Sunday, December 31, 2017

Well, Hello Mattel!

As a collector who redresses my dolls, I get very excited when I find an inexpensive way to add to my dolls' closets.  Since Integrity Toys doesn't release clothing packs and Mattel has turned to throwing glitter on everything, I've had to use on-line clothiers such as Clear Lan to stock my dolls' wardrobes.

I got downright giddy recently when Mattel released its newest clothing pieces.  It appears Barbie has just returned with a vengeance!  Here is one of the $5.00 complete ensembles.  (I don't know what the names of these individual paks are, so please excuse the absence.)
There is a knit crop top and matching skirt.  There are some very cool sunglasses but no shoes.  Here is what it looks like on the older NuFace body compliments of a frankendolly.
It looks like she is coming back from holiday in a warmer climate!

In addition to the regular Mattel Barbie line, Mattel has joined forces with Hello Kitty again.  Here is one of the dresses ...
And another Frankendolly.  This time I took a Fashionista from a Model Muse body and put her on a Mattel articulated body.
Aren't those sunglasses just the most!  And I love the clear plastic purse, even if you can't open it!  Again, another $5.00 ensemble.

Even more impressive than the complete ensembles, there are the little individual paks which sell for $2.44.  I have tried these on different body types to show fit.

First up is a pink Hello Kitty top with a newer Barbie knit skirt.
And here is Wild Think Poppy Parker from 2014.  (I added the running pants, Doc Martins, and skull cap to make the ensemble a little more street edgy.)  What do you think?
Let's see if we have anything that will fit the NuFace 2 dolls?  What about this red Hello Kitty blouse and a knit Mattel skirt?
Just add a belt and voila!  The model is Be Daring Imogen from 2016.

In addition, I got extravagant and spent $8 on a Mattel mix n match set.
I purchased this for the rose t-shirt (oh yeah! we'll get some mileage out of this one!) and the red skirt.  The big surprise was how much I liked the plaid dress once it was on a doll.  Here is The Industry's Liu Liu modeling it.
It fits very well and looks super cute on.  I may add some tights and boots.

At this point, I realized I had tried items on almost all body types.  I wondered if my FR2 women could get away with one of these looks.  I wanted to try that red pleather skirt on someone, so I reached for Coquette Jordan Duval.  I decided to add a "Hello Kitty" blouse.  It is urban and different.
This is only a sampling of what is currently being offered in the Barbie aisle at the local Walmart.  I assume these items will sell out quickly because they are so appealing.  I know scalpers are already trying to profit from their sale on e-bay.  If you find any of these interesting, you may want to check it out the next time you're near Wally World.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

You Won't Believe This ...

It isn't often that I share something in my blogs that I find online, but I couldn't resist this.

I follow a couple hundred collectors on flickr and love looking at how they redress and style their dolls.  Sometimes collectors share ideas, and I was blown away when Deb Buckner posted what she had created with the boxes from the Fairytale Convention.

Here is the photo (used with Deb's permission) ...

And here is the link to the actual photo  Deb Buckner's Creative Diorama Idea.  I bet you are as impressed as I am.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Welcome to Misty Hollows Poppy Parker

I guess its the wrong holiday to be opening this doll, but I'm not waiting until Halloween 2018.

When you join the W Club, one of the perks is IT Direct Dolls that are offered exclusively to W Club members.  One of those dolls in 2017 was Welcome to Misty Hollow Poppy Parker.   After a Poppy Parker overload in 2016, I have had to be very selective in adding this mold to my collection, but I simply couldn't resist this girl.

The packaging for the "Swinging London Collection" is very cute.  The box actually looks like an old London phone booth.
Here is what Poppy Looks like with the lid off the box.  Notice that the accessory drawer was moved to the top of the box (probably so Poppy could look out the windows of the phone booth).
The textured hose are adorable.  The dress is black velvet material with a little lace ascot.  The bow is actually pinned into her scalp, so you don't take a chance of ruining the hairstyle removing it.

Here is a closeup.  I am not usually a fan of the upper painted lashes or gray irises, but this doll captured my heart immediately.
Here are the accessories.
The pin is magnetic.  The shoes are really cute and unlike anything we've seen for Poppy.  The ring is quite substantial and looks great on!  The little candle and holder are a cool accessory.  (Be careful, the first time it hit the floor, it broke and had to be reglued!)
She is very cute out of the box.  She easily stands on her on in these shoes.  (My only complaint with this collection is the revised PP doll stands.  They are painted like the British flag.  As a collection, I like all my doll stands to match when I display the dolls.  Otherwise your attention is drawn to the doll stands instead of the doll.  I know that is an odd observation, but I tend to be OCD about things like this.)

And another closeup.
As with all dolls, they tend to get redressed.  Since I am trying to participate in a flickr group doll advent calendar, I wanted to dress her for Christmas.  I was excited to see how nice she looked!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 - The Year of Gigi

I've been collecting Integrity dolls for over a decade now, but I still find myself making mistakes in choosing which dolls to add to my collection.

When the 2016 NuFace Collection, Reckless, was advertised I decided to skip AKA Gigi Giselle Diefendorf.  I already owned Glam Addict from 2012 which is one of my favorite versions of this mold.  I reasoned that Glam Addict was so much like AKA Gigi that I didn't need both. 

Months went by and I had put AKA Gigi completely out of my mind.  Then, this spring, IRL photos started being posted.  I kept telling myself that I didn't care for the ensemble.  When another collector posted photos of the braids in her hair, I did a double take.  Of course, by that time, there were none left at retail and the secondary market prices were just too high.

In October, a retailer listed one for sale at almost $50 more than the original price.  It has become a disturbing practice that many dealers are beginning to mark up dolls above the suggested retail price.  I've even read where dealers are canceling orders on collectors and then are found selling dolls on e-bay.  I'm not sure how to think about this practice.  I wonder why IT isn't monitoring this practice, but, then again, there is one seller on e-bay who has been doing this for years.

Here is a photo of AKA Gigi full length in her box.
IT should be giving a nice Christmas bonus to Jessy Ayala.  He really has brought the Nuface line to the front of collections.  Unfortunately, there was a "film" of glue over my doll's right eye.  This is exasperating since I paid more than retail from a dealer.
I always hate finding a  problem with a new doll.  It means I have to contact Customer Service, warm up a heating pad and remove the head, mail the head to Canada, and wait months for a replacement from China.  It sucks the joy right out of buying a new doll.  I decided to go online and look for another (with the intention of selling the replacement when it arrives).

Someone was selling one nude for a reasonable price which had a perfect screening.  As a collector, I have actually paid more on secondary market for a doll with perfect screening - since IT dolls are finished by hand there are many opportunities for mistakes and many differences can be found within one version of a doll.  Here are the accessories:
Just look at all these accessories:  extra set of hands, beret, cute little quilted purse, two rings, fresh interpretation of earrings, necklace, socks, and yellow spike heels.  That's a lot of loot!

I had to undress the original doll to put the ensemble on my replacement.  (You will immediately see the difference in the screening - I LOVE the one I purchased nude online.  Her screening is perfect!)  The green blouse is actually a bodysuit!
Here is a full length version of AKA Gigi dressed in stock.
And a closeup.
The "proof in the pudding" for any doll is how it looks redressed.
... Apparently, I totally missed the mark by passing up AKA Gigi Giselle Diefendorf.  This doll has one of the most beautiful faces ever created for this mold.  I love the hair with the two little braids.  I actually prefer her over Glam Addict.

This year there have been five Giselle versions produced by IT (two of which were advertised in 2016).  I have already reviewed Majesty, Feeling Wild, and Sister Moguls.  The fifth was the Convention doll, Wanderlust.  Each of these versions is very beautiful in its own right, but I believe AKA Gigi is extraordinary!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Tale of Rumpelstiltskin ...

Once upon a time there was doll who almost didn't make it to the Integrity Toys (IT) Convention.  The doll's designer, Jessy Ayala, had created a hair design so intricate that it took production workers more than two hours to recreate it.  Similar to the real story of Rumpelstiltskin, one individual stepped up who could obviously turn straw into gold in about an hour, thus saving the day.

Most of my followers know that I usually like to open dolls with a "countdown"; starting with my least favorite and building dramatically to my most favorite.  This isn't the case for the IT Fairytale Convention.  On the first day of the convention, all of the convention collection and salesroom dolls were announced.  There was one standout from the entire collection in my eyes, 24K Erin Salston.  I immediately purchased this doll at a very good price from a convention attendee.

Here she is in her box.
Many believe that 24K Erin Salston represents Rumpelstiltskin, but I think she is the miller's daughter from the fairytale.  Here is a closeup.
In the fairytale, a miller boasts to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold.  This relates to the fact that the daughter has beautiful blonde hair that looks like gold when it catches the sunlight.  The king locks the daughter in a dungeon room filled with straw and threatens to cut off her head if she doesn't turn the straw into gold.  She is rescued by an imp who trades his talent for her necklace.  The next night, the king locks the daughter into an even bigger room filled with even more straw.  This time the imp trades his skill for the daughter's ring.

Here are the accessories.  It appears the designer knows the story well as the jewelry consists of a necklace and a ring.
The ring is a little big on her finger, so another collector shared a trick for keeping rings on fingers.  You take a small clear rubber band (often used in packaging dolls and accessories) and slip knot it through the ring shank.  Then you take the other end and bring it around the hand tab before putting the hand back into the arm. By putting the rubber band on the palm side, it doesn't show in most photos.  Neat trick, huh?
The third night, the king promises to marry the daughter if she can repeat this feat a final time.  Having no jewelry to trade with the imp, she makes a deal to give him her first born child.

Here is a photo of the dressed doll standing next to the coat.
After the king marries the daughter they eventually have a child.  When the imp appears to take the child, the girl doesn't want to give her up and is so overwrought with sorrow that the imp feels sorry for her.  He gives her the chance to keep the child if the queen can say his name out loud.  She has three days and three tries each day.

There are different versions of the story here ... some versions have the queen sending someone out to try and discover the imp's name, another version has the queen sneaking out of the castle at night and finding the imp celebrating before a bonfire.  He is so joyous that he will be getting the child that he inadvertently mentions his own name.  

If the designer was using the version of the fairytale where the queen sneaks out, that would explain the coat and boots, as well as the stars and moons on the bodysuit.  This ensemble would represent what the queen wears when she sneaks out of the castle at night to find the imp.  This coat is a true miniature piece of fashion art.  
When the imp arrives the next night to claim the baby, the queen says his name "Rumpelstiltskin".  The imp gets very angry, stomps his foot so hard that it sinks into earth, and pulls himself into pieces trying to get his foot unstuck.  (In some versions, he flies out of the castle window.)

The body suit 24K Erin Salston wears is just amazing.  The pants are a velvet like texture.  This doll, from head to toe is just perfection.  The modern interpretation of Rumpelstiltskin is spot on.
Way to go Integrity Toys!  One of the best Fairytale dolls I've ever seen in my life and a must have for an IT collector.  Her price has been rising consistently; I believe we have a true grail on our hands.
The only thing I would've liked to see would've been some sort of fur head covering.  But that would've hidden the detail of the hairstyle, so I understand the choice to not include one.
Whether Rumpelstiltskin or the miller's daughter, 24K Erin Salston was definitely the golden doll of the entire collection in my opinion.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sister Moguls - Agnes and Giselle

I have gotten very behind with deboxing dolls this year.  Apparently, my rules have all been thrown out the window.  I've been blaming too many things:  my accident in December, my damaged knee, the cancer diagnosis of my little dog and the subsequent loss.  It's time to get back on track.

The very first doll(s) to arrive this year were the Sister Moguls giftset.  This giftset was a W Club Exclusive from 2016.  All W Club members were able to purchase this set, and it was produced based on the preorder - edition size 1250.  Cost $200.

This is a full length photo in the box.
The dolls are actually quite similar.  They were originally supposed to have two different skin tones, but a decision was made during production to give them the same Japan skin tone.

Here is a closeup of Agnes Von Weiss.
I love her screening.  Her eyes are gorgeous.

And here is Giselle Diefendorf.
Another beautiful face.

Here are the accessories.
(Sorry about the fuzzy photo on the right.)  There are two pair of earrings, four rings, two magnetic pins, a veil, an extra set of hands for each doll, a set of photos and pencil for autographing them, and a pair of shoes for each doll.

Here is a photo of the dolls out of box.
My only concerns (and they are minor) are that the dress is a little short in the front and the sleeves aren't long enough.  When sewing stretchable lace, the seamstress needs to allow for the fabric drawing up.  I really like the black "leather" pants and Giselle's top.

Another closeup of Agnes.  She is truly drool-worthy.
And her sister, Giselle.
I wanted to see how Giselle would look redressed.  I have her wearing In Rouge from the 2015 Integrity Convention.
I couldn't stop photographing this girl.
She is wonderful.
I hate that it took 11 months to open this giftset.  I could've been redressing these girls all year!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Oh no! Not A Tulabelle!

One of my "Guidelines for Collecting" is that I not add any more lines to what I am collecting.  I have been very careful to stay away from "The Industry" line for fear of having to buy separate clothing for those dolls.

When I reviewed the Style Lab from the Integrity Toys Fairytale Convention, I wrote that my favorite doll from this line was the AA Tulabelle.  Leandro offered this doll for sell, and when I inquired about her, he said he could ship her for free inside Erin's box.  I caved ...

The good news is that The Industry body can wear a great deal of the clothing I already have here.  That is very exciting!  The better Mattel and Silkstone clothing fits, as does some of the Dynamite Girl, NuFace, and Poppy Parker clothing.

Here is AA Tulabelle wearing the Hudson Bay Barbie ensemble with the little dog!
And here is a closeup.
I REALLY LOVE this doll's faceup and hair.  This doll is gorgeous in person and she is still selling on secondary market at prices the fraction of the other Fairytale dolls.  I believe she is going to be the "sleeper hit" of this year's collection.

Girls around here tend to get casual quickly.  She looks very nice in this older FR sweater.

I can't wait for more photo opportunities with her!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017 Fairytale Convention - Event Dolls

Attending an Integrity Toys Convention is not for the faint of heart.  Collecting these dolls is not a cheap hobby.  I know many individuals choose to eat-in rather than dine out, buy less expensive items rather than name brand, and try their best to stretch their dollars as far as possible to be able to afford their collections.  But, oh the joy of a new Integrity Toys doll!

The registration fee for the IT Convention is $550.  That fee includes one lunch and two dinners, the Convention doll at the banquet, any gifts at the Welcome Dinner, and any gifts from the "Poppy Parker" luncheon.  Sometimes there is welcome doll.  There was also an upgrade cocktail party for an additional $85 and a W Club Luncheon option for an addition $130 (which guaranteed an extra NuFace doll).

When guests arrived they received the box for their "Build-A-Doll" giftset.  This is always a favorite of collectors.  At different events you get different parts of the giftset!  At the Welcome Dinner attendees received the doll, Sweet Dreams Nadja Rhymes, wearing a blue dress.  At the Poppy Parker luncheon on Friday, the sleeping head and lingerie were received, and the final pink ensemble was given out at the Banquet.  She represents Sleeping Beauty
I have the Vanity & Glamour Nadja ordered from the mainline collection.  She, too, is blonde.  I would be very tempted by this doll had I not already paid for the mainline version.  I think she is lovely and one of the best welcome dolls produced (next to Glamour to Go Agnes).

The theme of the Welcome Party was "Snow White".  All convention attendees received Fairest of All Poppy Parker as Snow White.  It seems there were 600 attendees this year and that is the edition size of each gift doll.
Oh ... this is everything Snow White should be.  Look at that pale complexion.  Look at that raven hair.  Look at those red lips.  Wonderful.  I am as tempted by this doll as Snow White was tempted by the apple!  I wish I had more money.  For me, personally, I believe this was the best version of Poppy Parker at the convention this year AND IT WAS A GIFT TO ALL ATTENDEES!

Since we have Snow White, we need the Evil Queen.  At every meal there is a centerpiece doll.  It is produced in limited quantity and each person is assigned a number at their table when they sit down.  Numbers are drawn for each meal and the corresponding attendee gets the opportunity to purchase the doll (almost always $150).  One number is identified as the individual who can purchase the actual centerpiece and then additional numbers may purchase a doll NRFB.  This year the table centerpieces were limited to 420 dolls.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Agnes Von Weiss as "The Queen of Everything".
And yes, she is!  I can just hear the name Agnes Von Weiss and I start salivating like Pavlov's dog.  It's embarrassing.  I was a goner the minute I saw the first photo on flickr.  Shamelessly, I watched until one was offered at a decent price and grabbed it up.  I can't wait to get this doll.  She is perfection in my eyes.  I think she will become a "grail" and her price will only continue to skyrocket.  Look at the accordion pleated collar!  The leather bustier.  It's hard to tell from the photos but her ensemble is deep purple.

Following the Welcome Dinner there was an upgrade Cocktail Party.  It cost $85.  The dolls were from the East 59th Street Collection that debuted earlier this year.  The doll received was Constance Madssen representing Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother from Cinderella, wearing "Wicked Glamour" (edition size of only 200).
Although I like both the doll and the ensemble, the doll reminds me a great deal like Luxurious Leisure and the dress is reminiscent of 2013's Victoire Roux "Story of My Life".  I have to admit I do prefer "Wicked Glamour" and would pursue this doll had I not owned both the doll and I ensemble I referenced.

Cinderella was not available at the convention, but she will be represented by Evelyn Weaverton wearing "Midnight Glimmer".
I was so excited to learn that this will be offered through the W Club.  Convention attendees will get a discount at purchase, but all W Club members get the opportunity to purchase her.  Another great reward for joining the W Club!  Already ordered!

The next day is typically the "Poppy Parker Luncheon".  It is included in the registration price.  I was wondering how they were going to get around the fact that most fairytales have an element of evil and there is just no way to make Poppy Parker evil!  The solution was simple.  The centerpiece doll was Poppy Parker as Little Red Riding Hood wearing "Through the Woods" (edition size 420, cost $150).
As much as I can appreciate this interpretation, it can't hold a candle to IT's 2008 Yuri as Little Red Riding Hood.  However, it is a lovely alternative to that version which is extremely rare.

So, who's the big bad wolf?  Eugenia Perrin Frost shows up in "Bite Out of Life".  Each attendee received her as free gift.
I love me some Eugenia.  I have owned every version of her.   I'm not sure about this one.  I like my Eugenia fierce, not evil.  If there are any remaining after the convention, I may enter the W Club lottery.  For me, she's not worth the secondary market prices (even though I am in love with the ensemble, especially the cloak).

On Friday Night they have a big sales bazaar, so there are no convention items that night.

The next day is the optional luncheon for W Club members only.  It costs $130 to attend, but each member gets a doll.  The theme was NuFace and the dolls were from Aladdin.  I squealed when I saw my first photo of the table centerpiece, Rayna Ahmadi as Jasmine in "Natural Wonder".  Edition size 420, cost $150.
Things sure have changed in the Middle East when a girl can go around exposing that much chest!  There was simply no resisting this doll.   I hated paying secondary market price on this doll, but I know she will not go down in price.  She is just amazing and will easily become a holy grail!

I held my breath.  Aladdin was portrayed by Giselle Diefendorf wearing "Wanderlust".  This was the doll included in the price of the luncheon.
That's an interesting twist.  I really like this version of Giselle, but I have too many of this mold already.  Unfortunately, she reminds me of a young Cher.   I may have to chase her down when I get my bank account built back up a little.

There's always time for a last minute visit to the salesroom and room sales to spend any last bit of cash before the Farewell Banquet!

As guests entered the banquet hall, who should be waiting for them but Adele Makeda (mold 2.0 - my favorite!) as the Ice Queen dressed in "Frosted Glamour".
Gasp!  That dress is perfection!  The hair!  I totally get the whole concept, but they should have stopped when they were way ahead.   I do not like the frosted lips or frosted eye makeup.  She's too shiny for my personal tastes, and I'm not sure how she will redress.   I am going to have to wait and see IRL photos of this doll redressed and in collectors' hands.

And the moment everyone has been waiting for ... By this time, everyone has figured out it must be Elyse Jolie or Kyori Sato since they were the only dolls in the "core group" who has not made an appearance.   Since we have Sleeping Beauty in Nadja Rhymes, it's only fitting the missing Evil Queen, Maleficent, be the last to show up.  (Maybe she wasn't invited.)   Here we have Elyse Jolie wearing "Malefique".
As much as I can get on board with this whole look, I do not like the purple hair at all.  I already own Midnight Star who is similar.  I also own Dark Romance Giselle's gown which reminds me of this one, so I can almost create this look.  Malefique is a very beautiful doll; I just don't need to pay secondary market prices to add her to my collection.  Sigh of relief.

As a recap:

Hommes:  4 from the Industry + 3 Color Infusion from the salesroom = 7
Color Infusion Females:  2 in the salesroom
The Industry Females:  4
Poppy Parker:  2 Convention Collection, 1 Salesroom, 1 Centerpiece, 1 Gift, + 2 Style Lab = 7
NuFace:  2 Convention Collection, 1 Salesroom, 2 gifts, + 1 Centerpiece = 6
Misaki:  2 doll giftset in salesroom
East 59th:  2 dolls
FR2:  4 Convention Collection, 2 Gifts, + 2 Centerpieces = 8

Grand total:  38 dolls

I think this deluge of dolls is one of the things that may be burning out collectors.  I have already received 22 dolls this year and have still six on order.  That's added to all the dolls I've purchased and held onto in the past 10 years.   Why do I feel like I need more?  I need counseling.