RSS Feed

Tag Archives: the dolls house

Its that SALE! Time of Year

Posted on

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 ūüôā

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

Advertisements

Costume Party (Countdown to Christmas)

Posted on

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

Fab Furniture (Countdown to Christmas)

Posted on

Another in my series of seasonal gift suggestion posts..

Ok, you have your dolls, and your outfits, but they need some things to make life more interesting, or at least just places to chill out. Luckily, there is doll-sized furniture available – this great shot from mydollboutique shows some of the options available, from beds and wardrobes to chairs and even a chest of drawers:

Furniture showcase from mydollbourique

All these and several other items are to be found at the mydollboutique furniture page.

With several dolls, why not invest in bunk beds? I love these ones from My Doll Best Friend, made of hard wood with pink cotton bedding they’re ideal for a doll sleepover. Find them here. There are matching single beds in this design available also.

White bunk beds from My Doll Best Friend

And why have one chair when you could have two and a matching table to boot? Again from My Doll Best Friend, this set is of solid wooden construction, though will need an adult to assemble. Click here

White wooden table and chairs from My Doll Best Friend

Here are some fancier chairs with table from mydollboutique, they’ve been on my wishlist for ages, I must admit – you’ll find them on this page.

Fancy wooden chairs & table from mydollboutique

Personally I’ve fallen in love with these pink metal frame beds that My Doll Best Friend is stocking along with her wooden beds. They come with bedding in pink heart, white heart, pink patchwork and the white patchwork design shown. Sadly, while the furniture above is ideal for 18″ dolls, these beds are a little smaller, so will give a good night’s sleep to Soy Tu, Schildkrot and other 45cm dolls only.. The bedding sets are availble to buy separately, which is handy. This bed and the others can be found via this link.

Pink metal bed from My Doll Best Friend

As a final shout out for doll bed design, here’s a clever one from Petalina. This beech wood bed comes with pink butterfly bedding as shown and is the perfect size for 18″ dolls such as Gotz. Petalina’s page can be seen here

Beech bed from Petalina

So what’s the clever part? Well, you can buy extras for it – buy a second bed and a ladder and voila, bunk beds. Or stick with a single bed, add rockers and yet another style of sweet dreams for your beloved doll to drift away with.

Beech bed with bunk & rocker options, from Petalina

Oh and finally, wardrobes! Along with the mydollboutique one shown in the top most image, you can find nifty wardobes like this plain white one by Kidkraft over at Petalina: here

Kidkraft white wooden doll wardrobe

And this fancier pink-curtained version is over at The Dolls House here.

Pink curtained doll wardrobe from The Dolls House

Yep, going to some nicely furnished doll bedrooms in the offing with any of the items above, we’re all definitely spoilt for choice.

Images © Petalina, My Doll Boutique, My Doll Best Friend, The Dolls House & Kidkraft

Kira – Madame Alexander

Posted on

Portrait of Kira

Autumn – seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poets, and the inspiration for this Madame Alexander doll, named Autumn Mist. Well, I call her Kira but that’s the official name, and you can blame Dolls Diaries for a round-up post on Fall fashion (“Fall Mist” doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow..) where I first spotted the doll and rather impulse bought her, there and then direct from the US with the power of Amazon, ooh!

I’ve considered the Madame Alexander dolls before now, at least the African American ones, I’m not too keen on the face moulds and general look of many of the other dolls in the range but have exercised some willpower til I spotted her pretty face and rather fabulous outfit, and about 10 days later, here she was on this side of the Pond. There should at this point be proper unboxing photos but due to a slight camera mishap, said images got deleted. The plastic fronted box was the usual type with twist ties holding her firmly in place, and my fave feature of a hair net to keep her hair tidy during transport.

Madame Alexander is a traditional US doll brand that has been going for many decades, though the current incarnations were apparently bought by long-term licensee Kahn Lucas in 2012. This doll is one of the Favorite Friends range which features numerous 18″ dolls, clothes and accesories, with the range updated frequently.

Kira Posing

Here’s Kira in her seasonal outfit, consisting of a green jersey top and denim skirt, worn over green and grey striped leggings. The best part is the long hooded cardigan in some kind of knitted fabric in those wonderful shades of green and yellow, very reminiscent of a pile of newly fallen leaves. She has gold Mary Jane shoes to complete the look. The clothes are good quality and fit well, unusual styles which I do like muchly.

Kira herself is a soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and a posable head, which can tilt up and down as well as from side to side. Unlike the American Girl range, she has a chest plate, which avoids seeing her fabric body when wearing strappy tops, this seems to give the doll more stability without needing to be well stuffed so she is quite cuddly and stands securely on her own.

Kira's sleep eyes

Kira’s coffee-toned skin is set off nicely by her brown glass eyes, which are the sleep kind, i.e. they close when she lies down. Um, they actually rattle a bit when the doll is being carried around which is a little off-putting. She has lovely¬† long dark lashes and painted brows.

Kira's hair

The doll has quite unusal hair, meant to be dreadlocks I think, as they are tighter and coarser than ringlets. I like the look and style of her hair, though it took me a little time to warm to the central pulled-back section;  its not very shiny but is thick and well-rooted, of the kind that can only be finger curled however, I dread to think what the results of a brush would be.

She’s mid-range in terms of price and quality I would say, and even with shipping from the US was reasonably priced. As a soft bodied doll she’s closest to The Dolls House and Design a Friend dolls, as you can see below:

Bree with Kira
If you look closely you can see the difference the chest plate makes between the dolls, Bree’s fabric body is clearly seen under her cotton frock whereas Kira’s vinyl neck area looks more natural.

Lindy and Kira

Lindy from Design a Friend is the closest in looks to Kira, with similar colouring, though her hair is softer and falls in tight curls rather than dreads. And of course Lindy has quite a floppy body and can’t stand up without support (she also as thinner legs and her eyes are fixed).

For an impulse buy I’m very pleased with Kira, not sure I’d add any others of the Favorite Friends range as its this doll’s rather unusual features and outfit that drew me in, but design and quality wise I can recommend the brand,

Kira in b&w

 

Josh – Design a Friend

Posted on

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.

Fashion from The Dolls House

Posted on

The Dolls House Fashions - Group Shot

As I’ve mentioned previously, as well as the range of dolls, one of the best parts about The Dolls House company is the cool range of outfits available, which fit other 18″ dolls rather nicely. I treated myself to a parcel of new clothes from there the other week and couldn’t resist getting the gang dressed up and showing off their new togs.

From left to right above we see Bree, Katy, Helene, Grace, Maru and Alice, though there was some swapping of clothes later on, quite  a free for all amongst the girls in fact.

So without further ado, lets introduce the various outfits – imagine the girls have done their “little turn on the catwalk” and are just posing to show off the fashions to their best advantage..

Bree in a red silk kimono

i love this red silk kimono, the way the light shimmers off the fabric with its golden thread and other colours shot through is so effective, it comes with matching little red slippes but that was a bit too much red for me so Breee is barefoot..

Portait of Bree in a kimono

Despite the really long hair on Bree, it goes into an updo beautifully too.

Katy in a flowey top with shorts

Barefeet seems the order of the day – this lace and flowers shorts set is just so cute, and fits Katy (Gotz Hannah) extremely well.

Grace & Katy in green and denim

Grace has already shown off this lovely green dress but she didn’t want to be left out – so summery, the both of them, last chance to wear light fabrics before autumn sets in and its time to pull out the woollies.

Maru in a grey dress with leggings

This tunic is actually a dress, but Maru is so tall it was a bit too short on her, works great as a long top over leggings, though, I think this is one of my favourites, and its good to have clothes that can be versatile, with a bit of thought.

Closer look at Maru's grey top

Its the attention to detail on the outfits that really makes them, the layering on the grey ruffle dress is simple and effective and the rose details at the neck lift it and accentuate the red contrast without being over the top.

Alice in Lilac

Now this delicate lilac dress should be familar, I posted about it previously with Helene modelling, looks great on any doll, no question! And yet again a barefoot theme.

Grace whispering with Katy

“Psst!” whispers Grace, “You should change into the pretty blue dress.. go on.. ”

::Katy scampers off::

Helene modelling pyjamas with a little friend

Helene didn’t want to put her AG mini doll Julie down to show off the outfit properly – such cute white cotton pyjamas with the blue bows and gathered detail. The top is a bit big on a Kidz n Cats so I ended up putting a clip at the back to help it fit better.

Bree & Hellene

Ah, now we can see the outfit properly, plus Bree changed into the flowery top and shorts set Katy was wearing, and looks just as cute.

Closer look at Bree's flowered top

These will work really well as separates but the way the flower embroidery is repeated from the top onto the shorts is a nice touch, very fresh and cheery little outfit all told, white cotton and denim complement each other well, and the flowered sash and the pink ribbon neckline demonstrate yet again how small details can be so effective.

Katy in a satin blue party dress

Aha, that’s how Bree ended up in the shorts set, Katy changed into this gorgeous full length blue satin party dress, I love the lace and ribbon detail on this, she’s truly the belle of the ball.

Katy and Alice in their posh frocks

Actually, both Katy and Alice are the belles of the ball, beautiful colours and fabric choice on these gowns.

As should be obvious by now, all outfits are by The Dolls House, as are Bree’s white shoes with the pink bow detail.

Grace’s gold sandals are from the Argos Design a Friend range.

Lindy – Design a Friend

Posted on

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)