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!

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A little more Little Kingdom

My personal Frozen fever continues… with a little side of Cinderella.

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I recently went to an outlet store with a view to buying some pretty mundane stuff and they happened to have lots of awesome toys at a 50% and more discount, among them, the Little Kingdom Frozen series. And a single Cinderella.

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I really like the Little Kingdom, and Anna and Elsa are especially cute. After a moment of deliberation, I grabbed the “Royal Chambers” playset for half of the regular price.

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It is a two-level mini-castle with opening doors, a working swing, a movable bed and chest and a detachable fence that helps connect the set with other ones in the series. The stained glass also rotates to show an alternate view: spring Arendelle scenery. It is decorated with traditional details.

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The chest is a great accessory. It actually holds the snap-ins and Elsa’s gloves. She has tiny removable gloves (Elsa is shown wearing them in the previous picture)!

The front of the castle is just solid violet plastic. It would certainly look lovely with the details painted in.

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Elsa’s outfit is the coronation dress. Her hair is also styled as in the coronation scene . Her cape comes off, and you need to do just that to let her use her swing:

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I don’t know why Elsa’s body is a block of plastic, unlike the usual design with actual legs and a removable skirt. I thought maybe it was the only way for her to sit in the swing, but no. My other Elsa sits just fine, if not better than the one from the set.

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I already have an Anna to keep her sister company, but I bought even more friends. This here Kristoff was marked at a price that translates to roughly 1,75 USD!

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He can wear his snowshoes and hold his lantern. He moves his legs and arms and his hat is removable – no pegs, it just sits on the head. He comes with a Husky (?) and a bone for the puppy. Too bad Sven wasn’t included.

I have really wanted an Oaken for a while, and that was before I found him on sale – same price as Kristoff’s. I’ve wanted him because I love the cute detachable skis – they remind me of a Kinder egg toy I had a child and which I loved – a skiing frog, whose skis I unfortunate lost, ending the fun.

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Oaken’s hat also comes off, although leaving a hole in his head (where the peg goes). His backpack is also detachable and it opens. You can put his bunch of carrots in it. Again, too bad Sven isn’t around to enjoy these.

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He can move at his waist and at his arms, but not a lot. They also look like noodles looking from the side:

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Only slightly creepy 🙂

Here are all my Frozen characters together, including my previously bought Anna:

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Then there is Cinderella. I don’t find her quite as cute as the other characters, but she was discounted to about a dollar, so definitely worth it, even just for the accessories.

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To me, she has slightly crazy eyes, but is adorable otherwise. I certainly like the colours on her.

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Everything except the playset was kind of beat-up, which is a shame, as I would have gladly bough a few more pieces as gifts for the kids in the family. I did take just one more playset to gift away.

All in all, it was a very lucky shopping trip. I really like the design and the quality about the Little Kingdom series. Admittedly, I don’t expect to find as many creative uses for these toys as I do with full-sized dolls, but I am thinking about at least upgrading the castle with some paint details and snapping a few pics. Anyway, it would have been a crime not to bring them home 🙂

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.

Mini Review: Disney Little Kingdom Elsa

One of the little secrets that most people in my life don’t know is that I like many of the same things that the kids in my family do. I prefer to keep it that way, but there is always a chance of them stumbling upon my blog 😉

Recently in particular, my nieces got a little Elsa figure each. I saw them and thought they were actually really cute! Perhaps I would have forgotten about the toys by now, if they hadn’t been popping up everywhere in shops at the moment! Many a time I stopped to admire them and moved on, because I thought the prices were a little excessive (end because even adults need an excuse to spend money on toys :))

Finally, I stumbled upon a single, tattered and significantly discounted Little Kingdom cutie. I hesitated because I am not a huge mini figure collector, but I did like her, and she was only half the original price, so I though, now or never.

From the box we can learn that these are made by Hasbro. Actually, I didn’t know that, but it makes sense given their cooperation with Disney in the doll department.

Elsa was safe and snug in a plastic tray:

…but, as if there was any chance of her escaping, she was also secured with a tab, which caught me off guard. Why does there always have to be at least one tricky tab?

Luckily, being a tab-cutting veteran, I dismantled the packaging and set the lovely Elsa free. Isn’t she just precious?

I thought I knew what I was getting, but I was struck by how well-made she feels in your hand. While her flesh-toned pieces and the snap-ins are made of the hard plastic that I had expected, the rest feels like vinyl – whatever it is, it feels great.

Her little face is soo adorable.

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I fully expected all the mini-dolls in the series to have the same style of eyes and other facial features, but if you can see

They all have slightly different eyes and smiles. That said, Anna and Elsa are towards the top of the cuteness scale, in my opinion.

Back to our figure. Here she is, seen from the back. The sculpting of her braid is fairly intricate!

Here are the snap-ins that I have mentioned:

Is that you, Marshmallow? I don’t know who would like to accessorize with a snow monster. I like the snowflakes, at least in theory. In reality, there aren’t many viable configurations for these pieces:

no…
uh, no.

I prefer to keep it simple. Luckily, her dress is cute in itself.

The top, the overskirt and the long skirt are separate pieces. I really like the style they create altogether.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but ever since I saw my niece’s Elsa – in the same style dress, but with a feather-like ice crystal in her hair – she keeps reminding me of a flapper girl (this Elsa).

I like how each part is slightly different in colour, texture or opacity. The top is pearly, the overskirt is glittery, and the long skirt is translucent with lovely snowflake designs:

…and I like how her little foot peeks through 🙂

The pieces are easy to remove, and are supposed to be mixed and matched with other sets. The top part of the skirt ‘unfastens’ in the back:

Unfortunately, the outfit kind of needs the glittery layer. Without it, there is a gap in the front.

On the other hand, you can definitely pull down the long skirt, creating a cute short dress:

Her legs and shoesies are adorable – even though everything is painted on.

The little top has a little problem – if you lift up her arms, the sleeve pops off. However,  I don’t really see a good way to avoid this myself, so it’s a minor complaint. Also, if you remove it, there is an unattractive hole in her chest area. I wish you could cover it with one of her snap-in decorations for a sleeveless but gap-less look.

One the mentioned minuses also brings me to a major plus – she is quite well articulated! She can sit, and each of her limbs moves individually. I completely did not expect this! I thought they were completely stiff figures!

I had to lean her against something for this particular shot, but she can actually stand on her own, too.

This isn’t all – she has head articulation too! It moves in every possible direction. The movement is smooth and feels… just right.

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All these discoveries made me rethink my stance on their pricing. These is a very well made little toy!

Overall, she is adorable and she knows it 🙂

In conclusion, I was very positively surprised with this Little Kingdom figure. I have learned to resign to declining quality in toys, but in this case, everything exceeded my expectations. I do think my child self would have enjoyed playing with a mini-doll like this. From a collector standpoint, I also think there is much potential. Their vinyl-like material reminds me of popular vinyl collectibles like Funko Pops, and while Little Kingdom princesses are designed for play rather than display purposes, they too have this kind of simple yet appealing stylisation about them. I don’t know if I will be spending a significant part of my doll budget on these minis, but if I ever stumble upon a great deal like this, I will gladly get Elsa a Little friend.

P.S. Nobody pays me to like these 🙂