The Summer Queen

Summer has been fun, perhaps a little too fun to commit to crafting and posting. But I would never miss a chance to take some doll photos at the seaside, and so I did put together a little outfit for Elsa…

As many times before, I followed directions from My Froggy Stuff to create the outfit. My doll romper is different in that I experimentally added a ruffle at the top.

I was very happy to find that the hat that I had made for my Ever After High dolls also fits Elsa very nicely:

As for the doll herself… I now own two Disney Store Elsas 😉 I bought this used one as a backup, because I really wanted one with her braid intact, and one with her hair undone. This one is also more articulated than the singing Elsa that I used for my winter photos here and here. Luckily, the used one was very affordable.

I think that despite her history as the snow queen, she belongs in the sun…

…only don’t get a sunburn, with that fair plastic of yours!

At the mountaintop

This was supposed to be my last-day-of-winter post, but that didn’t work out. Oh well. Better late then never 🙂

These photos, showing Elsa in her coronation dress, were taken during my trip to the mountains, now a week weeks ago. I can’t take credit for the dress or any props – these are works of the Disney Store – it’s just my photo tribute to Elsa’s iconic scene at the mountain.

During my stay, the weather was unreasonably warm for winter time. My last day there, there was finally a snowfall. It was still so warm that it rained at the lower level ski-lifts, and only actually snowed at the top of the mountain – and that’s where I hung out.

At one point the sky lost all its clarity…

I was taking the above photo, crouched down in the snow, when a fellow skier asked whether I had seen the Frozen 2 trailer. It’s encouraging to know that there are Disney fans everywhere 😀

I never went as far as to do a costume change and take a few photos in the iconic ice-queen dress, since I didn’t want to risk losing doll shoes and accessories in the snow in the process. I also really wanted the trees to look all frozen and frosty for that, but no such luck. This goes on my things-to-do-next-winter list 🙂

I also did get totally soaked from sitting in the snow and from the slushy snowflakes. I went through two changes of hats, you could wring out water from my thick skiing gloves, and even the pack of tissues in my pocket was all soaked through! No dolls were harmed, though, as I covered her battery compartment with layers of tape in advance, and tucked her safe in the deepest parts of my backpack. I was actually quite happy to go back to the hotel and have some hot coffee that day 😉

There are quite a few more projects I would have loved to complete this (past) winter, but with this one last touch of cold, I think I’m ready to move on 🙂

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 🙂

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.

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 🙂

Ariel’s Vacay part 3: The port

Ahoy there! Today I’d like to share my favourite photos of this summer so far, depicting Ariel’s visit to the port 🙂

I spent this summer in a small town with a small port, but I took the train just to go to a bigger port in the area. I’m glad I did – this port had a great feel to it. Big cutters, lots of them in blues and reds with white details, very much nautical style.

Only the smell of fish wasn’t so great 😀

Speaking of nautical, Ariel was made to rock it. Not only because of her mermaid background, but also because this colour scheme works great with her hair.

The outfit is a simple gathered skirt I made worn over a Barbie dress, the same one as featured in this post. Its striped top was just right, plus I really like to avoid sewing shirts when I can. The shoes come from an accessory pack (more info here).

I like to think this outfit has a retro feel to it as well.

It was another windy day and I was afraid to let go of the doll for longer then a couple of seconds – we’re talking about the kind of wind that could have easily knocked the doll off the dock into the water, beyond my reach. Thankfully, nothing of this sort happened. It sure resulted in some realistically-wind-swept-hair, though 🙂

Then there is Magikarp. Don’t worry for Magikarp. It won’t get eaten 🙂

There isn’t a particularly deep idea behind including the little guy, other than him fitting the theme and me liking Pokemon.

I was very excited for this photo shoot, but I was nervous too. Part of it was knowing that if I don’t get it right, there won’t be enough chance soon – not until the next summer vacation. The other part is being the weirdo with a doll kneeling on the dock. However, after you start, you get in the zone and forget about the people. I asked mu husband, who was there with me, reading a book on a bench nearby, if people did look at me. He confirmed. I don’t feel comfortable with the thought, but I guess it goes with the hobby.

Overall, I’m very grateful for this trip and the awesome views it provided, for the photos and for me to enjoy 🙂 I’m pretty happy with the pics I brought back with me.

This was the last installment of Ariel’s adventures by the seaside. Now it’s time to find some inspiration back at home 🙂