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!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#2 of 2016

This doll was one of the reasons my top 5 dolls kept switching spots.  I couldn't decide where she belonged in the countdown.  She started at 9, then continued to move up the chart the more I looked at her.  Here she is in full length in her box.
When I photographed her face, she climbed even more.
Here are the accessories.
A favorite part of the Integrity Convention is a design competition by collectors.  For the past few years, Integrity Toys has produced the winner of the design competition.  In 2015, the winner was Jason Kramer.  When IT notified collectors of their interpretation of his design, the doll was not received favorably.  Specifically, the doll's face was compared to the "cat woman" whose cosmetic surgery was all messed up.  Here is the photo from Integrity Toys.
In response to collector displeasure (many collectors just didn't even purchase this doll), IT "tweaked" their production a little.  The production size was only 500 (many W Club dolls are produced in the 1200-1400 range).   Those collectors who did not purchase this doll went ballistic when they saw the production doll.   The doll is wearing capri pants with a added, removable train.  It's extremely well made and looks amazing.  She is the Hungarian Skin Tone.
No one can call this doll "cat woman".   Rayna is a favorite sculpt of mine and the only sculpt that I can honestly say I own all versions of in my collection.  I love the change to this doll's eyes, and I really like the "open mouth" (first time produced).   Out of the box, this doll refused to take a bad photo.  Defiant Rayna climbed right into spot #2 of 2016.  Exquisite doll!  A great addition to my NuFace lineup.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#3 of 2016

The next doll has already been reviewed in my blog, too (Review of Glamazon Adele Makeda).  My top five dolls have changed position too many times to count during the holiday break.  I'm not sure whether to blame it on the fickle nature of my collecting heart or on the meds the doctors have me using since the auto accident.  This doll was Number 1 for a long time.  Number 3 has been the lowest she ever fell on my countdown, but I'm sure you'll understand as we move forward on the top two spots.  Mold 2.0 of the Adele Makeda character is one of my very favorite sculpts.  There is just something so perfect about it.  Add a natural makeup pallet correctly done for black women, beautiful black wavy hair, and forward looking eyes without the whites underneath the irises and you get one of the most beautiful Adele 2.0 dolls produced to date - and on a FR2 body!  Number 3 of 2016 is Glamazon Adele Makeda.

Monday, January 2, 2017

#4 of 2016

I've already completed a review of the next doll in my countdown  (Review of Key Pieces Elyse Jolie).  No matter how critical I try to be of this doll, she continues to impress me with how she redresses.  I was meaning to photograph all my dolls wearing black, but that plan got "kicked in the head" by my accident.  Here she is wearing Voltage Erin's pants, Sensuous Affair Giselle's blouse, and Follow the Line Kesenia's jacket.
I think this version of the Elyse Jolie mold is more useful looking than earlier versions.
Number 4 of 2016 is a new favorite around here; easily placed in the top five:  Key Pieces Elyse Jolie.

#5 of 2016

The next doll was a surprise for me.   There are certain Integrity sculpts that I prefer over others.   Since this mold is not one of the "Core Dolls" in the Integrity lineup, she doesn't often make an appearance.  This year she showed up not once ... not twice ... but three times.  Her release in the mainline was a disaster, and it was great to see her redeem herself at the convention.  And what better to redeem yourself than being the actual convention doll!  Here is Diva Dasha in the box.
And a closeup in the box.  She reminds me of Cybil Shepherd.
Here are her accessories.  She also came with a Versace mini skirt and ankle boots.  This time in a rose pink color.
I often wait until I see IRL pictures of dolls and try to choose one that best fits what I like in a doll.  It took me a few weeks, but I found this one.  Here she is outside the box.  The gown is inspired by a 1995 Christian Lacroix original.
Let's add the train - which attaches with little hooks and threads.  I don't know how long I will be able to leave her in her original ensemble - for some reason I think that stain warning card should be taken seriously with this girl!
I wanted a doll with hair that I wouldn't have to wash or try to restyle.  I got exactly what I was looking to find.  #5 of 2016 is Diva Dasha.