Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Lori Case: Isabelle's World in Miniature?

My poppets love the new LORI line of 6" dolls and accessories and we continue to be surprised and delighted by the constant stream of new releases. The new LORI case with accessories is sweet and sophisticated and basically irresistible!

On the shelves pictured above is partial view of the ballet studio with a grand piano that has been on the shelves since late summer. Maybe I should have seen the connection before today, but much of the LORI line dance clothing and accessories evoke American Girl's GOTY Isabelle (2014) and her ballet theme.

The dance case is pretty much a dead ringer for GOTY Isabelle's Dance Case. The case is somewhat smaller and comes with different accessories than Isabelle's Dance Case, but it is impossible to see the Lori Case and not think of Isabelle!

The LORI line offers the choice between a darker salmon-pink colored case or a lighter blush-pink case.

The accessories for the 6" Lori dolls that come with the case include 2 pairs of glasses, 1 pair of sunglasses, 1 bracelet, 2 rubber band bracelet set, 2 headbands, a necklace and a hair bow.

Interior of the salmon colored case--there is a pocket sleeve on one side of the interior for accessories and glittery elastic band that can secure a 6" doll inside for travel or storage.

The vinyl case is subtly and elegantly embossed with the LORI logo.

The interior of the blush-pink case is sheer bliss. The case appears sturdy and well constructed with a metallic closing clasp and the carry handle is riveted in place.

Maybe the best part of this Lori case with all these included accessories is the price:  $16.99. I know! These should rightly fly off the shelves!

Three LORI dolls in their dance clothes show off the new accessories from the case. Thank you to the kind friend who allowed me to share her photos of this terrific find so that we could all enjoy a quick peek together of the new LORI case!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Grace's French Bakery SOLD OUT

French Bakery - Gone!

The sell out date for Grace's French Bakery has been on my mind every week now for over a month and I honestly felt a bit sheepish for voicing my doom and gloom predictions, but even I was shocked to see confirmation this morning from American Girl on Facebook that indeed the French Bakery would no longer be available.

Today American Girl confirmed via Facebook that “Grace’s French Bakery has sold out and is no longer available.” They later added that “The popularity exceeded our expectations and sold out more quickly than anticipated.”

While confirmation of the sell out was not until this morning, I am recording the online sell out date as October 3rd as the French Bakery changed from its online backorder status to its final "No longer available" status sometime on Saturday.

Note that as of 12 pm (noon) today a few of the AGP stores have the bakery in stock, but I anticipate these will be gone in a matter of days.

Charlotte – Available
Minneapolis – Limited (Unavailable as of 1:30 pm Monday)
Nashville – Available
Orlando - Available

Call and jump into your cars now, because once these last few French Bakeries are gone from the physical AG stores the only place left to find the bakery will be on the secondary market--but even there the inventory is low and the prices are high.

Since this *morning* alone on Ebay 5 French Bakeries have already been sold (completed auctions) with the selling prices ranging between $750 - $815. Before this morning, only one or two a week or less were being sold on Ebay and generally for $650 or less. I now expect the prices on Ebay for the French Bakery to jump upwards and exceed $1000 from here on until the supply on the secondary market is depleted or the Christmas season passes.

The early sell out certainly is a game changer for GOTY collectors. Last year I waited until the last minute to purchase Isabelle's Studio (I bought it within one or two days of both online and in store sell out dates). Amazingly, a year later one can still purchase Isabelle's Studio on Ebay for approximately original retail price, so one can hope waiting out the secondary market holiday frenzy on Grace's Bakery could yield a better deal.

But my new rule of thumb for GOTY is if I want something from the collection, assuming no budgeting issues, that I better not wait too long--AG is running a much leaner ship in terms of supply chain management and "while supplies last" is not merely advisory, it is simply reality.

I realize many collectors were never considering purchasing the bakery, but if you were thinking about it...Are you relieved to have this item preemptively taken off your list knowing the temptation is gone? Turning to the secondary market? Changing how you collect for GOTY and other limited edition items?

The next big question about Grace's Wonderful World will be how long her doll stays in production--will she survive until mid-December? It seems like in order for Grace's clothing and accessories to sell that AG needs to keep Grace the doll in stock--so I imagine AG will try to keep her available until at least December 20th. But Grace has certainly broke the expected patterns already. Also, William Sonoma has another cross promotion with American Girl Grace Thomas rolling out this week so stay tuned for some talk about that here as well.

Looking forward: It seems time to begin a proper welcome for GOTY 2016 Lea Clark! There have been many leaked pictures of prototypes over the past two months, so we can start filling in the gaps here at Poppets & Posies with our own speculations.

Additionally, while I passed over blogging about the stunning debut of Beforever Maryellen, I am definitely interested in taking a look at what we know so far about Beforever 2016 and to ask the tantalizing question (based on rumors and early cues) if if BF 2016 will debut side-by-side with GOTY 2016 Lea Clark on January 1st, 2016.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

WWOG: Early Retirement or Late Restocking?

MONDAY UPDATE:  AG website was updated this morning and so far all the items seem to be available again! The rumors still persist, including the French Bakery going into backorder status soon but for now all is well in Graceland!

Hang onto your Christmas stocking those of you who have made plans to pick up some of Grace's items closer to the end of the year because Grace's Welcome Gifts, her pink Opening Night Outfit, the classic Baking Outfit, and even her new Sightseeing Outfit are all listed as "no longer available" on AG's website!

We've seen website glitches and misleading stock information on AG's website before, so perhaps Monday morning the site will update and we will see these items back in stock or at least with a backorder date. However, a few small rumors have begun to surface about Grace's collection, such as AG stores not planning to restock certain Grace items once they run out and a rumor that Grace's French Bakery may go on backorder status soon.

With BF Maryellen debuting next week and a GOTY 2016 around the corner, will AG let the stock of Grace's quite large and expanded collection slowly move into sell out status? At this point AG is probably heavily invested in making sure Maryellen does well and is merely riding out the last quarter of Grace's reign. I can imagine the Grace doll and a core of her items being deliberately made available until mid-December, but if it is the case that the four items above do not return, it will be anyone's guess what will still be available to buy late in the holiday season.

Thoughts? I will keep an eye on AG's website--will need to add a retraction come Monday morning?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kirsten Larson: Welcome Home!

***Poppets & Posies 100th Post!***

I have wanted a Kirsten doll since 1996 when I was introduced to my first Pleasant Company catalog. As a Danish/Norwegian girl myself who grew up in Minnesota, I absolutely loved her Swedish/Scandinavian inspired design touches and her midwestern pioneer storyline. And I loved her quirky looped braids even more. Even though I purchased many of Kirsten's outfits throughout the years, I never ordered the doll. Then her archival was announced in 2009 and I decided to let her go quietly.

Until today!

Kirsten is a charmer even still secured in her box. I do not know her exact production year, but this NIB Kirsten was probably originally bought after her archival announcement in 2009 and kept to be sold at a much later date. 

Her apron is crisp and pristine and those braids will never be quite that perfect ever again. Sigh!

This is not news to Kirsten Larson fans, but the boots with her meet outfit are rudimentary at best.

One last loving look! Once she is out of the box she really joins my poppet family!


So why now some may ask. I had hoped for Kirsten to reappear out of the archives as part of the BeForever line, but with Maryellen arriving the end of August 2015 and the announcement of a new (not previously archived) 2016 BeForever doll, the best I believe I can reasonably hope for is a return of Kirsten in the fall of 2017. Or never.

Never is too long! Actually, another big reason for this leap is that I've collected the majority of Kirsten Larson's collection and while I have had other dolls stand in to wear some of her outfits, I wanted to finally unite the collection with the doll who inspired it.

A closeup of her perfect braid and ribbon for posterity--and reference for when I inevitably mess up her hair.

I am pleased with the short hairs on the back of her wig. Plenty of coverage and an even feathered pattern.

Her pantalettes are edges with eyelet. But take a gander at those galoompus boots!

Shall we revel in these galoompus meet boots for a moment before they are removed from her feet and never worn again? Vinyl, shapeless, an awkward seam up the center of the foot, no finished upper edges, a lazy hole punched for the laces, and a flimsy moccasin-like sole. Added to this list of frustration is that these "boots" do nothing to help stabilize her while standing. I will quickly be putting Kirsten's black lace-up boots on her feet.

As reviews go, the Kirsten Larson doll is an A+++. I don't care about the meet boots, they are easy and relatively inexpensive to replace with her black lace-up boots.

Finally, here at Poppets & Posies all our poppets are given their own name. A happy and enthusiastic welcome to Kristianna!

Friday, August 7, 2015

LORI (OG) Mini Retro Car and Mini Retro Trailer

With permission I share a photo scoop from an online friend on some new items appearing in the Our Generation line at Target stores this week--a darling mini retro car and mini retro trailer!

They are breathtakingly cute! Finally some fun for the mini dolls!

From the looks of it, not only does the door open and close, but the full front side of the trailer swings open--note the silver hinge on the right and the reenforcing pieces of tape on the left. 

The sticker indicates some lights inside actually work! Look at all the little cooking utensils! The bedding looks a bit flimsy, but it is a perfect project for crafty hands.

Table and bench seating. Looks like cabinetry will open (note tape) and the handles of the pots and pans in this peek.

The large windows do not appear to open, but they do allow for a great view of the sink and faucet inside.

The mini car looks fantastic--really reminds me of AG Julie's baby blue bug. However this mini car, according to the heart sticker on the windshield, features a "Real working AM/FM radio." A nice touch for this tiny zoomer!

The mini car and camper are being marketed under the LORI brand--Lori being the "branding" also on the silver blonde Naomi Mini Doll pictured above. The mini car retails for $24.99 and the mini retro trailer/camper retails for $34.99.

OG may have a blockbuster here--now to see if my local store has any in stock!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Storage Wars II: Bon Voyage Stationery Set vs Travel Case

The Bon Voyage Stationery Set for Girls offers another storage option for Grace's clothes and accessories as the stationery set is packaged in a bright red paperboard "suitcase."

The paperboard exterior of the red stationery case is sturdy and the front is embossed with an Eiffel Tower. The pebble texture of the suitcase mimics a fine leather. The suitcase also features a sturdy carry handle and the hinges of the handle and the clasp itself are made of metal. Overall, the paperboard suitcase seems as if it should hold up to gentle play and storage.

The most significant difference between the Bon Voyage Stationery Set suitcase and the Travel Case for Girls besides the materials (paperboard vs faux-leather) is their sizes. While the BVSS suitcase is as wide as the Travel Case, it is significantly narrower.

So the question of storage--how much will the paperboard suitcase hold? Below is Grace's City Outfit and Pajamas set inside of the BVSS suitcase. There is plenty of room for the two outfits and potentially room for two additional outfits.

In comparison, the zippered top compartment of the Travel Case for Girls (pictured below) also easily carries the two Grace outfits, but maxes out with three outfits in the top compartment. However, the Travel Case has a second zippered compartment which easily could fit an additional 4 - 5 outfits, which makes the Travel Case the roomier option by far.

While the Bon Voyage Stationery Set paperboard suitcase is sturdy and smart, it is limited to 3 - 4 outfits whereas the Travel Case for Girls accommodates upwards of 7 - 8 outfits. The exterior of Travel Case is made of a long lasting faux-leather vinyl which will withstand small spills and the case is much more rugged overall.

As a storage unit, I give the Bon Voyage Stationery Set a B+. The piece is well executed as a paperboard product and the handle and metal clasp are terrific. The storage capacity of the paperboard suitcase is still somewhat limited compared to the Travel Case for Girls, but the Bon Voyage case could be the perfect size for some poppet travelers.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Storage Wars: Grace's Travel Case vs. Luggage

With the newly released Travel Case for Girls there is now a bigger and better option for storing Grace's accessories. In fact, until I put the Travel Case and Luggage pieces side by side, I had not noticed how rather limited the Luggage was in terms of storage.

As noted in my previous review of Grace Thomas's Travel Case for Girls, the case fits 2 - 3 outfits on the top compartment and an additional 4 - 5 outfits in the lower compartment.

Grace's Luggage, on the other hand, is smaller than the top compartment of the case.

The Luggage almost completely fits inside the top compartment.

While the Travel Case can store a minimum of six full outfits, the Luggage can barely fit one accessory set!

Grace's Sightseeing Accessories (boots, shrug and sunglasses) fit inside of the Luggage--but just barely.

An alternative storage option is the paperboard "suitcase" from the new Bon Voyage Stationery Set for Grace Thomas. The bright red case from set is smaller than the zippered Travel Case and does not have separate storage compartments like the zippered Travel Case, but the smaller price tag could give the paperboard suitcase the edge for those looking for a more affordable storage option.

In terms of total storage, the Travel Case for Girls wins hands down in a one-on-one battle with the Grace's Luggage, though the paperboard suitcase from the Bon Voyage Stationery Set is an affordable option for those looking for a middle ground.