Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review Fusion #4

It's hard for me to believe that November is half over already!  There is so much excitement at this time of year in my house, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, the academic quarter ending, the first snowfall of the season, the big musical production at our high school, visits from family, and of course the beginnings of holiday shopping.

Amidst the happy pandemonium of the next couple of weeks, I'd like to try and do some shorter reviews of the dolls and toys that seem especially popular or interesting this holiday season, but I also want to squeeze in a few more guest reviews before I get too busy.  This Fusion post will attempt to address both goals: I have two really neat guest reviews to share with you, and I'll also offer my own quick evaluation of one of the most sought-after toys in this neck of the woods lately: My Size Anna.

My Size Anna (Target, $59.99).
I am really excited to introduce my first guest reviewer, Alexandra.  Alexandra emailed me and asked if she could write a tutorial on how she repaints her Monster High dolls.  I was fascinated to see this process myself since I have never attempted to repaint one of these dolls before.  Also, it seems that one of the hot gifts this season could be the $130 Monster High "Monster Maker" set.  The high price on this toy makes Alexandra's more economical method of customization a great contrast.  I also really like the idea of sharing posts that are not traditional reviews, and hope to have a few more of these in 2015.  So, let's see how Alexandra transformed her Monster High Spectra doll!


Monster High Re-Paint: A Tutorial
  
First I would like to thank Emily for letting me do this post!!!  I'm Alexandra, a 13-year-old girl who is home-educated and travels around the world with her family.  I love Monster High dolls. 

So, after reading the headline of this tutorial you might think, "Why would you want to re-paint a Monster High doll?" Well, I just liked the idea and thought it would be really cool to have a doll that I created. 

I decided to use an old Spectra Vondergeist Picture Day doll. She already had half her head shaved by her previous owner (my younger sister...). So I pulled all of her hair out and re-painted her face using the following steps:

Things you will need: 
Paint (I used acrylic Apple Barrel paint.) 
Brushes 
Toothpicks (you really need these, they are great for details!) 
An old doll
Nail polish remover
Cotton swabs

Step One: gather your supplies. 


Step 2: pull off the doll's head. 


To do this you just have to really pull hard. [Emily adds that using heat can help with this step.  I use Roxanne's method of sealing the doll in a plastic bag and then dipping the head in boiling water.]

Step 3: remove all the face paint with nail polish remover. Change your cotton swab whenever you start to smear paint across the face instead of wiping it off. 


It should look like this:


Then just wipe the face off with a wet towel.

Step 4: get your paints.  Black and white are important to have, but the other colors are up to you!


Choose the white paint first. 


Then paint the indent where the eyes should be:


It might take 2-3 coats of it to be fully white.




Step 5: planning out your designs before you paint the doll is a good idea.  


Next, get your toothpick with an eye color on it, 


and paint an olive shape in the middle of the eye. 


Then fill it in. 


Repeat on the other eye.


Step 6: get a new toothpick and some black paint. Make sure that you only have a tiny amount of paint on the toothpick so you do not get any splodges of paint. 


Paint a thin line above the olive shape.  Repeat on the other eye, 


then paint a smaller circle shape in the olive shape (for the pupil of the eye). 


Repeat on the other eye.


Step 7: paint another thin black line at the bottom of the eye. 


The doll still looks a bit freaky but wait--it will look better!  Repeat on the other eye. 


Now, it is time for the eyelashes: 


Be careful and use your toothpick and paint tiny little lashes. Repeat on the other eye. 


If the little black line anywhere on the eye is too thin then just make it a little thicker.

Step 8: makeup time!  Get your chosen make up colour and water it down. I feel it looks more like real makeup this way. 


Paint a thin line of colur over the lashes. Repeat on the other eye. 


Then you might choose to do other lines of colourful make up. I did a darker blue and a little mole and I also thickened the black eye make up.



Step 9: now it's time to paint the lips. I used a dark blue for the lips. The lips are easy because they're already defined by the doll's face mold. 


Then I used a darker blue for the lip outline. I wanted her to look a bit emotionless...and it worked! ;D


Step 10: the eyebrows! I used the same colour for her eyebrows that I used for the lipstick outline. I did one eyebrow a bit higher than the other one, to make her look sarcastic. 


Now, push the head back on the body, and you're done!

...excuse the doll nudity. ;D


I then painted her head dark blue for when I reroot her hair in a darker blue. And I painted some necklaces on her:


I put a matching dress on her.


And here she is with the rest of my collection.


Here she is the first time I re-painted this same doll: which version do you prefer?



Thanks for reading! Hope some of you will try re-painting a doll yourselves!

***

Thank you, Alexandra!  I really like both of your re-painted Spectras--it's neat how different they can look.  I actually feel very tempted to try this myself after reading you very clear tutorial.  I have a Lagoona with hopelessly wonky eyes who would be perfect for a repaint.  I will post her on Facebook if I ever get up the courage to try this!

My next guest reviewer, Jan, recently purchased her very first Ellowyne Wilde doll and wanted to share her initial impressions with all of you here on the blog.  Since I still haven't managed to add an Ellowyne to my own collection, I am always delighted to see this lovely girl on the blog.  Jan collects mostly Disney dolls, and more great pictures of her fun collection can be seen on Flickr.  Over to you, Jan!

Hello, everyone!!  It's Jan.  A few weeks ago I bought my very first Ellowyne Wilde doll: Essential Ellowyne 6 Brown (after this referred to as EE6B) whom I have named Juliet.  Emily has graciously allowed me to do a guest review of Juliet, and I am so grateful that she let me do so. 

I'd had my eye on an Ellowyne for quite a while, specifically EE6B, but for some reason never ordered her.  First it was one thing, then another, or I got distracted by other doll lines.  About a month and a half ago, I decided on a whim to get on the Wilde Imagination site.  And I'm so glad I did.  EE6B regularly costs $99, but they are phasing her out, so she was on special pricing for $79.  I knew this would probably be one of my last chances to get her without going on the secondary market, and so I decided to order my very first Ellowyne.  Right before I actually checked out, I learned from the Ellowyne's Ennui message board that there was a 20% off coupon code. (By the way, I 100% recommend visiting Ellowyne's Ennui if you are interested in Ellowyne Wilde.  It's a great community of dolly lovers, and all are very helpful.  Lots of pretty doll pictures too! :-) ). After I used the 20% code, she came to about $73 or so with shipping.  Needless to say, I was thrilled at the great price.  She arrived about a week later, in this brown box:


I wasted no time in opening the box, and inside that box, was her white shipper box.


My first thought on getting the inside box out, was how large it was.  I knew when I ordered her that she was 16 inches tall, but for some reason that seems much larger in person.  Not a bad thing, but just an observation. :-)


Here is a picture of one of my Lalaloopsy minis with the box for size comparison.


This was my first glimpse of Juliet as I opened the box.  


She is tied into the box with ribbons at the neck, waist and feet.  There is also a piece of foam beneath the ribbon at each place.  Her stand and shoes were in bubble wrap on the sides of the box, while her poem was sitting on top of her (all of the Ellowyne Wilde dolls come with a poem).

Here's a close-up of her pretty face: 



I think she just wanted me to stop taking pictures and get her out of there!

All I had to do to get her out, though, was untie the ribbons.  Best.  Packaging.  Ever.  Even better, the ribbons were only tied in bows.  They weren't loose, though, so she wasn't rattling around, but I can honestly say that is the best packaging I've ever encountered.  So easy.  

Here's Ellowyne with everything that she came with.  Her shoes are in a separate clear plastic bag, and that's the stand under all that bubble wrap.


EE6B has blue inset eyes, and a dark brown wig.  I haven't been brave enough to take the wig off yet, for fear I wouldn't get it back on!  I don't have any other wigs for her yet, anyways.  I've never seen doll eyes like these.  They almost look alive, and they have a lot of depth to them.  Plus, they are very fun to photograph as they give her face an alive quality, and photography is always a nice perk.  



Ellowyne comes wearing a white romper, which is very cute, but I still can't figure out what kind of fabric it is.  It feels like very, very soft cotton, but I doubt that's what it is.

Except for Firmly Planted, I believe all of the other Ellowynes ever released have high-heeled feet, and so they wear high heeled shoes.  Here's Juliet modeling her shoes for you:



These have high heels, and dainty criss-crossing elastic straps that go up her ankle.  The elastic helps the shoes to stay on very well, but they aren't very fun to get on.  They were an absolute bear the first time I put them on her, but I've gotten the hang of it since then and it is much easier now.  

I'm fairly certain I'd tip over in those shoes, but they look very pretty on her.  What I can't get over is the quality of the shoe: they look and feel just as well-made as some upscale human shoes I've seen.  It is so amazing the high quality that there is in this tiny shoe; especially when shoes is an area that many doll companies skimp on.

Juliet's hair was in a hairnet in the box, and just like N's "Flora, Fauna, and not so Merryweather," this doll's hair was a bit messy right out of that hairnet.


But, after about a minute or so of finger combing, it looked a ton better.


And, also just like N's doll, Juliet's loop of hair meant to cover the elastic is just a bit below it.  At this point, considering that both N and my dolls have the same exact hairstyle, I'm assuming that all the Ellowynes with this hairstyle have this 'problem'.  Granted, I've never seen any other Ellowynes with this style in person.  However, the loop of hair out of place isn't very noticeable, and so I just ignore it.


Juliet is finally free of all the tags, hairnets, and etc., so here she is waving "hi" to you.  


She is meant to have two tendrils of hair hanging in front, but if you'd rather not have them there, you can clip them back and they will blend right into the half up-half down hairstyle.

At the time when Juliet arrived, I didn't have any clothes for her yet, so I modified an American Girl outfit to fit her.  It is pinned in the back.  



One of the things that I was most excited about with Juliet was her articulation.  She has 11 points of articulation, and I was especially excited about her wrist joints.  Her wrists allow her to adopt many different expressions and poses compared to some of my other dolls.


She can model a pretty outfit...


Essential Ellowyne 6 Brown

..and perhaps best of all, she can sit very well.  She automatically sits with her ankles daintily crossed, which I like.  She can also cuddle with her favorite stuffed animal, Percy!! :-)

Essential Ellowyne 6 Brown

She also has a very versatile face, and can have a number of different personas.  For example, here she is being a jungle princess.


And then here, she's the girl-next-door out for a summer walk.


Here, she's a city girl out for a walk in Central Park.  The blue hat really makes her eyes pop, and I love it.

Essential Ellowyne 6 Brown

And here are a few more pictures, just because.




In conclusion, Juliet is a beautiful and unique doll.  She is definitely one of my favorite dolls in my collection.  She's a joy to photograph, and has amazing articulation.  I wholeheartedly recommend her 100% to anyone who wants an Ellowyne Wilde doll.  I have also fallen head first into the collecting world of Ellowyne Wilde, and I'm sure I'll have a quite large collection of these dolls in the future.  I do hope that more and more people discover this marvelous doll line.

Essential Ellowyne 6 Brown

***

Ok, now I am really tempted to have an Ellowyne in my collection!  Thank you so much for this beautiful review, Jan.  I absolutely love that picture of Juliet with Percy!

I'll end this Review Fusion with my first holiday shopping doll review. This particular doll is a perfect way to kick off the holiday reviews because she is something I wouldn't consider buying unless it was the holiday season.  Part of this is because she's so big (and I have no space!), but it's also just that I didn't feel a burning need to review yet another Frozen doll.  

However, during each of my recent trips to Target, this doll and her companion, My Size Elsa, were the focus of much excitement.  I watched several little kids stare longingly up at these three-foot-tall sisters, and I also overheard at least a dozen parents frantically trying to track one down when they were temporarily out-of-stock.


In my part of the world, the My Size dolls come in stock fleetingly.  It's getting pretty rare to see one in an actual store.  However, it's possible to track them online by doing a local store search.  If one of the dolls is shown in stock, you can purchase her online and pick her up at the store within the next five days.  I mention this because the only other option is to spend $140 or more at Amazon or on eBay...which I definitely don't recommend.  This doll is absolutely not worth over $60, but is she even worth her $60 price tag?  Let's find out.

Anna comes in a large cardboard box with an irregular plastic window around the doll's chest and head:


My doll looked like she had a brown spot on her nose:

A nose freckle?
The cardboard portions of the box are decorated with pictures of the doll interacting with a real child.  There are also little balloons advertising Anna's accessory (a "wear and share LIGHT UP flower clip") and her impressive height (over three feet).





Ok, I have to pause here to inspect these two pictures side-by-side (taken from the front and back of the box):


One of them is photoshopped--I think the one on the left.  The real girl looks just a few inches taller than Anna on the left, but then when she's bending over, her height doesn't change much relative to the doll.  It would have been nice to have an actual shot of a real child standing upright next to the doll.  Also, Anna's skin tone is much darker and more red-orange colored than those pictures suggest.

There's a small section advertising other toys in this series: two child-sized dresses and a vanity playset:


Anna is tied to a cardboard backdrop with minimal decoration.  


Her feet and arms have plastic on them:


I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get Anna out of her box.  She had twine around her neck and feet, but this was very easy to untie--no scissors necessary.  For a doll this large and potentially awkward to handle, her de-boxing was quick and hassle-free.

Here she is out of the box, standing nicely on her own...


...with a very wrinkled dress.


She has really long hair, which was hard to see while she was inside her box.  It hangs well past her waist in two long braids.

My Size Anna doll

Her bangs have an unusual shape, rooted more on the left side of her head than the right:


There's also a small section of shorter hair pulled off to Anna's right side and tied into her braid:


The braids themselves are very thick and soft and have a beautiful shine to them.  There's even a streak of white down the right side of Anna's head.

The back of Anna's neck is marked with the Jakks Pacific copyright:


Jakks Pacific also makes the Princess & Me dolls.  In many ways, My Size Anna is just an enormous Princess & Me doll.

Anna's face has an open-mouthed smile with a wide band of un-detailed teeth.  It's hard not to contrast these teeth to the incredibly realistic teeth on my Wildflower Dolls Tara.  I don't particularly like this doll's expression.  She has such a vacant, generic stare compared to the expressive goofiness of the movie character.


My Size Elsa has a closed-mouth smile that is better, but I didn't want to review another Elsa doll...and I like Anna's red hair.

Anna's eyes are a pretty teal green color and have more detail than her other features:


Most of Anna's features are so blocky and simplified, the finely-drawn, realistic lines in her eyelashes were quite a surprise to see:


Anna has several layers of eyeshadow, including a thick orange band in the middle that coordinates with her hair.  Her eyebrows are un-detailed and mostly straight with angled ends:


She has a small number of light freckles and a faint blush in her cheeks.  Her smile is very wide...and very white:

Looks like a sports mouthguard.
I just don't think a doll this large can get away with having such simplified, monolithic teeth.  They look very strange, and it's all I can do to not get out my paintbrush and try to add some detail.

The nice thing is, there's no brown spot on my doll's nose, just a shiny area from where her face banged against the plastic window of the box:

Not a nose freckle.
I like Anna's profile more than her forward-facing portrait.  Her upturned nose (and the fact that I'm only seeing half of her teeth...) provides some welcome character:


My Size Anna doll
She looks sweet here, I think.
Anna is wearing a blue dress that resembles the winter outfit from the movie.  The fabrics are all synthetic and stiff...and very prone to wrinkles.  Notice that there is no decoration at all on the back of this dress:


Maybe little kids don't notice this half-decorated phenomenon at all, but it bothers me.  It's so clear that box appeal trumps the actual quality of the doll's outfit.  Don't get me started.

The front of the bodice is the prettiest part of the outfit: 

'Cause it's actually decorated.
It has sequined detail around the neckline:


Elastic-gathered tulle sleeves:


And scrolling glittery patterns along the front:


The princess seams of the bodice are edged in gold braid, and the front of the waistline is decorated with a gold ribbon.  Unfortunately, the un-decorated back of the bodice is made out of a completely different material.  The seam between front and back is particularly glaring in this area:


The back of the dress is very plain, and even more wrinkled than the front.  Perhaps some of those wrinkles will hang out over time.


The velcro closure and elastic gathering at the back of the waist make this dress easy to get on and off.

The skirt has two layers.  The top layer is a sheer blue mesh with glittery designs:



The underskirt is pale blue and has a very stiff, synthetic feel that I don't care for at all.  It reminds me of a cheap windbreaker jacket.


Anna is not wearing her signature black boots, but soft vinyl flats:


They slide easily on and off, and have a generic "P" (for princess?) on the front.



Under her shoes, Anna has toeless slipper feet:



Under her dress, Anna has a painted blue camisole:
*Update 11/27: I forgot to mention that when I first took Anna's dress off, there was an overpowering chemical smell.  This odor dissipated pretty quickly (which is why I forgot to mention it) but it was fairly unpleasant in the moment.


This is nice for modesty, and I like the blue color.  The hip region is a little awkward-looking, though, since there's no painted blue area on the legs:

My Size Anna doll
I don't think you could actually have underwear that fits like this...
not comfortably, anyway.

 My doll has a few small scuffs on the front of her camisole:


This doll has five points of articulation, all of which can be demonstrated by a single picture:


Anna's head spins all of the way around and can also tip from side-to-side very slightly.  So slightly that it might be a mistake.  Her shoulders and hips have rotation in only one plane: she can move her arms straight up or down, and she can do front-back splits.  

Her flexed feet make it impossible for her to sit completely on the ground when she's doing the splits, though.  She is supported by her feet and hands:


She has pretty hands with slender, delicate fingers:


Her hip joints are chunky and have straight top edges that prevent the limbs from moving past 90 degrees in either direction:


90 degrees of hip rotation is more than enough to allow Anna to sit solidly on the ground, though:


She can also sit in a full-sized dining room chair, with her feet sticking out over the edge just a little bit.

From this angle, you can see that the seam along the left side of her body doesn't line up perfectly:


Anna's other seams aren't particularly attractive, either.  There are a lot of white patches, shiny areas, and visible gaps.


I can't really photograph the feel of this doll, but let me try to describe it.  She's fairly heavy, but I think a lot of that weight comes from her hair and the simple fact that she's so large.  Her arms are made out of thin, hollow plastic with a small amount of bend to it.  If I pick this doll up by her arms, they bend outwards a little, making me nervous that they'll snap off at the shoulder.  I tend to pick her up by the neck.  The movement at the shoulder joints is also a little stiff.  

Anna's legs are made out of a harder hollow plastic, as is her torso.  I feel like I have to manhandle this doll to move her hips--grabbing her around the neck and pushing or pulling pretty hard on her legs.  A small child might have trouble posing this doll and getting her balanced so that she'll stand upright on her own.

Overall, she's a bit tricky to manipulate and her posing is very limited.  However, she's lighter weight than some other dolls this size, and so I can picture a younger child toting (dragging?) her around without too much trouble.


I was anxious to take down Anna's beautiful red braids...


But first I wanted to try out the flower clip that is this doll's only accessory.  The flower motif doesn't seem relevant to Frozen.  It reminds me more of Tangled.  Did My Size Rapunzel have this accessory too, I wonder?  Hm.

Anyway, the flower is heavy, bulky and thick.  It sticks out considerably from Anna's head and looks fake:


This flower is also hard to get out of Anna's hair.  The pegs on the thin plastic barrette section get caught in her braids.


Here's the flower up close:

Flower gleam and glow...let your power shine!
When I push the center of the flower, a single light comes on and flickers a little bit.  It's very unimpressive:

Is mine broken?
Here's Anna's hair taken down:


It falls in large kinks from the braids, but is very smooth and silky to the touch.  The color is great:



The hair feels very thick and full:


The rooting is dense along the hairline and down the center part in back, but the other areas are quite sparse:


Anna's scalp is painted orange to lessen the effect of the thin hair.


The hair brushes out easily, and the kinks soften into waves:


Without the braids, the cut of the hair is uneven in back:


The tied-back area to the right of Anna's face gets hard to manage when the hair is down.  I am nervous about removing these ties, because I think the shorter hair in this section might look funny and hang awkwardly in Anna's face:


Anna's uneven bangs make her hair fall over her face much more on the right side:


Overall, I really like the look and feel of this hair.  It's much softer than I expected.  The hair is silky and easy to brush, but the sheer length and volume of hair make brushing and styling a fairly exerting activity.  Smaller children might have trouble keeping this hair tangle-free if it's left down.

My Size Anna doll


I did my best to re-create Anna's original braided hairstyle, which turned out fine on the first try.  I am always nervous that I'll be able to re-define parts on dolls like this, but Anna's center part easily fell back into place.  It's great to know that if this hair is taken down, it can be put back up without much trouble at all.


Anna is over three feet tall, but she's slender, with a fairly small head.  She can wear some real children's clothing, but it hangs loose on her because of her slim proportions.  I tried a few 18-24 month GAP sweaters on her (borrowed from my Himstedt dolls) but they're way too big, so maybe things in the 12 month size would be better.  I don't have a lot of children's clothing to test this with.

Here's My Size Anna with my 12" Disney Store Anna for size comparison:

Notice the different skin tones, too: My Size Anna is much redder.
There's quite a contrast in the facial expressions of these two dolls:

My Size Anna doll

I also wanted to pose Anna with the Build-A-Bear Olaf plush (who I think is adorable):


These two are a pretty good match!  


I took Anna outside into our newly-snowy landscape for a few final pictures.  This photo session didn't last long--partly because there was slush falling from the trees, but also because Anna just doesn't have very many different poses to offer, and I cannot connect to her generic face.

My Size Anna doll


My Size Anna doll

Bottom line?  Many things about this doll are cheaply-made and unimpressive to me.  She has a hollow, plastic body with minimal articulation and imprecise construction.  Her dress is stiff, half-decorated, and feels like an inexpensive Halloween costume.  Worst of all, this doll's vacant face does nothing to capture the endearing personality of the beloved movie character.  

Anna's size is cumbersome to me, and I feel like it magnifies the deficiencies in her detailing and quality.  However, any toy that approaches life size has a special kind of appeal.  I can see younger children reacting to this doll in a unique way simply because of her size.  She can sit at the dinner table or on the couch, and would be able to interact with a child's other toys in a convincing way--perhaps even wear a few of their old clothes.  

What I like best about My Size Anna is her long, silky red hair.  The hair has a much nicer texture than I anticipated and the color is perfect.  It's a bit of a chore to brush the hair, but only because of Anna's size--not because the hair fiber is tangle-prone or coarse.  Unfortunately, I think younger children will struggle to brush this hair and keep it looking neat, making the doll's best quality something her target audience can't fully enjoy.

Despite my many criticisms of this doll, I do appreciate her appeal as a fantasy gift.  For a young Frozen fan, the sight of My Size Anna (or Elsa) under the Christmas tree could be truly magical.  I can remember my mom spending $50 on a Melissa and Doug four-foot stuffed giraffe for my son's seventh birthday.  The impact of seeing that huge giraffe for the first time made such an impression on my animal-loving child that he still has the toy in his room today...ten years later.  So, it might be worth the $60 retail price for that "wow" moment, or to make a child's wish come true, but I certainly wouldn't pay a penny more.  

I get roped in by these oversized, holiday-targeted toys as much as anyone, but I have to keep reminding myself that bigger is seldom better.  I can think of a dozen other dolls in the $60 price range that have nicer quality, more staying power, and higher play potential than My Size Anna.  I will try to feature a few of these options in the weeks to come. 

My Size Anna doll

32 comments:

  1. Hi, haven't read the review yet but I just wanted to comment first!

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  2. The lack of expression in Anna's face, especially compared to her 12" counterpart, is greatly disappointing. I remember wanting My Size Barbie and Kid Sister as a little girl, but now I'm glad that I didn't have the Barbie, at least. Huge, vacant grins are the sort of thing that would have given 6-year-old me nightmares.

    Also, a wee addition to the Monster High tutorial: Fluid acrylics (available at art supply stores) or thinned-down regular acrylics are better than full-thickness acrylic paints. Regular acrylic paint gets thick way too fast, and that can look really weird on a teeny little fashion doll head. :) I've also had great luck with the cheap model-car paintbrush set that Testors offers (found in craft stores in the model section). Sharp-ended toothpicks work well, though (just don't use the dull end!).

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  3. hello from Thailand!!
    I found life-size Anna and Elsa dolls at my local toys r us, they cost about $150 (about 4500 BAHT) which is not cheap at all!!!
    Ps. I had been around here(your blog) for years now , so... keep up the good work!!! ::>_<::

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!! It's so neat that you're reading from Thailand!
      $150 is a lot to spend for Anna My Size. Whew! Many of them are selling for that price on Amazon and eBay around here right now, too, though! What's interesting is that the Toys R Us stores in the US don't carry these dolls--just the My Size Barbie. Anna and Elsa are Target exclusives, at least for now.
      Thank you for reading for so many years!!

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  4. I am so sad to see Anna like this, she really is the best princess I have ever seen. She doesn't seem as quirky or spunky like the disney store Anna.

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  5. Juliet is gorgeous.

    Kudos to Alexandra for repaint gutsiness. Sometimes it just needs to be done. I lost patience with the dark teal lipstick that comes on Ghoul Beach Cleo de Nile and removed it with acetone last night, only to discover this afternoon that I have no paint colors resembling normal lipstick. Meh.

    When I was very small, I was fascinated by a life-size boy doll that my grandparents had. I used to pose him along with me, whatever I was doing around their yard. But I'm pretty sure he was more detailed than Anna. She has lovely hair, but that grin... eep.

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  6. I love Alexandra's repainted Spectra. She must be very talented and should share more of her creations. I also love Juliet. She looks really beautiful. I'd love to get her. But that Anna just gives me the shivers... I just get a creepy generic face in my head... *shiver*. Otherwise, her hair is fabulous =)

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  7. I love how Alexandra decided to jump head-first into repainting and gave a makeover to the ruined doll! Alexandra, if you read this, I have several tips:
    - try to find smaller brushes, they make a huge difference! Toothpicks are stiff and when your hand shakes, the line gets squiggly. Nail art brushes are a good start, or trim down small paintbrushes.
    - toothpicks are great for soaking in acetone and cleaning small details though!
    - to get non-wonky eyes, put a dot in the centre of each eye with a pencil (after you've just painted the whites); adjust the dot until both eyes look in the same direction
    - you didn't say how you painted the light dots in the eyes, but I assume you used a toothpick. Nail dotting tools are great for this task.
    - as others have said, an acrylic paint thinner will make your life a lot easier and your repaints will be smoother :)
    Good luck! If you have an online gallery or a blog, I'd like to know you better!

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    1. It's so true. The day I discovered liquitex flow-aid was one of the best days of my life! I read about flow-aid on a doll-customizing website, but it has really helped my painting so much too.

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  8. That is an AWESOME review fusion! I wuld love to be a part of one, but I'm just too lazy. Don't worry, it's halfway done. ( Yeah. I'ma lazeeeeeeeh ) Anyway, my sister's birthday was yesterday, and guess what she got- A hairstyling Barbie ( Her hair is actually just basic doll hair. The only thing is that she comes with some hairstyling stuff, but it's impossible to curl all of her hair, because the effect goes away when the next curl is done.) , a doll & pony equestria girls Twilight set (Love the pony, but the peg-feet is just super annoying, with the wings falling off, but her hair is soooooooooooooooo silky!!!! AND, since the Barbie has a lot of stuff, you can curl Twilight or any other doll's hair.), and a rainbow power Fluttershy. And that's just from one of our grandmother's and our mom! Yeah, my b-day really wasn't so productive, now that i think about it. Here are some (internet) pictures of them- https://www.google.lv/search?q=endless+curls+barbie&client=firefox-a&hs=y0L&rls=org.mozilla:lv:official&channel=fflb&tbm=isch&imgil=JxZa8B5JVXI33M%253A%253BxdPJjaQVMf6YtM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.kmart.com.au%25252Fproduct%25252Fbarbie-endless-curls-doll%25252F175415&source=iu&pf=m&fir=JxZa8B5JVXI33M%253A%252CxdPJjaQVMf6YtM%252C_&usg=__l3tmKdqGjBI_va9cfVy5zEIX4Bc%3D&biw=1366&bih=627&ved=0CCwQyjc&ei=5dZpVIG1D4erOoGOgfAJ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=BLNDGnkRgpO9KM%253A%3BH2qC0w6fN9ul_M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hamleys.com%252Fimages%252F_lib%252Fimage-68596-0-1411490631000.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hamleys.com%252Fbarbie-endless-curls-doll.ir%3B2000%3B2000 and the pony doll- https://www.google.lv/search?q=doll+and+pony+twilight&client=firefox-a&hs=u1L&rls=org.mozilla:lv:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=H9dpVJn5F4fgOL3cgYAB&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=627#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=ID8w-ifb0a_nsM%253A%3Bn_N4A8UsWxN4zM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hasbro.com%252Fcommon%252Fproductimages%252Fen_US%252F18e3fe5050569047f5f7ac45cfb09397%252F039CBD4050569047F559A2FEEDBC5AE9.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hasbro.com%252Fequestria-girls%252Fen_US%252Fshop%252Fdetails.cfm%253FR%253D18E3FE50-5056-9047-F5F7-AC45CFB09397%253Aen_US%3B400%3B400 Sorry for the long links.

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    1. Nah! You are not lazy--just super busy!! ;D Sounds like your sister had a fun birthday, but maybe the hairstyling Barbie is not what she expected? That's too bad--the curling iron accessory looks neat in the box. Twilight sounds great! I like her purple hair and I love unicorns. :) I do agree about the peg feet, though. Not my favorite feature on those girls. Have you seen the Wild Rainbow Ponies yet? They look fun to me.
      Now, let me see if I can follow your links to see those pictures!

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    2. Her birthday really was fun. Tomorrow we're going to the store to get her pre-ordered smartphone. Her. Smartphone. Hersmartphone. H e r s m a r t p h o n e . Even I don't have one (just yet) !!!! But she simply LOVES the barbie. She even wanted to play with it in the concert we went to! Yeah, my mom did the right choice not buying her an equestria girl. She got one anyway. Win-Win for..... her, I guess? One day I saw a whole bunch of those rainbow ponies, and, i'm being honest here, it looked like a rainbow had a lot of tiny kids, and they went under plastic surgery to look like their favourite ponies. :D Yep, that kind of reminds me of the Capitol. And that reminds me of The Hunger Games, whitch reminds me of Catching Fire and Mockingjay (Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait foooooooooooor theeeeeeeeeeeee moooooooooooooooooooooviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!!!!!!!!!), whitch reminds me- Have you seen the dolls? Time to search e-bay and refresh my christmas wishlist, I guess. :)

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  9. I was wondering what you were going to do with her! It would be a really amazing gift for a child in need, through perhaps a toy drive? :)

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    1. Yep, ZaBelle, Miss Anna is back in her box and headed for a toy drive. That is a wonderful suggestion, and where many of my dolls go at this time of year. I hope she finds the perfect new owner! :D

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  10. Yikes! That Anna is SCARY to me! I saw her and her sister in Target a few weeks ago. Simply terrifying. Then again, I never had the urge to want a doll as big as me when I was little. I hope yours will be loved by someone soon though!
    The monster high re-paint looks very good! I do suggest working with thinner paints though. I'm too scared to try that anymore! (I've already trashed all my old dolls.)
    Juliet is very pretty! Such gorgeous dolls.
    Thanks for all the reviews! I love seeing all this stuff!

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  11. Thanks for the re-paint guide Alexandra! I'm too scared that I will wreck my doll, so I don't think I will try it though! Great job!

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  12. Hi Emily,
    I'm from Spain (so excuse my English), I spend the last weeks reading your blog and I love it! Thank you for your work, I learned a lot about new dolls and I really enjoyed it.

    I think Google translator make a great job translating your blog to Spanish (better than others blogs or articles).

    I recommend watch this video about manage doll's curly hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu8a_Ee-tSo

    Have a nice day :)

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  13. First of all I would like to mention to be sure to use non-moisturizing acetone/nail polish remover- and also stay away from colored nail polish remover as it can stain the vinyl.
    As far as the big Frozen doll goes- I think it's kind of an adult thing to think that "Bigger is Better" when it comes to dolls. In fact, they are so unwieldy for a child that after they get over the novelty of such a big doll- they would rather actually play with something they can manipulate more easily. I had a Patty Play Pal when I was a child- a life-sized doll and I hardly ever played with her. I also just inherited a beautiful antique Simon and Halbig bisque doll. She is also almost life-sized, and it looks like her clothing was never removed (in other words, never played with). In my opinion- anything larger than an American Girls doll ends up standing in a corner or sitting in a chair, but not really getting much play time.

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    1. Yeah, I always wanted tiny toys as a kid. I've never really got the appeal of life-sized dolls and had some of the same concerns that you voiced above.

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    2. I think a big plush doll (like the old My Buddy and Kid Sister dolls) would be a bit easier for kids to handle than a large plastic doll. I had a 3-ft teddy bear as a wee one that found his way all over the house for playtime. I named him Michael Jackson (this was before the 90's scandal) and he was like a big protective best friend. (Plush toys are also a lot more fun to cuddle than plastic.)

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  14. Woww, i love your blog and your dolls. Your blog is wonderful, very cute and interesting for me.
    Kisses from: http://www.redecoratelg.com/
    I´m your new follower, are you invited on my blog, see you.

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  15. EEP my little sister looked over to my computer and saw Anna and was a little scared! I dont think my cat, Beanie, was appreciative either. But thank you for posting that repaint tutorial. I've done repaints before, but they've been hard.
    Thank you! <3
    Callie

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  16. Hi, FINALLY your blog started not eating my comments!
    I wonder if you have heard about Fin Fun mermaid?
    They make human sized swimmable mermaid tails (something i am drooling over, especially the Aussie Green one) but they also make AG and Liv/barbie sized tails, and they look just like the original human tails. It would be great if these got a review, and they are pretty reasonably priced, about $10 USD for a Liv/Barbie tail & bikini, and $13 for AG set.Plus all the orders ship out of Ihando Falls, Ihando. Oh and the added Four new tail colours!
    From your 10yr old Aussie fan, Arieta

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  17. Have you seen these yet? I think you might be interested since they are mini dolls.

    https://flic.kr/p/pbTEk4
    https://flic.kr/p/pbNtdA

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  18. I feel alone in this, but I actually find the back story for Ellowyne rather offensive. The company seems to go out of their way to glamorize depression (calling it "chronic ennui" for starters), and the diary entries seems to make a punch line out of people with severe impulse control disorders (through her brother Freddy being played for laughs). Ever since I read the diary entries, I've refused to buy anything from them. I have a schizophrenic brother with severe impulse control problems, so I felt like they were making fun of people like him, and both of us have chronic depression. The whole brand seems to take this as some sort of twisted joke, instead of doing something good like trying to spread awareness or something.

    People tell me to lighten up when I tell them this. That she's "just a doll." Or it's just fiction, but mental illness is so trivialized in our society, that it's really annoying that this sort of thing goes on unnoticed. Ellowyne is one of the more celebrated dolls in the adult community, and it makes me sick that she just won't go away.

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    1. I think she is more liked by collectors for her aesthetic than anything. The company could stand to rebrand her a bit tho and get rid of the icky bits.

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    2. I'm very grateful to you for sharing this perspective, Miyu. I have to admit that I never put much time into the analysis of Ellowyne's character, but there has always been something a little off-putting to me about her bored persona. I dislike the concept of boredom, especially as a complaint from my own children! Now that you mention it, though, I can see why Ellowyne's sensationalized "depression" could be quite offensive to those who are grappling with this problem in a very real way. I take your comments to heart, and am glad that you have the courage to speak out against the mainstream opinion. I think Ellowyne is a lovely, unique doll, but she would be equally lovely with a different backstory. Perhaps the impact of these details is underestimated.

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  19. Those are some awesome repaints, Alexandra! ^^

    I've only done a couple faceups, but some further tips: I would reroot first, then repaint, because all that head squishing will make the paint peel or chip off. I also will add an acrylic sealant for both some gloss and to double make sure that the paint will stay; I use a brush on but Mister Super Clear or Dullcote Clear are popular. Seconding (thirding? fourthing?) the tiny paintbrush advice. There's still the fear of shaking and ruining the paintjob but it's still easier to control than a toothpick. Some people will use pieces of artist pastels (NOT oil) or watercolor pencils (the former especially for blush and eyeshadow), but I'd test them out first.

    That Anna doll 0_0 Jakks Pacific has a history of only doing the print on the front thing (some of my basic Winx dolls's outfits are like that). To do that on a $60 doll is just... ugh. Why?! It's bad enough on a $10 doll but much more tolerable (especially since my everyday Stella, for instance, was $5 on Amazon). It just looks so lazy and I doubt they saved that much money skimping like that. I'm also cringing on how cheap the dress material is even by toy standards. The top skirt is so sheer and like a good inch above the bottom skirt/petticoat. Unless you're doing a tiered skirt, that's just tacky. Again, still bad but more passable on a 12 inch versus a 38 inch doll. I would not pay $60 for something that looks that crappy (then again, I don't care for "my size" dolls (and have somehow not yet seen Frozen) to begin with, so I wouldn't had been a customer anyway. Just my two cents from a cosmetic and hobby seamstress standpoint). Hoping that the kid that gets this through your donation enjoys it, though. That's what matters, right?

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  20. The My Size Rapunzel actually does have the same light up flower clip! Just yellow instead of pink.

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  21. Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though. bolly4u movies

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