Monday, April 10, 2023

Doll-a-Day Collection One

I was going on a walk two weekends ago when for some reason the idea popped into my head to start a Doll-a-Day feature.  This idea appealed to me because it seemed like a good way to tell you a bit about dolls that for one reason or another aren't likely to get full-length reviews of their own--or to share dolls that have been in my collection for a while and have never been showcased here on the blog.  So, for the past week, I've posted a single photograph of a different doll every day, both on Twitter and on Patreon.  These photos did not include any information about the dolls, and people had the opportunity to guess the brand.  There were a lot of accurate guesses!  Now that the week is over, I'm going to reveal what all of the dolls are, and share a bit of information about each--like a mini review.

I have to confess that this idea got a little out-of-control, though--as my ideas often do.  The problem is that even if I share a reduced amount of information on each of the seven dolls, that still adds up to a very long blog post!  So maybe next time I'll only choose five dolls, from Monday through Friday, and then publish the overview on the weekend?  You might have other ideas for how to improve on this concept, too, so please feel free to share your thoughts!

But for now, let's take a closer look at this week's eclectic group of seven dolls:

Doll-a-Day group for April 3-9, 2023.

Monday

I started the whole week's adventure off with this little Baby Biggers fellow:

Peek-a-boo!
He's made by the Berjuan company, and came from the Spanish shop, Dolls and Dolls.  He cost around €28, or $30.


His packaging is delightful, with a shoe box style lid that lifts away to reveal the doll behind a plastic window, with an attractive leaf and butterfly decoration at the bottom:

Baby Biggers doll by Berjuan, €28.
Behind the doll, the Legend of the Biggers is printed in tiny letters:


This is the same story that is printed on the larger Biggers doll boxes.  The text was easier to read on those large boxes:


Here's my Baby Biggers guy, who I've named Archie:


He comes wearing a diaper, a bib, and a knitted stocking cap.

The cap's construction is simple, with the edges folded under instead of being hemmed, and the ear holes are blunt-cut into the knitting:

Don't ear holes defeat the purpose of a hat?
Those unraveling edges might cause trouble if the doll was being played with, but since my Archie will only be required to sit and keep me company on a shelf, I'm not worried about the hat.


Underneath the hat, Archie has short, bright red, slightly tousled hair that I just love:



He has huge green stationary inset eyes framed by wispy applied upper lashes:


He has realistic freckles on his cheeks, and a large mouth with a lot of molded detail.

Archie's photo startled several people on Twitter, and I suspect it's because he looks pretty startled himself!  The set of those eyes, with sclera showing all around, is very distinctive.  I suspect it's a love it or hate it design, and I happen to love it.

I removed Archie's bib so that we could get a better look at his little knitted diaper:

And his little belly button!
The diaper is also simple in its construction, with raw edges at the top.


Underneath the diaper, Archie's all-vinyl body has some cute molded details, like that outie belly button and some folds and rolls on his arms and legs.  He has five points of simple articulation:


The larger Biggers dolls have ball-jointed necks that give them a lot of head flexibility, but Archie's neck has a simpler peg and hole design, and so he can only look from side-to-side:


Like the larger Biggers dolls (with the exception of the Luxury Biggers), Archie has only four fingers on each hand, and four toes on each foot:


And while he is not fully anatomically correct, he has a very cute molded bottom:


Here he is back in his full outfit.  I didn't fold the bottom of the hat under in this picture, so you can see the raw edges of the knit:

It looks a little ragged like this.
The hat looks and fits better when the edges are tucked under:

Much better!
Archie is only about 5.5 inches tall, so he's believably baby or toddler-sized when posed next to a regular Biggers doll like my Luxury Marilyn:


The Biggers dolls are certainly not for everyone, with their massive eyes, huge heads, and expressive mouths, but they are undeniably distinctive!  Several people on Twitter and Patreon correctly guessed who Archie is, which is great.

I find the Biggers line completely charming, and the babies are so funny and cute that they always make me smile.  Baby Archie was a wish-come-true gift from a friend, and I absolutely love having him as part of my doll family.

Tuesday

The doll I shared on Tuesday of last week is very different from Archie.  She's a lot more realistic, and quite a bit taller!  Nobody correctly guessed who this girl is, which is completely understandable because she's quite rare:

My Way Kid all-vinyl doll by Geppeddo (discontinued).
This is Maggie, a 20-inch My Way Kid vinyl doll with a hard-to-find face.  I've spent some time customizing these dolls, so I know quite a lot about them.  During the time that I was working on My Way Kids, I wrote up a review-like post about the brand, which you can find here if you're interested.

The My Way Kids were made between 2001 and 2004, and were sold at mall kiosks, where they could be customized to some degree.  Most of the My Way Kids that I've encountered have fabric bodies and vinyl limbs, but Maggie's body is all-vinyl.  All of the My Way Kids that I encountered prior to Maggie have one of three standard face molds, but Maggie has a fourth mold that I'd never seen in person before.  


All My Way Kids have fixed inset eyes and wigged hair.  The wigs can be really messy and low-quality, and I got into the habit of always replacing them with new, higher-quality wigs (they take the same size wig as American Girl dolls, so there's a wonderful selection).  Maggie's hair feels dry, but I think it looks nice and suits her well, so I'm going to leave it alone.  For now...

Maggie came with a beaded name bracelet on her right wrist:


She also still has an identification tag attached to her skirt, which was hugely helpful to me:


Prior to seeing this tag, I had no idea what her face mold was called.

Maggie's outfit is very impressive.  It features an imitation leather jacket and skirt:


The jacket is white, with black accents, a sturdy metal zipper, and working metal cuff snaps:


The vinyl fabric on the jacket is cracking from age, which is unfortunate.  Otherwise, it's a wonderful item of clothing:


Underneath the jacket and skirt, Maggie has a pink knit tank top, black legging shorts, and matching socks:

Looks like a soccer uniform.
She even has an undershirt and panties underneath this layer!  In fact, I feel like she has too many shirt layers--the tank top looks bulky and the undershirt is peeking out around the arm holes:


But all of the clothes are well-made.  I was especially impressed to see that both the undershirt and the tank top have snap closure, with no velcro in sight:


Maggie's body is similar to a Kidz 'n' Cats or A Girl for All Time bodies.  It's slender, and is made completely out of vinyl, with elastic-strung joints.  There's even articulation at the elbows and knees:


Unfortunately, this doll was stored on her stand for so long that the tight stand grip compressed her belly:


Also, the movement (or lack thereof) in Maggie's elbows and knees is disappointing.  This is as much as she can bend at the knees...which is barely noticeable:


Her elbows can't flex much at all, either.  But her neck, shoulders, and hips behave the way you would expect elastic-strung joints to behave.


Here's Maggie back in her full outfit:


She's 20 inches tall, so about two inches taller than an American Girl doll like my Corinne:

My Way Kid Maggie (left) and American Girl Corinne Tan (right).
Despite the difference in height, American Girl dolls can wear some of Maggie's clothing.  Her jacket and boots fit especially well.

I have two other vinyl-bodied My Way Kids, and both of them have very loose elastic, so I'm not too optimistic about Maggie's long-term durability.  The fact that her jacket is already falling apart adds to her fragility.  But for now, I think she's an attractive, appealing doll.


The My Way Kid brand didn't last for long, and I rarely see the dolls pop up on eBay, but for some reason I got captivated by these cuties a few years ago and have maintained an ongoing interest.  I should probably be more dismayed by Maggie's poor elbow and knee articulation, or more depressed by her weak elastic and cracked jacket, but I'm mostly just happy to have had a chance to see this rare piece of doll history in person.


I made an effort to include a variety of dolls in this week's group, but the result is that this post might give you whiplash from changing styles so quickly!  Sorry about that.

Wednesday

The third doll I want to show you was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter--somebody who knows how excited I've become about blind box BJDs.

This doll is a little different from some of the ones I've already reviewed, since she's not made by Penny's Box, but by another company, Come4Free.  She's from the Bonnie series, and cost about $20:

Bonnie series blind box BJD by Come4Free, $20.
Like the Penny's Box dolls, this series offers six known characters, plus a mystery character that can only be revealed if you actually get that specific doll:


The mystery characters are such a fun feature, but they drive me a little crazy!  For example, I'm obsessed with the Penny's Box Street Series boys, but I can't find a photo of that mystery character anywhere, and the curiosity is overwhelming!

Anyway, here's a closer look at the six known Bonnie varieties:


I like all of them, which is a good feature for a blind box toy!  If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the street artist.

The doll herself comes concealed within an opaque foil bag, but the clothing and accessories are packaged separately and can be seen right away, so the surprise of which doll I got didn't last long:

I see pink clothing!
I could see right away from the outfit and the yellow boom box accessory that I'd gotten the hip hop dancer:


I'm not sure if the accessory is a boom box, actually.  It looks more like an amp or a speaker:

Or a toaster?
The design is cute, with bunny ears that stick up and little pink eyes on the front.

There's even some molded detail on the back:

That doesn't really help me figure out what it's supposed to be.
Bonnie's outfit is pretty amazing given the tiny, 1:12 scale of these dolls.  It consists of a hooded jacket, parachute pants, and little white socks:


The jacket has a working metal zipper and both applied and stitched decorations.  The stitching is impeccable:


The jacket is fully-lined, too:


The pants are just as impressive, with working belt loops, a black belt with a metal buckle, a tiny elastic waistband, and perfectly gathered pant cuffs:


Inside the foil packet, I found Bonnie and some small plastic accessories:


The small accessories include a pair of shoes, some bunny ears, and an alternate head attachment piece:


Bonnie herself is what looks like a rabbit-human hybrid.  She has mostly human characteristics, but her mouth, nose, and teeth are leporine:


She's really cute, but I occasionally see something sinister when I look at her.  Perhaps it's the red eyes...or that the placement of those hearts above her eyes can look like furrowed eyebrows?  Or maybe it's the massive bunny teeth?  I think if she wasn't smiling so broadly, it would be slightly better:


These Bonnie dolls are meant to have follow me eyes like the Unique Eyes girls that I reviewed last month.

Indeed, it looks like Bonnie's eyes are glancing to the side here:


But the effect is less pronounced from the other side, and I struggle to appreciate it in real life.


While the Unique Eyes dolls literally follow my every move, Bonnie's moving gaze is much more subtle... and sinister.

The effect is probably less intense here because the eyes themselves are not very deep.  I opened up Bonnie's head to see if I could get a better look at her eyes, but they're attached to the head with a plastic piece that I was unable to remove:


It feels like it should be possible to pop that plastic piece out with a tiny screwdriver or something, but I didn't want to risk breaking it.

Bonnie's body is elastic-strung and has a whopping 18 points of articulation!


She is designed a lot like the Penny's Box Antu dolls.  Here's a reminder of one of those girls:

Penny's Box Antu doll.
Antu actually has fewer joints (no rotation in her upper thigh and no double-jointed knees), but I feel like she moves a bit better in my hands.

Bonnie is 5.5 inches tall, so about the same size as the Penny's Box characters.  Here she is alongside my Street Series Adou:

Come4Free Bonnie doll (left) and Penny's Box Street Series Adou (right).
Personally, I prefer Adou's vinyl joints to the elastic-strung design of Bonnie and Antu.  The elastic-strung dolls have a much harder time holding poses, and some of the joints don't move very much because of tension in the stringing.  However, it must be said that all of these dolls have amazing articulation--especially for their $20 price tags.

I started to get Bonnie dressed in her awesome clothes...

Can't touch this!
But I could not get that tiny little jacket zipper to work!  Even with Bonnie's head removed, the task felt impossible.

After about ten minutes, I finally got the teeth to engage:


But then I couldn't get the shoes on over the white socks:


So, I left Bonnie sockless and finished dressing her.  The outfit is so detailed and well-made, it was worth the hassle to get it on!


Next, I inserted the bunny ears into her head:


These have a rotating hinge joint at the base, and so they can be posed!  It's so cute:


I have to say, Bonnie is an extremely top-heavy doll to begin with, and these ears add to that weight.  She can still balance on her own, as you can see, but she does topple backwards a lot because of that heavy vinyl head.

Here's Bonnie with her speaker:


She is a super-fun little doll.  She's not as stable as dolls like Penny's Box Adou, and her joints don't allow as much poseability as you might think from looking at them.  And of course her jacket was crazy-hard to get on.  But the uniqueness of her face, with those eyes that follow me around the room (a little), the added fun of the articulated bunny ears, and the incredible quality of her outfit...these are all great.  All of that plus the exciting surprise element make Bonnie yet another home run for the blind box BJD world.


Okay, this next entry might require a bit of explanation.

Thursday

Do you remember the Catwalk Kitties review?  Well, around the time that I was writing that review, my friend and I were scouring the internet for other cat-like dolls.  As it turns out, there are quite a few!

There are the Oh La La Kitties by Madame Alexander, the Glamour Kitties by Momo, and even an adorable Licca Chan Emo Cat doll:


I own some of these cat-themed dolls, and a few of them will probably get their own full-scale review some day.

However, I made another somewhat silly cat-themed purchase that probably never would have shown up here if it weren't for the Doll-a-Day idea.

Nobody correctly guessed who these cats are, which surprised me a bit because they're from a very popular brand!  It's the Bratz Petz Catz Twiins:

Bratz Petz Catz Twiins by MGA (discontinued).
First: about that mouthful of a title.  Why do Bratz, Petz, and Catz all have a "z" at the end, but Twiins is spelled with an "s?"  That's inconsistent.

The concept of this line is that one of the Twiins is mild and the other one is wild:


That reminds me of the new Bratz Tweevils dolls--but with those I think both of the twins are evil:

Although one looks more evil than the other.
Anyway, the Twiins came in a beat-up cardboard box that is shaped like a purse.


There's a lot of text crammed onto the packaging, including the names of the cats (Kailee and Saidi), the fact that they're poseable (cool!), and some excitement about their mix and match fashions:


I was unable to find a date on the box, but I think these weirdos came out in 2005.


The cats came tied to a small cardboard rectangle that was sitting inside the outer purse-shaped box.  I like how they were posed with their tails intertwined!


Here's Kailee on the right and Saidi on the left:


Saidi is a bit smaller than Kailee--or her head is smaller, anyway, and the two cats have different coloring.

I'll look at Kailee first; she's the mild one:


She is such a bizarre interpretation of a cat!  The shape of her head, in particular, is so funny to me.  And the fact that she has human lips?  And eyebrows??  Freaky.

The thing is, there used to be smaller, vinyl Bratz Petz that were more in scale with the dolls, and these looked really cute!  I de-boxed some during my Li'l Angelz review.  Here's an example:

Bratz Petz vinyl figure.
That's a cute puppy done in the style of Bratz dolls.  But to go from that...

To this?


It's very perplexing.

Anyway, the cats make me smile and so I don't really mind how weird they are.

Kailee comes wearing a pink canvas jacket with a fur collar and a belt closure:


She also has a fluffy hot pink purse that came sewn to her jacket:


The purse has a silver imitation leather handle, and can open to accommodate a few small things:


Kailee's jacket ties around her belly:


It's not a good idea to think too hard about Kailee's outfit, but I can't help myself.  I mean, she's wearing a jacket that closes in front with a tie, and she has nothing on underneath.  Maybe there's something wrong with me, but all I get is flasher vibes.

The coat is removable, though, which is nice:


The fabric is really stiff, but the construction is good.  I love the little belt loops!


I like Kailee better without her jacket.  She looks more like a regular stuffed animal...with a slightly human, quiche-shaped face.  Her facial features are embroidered, and she has an embroidered heart with a halo on her back right leg:


It's hard to see, but she's also wearing a pink collar around her neck.  That's another odd choice: either she's a pet with a collar, or she's like a human and wears clothing and carries a purse.  Both at the same time is confusing.

Okay, okay, sometimes pet cats wear clothing.  But it's pretty rare.

And usually results in injury.
I think it would have been cool if Bratz dolls could share clothing with these cats, but unfortunately the jacket is too large for my Create-a-Bratz, Sadie:


And Kailee is way too large to be a pet for Sadie!

Maybe she's like a Savannah cat?
In fact, Kailee is almost big enough for Sadie to ride!

That's a whole new level of weird.
I guess when I look at these two together I sort-of see a resemblance?  But I never would have looked at Kailee out of context and said, "Oh, that's a Bratz cat."

The best thing about Kailee is that she has a wire armature in her limbs and tail, so she's poseable!


The wire is quite stiff, so I was nervous to bend her limbs too much at first, but after a while I got more confident.  She has a lot of flexibility!


Let's take a quick look at Kailee's Twiin, Saidi.  She's the wild one:

She's a Pink Lady!
I guess that black imitation leather jacket with its pink trim is what makes her look wild?

She also has a matching pink imitation leather purse:


This purse is cracking a bit from age (much like Maggie's jacket), but it's well-made and could hold a few small things:


Saidi's jacket does not have any closure, just a decorative zipper depicted by two strips of silver ribbon:


Here's the jacket on its own:


It's slightly less stiff than Kailee's jacket, and it's also well-made, with some cute pink accents:


Underneath her jacket, Saidi has a bright pink body with white markings.  She has an embroidered heart with an arrow through it on her back left leg:


She also has a black imitation leather collar with a tag, which works with her outfit better than Kailee's collar does.

I put Saidi back into her jacket for a little posing session:


Here's a close-up of her embroidered face--there's a lot of detail!


And she's just as good at posing as her sister:


Here are the Twiins together:


I knew these cats would be good for a few giggles, and they certainly delivered on that front.  But I didn't expect that they would have an armature and be so fun to pose!


The bendable legs and tail are a great addition. But, I didn't expect these dolls to be as trippy as the 2019 Cats movie.


I can't really say that I'm hoping for a Bratz Petz Catz Twiins comeback, but I'll admit that I had a fun time playing with Kailee and Saidi.

Memories.
This next doll was recommended to me by one of you, and I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember who!  In any case, I acted on that recommendation way back in September, but never got around to writing a full review.

Friday

The doll is an 18-inch Beautiful Crissy from 1969.  I was fortunate to find a well-preserved Crissy on eBay for around $50.

I really love finding vintage dolls with their original packaging.  It helps me to feel transported back in time.  I can imagine that I'm looking at a doll when it was brand new to the market:

Beautiful Crissy by Ideal, 1969.
The box art, showing Crissy in profile with her flowing red hair, is very appealing.  If I'd been alive back then, I would have been super-excited to see this doll on the shelves of a toy store!

The box shows its age, though, and not just because of the dings and creases.  The printed writing is nowhere near as crisp as what we see on today's toys, and the photographs are small and grainy:


The unique feature of this doll is that part of her hair can change length.  You can see in the series of photos, above, that the hair at the back of Crissy's head can be shoulder length, down to her bottom--or anything in between!

There's a mechanism on her torso that allows the length of the hair to be changed "without batteries!"

Batteries not included.
It's neat to see the Ideal mark, and the date, on one corner of the box:


Ideal is no longer in business, but at one time they were the country's largest doll-making company.  In addition to Crissy, Ideal made Flatsy dolls, Betsy Wetsy dolls, and Miss Revlon--to name just a few.

Screenshot from a Betsy Wetsy commercial.
There were several different versions of Crissy, too.  The one I wish I could get my hands on is called Talky Crissy.  She apparently spoke twelve different phrases!  I was dying to know what those phrases were, so I looked them up:

She introduces herself with Hi, I'm Crissy!  And then most of what she says is about her hair:
Please dry my hair
Make my hair short
Make my hair long
My hair grows!
Brush my hair, please
Set my hair, please
That is some high-maintenance hair, Cris.

She also says some fun and sweet things:
Let's have a party!
I love you

And some slightly random things:
Velvet talks, too (??)
I have a secret

Okay, so my curiosity about the twelve phrases is satisfied, but now I want to know what Crissy's secret is!

The "Velvet talks, too" comment makes more sense with some additional background: Crissy had several 18-inch doll friends (all with hair that grows) and a smaller 15-inch cousin--named Velvet:

Screenshot from a Crissy and Velvet commercial.
There's an even smaller doll, Cinnamon, who is meant to be Velvet's little sister, and some baby dolls, too.  The names in this group of dolls are far out!  I don't think I've ever met anyone named Cinnamon...or Velvet, for that matter.

Crissy was very popular in her day, and so there's way more to say about her than I have time for in this review.  For anyone who wants to keep reading, I stumbled upon this highly-comprehensive site during my research: Crissy and Beth.

Not only did my Crissy doll come in her original box, but she also still had her instruction sheet, which I was really happy about!  This shows how to lengthen and shorten the hair:


There's a button on Crissy's tummy that allows the hair to be lengthened (pulled out of the head), and there's a knob on her back that makes the hair shorter again.

The instructions say to turn the knob on her back and push the button to shorten the hair, but this didn't work for me.  I was only able to shorten the hair by turning the knob and leaving the button alone.

Here's the back of the instruction sheet:

No teasing!
And, finally, here's Crissy herself:


She stands solidly on her own and looks great!  Somebody took very good care of this doll for the past 55 years.

The section of her hair that changes length is especially nice and smooth.  This is how it looks in the shortest setting:


The hair around Crissy's face is rooted with a side part and cut just above her chin:


The style is a little strange, like a 1969 mullet, but I can't think of any other way to cut the rooted hair so that it will look good no matter what's happening in back:

Business in the front, party in the back!
The shorter hair still curls gently at the ends on Crissy's left side.  I think this looks great: 


Crissy has a pretty face with an open-mouthed smile.  There is something about her features that makes her look like she's from 1969:


One of my Patreon friends said that she looks like Mary Tyler Moore, and I totally agree with this!


 Crissy has simple, natural makeup, with thin, arched eyebrows, a hint of blush, and light peach lips:


She has inset eyes that are framed by applied lashes and a bit of a cat eye.  Her irises are completely black:


My doll's right eye is misaligned, so she looks like she's glancing a bit to the right of the camera.

Her eyes close when she's laying down, and this makes her look very peaceful:


Beautiful Crissy comes wearing an orange lace mini dress with a velvet accent bow at the neckline:


I really love the color and the style of this dress.  It's the big reason why I chose to buy this particular Crissy doll.

The dress is reasonably well-made, and has held up remarkably well over the years.  It closes with three small metal snaps down the back and is very easy to put-on and take off:


The lace is lined with orange cotton everywhere except for on the sleeves and right around the neck:


The outfit also includes matching vinyl slip-on shoes:


Underneath her clothing, Crissy has a lightweight, hollow plastic torso and legs.  Her head and arms are made out of heavier vinyl:


The button on her belly and the knob on her back are large and easy to find:


The knob is shaped like a flower:


To the right of the knob, there are some factory marks, including a 1968 date and the Ideal patent number:


I used the button on Crissy's belly to release her hair, so that you can see how long it gets!


In addition to her moving hair, Crissy has five points of articulation.  Her neck, shoulders and hips have only simple rotational movement:


I mentioned that Crissy's arms are vinyl, as opposed to the hollow plastic of her legs.  The arms also have more detail than the legs.  For example, look at the graceful mold of her left hand:


There are even little molded creases on the palm:


In contrast, the hollow feet are...well, they're not as realistic are they?

Spork feet.
The feet have a bit of a fashion heel, so Crissy can't stand alone without her shoes.

Crissy's height and slim proportions make her very different from other dolls that I have reviewed.  The width of her torso is most similar to a 14-inch doll like Glitter Girls Poppy, but of course Crissy is 4 inches taller:

Beautiful Crissy (left) and Glitter Girls Poppy (right).
I put Crissy back into her wonderful orange dress for a few more pictures:


Crissy has a friendly elegance about her, and the hair gimmick is fun.  I would have loved having a Crissy doll as a kid...although I probably would have hacked her hair off so that it was all one length.


The color of Crissy's hair is gorgeous, and the fiber (saran?) has held up very well for five decades.


Crissy's lightweight, hollow body does not feel as impressive as a lot of the dolls that are available these days, but it's not really fair to compare her to more modern equivalents.  I can see why Crissy made a splash back in the late 60s, with her special hair, trendy outfit, and friendly smile.  She's special now for those same reasons--and also because she's become a wonderful glimpse into the history of doll-making and doll trends.  I'm really happy to have her in my collection.  Thank you to whoever recommended this lovely girl to me!


Next, I'm going to swing from talking about the oldest doll in this group to one of the most recent releases--the Fidgie Friends!

Saturday

My friend Katrina told me about the Fidgie Friends in late 2022, right after they hit the market.  One glance at the promotional photos was all I needed to be interested:


The dolls are bright and colorful and have a big-eyed look to them that's vaguely similar to dolls like Pullip and Blythe.  More importantly, I could see double-jointed knees on some of the characters, and that gave me high hopes for excellent articulation.

Another cool thing about the Fidgie Friends is that they were designed to appeal to kids and doll collectors who benefit from fidget toys.  Fidget toys are items that promote a satisfying, calming motion that has no purpose--like popping bubble wrap or squeezing a squishy ball.  I love the idea of a doll who can calm anxiety, soothe stress, or help with focus.

Two of the Fidgie Friend dolls are mermaids, and two of them have legs.  I chose one of each, but I'll focus here on Dandelion Wishes, the doll with legs: 

Fidgie Friends by Sunny Days Entertainment, $19.99.
Dandelion Wishes (who I'll just call Dandelion) came in a cardboard box with a wraparound plastic window:


The text on the box doesn't really explain the fidget toy concept, but I think the brand name makes it pretty clear what these dolls are designed to do.

The back of the box has an illustration of Dandelion alongside a brief description of her personality:


Dandelion is an optimist who is always happy to be with everyone.  The box art is fine, but I think the doll is cuter:


Dandelion comes attached to a cardboard backdrop with a plastic shell.  The backdrop slides easily out of the main box:


Dandelion is a very heavy doll.  This is mostly because of her stress ball skirt (which is filled with some kind of gel) and her thick vinyl wings.  The extra weight made the box feel substantial in my hands, which added to the perception of high quality.

However, the weight became more of a problem once Dandelion was out of her box.  She can stand on her own, but the wings make her tip over backwards a lot, and the heavy skirt falls down (or rides up) a bit too easily.

Two things that add to my stress level.
Dandelion's accessory is a clip-on hair bow with a squishy ball in the middle.  Balls like this are fidget toys, I think:


The bow is neatly-made and I like the bright colors:


Dandelion herself is cute, although her bangs are thick and heavy and cast shadows on her face.  Also, her two long ringlet ponytails add additional weight to the back of her body, and get in the way of the wings:


Here she is from the back:


Her double-jointed knees are conspicuous from this angle:


After handling this doll for about three minutes, I started to look for a way to remove her wings.  They're so heavy and cumbersome, I wanted to set them aside for a while.

Unfortunately, they are permanently attached to the body...with a bulky, unattractive attachment point: 


Once I realized that the wings were permanent, I played around with Dandelion for a few more minutes and then boxed her back up and put her into the Goodwill pile.  No joke.  I simply found her too unruly and limiting hold my interest.  Those wings really take a toll on her versatility.

But then, when I had the idea to do this Doll-a-Day series, I figured I could borrow her from the Goodwill pile to snap a few more pictures.

The first thing I did during this second attempt was take a closer look at Dandelion's face, because this is one of the things I liked about the brand in their promotional photos.

With her bangs brushed to the side, it's easier to see Dandelion's face.  She has big inset blue eyes rimmed with a band of black (to suggest eyelashes) and a line of yellow eyeshadow:


Her eyebrows and lips are sparkly pink, and she has spray-painted blush that looks nice.  Underneath each eye, she has a tiny white star that is probably meant to resemble a dandelion flower that's gone to seed:


Overall, the face is nice.  I just wish it wasn't overshadowed by the bangs.

I really liked the look of Dandelion's outfit when she was in the box.  Her skirt is a big squishy stress ball covered with yellow netting.  This struck me as a very clever way to incorporate a fidget toy into edgy fashion.

However, the skirt is really heavy and bulky, so it gets in the way of Dandelion's arms, and it causes the underlying strapless leotard to slip down.  So, I removed the skirt:


The skirt looks really great, but it's hard to put back on, and its sticky surface has already collected a fair amount of lint and dust.


The stress ball feature is fun, though.  I think it helped alleviate some of the stress that Dandelion's wings were causing.


The leotard has a jagged-cut neckline with raw edges.  This piece of clothing is always falling down and exposing poor Dandelion's chest:


The leotard is made out of slightly stretchy fabric and has very simple construction, with a small velcro closure in back:


The best part of Dandelion's outfit is her shoes and socks:


I especially like the bright yellow high-top sneakers, with their molded and painted dandelions on the sides:


The socks are cute, too, with their little bow accents.  And I love how the dandelion seed theme continues with those white pom poms:


Dandelion has a slight angle in the soles of her feet, so she can't stand alone without her shoes:


I suspended her by one of her hairs so that we could get a look at her full body.  She has fifteen points of articulation:


At this point, because the wings were still driving me nuts, I tried yet again to remove them.  Sadly, they are really really not meant to come off.


The wings definitely got in the way of testing out Dandelion's articulation, but I did my best.

Her shoulders are rotating hinges, so she can lift her arms straight up towards her head:  


And the arms spin around, too:


Dandelion's elbows are rotating hinges that can't quite bend to 90 degrees, and her wrists are simple rotating joints that can't bend at all:


Her hips are rotating hinges that allow partial side-to-side splits:


And decent front-to-back splits, too:


In addition, Dandelion has a rotating joint just below her hips.  This allows her lower legs to spin around:


Her knee joints are fine, but they behave like single hinged joints--not double joints.  Dandelion can kneel:


And sit in a chair:


But the combined movement of both knee joints only allows about a 90 degree angle of flexion.  So, basically, Dandelion has the kind of knee movement I'd expect from a doll with single hinged knees.

Still, she can sit cross-legged:


Or with her legs tucked off to one side:


My doll's left knee has a lot of trouble moving because of a little molded ridge of vinyl within the joint:


This prevents the knee from straightening all of the way...unless I use a lot of force:


The articulation on this doll is very good.  However, the glitchy knee is a pain (for me and for her), and the joints all feel a little stubborn.  They don't move anywhere near as smoothly as a doll like Made to Move or Rainbow High.

By the time I'd finished my examination of Dandelion's joints, I'd completely lost patience with her heavy wings.  So I ripped them off:

Now that was a good stress-relieving activity!
The wings are another fidget toy, meant to replicate the kind of sensation that bubble wrap provides.  Pushing the little bubbles in and out is pretty relaxing, I must say, and easier to do when the wings are detached from Dandelion's body.

Pulling off the vinyl wings left behind this plastic peg on Dandelion's back:


I really looks like that plastic piece should come off, doesn't it?  Or move up and down to create a flapping motion or something?  But it's just glued into place like that and does not do anything.

I yanked it off with pliers:

Ahhh. Stress gone.
This left behind a bit of broken plastic and a large t-shaped hole in Dandelion's back:


But at least she's finally free of those infernal wings!  I was so relieved.

With the wings gone, I could relax a bit and take a few more pictures of things that I want to show you.  Like a few size comparisons.

Dandelion is about 11 inches tall, so she's slightly shorter than a Barbie doll like Lena:

Fidgie Friends doll (left) and Signature Looks Barbie (right).
Dandelion's articulation is very reminiscent of a Rainbow High doll (especially in the legs), but her torso proportions are quite different:


Dandelion is definitely in need of a new wardrobe, and since she's no longer limited by those wings, I looked around to see if she could wear any of the clothing I have laying around.  

I didn't find many good matches, but she might be able to share some Liv items, like this colorful dress:


I can't really think of what other clothes might work, which is too bad because I think I'd like this doll a lot better if she had a different outfit.

With the wings out of the way, it was also easier to inspect Dandelion's hair.  I took down her ponytails:


The hair is silky-smooth and feels great.  The mix of pink and blonde is fun, although I'd probably always prefer a solid color:


The rooting is not great, though, and it's easy to expose the scalp.


It was also difficult to get the rooted back part to look good again, but I did my best to put the hair back into its original style for a few more pictures:


I struggled to get the skirt back in place.  It pulls the leotard down and is always twisting out of place.

Also, it's hard to pose Dandelion in sitting positions without the skirt riding up, falling down, or pulling the leotard top down:


I managed to get all of the clothing in place for a final picture, but it was a struggle:


I really wanted to like this doll, and I think she looked amazing in her box.  Unfortunately, the cumbersome fidget toy wings and skirt--the very things that make this brand special--interfered with my enjoyment of the doll.  And while the number of joints is really impressive, the joints don't behave as well as I'd expected, and there's a pretty serious glitch in one knee.  Still, this number of joints for a $20 doll is great.  A more petty complaint is that while Dandelion's hair is soft and silky, the rooting pattern is sparse and those bangs are way too heavy; they overwhelm her face.

And Dandelion's face is one of the things that I still really like about her.  I think she looks sweet and happy and would make lovely little companion for a child...just without those wings and with a more practical outfit.


I wasn't originally planning to include a mermaid Fidgie Friends doll in this review, but since I had one in the house, I figured I should snap a few quick photos of her.

This girl is called Watermellow:


She has the same face as Dandelion, but with green eyes and heart patterns underneath her eyes:


She also has the same heavy bangs and two-toned hair.  In fact, all of the Fidgie Friends have bangs, which is a bummer to me.

As far as I can tell, Watermellow's fidget feature is just her sequined tail--oh, and a popper hair clip that I didn't de-box.


The tail changes color depending on which way the sequins are laying, so it's fun to play with:


Of all the fidget activities that I encountered with this brand, this tail is the most fun and soothing.

I wasn't even going to get Watermellow out of her box, but I started to investigate the tail a bit more, and I realized that it comes off!


So at this point I got really interested and had to cut Watermellow out of her box.

It turns out that underneath the sequined tail, she has a short stuffed pink nubbin...that looks a bit like a chili pepper, or a slug:

She's a mer-slug!
I wanted to get a full-body shot, but Watermellow's plastic bracelets don't come off, so her shirt was a little hard to remove:


I finally got the shirt off so that we could get a really good look at this fascinating body:

I have never seen anything like this before in my life.
So...I can't really say that I like Watermellow better than Dandelion, even though her sequined skirt is very satisfying.

However, she's a unique take on a mermaid doll, and that stuffed tail makes her more snuggly and huggable than dolls like the Mermaze Mermaidz or the Mermaid High girls.


Sunday

Last but not least, and probably the doll that the most people identified correctly, I give you American Girl's Blix Tan, baby brother to Corinne and Gwynn:

Blix Tan by American Girl, $42.
I had never seen one of the 8-inch American Girl babies in person before, and I really love the idea of a Girl of the Year character with siblings.  So, Blix was an easy purchase for me, but I never really thought about reviewing him; I simply bought him for my own curiosity and enjoyment.

However, the Doll-a-Day format seemed like the perfect way to give Blix a brief appearance on the blog, so here we are.

Blix comes in a cardboard box with minimal packaging material:


His baby carrier and bottle were protected by plastic bags, and Blix himself was inside a thin foam bag:


The accessories are both things that I feel like would add a lot of play value to the doll, and they both look realistic:


The baby carrier has a movable handle with the American Girl star at the bottom:


The carrier has a soft fabric pad and a velcro seat belt:


The bottle is made out of clear plastic and has a purple vinyl handle and cap mechanism:


Blix himself steals the show.  I don't really know what I was expecting, but he's absolutely adorable in person.  Pictures don't really do him justice:


First of all, he's really small.  He's much smaller than a Bitty Baby, for example.  He fits right into the palm of my hand.

Also, he comes wearing a super-comfy looking snow suit, with decorative blue buttons, fuzzy bear ears, and little blue feet:


The hood on the snow suit pulls down to reveal jet-black hair that is painted on with no hair detail:


Look at his little face, though!  His expression is so sweet:


And his face paint is very crisp and clear, with bright brown eyes and slightly raised brows:


The shape of his mouth is so cute, too, with those full cheeks sticking out on either side:


The snow suit is made out of the same kind of fabric as Gwynn's skirt.  It's very soft.  The inside of the suit is unlined, and there's a velcro seam in front:


As simple as this snow suit is, it's easily my favorite of the Tan sibling's outfits.

Underneath the snow suit, Blix is wearing a blue cloth diaper:


It's easier to see this when he's sitting up:


The diaper has velcro on each side and is very easy to use:


Blix's vinyl body has five simple points of rotational articulation:


These joints are enough for him to wave his arms and legs around endearingly, and to sit up solidly on his own.

He has a few molded and printed marks on his lower back:


Each of his hands has a different shape, and I think these are really well done:


His right hand has a space between the thumb and forefinger that allows him to hold items:


Like his bottle:


And he fits perfectly into his little carrier:


He looks so cute like this, I can't stand it!


I especially like his expression from the side--like he's watching a mobile, or trying to follow Corinne and Gwynn's conversation:


Speaking of Corinne, here she is with her baby brother so that you can see their relative sizes:

Blix and Corinne Tan by American Girl.
Corinne can't hold Blix without the help of rubber bands, but they look really sweet together:


For another size perspective, Blix is about the same hight as a Monst doll like my Fern:

American Girl Blix Tan (left) and Monst doll (right).
At $42, this little guy was not cheap when he was still available (he was the first of the Corrinne Tan "accessories" to sell out).  When I checked today, the only offering on eBay was $180.  I don't think he's worth $180, but the $42 was not completely unreasonable.  He's a high-quality, endearing little fellow with excellent and relevant accessories, and he rounds out a delightful family of dolls that help make Corinne Tan's story come alive.

I think Gwynn is pretty cute with an okay outfit, Corinne is lovely but with a bad outfit, and Blix is nearly perfect!  It's interesting that the smallest and least expensive member of the Tan family ended up being my favorite purchase.  And I love ending my very first Doll-a-Day collection with a real keeper.


Whew!  That was a lot.  Like I said earlier, I don't think I'll attempt a full seven day Doll-a-Day entry again, but it might be fun to do this kind of thing for five dolls at a time.  I really enjoyed the extra engagement on social media, and it was a fun challenge to put together a diverse group of dolls to share.

Please let me know what you think of this idea in the comments if you have time.  I know there are a lot of details and history that get left out in shorter reviews like this, but is it worth that loss to see several different types of doll all at once?  Do you prefer the more conventional reviews?  Whatever your thoughts, I want to hear 'em.  And thank you for following along--some of you all week--with this new experiment!

25 comments:

  1. I feel like Beautiful Crissy's face is a little creepy with how black and featureless her eyes are on that detailed sculpt, though it's nice to see good pictures of her. I'd only heard of her tangentially as the growing-hair doll and saw her box once in an antique store. The Fidgy Friends are fascinating, too, because it looks like they're one of those really bad ideas that are good at disguising themselves as really good ideas. Kids love fidgets, kids love dolls, so why not combine them....only for the resultant product to be neither a satisfying fidget nor doll. Making the wings nonremovable was a poor choice, since any doll with non-fidget wings has those be part of a costume or they're removable body parts!

    (Also, I don't want to seem like I'm pestering, and apologies if that's the case, but I thought I'd mention again that my review of Avea Trotter has been posted to my Blogger blog since you might not have seen in the comments of your last post. I thought it was very kind of you to say you'd be interested in seeing my review earlier, and I wanted to let you know it's up now--clicking on my comment username should take you there if you'd like to visit! Your work has inspired me so much with my own dive into reviewing, and I've been having a lot of fun doing it!)

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    1. I love that her face is realistic and doesn’t have gigantic bug eyes like so many dolls today. I’m getting so tired of dolls that look like bobble heads.

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    2. I don't mind the realism of her face--it's the unrealism of her eyes that bothers me. I would feel much better about Crissy's face if she had clearly defined and colored irises around pupils. Her eyes look too black and cartoony for the face sculpt she has, in my mind.

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  2. What a fun group of reviews! I loved this eclectic assortment of dolls of different styles and from different decades! One of my other favorite doll bloggers, Planet of the Dolls, has done a doll a day for an entire year multiple times. It’s always fun to read about lots of different types of dolls. The American Girl baby was absolutely adorable and I loved the My Way girl too. I’m so glad you got to review a Crissy doll. She’s certainly an interesting doll and very much a late 60’s/early 70’s doll. I love the concept and her cute outfit, but there is something a little off about her face. I do however, have three different versions of Crissy. I have the same one you do with the short straight hair, growing pony tail and orange dress. I also have a swirla-curler Crissy with short curly hair and a growing pony tail (and a slightly smaller head) and magic hair Crissy with short curly hair and no pony tail (and a completely different face size and mold). Believe it or not here are actually many different versions of Crissy and her friends. Anyway, I hope you continue to doll a day. It’s a fun concept!!
    - Korglady

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  3. I really enjoy the Doll-a-Day posts and final reviews, though you really didn't make it easy for yourself by still writing relatively long reviews for every doll! I think cutting back to 5 dolls will help, as well as perhaps focusing on dolls with not much of a backstory that would quickly fill up a normal review, or with a backstory that you already somewhat explained in an older review (e.g. I think the Bratz Catz were perfect candidates for a fun little review like this, but Crissy's review was my favorite of this bunch and I think she could've easily gotten a full one.)

    I love the diversity in dolls you chose for this first week. It honestly creates anything but whiplash for me! My favorite doll in terms of which one would fit best in my own collection is probably Dandelion, but the non-removable wings were such an odd choice. Especially since the fidget feature of the wings worked better when separated from the doll. I think the Fidgie Friends look adorable (they also remind me a bit of Cutie Pops), but there's definitely room for improvement.

    It was also super interesting to learn more about Crissy and Maggie (never heard of the My Way Kid line before!) Once you've done a few Doll-a-Day posts you should totally create a scrapbook of the group pictures for yourself, how cute would that be?!

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  4. you know, my first thought on Maggie there was, in fact, the My Way Kids, and I even went onto My Twinn Project and compared the faces, but then thought "naw, that's not one of their faces" and compared her to other old discontinued dolls of that size, which was how I settled on Magic Attic. the lesson here is: go with your gut? lol.

    gotta say, those cat "twiins" are beyond creepy to me. something about an animal with a human face.... nope. the name also: bratz petz catz twiins. can't they spell at least one of the words right? X`D

    I do think this format is good for getting a lot more of your collection out there, since as I continue to re-read the old TBP posts I see many instances of "I'm going to do a full review of this later" and... well, later never happened. Better to get a little bit than nothing, says I. Might be a good way to knock a lot of dolls off your list. (this and tea with lena.)

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    1. Those Bratz cats are something else, aren’t they? LOL. Not a fan.

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  5. I have ADHD, so fidget toys are something that get my attention quite easily, and help me keep my hands busy while my mind decides to go a mile an hour. However, that fairy fidget doll, I can tell you from the pictures alone, would not work well as a fidget toy. By how you describe her, it would actually be more frustrating than calming, which kind of fails its main purpose.
    Her face, however, is just adorable. As a doll on her own she could be a very beautiful toy.

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  6. I wonder where AG got the idea to name that baby "Blix"? Makes me think of Blistex, LOL. And good ol' Crissy, it's so nice to see her. Crissy and her bunch of buddies are amazing!

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  7. I'm loving the doll a day idea, though even if you cut it down to three, I think that'd still be fun. :) The variety of little bits of doll history here vs modern ideas, was such a fun trip, not whiplash at all!

    My favourite if the group was the little blind box bunny, I'm so happy to see that become a thing, and I'm still tempted by the centaur ones you mentioned. They're very sweet. I can see how the grin on this one could be unnerving, but unlike her enthusiasm! It's nice to see obvious personality in a design. :)

    I'm very intrigued by that list of cat dolls you mentioned, the google search results were wild. Speaking of unnerving, the ohoh la cats eyes are a choice! Their body shapes are very cute, but cat eyes are such a distinct and lively thing, these look more like Gray Aliens. But fashion.

    The fidget dolls. Oh boy. I see the idea, I applaud the idea, but the execution. Oh lord. It seems like it'd have been better to just have them come with the fidget toys as accessories. No wonder dandelion was so heavy. That mermaid stump.though? Little more intrigued by that, as a choice, over a skirt piece, or hard plastic.

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  8. I love this idea! As much as I enjoy the reviews, and the more, the merrier, I can see the 5 dolls + 2 day breather as a more viable format. Some day, maybe, we'll get to see most of your permanent collection...

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  9. The fidget dolls are my favorite here in terms of scale and appearance, and I'm a big fan of dolls with unique constructions, but I'm skeptical of how their gimmick has been done. Much like you, I would find the construction of these dolls rather frustrating, and limiting for play options. But with a few tweaks— the wings being removable, the clothes staying on a little better— I would love that fairy doll! She is very cute and I think I would have fun with the stress toys if they were implemented a bit less wonkily.

    My other favorite is Bonnie, the slightly sinister red eyes of the one you got are just the cutest to me. And of course I appreciated seeing all the other lovely dolls, both the ones I myself would collect and the ones of types quite different than my own tastes. Love this blog for letting me see so many types of beautiful and interesting doll.
    Thanks for another great post!

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    1. Hmm, same commenter again thinking about it more, I really do wish the fidgie dolls had been better executed because I can see the concept being very special to some kids. Many autistic people talk about feeling alienated from feminine interests and expressing femininity as a kid, and feeling like autistic play like fidgeting and stimming was something "unladylike." It's actually cool to see a girly and pretty toy integrate these interactive features with the express intention of being a fidget toy and doll, I think the idea is nice. I'll be curious to see whether this brand comes back with some stronger designs and whether similar dolls come up in the future. I know there are some tiny fidget dolls and some dolls with an activity component that are sort of similar?

      Another thing I enjoyed in this post and forgot to mention is getting to see older and newer dolls together because it's awesome to see how stylization trends change over the decades.

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  10. I enjoyed all the new dolls! Thank you for your work!

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  11. Great idea! luv this feature & evil bunny is fun surprise & shame fidgy parts are not easy to remove!💖

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  12. I love the idea of this!! Your usual in-depth reviews are something I love to read, and have often been the deciding factor in whether I buy a doll myself later, but the idea of "here's a bunch of mini-reviews of dolls that wouldn't get a full review" is super fun as well!

    If you've got them handy, do you think there'd be any way Rainbow High dolls could wear the Fidgie shoes? I feel like I'm forever hunting for more shoe options for RH dolls (particularly the Junior High line, though I'm not sure if you have one of those - there's some new Jr Highs coming out sometime soon-ish, based off recent leaks, if you are interested in them!)

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  13. I love all the content you provide--long form, short form, however! This set of dolls was wonderful to see. Especially Crissy.

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  14. At target, I have seen a blind box fidget toy themed doll in the section with the Magic the Gathering cards by checkout. I purchased one and it executes the concept much better, although it has no real articulation. It’s also a keychain which makes it nicely portable! I enjoy it and she lives in my purse now. Unfortunately I threw out the box and I don’t remember the name of the line! The price was $10, I believe. They’re cute and colorful.

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  15. Ah, Crissy! She’s such a beautiful doll! She came out when I was 2 and I wanted her so bad I could taste it, but somehow didn’t manage to get one until I was a little older and found her secondhand.
    Who I *did* get were Velvet (ultra meh), Cinnamon (who I found ugly), and worst of all, Baby Crissy- I didn’t care for baby dolls as it was and I thought she was hideous, LMAO. Remembering stuff like this makes me really annoyed when people fob off poor doll design/quality with “it’s for kids, not collectors, kids don’t notice/care about that stuff” because I can assure you that I very much DID notice and care about bad dolls. I would most definitely have been disappointed with those fidget dolls as a kid, LMAO.

    And man, seeing Crissy really makes me long for the doll trend of huge bulbous heads and gigantic big eyes will go the heck away. Realistic doll faces are SO much prettier.



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    1. This would probably be an unforgivable sin, but could Chrissy’s eyes be replaced? —MnGrl

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  16. I really enjoyed the doll-a-day series! The dolls were all so different, and it was fun to see who would be posted on Patreon each day (Bonnie and baby Blix are my favorites!) I would love to see more of these collections, and I also really like the longer reviews too.

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  17. WOW! I am so jealous you have Maggie, she's my absolute grail doll. In over 10 years of collecting slim vinyl dolls, I've only ever seen her for sale once. I don't mean to be pushy, but if you do ever decide to sell her, please let me know. My Jenny and Tami would love to have another My Way friend.
    Add me to the list of people who enjoy reading pretty much everything you post. It's a great way to discover new doll brands and learn more about others. Disappointed by the fidgie friends also, I had high hopes when they were first announced and they seem to have fallen a little flat.

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  18. I think it's a great idea! It's always interesting to see dolls that are new to me or us! Your posts are always a joy to read and view.

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  19. I think the variety is fun! As long as it stays manageable for you. It's neat to see the mix of mainstream and lesser known. Maggie is really special and I remember loving the faces on your My Way Kids makeovers.

    Here I was half afraid you were going to give Crissy a permanent hair change, and you decided to rip the wings off a fairy instead.

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  20. Yes! The Doll-A-Day thing is A LOT of work! When I started the first time, my intention was just to post one doll photo a day. But of course, I'm an over achiever, or, at least, and over trier! The posts got more and more detailed. This time I'm trying to do some simple posts amongst the long detailed ones.

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