at:

Whatcha think?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not a good sign for SIS- So In Style dolls....

Today as I went about my errands, I browsed to doll aisles of Target. They had nothing new, but what caught my eye were the bright red stickers on the So In Style Rocawear dolls. They were marked down to $9.08 from $12.99. This did not appear to be part of a weekly sale event, but permanent mark downs. Given that this line is less than a year old, it seems to me a bad omen of things to come.

I confess to having issues with the dolls - mainly that the dolls did not live up to the pre-release promotional hype. We were promised a new line of AA dolls with new sculpts and the promo pics of the latest releases showed the dolls with articulated bodies. The actual dolls - although pretty, were not what many collectors hoped. Instead of new face sculpts, each of the 4 characters share the Mbili face mold. I love this particular sculpt, but it is by no means, "new". None of the dolls have the articulated bodies as we were led to believe - though some do have jointed elbows.

Being a frugalista as well as a doll collector, I really wanted to purchase some of the dolls at the sale price, but I was just not inspired to do so! I had already purchased several of the dolls early on at retail prices and was disappointed with each purchase. I kept looking for the "new" but all I saw was old familiar face sculpts with old familiar bodies dressed up in new fashions.

I am certain that Stacy McBride-Irby, the designer of this line, did the best she could with what she was allotted. The facial screenings and clothing designs are current and fresh and I love that the dolls represent a variety of skin tones. I just feel that Mattel did not truly commit to the project and decided to minimize production costs by using old and familiar instead of really doing something new.

The result is that the dolls are now being discounted. Mattel will probably use this as an excuse for not releasing new ethnic dolls in the future. They will say they just don't sell - yeah, right! The truth is, many collectors were almost salivating at the prospect of something new from Mattel. Many like myself, ran out and purchased the new dolls at retail price as soon as they hit store shelves. We wanted Mattel to know that such a project would be well supported. I am certain that many people really like the dolls. The story lines are great and provide a positive message for young girls. However for collectors, I think the dolls fell a bit short of the mark.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Dress for Bitty Belle Magnifique

I purchased Helen Kish's Bitty Belle Magnifique about a month ago. Although fashion dolls are my primary focus, Kish sculpts almost always elicit oohs and ahs from me. After finding this one on sale, I decided it was time she came to live with me. When she arrived, her face and hair were just as pretty - if not prettier than the online pics I had seen, however, her dress was dreadful!

I wasted no time creating a new wardrobe for her. Since I have made quite a few, I thought I would list this one on Etsy - just in case someone else finds that blue jumper as aesthetically unappealing as myself.

To see more pics of this outfit, or for purchase info, please follow this link:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Take Care of Yourself Now - you may have to live in that body longer than you planned

I took my mother to the doctor this morning for a check up. After reading her lab report, the doctor said that her diabetes was well under control, but that he was concerned about her kidney function. He suggested taking her off Medformin for a couple of weeks to see how her glucose levels do without it; that this might be all that is needed to restore kidney function to normal.

I am convinced that the reason my mother's diabetes (type2) is under control is because she has alzheimer's disease and is dependent upon me to provide her meals. Before the dementia, she ate whatever she wanted and she loved sweets! This coupled with a sedentary lifestyle caused her to become morbidly obese and develop type 2 diabetes. Before my father died, he would indulge my mother and bring her chocolates, donuts, and whatever else she wanted - despite knowing that she shouldn't eat these things, and I will probably never understand why. I now prepare healthy meals and snacks for her and make sure she takes her meds as prescribed. As a result, she has lost 30 lbs over the last 3 months, and her blood glucose levels are normal.

After the doctor visit, I came home and did a bit of research on Medformin and kidney disease. It seems that the jury is still out on whether or not the drug actually causes the disease, but most of the data shows that long term use can result in some sort of kidney disease.

I can't help but wonder what would have been the outcome had my mother taken better care of herself when she was younger? I remember hearing George Burns, at the age of 90 something, quip: "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Had my mother been more active and ate a healthier diet, she probably never would have developed diabetes. Since some studies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes are 3 times as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, she may have spared herself that also!

I will never know how how my mother's life might have differed had she taken better care of herself, but I am now more committed than ever of taking better care of me....

Generation of Dreams Barbie Mystery

Sometime in October of last year, I purchased this doll at Costco.

It was to be a Christmas gift for my daughter who is also a Barbie collector. The price was significantly less that the suggested retail, so I thought I was getting a pretty good deal.

Last Friday, I was shopping my local Big Lots and found this:

Holy smokes! Not only was she priced at less than half of the one purchased at Costco, but this one included bonus jewelry - a really nice cloisonne pendant with the same motif as the dress. Nowhere on the box does it say that this was any particular store's exclusive, and I can find no information online about the doll with the bonus. One of these dolls is destined to be deboxed and become one of my models (love the ebony skin tone and the model muse pose), but I am unsure which to debox. It would make sense to leave the least common NRFB, but I would love to wear that pendant! Can anyone out there solve this mystery?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Emerald City Diorama

My daughter's favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz and it also ranks high on my list. Whenever I see anything related to the movie, I have to at least stop and look at it. If it is something doll related, it really gets my attention!

A few weeks ago, I was browsing The Doll Market's website, and came across this incredible playscape of the Emerald City! It was beautiful, manufactured by Madame Alexander, and it was deeply discounted - who could ask for more!

My daughter's birthday was almost 2 months away, and I thought this would be the perfect birthday present. Besides that, I kind of "owed" her one. I had given her a smaller Oz scape - made of resin, a couple of years ago to display our petite (5") Wizard of Oz dolls. Several weeks ago, a visiting friend accidentally shook the shelf on which it was sitting, and a few of the pieces were chipped. The damage was not that noticeable, but my daughter is anal and could only focus on the imperfections. I tried finding another, but since the set has been discontinued, the few that I found online were way over priced.

I was delighted to find this set at an affordable price. It is larger than the other, as it was made to display with 8-10" dolls, but it would make a lovely gift and suitable replacement for the set that had been damaged.

UPS delivered it last week and I hid the box out of site. I was going to wait until her birthday to present it, but after reading the terms on the packing slip, decided to give it to her early.

I only had a limited time to claim a refund if the item was damaged, and in order to check for damage, I would have to open the box and put the thing together. I wasn't going to do all of that only to take it apart and return it to the box, so she received it early.

My daughter is an adult, but she looked like a little kid at Christmas when she realized what was in the box and waisted no time setting it up.

What do you think?