Showing posts with label Kidz n Cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kidz n Cats. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Kruselings

Thanks to Gabby and Stephanie's recommendations, I have a real treat to share with you!  Today I'm reviewing the Kruselings, a collection of nine-inch play dolls that depict a magical group of friends who fly around and use special powers to protect the world from bad dreams.

I love the charming story behind this line, and thought the promotional pictures were beautiful, so I bought two Kruseling dolls.  After I saw those two dolls in person, I bought two more!  These cuties remind me of collector dolls in many ways (probably because of the artistic inspiration of their namesake, K├Ąthe Kruse) but they're actually play dolls aimed at kids between the ages of four and seven.

The overall concept of the Kruselings was conceived by Donaji Ayala Hernandez and the dolls themselves were designed by Sonja Hartman (of Kidz 'n' Cats fame).  The dolls are easy to find overseas and just now starting to show up in some U.S. stores.  I purchased my girls from both eBay and My Doll Best Friend, a wonderful shop in London. There are six Kruseling characters (five girls and a boy) and all of the girls come in two varieties, deluxe and standard. The deluxe sets cost £35.99 and include two outfits, the standard dolls are a little cheaper (£23.99) and do not have an extra outfit.

It's taken me forever to finish this review because I got greedy with the dolls and then took tons of pictures.  This review will feature the first Kruseling I chose, deluxe Sofia, but I'll also show you some pictures of deluxe Chloe, standard Vera, and standard Joy.  Here's Sofia:

Kruselings deluxe Sofia doll, £35.99 (~$50).

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).

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, 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.

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.

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.