Showing posts with label My Twinn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Twinn. Show all posts

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The My Twinn Project Shop

I'm in the process of launching an Etsy shop to sell some of the My Twinn dolls I'm fixing up right now or have fixed in the past.  I've also set up a temporary blog-like website to chronicle the steps I take to restore these dolls. I thought anyone who enjoyed the My Twinn makeover posts on this site might be interested!

I reviewed another brand of doll (the My Way Kids) over on the new blog, so I'll link that review here.

Here's the link to the blog: The My Twinn Project Shop

A Denver-era My Twinn Catherine doll who's in my (long) restoration queue!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Another My Twinn Interlude

I'm working on a few short reviews of play dolls that I bought a while ago, but I'm really slow these days.  My trusty old Cannon point-and-shoot camera is dying, so I'm discouraged by my pictures.  I've been using my iPhone a lot, but it's not the same--as you'll see.

Anyway, since it's taking me so long to get a review done, that slightly creepy Hairdorables picture has been at the top of the site for weeks...and I'm getting tired of it!  So, today I thought I'd quickly share another My Twinn project so that we can all look at something different until the next review comes along.

I've been enjoying the work I'm doing on My Twinn dolls, although the passion is starting to wane a bit.  I'm happiest when I'm working with a doll that's really beat up--almost a lost cause--but has some feature that captures my affection, like a gentle expression or pretty eyes:

Denver-era Denika by My Twinn.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The My Twinn Lenora Saga

I wanted to stop in and tell you the story of how the My Twinn Lenora makeover turned out, especially because so many of you were kind enough to give me your advice and support after my last update.  Thank you!  For anyone who didn't read the previous post about Lenora, I'll do a short recap.

Basically, I'm still addicted to My Twinn dolls.  In particular, I'm addicted to "project dolls," or really inexpensive, hopeless-looking Denver-era My Twinns that need a lot of work.  They keep me busy and happy.

I was fortunate enough to find a Denver Lenora on eBay (for a great price) who needed a ton of attention, including a new finger!

My well-loved Denver-era My Twinn Lenora.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Another My Twinn Update and Some Random Things

I've been making a bit of progress in clearing out my dolls.  So far, I've focused mostly on larger play dolls because they take up a lot of space.  It's really hard to figure out who to keep and who to sell, though.  They all seem to be special to me for one reason or another.

So far, the dolls in this size range who are the most difficult for me to think about selling are the My Twinns.  This is partly because I had so much fun fixing several of them up (the My Twinn Project series was one of my favorite things to write about on this blog) but also because I'm really impressed with the quality and charm of the older Denver dolls.  I love the diversity of face molds, the poseable bodies, and of course the beautiful eyes.

Today, I'll mostly be catching you up on what I've been doing with a few My Twinn dolls, but I also have two other tangentially-related things to chat about briefly.  I'll start by tying up a loose end.  Do you remember the girl I showed you at the very end of the My Twinn Project?  She's a bedraggled Denver-era Caitie doll who I re-named Phoebe:

Well-loved My Twinn Caitie doll from the Denver era.

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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The My Twinn Project Conclusion

Here, at long last, is the finale of the My Twinn Project!  Amidst back-to-school pandemonium, an emergency bathroom renovation and adventures with a sick parakeet, I finally found a free morning to take the My Twinn crew to a nearby state park for their final photo shoot.

My original intention was to re-publish all of the installments of this project as one big post--so you wouldn't have to click back and forth.  However, since the installments ended up being longer than I intended (big surprise), I will just link back to part one and part two for those who would like to see all of the details.  For anyone who has been following along, I'll simply supplement today's post with little reminders of what I've already done.

This project has been an incredible amount of fun. I gained a new appreciation for the My Twinn brand of dolls (at least the older ones) and learned a lot of restoration and cleaning skills along the way.  I feel like I had varied success with my results, though, and I'll talk about that in some detail today.  Are you ready?  I certainly am!  I'll jump right in with a sneak peek of my favorite (and the most dramatically improved) doll, Miss Tasha:

Restored Denver era My Twinn Tasha doll.

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.

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"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Marta" from the Las Reinas de Paola collection by Paola Reina

I know many of you have been curious about which doll I had to set aside during my ridiculously busy week, and so I am thrilled to finally be able to introduce Marta, a 23.6" vinyl play doll from Paola Reina's "Las Reinas de Paola" collection.  With Marta, I feel like I am reviewing a doll from a brand new company, even though Paola Reina has been making play dolls for almost twenty years.  The reason the company feels new is that, up until this year, the Spanish-made Paola Reina dolls were not easily available in North America.  Fortunately, Paola Reina America has been established as the North American distributor for these dolls, and so we will start to see them available for sale in shops all across the continent.  The dolls will also be available directly from the Paola Reina America website soon.

I was fortunate enough to be able to do some early shopping at Paola Reina America, and my dolls were shipped to me directly from Spain.  I think this is the first official perk I have enjoyed as a doll reviewer, and I am extraordinarily grateful.  I must have spent over an hour on the website choosing which dolls to buy, and I probably changed my mind five times.  I ended up with two dolls, and I don't think I they're the ones anyone would have expected me to pick (no redheads!).  Of the two, I want to show you Marta first, because her size and coloring made a very strong impression on me from the moment she came out of her shipping box.

Las Reinas de Paola
"Marta" from the Paola Reina "Las Reinas de Paola" collection.

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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Journey Girls "Dana" by Toys R Us

In my part of the world, there are four inexpensive and readily available 18" play dolls that provide an alternative to the more expensive options like American Girl, My Twinn and Carpatina.  Target offers the Our Generation line by Battat, Walmart sells the My Life As dolls by Madame Alexander, AC Moore has the Springfield Collection girls, and Toys R Us carries the Journey Girls line.   I have reviewed the Our Generation dolls and looked at a My Life doll, and have been eager to see how these dolls compare to the Journey Girls.  When I'm browsing at the store, the Journey Girls always stand out to me because of their vinyl torsos, expressive faces and pretty eyes.

There are seven Journey Girl characters to choose from and they sell for just over $30 each.  I have had my eye on Kelsey (the green-eyed redhead) for a year or two, but it was actually the smiling, bespectacled Dana who finally tempted me to make a purchase:

Journey Girl "Dana," by Geoffrey, LLC (Toys R Us).

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.

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

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.