American Girl Happy Meal Toys From Mcdonald’s

The Toy Box Philosopher
Reviews and opinions about dolls and doll-related toys.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
American Girl Happy Meal Toys from McDonald’s
I don’t eat McDonald’s food very much as an adult, but I have to admit that I have a shameless fascination with the Happy Meal toys–especially the dolls.  I think it all started when my kids were really young and we used to stop at McDonald’s on our road trips.  I can remember one particular 13-hour trip to North Carolina during which I realized that the current Happy Meal toys were Madame Alexander mini dolls.  As a long-time collector of Madame Alexander (and a fan of miniatures in general) this started something of an obsession.  I asked my husband to stop at pretty much every McDonald’s between New York and North Carolina, just to see if they had different dolls in the different locations.  At first, I would order a Happy Meal for my own lunch, or try to strike a toy trading bargain with my boys, but by the end of the trip I was just asking at the counter if I could pay for the doll and skip the meal.
By the time McDonald’s released Liv mini dolls in 2011, I had figured out that I could simply go to eBay and purchase a complete set of Happy Meal dolls without having to set foot in a McDonald’s at all.  This approach takes away the questing excitement of driving all over the place to try and find certain toys, but it also saves time and money…and cuts down on my French fry consumption.
When I saw that American Girl was doing a series of mini dolls for McDonald’s, I was pretty excited.  American Girl already has 6 inch versions of their iconic 18 inch dolls, so I was really curious about the scale of the Happy Meal dolls.  At first I was hoping for recursive scaling, with the McDonald’s dolls scaled to the minis in the same way that the minis are scaled to the full-sized dolls.  This would have made the Happy Meal dolls only about 2 inches tall, though, which is pretty tiny.  It turns out that the McDonald’s dolls are about 3.25 inches tall, which is a nice size.
American Girl mini doll, “Kit,” with a pile of American Girl Happy Meal toys.
The American Girl Happy Meal collection consists of eight unique toys, four of which are dolls.  The dolls are all miniatures of the Girl of the Year character, Isabelle.  I wish the collection had included eight different American Girl historical character dolls rather than four versions of Isabelle and four random toys.  Still, I was interested to see all of the different dolls. 
I paid $19.99 (including shipping) on eBay for all eight toys.  Since a Happy Meal currently costs $2.49-$2.99, this isn’t a bad deal–especially because I don’t eat the food, and purchasing the toys with an actual Happy Meal makes it hard to get a complete set of toys without accumulating duplicates.


The toys are numbered from 1-8, and the dolls are numbers 1, 3, 5 and 7.  In this review I will look at all four dolls, and I will show them in order, starting with “Signature Isabelle:”
#1
Each doll comes packaged inside a molded plastic support and is accompanied by a collector’s card:
The cards all look the same on one side, with an advertisement for the American Girl movie, “Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight:”
Each card has a different back.  Signature Isabelle’s card has a picture of the actress who plays Isabelle in the movie (Erin Pitt), and it describes a little bit of her situation:
The mini doll is protected by the plastic packaging, and also by a band of plastic across her face:
It’s very easy to free the doll from all of her packaging:
I couldn’t get her to stand on her own at first, so I had to support her left foot with a small square of tape:
I was pleasantly surprised by this doll’s cute face.  She is clearly recognizable as an American Girl character:
Isabelle’s eyes are sage green with black pupils and tiny white iris lines:
She has ginger brown painted eyelashes and eyebrows.  Her eyebrows actually have individual hair lines drawn in, which is impressive detail for such a tiny doll.
Her nose is barely there, and she has a small pink mouth with a white rectangle of teeth printed on her upper lip:
Isabelle’s rooted hair is surprisingly nice.  The other Happy Meal dolls I have owned (Madame Alexander and Liv) have terrible hair, but Isabelle’s hair is smooth and silky–very much like the full-sized American Girl dolls’ hair.
From the back, however, a bald patch is visible where the hair was pushed to either side in the package:
I parted the hair even more to get a good look at the rooting pattern.  Isabelle’s side part is densely-rooted, as is the hair all of the way around her hairline.  In between these areas, she has two or three (it varies by location) additional rows of hair that are spaced pretty far apart.
It’s possible to brush the hair over the bald patch a little bit, but the yellow scalp is still visible in a few places:
Signature Isabelle’s hair is mostly left down, with two small ponytails on either side of her face.  The ponytails are held with pink thread:
Isabelle’s hair is blonde, and it looks like there are some darker lowlights…however, this could just be the visual effect of differences in reflected light.  It’s very hard to tell.  There’s also a patch of pink hair at the back of her head.  The color is confined to just the outermost row of rooted hair:
This doll is wearing a pink ballet-themed top with an asymmetrical hem.  
Under the shirt, she is wearing grey textured leggings with thick cuffs, and simple silver shoes.
All of the clothing is molded in place and does not come off.  
Isabelle herself has three points of articulation.  Her neck rotates from side-to-side, and can actually spin all of the way around ( like an owl ).  My doll has a neck defect.  The head still moves, but it sits too far away from the body, and the joint seam is exposed:
Isabelle’s right arm is permanently raised in the air, but her left arm can move up and down:
It can also rotate back behind her body:
Her hands are nicely molded with distinct fingers and even little palm lines and joint creases:
Isabelle’s legs attach to the flat underside of her skirt.  Her right leg is set straight up and down, and her left leg is set at a bit of an angle–as if she’s dancing.  
At first, I didn’t realize that there was any movement in her legs, but she can actually rotate her right leg:  
Once I figured out that Isabelle’s leg can move, I was able to find a position that allows her to stand on her own.  This made posing a lot easier.
I decided to take Isabelle’s hair down, but here’s one last picture of the original style:
With the hair down, it’s easier to see the nicely-rooted side part:
The hair has a good thickness, and can be smoothed down… 
But after a little bit of manipulation, the doll tends to look like this:
I decided to pull her hair back into a smooth single ponytail:
I tried securing this with grey thread, but it didn’t last very long.
This hairstyle hides the bald patch in the back very nicely:
It’s a little easier to photograph Isabelle’s face with her hair out of the way, so here are a few more close-ups:
Looking at the picture above, I think her left eye is set slightly too far away from the midline.  However, this kind of small imperfection is barely noticeable in person.
Look at how flat her profile is.  The painted teeth also look a little strange from this angle:
Here’s one last picture of Signature Isabelle before I move on to the next doll:
The next doll (#3) is called, “Prepped to Perform Isabelle.”


#3
The phrase, “prepped to perform” sounds funny to me…almost like she’s getting prepared for surgery…or cooked up for supper.  Maybe I’ve just been watching too many medical dramas?  
This doll’s card has a picture from the movie with Isabelle in a fancy ballet costume.  The text describes Isabelle’s strategy for overcoming her nerves.
The doll is wearing a less elegant ballet outfit and comes with her hair in a single long ponytail.  My doll’s ponytail came wrapped around her waist:
A bun would have been more practical.
This doll can’t stand on her own very well because her left leg is shorter than her right.  Once again, I had to use a small tape square to prop her up: 
This Isabelle came with a tangle in her hair that disrupted the smooth pulled-back ponytail style:
Isabelle’s outfit has a black leotard with a yellow tutu and black leggings:
Bumble bee colors and a basket skirt.
The tutu has a molded tulle design and large decorative flowers:
Isabelle has bare ankles and is wearing black lace-up ballet shoes:
The skin color on her ankles is painted over black plastic, and there are a few areas where the underlying color shows through:
The skin color on Isabelle’s chest is painted over a lighter yellowish plastic, so the areas where the paint is chipped don’t look as obvious.  
This doll’s neck joint is normal, so you can see what this region is supposed to look like:
Prepped to Perform Isabelle has four points of articulation.  Like Signature Isabelle, she has one arm that is raised and stationary (her left) and another arm that can move up and down.  This doll’s moving arm has a good range of motion:
She looks like she’s landing a plane.
The legs are attached to the flat underside of the tutu, and both legs can rotate around:
This allows Isabelle to hold her feet in a range of poses, unfortunately none of these poses make it easy for the doll to stand on her own:
nullI took Isabelle’s hair down to see if I could get rid of the tangle.  Like Signature Isabelle, the hair fiber on this doll is silky and easy to work with.  It has the same two-toned blond color, but does not have any pink highlights.  
The ponytail style hid the fact that this doll also has a bald patch on the back of her head:
She also has a vague rooted side part, but it is nowhere near as organized as the part on Signature Isabelle:
After I cut away the tangle in Isabelle’s hair, I tried to style it into a bun.  Although the hair can handle a lot of tugging, pulling and twisting, I wasn’t patient enough to get a very elegant bun:
With her hair up off her back like this, it’s a bit easier to see some of the doll’s other features.
For example, she has a conspicuous raised copyright mark on her back:
She also has an obvious midline seam along her neck that has pulled apart a little:
The best thing about this hairstyle is that is makes it easier to see Isabelle’s cute face.  This doll has sage green eyes, and (whether it’s intentional or not) she also has a slight side-glance:
Her mouth is the same as Signature Isabelle’s mouth–complete with the white tooth bar, although this doll’s teeth are printed onto her lower lip:
Even though the colors and style of face paint are very similar to Signature Isabelle, this doll has a very different appearance, I think:
She looks worried.
I will do a comparison of all four dolls’ faces at the end, but for now here are the first two together:
Perhaps the biggest differences http://blueraspberrydesigns.com are that Prepped to Perform Isabelle has lighter (and more delicate) face paint and a shinier face than Signature Isabelle.
Here are a few more pictures of Prepped to Perform:
The next doll (#5) is called “Set for School Isabelle:”
#5
This doll is the only one in the set who is wearing a hat.  I don’t generally like it when mini dolls have unremovable hats.  Many of the McDonald’s Madame Alexander dolls had this feature, and I felt like it made them much less versatile.  Despite my reaction to the hat, I thought this might be my favorite doll when I first saw her.  She is wearing a lovely outfit, and the hat keeps her hair from sticking up.
I also really like the image on this doll’s card.  It’s another picture from the movie, and Isabelle looks really happy here.  In some of the other pictures she looks a little too posed and made-up, but in this scene, she looks like she’s having a blast:
The message on this card is about finding a unique fashion style.  The card gives two “tips” on how to wear clothes that express your style: mix and match prints (“be brave and have fun!”), and don’t copy your friends.  To me, it seems like the card is suggesting that you copy Isabelle’s mix-and-match style…but then it tells you not to copy anyone.  
The doll’s outfit is nowhere near as fun as the outfit on the card.  Isabelle is wearing a butter-yellow dress with grey leggings and pink accessories:
Her hair is long and straight and has a layer of pink underneath the blonde:
This doll’s face is pretty much the same as the other two dolls, but the hat casts shadows on some of the contours and makes them more distinct.  It also frames her face in a very different way than the rooted hairlines:
The hat also looks a little bit like exposed brains.
I think that of the three dolls I have shown you so far, Signature Isabelle and Set for School Isabelle are the most alike:
Of the three, School Isabelle has the prettiest face.  Also, her eyes are very well aligned and her teeth are in the right position.
Her plastic hat is permanently attached to her head, and is molded to look like it’s floppy and fuzzy–maybe knitted?  It has a large flower decoration on one side:
Isabelle’s dress is pale yellow and has an interesting draped design in front:
The dress is accented with a pink belt and has a raised (flower?) pattern along the hem that’s hard to see:
Isabelle is wearing grey leggings and pink slipper shoes:
So, at this point I was playing around with Isabelle’s hair, trying to see if I could get a few strands to hang closer to her face.  As I was moving the hair around under the hat, I noticed that some of the strands were falling out:
I pulled a little bit more aggressively, trying to see how much of the hair was loose…
And before long (without much effort at all) Isabelle was completely bald.
Oops.
I couldn’t pry the hat off the head (even with the help of a screwdriver), but I did peek into the hole to see if I could figure out how the hair had been attached:
It’s hard to see, but there’s a plastic rod inside that runs up and down along the length of Isabelle’s head.  My guess is that the hair was looped around that rod.  There was also a folded metal wire inside the head (rattling around) that I suspect might have been wrapped around the rod in attempt to keep the hair secure.  It didn’t work.
Even without her hair, Isabelle looks pretty cute, but the hair incident removed her from the running to be my favorite among these dolls.  
Before I move on to the next doll, let me tell you a bit about this School Isabelle’s articulation.  She has three points of articulation: her neck moves just like the other dolls, but neither of her arms can move enough for me to count.  
Her legs can both spin around through a wide range of poses:
The last doll (#7) is called “Ready for Rehearsal Isabelle:”
#7
Her plastic packaging wouldn’t balance on the ground, so I had to prop her up against a chair:
It’s odd how only two of the four dolls came with protective plastic over their faces.  This doll and Signature Isabelle are the only two.
This doll’s card is the least visually interesting one among the group, but it has some very practical information:
Isabelle can even follow the instructions on the card and strike “first position” herself, thanks to the fact that she, too, has legs that move:
This Isabelle is dressed in an outfit that looks pretty fancy for rehearsal: she’s wearing a purple sequined dress with white tights and leg warmers.  She is holding one of her arms straight up and the other one rigidly out to the side.  The left arm can spin around in place, but it can’t move up or down.
The poor arm articulation on this doll is off-putting, but she does have nice hair and a good face:
Her teeth are printed half on the upper lip and half on the lower lip.  This looks ok, but I prefer the dolls who have the teeth mostly on their upper lip.
This doll’s eyebrow shape is a bit more severe than some of the others.  Her eyebrows have very distinct lines in them and they slant in towards her nose.
Here are all four dolls together:
 
The lip and eyebrow/eyelash paint varies slightly from doll to doll, but this is incredibly subtle and I never would have picked up on it by looking at the dolls in person.  Holding them in my hand, the doll that stands out as the most different is Performance Isabelle (with the yellow tutu).  Her face is the shiniest, her teeth are low-set, and all of her features are slightly paler and finer than the other dolls.   I’m sure some of these differences are just doll-to-doll variation, regardless of which numbered doll it is.
I think Rehearsal Isabelle has one of the nicest faces.  Her head isn’t shiny, and all of her features are well-positioned.
Rehearsal Isabelle also has nice hair.  She has the fun pink streak at the back of her head, and the same pretty blonde color as the rest of the dolls.  Her hair is nicely side-parted and hangs straight down.
 
She has the yellow bald spot on the top of her head, but this is fairly well-concealed by the smooth hairstyle.
Isabelle’s purple outfit has a detailed geometric neckline and cap sleeves.  It almost looks like a leotard with a wrap-around skirt, but the top seems a bit fancy for this. The skirt has a molded sequin pattern and a dark purple belt:
Isabelle’s shoes are the same color as her tights, but she has two purple leg warmers to break up the monochromy:
Here are two more pictures of Rehearsal Isabelle.  Her rigid arms really limit her posing options:
In fact, this doll’s arm position is so stiff, she looks like she’s trying to send a message in semaphore:
S.O.S!
When these dolls all stand together, I can’t help but wonder if they’re actually spelling out a secret semaphore message.  
Let’s figure out what letter each of the dolls might represent, and then see what they’re trying to say:
I think School Isabelle is clearly an “L:”
Lima
Rehearsal Isabelle is a “J:”
Juliet
Performance Isabelle can be either a bent-armed “K:”
Kilo
And here she is next to the China Girl mini doll :
For me, the best part of this review was comparing these McDonald’s mini dolls to other American Girl dolls.   My American Girl doll, Keira , is pretty excited to have a miniature doll that resembles her:
But these new Happy Meals toys are best suited to my American Girl mini doll, Kit , who seems to have found a beloved companion in the color-coordinated Rehearsal Isabelle:
So, while these new McDonald’s toys don’t offer dolly recursion, per se, it’s really fun to have all three sizes of American Girl doll in the house together:
Bottom line?  It’s hard to justify a formal review of a toy that is essentially free.  Furthermore, so many of the Happy Meal toys are disposable, these little dolls shine simply because they stand head and shoulders above the typical fast food toy selection.  So, rather than drawing sweeping conclusions about these four, I’ll just tell you which one I like the best and why.  I’ll preface this by saying that any of the four are a treat and would be fun to have, particularly for an American Girl fan…just don’t start tugging on School Isabelle’s hair.
I’ll rank the dolls according to a few categories, and then tell you which one is my favorite.
Hair:  All of these dolls have hair fiber that exceeded my expectations.  I don’t think I have ever seen a McDonald’s toy with hair this nice.  The exception to this is School Isabelle, whose hair feel great, but pulls out way too easily. Of the remaining dolls, the hair is very similar.  It is rooted, handles very well, and can be styled in a few different ways.  I prefer the dolls with the pink highlights, since this is one of the Isabelle character’s unique features.  That means the contest is between Rehearsal Isabelle and Signature Isabelle.  Rehearsal Isabelle wins the prize by a hair (ha, ha) simply because her hairstyle lays more smoothly against her head, covering the bald spot at the back of her scalp. 
Face:  The dolls all have similar faces–as they should.  The small differences are in the thickness and color of the eyebrows and eyelashes, the placement of the features (particularly the teeth), the color of the lips (very subtle) and the shine on the face.  It’s hard for me to tell which of these things is typical of a specific doll, and which are just random variations.  Of the dolls I have, the best face is School Isabelle, with Rehearsal and Signature Isabelle close behind.  Performance Isabelle’s face is shiny, her features are faint, and my particular doll’s tooth placement is bad.
Outfit:  None of the outfits are removable, but I like the style and colors of School Isabelle and Signature Isabelle’s outfits the best.  Performance Isabelle’s tutu is unnaturally full and round, and Rehearsal Isabelle’s outfit is plain.  Because School Isabelle’s outfit doesn’t allow her arm to move, and because she has a permanent hat, I like Signature Isabelle’s outfit the best.
Articulation:  All of the dolls have neck articulation, and then each doll has varying degrees of limb articulation.  Rehearsal Isabelle is my least favorite because her arm position is stiff and unnatural…and she is unable to change it.  School Isabelle is next in line because her arm has only very minimal movement, but her arm position is nice.  Performance Isabelle is second best because both of her legs and one of her arms move.  I like Signature Isabelle the best in this category because her pose looks natural–as if she’s dancing, and she is able to move one arm and one leg in ways that can significantly change her pose.
Because pose and articulation are so important to me, I like Signature Isabelle the best.  She has it all: styleable hair, a nice face, a dance-related outfit that looks modern, and articulation that allows her to change her pose and stand on her own.  To me, she’s definitely worth the $2.50 I paid, and I know if I ever get a hankering for a McDonald’s cheeseburger, I’d be absolutely thrilled to find another one of these dolls in the bag with it.
Left to right: Rehearsal, School, Signature and Performance Isabelle dolls.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit American Girl Happy Meal Toys from McDonald’s

“j’adore” Gene Marshall



She’s nabbed Violet’s lavender ensemble, added some jewels by Facets and a vincent van gogh starry night art doll hard cap wig by Cheryl Wood. There is something so innocent about this doll. I like her a lot.


A closeup of her sweet face:
And just because I like them…her hands.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit “J’Adore” Gene Marshall

“snow White” By Monika Peter-leicht For Masterpiece Dolls



The Toy Box Philosopher
Reviews and opinions about dolls and doll-related toys.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
“Snow White” by Monika Peter-Leicht for Masterpiece Dolls
Masterpiece Dolls is a Rhode Island-based company that was founded by Shirley Blackall in 1985.  The company has produced vinyl, porcelain and silicone-vinyl dolls in all sizes and styles, but is currently best know for its life-sized vinyl child dolls.  The vinyl children have been sculpted by a variety of artists over the years, including Monika Levenig, Susan Lippl, and Monika Peter-Leicht.
Masterpiece dolls is great at reaching out to budding artists and is often adding new sculptors to their list.  I had some brief first-hand experience with this when Masterpiece produced one of my own bizarre clay babies in vinyl for the German market.  I think this was the ugliest and least popular doll ever made, but it was a neat experience…and probably a good story for another time.
Despite my interactions with this company, I have never owned a Masterpiece doll that wasn’t sculpted by me.  I have been eyeing the larger Masterpiece children ever since Annette Himstedt stopped making dolls in 2009, but more out of curiosity than the desire to purchase.  A recent online sale got me looking at these dolls again, and this time I did some research and accumulated enough interest to bring one of the larger girls home for review.  The doll I chose is Monika Peter-Leicht’s “Snow White” from 2010.  I should warn you up front, though, that by the end of the review the doll won’t look much like this anymore:
“Snow White” by Masterpiece, $239.
Before I say anything else, I have to communicate my uncertainty about the name “Masterpiece.”  I used to think it was two words: Master Piece (because that’s what it looks like on the top of the website  and on the doll boxes), but then I thought maybe it was MasterPiece (all one word but with the “p” capitalized…).  However, the press releases on the website and most external articles and dealers refer to it as “Masterpiece.” I hope this is correct, but as I said…it’s ambiguous.
Master Piece?  MasterPiece?  Masterpiece??
It took me a long time to mad hatter tattooed doll decide which Masterpiece doll I should buy.  I spent plenty of time on Flickr looking at collectors’ pictures, and a bit of time lurking on the doll forum, Doll Chatter.  The consensus seems to be that the dolls are not as nice as they used to be, and that recent releases are seeming more and more repetitive.  Part of the problem is that, of the three primary child doll sculptors, Susan Lippl hasn’t released a new doll in a while and Monika Peter-Leicht’s contributions to each new collection are getting fewer and fewer.  This leaves the majority of each collection in the hands of Monika Levenig.  The schedule at Masterpiece is to release new dolls every three months, which is a pretty hefty load for one artist.
I have also heard that the larger Masterpiece dolls with multiple joints are difficult to manage, that the vinyl is getting darker in color and lighter in weight, and that there have been issues with thin wigs and cracks in the plastic eyes.  
I wanted to investigate as many of these things as possible, so I went looking for an older doll in the largest size range with multiple joints.  I slightly prefer Monika Peter-Leicht’s dolls, so I was also looking mostly at those.  There aren’t very many still-in-box dolls that meet these criteria, but I did manage to find a 42″ Snow White from 2010:
This particular doll was highly anticipated, but she didn’t sell well because Masterpiece made a last-minute change to her dress, swapping out the traditional Snow White yellow skirt for the pink you see here.  In addition, even the blue parts of her dress are muted to a slate blue that almost looks purple in some light. 
This doll’s box is so huge that I am not even going to photograph the whole thing.  It’s just shy of four feet tall.  The box is made entirely out of cardboard, and is filled with cardboard supports to hold the doll in place.  All of the packaging is recyclable, save for two styrofoam braces to pad the doll’s head, and a few plastic bags covering her limbs.  The side of the box is decorated with a picture of two girls playing with their dolls:
Well, the one girl is playing with a freaky little clown puppet.
When I first opened Snow White’s box, I noticed a fairly strong odor from her vinyl.  This smell is still noticeable a few days later.  
Snow comes with a doll stand, a certificate of authenticity, and a small (dismissible) apple accessory.  Her long black wig came contained within a hairnet and a plastic bag.  Here she is out of the box with her hairnet and some of the plastic removed.  Her neck, legs and arms are still wrapped in white tissue paper:
Her wig is thick and long and is a deep, shiny black color:
Impressive wig.
The tissue around her neck is neatly tucked into the top of her dress:
She also has tissue wrapped around both legs, and plastic liners in between her feet and her shoes:
She isn’t wearing any socks.
The stand has a wooden base and a metal telescoping support:
Mine tips a little to one side.
The stand fits Snow well, but it also adds to her weight–making her just under 20 pounds.  It is possible for her to stand on her own, but when she topples over (which happens fairly regularly) it’s a dramatic event that makes a huge noise, crumples my backdrop and runs the risk of scratching or scuffing the doll’s vinyl.  Still, I was able to pose her without the stand for most of the pictures in this review.
Snow’s wig tends to look messy because of its length and waves, but it’s actually quite easy to brush out.
The fibers aren’t as silky or shiny as American Girl or Karito Kid wigs, but it’s a nice quality, thick wig in a deep lustrous black color that fits the Snow White character perfectly:
The dealer told me that this is one of the nicest wigs she’s seen on these dolls.
Snow has a red satin ribbon tied in her hair, with a bow perched at the top of her head.  The bow is stitched to the wig, but the rest of the ribbon is loose.
The length of this hair is fun to play with, but it seems too long for the size and features of this doll. Snow is about the height of a four-year-old child, and her face has a babyish appearance:
Grown-up hair on a baby face.
 I tied the hair back into a simple ponytail to keep it under control during the review:
It falls into beautiful waves and makes a very pretty ponytail:
As a random aside: with her hair pulled back like this, the doll reminds me of Ginnifer Goodwin’s pixie-haired Snow White character from the television show, Once Upon A Time:


Many of the Masterpiece child dolls have expressive faces with big smiles or visible teeth.  Some of the smiling dolls are extremely well-done and realistic (like “Mia,” “Let’s Play Dress Up Again” and “Tori”), but these dolls tend to be difficult to find and expensive on the secondary market.  A few of the smiling dolls don’t look as good (“Alana” and the new twins “Ani” and “Suri” leap to mind…).  I contemplated buying one of the larger smiling girls (Pamela or Leandra) but ended up feeling safer with Snow’s neutral expression:
She has a lovely, calm face with large detailed lips and wide eyes.  She has a few areas where her proportions are odd, though.  First of all, in profile, you can see that her jawline curves downward on the right side of her face, and her ears are very large:
There’s also a funny contour around her right eye that’s apparent from some angles.  I think it’s that there’s no defined cheekbone, but just a gradual slope from the eye socket to the center of the cheek:  
I should pause here to qualify these criticisms.  I don’t expect artists to sculpt facial proportions exactly right.  In fact, it’s the small quirks and imperfections that make the difference between a mannequin and a work of art.  With art, the interpretation or caricature of a human face can be much more interesting than a perfect replica.  However, I’m not sure I would classify this doll as art.  The original sculpture would be, certainly, but not the doll in the way it was manufactured and presented for sale.  I’ll come back to this a little later.
Despite a few funny angles, Snow White has some wonderful details in her face.  Her lips are slightly parted with the hint of a visible tongue:
Her nostrils and upper lip are highlighted with red paint.  This looks strange up close, but looks very natural–like little shadows–from a distance.
She has a tiny bubble defect in the vinyl of her nose.
Snow has large blue eyes with upper and lower lashes.  Her eyebrows are beautifully drawn with a realistic feathered pattern:
The eyes have a nice mix of brown, blue and black.  They are made out of acrylic, though, and my doll has multiple large cracks in the corners of both eyes.  
From some reaction with the vinyl??
I actually knew that this doll had cracked eyes when I bought her.  The dealer was very honest with me and even provided pictures of the cracks.  I didn’t get a discount on the doll, though, which I think is a shame.  I don’t blame the dealer at all–this is Masterpiece’s responsibility.  They should have fixed the eyes or passed along a discount to the dealers.  I bought this doll with the intention of changing her eyes, and (as much as I like art projects) I don’t usually purchase $200 dolls that I know I will have to fix.
Most Masterpiece dolls come in ordinary age-appropriate children’s clothing, but the fairy tale series dolls all come in costumes befitting their story.  Snow White is wearing a floor-length dress with a full petticoat and bloomers.
The bodice of the dress is made out of a slate blue fabric with little embroidered flowers.  It has full, puffy half sleeves with pink cuffs.  All of the edges are lined with white lace.
The front of the bodice is decorated with a red twisted rope that is arranged in a corset pattern, complete with metal eyes to hold the rope in place:
The dress opens in the back with four large buttons.  
The bodice is fully lined in lightweight white fabric:
Under the dress on the back of Snow’s neck, there’s a copyright mark, a print of Monika Peter-Leicht’s signature, and my particular doll’s edition number:
She is #100 in an edition of 350.
The skirt is made out of a lightweight pink cotton (cotton blend?):
The skirt is ruched on one side, exposing a layered lacy patch on the petticoat:
Other than the one lacy area, the petticoat is plain white with a lace hem:
There are four layers of stiff net sewn to the lower part of the petticoat:
The petticoat is separate from the pink and blue dress–in fact the dress looks nice with or without the undergarments.  The petticoat has an elastic waistband for easy dressing and undressing. 
Under the petticoat, Snow is wearing simple white bloomers with gathered elastic cuffs:
Her shoes are imitation patent leather.  They are very thin and papery in feel, but I like the style:
The shoes have velcro straps and each is decorated with a plastic rhinestone ornament:
The shoes have stitched details, but are mostly glued together.  Traces of the yellowed glue can be seen along the inside edges of each shoe:
The outfit is fine, and seems durable, but I don’t think it adds anything special to the doll.  Because these dolls are large enough to wear real children’s clothing, I suspect many of them are redressed by their owners.  I know that I purchased Snow with ideas about how I would redress her.
The articulation of Masterpiece dolls has changed quite a lot over the years, and there are multiple articulation options within each collection.  Snow White has eleven joints, but I don’t think the movement of these joints is exactly the same as it is on the current dolls.
Snow is strung with white elastic and all of her joints are held together with this elastic except for her hips.  Her hips are set into her torso and have simple rotational movement.
Snow has a funny profile from head to toe.  I like her little belly, but it’s hard to get her to balance when she’s standing straight up, and so she often looks tipped over and subsequently pot-bellied:
If I use her long arms as counterweights, I can get her to stand up a little straighter:
This position makes her belly look better:
Snow’s shoulder joints can rotate around, but they can’t move away from her body very much.  She also can’t hold her arms up very well.  The few pictures I have where she has raised arms were very tricky to set up.  
Her elbows are ball jointed and have a bit more movement.
The upper and lower arm pieces are cut at an angle near the joint.  This allows the lower arm to bend about 20 degrees towards the body:
The lower arm can also be rotated around so that it can bend about 10 degrees away from the body:
The two arm pieces intersect around a large ball.  This joint can be surprisingly unobtrusive in some positions, but if the elbow is crooked or twisted at a funny angle, the joint is unattractive.
The wrists can rotate all of the way around, but they don’t have much bending movement.  The pictures below show the full extent of their bending flexibility:
The hands are nicely detailed on both sides, with small palm lines and painted fingernails:
She has a mild case of banana fingers.
Snow’s hips are angle-cut, and so she can’t sit without her legs splaying all of the way out to the sides.  This makes her excellent at the side-to-side splits, but she can’t sit in a chair or on the ground with her knees or feet anywhere near each other.  
The hip articulation was a huge disappointment to me.  This doll is shown on the website sitting beautifully , but I have no idea how they managed to do this.  I think she must not be sitting down as much as it appears–just half-sitting on a small stool, perhaps?  That big skirt can hide a lot of things.
Snow can also do the front-to-back splits, and her knees can rotate to help make this position look more natural:
While the knees can rotate nicely, they don’t have a lot of bending motion.  Also, they can’t hold any bent poses without support–the joint will just snap back into a straight position.
I have to hold the leg in this position.
Her feet are really nice with carefully-painted toenails:
I don’t have many other dolls this size to compare to Snow White.  My tallest doll is Annette Himstedt’s Annalisa.  She is also fully jointed, and stands about 48 inches tall.  
Himsetdt “Annalisa,” Masterpiece “Snow White.”
Annalisa makes an interesting comparison to Snow White for reasons other than her size.  I feel like the larger Masterpiece dolls really started to become popular after Himstedts were discontinued.  There just aren’t many dolls in this size range, and Masterpiece filled a void.  I can’t speak for other collectors, but I was drawn to Himsedts for two reasons: because of their gorgeous construction and creative artistry, and because of how close they come to being life-sized.  For those who can bear to remove their wonderful original outfits, these dolls can be redressed into real children’s clothing.  There’s a mothering instinct and an emotional reaction that make this type of larger doll appealing to me.
Masterpiece didn’t fill the artistry void that Himstedt left behind, but they did choose to cater to the collectors who are looking for a life-sized doll that can be redressed and posed like a child.
The problem (at least with Snow White) is that she actually is life-sized…and heavy, which makes her much harder to handle than a standard Himstedt doll.  Here’s Snow next to a more typical Himstedt, the club doll from 2005, Ntathi:
Himstedt “Ntathi, Masterpiece “Snow White.”
At 38 inches, Ntathi is still impressively large, but she’s small enough to be carried around.  Her cloth waist also makes her easier to manage–it reduces her overall weight and allows her to bend and fold easily into a number of different carry-able positions.  Ntathi can’t stand on her own, but she sits perfectly in a number of positions.  Her exposed joints might not look pretty, but they are sturdy, move extremely well, and hold their positions: 
One of my favorite dolls of all time.
Himstedts and Masterpiece dolls don’t have much in common beyond their size and their resemblance to real children.  Towards the end of their run, Himstedts were priced in the $1,000 range, while Masterpiece dolls are only now creeping over $300.  However, Himstedt dolls are works of art.  They were made in Germany out of high-quality vinyl.  They have custom glass eyes and hand-knotted human hair or mohair wigs.  Their faces are hand painted with exceptional detail.  They are dressed in unusual and highly detailed handmade outfits.  They were produced in themed collections with imaginative stories.  I miss them.
Anyway, to show you Snow’s impressive size next to some more typical dolls, here she is meeting one of my 23″ My Twinn girls :
And carrying an armful of play dolls in the 12″ scale:
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit “Snow White” by Monika Peter-Leicht for Masterpiece Dolls

Hat-tastic Party Apple White And Clothing From Fable’s End Emporium

The Toy Box Philosopher
Reviews and opinions about dolls and doll-related toys.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Hat-Tastic Party Apple White and Clothing from Fable’s End Emporium


Mattel has been busy lately.  Not only are the first Freaky Fusion and Zombie Shake Monster High dolls on the shelves, but there are several exciting new Ever After High releases, too.  As if Pinocchio’s wonderfully wooden daughter Cedar wasn’t enough, both the Hat-Tastic Party lineup and Rapunzel’s twins have recently started appearing online and in stores.
Initially, I intended to review only Hat-Tastic Apple White this week, because a friend gave me some wonderful custom clothes that I thought would look great on her.  However, in the midst of that review, my Holly and Poppy O’Hair arrived, and I couldn’t wait to get them out of their box!
With all of these new Ever After High dolls to review, this was originally a massive, 250-picture post that included Apple, her new clothes, and both of the red-headed O’Hair twins, but I decided to break that beast of a review into two parts–which I will publish in rapid succession.  First, here’s the lovely Hat-Tastic Apple White:
Ever After High’s Hat-Tastic Party Apple White.
Hat-Tastic Apple White is my second Apple White doll .  I haven’t been tempted by many of the other versions of Apple–mostly because they all look very similar.  This doll strongly resembles the premiere Apple, too, but she has fun pink streaks in her hair:
She also comes with cute tea set accessories!
The Hat-Tastic collection centers around Madeline Hatter’s tea party.  There’s an Evite-style invitation to this party on the back of the box:
They”charm” things instead of “liking” them.
Madeline asks everyone wear “their most tea-rrific hat,” so all of the dolls in this collection come wearing hats.  The five characters listed in the “Hex Yeah!” reply column of the invitation all have doll versions.  Maddie’s doll comes with a fun-looking tea party playset.
Apple is displayed against the standard design of typed words in random languages, with a colorful party scene in the foreground:
There’s a pop-out cardboard table that held the tea set accessories:
Here’s Apple herself:
In general, the Apple character’s pale vinyl and platinum blonde hair can make her look washed out and ghosty, but the pink streaks around this doll’s face make her look much rosier.  A small section of her bangs are tied at the left side of her face, sweeping some of the pink across her forehead in a simple curl:
Apple comes with a gold stand (tucked into the spine of the book-shaped box), a purse, two tea cups and a tea pot. 
nullThe tea cups attach to their saucers with a peg and hole connection, and the crown-shaped lid of the tea pot can be removed:
Apple’s purse is pink with a black beaded handle:
It has a small red apple decorating the front:


It does not open.
And a plain back with a quilted design:
Apple’s hat is a white pill box with a large red bow in front:
The hat is held onto Apple’s head with a black headband. The headband pushes the hair back and exposes many of Apple’s root plugs and her yellowish scalp:
Apple is wearing tiny red apple stud earrings:
Each apple has a bow underneath it:
My other Apple doll has unevenly-placed eyebrows, but this doll’s face paint is nice and symmetrical.  Her color palette is slightly darker than the original Apple, with more detail around her eyes:
Each eye has four layers of eyeshadow: an inner metallic gold line, lines of saffron and brown in the middle, and a wide outer band of faint gold.  The thick eyelashes also cast a purple shadow on the top of the eye:
Apple’s lips are a deep sparkling red and do not have any decorative dots:
Here are my two Apple dolls together so you can see the differences.  The pink hair is quite an improvement, I think.  
Hat-Tastic Apple is wearing a red, black and white party dress with a lot of printed detail:
The top of the dress is made out of a red polka dotted stretch knit and has short puffed sleeves with white ribbon-banded cuffs.  A black and white sweetheart bodice shape overlays the polka dots, and the whole thing is covered with a three-stranded pearl necklace:
The skirt of the dress is made out of a third type of stiff printed fabric with a tea cup and cupcake design.  The waist is gathered with the short ends sticking up:
There’s a design on the tea cups, but I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be:
The dress opens in back and is easy to get on and off, but Apple’s hands have to be removed in order for her arms to fit through the sleeves.
The skirt of the dress is fully lined with plain red stretch knit and hemmed in black lace:
Apple is wearing wonderful netted ankle socks and pearly white shoes:
Her shoes have golden twisted heels and small molded flowers along the sides:
I am not sure what the heel is supposed to be (if anything) but perhaps the small flowers along the sides are apple blossoms?
Very pretty shoes.
Apple’s hands are painted solid black as though she’s wearing gloves.  She’s also wearing pearly white bracelets on each arm that look like the ruffled cuffs of the gloves:
This Apple’s body is the same as my other Apple.  I didn’t see any red staining from the dress, which is great, however the body does have a glitch.  Hat-Tastic Apple’s ball-jointed hips are very stiff and hard to move.  Her right hip can not flex all of the way.  In the picture, below, both hips are bent towards the body as far as they will go:
Frustrating.
Here are my two Apple dolls together: these dolls are similar enough that I’m still unsure about whether it’s necessary to own both of them.
Both Apple dolls have red-based, busy outfits that remind me of Angelic Pretty Lolita-style fashion. Despite some differences in makeup, their faces are hard to tell apart from a distance.  They both have jewelry pieces with nice, themed details.  The texture and style of the hair is the same on both dolls, and the pink streaks are the only difference.
So, which doll do I prefer?  Well, the new Apple’s pink hair and cute hat give her a definite edge, but her black hands are not very versatile and her articulation is too stiff.  The original Apple has wonky face paint and a super-pale head, but she moves better and has normal hands.  My older Apple has a much better purse, but Hat-Tastic Apple has the adorable tea set with pieces she can actually hold:  
All in all, this new doll is my favorite of the two…she just might need an occasional hand transplant from the other Apple.
So, one of my reasons for purchasing Hat-Tastic Apple is that I needed a model for some new handmade clothes that fit Ever After High dolls.  Our friend Emily, who wrote the Picture Day Frankie Stein and Scaris Abbey Bominable doll guest reviews , has opened a new Etsy shop!  She was kind enough to send me some items from her store as a lovely thank you for her review.
Emily’s Etsy store is called Fable’s End Emporium , and it specializes in mix-and-match outfit pieces for Ever After High dolls.  She also accepts custom orders.  Emily’s gift to me was an 18th century-inspired outfit that isn’t even listed in her shop yet.  I also bought a few of her well-priced separates.  This all added up to a nice pile of goodies!
All wrapped in recyclable brown paper and beautifully labeled.
Apple was pretty excited to try on her new clothes.  She wanted to start with some of the smaller packages and leave the enticing panniers, petticoat and overskirt for last.
The separates are made out of a stretchy synthetic knit.  They come either in the Royal color palette (pink, red and white) or the Rebel colors (purple, blue and grey).  I chose the Royal options for Apple: 
Ruffled top with pencil skirt.
I ordered two tops, two skirts, a jacket and two belts.  All of this cost about $20 with shipping.  Here are some of the fun combinations that are possible:
Ruffled top with circle skirt.
Peplum top and circle skirt.
Peplum top and pencil skirt.
Peplum top, pencil skirt and jacket.
Of course the clothing can also be mixed and matched with regular Ever After High items, too.  These are nice basics to have.  Some of the regular Ever After High clothes are so packed with prints and designs that it’s nice to have solid colors to balance things out.  The pink peplum top is my favorite piece.  This looks so sweet on Apple and the style is perfect for her fairy tale theme.  My least favorite pieces are the belts.  These are unfinished strips of fabric, and I couldn’t get mine to look good:
I’ve looked back at Emily’s store pictures and realize that this is partly my fault–I was supposed to fold the belts over before tying them around Apple’s waist.  That would have hidden the rough edges and looked much better!
Ok, now for the pieces that Emily made especially for me!  There were no pictures of these items in the shop, so the outfit was a huge surprise.  All I knew was that it was inspired by 18th century fashion and had “panniers” and a corset.  This outfit even came with carefully-written instructions for how to put it on correctly:
Brilliant idea!
Following these instructions carefully, I first got out the corset and put it on Apple–keeping the ties loose.  The corset is the only piece that is made out of a printed fabric.  It is an off-white muslin with a red and pink flower pattern.
Before I put on the petticoat, I wanted to get a picture of Apple with just the panniers on.  Panniers are hooped underskirts that were popular in the 18th century.  The name comes from the French word panier, which means “basket.”  These are amazing.  They Alice in wonderland tattooed doll are made out of off-white muslin and are quilted and boned to create a perfect profile:
Here’s a photo of some full-size panniers from the mid-1700s:
Here’s the entire outfit on Apple–it includes a muslin petticoat, a pink stretch overskirt, the panniers and the corset:
I tried to do a quick Marie Antoinette hairstyle by poofing up the blonde part of Apple’s hair and letting the pink ringlets hang down, but it’s a little crazy:
I love this style of clothing on Apple and think it gives her an elegant, mature look that still has a healthy dose of fairy tale fun.  Emily–thank you so much for making these beautiful clothes for my Apple.  I wish you all the very best with your new store!
Now, if you still have the energy to read about Holly and Poppy O’Hair , check out part two of this Ever After High extravaganza!  
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Hat-Tastic Party Apple White and Clothing from Fable’s End Emporium

Hat-tastic Party Apple White And Clothing From Fable’s End Emporium

The Toy Box Philosopher
Reviews and opinions about dolls and doll-related toys.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Hat-Tastic Party Apple White and Clothing from Fable’s End Emporium
Mattel has been busy lately.  Not only are the first Freaky Fusion and Zombie Shake Monster High dolls on the shelves, but there are several exciting new Ever After High releases, too.  As if Pinocchio’s wonderfully wooden daughter Cedar wasn’t enough, both the Hat-Tastic Party lineup and Rapunzel’s twins have recently started appearing online and in stores.
Initially, I intended to review only Hat-Tastic Apple White this week, because a friend gave me some wonderful custom clothes that I thought would look great on her.  However, in the midst of that review, my Holly and Poppy O’Hair arrived, and I couldn’t wait to get them out of their box!
With all of these new Ever After High dolls to review, this was originally a massive, 250-picture post that included Apple, her new clothes, and both of the red-headed O’Hair twins, but I decided to break that beast of a review into two parts–which I will publish in rapid succession.  First, here’s the lovely Hat-Tastic Apple White:
Ever After High’s Hat-Tastic Party Apple White.
Hat-Tastic Apple White is my second Apple White doll .  I haven’t been tempted by many of the other versions of Apple–mostly because they all look very similar.  This doll strongly resembles the premiere Apple, too, but she has fun pink streaks in her hair:
She also comes with cute tea set accessories!
The Hat-Tastic collection centers around Madeline Hatter’s tea party.  There’s an Evite-style invitation to this party on the back of the box:
They”charm” things instead of “liking” them.
Madeline asks everyone wear “their most tea-rrific hat,” so all of the dolls in this collection come wearing hats.  The five characters listed in the “Hex Yeah!” reply column of the invitation all have doll versions.  Maddie’s doll comes with a fun-looking tea party playset.
Apple is displayed against the standard design of typed words in random languages, with a colorful party scene in the foreground:
There’s a pop-out cardboard table that held the tea set accessories:
Here’s Apple herself:
In general, the Apple character’s pale vinyl and platinum blonde hair can make her look washed out and ghosty, but the pink streaks around this doll’s face make her look much rosier.  A small section of her bangs are tied at the left side of her face, sweeping some of the pink across her forehead in a simple curl:
Apple comes with a gold stand (tucked into the spine of the book-shaped box), a purse, two tea cups and a tea pot. 
The tea cups attach to their saucers with a peg and hole connection, and the crown-shaped lid of the tea pot can be removed:
Apple’s purse is pink with a black beaded handle:
It has a small red apple decorating the front:
It does not open.
And a plain back with a quilted design:
Apple’s hat is a white pill box with a large red bow in front:
The hat is held onto Apple’s head with a black headband. The headband pushes the hair back and exposes many of Apple’s root plugs and her yellowish scalp:
Apple is wearing tiny red apple stud earrings:
Each apple has a bow underneath it:
My other Apple doll has unevenly-placed eyebrows, but this doll’s face paint is nice and symmetrical.  Her color palette is slightly darker than the original Apple, with more detail around her eyes:


Each eye has four layers of eyeshadow: an inner metallic gold line, lines of saffron and brown in the middle, and a wide outer band of faint gold.  The thick eyelashes also cast a purple shadow on the top of the eye:
Apple’s lips are a deep sparkling red and do not have any decorative dots:
Here are my two Apple dolls together so you can see the differences.  The pink hair is quite an improvement, I think.  
Hat-Tastic Apple is wearing a red, black and white party dress with a lot of printed detail:
The top of the dress is made out of a red polka dotted stretch knit and has short puffed sleeves with white ribbon-banded cuffs.  A black and white sweetheart bodice shape overlays the polka dots, and the whole thing is covered with a three-stranded pearl necklace:
The skirt of the dress is made out of a third type of stiff printed fabric with a tea cup and cupcake design.  The waist is gathered with the short ends sticking up:


There’s a design on the tea cups, but I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be:
The dress opens in back and is easy to get on and off, but Apple’s hands have to be removed in order for her arms to fit through the sleeves.
The skirt of the dress is fully lined with plain red stretch knit and hemmed in black lace:
Apple is wearing wonderful netted ankle socks and pearly white shoes:
Her shoes have golden twisted heels and small molded flowers along the sides:
I am not sure what the heel is supposed to be (if anything) but perhaps the small flowers along the sides are apple blossoms?
Very pretty shoes.
Apple’s hands are painted solid black as though she’s wearing gloves.  She’s also wearing pearly white bracelets on each arm that look like the ruffled cuffs of the gloves:
This Apple’s body is the same as my other Apple.  I didn’t see any red staining from the dress, which is great, however the body does have a glitch.  Hat-Tastic Apple’s ball-jointed hips are very stiff and hard to move.  Her right hip can not flex all of the way.  In the picture, below, both hips are bent towards the body as far as they will go:
Frustrating.
Here are my two Apple dolls together: these dolls are similar enough that I’m still unsure about whether it’s necessary to own both of them.
Both Apple dolls have red-based, busy outfits that remind me of Angelic Pretty Lolita-style fashion. Despite some differences in makeup, their faces are hard to tell apart from a distance.  They both have jewelry pieces with nice, themed details.  The texture and style of the hair is the same on both dolls, and the pink streaks are the only difference.
So, which doll do I prefer?  Well, the new Apple’s pink hair and cute hat give her a definite edge, but her black hands are not very versatile and her articulation is too stiff.  The original Apple has wonky face paint and a super-pale head, but she moves better and has normal hands.  My older Apple has a much better purse, but Hat-Tastic Apple has the adorable tea set with pieces she can actually hold:  
All in all, this new doll is my favorite of the two…she just might need an occasional hand transplant from the other Apple.
So, one of my reasons for purchasing Hat-Tastic Apple is that I needed a model for some new handmade clothes that fit Ever After High dolls.  Our friend Emily, who wrote the Picture Day Frankie Stein and Scaris Abbey Bominable doll guest reviews , has opened a new Etsy shop!  She was kind enough to send me some items from her store as a lovely thank you for her review.
Emily’s Etsy store is called Fable’s End Emporium , and it specializes in mix-and-match outfit pieces for Ever After High dolls.  She also accepts custom orders.  Emily’s gift to me was an 18th century-inspired outfit that isn’t even listed in her shop yet.  I also bought a few of her well-priced separates.  This all added up to a nice pile of goodies!
All wrapped in recyclable brown paper and beautifully labeled.
Apple was pretty excited to try on her new clothes.  She wanted to start with some of the smaller packages and leave the enticing panniers, petticoat and overskirt for last.
The separates are made out of a stretchy synthetic knit.  They come either in the Royal color palette (pink, red and white) or the Rebel colors (purple, blue and grey).  I chose the Royal options for Apple: 
Ruffled top with pencil skirt.
I ordered two tops, two skirts, a jacket and two belts.  All of this cost about $20 with shipping.  Here are some of the fun combinations that are possible:
Ruffled top with circle skirt.
Peplum top and circle skirt.
Peplum top and pencil skirt.
Peplum top, pencil skirt and jacket.
Of course the clothing can also be mixed and matched with regular Ever After High items, too.  These are nice basics to have.  Some of the regular Ever After High clothes are so packed with prints and designs that it’s nice to have solid colors to balance things out.  The pink peplum top is my favorite piece.  This looks so sweet on Apple and the style is perfect for her fairy tale theme.  My least favorite pieces are the belts.  These are unfinished strips of fabric, and I couldn’t get mine to look good:
I’ve looked back at Emily’s store pictures and realize that this is partly my fault–I was supposed to fold the belts over before tying them around Apple’s waist.  That would have hidden the rough edges and looked much better!
Ok, now for the pieces that Emily made especially for me!  There were no pictures of these items in the shop, so the outfit was a huge surprise.  All I knew was that it was inspired by 18th century fashion and had “panniers” and a corset.  This outfit even came with carefully-written instructions for how to put it on correctly:
Brilliant idea!
Following these instructions carefully, I first got out the corset and put it on Apple–keeping the ties loose.  The corset is the only piece that is made out of a printed fabric.  It is an off-white muslin with a red and pink flower pattern.
Before I put on the petticoat, I wanted to get a picture of Apple with just the panniers on.  Panniers are hooped underskirts that were popular in the 18th century.  The name comes from the French word panier, which means “basket.”  These are amazing.  They are made out of off-white muslin and are quilted and boned to create a perfect profile:
Here’s a photo of some full-size panniers from the mid-1700s:
Here’s the entire outfit on Apple–it includes a muslin petticoat, a pink stretch overskirt, the panniers and the corset:
I tried to do a quick Marie Antoinette hairstyle by poofing up the blonde part of Apple’s hair and letting the pink ringlets hang down, but it’s a little crazy:
I love this style of clothing on Apple and think salvador dali handmade doll it gives her an elegant, mature look that still has a healthy dose of fairy tale fun.  Emily–thank you so much for making these beautiful clothes for my Apple.  I wish you all the very best with your new store!
Now, if you still have the energy to read about Holly and Poppy O’Hair , check out part two of this Ever After High extravaganza!  
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Hat-Tastic Party Apple White and Clothing from Fable’s End Emporium

2014 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention…

Barbie convention flyer 2…let the madness begin.  By the time this blog entry posts, I will be boarding a series of flights that will take me deep into the heartland of the United States.  The National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention (NBDCC) is gathering collectors from all over the world in Nashville Tennessee this year and I will be there to report and to enjoy.


I am especially excited to go and see old and new friends this year because I missed the big dance last year.  I can’t wait to catch up with everyone.  I will be sharing photos and updates on the blog here and on my Flickr account.  Feel free to follow along.  I will try to do my daily updates but am making no promises as I will also be selling out of my room this year.  Things will most likely be a little crazy for a bit.  Here is the sales flyer for what I have.


Fabulous silk scarves for our diminutive divas.  Perfect for table gifts or as a hostess gift for your table hostess.  The scarf sets come with tweedle dee and tweedle dum doll a 5 inch by 5 inch silk scarf, designer scarf box and little scarf ring to keep it in place. 


Each set is priced at $20.00 with over 40 different designs to choose from.
 
I will also be selling furniture. 
If you are in Nashville this year, feel free to stop by.  I will post the room number once I get in.  Watch for the ITFDS flyers on the sales boards.  Hope to post my first update tomorrow night. 
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit 2014 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention…

Kingdom Doll “hadrian” Available Friday

Kingdom Doll has announced the ordering date for Hadrian. Here is some information:
Hadrian ltd 50 pieces world wide.


Its time to save the date everyone, Hadrian will be sold this coming Friday the 11th of July at 6.30pm British time!
We often get asked what the time difference is around the world, so here is a link to the World Clock we hope you will find helpful. Hadrian is limited to 50 dolls world wide, she is dressed in a hand finished black silk gown with unique custom metal details, featuring a pale platinum blonde hard cap wig. Please note that  Hadrian’s shoes have not arrived yet at KD HQ but we have decided to go ahead and clicking here sell Hadrian as planned this coming Friday. For anyone who purchases the doll from us on the day please note that Hadrian’s shoes will be sent out separately as soon as they arrive at no extra cost.
Just click on the icon of Hadrian to take you to her website gallery
Hadrian, is the penultimate use of our Novantae head sculpt, the last of which is planned for a very limited release at the years end before she is retired. We chose the name Hadrian for this third outing of Novantae after “Hadrian’s Wall” ( Latin: Vallum Aelium) a defensive fortification in Roman Britain built by the Emperor Hadrian to keep the Roman empire intact!
 
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Kingdom Doll “Hadrian” Available Friday