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Tag Archives: Nellie Rose

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

Kidz n Cats Minis

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Kidz n Cats Doll with minis

Earlier in the year I mentioned that the Kidz n Cats range for 2015 now includes mini dolls for your dolls to play with, perfectly sized as you can see in the photo. Well, they’ve been available for a while in the UK now, along with some outfits.

There are four dolls in the range, Lenchen in pink, Lottchen in blue, Finchen in yellow and Gretchen in green, each two piece outfit also includes ballet slippers and a hair ribbon. They are made entirely of vinyl and have five ball joints for full poseability. They can sit and stand on their own. Like the bigger Kidz they have acrylic-glass eyes, eyelashes and hair that can be combed. But they are only 21 cm (8¼”) tall. The dolls are available individually and also in a few special edition sets with a full size Kids n Cats doll together with a mini.

Kidz n Cats Minidolls

I was pleased to discover that doll clothes maker Nellie Rose is making oufits for these wee cuties, so there’s plenty of play potential there.

Kidz n Cats minidolls are available from your usual sources (see sidebar for online shop links).

Images © Sonja Hartmann

Silver & Sparkle

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A Trio of Nellie Rose Frocks

Santa didn’t bring me any new dolls, but I’ve some gorgeous frocks to show off – the girls are delighted! Nothing says a special occasion like a fancy sparkly frock and Nellie Rose has come up trumps again with these creations.

Ariane in a Sparkly Purple Frock

This is the first of the two lilac dresses, I liked them so much I couldn’t pick between them. This is lilac satin in the bodice and skirt, with a layer of sparkly net over the skirt area, and more net beneath to give the dress body, I love the embroidery detail on the bodice, and the matching hair clip is flamboyant enough to work more as a fascinator than a hair clip. Nellie Rose always has an eye for detail and this dress is made with her usual skill and eye for design – all her outfits are one offs but there’s always something worth looking at on her website. The blue satin slippers here are from My Doll Best Friend.

Grace in a Sparkly Yellow Frock

As soon as I saw this yellow creation I knew it was just made for Grace, she’s positively glowing in this colour and it works so well against her skin tone. Again, this is a satin bodice and skirt with layered netting underneath and a layer of net with added sparkles over the skirt, set off with the big white net bow with diamante centre at the waist – it came with a matching hair bow but the clip wasn’t strong enough to stay securely in Grace’s mass of hair. She’s wearing beige tights by 123 Mulberry Street and a pair of gold sandals, and just looks adorable.

Helene in a Lilac Sparkly Frock

If there are purple outfits around you can be sure Helene is first in the queue to wear them. This one is a different shade to Ariane’s dress, though similar in design, but the layer of net over the satin skirt has many more sparkles which look like scattered stars. I like the way the brocade detail at the neck lifts the plain colour, and the satin flower detail at the waist is also nifty. The dress came with a hair clip matching the flowers but Helene’s hair is too fine for such things. The purple shoes are from the Design a Friend range. Yay Nellie Rose for three fabulous frocks.

Katy in A Silver Frock

Nellie Rose isn’t the only one capable of producing sparkly frocks – and I added this silver creation to my wishlist almost as soon as it was listed over at My Doll Best Friend. It has a satin bodice with ruched detailing, and a satin skirt with an overlay of silver lacey stuff picked out with silvery spirals, and netting beneath for body. The waist band has sparkling sequins for extra effect. The dress is sleeveless and comes with a black knitted bolero which really enhances the whole design, Katy looks most elegant here. I’ve teamed the outfit with silver shoes which aren’t showing too well in the photo, but are also from My Doll Best Friend.

Silver shoes close up

They’re just plain slippers but they really shine and are a perfect match for the frock.

Detail of Katy's silver frock

Here’s a closer look at the silver spirals on the skirt, I think this is one of my favourite outfits thus far for any of the dolls.

Katy & Ariane in Sparkly Frocks

Belles of the ball! Katy’s dress is equally stunning without the bolero, and the two colours complement each other nicely – lets hear it for satin and sparkles!

Its that SALE! Time of Year

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Ah, following on from the festive season, come the sales! And the same applies in the world of dolls..

Now, first up is KR Bears & Dolls, offering a 10% discount of any in-stock product, but hurry, that’s only until Midnight on Sunday Jan 12th – that’s tonight, eep! Here’s the link – Trisha’s planning a site upgrade soon so be sure and check back frequently to see what she’s done with the place 🙂

The Dolls House has a whopping 25% discount off everything on the site for the whole of January, just enter the code at checkout – more details at the website

Meanwhile Petalina has sale pages for Dolls, Clothes and Accessories with some good discounts to be had, might be time to get something from your wishlist at a little less than expected.

Over at Nellie Rose most of the outfits are reduced, you’ll have to hunt from page to page to find them though as her separate sale page is only for accessories.

There are some great offers at My Doll Best Friend, some of her outfits are on sale and nearly all the Gotz dolls are reduced in price, well worth a look: Gotz dolls at My Doll Best Friend

Mydollboutique usually has a sale going on, but if you’re in the bargain hunting mood its still worth checking out: click here for the sale page

Halloween!

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It’s Halloween! It’s Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can’t be seen
On any other night.

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

Halloween!

In masks and gowns
We haunt the street
And knock on doors
For trick or treat.

Tonight we are
The king and queen,
For oh tonight
It’s Halloween!

– Jack Prelutsky

Halloween and the gang were keen to don costumes for some spooky fun – little witches and a pirate, even Rapunzel! Somewhere out of shot is a small Alex running around and tripping over Harry’s Hogwarts robes and Jamie pouting because he didn’t get to wear the pirate hat..

Harry as Pirate Captain

Harry buckling his swashes rather handsomely as a dread pirate complete with hat – not sure what the owl is doing there but its suitably spooky, ooooh! With romantic flouncy shirt and buckled boots he’s a real dandy.

Alice as a Halloween Witch

Oh, that’s a scary skull to accompany Witch Alice and her wee pumpkin! No hat, the purple hair is much more fun, everyone should have purple shiny hair at some point in time.. and purple skirts, and purple and gold shiny stars on the bodice, oh yes.

Helene as a Halloween Witch

Its that owl again, keeping Helene company – she’s too cute as a witch, with shiny cobwebs decorating her dress, hard to see the jewelled spider choker that completes the ensemble. And a pointy hat, can’t really be a witch without a pointy hat (unless you have shiny purple hair to show off, Alice wants to point out…)

Katy as Halloween Rapunzel

Spooky or classy? Katy loves her Rapunzel dress, and couldn’t pick between owl and skull so posed with both. The gold braiding detail shimmers delightfully by candlelight, she could be the belle of any ball, any time of year.

Two Little Witches

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble – two little witches and mischief’s doubled! The skull’s not really that scary, quite friendly really (he watches over me while I sleep to keep the bad things away..)

Katy & Harry as Rapunzel and Pirate Captain

Such a handsome couple stepping out ready to show off their costumes – do pirates dance the waltz? All the running around in the rigging should make them pretty nimble.

None of the dolls are going trick or treating but there are plenty of sweets lined up, and maybe they’ll get to duck for apples at a halloween party on October 31st.. it’ll be spooktacular fun!

Katy as Rapunzel in b&w

Helene’s witch costume and Harry’s pirate made by Nellie Rose. Boots with buckles by Gotz

Katy’s Rapunzel dress from mydollboutique along with the pumpkin

Alice’s sparkly leotard and black and purple tutus from My Doll Best Friend; hair accessory from Tesco

LED flickering candles – much safer than real flames around dolls and fabric – via Amazon

Stuffed owl & skull part of my own home decor (the skull’s been with me 20 years now…)

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.

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.

Trio

 

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