Tuesday, December 30, 2014

House Hunters: Dollhouse Edition

Meet Steven and Bella Smith and their four-year-old daughter Kenzie. Steven is an officer for DPD (Dollton Police Department). Bella is a ballet instructor who provides dance lessons in her own studio. The Smiths have lived in Dollton for the past six months and are ready to buy a permanent home. The couple has a budget of $200 and the following wish list:
They would like a furnished house (constructed from wood not plastic) with two bedrooms and an elevator. Additionally, Steven would like an attached garage and Bella would like a balcony or sunroom.

*Bella's name and the Smiths' occupations were bestowed by Mara as they are one of her two main doll families : )

First up, is the Kidkraft Sparkle Mansion priced at $179.99.

NOT my image- Property of KidKraft. Click the link for more details.
The house comes with 30 pieces of wooden furniture. It is four stories high with five rooms (a formal living room, kitchen, bath, master bedroom, and a bonus room). The home has an elevator, an attached garage, and a backyard pool and BBQ grill. There is also a patio off the master bedroom. To top it off, the house features lights and sounds. While Bella loves the décor, she is concerned about the lack of a second bedroom for Kenzie. Steven would like to see something a little less sparkly and a lot less pink.

So, next their agent (me!) is showing them the Kidkraft MajesticMansion priced at $159.00.

NOT my image- Property of KidKraft. Click the link for more details.
This house has four stories also, but it has six spacious rooms (a large formal living room, separate kitchen and dining rooms, master bedroom, bath, and a nursery/child’s room). It also has an elevator, attached garage, and a sun room. No lights or sounds, but the home does come with 34 pieces of wooden furniture. Steven favors the traditional décor of this house over the pinkalicious mansion they saw first. Bella isn’t opposed to the traditional style, but would like to see something a little more modern.

Next, their agent shows them a listing that should meet their need for space and their desire for modern design: the Kidkraft Soho Townhouse priced at $165.99.

NOT my image- Property of KidKraft. Click the link for more details.
The townhouse is four stories high with six rooms (a formal living room, kitchen, bath, master bedroom, home office, and exercise room). Like the previous two, this home has an elevator and attached garage. It also has a patio off the formal living room and a small balcony on the top floor. The townhouse features lights and sounds and modern features throughout. Check out the staircase, and the silver shutters open and close. It comes furnished with 25 pieces of stylish furniture.

The couple has seen 3 houses within their price range. Now, it’s time for them to discuss their options.

What did you think about that first house? (Bella)
My favorite thing about that one was the backyard area. You know how I love to grill, and it would be nice having a pool. (Steven)
Yes, but the pool worries me a bit with Kenzie being so young. I like the way it was decorated. (Bella)
I don’t have anything against pink, but I don’t want to be surrounded by it. That house had pink walls, pink furniture, pink rugs…and don’t get me started on all that bling… (Steven)
*Laughing* You are right about the sparkle. I’ll bet the doorbell even goes “bling bling” instead of “ding dong.” (Bella)

So, how about the second house? It was a lot easier on the eyes. (Steven)

The second house was really nice with its wide windows. I’ve always dreamed of having a sunroom like that. Plus, it was the only house we saw with a move-in ready bedroom for Kenzie. (Bella)
That’s true. The ceiling in that nursery was pretty low, though. (Steven)
The third house had that upstairs office that we could turn into a second bedroom. Neither of us needs a home office. (Bella)
True, but I don’t know how I feel about Kenzie having access to a balcony from her bedroom. I do know that the exercise room on the second floor would get plenty of use. (Steven)

So, which did they choose…option 1: the bedazzled mansion with lots of pink and a pool… option 2: the roomy, move-in ready, traditional home… or option 3: the townhouse with all the modern bells and whistles?

We chose…Option TWO, the majestic mansion! The listing price was $159, but our marvelous agent helped us get it for $129. We are all moved in and loving our new home!

The real life back story is that these were the top contenders when I was trying to choose the dollhouse that Daddy would buy Mara for Christmas this year. I was all set to order from Amazon, but then I saw that it was on rollback at Walmart for $30 less than Amazon. Mara decided on Christmas day that the Smiths would get the new house since she’d already given the bookcase townhouse to Barbie and her family. You will see in next week’s mini tour of Dollton that the house occupies almost an entire wall of the doll room.

Thanks for reading & Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Residents Part Two

This is part two of my introduction of Dollton's newest residents. 

Catching Fire Finnick is Walter O'Dair, a wealthy businessman whose aggressive nature and hefty bank account always get him what he wants. Walter is wearing the new Ken fashion mentioned in my last post. I used a fabric marker to get rid of the stripes. I'm all about pattern mixing, but I wasn't feeling the stripes with the houndstooth vest.

Jazz Diva Barbie is Deirdre Rose, a singer and Walter's love interest. I have a series of drama-filled photo stories planned around this couple. I can hardly wait to start posting them.

AA Happy Family Grandma is finally here! I've waited patiently for this doll to be offered at a reasonable price. I was beginning to lose hope that I'd ever find her brand new for less than $100 , but I finally found her NRFB for well under a hundred bucks. She is Millicent Clark, pastry chef and owner of Tastries. She is also Marisa Clark's mother. Look at the adorable gingerbread cookies (holiday buttons) she's offering.

Whoa, who is the hot guy with the plate of cookies?! 

He's an unplanned purchase by the name of Trey (no last name yet). I honestly had no interest in Texas A&M Ken because in most of the pictures I saw, he looked like he was wearing eye liner and lip gloss. Well, I decided to take a chance once I saw that he was/is on rollback for $10. And once I had him here in the vinyl I was able to see that he's very handsome and the trick is all in how he is dressed. I'm still mulling possible jobs for him.

Brandy, now a clinical psychologist, was barely out of the box before Antonio was saddling up alongside her and professing his undying love. I think that dress had something to do with it. I know they haven't been together long, but they seem pretty serious. There may be wedding bells in their future.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was unhappy with the walls of the bakery. Well, you can see from these photos that I went in a completely different direction. I found a striped scrap book paper that worked perfectly with the pink and brown color scheme I wanted. The stripes would have been overwhelming from ceiling to floor, so I broke it up with a "chair rail" and solid brown at the bottom. I still need to add pictures of coffee and pastries. This will be a permanent dio.

AA Stardoll is Mia Starr(?), a television actress. Before I get into how this unplanned purchase came to be, let me explain the name dilemma. Naming the characters and businesses is something I get a huge kick out of. After I decide on a name, I Google it to see if there is a real person or business by that name just for fun. I was feeling pretty good about Mia's name: I thought, "This is the perfect name for an actress. She sounds like a real star." And then my Google search revealed that one of the real Mia Starrs is in fact a star...an ex-porn star to be more precise! What to do, what to do? I can't decide whether to keep the last name (there are plenty of other Mia Starrs who are not notorious) or change the last name.

I've always thought this doll was pretty, but I'd repeatedly passed her up during my visits to the local antique mall where I purchased my other Stardolls. I was disappointed to find that the Artsy body I bought for Robyn wasn't an exact color match. In fact, the mismatch bugged me so much that I removed her head (again), and now her head is perched on a stand with no body. I wasn't sure what to do with the Artsy body, since I had no other female characters planned that would need it. So finally, I decided to take the body with me to the antique mall just to see if it was a match for the AA Stardoll still on the shelf for $12. Sure enough, it was a match and although I wasn't sure who this dolly would be, I brought her home. It was during a conversation with my in-laws, who live just a few miles from Tyler Perry Studios, that I got the idea to make her a television actress. Mia is standing in Thomas and Camille's unfinished townhouse. I'm working to get it fully decorated by the end of January. I want to do a house warming photo story.

Ken in India is Hari (no last name yet). He is Alisha's husband. This is a stock photo as he has not yet arrived from India (literally). My previous purchases from outside the U.S. have taken two or more weeks, so I don't expect him to make it before the new year. Hari is wrapping things up in India. He is moving his fine jewelry business to the U.S.

Lily (Lammily) is a not-so-new resident since she was introduced in her own post, but I wanted to introduce a new character connection that was made after the previous post. Lily is pictured here having lunch with her aunt, Ann Willard. Ann is a kindergarten teacher at Mountain View Elementary School. Lily works part-time at Happy Hearts Child Care Center while she finishes her degree in early childhood education. By the way, Ann was named months ago, long before I made her Lily's aunt, so no I was not trying to make her auntie Ann- lol.

The last new resident isn't really new, just newly deboxed. Barbie ICB President Asian is Ling Li, the mayor of Dollton. She wanted to wave hello to all of our visitors and regular readers and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

More Dolly Deals

I wasn't planning a post for today, but I couldn't miss an opportunity to share some dolly stuff I've seen in stores lately...just in time for the holidays.

I'm in and out of Walmart far more frequently than I care to be since I have two small children. On my recent trips I decided to look for the fashion packs Muff posted pictures of a few days ago. The first Walmart I checked had nothing new at all. The second Walmart had the new Fashionistas dolls, but not the fashion packs. However, it was not a complete loss as I stumbled on a bin filled with new $5 fashions. There were several new Barbie and Ken fashions inside. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures. It was late and the toddler was getting restless...had to snap quickly and go. If I get a chance, I will edit this post with additional pictures this weekend. 

Here's a picture of two Barbie fashions that caught my eye. The one on the right is some kind of coat dress. There were several other options in addition to these.But what I found most exciting was the new Ken fashions. Here are three of them, but there were others. It's so refreshing to see a couple of "grown up" offerings for Ken. I bought the one with the shorts and sail boat shirt. I figure it will be perfect if one of my guys turns out to be a boat enthusiast or for summer. I also bought the black slacks and houndstooth vest combo. You will see one of my new residents modeling this one very soon. 

I guess the third time's the charm, because on my Monday diaper run, I ventured into a different Walmart store and was greeted at the entrance with shelves of the very fashions I had been looking for. I bought the fashion packs below for $7.97 each. 

Movie Pack

Sightseeing Pack

Finally, I decided to check out the Buy One Get One FREE sale on Barbie dolls and playsets at Big Lots. The sale is through Saturday. The store I visited had been picked over, but I still managed to get everything you see in the picture below for under$32. That's three articulated Fashionistas in snazzy dresses plus the basic doll with fashions that Mara and I will split between us. I also grabbed this $5 clone doll because I was quite drawn to her face and hairstyle...and I wanted her clothes. Normally clones purchased for their clothes are tossed in the donation bin or the trash bin (depending on their quality or lack thereof), but this beauty has been given a name (Kari) and will stay. She has a twist and turn waist with click knees. I found a new resident who can wear the cute sweater and corduroy crops in her box, but I'm saving that picture for the new residents post. 

Oh my goodness I almost forgot to mention that while I was there I checked the action figures section and 12" World Peacekeepers are back in stock and priced at $12. There were no AA  or Asian figures on the  shelves, though. I plan to check another Big Lots and will update if I find any.

If you haven't checked Amazon.com lately, they've got some nice mark downs. Several items on my wish list have dropped 20-40% in price.

I'd love to hear about any deals or doll stuff you've spotted recently.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lammily Doll: Opinion Post

My long awaited Lammily doll arrived today. Her name is Lily Nickols, for no other reason than because I enjoy coming up with names that relate to a doll's given name and/or origin. I knew from order tracking that the parcel was out for delivery this morning, but I was a bit worried when I didn’t see a box on the doorstep upon pulling into the driveway this evening. I was surprised to find that she was packaged in a box small enough to fit in the mail box. That was the first positive thing- No wasted materials in shipping. Upon opening the box, I saw that she was heftier than I expected. 

Videos of coached second graders aside, here are the initial reactions of my six year old daughter:
Upon seeing the picture on the outside of the box: “Is she a girl scout?” Perhaps she thought the suitcase stickers were badges?
Upon seeing the doll inside the box: “She looks big.”
Me: What do you mean?
Mara lifts the dolls shirt and points, “Her tummy is big. She’s pretty.”
Upon spotting the pamphlet that was inside the box: “Can I read the book?”
Upon finishing her out loud reading of the pamphlet: “She’s been in Toronto, Australia, and Paris. Doesn’t that sound like an adventure?”

The second positive thing was that the packaging was mostly frustration-free. All I had to do was loosen two twist ties, cut two plastic thingies, and remove the plastic holding her hair in place.

Lily’s hair is soft and two shades of brown. Her head is bigger than a collector Barbie doll’s head, but smaller if not the same size as most playline dolls and smaller than the Kenya dolls.

I photographed Lily with some of my curvier ladies for comparison before undressing her. 

She has molded panties and a smaller bust than I expected. But, do you really expect me to believe that the average nineteen year old has this much junk in the trunk? She has click knees and elbows with articulated wrists and ankles. And now for the first negative, and it’s a big one: Her range of motion is surprisingly limited. As you can see, she cannot open her legs very much, much less sit like a lady. She has individual toes, but her ankles are her greatest weakness. They can’t support her weight at all. She can’t even come close to standing on her own. In fact she flopped forward or backward on her ankle joints each time I tried.

I attempted a clothing swap. Here Emerald models Lily’s denim shirt while Lena attempts to hold up Lily’s shorts which are WAY too big for her. Lily, on the other hand, has found a LittleMissMatched outfit that fits her well. In the last photo, Lily wears a friendly smile and a colorful top- perfect for her part-time job in the toddler room at Happy Hearts Child Care Center.

Bottom line: Am I happy to have her in our collection? Yes! Would I buy another without some major improvements? No.

In other exciting news: My Pink Friday Barbie Collector Order is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. That's the fastest I've ever received anything from BC.com! The box contains new clothes for some existing residents, an articulated body for Jessie, and a new male resident.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In the Meantime

I’m on vacation this week. And while I await the arrival of more new residents, I’ve been keeping busy with other projects. Click on images to make them larger.

Last summer, I started collecting inexpensive items for Lena’s patio. When I went into Pier 1 to get the Papasan chair for Emerald’s apartment, I decided to grab the Swingasan as well. I knew it would look great on the patio with Lena’s containers and bistro set. I was disappointed to find that there isn’t enough vertical space for Lena to use the swing. Still, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of sweet little Zahara giving it a try before I return it. I should mention that the chairs (cell phone holders really) were not prominently displayed. In fact, they were on the bottom shelf of one of those stand-alone displays that had other decorative doodads on top. If you happen to pop in to your local Pier 1, be on the lookout for a bin of small decorative mirrors near the cash register. Each mirror is decorated with either colored jewels or pearls and they’re priced at $1 each. I will be picking up a couple when I return the swing. (What do you mean *if* I return the swing?) Oh, sorry… Zahara and Faith are now sitting in the swing together and trying to convince me to let them keep it so they have some seating of their own on Mommy’s patio.

I also started working on the setting for a photo story that’s written but not yet photographed, so I spray painted and assembled Tastries bakery (formerly the Malibu bakery). I’m going with a pink and brown color scheme, hence the espresso colored seat cushions etc. When these sets go on clearance, I’m buying another one, so I can have two sets of the cute table and chairs. I’ve got more stuff for the bakery on the way as I’m considering making this a permanent dio. I'm not crazy about the walls, but I'm unsure what to do about it at the moment. While at Dollar Tree looking for flooring and wall covering for the bakery, I spotted this drawer liner that I thought might look good in Chandra’s boutique. I know it’s a bit much in combination with the wardrobe background, but I like it. If you're wondering what's up with the empty picture frame, I'm turning it into a mirror sooner or later...okay, most likely later.

Since my shopping excursions led me within a few miles of the Kmart store that is closing, I stopped in for a look-see. Here’s a photo of some Barbie Look dolls (long ago sold out at most Walmart and Target stores) sitting on a shelf. There were three or more of each doll pictured and a couple of the newer Dolls of the World, and if you look closely at the price tag, you’ll see why. I wasn’t even mildly tempted by the prices. On sale, everything was the same price or more expensive than what I’d pay elsewhere. They will have to mark the merchandise down at least 60% before my interest will be piqued.

On days like today (days on which I have nowhere I have to be and the toddler is in the capable hands of another), I like to visit the local thrift stores and antique shops. Actually, I’ve all but given up on thrifting because I’m just no good at it. I lack the patience to dig through the crap in search of that unexpected treasure. However, antique shops and flea markets are usually fun for me. I’ve purchased 3 dolls and a pair of miniature brass urns from the antique mall near Mara’s ballet school. Today, I visited a shop I hadn’t been in before and what should I find on a shelf NIB and reasonably priced but a Fashionistas Artsy. Robyn is so relieved that she won’t have to wait until next month for an articulated body.

Oh, and just for fun I want to add these pics I took a while ago. The first one is Matthew and Amber's twin daughters, Macee and Makenna. Yes, I'm one of *those* people who insist on dressing twins alike. Heck, I dress my daughters alike whenever I can and they aren't even twins. The second one is Grace rockin' the heck out of the dress and heels from the new fashion pack. As you can see, Darren took one look and had to pull her in close for another kiss before they parted ways.

I’ve also been reorganizing the doll room. Eventually I will take pictures so you all can see our play space. It will most likely be after Christmas since Santa will be bringing Mara the KidKraft Majestic Mansion, and it will likely necessitate another rearrange.

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S.!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finally...My Lammily Doll Ships Next Week!

Below is the email that I received today. The images below are not mine. They are part of the email. I pre-ordered my doll back in May or June. Throughout the process, I've received updates on the progress of the doll. Needless to say, with months of waiting, I've had plenty of time to choose a name (Lily Nickols) and back story for this new resident. I already checked out the website mentioned in the message. I think the fashions are pricey, but I may order the Scotland Adventure one, because it's my favorite. I can't wait to see which of my curvy gals can share clothes with Lily.

Your Lammily Doll Shipping Dates

Your Lammily doll(s) is on its way!

Shipping is expected to begin, at latest, by November 28 with delivery before Chanukah and Christmas. The dolls will arrive at the shipping facility this week.
The Exclusive First Edition Lammily Doll

Over 8 months of development went into the first edition Lammily doll. Here's what she looks like! These are the first photos to be released of the doll!
The packaging symbolizes her arrival after her adventures in many different countries. Because the doll was crowdfunded throughout the world, it’s a homage to the backers, who come from diverse backgrounds and places.
When you open the box, you’ll find a pamphlet explaining where she’s been all this time! Take it out of the box and have a look!
When you fully open the box, there she is!
What was once just a digital prototype in the hard drive of a computer is now a a reality!
She has articulated elbows, hands, knees, and feet. She wears an ombre blouse, denim shorts, and white sneakers. According to the factory the Lammily doll is the most costly doll they have ever made due to its materials and detail.

There are some things about the doll which weren’t planned for, but turned out to be crucial to its design.

  • The arms and legs have a rubbery, skin like feel.
  • Some have noted that it's not as light weight as other dolls, giving it a more high quality feel.
  • The manufacturer made the hair really soft, just like real hair.

New Fashions 

The new Lammily.com site will go live at 9:00 am today. Once it's live you'll be able to preorder new fashions for delivery this coming January. You'll also be able to preorder a surprise new product, which we're excited to release. And, if you want another doll, that will be for sale for delivery before December 16
. The new price of the doll is $25 with shipping and handling being extra.
What do kids think of the Lammily doll?

Click on the video link below to see kids reacting to Lammily for the first time!


The video shows the exclusive first edition doll in her first edition clothes and a new fashion which will be available for preorder.

Thank you for making Lammily a reality! It could not have been done without your support.

Best regards,

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