Showing posts with label Carpatina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carpatina. Show all posts

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).

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 3, 2013

Kidz 'n' Cats "Evita" Doll by Sonja Hartmann for With Heart and Soul

Kidz 'n' Cats are slim, articulated 18" play dolls designed by Sonja Hartmann for the German doll company, With Heart and Soul.  These dolls were first introduced in 2009 with a small collection of seven dolls bearing two different face molds.  Since then, three new faces have been added and a total of 37 dolls have been released.  The collection is named for the fact that most of the dolls are accompanied by a small plush cat dressed in a matching outfit.

I have been interested in these dolls since 2009.  I have always appreciated the fact that Sonja Hartmann designed an 18" play doll with multiple joints, offering a welcome contrast to the relatively inflexible dolls like American Girl, Carpatina and Magic Attic.  I also admire the realism in the Kidz 'n' Cats features.  These dolls do not have exaggerated proportions like large eyes or huge heads, but rather strive to accurately represent the features of real children.  I also enjoy the funky, wholesome way that Kidz 'n' Cats dolls are dressed.  They come in a colorful variety of multi-piece outfits made from an array of eye-catching, differently textured fabrics.

I purchased Evita back at the beginning of last summer during one of Samantha's Doll's incredible 40% off sales.  The dolls cost around $150 at full retail, but great sales like this can occasionally be found.  Of the five possible Kidz 'n' Cats face molds, Evita's is my least favorite.  I selected her because she was one of only a few dolls in stock at the time, and also because I couldn't find very many real life pictures of her and was curious about how her open-mouthed features would look in person.  I should admit that I wasn't thrilled with the pictures of Evita's stock outfit, either.  Basically, Evita was an odd choice for me, given that two of my favorite things about Kidz 'n' Cats (their faces and their outfits) did not seem to be well-represented by this particular doll.  After a week of ups and downs with Evita, I am ready to share my mixed emotions:

Kidz 'n' Cats "Evita," by Sonja Hartmann.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Girl for all Time's "Clementine, Your 1940s Girl"

I have been pulled in so many different directions this past week, it's been a whirlwind.  I even felt torn about which doll I should review.  I was happily ensconced in my A Girl for all Time Clementine review when Ever After High Ashlynn Ella and Hunter arrived in the mail (eeee!), and so I have been hopping back and forth between two photo shoots like a happy ping pong ball, trying to decide which review to finish first.  Clementine eventually won because I have been waiting for her the longest, and she is an interesting contrast to the My Salon Doll that I reviewed last week.

A Girl for all Time is a British doll brand designed and marketed by the Daughters of History, Ltd. and made in China.  The dolls represent young girls from different generations of the fictional Marchmont family.  Each doll is dressed and styled according to her particular time in history.  There are three dolls in the collection so far, Matilda, Amelia, and Clementine.  Matilda is from the middle part of the 16th century, Amelia is from the Victorian era, and Clementine is from the late 1930s and early 1940s, during World War II.

The dolls are made out of vinyl and stand approximately 16.5" tall.  They are sold for $134.99 on the Girl for all Time website.  Each doll has three or four beautiful outfit sets and accessory packs that can be purchased separately.  There are also three short novels that tell a story from each girl's life.  The books do not come with the dolls, but can be purchased on the Girl for all Time website for $9.99 and also on Amazon for slightly less.  I have been admiring A Girl for all Time's Matilda doll for quite a while, but after Char from Doll Diaries told me that the next girl in the Marchmont family tree would be a green-eyed redhead, I decided I'd better wait and let Clementine be my first Girl for all Time.  She is a perfect doll to review at this time of the year, because her eyes and hair match the rapidly changing foliage here in the Northeast in an uncanny way:

"Clementine," by A Girl for all Time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Salon Doll "Sydni"

One of the neat things about writing my American Girl review back in July is that many of you had suggestions for other similarly-sized dolls that might be fun to look at.  As a relative newcomer to the 18" play doll scene, all of these tips were greatly appreciated.  I followed up on Holly's suggestion to look at My Salon Dolls, the anonymous recommendation of the Vanange line, and Char's enthusiastic endorsement of A Girl for All Time.  I didn't end up keeping the Vanange doll and A Girl for All Time Clementine hasn't arrived yet, so this review will focus on My Salon Doll, Sydni.

My Salon Dolls are designed by a small Utah-based company and manufactured in China.  The special thing about these dolls is that they have micro-rooted human hair.  The commercial on the My Salon Doll website advertises that the dolls can "tolerate any hair product that would be found in a regular salon."  The dolls are also described as being bathtub-safe.  In my experience with human hair doll wigs, the only problem with them is that they get dusty and dry.  This doll's design appears to have eliminated those problems by making it safe and easy to wash and condition the hair.  I love this idea and was very curious see what these dolls are like in person.  The dolls are listed at around $130, but were on sale for $107 when I purchased mine--and are still on sale now.  There weren't many dolls to choose from back in July, so I picked Sydni, who is the horse-lover in the group, and was also the only available doll who looked like she had reddish hair.

My Salon Doll Sydni
My Salon Doll, "Sydni."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cutie Pops Hattitude Doll, "Dakota"

This is the second in a series of three short reviews that will look at the new Cutie Pop lines.  You can find the first review here: Crown Cuties Crystalina.

The next group of dolls I will look at are the Hattitude basic dolls.  These dolls are wearing animal hats and have a single ponytail in back, rather than the two side ponytails that all other current Cuties wear.  These dolls come with fewer accessories that the Crown Cuties or the Fashion Pup dolls, but they only cost $9.99.

There are three Hattitude characters to choose from, Sydney (red and orange hair), Bianca (black and white hair) and Dakota (brown and yellow hair).  I originally wanted to review Sydney because of her red hair, but she was the hardest to find in the stores.  I was happy to find Dakota, though, because I think her brown fuzzy bear hat is the best of the bunch, and she has nice brown eyes:

Cutie Pops Hattitude "Dakota."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Zwergnase Junior Doll "Ivanca" by Nicole Marschollek-Menzner

Nicole Marschollek-Menzner is the German artist responsible for the zany, joyful, grouchy, mischievous and unforgettable faces of the Zwergnase line of collector dolls.  Nicole also designs happy, long-necked art bears and unique play dolls.  The Zwergnase art dolls are among my favorite dolls in the world.  These dolls are produced in small editions and tend to cost over a thousand dollars.  The art dolls have cloth bodies with hand-painted vinyl heads and extremities.  They have large, gorgeous glass eyes, and wear human hair wigs that tend to be unruly and dramatic.  These masterpieces are made in Schalkau, Germany, surrounded by a landscape that has served as Nicole's creative inspiration since 1994.  I have always wanted to own a Zwergnase art doll--or at least see one in person.  In particular, I covet little Annemor--a delightful, grinning girl with strawberry blond hair and enough personality to fill a room.  Annemor was released in 2002, so I have been admiring these dolls for over a decade.

I am not likely to ever own a Zwergnase art doll, but I did stumble upon a wonderful opportunity to purchase a doll from one of the Zwergnase Junior play lines.  The company has two styles of play doll: colorful cloth-bodied dolls with simplified vinyl heads and limbs, and more realistic fully vinyl dolls.  Both groups of dolls are appealing to me, but the faces on the all-vinyl dolls are more similar to the art doll faces I love so much.  Samantha's Dolls carries a great selection of Zwergnase, and during one of their amazing 50%-off sales, I decided to buy a Junior doll.  The play dolls retail for between $220 and $250.  The half-price sale brought the price of my doll down to $110, which is comparable to the cost of American Girl, Carpatina and similar dolls.  Samantha's huge sales usually only apply to 2010 or earlier dolls, so I made my selection from a small number of remaining older dolls.  I ended up choosing Ivanca for her bright red hair and interesting expression.  I call her Ivy:

Zwergnase Junior doll, "Ivanca."

Monday, July 29, 2013

My American Girl #29

I bought my very first American Girl doll at the beginning of the month when I visited the amazing American Girl store in Natick, Massachusetts--near Boston.  I went to the store with every intention of purchasing the historical girl, Rebecca, but the overwhelming array of options scrambled my brain and then led me to My American Girl #29.

The first order of business was that this doll needed a suitable name--something other than Number 29.  I love naming things, but can get hung up on the process because I need to pick a name that is just right.  I have been this way ever since I was a kid.  As a brief aside, if you like names as much as I do, check out the unbeatable Baby Name Wizard site, created by an incredibly neat friend of mine.  Anyway--I didn't need the Baby Name Wizard for this doll because I had Andrea.  Thank you, Andrea (and everyone else who had great name suggestions!) for helping me name Miss Keira:

American Girl #29
My American Girl #29
Keira Sofia

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our Generation "Charlotte" Doll by Battat

I have become much more interested in 18" play dolls recently.  In the comments section of a recent post, Juliet asked me if I own an American Girl doll, and I felt more than a little silly telling her that I do not.  Many of you know that I've thought about this purchase a lot, and I have every intention of reviewing one of these dolls (maybe Rebecca, Saige or Emily?  Will you help me decide in the poll on the right?), but I just can't seem to make it happen.  I think part of the reason is that there are so many amazing American Girl resources out there--Doll Diaries and Never Grow Up being among my favorites.  Those sites make me feel like I already have an American Girl doll, and so I tend to be more interested in investigating other options.

I often refer to the less expensive American Girl imitators when I am discussing the prices of various 18" dolls.  I have mentioned the Springfield Collection, the Journey Girls (Toys R Us) and Our Generation (Target).  I've never actually reviewed one of these brands, though.  The other day while I was browsing at Target, I noticed that the Our Generation girls were on sale for $18.99 (down from $22.99).  That's a pretty good deal.  Not only that, but there was a cute little redhead with bright blue eyes that I had never seen before sitting on the shelf all alone--clearly hoping that I would bring her home.  Meet Charlotte:

Our Generation doll, "Charlotte."
$18.99 on sale at Target.

Monday, May 13, 2013

EuroGirl Diana Collection Doll by The Doll Factory

I've been pretty distracted lately--sorry.  There was a week of complete pandemonium in my house as we helped my son prepare for a big science fair in Phoenix.  Now that we're finally in Arizona, I have some time to relax and write.  I am so excited to be here--partly because of the science, but also because it's neat to be in the desert.  It looks completely different from Maine.   I mean, I saw a cactus at the side of the road last night as we drove from the airport.  A cactus.

My internet searching tells me that there are a few doll stores in this area, so I hope to have some time for live blogging later in the week (please let me know if you have a tip about a doll location in the greater Phoenix area!).  In the meantime, I'd like to quickly show you an 18" play doll that I have been wanting to de-box for a long time.  This is a (discontinued) EuroGirl from the Diana Collection.  She is a slim 18" size, like the Magic Attic and Carpatina dolls, but she has this amazing character face:

EuroGirl doll
EuroGirl by The Doll Factory.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Disney "Princess & Me" Rapunzel Jewel Edition Doll by Jakks Pacific

Over the last year, I have had several requests to review one of the Disney "Princess & Me" dolls.  I can understand why people are curious about these dolls.  First of all, at just under 20 inches tall, they make impressive gifts.  In addition, they portray the beloved Disney Princesses, and so collectors and enthusiasts of these characters will be tempted to own a large version of their favorite heroine.  Also, these dolls are comparably sized to many slim 18" play dolls like Carpatina, Kidz 'n' Cats and Magic Attic, which makes clothes-sharing an added temptation.

To be honest, I always walk a little faster past this section of the Disney doll aisle, purposefully avoiding eye contact with these huge princesses.  Their oversized faces and round, staring eyes freak me out a little.  Also, the price tag is a bit of a stunner.  All of the dolls cost $50 except for the Diamond Edition Cinderella, who (because of a bigger dress?) is $60.  That's really expensive for a Toys R Us play doll.  So, I have been reluctantly watching for a sale, but secretly hoping that I would never need to bring one of these large, glassy-eyed girls home with me.

As luck would have it, over April break, a really good sale started at Toys R Us.  All of the princesses (including Cinderella) were $39.99 (sale ends May 11th).  I headed over to my local Toys R Us and, with my teenaged son running in the opposite direction as fast as he could, I bit the bullet and settled in to inspect all of the dolls.  While Cinderella was the obvious choice for me, especially with the $20 off sale, I actually found Rapunzel to be the most appealing doll in the group:

Disney "Princess & Me" Rapunzel doll.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Adopt a Friend" Dolls by My Twinn

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said that the chances of my doing a My Twinn review were next to zero.  I’ve never been very interested in the My Twinn dolls.  My Twinn is known for selling 23" play dolls that are custom made to resemble a specific child.  I guess it has always seemed like such a hassle and a gamble to have a doll custom made. The catalogue pictures of girls with their matching dolls are pretty amazing, but the faces of My Twinn dolls are dangerously hit or miss—some are wonderful, some are not.  The bodies also look funny to me in some pictures, but I always assumed these shots were the result of a tall doll in a bad camera angle.  In the end, the price has simply been too high to take a chance that I might not like the end product.

So why am I writing a My Twinn review now?  It’s a bit of a convoluted story.  It all started because I have been getting serious about the purchase of an American Girl.  It would be very helpful to have one for comparisons to dolls like Karito Kids and Carpatina.  Last week, I was debating which American Girl I should choose.  Saige, the Girl of the Year for 2013, seems perfect.  She loves horses (just like me) and has red hair (like I wish I had).  I stumbled across this amazingly helpful post on Never Grow Up, though, and it convinced me that I actually prefer Josephina’s face mold and might want her (or Rebecca) instead.  Hmm.  So, I was looking at Saige’s horse and being massively indecisive, and then I remembered that My Twinn horses are better than American Girl horses and that got me wondering if My Twinn was still in business.  Last time I checked (in 2009) there were rumors of bankruptcy.  So…I headed over to the My Twinn website to scope things out.

That was the last my family saw of me all weekend.

My Twinn takes over the house.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Erin" Doll and "Guinevere" Outfit by Carpatina

My review inspiration comes from unexpected places.   For example, we were sitting around chatting about stuff in Panama, and my brother-in-law mentioned a play doll catalogue that had recently arrived in the mail at his house.  He couldn’t remember the name of the line, but it had clearly made an impression on him.  He described the girl dolls as being cute and wearing nice-looking historical costumes, but he described the boy dolls as being (and I quote) “grotesque.”  That got my attention.  Grotesque?  Really?  Definitely worth investigating.  He elaborated to explain that while the male dolls have child-like bodies, they’re burdened with large heads and angular man-features.  The problem was, I had absolutely no idea what dolls he was talking about.  I thought maybe he meant Ellowyne Wilde?  But Rufus isn’t grotesque, really, just comical.  I literally had no idea where to start my search for these mystery dolls.  Googling "grotesque male doll" didn't get me anywhere I wanted to be.  Fortunately, my mom came to the rescue.  She used her Google superpowers and tracked down the Carpatina line in under twenty minutes.

Carpatina LLC is a privately owned New Hampshire-based company that has been making play dolls since 2002.  The company name could be derived from the Latin word carpatinus which means "made of hide."  The Carpatina company got its start in 1998 selling medieval Romanian clothing for people.  Their cloaks are amazing and can be bought directly from the Carpatina website or on Amazon.  The company also makes several lines of doll clothing with an emphasis on medieval and fantasy pieces.  The Carpatina website is really fun to browse.  After a few days of deliberation, I settled on the following purchase:

Erin doll wearing the "Guinevere" fashion.