Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sadly, Some Good Things Do Come To An End ...

It's taken me a long time processing the news that Robert Tonner has discontinued all his commercial doll lines.  Many years ago, I collected Sydney Chase and Tyler Wentworth dolls.  When Integrity Toys came out with their taller dolls with better bodies and articulation, I sold all of my Tonner girls even though some of them were designed with the most beautiful and detailed clothing!

I remember losing my mind over Tonner's Tiny Kitty line which appealed to the classic side of my collecting.  Sadly, those, too, have gone to new homes as I have narrowed my collecting focus.

I was very impressed with the Deja Vu line and have added one to my collection.  I keep thinking about finding her a new home, but she just seems to like living here.  I posted a blog about her in 2015: Deja Vu Blog Post .  Agatha Primrose, a relatively new line, captured my attention; however, I somehow managed to resist.

One line that continues to pull on my heart strings is Ellowyne Wilde.  For some reason this doll holds a very special place in my collection.  I had to sell many of my Ellowyne dolls when I remarried.  Those I managed to keep were boxed and stored until they were unearthed in 2014.  I blogged about them at that time:  Ellowyne Wilde Collection .

Once I resuscitated my Ellowynes, I added a few additional versions to "flesh out" my collection.  Since Tonner's announcement, it is becoming more difficult to find Ellowyne on secondary market at a decent price.  One doll that I had been looking to add to my collection was All Natural Lizette (2014).  She is a friend of Ellowyne's and a collector favorite.  I finally got one this spring.  Here's Lizette wearing Spring Awakening (2010),  an Ellowyne exclusive ensemble.
I couldn't believe my luck when I opened the package and found several outfits included in the purchase!  One of these was a Woeful Green Dress (2009) that I had been trying to find.  I even found the tights that went with them at a sale!  I knew there was only one model for this, Sweetly Sullen (2009).  Sweetly Sullen has been here a few years and is named Brie - short for Brystol.
Another doll that has been on my watch list is Essential Ellowyne 4-Brunette (2011).  You cannot imagine my excitement at finding her on e-bay enhanced by Bev of Enchantment with a good BIN price!  She is named Daelyn.
I often visit the doll board Ellowyne's Ennui, and the members there are very kind and generous.  One of them helped me acquire another doll I felt I couldn't live without, Always Playing Solitaire (2008).
One of my 2017 goals was to bring my number of Ellowyne dolls down to 12.  It just doesn't look like that is going to happen.  With Tonner's decision to no longer produce this line of dolls, I don't think I want to let any more of them go!  I definitely wanted to keep at least one of each of her friends.  In addition to Lizette (above), I have my favorite Amber, A Dark and Stormy Night (2011 -wearing her stock ensemble).
She has such phenomenal eyes and redresses so well!
And then there is Ennui & Me Prudence (2010 - she has never been redressed!)
And some of my favorite Ellowynes (by year produced) ...

The first ever, Chills (2006).  When this is your first experience with a doll line, you know you are a "goner".  She is wearing Tea & Ennui (also from 2006).
My first Essential Ellowyne (2006) was the original blonde version.  Look at the intricate detail in that hair!
I remember when I saw this doll on the cover of the very first Ellowyne Wilde catalog ... there was no doubting that Tatters (2007) was going to live here (another that has never been taken out of her original ensemble) ....
Then came Pale Memories (2008 - I just can't bring myself to redress this flower child either) ...
I can't leave out Lonely Heart (2008)!
I realized I was beginning to have too many blondes, so Essential Ellowyne Too Brunette (2008) came along.
Then, of course, we have the first "wigged" Ellowyne I ever purchased.  She is Wigged Out Too (2009).  She is also the first Ellowyne with inset eyes to join my collection.
Even though she is blonde, Mistakenly Sad (Brittany - 2010) became an instant favorite here.  She is my only doll that wears glasses all the time!
Also arriving in 2010 was Prudence Dressed Me.  Unfortunately, I purchased her nude on secondary market, so I don't have her original ensemble.
I also got An Empy Thrill (2010) on secondary market, nude.  I wish I could find her complete ensemble at a good price.

And Tonner started experimenting with inset eyes with the Essential Line, I adore Essential Ellowyne 3 (2010) who is the first wigged essential doll.  I was lucky enough to purchase her wearing this Woeful Pink Dress, correct Woeful Light Tights, and some super nice pink boots.   I got her, An Empty Thrill and Lonely Heart from the same collector!
Then I decided I needed to add another redhead.  Here's Essential Ellowyne 4 (2011).  I have all versions of this Essential doll.
In addition to the brunette above (Daelyn), I also  have the Essential Ellowyne Blonde 4.
How about Dark Shadows (2011) ...
Next to come along was Essential Ellowyne 5 Brunette who we call Fern (2012).
Excluding All Natural Lizette above (2014), only two other Ellowynes came to live here from recent productions (both from 2015).  Here is Romance and Whipped Cream with her beautiful strawberry blonde curly hair.
And New Year, New Look (called Noelle).
Do you think this was enough?   Before Tonner announced the demise of the line, I had started trying to add a few dolls that I had missed over the past several years.   I am lucky to have ten NRFB girls for those moments of ennui that I experience myself.  (I am still looking for four dolls and I will consider my collection complete:  EE2 Blonde, EE2 Red Head, I Wait Alone, and Tears of Endearment.  Who am I kidding, there are several others I wouldn't mind adding to my collection!)
The original story behind Ellowyne is that she lives in her grandmother's house which sits on a fault line in San Francisco.  She loves frequenting Thrift Stores and often visits her psychiatrist, Dr. Bantam, because she suffers from chronic ennui.  I believe the first several years of production were magical.

Although there were exceptions, I found most dolls produced after 2012 less interesting.  There were often production issues with eye placement or staining from clothes.  Quality control seemed to drop a little and many of the cute little details began to disappear.

Then the line began to wander from its original storyline; we started seeing dolls with names like "Ship Shape," "Summer Breeze," "Rock Royal," "Right on White,""Totally Coolness," "Delicate Balance," and "Seventies Sweet".   I don't know if this was attempt to reach more mainstream collectors, but those of us who are drawn to Ellowyne began to miss our bored girl who was constantly dissatisfied with the world.

It is difficult to accept that there will be no more Ellowyne Wilde dolls offered to collectors; this makes those currently residing here only more precious.   Fortunately, there are many wonderful artisans that support the Ellowyne line.  I don't anticipate my love for her fading any time soon.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

LLL Agnes Von Weiss, Take 2 (Literally)

I apologize for the lengthy delay in posts.  I took 32 gifted children on a three-day field trip in the middle of March.  It was a wonderful experience for these children, many of them being from lower socio-economic homes.  We went to Jekyll Island, GA.  Some of them had never seen the ocean before and it was an experience I loved sharing with them.  Now, we are gearing up for our End Of Year standardized tests.  I also just found out that my dear friend and partner in crime is retiring at the end of this academic year.  To me she is irreplaceable.

So ... in early February I reviewed Love, Life and Lace Agnes Von Weiss.  If you go to the next page you can find it, or just click on this link: LLL Agnes Von Weiss Review.  I have been waiting patiently for the replacement head to arrive.  I do believe it was EXTREMELY KIND of Integrity Toys to let me keep the original since I purchased it directly from The W Club.  (Another perk of being a member!)

My replacement head arrived last week, I promptly pulled out the heating pad.  Here is a closeup photo of the two versions.
The original head actually matches the FR tall body porcelain skin tone.  (This body is from Follow The Line Kesenia.)  As you can see, the replacement head is a very good match to the original body which was a cream skin tone.  Both heads have great hair and an awesome screening.  The depth of color on the replacement is much deeper to accommodate the skin tone, whereas the original head seems more ethereal to me.

Here is a full length comparison.
When I contacted Patient Care about the lace on my dress being cut too high for the hem of the dress, I was told "The lace stretches a lot.  Pull it down and see if it stays. If there is still a problem, take a picture and send it to us."  I though to myself, "What hogwash!"  But it actually does stretch A LOT.  It's not perfect because when you pull it down, it slowly rides back up.  I find myself pulling it down often.  Maybe over time, it will give a little and be alright.

This reminds me of those older, larger ladies at church who wear polyester dresses in the summer.  Every time they get up to sing, their dress rides up and they have to pull it down.

When we were little, we used to beg our parents to let us sit with friends at church.  (Just sitting anywhere except with our parents was an exciting change!)  At church one Sunday, we were all getting up to sing and the lady in front of my sister turned around and smacked her.  When we got up to sing again, the lady smacked her again!  After church, my Mom asked my sister why the lady smacked her?  My sister replied, "When she got up, her dress was in her crack, so I pulled it out for her."

"Why did she smack the second time?" My mother asked.

"She was so upset about me pulling it out that I put it back!"

I know ... old joke ... but I couldn't resist.

So to close this out, and, since this IS a doll review blog, here are close up photos of the two dolls separately.

First up is the replacement head on the original body.  I actually like this gown so much that I plan to continue displaying her in it for now.
And next is the original porcelain skin tone head wearing My Precious Luxury Wear from 2005.  I thought I would start a set of photos of my dolls wearing some of my favorite IT lingerie.

Even though these are the exact same screenings and hair, the skin tone makes enough difference that I plan to keep both in my collection.  I will have one version that can wear all of the original clothing and one for the FR2 couture!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Nadja Rhymes "I Slay"

Ever since her introduction in 2006, I have been a fan of NuFace Character, Nadja Rhymes.   I love that she represents a woman of color with a richer, deeper skin tone.  Since her revised sculpt, I have purchased all three versions and couldn't wait for "I Slay" to arrive.

Here is a full length photo in the box.
And a poor quality closeup.  (Sorry about that - I didn't shoot enough closeups because I was in too much of a hurry to get her out of the box!)
Here is a photo of her standing next to the accessories.  She comes with a cool ring, simple gold stud earrings, a skull bracelet (gold tone version of the Be Daring Imogen's bracelet), and a gold tone skull necklace.  She has stretch thigh high boots which require a little effort getting on, a choker, and a fake fur coat.  She also had a purse on trend and an extra set of hands.
The promo photos of this doll leads the buyer to believe the doll with have thick wavy hair.  Unfortunately, the hair is actually that extremely kinky hair like Quiet Storm Annik which is difficult to manage and style.  I just put a black rubber band on it and pulled it back from her face.
I think she is a beautiful doll and definitely represents the 2016 Moschino line that she was based on.  My favorite part of her are those gorgeous gray eyes.  I figured she would redress well ...
So, let's give it a go.  Here she is wearing "Life of the Party" from the 2008 convention.  The boots actually fit and she can stand in them with a little assistance.  The blouse is a little loose, but I was able to get the skirt to close and the belt to hook!  I worked with her hair a little more.

And a close up to end the post ...

I really LOVE this version.  I think IT is on to something with this new eye screening and I am so thankful they got rid of those weird eyebrow lines from last year!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Love, Life, & Lace Agnes Von Weiss

Although I mentioned this doll a couple posts earlier,  I finally decided to debox her.  I was so disappointed by the head not matching the body that I just stuffed the box in the back of the closet.  Since Integrity Toys has agreed to replace the heads (and allowed collectors to keep the original head since it wasn't purchased through a dealer), I decided to make it my mission to find a body for this head.

Here is a closeup photo of the doll.
And the full length photo for everyone who is just too lazy to scroll back a couple posts (LOL!).
Here are the accessories.  Although I'm not head-over-heels in love with the silver (maybe had they used beads similar to the lace, the effect would've been more cohesive), I do love the taupe shoes.  
When I undid the ties and took her out of the box, imagine my surprise at finding the messed up hemlines on the lace!  Just look how horrible this is.  I really love this dress, but there's no way it can be displayed on a doll - the lace is as much as >1/2" shorter than the hemline of the dress in some areas.  Another call to customer service.  What's going on with quality control????  $140 is just too much to spend on this mess.
It turns out that LLL Agnes actually does have a head closer to the "Porcelain" skin tone of the earlier FR tall bodies like Tatyana, Brides of Dracula, Kesenia, et al.  Poor Shake It Up Korinne lost her body (compliments of Follow the Line Kesenia).  It's an excellent match, don't you agree?
What I do like about this doll is how different LLL is from other versions of Agnes.  This one looks younger to me and more like Giselle.  I really love the hair color and neutral makeup.  I don't mind the older FR tall bodies, so it's not a problem for her to reside here.  Now, we have to find someone to give up their space for her.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 in Review

Every year I try to reflect on my collecting.  I am very happy to report that more dolls left my collection in 2016 than was added - 37 dolls were sold and 34 dolls were purchased.  I know that isn't a large difference, but at least it went in the correct direction!  Several of the dolls that I purchased were Barbie play line dolls, so I think I came close to being even with money also!

I did exceptionally well with most of my guidelines this year.    Guideline #5 was a bust as it relates to Poppy Parker.  I completely missed the potential of the "Poppy Goes to Paris" line.  I can no longer even joke that I don't collect Poppy Parker.  I purchased four of these on secondary market and have learned my lesson to pre-order all of them in the future!  Poppy Parker was my #1 of 2016.  I posted the following collage of photos on Flickr and it broke all records on my flickr account.
This photo has over 12,000 hits and even was invited to "in explore".  I have always been excited to get a couple hundred hits on a photo.  A few times I've had over 1,000 hits spread out over months, but nothing like 12,000 hits in less than 48 hours.  Go Poppy Parker!

I have decided to sell off much of my collection in 2017.  I am going to try and get my Ellowyne addiction down to 12 dolls.  I hope to eliminate many doll lines and focus my 1:6 lines to Poppy/Misaki, Fashion Royalty, and NuFace.  It's time to slow down on what is purchased, enjoy my favorites by playing (redressing) more, and let go of the rest.  

I hope 2017 is a great collecting experience for all of you who follow my blog.  I will try my best to post more often and share my journey as I move forward.

Monday, January 16, 2017

... And The Beat Goes On

Prior to Thanksgiving, I contacted Integrity Toys with an issue on my Cover Girl Veronique from the convention collection.  Her eye makeup was messed up from the eyelash glue.  (Her left eyes looks "milky")   I sent the head to Canada and was told by customer service, a human Veronique, that she had a perfect head and would send it to me with the replaced Dominique torso that had staining.
You can imagine my surprise in December when the torso arrived without a Veronique head replacement.  I was told by human Veronique that the perfect head she told me she had, turned out to be flawed and that I would have to wait until one was shipped from Asia.  My poor Cover Girl is still sitting in her box without a head almost 60 days later ...

It seems that quality control continues to be an issue at IT.  As I mentioned in my entry for Defiant Rayna, IT changed the doll pre-production but didn't bother informing their collectors.   I paid for Love, Life, and Lace Agnes so she could ship with Defiant Rayna.   I was very excited about receiving Love, Life, and Lace Agnes so I could include her in my countdown.  Unfortunately, Agnes didn't make it to my countdown; it turns out her head is a couple shades lighter than her body.  It's as if the head is the old "Porcelain Skin Tone" and the body is some variance of cream.
There was a big ruckus from collectors and IT finally decided to redo the heads.  I'm not sure I like this idea because IT did the same thing with Flawless Elyse.  The replacement head wasn't nearly as nice as the original.  This caused me to reluctantly sell her on the secondary market.  I'm not sure why they didn't just redo the bodies - it seems to me that would be easier and require less production??

The first doll I received in 2017 was the Sister Moguls giftset.  They are gorgeous, but did you notice anything about how much they look alike?
This was odd since the promotional information described Giselle as "Japan Skin Tone" and Agnes as "Cream Skin Tone".  I was really looking forward to having a cream skin tone Agnes since I don't have one with blonde hair.  I already have Dressing the Part, Head for Glamour, Aristocratic, and October Issue in Japan.  Again, collectors were not notified that the production would be different.  IT has agreed to allow collectors to return this doll for full refund ... but I do love her so ....
I'm just not sure what to do ... I wrote a funny list of skin tones and posted it on Flickr.
Collectors have added:

12 - Don't be so picky, nothing in life is perfect
13 - Did you use flash?
14 - The color difference is only visible from certain angles
15 - Just buy a different body and see if it fits
16 - We are new to this - you can't expect us to match head and bodies after only 20 years in business
17 - The wrong new color will be the right one
18 - However in hand, the difference is just barely visible
19 - This is how this particular doll is made
20 - If you look at the doll in the dark, you won't see a difference
21 - We can't see a difference
22 - Real human beings are flawed, and it is a beautiful thing
23 - We reserve the right to change anything about the doll pre-production and not inform anyone.
24 - Your guess is as good as mine

I guess it's good that we can laugh about it.  The Sister Moguls giftset was $200 which is too much money to pay for something and not get what you thought you paid for.  Also, I don't like waiting months to receive replacements.  Unfortunately, when you're the only game in town, you can get away with these sorts of things.  I was hoping 2017 would be a better collecting year.  I am not as optimistic as I was.

Friday, January 6, 2017

#1 of 2016

I guess I just need to "cut to the chase".   There is no denying that 2016 belonged to one particular character/sculpt/line.   I have gone back and forth with this doll for years, but 2016 was definitely the year of Poppy Parker.

When the mainline was previewed "Poppy Goes to Paris", I figured I was safe.  There was something about each retail doll that I could use to talk myself out of purchasing it.  Either the ensemble was not to my liking, the hair looked off, the eye screening wasn't a favorite, etc. etc. etc.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  Yada, yada, yada.

I didn't even enter the lottery for the two I liked best ...

But when these dolls started showing up in collectors' hands and photographs appeared online - I was a goner.   2016's Poppy Parker line cost me big time!  (Unfortunately, I haven't released all of the dolls I got from this line from their boxes, so I apologize for some of the photos.)

I purchased Powder Puff and Miss Amour from the same collector who needed money to pay for an unexpected expense.  Here is the confection known as Powder Puff with those dreamy blue eyes!  This doll alone would be in the top five of my 2016 countdown!
And pink perfection Miss Amour, easily filling a top 10 position of 2016.
Naturally, I thought the poodle for Paris in Springtime was ridiculous, but I couldn't resist this gorgeous doll IRL with the Japan skin tone, black hair, and lavendar eyes.  Another countdown contender?
The minute I saw the first photo of Night At The Ballet (which I passed on because I hated the material used for the dress), I rushed over to a dealer and grabbed one up at retail.    Her hair and face up were so much better than the promo photos.
And even though the "platinum hair and red lips just aren't my taste", I got on the wait list for Ooh La La and got one at regular price.  What an exceptional beauty!
And the giftset is just amazing!  This is one of the best produced purchases I made in 2016.  Easily another member of the top 5 of 2016!
Then there was the Integrity Convention, and four more gorgeous Poppy girls showed up.  I just could not resist Just My Style.
But the Poppy Parker that was the cherry on my Sundae was one that I never expected to fall in love with.  I like to joke around that there isn't a dark-haired Poppy Parker that has been able to set up permanent residence at my home.  I have some beautiful redheads and knockout blondes, but I have never cared for the brunettes (yes, I even sold Bergdorf Goodman).  I think David Buttry took this as a personal challenge and decided to prove me wrong.  My favorite Poppy of 2016 is the one whose ensemble was originally my least favorite.  Here is Bonjour Mademoiselle in her box:
And a closeup.
The accessories.
How she looks out of the box.
Another closeup - I just love that fleur-de-lis pin!
My Number 1 Doll of 2016 is Poppy Parker and my Number 1 version is Bonjour Mademoiselle.  Had I not given the Number 1 spot to the sculpt, half of my top 10 spots would've been filled by the different versions of this doll.   Integrity Toys just got it so right this year - Poppy was a little more sophisticated and little more grown up.  She was total perfection!  Poppy Parker has never dominated my list or my year's collecting before, but I guess there is a first time for everything!