Gone skiing

About two weeks ago Elsa and I went skiing. It was freaky warm for a skiing trip! The snow was all but melted in the town below the foot of the mountains, holding on so-so at the slopes, and in a slightly better state only at the peak.

I love wintry landscapes, so it was a great treat to feast my eyes before the spring is here for good. I would have loved to see caps of snow on the trees, but Elsa refused to work her magic this time. She too deserves a holiday, I guess.

I am very much on board with the idea of Disney Princesses in modern, casual clothes. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I’m much less enthusiastic about sewing them. This time I decided to instead buy this custom winter jacket and leggings. The scarf is a loop cut out of a sock (and, frankly, so is the mock ‘sweater’ sticking from under the jacket ;))

The skiing equipment came from the Barbie Careers Advent Calendar (but it can also be purchased with the Made to Move Skier).

I painted in a few details (as seen above):

  • the silver buckles on the boots
  • the black handles
  • the teal baskets on the poles
  • the topmost snowflakes on the skis
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The unpainted ski equipment from the Advent Calendar. There were also pink goggles, but I apparently forgot to include them in the photo 😉

I did not use all of the included items on this trip, because they either didn’t fit the Disney Store doll, or because I had a different idea in mind. Just so people know, the jumpsuit was also extremely hard to get on Elsa’s rubbery legs (as in, I never succeeded, but then I wasn’t desperate).

I must say there is something heartwarming about putting Elsa in a setting where she looks like she is at peace, enjoying herself, in contrast to the turmoil we see in the film (which is an epic story, don’t get me wrong!). Judging by the recently released trailer for the second part, there may be more challenges to come… but not just yet, not here.

Just… chillin’.

Speaking of Frozen 2, I find this theory on what it may be about actually quite compelling… https://youtu.be/ryVdLROEkms I can’t wait to find out ^^

I really appreciate the doll and the few days I was able to spend in the mountains – and to put them together, it just makes sense 🙂

See you in the next post 🙂

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Elsa Deluxe Singing Doll Set from the Disney Store – a review

The trailer for Frozen 2 is out! How exciting 🙂 And I’m only now adding a doll from the first film to my collection…

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When I first watched Frozen in a cinema in 2013, I liked it a lot. I love winter, so the theme and all the beautiful views were a treat, and also I appreciated the wisdom that film conveyed. And then… the waves of endless Frozen merchandise hit the stores everywhere, and everything seemed a little less special than before.

I recently decided that it’s no reason to be sullen forever – I do want an Elsa doll, eventually. And since the Disney Store recently changed Anna’s and Elsa’s face sculpts for their classic dolls, and since I like the old ones better, ‘eventually’ may as well be now, while they are still available. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this 2014/2015 set  for a decent price:

I love the box…  It shouldn’t be important in making the decision on which release to buy, but… it was 😉

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It looks like a story book! Of course, the contents do not disappoint either: Elsa comes with numerous accessories, a spare dress, and even a little companion in the snow-person of Olaf.

(I guess she does also sing, but that doesn’t matter to me all that much.)

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There have been quite a few Elsa’s since her original release – after all, every little girl wanted one 🙂 They don’t differ that much, but one significant detail that has changed over time is the shape of her bodice. The movie accurate, heart-shaped bodice is the less frequent, and I must say I like it more. As you can see, this version does have it (the alternative has a simple, straight edge at the top of the opaque part).

This time around, there is no glitter other than on the cape. I like it this way as well. It’s overall very well made, only slightly crumpled from being pinned shut inside of the cape while in the box.

 

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Elsa’s face has been mostly the same until very lately, and with good reason: it is pretty and accurate. Mine has a slightly chipped lip paint, but no big deal.

As far as her hair is concerned, I appreciate that they tried to faithfully recreate her wind-blown braid, but I wish it was a little more… wind blown. You can see various carefully styled strands from the back, but the front looks a little too helmet-solid. Also, what’s up with these… earlocks?

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Looking from the back, you can also see the battery compartment and the speaker.

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Elsa comes with a plastic representation of her ice-powers. This is pretty cool, and will certainly help recreate the “Let It Go” scene – which the set is all about.

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When you move her left wrist to the sides, she plays a fragment of the song, exactly as in the film – starting from the line “It’s time to see what I can do…” up to “…you’ll never see me cry”.

The wrist can be moved up and down without starting the music. However, the left arm lacks elbow articulation, as it apparently hides a part of the mechanism. On her hip, there is an on/off switch.

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There is also a sort of a snowflake disc, that is supposed to help recreate the scene where Elsa stomps on the ground and a snowflakes pattern appears:

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When you press the button in the center, it flashes different colours for a couple of seconds. It is a pretty thing, but kind of pointless. It should have been the base of a stand for the doll. Perhaps I should try make into one?

I was very excited for Elsa’s coronation dress – all of the dresses in “Frozen” are lovely, so the more the better! Although it does not have any the intricate details it had in the film, it still looks great. The cape is detachable. Unfortunately, it has been pierced by all the plastic tabs from the packaging and there are little holes in it.

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Whichever outfit you opt for, you only have one choice when it comes to the shoes. Pretty basic, but not bad. They came rubber-banded to the feet:

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The feet are made to fit high heeled shoes as well. The legs are rubbery, with an internal knee joint that allows a modest degree of movement.

Let’s not forget about Olaf.

Now, don’t hate me for saying that, but I don’t particularly like (or particularly dislike) Olaf as a character. But he is a part of the story, and and it is nice to have him in the collection.

The figure is well made and faithful to the film – even though not articulated in any way. He does not have his nose, because he too is based on the “Let It Go” moment in the story – where Elsa re-creates him, without the carrot nose.

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Elsa is an iconic character from a pretty great animated film, and this doll represents the character very well – Disney Store sure knows how to turn their princesses into dolls. I also wanted her in my collection because of my love for winter and snow – it’s not often that we get a heroine inspired by such themes. I am excited for the prospect of taking this doll and creating something new with her and for her 🙂 Elsa may be loved by many, very many, but I hope I can add a personal touch to her doll.

Little Redhead in the Snow

Some of my friends have said to me that they are already looking forward to spring. But not me! Especially not now that we have finally been blessed with some snow ^^

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was already over a year ago that I prepared this winter outfit for little Merida. Unfortunately, last winter I stayed home for a whole month with pharyngitis and I missed all the nice snow that there was to be enjoyed that year. I’m happy to say that this winter I’ve stayed pretty healthy and I was ready to jump into action the moment it was white outside 🙂

The outfit was loosely inspired by Nordic winter clothes (I know this doesn’t really fit Merida’s origins as shown in the film, but she rocks it anyway)

  • I made the boots according to the awesome free pattern from https://iivenihmetykset.blogspot.com/2012/11/uggit-nelli-tahkapaalle.html (many thanks to the author for publishing it!), except I sewed the pieces in such a way that the seam allowance faces outwards. I think it makes them even more Ugg-like.
  • The ‘sweater’ is more of a sweater vest, and it was made from a sock. A sloppy, trial-and-error sewing job.
  • I actually knitted the scarf, that’s all I can do in the knitting department 🙂
  • I made the earmuffs similar to how MyFroggyStuff made hers, except I didn’t use pom poms. I used a circle of fluffy fabric and gathered it around the edges.

The rest of the clothes was recused from previous projects.

I was quite lucky to find the little sled in a home decor section. It is perhaps slightly on the small side, but not by much. Luckily, decorative sleds in different sizes seems to be popular these days. The furry seat was already there. I only added the rope to pull the sled.

This is my first post about an Animators’ doll in quite a long time. These dolls were the reason I decided to take up doll collecting again in adulthood, but at a certain moment did not inspire me the way they used to. Sometimes I’ve felt bad about it but, in the end, dolls supposed to be fun, you can’t force yourself to enjoy something. I believe you just have to let the excitement return to you naturally when it wants to.

…and sure enough, I had a blast with Merida that day 🙂

After that, there was coffee with cinnamon, and then another walk in the snow! (this time with a human companion)

I’m happy to say that my winter adventures may not be over yet, as I’m going skiing in a couple of days. Naturally, a doll will be coming along and I’ll be sure to share the photos 🙂

Snow in the city

I am afraid I am about to post about Snow White again…

Snow White in the snow

We don’t get much snow in my city, so every such occasion is celebrated. I did not have a lot of time that particular snowy day, but luckily the outfit was ready in advance, so I just slipped the doll in my bag and took a few photos on the way to a meeting. I had about 15 minutes altogether.

I was already aware at this point that Snow White has been getting all the attention lately, but the red cape suits her so well, I could not bear to go with any other character 🙂

There isn’t much to say beyond that, really, just a few photos to share. I did not use any particular pattern for the cape and beret, I just improvised. I suppose they could be used to make a pattern retrospectively, but I’ve never made one before.

 

Clearly, I’m still enjoying my MtM Snow White, but I’m now hoping to include some other dolls in the winter fun – time and weather permitting. I still have an Animator’s doll ready with a winter set of clothes and props since over a year ago, waiting for the right moment. Hopefully this year we make it 😉

At the Christmas Market

After being stuck at home with a cold for a few days, I finally grabbed Snow White and rushed outside.

I have been really hoping for some snow. I’m used to thinking that you can’t have true Christmas photos without snow, but with the weather having been all but snowy for the past few Christmases, I guess it’s time to review my perspective.

Luckily, the city has helped bring some jolly spirit to the streets by setting up a Christmas Market.

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I prepared some comfy winter clothes for Snow White (and eventually other Barbie sized dolls). She is wearing a sock sweater, which is not overtly Christmassy, but in keeping with the season’s colour scheme. I also made her leggings from old leggings of my own. Finally, for a fun touch, I made her mittens on a string with a design stitched to them (to the best of my ability).

The mittens are ‘real’, but not quite ‘functional’ – the opening turned out too small to put the doll’s hands in them. Nonetheless, I really do find comfort in knowing they are not utterly fake 🙂

I also realize they are to be worn inside the sleeve, but I liked how they look just hanging there 🙂

I really liked the wooden huts. They looked all wintery and festive with the lights and garlands, providing some lovely backgrounds.

It was quite windy….

Recently, I cleaned my baking supplies drawer and found snowflake sprinkles that have expired sometime in the last ice age. Since they still looked lovely, I thought they would make nice iced cookies for dolls! I wrapped them in plastic and voila! Tasty treats straight from the market:

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Apart from the wooden huts selling treats and handicrafts, there was an ice sculpture contest going on in the market square, however, what is the point of ice sculptures if I don’t have an Elsa doll? In all seriousness, I decided against going near because of massive crowds of people.

Overall, the Christmas Market was a lot of fun – even though I was too focused on the doll to actually buy anything. I am still hoping for a little bit of snow before all this is all over, and I hope to find the time for a little bit more Christmas themed doll crafts and photos. If you’re celebrating, I hope your preparations are going well and the spirit of the season is already in the air 🙂

Disney Store 2016 Classic Snow White – a review and head swap

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I am slightly embarrassed to admit that, for the longest time, Snow White was my least favourite Disney Princess. Fortunately, it changed completely over the course of this year 🙂

The first thing that changed my mind was watching the animation. Or perhaps re-watching it? I’m not certain, because if I ever did watch it, it must have been a very small child, so my memory is failing me. Despite it being very different from recent Disney films, I found it very charming, and Snow White herself – very likeable, actually.

The second factor was the release of Disney’s Limited Edition “Snow White in Rags” doll. Her face was the sweetest! The doll filled me with more appreciation for the character. Even though I wasn’t able to buy her, I was thrilled to find that the same flawless face-sculpt was used in her playline (“classic”) release! Inevitably, here she is…

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This is the 2016 version of the doll. I intentionally chose her over the currently available version, because I liked her simpler dress and appreciated the addition of the bird figure.

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the back of the box

The theme of 2016 at Disney was definitely glitter…

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She has a glittery yellow skirt…

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Glittery red cape…

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And glittery… legs?

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Unfortunately, yes. The glitter sticks to the rubbery material of her legs. Not to worry, though! She’s going to be transferred to a Made to Move body anyway.

The bodice has remained mostly the same for the last few years, and is satin-like. It is permanently attached to the skirt. The cape is also attached for good.

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Snow White wears yellow flats. I would think them quite cute, if not for the fact that they seem to point upwards at the toes?

Please ignore the fact that I had not removed the rubber bands holding them in place 🙂

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Overall, I like her dress. It is relatively simple and fairly faithful to the original animation. I wouldn’t mind if it did not have all that glitter, but I’m not upset about it either. I’ll take it over more elaborate patterns and rhinestones. However, I wouldn’t be too too upset if they sold her even without any clothes at all, because, as I mentioned, it was her face that won me over…

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Her face is somewhat round – if only relative to other dolls. Her eyes are light brown, and her lips – oddly – are not red as in the fairytale, but pink. No problem. She still looks very cute. It may be her red band or her bob hairstyle, but there is something distinctly retro / pin-up girl about her, and I love it!

To keep the style secure, the hair is heavily gelled, so it’s hard to touch. I am OK with it, as long as it helps to preserve the shape. There are some specs stuck in the styling product, and yet, some loose hairs did escape its hold.

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She also has plastic tabs in her hair due to the way she was packaged :/

As other princesses in the 2016 line, she comes with a little friend – a blue birdie that clips onto her hand! It is rather cartoony looking, but I suppose its appropriate for a Disney character. The quality is pretty good, I only wish its feet were painted the same colour as the beak – something I may have to fix on my own.

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Disney Store dolls do come with some articulation. Their arms, elbows and wrists move, however, it is not a very wide range of motion. They can’t quite reach their chest or touch their face.

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The legs only have an internal joint, but I was positively surprised how far it can go, considering.

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Overall, this amount of articulation is infinitely beyond what a basic doll with stiff arms and legs can do, and is probably more than enough for play. That said, I fell in love with this doll so much that I wanted to give her even more poseability…

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Her being as white as snow and all, I had to pay up for the lightest, “purple top” Made to Move Barbie 😦 I was very seriously considering putting her on the pale curvy body instead – I even think it would suit her style. Unfortunately, she would not be able to wear her princess dress anymore – I checked on my Curvy doll.

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I softened both heads by placing them in plastic bags (to keep them dry) and then in hot water. They say you shouldn’t use very hot water. I did anyway. For me, nothing bad happened. I wanted very as soft as possible.

I pulled the heads off. There is not particularly smart or safe way to do it that I know of. I can only recommend holding the neck as close to its top as possible – there is a rounded piece of plastic inside this part that, as you pull on the head, will push against the tapered top of the neck. Mine started to show little cracks 😦 Luckily, it did not crumble all the way, there are just thin lines, and they are hidden under the head anyway.

I preemptively tied some rubber bands on the peg of the new, MtM body – apparently the Disney Store head might bobble otherwise.

Now, pushing the head on is the easy part.

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Seeing the stress in the peg and the neck, the procedure was close to a disaster, but in the end, everything worked out! Perhaps I should just be extra careful not to drop the doll, to prevent the damage from progressing.

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The colours of the skin are not *identical* – her face is slightly more yellowish, but they look perfectly passable together.

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Snow White’s singature dress still fits. She looks so ready to pose with woodland creatures in a field somewhere (although it may have to wait until spring…)

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While it was important for me to maintain the option to dress her in her fairytale attire, I am the most excited about dressing her in more contemporary clothes. I am already working on some outfits ^^

There is no such thing as an ugly Disney Store doll – they certainly know their trade and their princesses – but I am glad I was able to find this version in particular. The face paint is on point, adorable and faithful to the film, the outfit also has a genuine Disney look to it. This Snow White was ready to be enjoyed by a child the second she was released from packaging. With the addition of the head swap, she is more than ready to be enjoyed also by the slightly more picky doll enthusiasts. I firmly believe this doll will bring me loads of enjoyment – starting very soon 🙂