Monday, July 29, 2013

Disney LE Ariel Doll

So, I am learning that not only do I really, really like dolls, but I also have no self control. Like some people go crazy in shoe stores or with makeup, I similarly can not say no to myself. It is a thing I should work on. But, one thing at a time. Right now, what I'm working on is losing weight and training myself to naturally seek out exercise. At 30, this is hard. I have been pretty inactive since high school. I have many, many interests, and unfortunately all of them involve sitting still for hours at a time. So, this is the year of listening to my doctor and getting myself in better shape. I can't very well tackle self doll denial, too!

Back to the topic at hand, the release of the newest Disney Limited Edition 17" Princess doll is/was today, and it's Ariel, since the Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid is being let out of The Vault this fall. Both the doll and the movie will be available in October. I was on the fence about this particular doll. When I saw the first long distance, fuzzy leaked photo, I was IN LOVE. But then, as closeups were revealed, I thought maybe poor Ariel looked a little too tarted up. (Don't get me started on Disney's endless revampings of the original Princesses; they barely look like themselves anymore!)
Actual Ariel
Sexy Vixen "Princess Ariel" 


Of course, here's a picture of the actual doll, which doesn't seem to support my argument at all:
Mardi Gras Drag Queen Ariel

But, I like to think the idea here is to give her an artsy, couture look to celebrate the movie release. We shall overlook the fact that never has Ariel had such huge...seashells. I appreciate the details in the accessories, and her tail, with it's layered, flowery scales, is just outstanding. And her hair is so deep red and lusciously wavy! I could not resist.

So, here's to October, and maybe I can set a weight loss goal for then with Ariel as a reward.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hearts 4 Hearts Girls Dolls

This weekend, my most recent purchases arrived: Hearts 4 Hearts Girls dolls Mosi, Shola, and Rahel! I truly didn't mean to buy 3 dolls at once, but I had to act fast with the two newest ones, and Rahel sort of jumped in the cart for good measure (I've been admiring her a lot lately). I love these dolls so much. As I have shown before, I enjoy making them into little sister characters for my AG dolls. Almost all of the H4Hs perfectly pair up with them. I don't know why it's so important to me for my characters to have sisters, but I have a feeling it has to do with my being an only child. Ever since I can remember, I used to construct great big families with all the toys I ever had.


Here they are! Whoever designed the face molds for this line of dolls is a genius, pure and simple. They are just beautiful and graceful beyond belief. Anyway, obviously Mosi is going to be paired with Kaya, though I don't know for sure if she will be her real sister or possibly Brown Deer's daughter...to early to tell. Rahel will fit in nicely in Addy and Cecile's worlds, as well as in Barbados with Juliet Lane. That's another story, though, to be told soon.

Shola, I don't know about. I honestly got her mostly because she was new and only available for, what, a few hours? Not that I didn't think she was a beautiful doll, but I just don't have any inkling of her background story yet. At first I didn't want to leave her as an Afghani, but she does look very sweet in her ethnic costume. I also love the fact that her face reminds me so much of Gabrielle Anwar, who plays the character Fiona in the TV series Burn Notice, which I love. I might name her Fiona because of that, but, again, not positive. I'll get to know her in time.

For now, she is hanging out on the shelf with Rahel and Mosi (of course), and also Della (Moira Saige's little sister), Nahji, Tipi, and Rosalita (fka Consuelo).

 
     Fiona Glenanne (above)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Lost Girls of Hollow Tree

It's been awhile, and a few more dolls have found their way into my home. But right now, I want to introduce a concept that's been about a year in the making. I now have sixteen 18" dolls, and all but one are historical characters, whether canon AG or made up by me. I love history, and historical accuracy, but I also love imagining that the girls can interact with one another. Otherwise, they would all be incredibly lonely, right? So I had to come up with a way that they could keep their historical eras and young ages in tact, but also be able to meet up and be friends. Cue the ever so popular and possibly over used time-traveling portal story angle!

So, at some point in each girl's historical life story, they are wandering alone and accidentally stumble into a portal that transports them into a magical, unfamiliar world. I don't want to come right out and say that this place is "Neverland" because I don't like blatant idea stealing/plagiarizing. The place that they end up in on this "other side" is an ancient, giant, hollowed-out tree. When I say giant, I mean giant. Like, big enough for sixteen 'tweens and teens to live together in pretty comfortably. Rooms, windows, everything.

The girls realize that they aren't alone in winding up in this place, as strange-looking girls of completely different time periods keep popping into Hollow Tree all the time. Many of them are orphaned or were in the process of fleeing danger, and so they have no reason or desire to try and find a way back to their "real world." Others love their new land of adventure, but miss their families dearly. Eventually, a way back is discovered, and the Lost Girls learn how to navigate in between realms. Furthermore, they realize that they are able to transport items and even each other from Hollow Tree to different places in time! In other words, Felicity Merriman and Addy Walker could meet up with Moira Saige in Hollow Tree, dress in similar clothing, and all go together to modern New Mexico to meet Moira's family.

Of course, the girls do have to do a lot of scheming and fast talking often in order to keep their existence and activities on the down low. It wouldn't do for their secret to be discovered in any time period and exploited.

Here is a link to my Hollow Tree Pinterest Board, which I hope to be filling up soon with images that inspire my imaginings as to how this fantasy world might look:

Hollow Tree Pinboard

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Ideas...And Saige!

Let me start by announcing that yesterday, New Year's Day, I drove from Rhode Island to Natick, MA all by myself for the first time. Yes, I am almost 30 years old, and no, that doesn't sound amazing at all, but trust me, it is for me. I am still slowly getting over a phobia of driving, especially long distances. I didn't really start driving until I was 20. So this was a big deal. I wanted to start the new year off right, setting a goal for myself and meeting it...and I reeeeeeaaaaaaally couldn't wait to see (and get) the new Girl of the Year. Saige is gorgeous, and I knew she was destined to be mine as soon as the leaks reached my eyes. Come on, she's an artist who clearly loves to accessorize with jewelry. She was made for me!

Saige is my first modern doll, and I'm still not really sure what to do with her. I love her modern clothes and all, but she doesn't really have a place with the rest of the historical girls here. I have tentatively created a character for her in Josefina's story, which will allow her to stay in New Mexico. Since she has beautiful auburn hair, bright blue eyes, and freckles, she definitely could be believable as an Irish girl, specifically Moira Collins, Patrick O'Toole's little cousin from Missouri. Saige looks like a Moira to me. So maybe the story is that Moira comes with the rest of the family to New Mexico to see Patrick and Francisca's wedding, and she and Fi become fast friends.

Moira and her border collie Bella

I love Hearts 4 Hearts Girls, too, and when Saige's pictures were first shown to me a few months ago, I noticed that she and Dell, the Appalachian American H4H Girl doll, looked very similar to each other. Especially those lovely, bright turquoise eyes! I decided that, regardless of whatever sort of character my Saige became, she would certainly enjoy a little sister. So here is Saige/Moira and her sister Della.

I love how Della's freckled nose is pink with sunburn!

Moving on, though. My last two AG dolls that I bought last year were Emily and Molly. When I was young, I loved Molly's books; they were the very first exposure I had to the American Girls' Collection. But I had a prejudice against the original three dolls that I suspect had something to do with their all having bangs. I was made to have bangs up until 6th grade, and I HATED them. I still cringe when I look at pictures of myself with bangs. I don't think it was a coincidence that Addy was my very first childhood AG doll, followed by Felicity.

But anyway, Molly had the bang thing going against her, and of all of the American Girls, she was definitely not the most glamorous. I never liked her looks, and I wasn't interested in her collection because it wasn't fancy or "old-fashioned" enough. I still retain somewhat of an indifference to all fashions occurring after the turn of the (20th) century. War made everything boring and practical. It made girls wear pants.

After becoming reacquainted with AG later in life, I discovered the "best friend dolls," and Emily caught my eye all the time. I loved her pretty face. She seemed so sophisticated, and reminded me of my childhood best friend. I knew it was only a matter of time before she joined my collection of girls. And of course, the constant rumors of the looming archival for Molly's collection made me decide that she should come here sooner rather than later.

Two months after I had Emily, I couldn't help getting Molly. Mattel Molly is so much more lively and pretty than her earlier Pleasant Company version. She would command my attention whenever I visited the AG Place with those beautiful grey eyes!

So, I have two dolls that I love dearly, but feel no real connection or passion to their intended era. Emily is significant to me personally in that my Grandpa fought in WWII and stayed for a time in Britain. He was said to have pronounced the British a very good and hospitable sort of folk. Grandpa passed away a few months after I got Emily, and so she will always remind me of the hero that he was.

But, that doesn't mean that I want to play 1940s with Molly and Emily. But over the last couple of days, a new idea for them has been weaving itself in my mind. My Molly is going to become Victoria Holmes, the grey-eyed, bookish daughter of Sherringford Holmes. Sherringford Holmes is, of course, the younger (and most ordinary) sibling of the celebrated brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. (I have been a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast since 1997, when I first discovered his stories in my freshman year of high school. Therefore, this story line is exciting me to no end!)

Sherringford was the only Holmes brother to marry and settle down into a normal kind of life. He possesses absolutely no astounding cerebral talents whatsoever, works an ordinary job in London, and has a perfectly normal family of his own. Victoria, who is going to be about 11 or 12 when her story starts, is a puzzle to her parents and her pretty social butterfly of a sister, Charlotte. Her father realized early on that she must take after his brothers, and this causes him to worry endlessly about her future.

Now, I am going to have to do some math to figure out logistics pertaining to characters' ages before anything is finalized, but I'm going to roughly guess that Victoria's adventures will take place in the 1890s. She will have a best friend in the daughter of Dr. John Watson, named Erin, who is just Victoria's age. What will they do? Why, help Uncle Sherlock with his work, of course, and even solve some mysteries of their own!

That sounds SO lame, but I'm getting tired, and that is the most basic way to explain what I've got brewing in my brain right now.

BFFs Erin and Tori,  ready to take on Victorian London! (Perhaps someday they will find attire appropriate for that time period!)


Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fate of Marie-Grace Gardner

For the past year, I have pretty much decided that the character of Marie-Grace is so pathetic and underdeveloped that I can no longer make her stay true to her "canon" self. There's so little I can do with her. AG really wasn't paying attention when they approved the NOLA project. A girl in New Orleans who wasn't born there and has very little personal connections to it, supposed to be in the same friend circle as a girl in a totally different racial, cultural, and social class? Part of the time, at least? Otherwise, she spends her time volunteering (living) at an orphanage while being completely ignored by her father. Her father is a doctor, by the way, so...why are they so painfully middle class?

In any event, I suppose I could have her predictably be "adopted" by her aunt and uncle and ultimately live with them in Belle Cheniere, but then her story just kind of fizzles and ends.

I think Marie-Grace is one of the most unique and beautiful dolls ever created by American Girl, and it is completely unfair that she got the shaft. She has a hairstyle that scares many people off, an obnoxiously pink Meet outfit, and a terribly un-graceful name. Well, I think she is destined for much greater things in life.

My first thought was to rename her Lydia Gardner and bring her to 1850s New England. I live in New England, and we have yet to be represented by an American Girl. Plus, before we knew her story, I was hoping that newly released Caroline Abbott would have more to do with the actual ocean and sailing. So, Lydia could definitely fill that role nicely. Her father would be a wealthy captain of a whaling vessel, and Lydia would live in a beautiful house with a widow's walk overlooking the vast grey sea. I would like this family to live in Cape Cod, specifically, especially if I can get my hands on some good sources to find out about Cape Cod in the mid-19th century.

Lydia among her nautical tools in Cape Cod.

Another idea for Lydia is that she could very well still be a singing ingenue from New York from a slightly later era, maybe the 1880s or 1890s. But that era may well be reserved for "alternate Molly," or as I just imagined her this morning, Victoria Holmes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Disney LE Wedding Rapunzel

I am excited today because pre-orders are being accepted at midnight PST by Disney for the 17" Limited Edition Rapunzel Wedding doll. I haven't even seen Tangled Ever After, since they cleverly decided to tack it on to the recent theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast 3D, but from the first preview pics of her, I was in love. I adore her sassy short hair, and obviously the wedding dress is a masterpiece. I REALLY shouldn't be spending any more money after the Birthday Bonanza I just enjoyed not two days ago at the AG Place in Boston, but...I'm going to just see if I get a chance to do the online pre-order, and then, if it's successful, "I'll think about that tomorrow." I am on the east coast, so the pre-order starts here at 3 am. And since I took tomorrow off for my personal four-day birthday weekend, I can actually be up at that time without dire consequences. 

It seems ridiculous, I know, but I actually did it before back in the fall of 2011 when Disney released the Designer Dolls (I really wanted Snow White). It was terribly fun because all the other crazies like me were hanging out on the Disney Store Facebook page and enjoying each other's company as we nervously waited for the victorious moment we could add the doll to our shopping carts and check out before the website crashed. I didn't make it, unfortunately, but I treasure that weird experience all the same. Later, I had a grand time reading other people's accounts of that night, especially the ones who went to wait in line for a doll in person at a physical Disney Store. 

So, anyway, I still am arguing back and forth with myself about the necessity of owning this particular Rapunzel doll. Her beauty is stunning, but here is one doll I definitely wouldn't be able to unbox and play with. That will bug me; most dolls that I do have never stay in their boxes for long. I'm not one for collecting for the monetary value of things. I love to handle, pose, change outfits, and do hair. But I can't get Wedding Rapunzel out of my mind, so I'm sure I'll be sitting at this computer in 9 hours with my heart in my mouth.





Sunday, February 19, 2012

Introduction: Why Play?

This blog is a place I will come to share my thoughts about the importance of playing and using one's imagination no matter how old one becomes. For whatever reason, I have never lost interest in toys, and now that I am almost 30, I am publicly giving myself permission to keep enjoying dolls and stuffed animals. Furthermore, as I do climb in age and start seeing the kids of today from an objective viewpoint, I am constantly concerned that children are not using their imaginations and playing as much as my peers and I used to. I do NOT have children myself (and that is a subject for another time), so maybe this observation is not as accurate as I think it is. Yet it seems like girls are influenced from earlier and earlier ages to grow up and concentrate on more adult things like clothes, shoes, hair, nails, boys...that window of time when kids just let their Barbies deal with those kinds of things seems to be narrowing as the generations pass.

As an only child (who grew up in the early 80s), playing was sacred to me. It was how I spent all my time, and how I filled the room with colorful stories and characters to keep me company. I had all the usual toys of that day: Barbies, My Little Ponies, Rainbow Brite's, She-Ra's, Jem dolls, a Precious Places doll house, stuffed animals, and a corner of the basement set up to play "house" in, complete with toy kitchen and a bureau of "dress-up" clothes. I didn't have excessive amounts of toys, as my parents went to great lengths to make sure I wasn't spoiled. But I had plenty, and I enjoyed them all. But then, life happened, as it is prone to do, and I had less and less time to think about such things. School work took up most of my time, because it was important to me to be an excellent student. And I can't imagine how it would have been if I had had all the extra-curricular activities that most kids seem to have today pulling me in even more different directions. I was never in to sports or clubs. I have always been an artist, though, and most of my free time went to working on independent projects. I graduated high school with honors, went to college and majored in metalsmithing/jewelry design, found a job as a designer in a costume jewelry company, and then married the love of my life, who I had dated all through college. Now we have a house, and life has calmed down. Growing up happened, as far as I'm concerned. And guess what? I finally had the time to realize that some of my dolls and I have unfinished business together. 

 Thanks for reading, whoever you are, and stay tuned for more insight, doll pics, stories, and anything else that I think is worth documenting as I continue this "playtime" experiment and hopefully inspire others to do the same. 

My Flickr Pics!