Wednesday, May 31, 2017

ZiZi Goes Shoe Shopping

As illustrated above, ZiZi's original black shoes did not work well with her new clothes.  They look too much like work shoes.  I had gone through the doll shoe stash several times without success in finding a suitable pair for her to wear with her camel sheath, animal-print shrug, and gold lamé shoulder bag.

After a week or two of wearing the black shoes, ZiZi noticed a pair of beige sandals worn by "Romper Chic (RC)," and said to her:

"I love your shoes.  May I try them on?"  RC agreed.
ZiZi thanked her and asked, "Do you think these go well with this dress?"  RC replied, "Yes, but what will I wear?  I'm certainly not wearing those black shoes you had on."
Overhearing this conversation, I decided to recheck the doll stash for shoes for RC where I found a  pair of yellow mock fringe, open-toe booties.  RC tried these on.  The somewhat overbearing ZiZi saw the yellow booties and liked those, too.  She said:

"Oooo girl, those look good on you.  I think I like those better.  Here, you can have your shoes back.  Let me try those on, please?"
The ever compliant RC gave the yellow booties to ZiZi and was actually happy to have her own shoes back.

ZiZi loved the fit and look of the yellow booties, but in the back of her head she thought, "These shoes are yellow and I'm not wearing yellow."  In the back of RC's head, she thought, "I'm not letting go of my shoes again, no matter what."

Closer look at the yellow booties
This woman is so hard to please.  She continued wearing the yellow shoes for about a week, but sensing her discontent, I returned to the shoe stash one final time and found a pair of gold lamé flat sandals that match the color of her hobo purse.

ZiZi is finally pleased with these sandals.

The sandals are not made for Curvy Barbie's foot size, and in human shoe-fitting standards would actually be too small for ZiZi, but she likes them and for now, that's all that matters.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Afro Barbie Fashionista #59 Tropi-Cutie

Barbie Fashionista #59 Tropi-Cutie
Tropi-Cutie is shown still attached to the box liner with cello removed.  She arrived wearing her pink halter dress, which has a floral-print skirt.  She wears a gold tone bracelet and lavender sneakers on her flat feet.

Afro hairstyle has a side part.

Her dark eyebrows accentuate her light brown eye color.  The pale pink lip color is not at all flattering and I wish Mattel would discontinue using it on dolls with this complexion.  Her hair is soft and the texture creates a perfect Afro.  I wasn't feeling the side part initially, but I can live with it.  The next three photos illustrate her Afro from different views.

Working with what she arrived wearing, she added a pair of Barbie sunglasses and Barbie knee-high Roman sandals.  We took both inside and outside pictures (shown next) of this look.

Striking poses outside

Pierced ears, earrings, fashion change
After trying on a Sparkle Girlz fashion with the Barbie Roman sandals and sunglasses, her ears were pierced and a pair of gold dangle earrings, made from a pair of human earrings, were inserted.  She looks super fly!

She shows off her temporary nude lips after the original color was removed with fingernail polish remover.

From acrylic paint on hand, she chose pueblo (which is not as bright as it appears in this photo, but it is a brighter color than I would have chosen for her).  Even though she likes it, I might tone it down later.

Another fashion change:

This Sparkle Girlz fashion includes a cold-shoulder top with denim shorts.  The Barbie Roman sandals work well with this, too.
The colors in the blouse better complement her new lip color, which is an improvement over the original light pink.  See the before and after lip color image next.

Light pink versus pueblo (apricot).

Overall assessment: I like her! With the pink lip color replaced, redressed, and Afro shaped appropriately, I love her!

Images taken of the back of the box illustrate several other new Fashionistas (some of which are Kens).  Click or stretch to enlarge for a better view.

The new African American guy, Fashionista #10, appears to have cornrows (braided hair).


Blue Brocade, Fashionista #25, a petite Barbie released in 2016 (box date 2015) jumped in the Amazon dot com cart with Fashionista #59.  She looks like a mini So In Style Chandra.  Because of her petite height, I plan to restyle her hair to give her a more youthful, teen look and remove those hideous light blue plastic earrings.  Redressing will probably be done as well.  With her size, Sparkle Girlz clothing should easily fit, but for now, she remains in her box.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Barbie Fashionista #59 with Afro

2017 Barbie Fashionista #59 - box name:  Tropi-Cutie

After seeing the 2017 Toy Fair images of Barbie Fashionista #59, I put her on my mental wish list. Word of her availability on Amazon was shared Tuesday, May 23, 2017, through a screen snapshot posted to one of my Facebook doll groups.  Unfortunately, without the direct link I could not locate her by searching the site. By the time the direct link was shared, she had sold out, attesting to the doll's popularity or the limited quantities Amazon had available. Restocking took place Wednesday evening, May 24, 2017, literally seconds after I checked for availability, which initially indicated the doll was still currently unavailable.  Just as I was about to sign off Facebook, I received a tag to the doll's original post from Reese Velez indicating she was available.  (Thank you, Reese!)  I snatched her up quickly, taking advantage of free Prime shipping.  A 2016 Barbie Fashionista, that I just recently warmed up to, jumped in the cart as well. More about the second doll when both arrive.

Here is the direct link to the buy page.  Unfortunately, by the time I completed this post, the doll's status was "currently unavailable" again.  If you're interested in purchasing, save the link or add the doll to your Amazon shopping list (which is what I did so I could quickly check for availability).

I will reserve my overall commentary about her until after the actual doll arrives, but I know I will be making some changes to her overall look, with the pink lip color being the first immediate change.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Gabriela McBride has a Mini Version

Stock photo of 6-inch Mini Gabriela McBride, American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year doll

Last week one of my doll group members mentioned she was on the lookout for the mini version of American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year Doll, Gabriela McBride. I commented that I did not realize a mini had been released and immediately conducted a Google search for the doll. Interestingly, none were offered on the American Girl website, but I found one on eBay and one at Barnes and Noble's website.

The B and N final price on the date of my purchase was $17.99 (after a $3 Wikibuy) discount was applied.  Shipping was $3.99 for a total price of $21.  The doll usually retails for $24.99.  The eBay seller's price was $22, I believe, and that did not include shipping.

My Gabby McBride
As illustrated in the one photograph I took, the mini doll wears a replica of the 18-inch doll's fashion, which includes a mock-cropped, long-sleeved purple top with the word Dream written on front.  The extended hemline of the top is turquoise.  She wears denim jeggings and purple sneakers.  A pink ribbon accents her long brown hair.  She has light brown painted eyes and two upper teeth, which are painted.  A 46-page abridged book, Gabriela, by African American author, Teresa E. Harris, is also included with the mini doll.

I am considering this second-doll purchase for May a birthday present from me to me.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Faithful Friends by Heidi Ott

Target-exclusive 18-inch Faithful Friends, Ellie and Will, by Heidi Ott

In the late 1990s, Target stores partnered with Swiss-artist Heidi Ott, who created a line of 18-inch dolls that were sold only at Target.  Made along the style of American Girl dolls, they were dressed in nineteenth century clothing and had a historical fiction book series.  Meet the Friends by Sharla Shannell Whalen, is the first book in the Faithful Friends book series.  Unlike American Girl offerings during the 1990s, the Faithful Friends line included both girl and boy 18-inch dolls.  The above two, Ellie and Will, have been part of my personal collection since the late-1990s.  I purchased Ellie deeply discounted at Target for $6.99.  Will was a gift from a "faithful friend," who knew I needed the boy or that Ellie needed her brother.

Ellie wears a blue plaid dress with white pinafore.  Her curly hair is accessorized by a bow that matches the dress fabric.

I added Ellie's glasses. 

Made in 1996, the dolls have artist-type vinyl heads, arms and legs, and stuffed cloth bodies. Heidi Ott's signature is incised in the back of their necks.  They both have Kanekalon wigs, brown sleep eyes, and smiling mouths with two upper painted-on teeth.  Made in China, the dolls were distributed by Dayton Hudson Corporation.

Will is decked out in a white shirt, brown tweed jacket with brown corduroy collar and pockets, brown corduroy pants and hat, white socks, and brown lace-up shoes.

While he shares the same head sculpt as his sister, Ellie, he does look like a boy.

The back of the box describes the Faithful Friends dolls as follows:

Faithful Friends
By Heidi Ott

From head to toe, you can be assured that your Heidi Ott doll is 100% handcrafted of the finest materials.  We invite you to look closely and admire each feature of your new friend.  You will see that her beautiful eyes, arching brows, rosy lips and blushing cheeks are all handpainted with loving care.  Examine her clothing and find double-stitched, double-layered fabrics for lasting quality, plus beautiful extras like hand-knitted lace and fine finishing on hems, seams and edging.  Note the leather shoes and sparkling glass eyes.  And appreciate that each doll is made with child-friendly, DOP free vinyl.

Will and Ellie's certificates of authenticity are shown above.

Your new faithful friend from Heidi Ott comes with her very own Certificate of Authenticity. We recommend that you keep this certificate in a safe place for lasting verification of her one-of-a-kind hand-crafted quality.

Congratulations on meeting your newest faithful friend, and for gaining a treasured family heirloom that will last for generations.

The left side box panel reads:

Faithful Friends Collection
Welcomes you—With Open Arms

We are pleased to introduce you to your new faithful friends, created exclusively for Target by the famous Swiss dollmaker, Heidi Ott.

Each friend has her own personality—just like you—and her own stories and adventures to share.

With your new faithful friends at your side, and your own imagination, you can share exciting adventures, plan quiet tea parties or anything in between.  Collect them all, and you will surely treasure them as faithful friends forever.

The right side box panel reads:

The artful Swiss Dollmaker

 All over the world, Heidi Ott and her dolls are treasured for their quality and craftsmanship.  To doll collectors, her dolls are some of the finest examples of hand painting done today.

 To Heidi herself, they are a reminder of simpler times when loving and caring for a doll was a little girl’s pleasure.

 “When I create my dolls,” says Heidi Ott, “it brings back memories of my childhood.  I lived in the world of my dolls together with my brothers and neighborhood friends.  Life passes by so fast today that I like to preserve those precious memories with my work.”

 The dolls’ resemblance to real children makes them even more endearing—and charmingly collectible—for wherever they go, these beautifully dressed dolls are capturing the hearts of children everywhere.

Scan from The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (Hobby House Press, 2003)

I took updated photographs of Ellie and Will to share with my doll group for our May theme of 18-inch American Girl-type dolls and competitors.  Prior to these recent photos, the only ones I thought I had were the above scan from my first book and the original hard copy photograph used in the book.  The hard copy is filed along with the other photos from the book.  But then I remembered writing the post, "Black Dolls From Around the World—Switzerland," which includes a photograph of Will and Ellie taken at the time that post was published.  I did not have close-up photos of their faces, so "fishing them out" from behind other doll boxes to rephotograph, share the pictures with group members, and to use in this post was worth the trouble.

Their original retail was around $35 in 1996.  The assessed book value of $75 was appropriate for the 2003 doll market as the dolls had been discontinued by then.  On the secondary market today, depending on condition, they usually sell for around $30 outside the box.  All original dolls with boxes will command a slightly higher price, but this will vary.

Known for her high-end artist dolls made for collectors, very few dolls by Ott, such as Faithful Friends, were made for the play market.  Her last known dolls and doll accessories were 1:12 miniatures.  On the secondary market, the minis command as much as Ellie and Will and often sell for much more.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ZiZi's Redress

ZiZi's new dress accentuates her curves.

First seen here, ZiZi (Zig and Zag Fashionista) was redressed in a stretch knit fashion that was actually made to fit ModelMuse and regular bodied Barbies. ZiZi borrowed the dress and coordinated jacket from Hakeem's mother.  I purchased this ensemble a few years ago from eBay seller barbie-couture, who typically uses knit fabrics, which are hot glued instead of sewn.

ZiZi was happy to discard her Mattel-issued dress and took several photos to model the new one:

Her gold lamé shoulder bag is from Barbie Basics Look No. 002 Collection 001 accessory pack.

"Baby got back."
ZiZi models the dress without the jacket.

With or without the jacket, I love this dress on her!

ZiZi and Hakeem's mom pose in this final photo to share that Hakeem's mom was not left undressed.  She wears a one-shouldered jumper that I won by participating in one of Shasha's blog contests several years ago.

ZiZi hopes to soon go shoe shopping for a pair of more flattering shoes to better complement her new dress.  Until then, she wears her original black shoes.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Made to Move Barbie and Gabby

Made to Move Barbie has been here nearly a year, remaining confined to her packaging.  Gabby urged her to come on out now; so she did.
In a comment to my initial post about my Gabby Douglas Barbie, Ms. Leo asked:

Does the MTM body she is on have a longer neck or is it just a different style head than the MTM? She looks a little darker than the yellow top MTM. Is she?
The two dolls do share the Made to Move Barbie body; however, there are subtle differences.  In answer to Ms. Leo's two questions, the neck lengths are the same, approximately 1/2 inches long each. Gabby is, in fact, slightly darker than Made to Move Barbie.  See the complexion and other differences between the two bodies in the photos shared below:

Gabby's complexion is slightly darker than MTM Barbie's with Barbie's having more yellow undertones to her caramel complexion and Gabby having more red undertones.

Even though the flash interferes with this head-shot comparison of their complexion, Gabby's slightly darker complexion is apparent.

An arm-in-arm comparison photo illustrates the subtle differences in complexions, particularly when their free arms are compared.

Their joints are all the same as I described in Gabby's original post; however, their body markings differ.

MTM Barbie's back is stamped:
©2015 MATTEL
1186 MJ, 1, NL
(below this in silver letters -- the circled area in the photo -- is:)

The circled area on Gabby's right upper back in gold letters reads:
(The lower back reads:)
©2016 MATTEL
1186 MJ, 1, NL

They have different shaped feet with MTM Barbie's foot having a higher arch.  Foot Markings:   MTM Barbie, R2 on right and L1 on left; Gabby, R1 on right and L4 on left.

MTM Barbie is 11-1/2 inches tall.  Gabby is 11-1/4 inches tall.  MTM Barbie's over-sized head adds to her height.  Their bodies are the same size.

The height difference is more apparent in this back-to-back photo.

Red Ruffles Fashionista and MTM Barbie

Red Ruffles, who has been here much longer than MTM Barbie, has been desiring freedom and a new body for quite some time.   Since I do not care for the over-sized Asha head on MTM Barbie, Red Ruffles' wish will probably be granted very soon.

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