Cherry & Other Blossoms

I have recently upgraded my Ruby Red Fashionista with a Made to Move body. When trees started blooming, I wanted her to be my model.

In all fairness, my original plan was to take photos of my new Mulan among the blossoms – and I did bring her as well –  but I wanted to reset the visual ‘taste buds’ before posting about her again.

The local botanical garden that I visited has a Japanese corner with three different species of cherry trees, all equally beautiful…

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With the Fashionista, I mostly stopped by the last tree.

I haven’t officially given her a name. The mold is usually called after the dolls Kayla or Lea. To me, she kind of looks like an Emily 🙂

I had not prepared a special outfit in advance, so I dressed the doll in a top and skirt from a fashion pack. I would have loved to make her a kimono of sorts, but I just couldn’t find the right fabric.

I was hesitant whether the pink accents in her clothes would go with her red lips. I decided that the red lip is her personal trademark and it just has to be so, regardless of the outfit 🙂

She is very lovely doll and it was great to finally let her be more expressive with an articulated body. I always wanted her, even when I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to re-body her, but the original, stiff Fashionista bodies do stifle creativity.

This one last tree in bloom is probably not a cherry, hence the title of the post 🙂 It had pink petals as well, but much more fine. That actually made them a better scale for the doll.

The beautiful show that nature has put on recently has really motivated me to go out and take photos, and I actually have some more waiting to be posted 🙂 Unfortunately, this will have to wait until I do a little tidying around the apartment – after all, with spring also comes… spring cleaning 🙂

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 😉

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…

Snow White 2015 Disney Store

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 🙂

2018 Curvy Made to Move Barbie

New Made to Move Barbies have hit the local stores! And, it so happens, I was lucky to get my hands on one of them – my favourite of the series – the curvy one with strawberry blonde hair.

I don’t know if the new dolls have been nicknamed by the collectors yet – like the ‘pink top’ and ‘purple top’ etc. in the past. For now, I will call her Peach – she looks like a ‘Peach’ to me 🙂

Peach was packaged in the same type of blister box as the previous series. What immediately strikes me as different is their updated outfits. They are the same cut as before – tops and leggings – but now there is a knot on the top, and the leggings have a floral pattern.

This doll wears a grey top with a light blue hem and a peachy/orange stripe. The flowers on her black leggings are blue with reddish leaves. Unlike older Made to Move outfits of this style, the top fastens with a velcro. It used to be that they had to be pulled over their head or up through their legs.

Her hair goes to her waist. It is a strawberry blonde colour with soft curls. I think it looks lovely 🙂 It is feels pleasant to touch, too. The rooting is relatively sparse, but everything looks good “on the surface” 🙂

The hair is composed of two blended colours. It is a frequent feature nowadays, but I’m still pleasantly surprised every time at how nice and natural it looks.

Peach is also wearing a headband. It is in fact a simple black rubber band, making it perhaps not the most practical or durable, but it does look cute. Paired with her hair colour, she reminds of Disney’s Aurora.

Seeing Curvy Barbies on YouTube, I was always under the impression that they are barely curvier than the original body type. I was wrong! You can definitely see the difference in person, it is somehow more obvious when you hold the doll in your hands.

Purple top Made to Move body with Ariel’s head vs. 2018 Curvy Made to Move

The most different aspect about it is her thighs. They are definitely wider. She is broader in her hips too, but it’s not as striking. Even though the other differences are subtle, they did not straight up give her the ‘original’ Barbie limbs. Her arms, hands and feet are also of a different shape.

In this photo, the Curvy is on the right

Skin tone wise, this Curvy is considered equivalent to the Purple Top/Lea, however, she seems even lighter, if  only slightly. It might be an unintentional factory difference.

Her face is so sweet. She has pink lips and brownish-greenish-greyish eyes – an earthy, natural hue 🙂 She has fairly prominent eyebrows, but they are in balance with her other features. The lips are a very sweet pink, and the only part of her face which looks like like it has make-up on it.

On the negative side, there are some quality issues. First of all, the overwhelming majority of the dolls of this model that I saw while shopping had wonky eyes – this one is the only item that was spot on. Two more could have been considered passable. The rest, four or five of the ones that I saw, had eyes that were very obviously askew. Given this experience, I would not be willing to buy this doll online, except only as a ‘body donor’.

Secondly, the trade off for the perfect eyes on this token was slightly odd lips – even though it’s hard to tell without comparison. They are slightly tilted and there doesn’t seem to be enough of the white for the teeth. Luckily, lips should be relatively easy to repaint.

Also, the quality of the print isn’t great. The pixels are quite obvious when you look at them, but thankfully not immediately noticeable from afar.

Finally, there was a little drop of something under one of here eyes. I’m not sure yet if it will come off, I’m a little afraid to try to remove it with nail polish. It’s not a big deal, though.

The drop under the inner corner of her left eye (right side in the photo)

That’s all the problems in the face area. There are, however, very visible mouldlines on her body as well.

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As far as the articulation goes, all her joints are functional. Only one of her elbows is very stiff but still movable. She can do pretty much everything that the original “Made to Move” can:

The only exception is the range of her head movement. She can’t look down pretty much at all (but she can look up and to the sides just fine). I don’t know if it’s an isolated defect, a downgrade in the 2018 series of MtM dolls or an unfortunate feature of all Curvies. It’s a shame indeed for me. I find that tilting the doll’s chin downwards makes for much better photos – it makes it look more like the doll is at the viewer’s eye level.

Peach would not fit in any form fitting clothes borrowed from the original Barbie, but she looks great in the ‘one size fits most’ fashion pack outfits that I own. She cannot fit some of the classic Barbie shoes either, but you can buy shoes packs designed especially for her. I wish she came with a pair of sneakers of her own to make it easier for people who don’t already own a wide selection of Barbie accessories.

Looking good in the Barbie teacher outfit and ‘Curvy’ shoes 🙂

I bought the 2018 Curvy Made to Move doll for two reasons: first, because I thought she was adorable character and a new doll body type for me – basically, an overall interesting Barbie in her own right. The second reason was to try and see how well she could substitute for the hard to get ‘Purple top’ MtM as a ‘nostalgic’ skin tone body donor. As for the first reason for purchase, I am satisfied. As for the second one – I’m not sure. She would fit some characters and some face shapes, but not all, in my subjective view. Especially that if you rebody a Disney Store princess onto a Curvy – like I intended – she won’t fit her original dress anymore.

As is often the case with playline dolls – the only dolls I end up collecting – this Curvy MtM can definitely bring joy to the kid and the collector alike, but is not exactly a top quality product that you can trust blindly. Overall, I think she deserves a place on your shelves and in your hearts, but finding one that is really well made may require some extra caution and diligence.

 

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 🙂

 

Ariel’s Vacay part 2: The beach

The adventures continue, this time taking us to the beach. This isn’t my first beach photo shoot with dolls, but how can you deny a mermaid a trip to the beach?

The swimsuit I used for the photos comes from a Barbie Dolphin Magic fashion pack, as do the glasses, with slight modifications.

The swimsuit is pretty simple and it lacks a little stretch that would make it fit the doll better, but I chose it because it corresponds so well with Ariel’s signature purple shell top! I also added a piece of a light, green-colored fabric as a cover-up to represent her tail.

In some shots, she managed to stand on her own. In all the other ones, I made her stand straight using a bamboo skewer for support. If you align them with her legs, they aren’t visible.

As far as the rest of the beach gear goes:

  • the deck chair is presumably a phone stand, I bought it in a Flying Tiger store
  • the sun cream also comes from a  Mattel pack, except I cut off the handles that it had to help dolls hold it (realism first :))
  • the drink is a really cool DIY! You use a clear plastic sheet and heat to shape it. It is not exactly a kid-friendly craft, and not all tries end in a shapely glass, but it certainly works overall. Here are the directions that I found on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2tIENwFC9A4 . I topped it off with a slice of citrus intended for nail art.

There is also the surfboard. I made it according to the pattern and instructions from MyFroggyStuff https://youtu.be/jVTBkfCG6rc I decorated mine with wrapping paper and chose to add the pink details. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would endure being actually in the water – how cool would that be? 🙂 So, floating, waterproof doll surfboard for a future craft? I would also have to not drown my camera, though 😉

This year I chose an apparently less frequented part of the beach, where there were no visible steps and the surface of the sand had not been disturbed after a storm. It turns out that there are these totally tiny shells in the sand before people walk all over them! I had visited this area a few times before but I had never seen shells so small – and they are perfect for dolls 🙂 I did bring a few home for future crafts.

I wanted them to face the ‘right’ way in Ariel’s hands, but they were so hard to handle on a windy beach.

Can you imagine the size of the creatures that must have lived in them? 🙂

This concludes this trip, but there is one more ahead – and it’s my favourite 🙂