Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lori Dolls and Accessories from Our Generation

I got temporarily swallowed up by the pandemonium of school, but now life has begun to settle back into a familiar rhythm.  I did manage to make a few changes to the blog last week that you might have already noticed: there's a tab menu at the top of the site that has a few little additions.  In particular, I'd like to point out the "Photo Mission!" tab.  These photo requests will change from time to time, and I hope they'll provide an easy way for anyone to contribute to a review, add an opinion, or maybe even share a website link.  The first mission is for Ever After High pictures (of any kind!) and these will be published next week as part of a larger review.  Thank you to those who have already contributed!  It's so fun to get pictures in my inbox.

It's also fun to get new doll alerts in my inbox.  For example, I received an email from Nadine a week or so ago, telling me about a whole new line of dolls by Battat.  The line is called "Lori" and includes a variety of 6-inch dolls (formerly the Our Generation mini dolls) along with several outfits and accessories.  I was so excited to hear about these dolls because I'm a pretty big fan of the Our Generation minis...and of the Battat company in general.  The strange thing was, I had been to Target the very same day that Nadine emailed me, but hadn't seen any sign of the Lori dolls.  I made a few more trips to Target that week (three or four...) and was finally rewarded towards the end of last week when my Target stocked the new collection.  I think some of the items sold out quickly, but there were still about six different doll characters, a few outfits, four furniture sets, and even a two-room wooden dollhouse.

In this review I will show you one of the new Lori doll sets ("Bryn and Blaze") and also take a quick look at the "Loft to Love" Lori dollhouse.  I chose the Bryn doll because she has...wait for it...brilliant red hair:

Lori doll "Bryn" by Battat, $15.99.
The Lori dolls come in light pink cardboard boxes that are distinct from the darker pink and yellow coloring of the Our Generation packaging.

I took a few bad pictures of the display with my phone when I was at the store--I honestly didn't expect the dolls to be in stock, so I didn't come prepared with my good camera.

The dolls and a few furniture sets (with a rebel Bratz head).
I really wanted to buy the redheaded, green-eyed (and freckled!) Analise character, but the combination of her low-necked ballet outfit and her very thick (and lopsided) neck seam didn't sit well with me:

The basic dolls (with no pet) cost $11.99.
Ok, so there was a larger-than-life-sized Barbie cutout at the end of the aisle right next to the Lori dolls.  You can see her huge eye peeking up from the bottom of the picture, above.  The cutout was printed on both sides, so Barbie was staring right at me while I was browsing.  It was freaky.  I'd look away, and then catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye and think that someone had snuck up and was staring me down.  It caused me to physically startle about three times.

Gack!!
My shaking hands might help explain why these pictures aren't very good.

Fortunately, Nadine sent me a few pictures that she took at her Target store, and these are beautiful and clear.  The ethnic diversity in the new dolls is much better than it was with the Our Generation minis (where there was zero diversity):

There's a fantastic variety of dolls.
There's an empty hook for the "deluxe accessory sets" ($16.99) which seem to have been sold out at both my Target and Nadine's.  I'm very curious to know what those sets are!

Looking over Nadine's pictures and from my own experience at Target, I'd say that the range of quality in the outfits is large.  Many of the skimpy ballet outfits aren't great, and some of the regular outfits have strange designs, like Naomi's bizarre lace-and-fur concoction:

In which a lovely normal purple outfit collides with a doily...and a poodle.
However, some of the outfits look great--like Hazel's pretty pleated dress with the purple jacket and Tama's wonderfully wacky neon fur skirt:


Nadine also got a picture of the camper ($34.99) and two doll houses ($49.99 each):


There's also a space on the shelf for a $24.99 car, but my store didn't have that in stock, either.  You can see it flash by on the (as of yet unfinished) Lori doll website.

As an extra-special bonus, Nadine photographed the new 18-inch Our Generation character who has a brand new face:

May Lee.
I absolutely love her (three cheers for the new face!), but haven't found her in the stores around here yet.

The smaller dolls all have the same face mold, but Tama looks a bit like a mini May Lee:

I bought her, too, but won't review her today.
It's neat to see how having different eye, skin and hair colors can make these dolls look so distinct from one another.  I also like how Tama's shirt covers her neck seam.

My favorite individual outfit was this Wonderfully Warm set--complete with little ear muffs and goggles:

Your tauntaun will freeze before it reaches the first marker!
I hope you don't mind if I share a few pictures of another Our Generation item that I found at Target recently.  I've been meaning to put this on Facebook, but other things keep getting priority.  

Our Generation has released a massive new diner set that looks awesome:


This "Bite to Eat Diner" is part of the Our Generation Retro collection and comes with a ton of realistic food accessories.

Makes me drool!
The $109 price seems a little expensive for Our Generation, but oh, how I would love to play with this set!  It's huge and has a ton of cool features (the table-top jukebox plays real music!).  I'd settle for just seeing it all put together in real life.

There's a nice video review of this set here.


I think Our Generation does these accessory sets really, really well.  They're just too big for my house.


I hope the smaller Lori characters will eventually have a range of accessories as awesome as what's available for the larger dolls.  Or at least a few horses.

I decided to review the redheaded Lori doll named "Bryn."  I chose this character in part because of her bright red hair, but also because she comes with a cute little dog figure:

$15.99.
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The dog's name is Blaze...unless I got the names mixed up.  


The packaging is fairly simple--just an open-faced cardboard box with no plastic window.  There's a photograph of the doll and dog on the back, along with a short description and a list of contents:


The description is the same on the back of all of the dolls' boxes, and applies to the main character of the line, Lori.  Lori lives in a big city and enjoys reading, giggling, ballet, and playing with her pet:


I'm not sure exactly why, but it strikes me as odd that Lori refers to herself and her friends as "little girls."  The dolls look and dress like younger girls, which is great, but I don't think many girls (at least those who are old enough to take their dog out for a walk and explore the big city...) refer to themselves in this way.  Correct me if I'm wrong.


It's also unusual to have all of the characters in a doll line enjoy the exact same things: giggling, reading, ballet and pets.  These traits are common and awesome enough that it's certainly possible to have them shared by all of the girls...but I can't decide if I like this simplified approach to doll profiling (it allows kids to invent their own dolls' personalities) or if I think it's lazy.  Really, all of them like ballet?  I guess maybe that's how they met and became friends?  I'm anxious for the Lori website to be active because it might explain this kind of detail.   


There's another short blurb on the side of the box that encourages recycling and provides contact information for the company:


As with other Our Generation products, the packaging is very easy to recycle.  Bryn was attached to her cardboard backdrop with just a few threads and rubber bands.  No plastic ties, if you can believe it.


After de-boxing a Jakks Pacific doll for my last review--and MGA's Project Mc2 dolls a few weeks before that--the complete absence of plastic ties here was like a dream.  Almost too good to be true.

The hardest item to de-box was the leash.  It didn't have any plastic ties in it, but was attached with a few really tight white thread stitches that were taped down on the back of the box and hard to access:


Despite a few tight threads, Bryn and Blaze were free from their box (and the box was in the recycling bin) within four minutes.  It was very stress-free.

Here's everything that was in the box:

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Bryn's imitation leather bag was tucked behind her coat when she was in the box, so I didn't even notice that she came with a purse until I was cutting it off the backdrop.  

It's pretty cute, seems sturdy, and can even hold a few small items:




Bryn's dog Blaze is even cuter.  I thought he was meant to be a husky puppy, but Alys corrected me--he's a malamute.  Thank you, Alys!



He does not have a huge amount of personality in his face (the eyes are very black), but his level of realism fits with the doll.  


Here's a public domain photograph of a real malamute for comparison:


Blaze has a fur pattern molded into his vinyl body and a fair amount of painted detail in his coat.  He even has little molded (well-clipped!) toenails:


Blaze is fine, but I think the flocked Puppy in My Pocket dog figures would be a great match for the Lori dolls.  These toys are returning to the United States market and are starting to show up in stores again.


Blaze's leash has a black elastic collar that's easy to slip on, and a loop at the other end for Bryn to hold:



Bryn herself comes with a multi-piece outfit featuring a bright red double-breasted jacket.  She wears her long red hair in pigtails that are accented by a salmon-colored imitation leather headband that (kind-of) matches her socks:



Even though Bryn's outfit includes a thick red jacket over a pink dress, the neckline is disappointingly bare--doing nothing to conceal that ugly seam:

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I remember that back when Battat released the first Our Generation mini dolls, it was possible to find a doll with a nice neck seam if you looked hard enough. I vividly recall searching through all of the dolls in the display (often under the perplexed scrutiny of other shoppers...) to find the two or three dolls who were constructed really nicely.  

This time around, even though there were a few Bryn and Blaze sets at my Target, all of them (and all of the other dolls, too) had this same thick seam at the neck.  I was not able to find a single doll with an inconspicuous neck seam.  I'd love to hear whether or not this is common in a more widespread way--or if the Portland Target was just unlucky.


Maybe the neck seam doesn't bother other people as much as it bothers me...and I'll certainly admit that I've grown more used to it in the past few days...but since I know it's possible to make a neat, thin neck on dolls this size, I can't help but wish for it.

Bryn's red jacket was sewn closed with white thread, which turned out to be a smart choice because my doll's jacket came with the velcro in front gaping open:


I removed the white threads and was relieved to see that the jacket will stay closed in front if the velcro is lined up correctly:


The jacket restricts Bryn's arm movement, though, (and clashes horribly with her hair...) so I was eager to get it off.

The jacket is made out of a fairly thick red fabric with a woven pattern:



It's no wonder that Bryn's arms wanted to stick out straight all of the time when she was wearing this jacket.  It's quite stiff through the arms--in part because the red fabric is thick on its own, but also because the sleeves are lined:


The rest of the jacket is unlined, but there's a small strip of white sizing along the neck and down each of the side seams.  The jacket is well-made overall.


Under the jacket, Bryn is wearing a gauzy, chiffon-like sleeveless dress:


The dress is very delicate and pretty, but again--it does not flatter the chunky neckline of the doll:

It looks like she's wearing a turtleneck dicky under her dress.
The dress opens all of the way down in back with a very solid velcro seam:


The dress has a pink cotton lining with a sheer overlay and a matching sheer ruffle at the bottom:




Bryn also comes with a pair of stretchy pink underwear:


The edges of the underwear are unfinished, and so the overall shape of the panties is uneven:



Also notice the huge, cumbersome tags stitched into Bryn's back seam.  They were constantly getting in my way:


By the end of the review I had cut off all of the huge tags except for the nice cloth tag with the Lori trademark:


Bryn has bright salmon-pink knit socks and white vinyl shoes:


The shape of Bryn's shoes is unconventional: the outer edge of each shoe is cut very low and is decorated with a molded bow:


This style looks fine off the doll, but when Bryn is wearing her shoes, she tends to look pigeon-toed.  Also, the shoes do not stay on very well--even with socks.


Each shoe has the Lori trademark inside and a brown textured sole:


I removed Bryn's headband last of all...and unfortunately this is where I found all of the plastic ties hiding:

Curses!
Bryn had one plastic tie on each side of her head, and then a third tie tucked under the headband's bow!  That's really sneaky:

Waiting to pounce.
The headband doesn't match the red color of the jacket, nor does it match the flowing, lightweight style of the dress.  It's thick and heavy, with some ragged edges:


And a few holes left over from the plastic ties:


I probably won't use the headband, and wish Battat had just kept it (and all of its plastic ties) away from Bryn.

Overall, the construction of Bryn's outfit is great, but the styling leaves a little something to be desired.  The red jacket is bulky and clashes with Bryn's hair, and the gauzy dress--while pretty--makes Bryn's neck look bad and doesn't really match the style of the coat.  The socks only match the useless headband, and the shoes fall off too easily and make Bryn's feet look crooked.

On the other hand, I like the style of the red jacket a lot, and think it would be great if it was paired with different outfit items or worn by a doll with hair that isn't red.

Bryn's construction is almost identical to that of the 6-inch Our Generation dolls.  Here she is next to my Our Generation Kendra, and Kit--an older cloth-bodied American Girl mini doll:

American Girl Kit, Lori doll Bryn and Our Generation Kendra.
I think that the comparison between Kit and Bryn makes the neck seam issue even more glaring.  It almost looks like Bryn's neck is stuffed with something--while Kit's lays nice and flat:

American Girl Kit, Lori doll Bryn.
I suspect that the difference is just in the fabrics: Kit's body is made out of a thin muslin while Bryn's body fabric has more thickness.  I prefer the fabric and construction of the American Girl body...although it should be noted that those dolls cost twice as much as the Lori dolls.


The thing is, the difference is also pretty clear between Bryn and my Our Generation mini, Kendra: 

Lori doll Bryn and Our Generation Kendra.
These two dolls both have a thicker, more synthetic-looking fabric in their bodies than the American Girl minis, but look at the difference between Bryn and Kendra's necks:

Lori doll Bryn and Our Generation Kendra.
Here they are up close, too:


Lori doll Bryn.
Our Generation Kendra.
Even this small difference in neck construction makes Bryn's dress look much better on Kendra:


Kendra is a great little doll.
I'm not exactly sure what changed here.  It could just be that the cut and/or fit of the body was better in the earlier dolls (the neck fabric looks like it's stretched tighter) but it might also be that there was a small change in fabric thickness.

In any case, I also think it's interesting to compare these two dolls' hair colors:

Bryn (left) and Kendra (right).
Kendra has soft, silky-straight hair with a very natural shade of red.  Bryn's hair is also soft, but it has a bit of wave in it, and the color is bright and unnatural.  I happen to think that brighter-than-normal red hair is fun, but it might not suit everyone's taste.

When Bryn's hair is let down, it brushes out easily and feels great.  The wavy texture does not make the hair coarse at all.



The hair is rooted densely all along the hairline, and throughout the whole length of the center part.  The other areas have more sparsely-rooted hair, but it takes quite a bit of digging around to expose this:


The hair has subtle red-blonde highlights mixed throughout the brighter red strands:


I pulled Bryn's hair back into a single ponytail so that I could get a good look at her face:


She has the same face mold as the older Our Generation minis.

Bryn's inset eyes are a pretty dark grey-ish blue color:


She has painted black eyelashes on the top of each eye and her eyebrows are painted bright red to match her hair:


Here are a few more pictures of Bryn with Blaze:


Bryn can't actually hold Blaze on her own, so I used some clear rubber bands for these shots:




I like my Bryn doll, but I don't like her body construction or her outfit anywhere near as much as I like the bodies and outfits of my wonderful Our Generation mini dolls.  I assumed that the Lori dolls would be essentially the same as the Our Generation minis, so this realization was disappointing.  The new variety in these little dolls and their outfits makes up for a lot of that disappointment, though.

I didn't go into Target with any intention of purchasing the Lori dollhouse.  In fact, I might have told my husband outright that "I was certainly not going to buy the dollhouse."  Or something to that effect.

But this house is so appealing, I really wanted to share it with you.  I think it's a fairly unique and affordable addition to the mainstream dollhouse market.  Besides, it comes with a kitchen furniture set, and I find doll kitchens unusually irresistible.  Also, the kitchen set that Battat released for the full-sized Our Generation dolls was amazing, and so I had a lot of confidence in the quality of this smaller-scale kitchen.  

The house is made out of thick, heavy particle board.  The surfaces of the particle board are decorated with paper coverings.  Most of the interior of the house is decorated with a life-sized wood grain pattern--to give the impression that the house is made out of regular wood.  The floors of the house are decorated to look like doll-sized wood flooring.


I like how the doll house has two large cut-out windows in the kitchen area.  They make the appliances easy to access, and they also allow a lot of light into the back of the room:


I think what sold me on this house even more than the kitchen set, though, was the fact that there's a working light box on the kitchen ceiling:

AWESOME!
Unfortunately, the light bulbs are really tiny and it's hard to see the them with any ambient light in the room.

Sort-of awesome.
The left side of the house has a plastic door that opens, a floor-to-ceiling window with plastic panes, and three more windows that are simply cut out of the wood.  There are also two plastic staircases, one that goes up to a small second floor room and another that goes up through an opening in the roof:


The right side of the house has the kitchen with a small loft room directly above it.  The loft has a sky light and two large cut-out windows.  There's also a sticker on the back wall of the second floor, but I'm not sure if this is meant as permanent decoration or if it's part of the advertising.  I left it in place:


The back of the house is decorated to look like it's made out of white bricks: 


I like the pattern of bricks on this house.  I don't know that I've ever seen a real house made out of white stone bricks like this, but it looks very bright and modern.


The unfinished edges of the windows show the texture of the particle board that's under all of the decorative paper:


The dollhouse set (called "Loft to Love") came with a small pamphlet tied to one window:


The pamphlet is filled with photographs of the Lori dolls inside the house.


It looks like the dolls will be able to sit at the kitchen island without much trouble:

Battat is really excited about those lights!
I found the pamphlet very useful because it also shows off a few of the furniture sets that are available to purchase separately.


All of these were available at my Target for $12.99 each.  I thought that the bedroom set and the Home Workplace (homework place?) set were the most interesting and useful.  The homework set even has a real chalk board!


I suppose the Rooftop Patio set would be pretty great for making the most out of the rooftop area of the house, but the Living Room Lounge set looks underwhelming to me.  It seems to have only a plastic couch, a coffee table and an ottoman chair (with a few throw pillows and maybe a rug?).  The couch looks really low and uncomfortable:


The only de-boxing that was necessary with the dollhouse was to remove the pamphlet and to take the kitchen pieces out of their plastic casing.  

One problem I noticed here is that the plastic casing was taped to the sides of the house, and wherever the tape crossed an exposed edge of particle board, the tape threatened to pull off the decorative paper on that wall:

Do not pull down on the tape.
I found that if I pulled the tape up towards the exposed edges, I could avoid rips in the paper.  A nice finishing touch on this house would have been to have all of the exposed edges covered with plastic strips--like what you would find around the edges of a full-sized particle board desk or table.  I'm thinking about lining the edges with something (or just painting them with matte Mod Podge, maybe?) before I give this house to a child--just so that the paper doesn't peel off over time.

Once the tape was all carefully pulled away, the kitchen pieces were pretty easy to remove from their plastic packaging.  The set includes a refrigerator, an L-shaped counter section with a sink and an oven, and a plastic island with two yellow stools:


The fridge is fairly plain, with a brown front and a molded ice dispenser.  The brown color is a strange choice.  I feel like the house itself is modern-looking, but brown fridges are straight out of the  60s.  Unless I'm missing a new hipster trend or something?


The fridge opens, but the shelves inside do not look like refrigerator shelves--they're just boxy cubbies:

Like a utility cabinet for the garage.
Given the wonderful realism of the 18-inch Our Generation doll fridge, this was disappointing.  Also, there are no surprise food accessories inside the fridge.  Maybe those come with one of the $16.99 "deluxe accessory" sets?  I wish there had been something inside the fridge.

The kitchen counter and sink are all one piece:


The sink has a plastic spout that can turn from side to side...



...and two cupboard doors below that open to reveal a large storage space:

For storing all of the pans that don't come with this set.
Opposite the sink, there's a marbleized counter top with a black stove sticker:


Under the stove burners, there's an oven door that opens and two small side cabinets that also open:



The oven comes with two removable racks that rest on supporting brackets at either side of the oven:


The problem with these racks is that they do not overlap with their supporting brackets enough to stay in place.  With any small movement, the racks tumble down:

And all of the cookies are burned!
I was happy to discover that Li'l Woodzeez food fits this kitchen pretty well:

A little bit of food makes the kitchen look so much better!
Here's Bryn in her kitchen so that you can see how high the counters are:


The kitchen scales well to the Lori dolls, but if they really are "little girls," their parents would never fit into this kitchen--let alone into the house itself.  Do these little girls live on their own?

The last part of this set is the marbleized kitchen island with its two plastic stools.  These pieces are very lightweight in comparison to the fridge and countertop.


Here's the kitchen all set up, with Kendra and Bryn making some yummy-looking desserts:

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I wasn't able to reliably get the dolls to sit on the stools with both feet up--the stools just tip over backwards.  They can sit solidly with one foot touching the ground, though:


This house also works well with any American Girl mini doll.  Here's BeForever Kit joining in the fun:


The size of this dollhouse was testing the limits of my small photography area, so I took it outside to get a few more pictures.  


I actually think this house would be great for warm weather outdoor play.  Everything about it seems more realistic when it's outside, and the house (while heavy) is very portable over short distances.

Here you can see the decorations on either side of the house:


There's a slightly strange mix of white brick and wooden plank siding.


What I like best about playing with this house outside is that light comes streaming through the windows in really neat ways.



It's also fun to be able to move all around the house and peek in the windows to see what the dolls are up to.


I added another furniture set to this house, just so that there would be something on the second floor.  Kit will show you where that set is:


The bedroom set includes a bed, a mattress, a blanket, two pillows and a mirrored dresser.  Here's the dresser and the plastic bed frame:


Here's the bed with the mattress added:


And here's the bed fully made:


All three doors of the dresser open and can hold small clothing items like Bryn's headband:


The dolls fit in the bed well and can be completely covered by the soft wool-like herringbone blanket:


The bed is so comfy that Bryn overslept this morning!


But at least she remembered to make her bed...


...before inviting Blaze up to play:


The mirror on the plastic dresser works, but it's a little low to reflect the dolls' faces when they're standing completely upright:


If Kendra sits on the edge of the loft, she can get a good view of herself in the mirror...


...although the reflection is a little warped:


Downstairs, Kit is checking to see what might be available for lunch...

Not much.
But she actually managed to come up with a pretty good feast considering how bare the cupboards are:


The plates, sandwiches, crackers and apples in these pictures are from the new Li'l Woodzeez Nursery set that I hope to review soon.  The pie is from the Li'l Woodzeez Bakery.


For this picture, I managed to get Bryn's legs tucked up under the kitchen island without her toppling over backwards:


It's really fun to pose these girls in the kitchen area.  I especially love the tall windows in the corner of the house and the open, bright feel of the floor plan.  I don't really think the house needs any living room furniture.  It'd be more realistic to have a place to sit down, granted, but too much furniture could make the spaces look cramped.




The house makes interesting use of the flat rooftop.  This area is lined with soft, bright green artificial grass and can be used as a terrace or a yard substitute.  It doesn't make much sense in the woodsy setting of my house, but it's perfect if you picture the dolls in a big city where there would be no conventional yards and few green spaces. 


The roof has two holes cut into it--one for access to the stairs, and the other as a sky light into the bedroom.



Blaze really like this area because he can sniff around and even play fetch.  The girls have to be careful not to throw his ball too close to the edge of the roof, though!  Maybe a small fence would have been a good idea....


Here's Bryn relaxing in the sun so that you can see how brightly her hair shines in natural light:




Bottom line?  I think it was absolutely brilliant for Battat to expand their 6-inch doll line.  I'm surprised that American Girl didn't do this years ago.  I love the idea that there will be a range of dolls, outfits and accessories in this easy-to-manage and affordable scale.  It seems so much more practical to build a world for these 6-inch dolls rather than surrendering your entire house to the huge accessories necessary for the 18-inch scale.

The Lori line seems like it's off to a great start, too...with a few small exceptions.  First and foremost, I do not understand why all of the dolls suddenly have huge, glaring neck seams.  This was a complaint with some of the original Our Generation mini dolls, but rather than fixing the problem for their new line, Battat seems to have made it worse.  As I mentioned before, I was unable to find a single doll in my store who did not have a bulky neck seam.  The only other construction issue I noticed with my Lori doll is that she has a hard time standing with her feet pointing forwards.  Her right leg, in particular, tends to bend inward, making it a little hard for her to balance on her own.  Other than those two complaints, the design and construction of the Lori dolls is wonderful.  I love their soft cloth bodies and strung limbs, I think the inset eyes look great, and the hair is well-rooted and very soft and fun to style.  In the future it would be great to see a few different face molds in this collection, but for now there's enough diversity in the skin, eye and hair colors to keep the characters distinct.

From what I've seen so far, the clothing and accessories for this line are somewhat hit-or-miss.  Bryn's multi-piece outfit is colorful, well-made and easy to use, although the hodgepodge style does not flatter her thick neck or her coloring.  On average, the Lori outfits strike me as comparable to the Our Generation mini doll outfits, and yet there's a $2 price discrepancy between these two variations (Our Generation mini dolls cost $9.99 and basic Lori dolls cost $11.99).  Furthermore, the Lori characters who come with purses, dogs and leashes cost $15.99 (so, $6 more than the Our Generation minis), which is a fairly significant jump.  I don't think that the purses, dogs and leashes are worth $6.  For reference, you can get five flocked Puppy in My Pocket cuties for $12.99.

I think the Loft to Love dollhouse offers an attractive, open space for creative play.  Initially, though, the price didn't quite live up to what I've grown to expect from Our Generation.  My assumption is that Our Generation toys will give me way more than I expect for the price.  For example, the Our Generation 18-inch Jenny and Her Gourmet Kitchen set cost $60, came with a doll, and was chock-full of food, kitchenware, and fabulously realistic details.  The Loft to Love house is priced at $50, but it isn't brimming with amazing little details and surprises.  The house comes with a full kitchen set, sure, but the furniture pieces are very basic and do not contain any food items or small kitchen accessories.  There are working lights that are enthusiastically advertised, but the lights are barely visible.  The house itself is solid, heavy and seems durable.  The only thing I worry about is that the decorative paper that lines the particle board walls might start to peel or look ragged at the edges over time.  After playing with the house and thinking about it for a while, I'm more comfortable with the price.  I wish I could swap the lights for some kitchen accessories, but $50 is fair for such a large, sturdy, well-designed dollhouse.

Some of these criticisms might make it seem like I don't care for the new Lori toys, but that's definitely not the case.  I prefer my older Our Generation minis to the new dolls (because of that neck seam and some of the outfits), but I absolutely love the diversity in the new doll collection and will no doubt pick up a few more of the characters for that reason alone.  I also had a wonderful time with the dollhouse and the furniture sets.  I can picture kids spending hours with the bright, modern house and it's easily accessible spaces.  It's possible to get a nicely furnished wooden house, a doll (or two!) plus a pet or an extra outfit...all for under $100.  As the holiday shopping season approaches, I think this will become a very appealing option.

I'm excited to see what the Lori collection has in store for us.  I hope we'll see the same range of fun, affordable accessories (horses, please!) that have been the hallmark of this company's 18-inch doll line for so many years.

46 comments:

  1. Wonderful review, as always!

    I noticed these dolls at the local Target earlier this week and the only reason I didn't pick any up was because I couldn't decide which one(s) I liked best! Although I had been assuming that the bodies were identical to the OG mini dolls, so that's good to know.

    The dollhouse really does look like a great play piece - and I love that you took it outside. Seeing real greenery out the windows really adds to the charm of the set.

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    1. Thank you, jSarie! The house is so much fun outside! I just love how bright and cheery it is. I felt like I was walking around in those rooms with the dolls. I know what you mean about the doll choices--it's hard to pick just one! I'm slightly grateful to those neck seams because they prevented me from buying more dolls than I should! :)

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  2. Yay!!! I'm so glad you reviewed these girls! On your last post I mentioned how I loved these. I'm glad that you got Tama too, she's one of the ones that I've been drooling over. The other one I like is Zarya (she'll get a name change though. :P) It's a shame about those neck seams. I wonder what causes them to be so bulky?
    Bryn's hair is so lovely! I'm a total sucker for unnatural hair colors (although if someone has that color of hair naturally I envy them so much!), especially blue. How fun would it be if one of these girls had blue hair?
    Also by-golly you've made me want the dollhouse! I have no room for it at all but those big windows everywhere and the modern look are making me drool. I couldn't ever take the plunge and live in a house that modern, but as a dollhouse I think it looks amazing. Also I totally want to just make furniture for it and deck it out! :P Thanks for reviewing these dolls Emily, now I have to go get one of my own. :P
    Best Wishes!

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    1. I love Bryn's hair, too, Muzzy! Any kind of red is fine with me, and I agree about unnatural hair colors in general--on dolls and in real life. One of my son's friends has short purple hair right now and it is so neat! Maybe Lori will branch into more unconventional colors in the future? Oh--that reminds me, have you seen the pink-haired Barbie Chelsea? I love her and just wish she didn't have a molded-on shirt.

      I'm glad you like the house, and I'd love to see what you would do with it! That was the highlight of the new collection for me. Even though the price is a little higher than what I expected from OG, it's still a pretty great price in the grand scheme of things.

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    2. You know, I think I did see the pink haired barbie today, although I don't collect barbie anymore so I didn't really stop to look at her.
      I bet your son's friend's hair looks amazing! I want to dye my hair so badly, there's just a lot of reasons why I can't. (My dad won't let me, I do theater, I'd never be able to choose one color, etc.)
      Hmm... Maybe I should try using some of My Froggy Stuff's ideas to make a copy of the dollhouse? It won't be quite as sturdy or come with the real lights, but it might be fun.
      I hope you're doing well. <3

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  3. So cute! I might just have to get a few.

    Does Bryn fit in the Li'l Woodzeez diorama sets?

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    1. Unfortunately, no. Bryn would be much too big for the Li'l Woodzeez sets. The older Littlest Pet Shop Blythe dolls fit the Woodzeez sets well, but I can't think of many others. Maybe the Disney minis? I will review the Nursery set soon and try out some of the newer mini dolls that I have. :)

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  4. I LOVE the house, it's so Scandinavian and retro! It (including the brown kitchen) would be very on trend here in the UK. I could imagine a full-scale version of the building on a programme like 'Grand Designs'. It's a shame to hear about the inflated price and disappointing lack of detail from Battat, though. Nevertheless, fab review as always, keep up the hard work! ;)

    J

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    1. Thank you, J! Thank you for that perspective about the kitchen, too! I'm not really tuned into furniture trends, unfortunately. The brown is at least a nice warm color that fits with the wood grain that's elsewhere in the house. The price isn't terribly inflated--I worry that I was too harsh in my review. It's more just that I'm accustomed to Battat exceeding my expectations in price. If they had eliminated the underwhelming light fixture and added in 10-15 food items, I would have been very happy. :)

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  5. Are there any sets that come with a cat?

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    1. Good question! I have not seen a cat yet, no. Just the two dog sets. There should definitely be cats!

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  6. The neck seams in Colorado are awful, too!

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    1. Oh, no! I was hoping that there'd be some variety out there. Thank you very much for the report! :)

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  7. I can say that you're not the only one who can't stand those neck seams. Despite loving small dolls, I just can't get over the glaring neck seam. It's so ugly and cheap looking that, even after careful searching at my local Target, I just can't seem to bring myself to buy one of these dolls. It is a pity though, because they have cute outfits and some neat accessories.

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    1. Yeah, it's tough for me to get over, too. I am not very skilled with sewing projects, but I keep wondering if there's an easy way to decapitate the dolls and re-do the neck seam? I might have to try at some point...

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  8. The house may be lacking in detail but it looks amazing in the sunlight! It looks so realistic.

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    1. I agree! I really do love it overall, and the addition of the Woodzeez food makes a big difference in the kitchen. I might be slightly unusual in my obsession with kitchen accessories. I like to have little dishes and food to play with for any doll kitchen. :)

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  9. "but I can't decide if I like this simplified approach to doll profiling (it allows kids to invent their own dolls' personalities) or if I think it's lazy."

    It's time-saving. I have yet to meet any little girls who give a d*mn about the character profiles on the boxes. They see the fronts, decide they want the dolls, and that's that. What's on the back doesn't matter at all. That's to sell it to the parents. The kids really, truly do not care.

    Blaze is a malamute. The tail is the tip-off. :) Malamutes carry their tails over their backs, while Siberian huskies carry them down. Malamutes also have brown eyes, while a Sibe can have brown, blue, or bi-eyes, which is actually fairly common. A lesser-common variety if an Alaskan malamute, but they look much more wolf-like than either of the other two.
    Siberian side view: http://cdn.greatdogsite.com/watermark/Siberian%20Husky-1%20year-Black-1187046864.jpg
    Malamute side view: http://www.photosphrases.com/cpg/albums/working/Alaskan%20Malamute/DO-WO-AM_21962.jpg

    This doll is now on the short-list for potential Christmas gifts for my daughter.

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    1. Oh--thank you for the information on Blaze! I probably should have known that. I'll go edit the review.

      The character profiles might very well only appeal to parents. I don't have a lot of personal experience with that---except going by my own preferences. I actually like to have a little story about a character. It helps me pick between dolls where there are a lot of great options. But I'm a parent! ;) Those statements on the box also give buyers an idea about where the company is going with a particular line--what the accessories might be, etc. If all of the dolls like ballet and none of them like soccer, that might say something about what accessory sets we can expect. Also, do you think that the stories behind lines like American Girl help bring the dolls "to life" for kids? Are companies trying to replicate this to a lesser extent when they put little bios on the back?

      In any case, you raise a lot of neat questions in my mind about this! I hadn't given it a huge amount of thought, but it's pretty interesting. What is the value of those little blurbs and is there any cost to simplifying or removing them? Are they mostly for adults/parents? I'd love to hear what other people think!!

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  10. Great review! I have Bryn on my list too! I love the curls in her hair. I like that you showed a closeup on her eyes. She has a really great eye color. I was trying to understand the difference in the neck of the Bryn and the Kendra dolls.I purchased Cyarra9.99 and Tama for 11.99. It seems the "Ballet Assistant" was less. May the don't think it is a real outfit. Your photos of the house are wonderful! It is much better some of the Barbie houses. Thanks for all the info and photos.

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    1. I agree! I like Bryn's beautiful eye color much better than, say, Kendra's bright turquoise. So one of the new Lori dolls was only $9.99? I didn't notice that! Or is Cyarra one of the older OG girls (sorry--I can't remember). The Lori ballet outfits are less complicated than the regular clothes, so it would make sense. It would also be nice to have a doll in this slightly lower price range. Thank you for that information!
      I also agree with you about the house. I love that it isn't made out of plastic like Barbie accessories. It's very study and substantial!

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  11. Great review, as always. I've been hoping you would review these. I have read on one of the doll boards that someone has come up with a fix for the neck seams. I've yet to see a photo of it done though. If I remember correctly it involves taking the head off and folding the excess fabric in. It would totally be worth the effort in my opinion if it looks good. I don't have a local Target, but a friend checked them out and told me that there is a lot of difference in the eye placement and even the painting on the dolls. That makes me not want to order online even if they do become available.

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    1. Hi Dawn, that's great! I was just contemplating taking off Bryn's head to see if I could fix the seam. I will see if I can find the information about how to do it. Thank you for that tip! I didn't notice too many wonky eyes at my Target, but I agree that it's good to buy in person with any doll line that has inset eyes. I have noticed a lot of variability in the Project MC2 dolls at my local stores, that's for sure. :/

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    2. Emily, I read about a similar fix to the necks where you open the back stitching at the neck a small amount. Take off the head, then you have to cut the zip tie. Using thick thread - she suggested, crochet cotton doubled- through where the zip tie was. Tack down the casing after folding it inside. Put the head back on and pull cord tight - knot well. Stitch back closed. She does mention this will slightly shorten the doll but the neck should look better. This is paraphrased from Jen on AGPT.

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  14. I've done a couple of reviews of these at my place. Wait until you see the camper!

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  15. Hi Emily,
    I recently discovered your blog and have spent a large portion of the afternoon reading posts.
    I stalked the 3 Target stores closest to me for most of August waiting for the Lori line to be on the shelves,which finally happened a week ago. I love the outfits and bought a couple of the dolls,but agree that the regular OG minis are nicer.
    I was mainly interested in the Rolling Glamper and it did not disappoint. To me it was worth every bit of the price and I can use it with a wide variety of my smaller dolls including my tiny BJD's. I may Shabby it up a little bit,but I am so happy with it. I didn't get the house and probably won't. I want to see the car in person,just to see if it may work with the BJD's too.
    I will be following your blog regularly from now on.It is really informative and fun.

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  16. I took some pictures of the display at my target in northern Illinois, they had the car and the ballet studio, but not the accessory set, just other mis-shelved stuff. Would you like me to send them to you? How would I do that?

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  17. What a fun review! I picked up 2 of these new Lori dolls earlier this week as well and I also hope to add the Loft and some of the furniture sets. I saw a really cute classroom set as well that was tempting! I loved the outdoor photos as well. :)

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  18. Hi Emily!
    Your review is wonderful and helpful as always!!
    I did buckle down and end up buying the Tama doll (I pulled at several dolls' sweaters to get a look at the neck seam and try to choose the smallest one)- I probably looked weird doing that 😊
    I also found the car in stock and the really cute ballet studio. It is really neat- it has a working piano and 4spotlights. I purchased the ballet studio and took photos and am sending them by email.
    Thanks for a great review!!

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  19. Hi! I loved your review, as always, and I actually have the Tama doll.Because she has no hair accsesories, I figured, there wouldn't be any plastic ties on her. I was wrong. As soon as I tried to take off her sweater, I soon found there were about four to five plastic ties holding her sweater together in the package. I absolutely love my tama, but be warned.

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  20. Thanks for another thorough review. I absolutely love that house. It's so modern and contemporary!

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  21. Thank you for another wonderful review. I love those grey insert eyes, they are gorgeous. I have been looking forward to more mini dolls (I love tiny dolls) and plan on purchasing Tama. Thanks again for another wonderful review.

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  22. I bought Tama and Cyarra about a week ago when these first came out at the Target near my house. I agree about the neck seam, which is why I also bought the winter clothes for Cyarra to wear: the pink scarf hides the neck really well and she looks adorable. I haven't seen the camper or the loft yet, but the camper (glamper?) particularly has my interest. I'm with you on wanting more accessories like dishes and food for the loft. I LOVE doll food, especially teeny tiny doll food, so I hope we get some sets along that line for these girls.

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  23. I came across your blog several weeks ago and keep checking for more reviews! When I first saw the OG minis I bought them and then returned them. But now seeing this expanded line, I bought them all over again! I just love the variety of faces and clothes. I just have to wait until they go on sale to buy more.

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  24. Thanks for this great review. I especially like that these dolls come with a place to put them and their stuff. The simple lines and design mean they can be placed anywhere in or out of the house you play with the doll.
    As for the doll, in general, I've never been a fan of cloth bodies. I get that it give the dolls an antique expensive feel but it also makes them bulky, can be botched as with this doll, makes the dolls harder to clean and makes clothes options like swimsuits look awful. One of my childhood dolls was made in a similar way except that her head and neck were conected to a clear plastic breast plate-thing that fit into the cloth body. To wash her, you could untie a drawstring at the neckline of her body, remove her neck/head, get the stuffing out, wash all parts separately and re-assemble her. Still, that only worked because her cloth body was meant to be her underwear and she wore antique styles that covered this underwear up.
    I'm for all plastic dolls especially in this size. Even so, this doll and her accessories would make the best Christmas present.

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    1. Seconding this. Cloth bodies are ok in an 18-inch or similar size, but for wee little dolls like this it just doesn't look nice at all. They're not even "huggable" size--why give them "huggable" soft bodies?

      Oh well. I still may buy a Lori just to practice knitting and sewing for teeny dolls. Sometimes I like to sell my work.

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  25. I have a wee little BJD Ai that's about the same size as these girls, and it can be tricky to get things that are in scale but don't look horribly shoddy. Now I know where to get affordable doll furniture in her size that actually looks GOOD! :) I love mixing and matching dolly sets--and since I have the My Little Pony bakery (with parts re-painted so it's not Death By Pink), I can combine the Lori kitchen furniture with wee cakes and cookies! And the bed--oh my goodness the bed!

    Looks like I know what my birthday money's going to...

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    1. Sounds perfect! I'm lucky in that the bulk of my collection is Blythes and playscale Barbie furniture and accessores fit them even better than Barbie but child dolls that are 6 inches tall are usually too small for playscale yet too bulky for miniature so this is a great option.

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  26. Thank you for a great review. Now I want the doll house. LOL. Mostly because the minis are too big for the dollhouse I've had forever and I'd like to have a spot for them.

    I completely agree about the neck seams. When I found the LORI display at my Target I looked at the dolls and wanted to get Bryn and Blaze but her neck! And the others were the same, so for the dolls I'll wait and watch. I did pick up the patio furniture set - LOVE it! - and one of the outfits. My post on it is here: http://teatimewithmelodyq.blogspot.com/2015/09/lori-by-og-review-and-adventure.html

    Thank you again! Love your reviews.
    ~Xyra

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  27. So, I just discovered that they are finally putting out accessories sets for the Lori brand dolls. So far I've found a Baking set, a gourmet market set, -both have food and kitchen accessories. A camping set. A new pink truck, a horse trailer, a horse stables. Lots of new dolls, some with a cat. And a boy doll. I saw somethings on Target.com and a posting on eBay started my search. I still need to look at the Lori site. Anyway, Good News!!!

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  28. Just got my 8-year-old a couple of the Lori dolls. She's already eying the house as a Christmas present option :-) Do you have any suggestions on alternate clothing lines that fit? The Lori clothes, so far, aren't that appealing to us. Thanks for the review!

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  29. Thanks for this great review which convinced me to buy one of these dolls (Alexandra). She is now Lammily Traveler's daughter! I am in the midst of building a doll house in two bookcases and wondered what the dimensions of the bed are. If you have a minute, could you possibly post them? Thanks so much!

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  30. I finally found one of these here in Spain! It was very hard, and I found her in a small toy shop. I picked one that wears a purple and white dress, with a purple hat and blue shoes, with a small white purse. She's very lovely, I didn't imagine they would be so cute in person, honestly.
    Thanks for reviewing them. Without you, I would have never bought her (they're quite expensive here).

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.