Showing posts with label 18". Show all posts
Showing posts with label 18". Show all posts

Thursday, February 24, 2022

I'm a Girly Doll

I'm a Girly is a Swiss doll company that launched in 2017 and expanded into the United States market in 2020.  The dolls seem to have been (still are?) quite popular in Europe, but didn't make as much of a splash here--perhaps because they occupy the same niche as American Girl.  The mission of the company is to produce "sustainability with style" by using top-quality materials and as little waste as possible.  That's certainly a mission that I can get behind, although nothing specific about the realization of this goal is mentioned on the website--beyond the fact that the cardboard packaging can be reused or recycled.  

The thing I find most unique and interesting about the I'm a Girly brand is that the design of the dolls is overseen by a group of children, the Kids4Kids team.  These boys and girls (ages 9 to 13) were instrumental in tweaking and perfecting the first prototypes, and continue to be involved in designing and testing the dolls' accessories and clothing.  Specific items of I'm a Girly clothing can be attributed to specific young designers or design teams, and I can't imagine anything more exciting or empowering for a child!  What a great idea.

I happened upon this brand only by chance.  I was browsing the Target website, looking at some of the ILY 4ever Disney dolls, and the thumbnail of an I'm a Girly character popped onto my screen.  I was captivated by the doll, but her $80 price was high enough to give me pause.  I continued my search on Amazon, where I found several of the dolls being offered for under $20.  That seemed way too good to be true, but I took a chance and ordered the least expensive character, Lucy, who at the time was $9.92 (with free shipping).

I'm a Girly doll, Lucy, MSRP $79.99, on sale for $9.92.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Kidz by Götz

I haven't made much of a dent in clearing out my doll room yet, but I did find three 18-inch treasures a few weeks ago.  Two of the dolls I found are Happy Kidz from the German Götz company.  I bought them in January of 2016...although it feels like yesterday.  Happy Kidz are not sold in the United States, and so I shopped online at My Doll Best Friend, a fantastic London-based store that happily ships to Maine.  The third doll is an FAO Schwarz Classic doll that was also made by the Götz company.  I found her on sale at Toys R Us way back when Toys R Us was still a thing and when they were still carrying 18-inch FAO Schwarz dolls.  I think it was around six years ago.

All of these dolls are variants on the Götz Hannah line (formerly called the Sarah line) which I've been coveting for over a decade.  Most of my recent coveting occurred while gazing at the beautiful pictures on the My Doll Best Friend blog, which, if you've never seen it, is well worth a visit.  Or many visits.  Here's a link.

The FAO Schwarz Classic dolls came out in 2011 and are essentially Hannah dolls that were made for the United States market.  The Happy Kidz, first introduced in 2012, are very similar in size and proportion to the Hannah dolls, but they have different face molds and extra joints.  Here's Clara, one of my Happy Kidz:

Götz Happy Kidz doll, Clara, £85.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Short Tale of Two Henriettes

Way back in September of 2013, Kidz 'n' Cats released a special limited edition doll, Henriette, who could be ordered with a variety of hair and eye combinations.  I fell in love with Henriette's face mold (I liked it much better than the Evita mold I already owned) and figured it was the perfect chance to order a Kidz doll with exactly the coloring I wanted.  I actually ended up ordering two of these dolls because...well, because I couldn't make up my mind between two different variations and also because I got caught up in the potential collectibility of the dolls given their limited release (300 pieces) and unique customization feature.

Only now, as I'm getting the two dolls ready for eBay, did I bother to de-box one of them and tell the story of disappointment that surrounded both of their arrivals.

Kidz 'n' Cats Henriette, $176.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Create Your Own American Girl

The wait is over!  My Create Your Own American Girl doll, Eliza, arrived two weeks ago (almost exactly on schedule).  I noticed recently that the wait for a similar doll now stretches into May (!) so I guess the concept is faring well in the holiday market.

I had to peek at Eliza before I started this review, and I noticed something unexpected right off the bat.  For those of you who followed along with Eliza's design process, you'll be expecting to see the "D" (Sonali) face.  Well, that's what I was expecting to see, too, but apparently I ended up picking the "B" (Josefina) face instead.  It's certainly my fault (I was going back and forth between faces a lot that day...) and it's actually a happy accident.  Once I realized that my other new American Girl, Melody Ellison, also has the Sonali face, I regretted picking that same mold for Eliza.  Now I have the face I actually wanted!

It's a really cute face, too:

Create Your Own American Girl doll, Eliza, $200.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Life As Mini Dolls from Walmart

I was looking around my studio the other day, trying to decide what to review next, and I realized that I have a lot of mini versions of 18-inch play dolls sitting around--some brand new, some that have been here for several months.  The exact same day that I had this realization, I went to Walmart to buy grass seed (our yard is a lifeless mud pit), swung through the toy section...and spotted two of the new My Life As mini dolls.  That's when it hit me that I should do a sequence of shorter reviews showcasing some of these newer minis--a mini series about mini dolls, if you will.

This mini series will include the newest Maru Mini Pals (on their way to me as I type!), a Kidz 'n' Cats mini doll, some of the newer Our Generation minis (and Lori dolls), maybe my mini (and full-sized!) American Girl Melody dolls...and of course the My Life As minis I just discovered.  In fact, I'll start things off with the My Life As minis because they feel really new and exciting to me right now.  Here's my favorite of the bunch:

My Life As a Baker mini doll ($9.88).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A My Twinn Project Update

I'm almost done with the My Twinn Project!  For anyone who is just tuning in, today's story is the follow-up to a previous post (which you can find here).  I really love projects like this--where something that has lost its shimmer becomes beautiful again.  When I was a kid, I liked to flip through my mother's magazines to find the makeover stories.  I've always been fascinated by the magical transformation of a good makeover.  Not that show Extreme Makeover, though.  I did not like that.  Anyway, I suspect it's all wrapped up in my obsession with the Cinderella rags-to-riches story.

I feel a little bad for Curvy Barbie and Lammily, though.  They're lovely dolls and I had a great time reviewing them, but I kept wanting to sneak away and work on the Twinns.  And speaking of Barbie, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who informed me about the articulated Curvy Barbie (oh, yay!) and the hidden charms of the Petite and Tall Barbies.  What wonderful news!  I will have to check those out.

There will be one more My Twinn Project post after this one--a finale where I'll reveal the completed 23" dolls (and the baby).  Today, though, I'll just be checking in with the larger girls and updating you on their progress.  I'll also show you how the eye replacements turned out on my 18" dolls.  And...maybe I'll introduce someone new.  Because, as I mentioned, I always seem to go overboard with this kind of venture.

Holly with her new wig.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The My Twinn Project

One of my new ideas for the blog is to write about the doll-related projects in my life.  I could call this series of posts "regular person attempts tricky things that you can learn from the internet!" but I'll probably just put the word "project" somewhere in the title.  I love a good project.  I've documented project-like things in the past, but I'd like to make it more of a regular occurrence.  The basic formula will be to set the scene in a relatively short post and then publish a few progress updates--interspersed between my more conventional reviews.  This way you'll get to follow along and share in the suspense as I succeed (or fail!) in my endeavors.  When the project is complete, I'll put together a cumulative post with some concluding pictures and statements.  Let's see how it goes!

The first project involves My Twinn dolls.  My Twinn went out of business in January.  I was sad to hear this news, but it didn't come as much of a surprise.  By late 2015, the quality of the 18" dolls was plummeting, there was a glut of unsold, mega-browed 18" Adopt-A-Friends, and the company had ceased production of dolls with darker skin tones.  The situation didn't look promising.  The way I see it, My Twinn dolls were made great by four critical things: a great range of customizable options (including over 40 face molds), overall high quality of construction, beautiful inset eyes, and carefully hand-painted eyebrows.  Many of these features had gone out the window by the time My Twinn closed its doors.

Like many collectors, I think the best versions of My Twinn dolls are the ones assembled in Denver, Colorado from 1995 through 2001.  These dolls have high-quality vinyl, beautiful (durable) eyes, nice wigs, a variety of faces, and (occasionally) artist-painted eyebrows.  To commemorate the end of My Twinn, I decided to add one more of these vintage gems to my collection.  The Denver dolls are all at least 15 years old by now, though, so adopting one is likely to involve a bit of restoration.  This project will document what kind of work can be required...and how I struggled through it.

My Twinn Audrey from 2001.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Prince Stephan by Carpatina

Despite the overwhelming popularity of 18-inch play dolls, boy characters in this scale are still pretty scarce.  My Twinn will make a custom boy doll for you, but they seldom have any available for purchase in the Adopt-A-Friend section.  Paola Reina America has one boy, Unai, in their Every Girl collection, and Harmony Club has a few cute boys.  There are also some adorable young lads in the Extra Special Dolls collection--in fact Ian is one of my favorite dolls from that company.  Kidz 'n' Cats probably has the best selection of 18-inch boys dolls right now, with at least one new character released every year.  All of the Kidz boys have gorgeous faces and fun outfits that match the age level and charm of the girls.  American Girl does not offer an American Boy, but there are a lot of customization artists who are very good at transforming the girls into boys.  My Froggy Stuff has a nice (short) tutorial on how to approach this process, as does GiGi's Doll and Craft Creations.

It's been a long time since I reviewed my first Carpatina doll, Erin.  As you might recall, that review was inspired by my brother-in-law's comments about the Carpatina boy dolls...who look a lot older and more angular than their female companions.  I really like my Erin doll, but have to admit that the Carpatina boys have never tempted me.  So, when Nadine alerted me to the new boy at Carpatina, I had to immediately run and take a look at him.  When I saw the handsome, happy, young-looking Prince Stephan on the website...I had to immediately buy him:

Carpatina's Stephan ($108) and Erin ($69).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ever After High's Dexter Charming and Adora's 18-inch Kayla--A Joint Review!

I feel especially fortunate to have such a fun mix of guest reviews this week because I seem to have come down with my first nasty cold of the season.  Blah.  That's the only thing I don't like about fall--the return of sickness.  But the timing really worked out perfectly.  My two guests, Grace and Dot, have put together wonderful, complimentary reviews that required practically no effort on my part.  These two have also lifted my spirits with their contagious enthusiasm, energy and humor.  So, a big thank-you to Grace for sharing her handsome Dexter Charming with us, and to Dot for her very special review of Adora's 18-inch Kayla doll.

To start things off, I'd like to introduce Grace, a fellow doll enthusiast and accomplished seamstress.  Grace's creativity shines on her own blog, Doll Dimensions. Grace designed her blog to be a place where people can find tutorials for doll items that will expand their play and collecting dimensions.  This blog features makeovers, sewing ideas, reviews and even (my personal favorite) a showcase of Grace's own version of Cinderella (Ginger Ella).  I think this Dexter Charming review captures the spirit of the Doll Dimensions blog really well.  Tell us more about your handsome guy, Grace!

Hey everyone!!!  I'm super, super excited to be doing this guest review!!  I love Emily's blog, and her reviews and photos are my absolute favorites.  Today I'll be reviewing a very handsome fellow by the name of Dexter Charming!  I absolutely LOVE Dexter (don't tell anyone, but I think that I like him better than Ken ;) )!  Unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on the second edition (re-release) of Dexter, so he is missing some of his accessories.  However, I was able to replicate some of the missing ones, and I'll share how I did it at the end of this post.

When they heard that Dexter's review was today, several of the girls stopped by to say hello:

Hey, everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Every Girl "Maia" by Paola Reina America

You might remember that about a year ago the Spanish doll company Paola Reina expanded to include a distributor in America.  At that time, I jumped on the opportunity to review two of the new dolls--Marta, a 23.6-inch Las Reinas de Paola beauty, and Amor, a smaller 15.7-inch Soy Tu cutie.  As much fun as I had choosing and reviewing Amor and Marta, I remember wishing that there had been a group of 18-inch dolls to choose from.  I really like collecting 18-inch dolls and making comparisons between the ever-increasing number of options in this popular scale.  Also, with all of the outfits and accessories available for this size of play doll, it makes a lot of strategic sense for a company to have an 18-inch option available--especially a company like Paola Reina that is already manufacturing such an impressive range of doll sizes and styles.

Well, someone at Paola Reina must have had similar thoughts way before I did, because this year a new collection of 18-inch Every Girl dolls was added to the Paola Reina America family.  Right now, the Every Girl collection has five dolls--including a little boy named Unai.  As tempted as I was to have a boy in my 18-inch doll collection, I couldn't resist the redheaded Maia and her nautical-themed dress.  As the weather in Maine gets warmer and warmer, my thoughts turn increasingly to the ocean...and little Maia fits perfectly with this frame of mind:

Every Girl "Maia" doll by Paola Reina, $104.99 CDN (~$85 USD).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nancy Dolls by Famosa

I am still having a bit of a hard time getting around, and so my "field research" has taken a hit.  The nice thing is, I always seem to have a stash of dolls sitting around that I purchased ages ago but haven't reviewed for one reason or another.  This week, I decided to raid that stash of forgotten dolls and I rediscovered the two Nancy dolls I bought back in 2013.  Nancy is a 16-inch plastic play doll produced by the Spanish company, Famosa.  Famosa makes a wide range of dolls and toys and has partnerships with some popular brands like Furby, Hello Kitty and My Little Pony.  Currently, Famosa might be best known in the United States for their Pinypon line of small dolls and accessories--toys I'd really like to review some day!

I first learned about Nancy dolls in 2012 from Moni, through a comment she left on an old review.  I was reminded of this doll again in 2013 when I started to explore the many different options in the 18-inch play doll market.  Nancy stands out from this crowd because she's smaller and shorter than dolls like American Girl, and also because of her price point.  Nancy dolls tend to retail for between $20 and $25--unless they are discontinued and difficult to find.

Nancy dolls come with a few different hair and eye color options (there's a lovely-looking redhead, but she's hard to find here in the States).  There are also two skin tones that I am aware of.  Most (all?) of the dolls sold in this country have a tan-looking yellowish skin tone, but there are also dark-skinned Nancy dolls available--like the gorgeous Nancy gracing the product page of the Famosa website.  Another variation in the Nancy line is that some of the dolls have articulated knees and others do not.  In this review, I will look at one of each style: the unarticulated Nancy "Pink Sports Ballerina" ($19.99, Amazon) and the articulated Nancy "Little Red Riding Hood" ($24.99, Amazon):

Famosa's "Little Red Riding Hood" Nancy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Our Generation "Poseable Morgan Horse" by Battat

Well, this review has been a long time coming!  I purchased the Our Generation Poseable Morgan Horse back in the fall of 2013, right after I wrote my review of the larger Paradise horses.  For one reason after another, this review has been postponed for over a year.  One of the problems is that it's tricky to photograph a large horse like this indoors, and it's also rare to have the right combination of weather conditions to complete an outdoor review (at least here in Maine).  I finally decided to just do the best I could with indoor lights and some pretty soggy outdoor winter weather.

Battat has three varieties of model horse for their 18" play dolls: there are unarticulated large horses, unarticulated foals, and two articulated large horses (the Morgan reviewed here and the pure white Circus Horse).  I wanted to review one of the articulated horses (because that's my thing), and chose the Morgan because he comes with a full Western tack set instead of circus garb.  All of the large horses cost $34.99 (on sale now for $30) and are available at Target.

I still fondly remember the year when there were two large Battat horses peeking out from under the Christmas tree for my own kids.  It's nice to write this review as I think about all of the lucky children who will add one of these impressive creatures to their stable this holiday season.  The question I have been asked a lot recently, though, is which large horse is the best gift choice, the My Life As horses by Paradise or the articulated Our Generation horses?  Let's find out!

Our Generation "Poseable Morgan Horse," $34.99.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our Generation Retro Doll "Joy" by Battat

At this time of year, I like to walk through the aisles of the toy stores in my area and pick out the dolls and accessories that I think would make the best gifts.  I don't have many doll lovers on my actual shopping list this year, but I still like to see what new items are in stock for the holidays and choose my favorites.  Most of the time I just make a mental note of the items I like best, but this year I purchased a few of my selections so that I could share them with you here on the blog.

I have been keeping a close eye on the 18-inch play dolls that are available near me (Journey Girls, My Life As and Our Generation).  While all of these brands have something new to offer for the holidays, Battat's Our Generation line is by far the most appealing to me.  I feel great about purchasing dolls from this company because I know that they use only recycled and recyclable materials in their packaging, they promote charitable work, and they avoid using harmful chemicals in the production of their dolls.  I also think that the Battat dolls are very attractive and well-made for their reasonable price.  Furthermore, whenever I am visiting my local Target store, the Our Generation section always seems to have the most constant stream of young admirers.

Today I'll show you my favorite new Our Generation doll...along with an outfit set that I thought would go really well with her:

Our Generation Retro Joy
Our Generation Retro Doll "Joy," with pieces from the "Winter Wonder" outfit pack.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Zaria" and "Kaila" by Double Dutch Dolls

Stephanie emailed me over the summer to tell me about Double Dutch Dolls, a new company that is producing multicultural, articulated (!), slim-proportioned 18 inch play dolls.  The company's founder, K. Charles, grew up reading Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume books--wishing that there were similar fictional characters who looked like her.  Unsatisfied with the current market, Ms. Charles decided to write her own books about spunky, smart, unique and beautiful teens from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  The characters in these stories were so real to her, that Ms. Charles decided to turn them into high-quality 18 inch play dolls.

At the moment, only the main characters from K. Charles' book series are available in doll form.  These are Kaila and Zaria, identical 14-year-old twins who are navigating the challenges of middle school together.  With Kickstarter funding success, the company hopes to introduce a full line of doll characters, including Kaila's best friend Sacha, Zaria's Hispanic friend Alainna, Zaria's Irish/German/Asian lab partner Kadence, and (my favorite!) the redheaded African-American and Norwegian girl, Trinity.

After reading the website and looking at the dolls, I instantly wanted to get involved and support this wonderful project.  My experience with these dolls is a bit of an epic tale, though.  It all started back on August 9th, the day of Stephanie's email, when I ordered Zaria.  However, almost two months later, I am the proud owner of both Zaria and her twin sister.  And Zaria is sporting a new wig.  I'll tell you the whole story, of course, but let me start by showing you the beautiful twins as they look today:

Double Dutch Dolls
Zaria (left, re-wigged) and Kaila (right) by Double Dutch Dolls.  $69.00 each.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

An 18" My Twinn Face Mold Guide

I don't know what it is about My Twinn, but they're ridiculously good at sidetracking me.  I had a completely different review planned for this weekend, but here I am writing about My Twinn again.  This is actually more of a project than a review, though, so let me back up and explain.

The other day I got an email from AJ, admitting that she had been bitten by the My Twinn Adopt-a-Friend bug during the most recent $49 sale.  Hearing about AJ's experience in picking her new doll (which you can see on her blog) sent me scurrying over to the My Twinn site myself.  Before I knew it, I was back in my old habits--hunched over the computer, entrenched in the process of peering at tiny pictures, trying to find some treasures amidst about a thousand discounted Adopt-a-Friend dolls.

The most recent sale was for the newer, smaller, 18" Adopt-a-Friend dolls, and I found the process of choosing one of these characters more difficult than it was for the older 23" Friends.  I think the biggest problem is that the facial features aren't as distinct.  I ended up spending most of my time just trying to identify the different face molds, which was really hard for me.  I searched the internet looking for clues, and couldn't find a single resource on these new faces--there certainly isn't anything on the My Twinn site (there should be).  So, for this post, I am going to share some of the faces I've deciphered, with the ardent hope that many of you will know more than I do, and will pitch in to fix any mistakes and help me create a complete, accurate resource.

18" (left) and 23" (right) My Twinn Katie faces.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Saila Qilavvaq" by Maplelea Girls

Maplelea Girls are 18 inch dolls that represent girls from several of Canada's diverse provinces and territories.  The dolls are designed to be durable companions, but also to educate children about the geography and culture of Canada.  These dolls were introduced in 2003 by Avonlea Traditions.  This company got its start by producing Anne of Green Gables merchandise, but has since sold that franchise and is solely focused on the Maplelea Girls.

Maplelea Girls are sometimes referred to as "Canadian Girls," probably because they are the rough equivalent of American Girl dolls.  There are six Maplelea characters who have distinct personalities, cultural backstories, and themed accessories.  This collection is similar to American Girl's historical lineup.  There are also "Maplelea Friend" dolls that parallel the My American Girl collection.  These dolls have a range of physical feature options, but don't come with pre-set character traits.  While American Girl places a large focus on their in-store buying experience, Maplelea Girls can only be purchased online from the Maplelea website.

I have been eyeing the Maplelea Girl website for over a year, but it has taken me a while to buy a doll and write this review.  My problem was not choosing a doll--I knew instantly that I wanted Saila, the Inuit girl from Nunavut.  Her story and appearance are incredibly unique in the doll world, and her name reminds me of someone special in my life.  My biggest hesitation has been the fact that there are already several excellent reviews of this doll.  Doll Diaries has a great collection of posts about Saila, and Maple Leaf Mommy has a review that features some magical pictures of her young daughter toting around this beloved doll friend.  I figured I could contribute to this review mix by doing some comparisons to American Girl, showing you a few of Saila's extra outfit pieces, and of course addressing my usual hangup: articulation.  My biggest reason for buying this uniquely beautiful doll, though, was that I simply wanted her in my collection:

Maplelea Girls "Saila" doll
Inuit doll, "Saila," by Maplelea Girls.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maru and Friends Doll, "Savannah"

Maru and Friends offers a small collection of 20 inch, high-quality, all-vinyl play dolls.  The dolls were created by Maritza Gutierrez with the idea of putting beautiful, realistic, culturally diverse dolls into the hands of children.  The central character, Maru, is described as a Latina girl who moved to America in search of a better life.  Maru has found some wonderful new friends to give her support and help ease the transition into her new situation.  These friends (Jamie, Savanna, Raven and Tanya) make up the rest of the doll collection.  Maru and Friends dolls can be purchased for $115 at the company's online store or at the Aventura Mall in Miami.  These dolls can also be found online for £109 at the lovely My Doll Best Friend shop in the United Kingdom.

I purchased my Maru and Friends doll almost a year ago and she has been waiting all of this time for her review.  I was tempted by all of the Maru and Friends characters, especially Maru herself, but I ended up (predictably) choosing the redheaded, blue-eyed Savannah:

Maru and Friends® doll, "Savannah"

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Twinn 18" Custom Doll, "Annie"

I have mentioned before how the expectations and anticipation surrounding a doll purchase can play a large role in my overall assessment.  Because of this, ordering a custom doll like a Makie or a My Twinn can be quite risky.  In the days or weeks that it takes for the doll to be made, a very clear vision of that doll will form in my mind, making it difficult for the actual doll to be what I was hoping for.  On the other hand, the process of customizing a doll is very fun, and the excitement of waiting to see that special doll adds significantly to the purchasing experience.

If you read my earlier post, Waiting for Annie, you know about my previous experience with ordering a custom My Twinn doll--how I was hoping for a redhead and got a doll with dirty blonde hair.  If you read that other post, you might also have had some time to form your own ideas and opinions about how my new custom 18" My Twinn doll, Annie, should look.  My own wishes for this doll were that she would have bright red hair, beautiful green eyes and a huge number of realistic freckles.

I'll show you right away that Annie is gloriously, unapologetically redheaded:

18" My Twinn
My Twinn 18" custom doll, "Annie."