Showing posts with label Keira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keira. Show all posts

Thursday, September 21, 2017

American Girl Create Your Own Clothing

As many of you know, I'm waiting for the arrival of my redheaded Create Your Own American Girl doll, Eliza.  I expect her to ship sometime in mid-November.  When I ordered Eliza back in late August, I also ordered a few custom outfits for her, just to see what the quality is like.  These items all arrived at the beginning of this week and I thought I would quickly show you what they look like in person.

Since Eliza herself can't model these clothes yet, I've asked Keira and Melody to step in and help out:

Design Your Own clothing by American Girl.

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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Willa and the WellieWishers from American Girl

I've gotten sidetracked by a lot of different things--good and bad--over the last few weeks and haven't had nearly enough time for dolls.  Most recently, the local high school's fall musical has taken a lot of my attention...in a good way.  Every year I'm awed by the range of talents that teenaged kids possess--not just their skill in singing, acting, dancing and playing instruments, but also their aptitude with the intricacies of set design, lighting effects and sound engineering.  It's amazing to watch.

Anyway, in the midst of this flurry of fall activity, I realized that American Girl had released a new line of play dolls: the WellieWishers.  Before this discovery, I'd been feeling like I was probably done with American Girl dolls.  My mini Kaya and my new diabetic Lea are wonderful, and I didn't feel the need for any new additions or reviews.  But then I saw Melody (a new character in the Historical line) and her Recording Studio.  Wow.  She's incredible.  Her introductory statement is, "Fairness and equality for all people sound like music to my ears."  Indeed.  Needless to say, Melody's 1960s world sucked me right back in.  All of a sudden I was pouring over the catalog and searching the online store again, wishing I could try out Melody's piano or play with her detailed studio.  And that's when I discovered the WellieWishers.

I would love to purchase Melody some day, although I'm not sure that a review of her would add much to what I've already said about American Girl dolls.  I knew immediately that I wanted to review the WellieWishers, though.  Why?  Well, first and foremost, the dolls are completely new.  They resemble regular American Girl dolls in some ways, but do not share any body components with them.  Also, there's a great mix of characters, all of whom are wearing colorful, quirky outfit pieces.  To top it off, the dolls cost $60--half as much as regular American Girls--and are available in stores like Toys R Us.  And, of course, they're irresistibly cute:

Wellie Wishers "Kendall" from American Girl ($60).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Doll Durability: American Girls, Journey Girls and Hearts for Hearts Dolls--A Guest Review!

My next guest reviewer, Emma, emailed to ask if she could write a piece on how some of her larger-scale dolls have weathered a few years of play.  I think this is a brilliant idea.  I am always reviewing new dolls right out of the box, but that's only the first step in determining quality.  I think that the durability of a play doll over time is the true test of its worth, and this is something that I would really like to learn more about.

Not only was Emma's review idea great, but I think you'll agree that she's done a nice job of summarizing her experience with three popular brands of doll: American GirlHearts for Hearts and Journey Girls.  I am very grateful to Emma for her hard work, creativity, and professionalism in bringing this new dimension to the blog.

This topic is so interesting to me that I hope many of you will contribute your own experiences in the comments section.  I am very curious to know how other well-loved dolls have stood the test of time.  In fact, I'd love to get some photographs of your older dolls (which you can email to toyboxphilosopher@gmail.com) so that I can add them to the bottom of this review.  If we keep this discussion limited to the 18" scale dolls that would be great, but I will think about ways to add "Doll Durability" posts as a recurring feature.  That's enough chatter from me--I am excited to sit back and hear what all of you have to say on this subject.  Take it away, Emma!

American Girl dolls of various ages.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

American Girl Happy Meal Toys from McDonald's

I don't eat McDonald's food very much as an adult, but I have to admit that I have a shameless fascination with the Happy Meal toys--especially the dolls.  I think it all started when my kids were really young and we used to stop at McDonald's on our road trips.  I can remember one particular 13-hour trip to North Carolina during which I realized that the current Happy Meal toys were Madame Alexander mini dolls.  As a long-time collector of Madame Alexander (and a fan of miniatures in general) this started something of an obsession.  I asked my husband to stop at pretty much every McDonald's between New York and North Carolina, just to see if they had different dolls in the different locations.  At first, I would order a Happy Meal for my own lunch, or try to strike a toy trading bargain with my boys, but by the end of the trip I was just asking at the counter if I could pay for the doll and skip the meal.

By the time McDonald's released Liv mini dolls in 2011, I had figured out that I could simply go to eBay and purchase a complete set of Happy Meal dolls without having to set foot in a McDonald's at all.  This approach takes away the questing excitement of driving all over the place to try and find certain toys, but it also saves time and money...and cuts down on my French fry consumption.

When I saw that American Girl was doing a series of mini dolls for McDonald's, I was pretty excited.  American Girl already has 6 inch versions of their iconic 18 inch dolls, so I was really curious about the scale of the Happy Meal dolls.  At first I was hoping for recursive scaling, with the McDonald's dolls scaled to the minis in the same way that the minis are scaled to the full-sized dolls.  This would have made the Happy Meal dolls only about 2 inches tall, though, which is pretty tiny.  It turns out that the McDonald's dolls are about 3.25 inches tall, which is a nice size.

American Girl mini doll, "Kit," with a pile of American Girl Happy Meal toys.

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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

American Girl Mini Dolls "Rebecca" and "Kit"

When I visited the American Girl store in Boston, I had every intention of buying the historical doll, Rebecca.  As you might recall, my shopping experience went a little differently than I'd planned, and I left with My American Girl #29...and a mini Rebecca.  

I love the idea of having a doll with a miniature replica.  When Annette Himstedt used to make vinyl dolls, her club characters had miniature "Kleine" versions of themselves, and this always made the club dolls more tempting to me than the regular line.  My other favorite miniature doll replicas include Lee Middleton's small versions of some of the older Artist Studio babies, the delightful collection of mini Pullip dolls, and the McDonald's Happy Meal miniatures of the Liv It's My Nature line. 

The American Girl minis are another example of a well-done, accurate replica of a larger doll:

American Girl mini doll
American Girl Mini, "Rebecca."

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