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Category Archives: Dolls

Introducing Jason [Guest Post]

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Time to meet a new doll! Here’s a guest post by my good friend Rick, with some help from his friend Jason:

Jason: Hi. I’m a Kidz’n’Cats “Alister”, but I answer to Jason. Sometimes I also answer to “Trouble”. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that?

Rick: It’s just over two years since Jason arrived. Alex and Jamie had no small part to play in setting off the train of events. Like Alex, Jason is a Kidz’n’Cats “Alister”. He came to me from KR Bears and Dolls. I’d been warned about the pink box. The intense scent released when I opened the box was a bit of a surprise. It clung to Jason for quite a while.

Jason: Coming out of my box was quite an experience. I’d been well tied in, but eventually I was free. Then, it seemed, I needed a check-up, so my clothes had to come off, too. I was a bit shy about that, but I got dressed again as soon as I’d been given a full bill of health. It was too warm for my full outfit, so I left my coat and cap behind when I went off to explore my new home.

Jason Exploring

Here I am in looking at some flowers in the rock garden, and by a fireplace on a chilly day.

One set of clothes, even when it’s as good a set as I came in, only goes so far. I needed some other clothes.

Rick: I spent a while searching the Net, and saw a pair of overalls on Wren*Feathers that looked good. I bought the pattern, and some sewing spread over a few days turned an old shirt into a pair of overalls. They’re not quite as well-made as the ones shown on Wren*Feathers site, but that’s down to my sewing ability. Jason looks good in them. I also visited Nellie Rose’s site.

Jason: A few days later a nicely wrapped present arrived.

Jason's First From NellieRose

Rick: Here he is, sitting in a favourite spot modelling some of them.

Jason's New Clothes

Jason: When the weather turned colder I got another present. The hoodie was just what I needed for some more outdoors exploring. Take a look at this huge toadstool!

Jason's Second From Nellie Rose

Rick: Then, for a while, he seemed to have enough clothing to cover most occasions, and things settled down.

Jason: Some days I spend in the bedroom where I sleep, and other days I spend sitting in my favourite place. Sometimes I go out and about a bit. I’ve even been away at conventions on a couple of occasions. There I met others a bit like myself, but I didn’t manage to get any pictures of me with them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Rick: Recently, I’ve been back to Nellie Rose again, and he now has a couple more outfits. He tends to mix and match things, and in this photo he was wearing one item from each of the three packages.

Jason' s Third From Nellie Rose

Jason: As you can see, I like my new clothes. I wonder whether I’ll have to wait another two years for some more.

Rick: I still have some un-finished sewing projects that may expand his wardrobe if I ever manage to complete them, but he seems happy enough with the clothes he has, for now…

Big thanks to Rick & Jason for that!

All images © Rick Hewett

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Makie Me an Ari

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Ari - my makie design

Ari? Who is Ari? She’s my soon-to-be new doll custom made by the wonderful folks at Makie.me, the unique 3d doll printing company I reported on last year. I was very tempted at the time to design a doll but the software on the website didn’t work too well on my aging computer, plus I was a little hesitant because at the time they sent the dolls out with no face-ups. A face-up is the paintjob you do on dolls to personalise them, and the Makie dolls were being shipped with no colouring at all, so the lips and brows were the same colour as the base plastic, a little too plain for my tastes.

Fast forward to, well, now and whilst browsing the site I discovered the company now do a very light face-up on all the dolls. If you’re the creative type you can wash that off and apply your own, of course, or even ask for your doll to come plain-faced.

So I had great fun the other night making the perfect wee doll face, getting her ears right, picking eye colour and wig and then went away to think about it for a bit. On my return to the site where I’d saved my creation I still loved her so clicked the “make real” button! I’ll now be avidly checking the order status page for updates, though it’ll be 2 weeks most likely before she arrives.

Ari design face cluse-up

As well as the dolls, Makie.me also sells outfits, shoes, accessories and because of the modular nature of the doll, wigs, and even different feet, as well as hands in various poses. I picked out a few things, more about those when Ari finally arrives. Each doll costs £69 which includes the outfit you pick from a limited choice, though not, I think, any shoes shown, and I think shipping to the UK is included. She apparently can wear Barbie clothes which is handy.

So excited, I finally get a Makie, whee!

Fancy making your own doll, or just having fun with the virtual doll maker? Head to Makie.me

Beth – Design a Friend My Little Sister Bridesmaid

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Portrait of Beth

Meet Beth, one of a new range of smaller dolls joiuing the Chad Valley Design a Friend series exclusive to Argos (joining Lindy reviewed here and Josh the boyfriend doll I wrote about in this post).

The Little Sister dolls are 14″ (36cm) tall and like the 18″ girl dolls have a soft body with vinyl arms and legs jointed at shoulder and hips, plus a turning vinyl head with plastic eyes and rooted hair.

Design a Friend little sister doll box

A lovely purple stripey box rather smaller than the standard doll boxes, which contains..

Design a Friend Little sister doll box 2

Tissue paper and underneath..

Design a Friend Little Sister doll box 3

One little sister doll! The box is made of sturdy cardboard, and also if you look at the photo has a handy shelf at the top which holds the second outfit that comes with this doll (more on that later).

Little Sister doll posing

And here she is revealed, all ready for the wedding.Her dress features a pink satin sleeveless bodice with a pink sash and flower detail to the waist, which leads to a white satin skirt with netting over, dotted with matching pink buterflies. Her shoes are white sandals with pink detailing. Its quite an elegant dress for a young girl, and there is a matching bridesmead dress in the same shades available for the larger dolls in the range also.

Beth has brown eyes and long straight brown hair which brushes easily and holds styles well.

Little Sister doll - hair detail

Her second outfit is a pink and white striped onesie, which is very cute, although not too well designed as the cuffs are too narrow for her hands, requiring some snipping of the stitching to actually get the clothing on the doll, not a good design detail at all.

Little Sister Sleepsuit

So how does Beth fit in size wise with other dolls? Well, she is certainly in good proportion to the standard Design a Friend dolls – here she is with Lindy, you can see the family resemblance in terms of basic face mould and eyes:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Design a Friend Lindy

She makes a good little sister for Kidz n Cats dolls also, here’s Beth with Alex:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Alex

And here’s the whole family, girlfriend, boyfriend and little sister:

Design a Friend Family

As mentioned before, this version of the Little Sister doll is ready for the wedding party, with a wedding dress and morning suit for the large dolls available along with a bridesmaid dress. You can read my review of said morning suit here.

I’m quite pleased with Beth, her dress is very pretty and I like the hair, and she’s made to the same standards as the larger dolls though perhaps looks a little cheaper and more plasticky, she’s also priced the same which I think is a mistake. Other than the extra outfit supplied, there are no clothes available for this size of doll from Chad Valley: luckily a couple of Ebay doll outfit makers have come up trumps with suitable clothing to fit such a small doll, I imagine shoes will be an issue however.

As a collector she’s a sweet little addition but not really destined to be a favourite. For a child however I think it expands the play possibilities nicely to have a sibling doll, so I hope Argos will keep this size of doll in the range and produce new versions and outfits in the future.

Elinor – Carpatina Veronika

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Portrait of Elinor

This elegant lady is Elinor, one of the 18″ slim body dolls from American company Carpatina. The line of Fantasy Adventures dolls was launched in 2002 and currently consists of 7 girl dolls and 2 boys. The company specifies “slim body” to make it clear that the dolls and clothes for same are different from chunkier soft body dolls such as American Girl (for which the company also make a range of clothes).

I’ve long admired the Carpatina range so was thrilled to find them being offered here in the UK by My Doll Best Friend as well as the official European distributor, Dragonflies Dream. The dolls haven’t gone through the process to market them as play dolls for children in the EU so are sold here as collectibles only.

Elinor box shot

Elinor arrived in a sturdy and attractive blue box with a see through window, though as you can see the doll herself was hidden behind tissue paper.

Elinor revealed

And here she is, “sleeping” in her box quite peacefully.

Elinor box close-up

The doll is held securely in her box with white ribbons, with foam padding protecting her neck and her hands safely encased in plastic for protection.

Elinor hands in plastic

Attached is a small catalogue of the other dolls in the series.

Elinor hairnet

And yet again the wonderful hairnet keeping her long dark locks under control for transport – as I’ve said previously the ribbon and hairnet combo always gets my vote for packaging choices over and above plastic ties and unsecured hair.

Elinor posing

Once completely unboxed you can see what a true beauty she really is. She is all-vinyl, with jointed arms and legs and a turning, tilting head, as well as sleep eyes.

All the dolls in this series look more adult than the child-like Kidz n Cats range, and the fantasy ranged clothing reflects that. Her outfit consists of a red renaissance style gown with silver brocade; the website states its a burgundy mediaeval gown in cotton and silk but the actual fabric is rather thicker than it looks, almost towards a felt, though it does hold its shape nicely.

The sleeves are long and flow down over Elinor’s wrists to end in a point, and the silver embroidery is echoed on the upper arms.

I especially like the silver lacing up the bodice..

Detail of Elinor's dress

..which is repeated on the back of the gown also. Note the shaping also, making the dress fit perfectly.

Elinor red shoes

She wears matching red shoes, which are quite plain but go nicely with the rest of the outfit. She comes with simple white cotton knickers under the dress.

Elinor's hair

One of Elinor’s most stunning features is her long tumbling ebony black hair which falls in loose curls, crowned and mingled with silver ribbon. You don’t often see black hair on dolls for some reason, with blonde being so popular, but its quite a dramatic look for her.

Elinor and flowers portrait

Looking at her aristocratic face, almost violet eyes, dark red lips and that hair I’m reminded very much of the line in the original Snow White tale, where the queen wishes her daughter to have “lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony”.. can quite imagine many hours of fairy tale play with this doll for a younger owner. Its still the eyes that first caught my attention – in some online images they’re an almost unearthly piercing blue but luckily that’s just odd lighting: the shade is unusual but most attractive.

I  mentioned initially that these dolls are clearly marketed as slim bodied – I don’t own an American Girl doll but my Madame Alexander doll is of similar build:

Elinor with a Madame Alexander doll

The contrast in terms of size is quite startling, and its clear that AG clothes will likely be too loose on Elinor and other Carpatina dolls. I believe Carpatina clothes by contrast do fit Kidz n Cats dolls but not Gotz, although this of course depends on how fitted the clothes are.

Elinor and Ariane

Here’s Elinor next to Kidz n Cats Ariane – you can see they are much of a size. The difference in look, between the more elegant, grown-up Elinor and the child-like Ariane is very clear.

Overall I’m extremely pleased with Elinor (who was a belated birthday present from my parents). The build quality and styling is very good, although the clothes aren’t quite as impressive in terms of fabric choice and feel close-up compared to how they look in online images.I would certainly consider another Carpatina doll in the future, in fact have my eye on one of the boy dolls – well, more like young men in looks really.

With the range of Fantasy Adventures outfits also available (renaissance, Victorian and the like) as well as international costumes such as kimonos I think Carpatina have managed to find a unique place in the 18″ doll market, appealing to both older children and collectors.

Elinor in black & white

 

Costume Party (Countdown to Christmas)

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Another in my series of seasonal suggestion posts..

Christmas (and New Year), the perfect time for parties and dressing up. And there are plenty of options out there for the dolls to strut their stuff and turn themselves into historical characters or indulge in some fantasy.

Silver party dress with jacket

For example, here’s a fab sparkly silver party dress and bolero that happens to be on my list from Santa this year, very elegant with pretty layered skirts and a glittery waistband, from My Doll Best Friend here; the shoes and headband are available separately.

Flamenco dress

Or go a bit more vibrant and be ready for dancing with this eye-catching flamenco two piece also from My Doll Best Friend, the floral and red chiffon tutu with red satin bow detail is paired with a red jersey camisole, here.

"Nifty '50s" outfit

Here’s a cute blast from the past, the Nifty 50’s outfit from The Dolls House consists of a black polo shirt, pink felt roiund skirt with tulle underneath for body, a belt with buckle and a matching pink chiffon scarf, ideal for the dance floor! Here it is.

Flapper costume

The Charleston more your thing? Let the dolls turn back time to the early 20th century with this gorgeous flapper outfit, the fringed sparkly dress is set off by long pink gloves, feather and diamente head dress, necklace and a tote bag (which I don’t think quite matches…). Another gem from My Doll Best Friend at this link.

Victorian dress

Maybe the 1920s are too recent, lets go back further in time to when ladies wore more elaborate gowns, like this pretty purple and white Victorian style dress from Petalina, I especially like the little violet roses and that flowered collar. Find it here.

Marie Antionette gown

Ah, why not zoom another hundred years or so back to pre-Revolutionary France, where ladies of the court wore impossible complex gowns with layers of the finest fabrics imaginable. This Marie Antoinette dress conjures up the era beautifully, with a rich pink satin overgown trimmed with gold and enveloping the  ruffled ivory satin layers beneath, with gold stitching detail and little pink satin roses to the bodice.  Another delight from Petalina, here.

Butterfly Fairy costume

History is all very well, but pure fantasy has no limits, any doll could float prettily round the room as a butterfly fairy in shades of pink and lilac: the satin and velvet bodice complements the layers of lilac and white netting that form the skirt, decorated with tiny sparkly sequins shaped like butterflies. And of course a fairy must have wings, made of lilac net and organza that simply velcro on to the back of the dress.  Find your fairy garb here.

Not enough of the pretty dresses? Don’t forget the many prom dresses from Frilly Lily I posted about here.

Not enough history? Then the A Girl for All Time dolls and outfits, currently with a Tudor, Victorian and 1940s doll and clothing might fit the bill – details in this post.

All images © My Doll Best Friend, The Dolls House and Petalina

Coming Soon: Alexis O’Shay by Via-E

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Its always great to see a new 18″ doll on the market, especially here in the UK, so I was thrilled by the announcement over at My Doll Best Friend that they would be stocking the Via-E brand, featuring the first doll in the line, Alexis O’Shay.

Alexis O'Shay by Via-E

The doll has golden toned-skin, blue eyes and long blond hair and is conceived as more of a friend than just a doll; she is jointed a knees and elbows as well as hips and shoulders, so she can be posed to be active, she can even get wet. Her adventures (told in storybooks) are designed to encourage creative play and also learning: Alex’s father is a travel writer so she gets to learn a lot about different countries. Later dolls will be introduced as friends that Alex meets on her adventures.

As might be expected, there will be clothing for Alex to wear (her mum is a fashion designer, after all). Looking at the first few outfits on the official website I’m impressed with the versatility of the designs, for example the Loving Sao Paulo outfit consists of a white dress, black waistcoat, red scarf and black barefoot sandals (with instructions for the latter). The following images from the website show how many ways these few pieces can be combined to make great looking fashions:

Alex O'Shay San Paulo Outfit style 1  Alexis O'Shay Sao Paulo oufit style 2

Alexis O'Shay Sao Paulo outfit style 3  Alexis O'Shay Sao Paulo outfit style 4

The Via-E company has a clear ethos in creating and marketing Alexis and the other products:

“It is our goal, our mission to help build life skills and give lift to the dreams of every girl, across all social and economic boundaries while providing opportunities for girls to help each other. My dream and the purpose of this company is to ignite the sparkle in every girl’s eyes while helping each of them grow to fulfill their dreams.”

The first edition dolls are limited to 500 and will be signed, and are due in to My Doll Best Friend very soon. With her smiling face, long brushable hair, poseable body and active lifestyle I think Alexis O’Shay would be the ideal present for a child to spend hours with, and should prove very popular.

Visit Alexis at the Via-E website

Images © Via-E

KR Bears & Dolls Limited Edition Zwergnase Junior Dolls

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A few months ago Trisha over at KR Bears & Dolls mentioned some very special Limited Edition dolls made exclusively for her, and finally there are more details on them and a sneak preview pic of the prototypes.

KR Bears & Dolls Limited Edition Zwergnase Juniors

As she couldn’t decide between blonde and red hair there are two dolls available,  limited to only 25 in total, so its definitely first come first served here. The dolls are named for Trisha and her sister Karen, Trisha being the redhead with green eyes, a green pinafore over a grey and black striped blouse, black tights, petticoat and boots. The blonde doll, Karen, has blue eyes, a multi-colour print pinafore over a red blouse, with stripey tights, navy petticoat and red boots. Each doll comes with a certificate.

I love the Zwergnase Junior dolls and it must have been so exciting to end up with limited edition ones bearing your name, so yay Trisha. You can pre-order the dolls, which will be available later this month, over at the KR Bears & Dolls website; a deposit is required.

Image © KR Bears & Dolls