Showing posts with label Annie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Annie. Show all posts

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.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting for Eliza

As many of you have probably heard, American Girl debuted their Create Your Own doll feature early this month.  This is an online program that allows kids (of any age...) to design their own dolls and clothing from a wide range of options.  It's similar to My Twinn's old BFF customization tool, but it offers more variety.  I think the addition of this option to the American Girl lineup is a brilliant move by Mattel.  Not only is the website super-fun and easy to use (I spent the better part of a day playing around with it) but it allows kids (and doll reviewers) to have pretty much exactly the doll they want.  This is great because it will eliminate the inevitable disappointment that accompanies each year's new doll releases.  This year, if you don't see the doll you want, you can design him or her yourself!

I designed a custom doll who I've named Eliza.  Eliza has a few backordered features, and so she won't arrive until mid November.  I figured that while I'm waiting for Eliza to arrive, I could walk you through some of my experiences with the Create Your Own program.  That way, we can all wait together to see if the final product lives up to our expectations.

I didn't want to publish a post filled with nothing but screenshots, though, so I decided that I'd also use this opportunity to share an American Girl doll that I purchased back in April; the new 1960s BeForever character, Melody Ellison:

review
BeForever Melody Ellison by American Girl, $115.

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, 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.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Grace" by Extra Special Dolls

There has been a lot of talk lately about the new Girl of the Year from American Girl.  Isabelle is a fair-skinned, blonde, hazel-eyed ballerina who likes to design clothing.  There's certainly nothing wrong with any of these traits (or with the doll--she's very cute), but there's also nothing at all exciting or new about Isabelle.  At first glance, she seems an awful lot like McKenna.  As a consumer, this doesn't bother me.  Since I only have one American Girl doll, I'm not relying on the Girl of the Year to add something new to my collection.  As an impassioned observer of the doll world, however, Isabelle is disappointing.  The Girl of the Year series seems like a wonderful opportunity to introduce a character that is surprising, timely or unique in some way.  Mattel could have done something to represent the incredible diversity of this country--while keeping the popular ballet theme.  I mean, just watch the wonderful documentary, First Position, and pick almost any of those amazing young women as an inspiration.

Anyway, I am bringing up this topic not because I want to upset people or spark a debate, but simply because I want to draw a contrast and explain my rationale for this review.  Discussions about the lack of diversity in the Girl of the Year series made me think about doll diversity on a larger scale.  This thought process led me to discover a new 18 inch play doll that represents a minority I have never seen portrayed in the doll world before.

Meet Gracie, a doll designed to resemble a child with Down syndrome:

Extra Special Dolls Grace
"Grace" by Extra Special Dolls.

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."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Waiting for Annie

As many of you know, My Twinn has recently released an 18" version of their customizable dolls.  I caved to that temptation pretty quickly and ordered a doll who I've named Annie.  I had a wonderful time with the 23" My Twinn Adopt A Friend dolls back in March, and my adopted friend Hazel remains one of my favorite larger girls, so I am excited to see what the company does in the smaller, more popular 18" scale.

I was thinking, though, that waiting for a customized doll and wondering what she'll look like is half of the fun.  My 18" Annie should arrive this week, and so I thought I would share some of the last-minute anticipation with you.

My story actually begins last spring, with my first attempt at buying a My Twinn custom doll.  Here's the My BFF 23" My Twinn doll I ordered in March:

My Twinn "My BFF" doll (23 inches).
Not the new 18" doll.