Sunday, August 31, 2014

J-Doll Rewigged

Dear Readers,

I found out about J-Dolls earlier this year and posted about them HERE.  They are so pretty that I could not resist and bought three J-Dolls from Amazon.com.  They were moderately priced at $39.99 and I was very happy with them except that one of them had very bad hair.  I had chosen J-Doll Esplanadi Katu because she is so strikingly beautiful and her outfit is incredibly detailed and well-done.

This is what she looked like on the promo photos.  Her coat and purse are the best doll's clothes and accessories I had seen so far.  

The green dress looked cheap but the rest of her outfit made up for that.

But something I could not get over was her horrible hair.  It had the texture of straw and there was so little of it that I could not style her in anyway.  I didn't like her silver/grey color either.  I wouldn't have minded so much if the hair was of good quality but it was not so the whole wig was a fail to me.  

On the promo photos, the hair length looks even but in reality, it was uneven all over.  And it was too short for me to tie it up nicely or style it in a bun.

J-Dolls are made by Jun Planning, the mother company that makes Pullip and Dal dolls.  Except J-Dolls have normal-sized head and not the over-sized big heads that Pullip and the other dolls have.  Pullip and J-Dolls share the same body but the J-Dolls have no eye mechanism so they cannot close or move their eyes like the other big-head dolls.

Another difference is that J-Dolls are not meant to be customized so their wigs are not supposed to be removed and their eyes are not supposed to be changed.  One would need to break their head out to change their eyes.  However, the hair can be replaced.  Although their wigs are glued to their head, it is possible to unglue the hair with a hot water soak with a mild dish detergent.  I read about this tutorial on Diane's Dolls and Kitties Blog.  

After the recommended 30 minutes of soaking, the wig still felt very hard and did not budge so I let it soak for another  30 minutes and added a little bit of boiling water to the existing water.  So after a whole hour of soaking, I noticed the wig cap was starting to become weaker at some points and so I used my thumb to push it along the edges.  It took a good 5 minutes of pushing to dislodge the wig completely from my doll's head.

I was very worried that I would break her head or her body with all that pressure so I was extra careful while handling her.  It was still a nerve-wrecking process because I was sure she would end up snapping a limb!

Once her wig was removed, I was able to give her new hair!  Many months ago, I bought a size 4 wig for my Little Dal doll but I didn't use it yet so I gave it to this J-Doll to try it first!

Oh it's so soft now!

So what do you think? 
The size 4 wig is a little big for her but I think it would be stay in place with double-sided tape.  Now that she has new hair, I feel she is worthy of display again.  I gave her a Re-ment outfit to try out and it fits perfectly!   I can't wait to try other wigs on her and give try some other clothes as well.   Happy dolly times at last!

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes and Bakes

Dear Readers,

Do you ever buy books by its cover?  I sure do.  A lot.  And my most recent one is a craft book: Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes and Bakes.  There is even an official website for that book!

Not that I needed another coffee table book that I would never truly use, but the cover art was just too tempting to pass.  Plus I love anything wonderland-related theme, whether they are books, dolls, or teapots. 

So I bought this one as soon as I saw it and I am glad because it's out of print from Amazon.com right now (but still available from other sellers).  The book was co-produced by Hannah Read-Baldry and Christine Leech and you can read more about them HERE.

They also have another book under their name: Everything Oz: The Wizard Book of Makes and Bakes.  That would also be an interesting book to get!  It's also available at Barnes and Nobles in case you live in the USA and want to get it.

Back to Alice book now.  It's a very beautiful book full of color pictures and craft ideas.  It's however in paperback only.  I would  have preferred a hardcover or spiral-bound book but that's just me.  Oh well, paperback will have to do.

The book presents many craft and food ideas somewhat related to the Wonderland imagined by Lewis Carroll.  I say "somewhat" because some crafts are rather loosely linked to the book and a few are quite far-fetched (a shoe bag???).  But if you are planning a Wonderland-theme party, this book can be useful. 


Did I like it? I think the author did a good job at explaining each step and showing the finished product in beautiful pictures but there aren't that many cooking recipes and they are rather plain and not inventive or unusual.  The crafts are undeniably gorgeous but again, there is nothing spectacular.   However, the book is filled with awesome photos or drawings on each page.  Everything is in color.  Here below are some of those pages.







The main attraction of the book is the beautiful art it displays: 5 out of 5 stars!  The content only gets 3 out of 5 stars though.  But  it will be a good book for inspiration rather than a book for exact reference.  It also looks great as a coffee table book or on a Wonderland bookshelf!





 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Only Hearts Club Doll Fashion Packs

Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of the Only Hearts Club Dolls?  The dolls are soft and poseable and seem to be a good starter doll for young children.  But I was more interested in their clothes to be honest. 

It's because I rarely find clothes that fit my 9 inches dolls like Licca, Dal and Skipper.  Since the Only Hearts Club Dolls share about the same measurements, I bought a few outfits to test them out.

I am glad I did because they are almost a perfect fit for Licca dolls.  I have yet to try them on my Dal and Skipper dolls but I heard they do fit Dal dolls really well.

Here below you can see some of my Licca girls wearing the clothes from Only Hearts Club Fashion Packs. 


Each fashion packs is packaged with one outfit and many accessories like shoes, handbags, and socks.   The garments are well made and I totally love the additional accessories. 



The fashion packs pricing range from $3.50 (on sale) to $14.50 depending on where you shop for them.    It's a real bargain for all the items included.    I found more choices on Ebay and Amazon and a few choices at discount stores like Tuesday Morning.

Compared to the fashion packs from Best Friends Club Ink that I found at the Dollar Store, the Only Hearts Club's fashion packs include the same amount of accessories but they are released with more choices.  They also target a tween fashion style whereas the Best Friends Club Ink are more teenager-oriented.

The clothes selections are tastefully hip enough for trendy kids but still maintain that children's vibe to them which I prefer to the hoochie Bratz fashion. 

This is how well the stocking fits on Licca doll's legs.

And the shoes can fit very well too except sometimes it is too tight to wear with socks.

The top is a little tight as well but it looks good from the front.  Licca dolls are not flat-chested like Only Hearts Club dolls so all the tops will be slightly tighter.

I am very tempted to buy more of these fashion packs now that I know they fit my Licca dolls so well.  I don't see many of them anymore at Tuesday Morning stores but there are so many other choices on Amazon and Ebay.  Still at good prices but I think I'll check out a few other discount stores before splurging at online stores.

Do you like these fashion packs?  It sure beats buying a single Licca dress at $20 plus $10 shipping fee!!!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Mini Lalaloopsy Dolls, Playsets and Dollhouse!

Dear Readers,

I already mentioned the Strawberry Shortcake dolls yesterday and I wanted also to show you some new toys I saw at the store but it would be too heavy in terms of image content!  So today I am posting about the new Mini Lalaloopsy playsets, dollhouse and dolls.

I am a huge fan of the Mini Lalaloopsy dolls and I think I bought pretty much everything MGA Entertainment released in this line of toy but recently, it has been a little boring.  New dolls have been produced but they are not available yet in my local stores.  They are sold online but at a premium cost so I won't be buying them unless I see them in stores.

However, yesterday I was very surprised to see four new playsets!  The playsets include existing Mini Lalaloopsy.

Dyna Might on a Pogo Stick.  When you press the button, she jumps up and down.


Prairie Dusty Trails with a jump rope.  When you turn the crank, the jump rope rotates and the Mini Doll moves along (because her hands are attached to the rope) to create an impression that she is jumping.

Ember Flicker Flame on a trampoline.   Press on the button and she "jumps" up and down.

And last is Peanut Big Top with a Tricycle which is my favorite playset.  

It's more interesting than the other playsets but it looks like the all the dolls are attached to their playset and it would be impossible to dislodge them.  I may be wrong.  And if the dolls are attached to the playset, I am really not interested in getting them to be honest.

Another new toy was a dollhouse!!!  It looks like an exact replica of the previous dollhouse (which I blogged about already) released by MGA but this time, it's in shades of purple instead of pink.

The dollhouse includes a Blossom Flowerpot Mini Doll (like the previous dollhouse) but the doll is now wearing a purple apron.  I don't see any furniture included and it looks like the furniture playsets, shown on the back of the box, have not changed.  However, I did not see any furniture playsets in the store so I wonder if they will be released later.

There were no new Mini Dolls which was disappointing because I know that MGA has released quite a few lately but I don't see any of them in stores.  Instead, I saw two new sets of Mini dolls.

The Silly Sleepover Collection

The School Days Collection


I don't really see why these new collections were released.  If you buy the Sibling's pack, you would have most of these little sister dolls already and the pajama-clad dolls are cute but they are only old dolls with a different outfit.   The playsets didn't even include new accessories like pillows and blankets for the sleepover or books and desks for the school days set.  How boring!!!

I did not buy any of the new toys I saw today because I already have a dollhouse, and all the dolls released here (or variations of the same doll).  I guess for people who are missing on those items, this is a great occasion to get them at a good price.   

And when I say good price, it's compared to the online store of course where it is often (but not always) more expensive.  Mini Lalaloopsy dolls are not cheap.  They retail at $6.99 for one single doll and a pet and two accessories.  The playsets can go from $12.99 to higher.

And it's a good thing that a new dollhouse is now available but I am baffled at the lack of furniture.  Is MGA Entertainment expecting parents to buy them from online shops at 3 times the original price? O_O  I hope I am wrong and that the company will release new furniture playsets.  

It's a little lazy though from them to produce an exact same dollhouse albeit the color is different.  A totally different dollhouse with different furniture would have been wonderful.  Mini Lalaloopsy dolls represent so many themes that I am sure another dollhouse with another cute theme would have been possible!!! Oh but what do I know about toy marketing and benefits, right?  Toy company exist to make money so they probably didn't want to take a risk to flop.

In the meantime, I'll be lurking around the stores for more new autumn arrivals!!!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Strawberry Shortcake Dolls by Bridge Direct

Dear Readers,

I went to Toys R Us today go buy some diapers and I walked across the new Strawberry Shortcake dolls made by Bridge Direct!!!

A few weeks ago, I posted (here) about Strawberry Shortcake dolls getting a new look by Bridge Direct which is now producing them instead of Hasbro.  I took pictures of the 3 inches dolls and the 5 inches dolls.  There were also a much bigger doll the size of a large Lalaloopsy but I was not interested in such big dolls.

The new Mini dolls seem to be the same size as the previous one and they even are packaged in the same type of box with many outfits and handbags.  They are also annoyingly leaving out Blueberry Muffin and Plum Pudding.  I think the package was $24.99 but I don't remember for sure.

The new doll look very similar to the older version by Hasbro but their eyes are quite different.

The 5 inches dolls are $9.99 and come with a pet and a comb.  I think they look older than the previous version and their hands/fingers are more defined but I don't have a side-by-side photo to show you since I didn't buy the new version.

There are four dolls at the same cost of $9.99.  You can see their pictures on the back of the box.

The 5 inches dolls are also released in a special collection entitled "SWEET BEATS DOLLS".  Those dolls are priced at $12.99 and include a  musical instrument, a comb and a microphone.   If you are familiar with the cartoon, you will notice that the dolls are paired with the same instruments they are portrayed with in the TV series.

Here below is Plum Pudding with her drums.

  Strawberry Shortcake with her guitar.

Raspberry Torte with her keyboard.

Strawberry Shortcake and Cherry Jam are released with a stage playset.

 In addition to the dolls from the Sweet Beats Band, there are also two other playsets with 5 inches dolls.

The Berry Café Playset with Strawberry Shortcake and a stove with some cakes and pies.

And Lemon Meringue's Salon with a chair, comb, mirror, and hair accessories.  These playsets are $12.99 if I remember correctly. 


The dolls are quite pretty and looks similar to the TV series but they do look different enough from the previous version.   I really like the music band concept and it reflects the cartoon so well that it probably would be a big hit with kids.  I know my own daughter was obsessed with the stage and pressing on the button to hear Cherry Jam and Strawberry Shortcake singing.

But I left the store without buying any of the new dolls.  I have all the 3 inches and 5 inches dolls released by Hasbro (well at least one doll for each character) and I don't see the need to get a new one.  I do like the Salon Chair very much but because it does not come with an actual salon, I won't get it.  Same thing with the stove.  It's a great size for the doll but it does not come with a dollhouse so I probably won't purchase it.

I doubt the toys will ever make it to a discount store but if they do, maybe I'll buy them but not now with the actual price tag.  I wonder if I will change my mind if a dollhouse or a hair salon is released.  It will all depend on the price too and how good it will look.

Do you like the new dolls and their playsets?  Would you buy them?

I saw other new dolls that I will blog about in my next post :)



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Aranera's Giveaway!

Dear Readers,

I am back from vacation!  It was a good little trip and I enjoyed the time off although we nearly went home after the first night because baby didn't sleep and was crying much of the night.   Our hotel room was spacious and super clean but it was her first time sleeping outside the house so she was not used to being in a strange place and kept asking to go back home.  But we decided to stay and she did sleep better the second night. 

Dolphins sighting!
I didn't take many pictures because my hands were always oily with sunscreen or full of sand.  I was also with baby the whole time and it was basically impossible to do anything without her.   I took a few dolls with me hoping that I could take photos of them on the beach but I found myself reluctant to do anything about dollies while on location.  All in all, it was a great little vacation and I would definitely come back next year.
View from under the canopy!
Now that I am back, everything seems rushed compared to the lazy beach schedule.  My boy has his teacher meeting this afternoon and he will start class next Monday.  At work, files are piling up on my desk and at home I cooked everyday so my family could eat healthy again after a vacation's diet of restaurant food!  Busy busy busy!

But it was fun to be back to the routine and to blogland.  I realized I am missing a lot of Sylvanian Website links on my follow list.  I have to sit down one day to add them all so I stop missing on their updates!

Thanks to many of my fellow bloggers, I did catch Aranera's Evergreen Village Sylvanian Families Fansite!  I promptly added her to my follow list and I would like to share with you her Giveaway Post!  The Giveaway is really fabulous with tons of miniature clay cakes, pudding, cups, etc.

Aranera is a Sylvanian Collector and she writes stories about her Sylvanian Families.  It's a beautiful fansite and her pictures are exquisite!   Even if you are not into the whole Sylvanian thing, it's really a fun website to follow because of her adorable stories!

I will look forward to Saturday and Sunday to catch my breath and plan my next blog post.  I wish you all good weekend!





Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kayaking on the Bayou

Dear Readers,

I live in a very big city.  And it's ever growing, with many construction sites everywhere I look.  This adds to the pollution, noise and car traffic.  But despite these negative points, I think life here can still be good because there are many parks and rivers throughout the city.  

When I first moved here, I was very homesick and sad to see so much concrete around me.  I missed my hometown where there were hills and lakes covered with snow in winter and forests full of orange leaves in autumn. 

But I became used to the convenience a big city has to offer: the incredible amount of shops, the number of parks and activity centers, and the bayou. I never heard of a bayou before moving here.  Bayou is essentially "a Franco-English term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying area, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland."

The Bayou goes on for miles and miles and it is a great place for going kayaking because the flow is not too strong.  




Here is one of the canoe/kayak drop down spot on the bayou.

It looks very steep but there are stairs leading all the way down.

The stream is very slow before it reaches the rocks.

After it rains, the water level rises up.  It's very low right now.

I look forward to autumn when the weather will be cooler and our trips on the bayou could last longer and become more enjoyable.  Have a great weekend everybody and enjoy the outdoors if you can! 




Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hina-chan in a Barbie House

Dear Readers,

How was your weekend?  I can't believe it's already August!  We are counting the days until school starts again!  Most of my days out of the office were spent with the kids making the most of our little time together.  I had very few moments to spend on my hobbies but I did manage to snap a few photos a week ago.

I wanted to display some of the miniature pastries that Chloe had sent me.  They are displayed below on the coffee table of Hina-chan's home.  She is one of Licca's friend that I dressed up in clothes from Only Hearts Club.   Those clothes fit Licca dolls to a T.  They are much cheaper than the Takara fashion packs and they come in many different styles as well.  I'll have to show you my Licca dolls in those outfits in another post.

But for now, here below are some photos of Hina-chan in her Barbie "My House" folding dollhouse.  I got this house at a garage sale for only $10 + a bunch of furniture.  It was super dirty and I had to scrape off all the damaged stickers and scrub the dollhouse for 3 days O_O.   I still need to add some painting or wallpaper to the walls. 



Here is the kitchen.  You'll see miniature items from Re-ment, Orcara, Barbie, Mini Lalaloopsy, and Bratz.  It took me forever to set up this kitchen but I am not happy with it.  I hate it. It's so disorganized and I need to re-think my display.  I will probably swap the furniture and appliances for others pieces and see how it goes from there.

The Re-ment stove is my favorite piece of the kitchen.  I love the eye-popping red color.  The fridge is from a Barbie playset.  

Here is a close-up of the stove.  All the cabinet doors open and there is even a broiler!  My favorite miniature item is the soap bottle and the tiny gloves!  Well I like the spice rack too.   It's from Re-ment Fairy Tales Tableware Collection which I blogged about HERE.

And here is a full view of the "apartment".  You don't see the bathroom or bedroom because they are on the other side of the walls.  Which I have not yet decorated.


Hopefully I will have some time this week to write a few more blog posts.  Have a great week everybody!