Monday, January 24, 2022

Honey Bee Acres by Sunny Days Entertainment

Well, this has been a bumpy month so far with the failed migration and then the massive shutdown at Enom.  Yikes.  I'm cautiously optimistic that there will be no more technical drama on the horizon for a while, but I guess these things can be hard to predict.  Thank you very much for being patient with all of the disruptions.  In the future, you can always get news from me even when the blog is down if you visit Twitter or Patreon.

One of the things I noticed when I started looking over this site back in October is that my Li'l Woodzeez vs. Calico Critters review still gets a lot of traffic.  It's neat to know that the information in a ten-year-old review can be useful.  Because of that post's popularity, I started toying with the idea of writing an updated comparison review between the Calico Critters and the Woodzeez.  Then, in November, when I did the Li'l Woodzeez Sunday Surprise post, Sar mentioned to me in the comments section that Walmart now has their own line of small flocked animal figures: the Honey Bee Acres collection.  That was exactly the inspiration I needed to follow through with a new comparison review--this time including all three brands of flocked mini animals!

I originally planned for today's review to be a comprehensive post looking at all three brands, but with over 240 photos, that got way too long.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop producing novel-length reviews.  Nobody has time for that.  So, I've split this massive review into two parts.  The first part will look only at the Honey Bee Acres animals.  Part two, which will be posted this Wednesday, will compare a Honey Bee Acres family to equivalent Calico Critters and Li'l Woodzeez characters.  I also have plans to compare a few playsets in the near future.

There's a lot to talk about here, so let's get started!

Honey Bee Acres Playground Pals characters, $19.97.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Cave Club Dolls by Mattel

Well, I guess it's clear at this point that the blog migration didn't work.  It worked in the sense that all of the data (including the comments and links!) got transferred from here to WordPress.  That seemed pretty magical to me.  But it didn't work because none of the pictures were aligned correctly, any picture with a caption was huge, I couldn't edit photos in old posts anymore, new photos took ten years to upload...and the list goes on.  I could tell you the whole story some day if you're interested.  The upshot is that it would have taken me literally over a year to correct all ~43,000 images by hand, so I bailed and came back to Blogger where it's safe and familiar, and (most) things work.

However, the commenting problems here are real and I'm trying to fix that.  I've found a workaround for myself that might help some of you--especially if you're using Safari: if you go to your Safari settings, select Preferences, then select Privacy, you should see a way to change the "cross-site tracking" configuration.  When I did this, I was suddenly able to comment again--and lots of other little things about the site are working better for me, too.  So give that a try if you feel like it, and please let me know if you have any success.

One of the reasons that the migration was so frustrating to me is that it took several full days away from my time with dolls.  I have a huge list of interesting things that I want to share with you, and I hate falling behind.  So let's forget about technical stuff as much as possible for right now and get back to the fun!  Today's fun is in the form of a quirky little collection of dolls that I discovered about two months ago.  The line is called Cave Club and is made by Mattel:

Mattel's Cave Club doll, Lumina ($14.99).

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Articulation Update: The Biggers Luxury Marilyn

I'm back with another articulation update!  This is a follow-up to my review of The Biggers by Berjuan.  Those little elfin cuties won my heart, but they have very simple articulation.  About half way through writing that review, I learned that Berjuan also produced a limited release of four highly-articulated Biggers dolls!  Of course I ordered one of the articulated characters right away, and she finished her long journey from Spain about two weeks ago.

The original Biggers dolls all have original names and costumes and are meant to represent mystical creatures that live secretly among us, thriving on laughter and happiness.  The four limited edition Biggers dolls are not like this at all.  Instead, they're modeled after celebrity characters: Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Frida Kahlo, and Marilyn Monroe.  This is a strangely arbitrary group of celebrities.  Or is it?  The only thing that really links them together is that they faced untimely, drug-related deaths.  That theme is a far cry from sprites who flit around and thrive on laughter and happiness.

I was so excited about the prospect of additional articulation that I didn't pay too much attention to the macabre tone of this collection when I was ordering my doll.  Perhaps I should have seen the dead celebrity theme as foreshadowing?  Instead, I waffled back and forth briefly between Frida and Marilyn and then happily settled on Marilyn because she seemed like the most versatile of the bunch:

The Biggers Luxury Doll Marilyn, 105.95 (~$120).

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Articulation Update: Rainbow High Jett Dawson

Happy New Year!  Cheers!  Here's hoping that the first few hours of 2022 have treated you well.  For me, the year is starting with an attempted migration to WordPress.  As some of you might have noticed, I suddenly stopped being able to comment on this blog about a week ago and can only manage to comment if I'm using Chrome (I typically use Safari).  I'd love to know how many other people are having this problem--but of course, if you are, you can't tell me because you can't comment!  In any case, WordPress is a superior blog platform for many reasons, and I've been meaning to migrate for years.  So please excuse any issues over the coming weeks as I figure out how to move this behemoth.  It shouldn't cause any change or disruption to how you access the site.

The best thing about 2022 for me so far is that, because of you, I managed to reach my end-of-year goal of 30 Patrons over on Patreon!  Woo hoo!  Thank you so much!  I'm incredibly grateful for all of the support and enthusiasm, and it's been fun to connect with more people over on that site.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to tie up loose ends, so I figured in the next week or so I'd deliver on some of the update reviews that I promised in previous posts.  In my first Rainbow High review, I mentioned that Jett Dawson has more points of articulation than the other Rainbow High dolls.  Today I'm going take a quick look at Jett and see how much those extra joints add to the appeal of this brand.

Rainbow High Jett Dawson, $57.99.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Lottie in Manhattan

One of the fantastic things about where we live in New Jersey is that we're only about an hour away from Manhattan by train.  For most of my life, trips to the Big Apple were a rare, special occasion.  Now it's possible to go to there for a day trip...which is exactly what we did a few weeks ago!  

The day before our trip, my husband said, "you should bring a doll with you to photograph for the blog!" because that's how awesome he is.  I can't believe I didn't come up with that idea myself, but I've gotten out of some of my old habits.  I immediately started to think about what a good travel companion doll would be.

One of the reviews I'd been thinking about in the days preceding our trip was a revisit of the Lottie doll line by Arklu.  I've reviewed these dolls already, but that was back in 2013.  The company has come up with some wonderful and diverse new characters in the last few years.  I had several of the most interesting dolls queued up in my shopping cart online, but obviously there was no time to get those shipped before our trip.  So, I went to our local toy store and bought one of the dolls they had in stock.  

This doll ended up being perfect for our trip.  She's called "Walk in the Park," and we got to take her for a walk in the park: Central Park:

Walk in the Park Lottie doll by Arklu, $24.99.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Patron Post: Small Wonder Sweet and Happy Babies by Madame Alexander

One of the things that's happening over on Patreon is that my generous Bear Hug Patrons get to select a doll for me to review!  They also get first refusal to purchase the discounted doll in the shop.  This is a great arrangement from my perspective because it encourages me to look at dolls that I might not notice otherwise.  I have two of these special reviews in the works so far, and this one seemed appropriate right now since we've just been talking about baby dolls.  Once I complete the review requests for my current Bear Hug Patrons, I'll open up that tier to new members.

I have 28 Patrons at the moment, which is just amazing.  I honestly wasn't sure if this experiment would work.  The somewhat random goal that I have in the back of my head right now is to reach 30 Patrons by the end of 2021, so if you're a regular visitor here and have a few bucks per month to spare, please stop by and join the fun! 

For today's Patron Post I'll be taking a look at two play babies from Madame Alexander's Sweet and Happy Baby collection.  This review is made possible by all of my wonderful Patrons, and was requested by Arin Ritchey.

Sweet and Happy Baby by Madame Alexander, $31.99.