Friday, July 6, 2018

New Poppet Welcome!

First candids of our newest poppet, Vivianna!

Vivianna is a pre-2016 era TM 22 and she is wearing a bit of vintage fun (Kit's Play Dress). She likes exploring cutting edge technology, old book stores, and loves wearing both vintage and modern fashion. We were surprised to discover she is a Ravenclaw.

Welcome Vivianna!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Premium Quality--A Pre-2016 Poppet Buying Guide

Most noticeably since 2016, American Girl has been slowly, steadily, stealthily, and disappointingly cheapening the materials and manufacturing of its 18" doll line. Eyes, wigs, torso fabric, neck attachments, factory part markings on limbs, and even the vinyl have all been drastically changed for the worse!

Nostalgic for the magical experience of welcoming a new and premium quality American Girl poppet into the family I recently searched the secondary market to purchase a New in Box (NIB) doll made in the pre-2016 era.

Even before purchasing the doll, the above lavender box packaging has several indications that the doll inside was likely made pre-2016.

Rebranded and launched in May 2015, the Truly Me doll originally came in the lavender box with a small round doll # identification sticker in the lower right hand corner. Later boxes would come with a much larger sticker.

When this lavender box design first launched it also came with an Activity Set which was then later discontinued, another indication this is from an earlier, pre-2016 run.

And of course, the Lavender Dress is the outfit worn by the dolls in the first two years of the new Truly Me branded line.

While this early Truly Me doll box configuration does not guarantee a pre-2016 premium quality era AG doll inside, it does raise the possibility to a high likelihood.

When my new poppet did arrive, a TM 22, she indeed was a dream!

What I found inside was a doll of the premium quality I so adore:

*Cotton neck strings

*Original broadcloth torso construction and no perma panties

*Gorgeous eyes with original pinwheel design (not the new faux-pinwheel) that are quality weighted, close entirely, and have no visible side posts

*Beautiful vinyl, not too squishy or too hard

*A full wig that provides the proper coverage of the wig cap

*Unmarked underarm joints (no factory marking number-and-letters "tattoo")

It is all sunshine and happiness here today, though I am wistful for AG to return to an actual premium quality doll. Until then, secondary market is now our first go-to for new poppets!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

OG--Oh My! Seaside Beach House

Look what arrived today!

AG needs to listen up!

This OG Seaside Beach House was bought online from Target and was

*On SALE with an online automatically applied $25-off coupon

*Shipped for FREE and with NO SURCHARGES

*Shipped FAST (ordered on Monday and arrived four days later on Thursday)

Saga is on hand today to help with the initial unboxing!

The footprint of the Beach House is more compact than say, Grace's Bakery, but still hits the right note for plenty of play room. The picnic table will come out of the house to extend the "stage" of play.

So my "Try Me" signs--sounds for the kettle, stove, garbage disposal, and on the roof four more buttons for nature sounds.

Plates for more than just one place setting!

This lobster and salads offering really is what sold this set for me--it felt most sophisticated than some of AG's offerings. It appeals to my poppets who tend to be ages 13+.

Stove, oven, sink and mini fridge.

Paddles and life preserver are removable props!

Side door is adorable and really swings open. The door handle rotates and a latch secures the door shut. The mesh of screen window itself is a perfect realistic touch, not to mention the addition of the large flying bug clinging to the mesh!

Saga needs to call some of her poppet sisters to help with further unpacking of all these pieces! Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Maryellen's Campfire Cooking Set

I want to hold off on Maryellen's amazing Airstream Travel Trailer and have been amusing myself and the poppets with her very charming Campfire Cooking Set.

The fire pit unit takes 3 AAA batteries which allow it to glow like a real fire--all pictures are taken with the glow feature on.

What strikes a pleasant note about this set is many of the items are metallic. The fork and spatula are metallic and as best I can tell the dark blue splatterware plate, cup, and kettle are either metal or a very firm plastic that mimics metal. It is a welcome relief from all-plastic of some recent releases.

The pancake box is made of cardboard and empty--a great prop but be care to not crush it. The food is high quality plastic and extremely realistic!

The white frying pan is a softer plastic but sturdy. The egg can be "fried" in the pan or placed separately on the plate.

The dark grill and two standing hooks are made of plastic and are lightweight but sturdy--they hold up to the task at hand. They slip into holes in the faux-stone fire pit.

Super cute, but the spout is non-functional.

The teal blue pot is plastic and the lid removes as well for a touch of realism and added play value.

The best part of this set is the glow feature, which actually flickers for a realistic effect. The button is on the side of the unit and the glow lasts for 60 seconds before auto shut off. I do wish the duration was longer (3 - 5 minutes) but the auto shut off is still better than not at all.

For the price of $50, the Campfire Cooking Set is quite satisfying but still an expensive item. The best feature is that it does light up! The materials of the various pieces are of reasonable quality though I wish some of the seams on the fire pit itself were less noticeable. 

For display value, play and interaction value, and generally satisfactory materials and construction quality, I give this set a good mark. Collectors and fans wanting a lovely set piece that is not too huge or too expensive (like the Airstream) may find the Campfire Cooking Set a wonderful option. A-

Thursday, January 25, 2018

February Peeks! Featuring Maryellen and Nanea

New BeForever items rumored to be released in February.

Maryellen's Vacation Playsuit

Maryellen can't wait for summer vacation. Her family is going on a trip to the national parks! This outfit includes: a one-piece romper with a sweetheart neckline, halter straps, button details, and contrast-cuff shorts, a matching skirt that can be worn over the romper for a whole new look, white patent T-strap sandals, and a red-and-white gingham kerchief to keep her hair neat.

Maryellen's Campfire Cooking Set

When Maryellen's family hits the road, they cook meals with this 1950s-era set. Everyone has to pitch in (except for her sister Joan, who burns everything!): A pretend fire that really glows inside a faux-stone fire pit, a cooking rack that sits over the fire with hooks for a tea kettle and a pot, a frying pan and spatula for making a pretend egg, pancakes, and breakfast patties, a pretend box of pancake mix, a plate, cup, and fork for mealtime. Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)

Maryellen's Hiking Accessories

At Yellowstone, Maryellen is thrilled to watch Old Faithful erupt. And she'll need this gear to hunt for her missing dog, Scooter. (Will she find him?): A 1950s-style flashlight that really glows, a miniature brochure and guide to Yellowstone National Park, a plaid-detailed satchel to hold everything. Mom embroidered Maryellen's initials on the front. Batteries included

Nanea's Tropical Birthday Outfit

Nanea's ohana (Hawaiian for family) surprises her with a birthday picnic at Waikiki Beach. She wears this special outfit for the occasion: a sailor-style top with a big green bow, a skirt her grandmother made from pineapple-print fabric, two red barrettes with twinkly rhinestones, a gift from her friend Dixie, and strappy yellow sandal.

Nanea's Palaka Outfit

Nanea's mom made most of her clothes. She often used palaka, a traditional Hawaiian checkered fabric that was easy to find on the islands. This outfit includes: a cropped top with a bow at the sweetheart neckline, high-waisted shorts with front pleats and wide legs, green sandals with crisscross ankle straps and cutout hearts, and a faux plumeria flower clip for her hair.

Nanea's Birthday Accessories

Nanea's birthday celebration is extra-special. Ever since the war started, everyone is too busy to relax at the beach, so spending time with family and friends is the best gift of all. Nanea's other birthday gifts are: a little pineapple-print skirt that her grandmother made for Nanea’s beloved dog, Mele, a fabric purse from her sister with three kittens on the front. Nanea and her best friends are affectionately called The Three Kittens. A pretend 1940s-era Kodak camera from her grandparents that stores photos inside, two pretend black-and-white photos, and a doll-sized Nancy Drew mystery book from her brother.

Nanea's 1940s Radio

Nanea usually listens to music on the big radio in the living room. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, Nanea and her family huddle around the radio, desperate for news. This pretend radio plays a popular song and real recorded news from the time. Attach the included 3.5mm audio cable to your girl's own electronic music player to listen to her own favorite songs. Requires 3 AAA batteries, not included.

I love Maryellen's new things. But I also want that Nancy Drew book in Nanea's Birthday Accessories!

My biggest question is if the camper trailer pictured behind Maryellen's Campfire is a prop or a future release item!?

Monday, January 1, 2018