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Tag Archives: Frilly Lily

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


Cardboard Creativity (Countdown to Christmas)

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As the dreaded or delightful season of gift giving looms ever closer I decided to do a series of posts with some suggestions of what would be great stocking fillers or big pressies for doll-lovers, doll-owners or dolls themselves.

A little while ago I featured the rather ingenious village shop, made all of cardboard, from Frilly Lily, which you can read about in detail here, and which looks like this:

Frilly Lily Village Shop

If you fancy something a little less pink, or a gift that’s even more creative howver, I found two great “colour-in” buildings, a castle and a house, over at mydollboutique.

Colour in cardboard castle

The castle is a decent size, over a meter wide and nearly that tall (exact dimensions are 96.5 x 109 x 89 cm) and comes flat packed in panels that slot together. It can be coloured in with pen, pencil, paint or whatever seems suitable, and has pre-printed details of stonework, windows, door etc. The drawbridge lowers, even! As you can see in the pic above it looks great all coloured in, although I’m not sure blue would be my choice. Its a good mix of play and art that should make for hours of fun for the lucky recipient. Its hard to tell scale, but there was a pic of the castle with two dolls dressed as princesses (mydollboutique has lovely princess dresses also) that really shows what a substantial object this is:

Colour-in cardboard castle with dolls

If your taste runs to the more mundane, there is also a playhouse in the same range, same flat-pack panel design to be assembled and coloured, with outlines of flowers, grass, fencing and a tree on the sides, an opening door & window –  there’s even a wee chimney! Final dimensions for the house are slightly smaller than the castle at 89 x 63.5 x 96.5cm.

Colour-in cardboard house

Hats off to whoever came up with these designs, I think they’re just great! And at around £20-£25 each won’t break the bank.

Follow the links below to find them:

Frilly Lily village store
Colour-in castle at mydollboutique
Colour-in house at mydollboutique
Princess dresses at mydollboutique

Images © Frilly Lily and mydollboutique respectively.

Josh – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Josh

Meet Josh, the first boy doll to be added to the Chad Valley Design a Friend range from Argos.  According to the blurb in his box:

“DesignaFriend Boyfriend has been specially created to complement your stylish Designafriend doll. This very cool and trendy guy makes your two friends the perfect pair.”

Design a Friend boy box in blue

He comes in a blue cardboard box, which is quite classy and means any boys wanting a doll won’t have to worry about pink packaging.

Josh box opened

Josh box opened, close-up

And here’s Josh half unwrapped from his tissue paper, and a close-up of him still in the box.

Josh Posing

Josh arrives wearing a blue and yellow plaid cotton shirt, jeans and brown boots, he also comes with a more masculine bracelet with cord instead of chain for the owner to wear. He has brown plastic eyes, and brown wavy hair which needs a bit of ruffling to look modern and “trendy” instead of something in 1950s stylee (thinking cardi and pipe not Rebel Without A Cause here..)

Josh showing his well-defined chest

The most surprising thing on removing him from the box for the first time was that unlike the Design a Friend girl dolls, which are soft bodied with vinyl arms and legs, he is all-vinyl. To begin with I wasn’t sure about this change, but then I half-undressed him and he’s got a decent set of abs on him for sure! Not sure whether the target audience is going to care about defined muscles but he stands up tall and firm where the soft-body dolls do not. He’s less posable however, his arms quite stiff because of this build factor.

Josh unclothed

It took a couple of days for me to be sure I actually liked this doll, his face is more mature than the other boy dolls I have and his outfit isn’t the best quality compared to the usual Design a Friend clothing. I did suspect part of the problem was the outfit so I re-dressed him and wow, what a difference.

Josh dressed smartly

Here he’s wearing rather formal trousers from Nellie Rose, over a Kidz n Cats shirt and an olive military jacket I just got from mydollboutique with boots from Nellie Rose and it adds a whole new dimension to this doll. He looks more sophisticated and certainly more expensive – and though I’ve kept the name Josh for him he looks rather posh to my eyes (mater wanted to name him Tarquin, don’t you know…). The outfit actually costs more than the doll so its not surprising it makes a difference, mind.

Josh and Lindy

As for being the perfect boyfriend, here he is posing with Lindy, from the Design a Friend range and they look ok together, but he and Bree are a match made in heaven, I reckon.

Josh and Bree

I can definitely recommend the Design a Friend “ideal boyfriend” but would suggest a wardrobe upgrade to make the most of him.  I’m constantly impressed with this range, and look forward to seeing what else they come up with to expand the “lives” of the dolls.

Lindy’s outfit: long-sleeved t-shirt from The Dolls House, twill shorts from My Doll Best Friend, shoes & tights by Frilly Lily.

Bree’s outfit: lacy tee and shorts outfit from The Dolls House.

Fancy Frocks from Frilly Lily

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Ooh, I do love dressing the gang up in pretty frocks and Frilly Lily have a lovely range of prom dresses, well, ballgowns, costumes, call them what you will, ideal for playing fairy tales or just being rather elegant, I’m most tempted by several of these.

There are currently 8 dresses in the range, click to enlarge this selection image.

Frilly Lily Prom Dresses

Its good to see bright colours like hot pink and my favourite purple in amongst the pink offerings,

Available from Frilly Lily

original images © Frilly Lily

New: Frilly Lily Doll Accessory Sets

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Frilly Lily Village Shop

In their latest newsletter, Frilly Lily, well-known for their dolls clothes as well as childrens’ costumes have announced the launch of a new range of doll accessory sets. These include a village shop made from cardboard, with a counter, shelves and a bulletin board, with doll sized groceries and even little card shopping baskets, all of which folds flat for storage. You also get mini greeting cards and a self-inking stamp.

Frilly Lily Village Shop half folded

Other delights are a separate pack of the same accessories, a stationery set (cards, stickers, tiny book, stamp), and a party set where you can make and decorate hats as well as invitations.

My favourite is the school set that includes:

Magnetic Number Board

Boxed Alphabet Set

Mini World Globe

4 x mini rulers

5 x workbooks

2 X mini seld inking stamps [star and “good work”]

2 x packs of coloured pencils

2 sticker sheets.

Frilly Lily School Set

These should provide hours of play for a child and their doll, and would make ideal gifts. Frilly Lily clothes are made to the highest standard so I’m confident the accessories will be equally well made. Its great to see stuff for dolls and to encourage creativity, beyond just playing dress-up.

All images ©Frilly Lily

Lindy – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Lindy

Not all 18″ play dolls need to be expensive: despite my preference for the Gotz and Kidz n Cats level of doll, I’ll never turn down a pretty face. Back in 2011 Argos spotted a market niche and came up with the Design a Friend range, made by long-established toy manufacturer Chad Valley. The clever marketing idea (which still applies today) offered you a doll, outfit and accessory pack of your choice for a discount on the individual price, and dolls with blonde, brunette and red hair, along with the Alesha doll with her darker skin and cascading dark curls.  Each doll has its own name and a different outfit, though based on a simple tunic and leggings idea, with shoes. The range also includes new fashions introduced each season, and new accessories such as a bed, a carrying case, even a make-up set.

So, meet Lindy – here she is newly unboxed in her original outfit of long cerise tunic, black leggings and pink shoes. Also shown are the various boxes for her extra outfit which was a blue striped jumper, leggings and beige knee high boots and the accessory pack of underwear:

Lindy Unboxed

Its a great example of how to emulate the expensive dolls like American Girl but on a budget, and despite only costing £20 for a doll they are very well made. The dolls come in a cardboard box, in candy-stripe pink with the Design a Friend logo on the outside and the doll wrapped in a single sheet of tissue paper within. The box is quite thin card but sturdy enough to be re-used for keeping the clothes in, for example. I also like the way the outfits are packed, in their own pink candy-stripe boxes and wrapped in tissue paper, like high end fashion choices –  such a clever and attractive way of doing things rather than a blister pack or some other toy-like packaging.

Design a Friend clothes box

Each doll comes with a charm bracelet for the new owner to wear, and each outfit includes a charm to add to said bracelet, thus encouraging collection.

The dolls themselves are the ubiquitous soft body with vinyl limbs type – jointed at hips and shoulders, the head also moves from side to side though does not tilt, and the plastic eyes are fixed, not sleep-eyes. The body is shaded the same as the skin tone of the limbs. The stuffed body is not as firm as other cloth-body dolls, probably to give the doll some shape – in the image below you can see she has a clearly defined waist, rather than being a solid up and down shape as is more usual. It has the added effect of making the doll quite cuddly, but means she doesn’t stand up too well on her own.

Deisgn a Friend doll unclothed

She’s s little out of proportion, with very slender limbs compared to the head size, and quite skinny legs, though this is less obvious depending on the outfit. Some of the pants/tights therefore are a bit tight on other 18″ dolls, though in the main she can share clothes with them all. The doll is suprisingly well made for this price point and should stand up to a decent amount of play from a child, the outfits too are generally of good quality, attractive designs, well cut and securely sewn.

There are several Ebay sellers creating clothes specifically for the Design a Friend range (which will also fit Gotz, Kidz n Cats etc) which makes them a good choice for a child – new outfits won’t break the bank!

Lindy Posing

Here Lindy is wearing a dress from one of the Ebay designers, along with tights and shoes from Frilly Lily.  I love the hair on this doll, its full and luxuriant and just flows down so well, and looks good loose or pulled back by a head band (that’s actually a pearl necklace doing double duty). Its perhaps the hair that makes this specific doll look so good, the other Design a Friend dolls generally have straight hair, great for styling but not as eye-catching to my mind.

The Design a Friend outfits work well on the more expensive dolls – as shown in the photos below.

Lindy & Jessie in Design a Friend Outfits (with dog!)

Lindy’s blue spot dress, cardy and sparkly shoes set was in the original range of outfits from Design a Friend, while Jessie wears the jumper/leggings outfit I got along with Lindy. Flat cap by Nellie Rose.

Katy in a Design a Friend pink gown & wrap

I think Katy looks quite glamorous in this long pink satin dress with white wrap and silver sandals. There’s usually a ball gown type design in the Chad Valley range, in varying colours each year.

Helene modelling a Design a Friend red cocktail dress

This red cocktail dress with sparkly sandals and matching satin hairband didn’t look quite right on Lindy but suits Helene a treat. Her escort in back is Alex in a Nellie Rose suede jacket and his original outfit jeans and boots.

Lindy and the Girls

For me, she straddles the  line nicely between “doll” and “little person” and doesn’t seem too out of place with the other girls, especially when dressed nicely. That’s Katy (Gotz), Helene (Kidz n Cats) and Jessie (Zwergnase Junior) with Lindy above, all of them costing 3 or 4 times as much.

(Katy & Helene wear Nellie Rose, Jessie a dress from My Doll Best Friend and Lindy’s brown frock is from the Serendipity collection)
(The instrument is not a guitar but a tenor ukulele..)

Bree and Lindy

Lindy posing with Bree from The Dolls House.

I think the Design a Friend dolls and clothes are a triumph of budget design, and as they are still going strong after several years it seems other people agree with me. This year, Chad Valley introduced a boy doll, Josh, to the range, and also two little sister dolls – and both Josh and the youngsters already have avid Ebay designers sewing away to provide a wardrobe of clothes, there being as yet no offical outfits for same.

I’d not swap Lindy for Katy or Maru but she fits in nicely with the gang, and holds her own against them, despite the price difference. And I love this snap I took of Lindy with Alice (Gotz Happy Kidz) and Katy.



Images of pink boxes © original owners (found at random via google)

Jessie – Zwergnase Junior

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The sheer variety of dolls out there is astounding, and although I’m more focused on play dolls I’m very aware of the various limited edition collectors dolls available, hand-scuplted by talented doll designers, usually in small quantities and with a price tag to match. One of the most unusual doll ranges is the Zwergnase dolls, created by Nicole Marschollek Menzer. Her dolls have odd, yet appealing faces, rather fey in look, or cheeky faces with freckles or buck teeth, wild hair – once you’ve seen one you won’t forget them. Nicole studied design and toy creation in her native Germany and founded the Zwergnase company in Sonneberg in 1994, with a range of dolls of varying sizes and prices released each year. I love the way she seems to capture the essence of a child in each sculpt, a moment in time or in a life, that really draws the attention and the heart.

Lckily for me, Nicole also has a range of play dolls, the Zwergnase Junior collection, with new designs each year both 50cm and 35cm tall, with the outfits available separately.

Jessie posing

Which leads me to Jessie, who is a 50cm Zwergnase Junior Dorte doll from the 2011 collection. She has the instantly recognisable unique little face, in the this case with red hair and freckles and a curious expression. Her hair is shoulder length, with two braids, and though good quality doesn’t easily lend itself to styling.

Jessie has jointed arms and legs and a very poseable head joint, and is slightly taller than the other play dolls. The height is mainly in the legs, she has long legs and the body shape of an older child, with a slender waist and alittle pot belly, though she can share clothes with the other 18″ dolls, apart from them occasionally being too short in the legs. Her arms are long and graceful.

Dorte (official photo)

Her original outfit consists of a long, sleeveless cotton dress with a bold print in dark red, purple, blue and brown, with a dark red net underskirt designed to show below the hem of the dress. Included are a pair of soft beige knickers and beige suede lace up boots with white socks. I love the look of the Zwergnase Junior clothes but the quality of this particular outfit didn’t seem quite as good as what I’ve come to expect from the Kidz n Cats dolls, which has put me off getting any of the other outfits thus far. She arrived in a cloth bag rather than tied into a box, which is unusual but pleasing as a packing option.

Unlike most dolls available, the Zwergnase Junior dolls do not have glass eyes but rather hand painted ones. Now sometimes this can look rather dead and unnerving (the eyes on the Sigikid Die Puppe dolls sometimes have this fault), but as you can see with Jessie, her eyes are lively and interesting, great care has clearly been taken with the paintbrush to ensure the eyes add to her character.

Portrait of Jessie

Jessie is one of those dolls who looks very different depending on what she is wearing, and her expression gives great scope to the imagination. She looks quite the mature young lady in the above image, wearing an outfit from an Ebay designer which you might recognise from the post about Alice.  In the  first image below, she’s wearing a white broderie sun dress with matching shoes from Frilly Lily, contrasted with the next shot of her in a boyish outfit from the Argos Design-a-Friend range.

Jessie in white

Jessie in jeans

The dolls are more expensive than the Kidz n Cats and the lower ranges of Gotz dolls, on a par with Gotz Classic Kidz however, and I think are definitely worth the extra price for the unusual look – I think quirky is the best word to describe them, and any of the Junior dolls would make a good friend for a slightly older child, Jessie is certainly one of my favourites and I’m sure there will be another in the range joining my collection at some point.

Thus far in the UK the only supplier I know of is Trisha at KR Bears & Dolls, who has many of the Junior dolls in stock, and can easily order past dolls and outfits. I note she has an exclusive limited edition Junior doll being made specially, which is sure to be worth a look. She also stocks the collector dolls from various years as well as the current range, well worth browsing, if you can resist the temptation that is!

Jessie in b&w

Image of Dorte in original outfit © Zwergnase