2015-12-22

Big Beautiful Dolls returns!

This may be old news, but I just saw this and thought I'd help spread the word. Apparently Georgette Taylor, creator of Big Beautiful Dolls, is taking preorders for a new run of nude dolls! There's also a new limited edition doll with painted-on lingerie - not my thing normally, but the preview photo looks really good. I'm too broke for customs fees right now, but for those interested she does offer international shipping. Take a look here.

2015-11-13

tumblr!

Blogging has felt like a daunting task lately, so I decided to scale it down a bit and try tumblr for a while. You can find me at andersonsallpurpose.tumblr.com, although don't expect much - I don't even have an avatar yet!

2015-11-06

Link: Made to Move Barbie spotted on Amazon

This Is Not A Post, I'm just relaying some more news from Papusilemele: Made to Move Barbie is now on Amazon (it says they're "temporarily unavailable", and I couldn't find them by searching, so I'm guessing it's still a bit backstage)! No turning back and cancelling on us now, Mattel - this is really happening! I am very very excited about this, while also preparing myself to be disappointed in the articulation somehow - it probably won't be as good as an action figure, the knees might be flimsy, etc etc. But it's still a brand new line of articulated dolls, hopefully one that will be cheaper and more widely available than most of the alternatives, and I'm just dying to get my hands on one and start playing Musical Heads!

2015-10-31

Happy halloween!

Remenber when I turned a MyScene Fab Faces into a faceless Terminatrix? Did you ever wonder what happend to her face? Well, good news, everyone: it hasn't gone to waste...

My face! My face!
"aT lAsT, a FaCe!"

It's been a while since I posted here, but I thought we'd just pop in to wish you happy halloween, me and CAM skeleton girl.

2015-09-19

Barbie gets 18 points of articulation?! (links)

ETA: New pics! Looks like it's actually going to happen.

This almost sounds too good to be true, but apparently 2016 Barbie will have 18 points of articulation!

http://papusilemele.com/en/2015/09/17/2016-barbie-playline-dolls-and-sets-plus-new-body/#comments

Here's a proper photo:
https://www.facebook.com/TheDollGenie/posts/1005200856210614

I just saw this and haven't been able to find any other sources, so I have no idea how close to actually-going-to-happen this is. Not sure I'm a fan of those particular joint designs, but this might just be the prototype. Still, any articulation is good articulation in my book.

Oh, and apparently classic Sindy is being revived too!

2015-09-15

The mysteries of goodwill stores

To be honest, complaining about goodwill stores feels a bit wrong. I'm sure they're doing a great thing, and I've made some amazing finds there - but still: I really really wish they woudn't split up sets! Sometimes I wonder if they do it on purpose. You know: put the jacket on one Ken doll and the pants/shirt combo on another and hope that people buy both? (Spoiler: I won't, because I'm kind of poor.) Or when they package random doll furniture into bags, maybe the're just trying to portion similar amounts of good stuff/meh stuff into each one, regardless of whether it fits together or not? That would explain how Sindy's bathroom sink ended up with the patio furniture and the bath tub with the Sears Beauty Salon (which is missing the floor section that has the power sockets for the battery-operated hairdryer. That piece doesn't look much on its own, and I'll be forever wondering whether it got lost somewhere in the sorting process).

The weirdest thing is when stuff gets split up over larger distances in time and space: weeks apart, in different stores. There's a certain goodwill organization that has at least 5 stores in different parts of town, and whenever I'm near one I try to take the chance to pop in.

Today I when I visited one of them, I found:
  • 1 brown Bratz Kidz boot (found the other one at another of their stores last week, but left it after having spent 10 minutes digging through the crate in vain for the other one), 
  • the top from 1990 Babysitter Skipper's outfit  (found the skirt two weeks ago in yet another of their stores)
  • a 5cm (2'') strip of white fabric. Doesn't sound like much, I know - ecxept I'd bet my head it belongs to the slightly mutilated Hollywood Hair Barbie outfit worn by one of the dolls I bought three weeks ago from yet another store.
So then you're standing there in line with one tiny boot or one single piece of doll clothing, wondering whether they'll insist they're only allowed to sell a complete set, and if they do what will become of those odd bits and bobs (thrown out at the end of the month?). Also, I have a sneaking suspicion lately they sometimes simply cut up doll's clothes when they're too small to fit (like putting a Barbie shirt on a babydoll), or cut a dress in two and split it between dolls just so you can sell it as a dressed doll. (And then there's the parents who let their kids play with all they toys until they break and then leave them strewn all over the shop for others to step on/trip over, but the staff are probably more annoyed at that than I am.)

Yeah, I know: I can't really complain. Honestly, if it weren't for goodwill stores, my doll collection would be a rather meagre affair indeed. But all my doll photos lately have come out looking like grainy garbage, so I'm frustrated and have no content of substance to post! So instead, you get moaning. And I guess in a way these little annoyances are a part of what makes thrift store shopping interesting. It's like a carefully designed quest in a video game: that little neon pink polka dot skirt will be worth much more to you after you've had to spend weeks searching for it all over town.

2015-09-07

Hornby Flower Faries: Fairy Bedchamber play set

Hornby Flower Fairies is one of those doll lines I vaguely remember from my childhood. They were dolls in the 7''/20cm range dressed as fairies with wings and dresses resembling different flowers, vaguely based on Cicely Mary Barker's paintings of, well, flower fairies. As a kid, I don't think I could imagine anything more awesome than tiny pixies wearing flower petals. I never had any of the dolls - and looking back, they were kind of ugly - but I did buy one of the outfits sold separately: a blue dress with a skirt that looked like a harebell, plus a green plastic belt with little green stylized hook-like sepals (yes, I had to google that) and a pair of wings that never fit on any of my dolls since they had little pins to stick into corresponding holes in the doll's back. Actually, the dress never really fit any of my dolls either, but I still thought it was awesome because come on - flower dress!

Somehow I managed to keep the dress in good shape during all these years (maybe because none of my dolls could wear it). When I bought my first Monster High doll a couple of years ago I dug it up again to see if I'd have better luck this time. It's a bit too big for MH, but the Ever After High girls are pretty close to the right size. Their torso is a lot longer though, so it probably depends on the style of the particular flower dress whether it works or not. I have photos of my 12DP Hadley/Ashlynn Ella hybrid modeling the dress somewhere on my old computer, I'll try to dig them up some time.


Anyway, that's not what this post is about.
After unexpectedly finding that boxed Arco office play set at goodwill, I've started to pay closer attention to the boxes in the toy corner - turns out they're not all puzzles and board games! Last week I found this Flower Fairies play set in its original box, and in good condition.

Flower Fairies Fairy Bedchamber
Fairy Bedchamber with box (sticker says "Doll not included!")
As I mentioned above, I loved the idea of flower fairies as a kid - and I still do! Also, I love things that are made to look like flowers and twigs and little toadstoals or whatever - particularly if they're made of an incongruous material like plastic and ends up looking a bit cheap and ridiculous. Like they had this great, fantastic vision of Fairyland that they just couldn't convey in actual physical, economically viable materials. The reason I like this is, I think, because these things actually did look pretty magical to me as a kid, despite the cheap materials and at times lacklustre design.


Anyway: Flower fairies, obviously, sleep in a flower. Or a converted flower? I'm not sure. It looks like some kind of ...lotus?
Canopy without curtains
My Little Lotus: Gold Spray Paint is Magic
There are instructions:
Fairy Bedchamber instructions

In case you can't read it, step 5 is to fit flowers onto the bed posts. Yes, the little nylon flowers (included) are an integral part of the structure. You use them to keep the curtains out of the way (duh!). No word on whether they're load-bearing.

Also a list of contents:
Fairy Bedchamber contents
Man, I can't believe you only get 3 Joining Clips with this set!
Did I mention this thing is ridiculous? Because it is ridiculous:

Totally realistic flowers
This is what nature looked like in the '80s.
There are exactly five (5) little plastic-and-nylon flowers included in this set, and they all have their place (in The Circle of Life, I presume). They look exactly like any other cheap nylon flower you've ever seen, but don't be fooled: this is highly specialized building materials we're dealing with here! Apart from the two used to tuck back the curtains, these go on top of these plastic flowers and butterflies (???), which in turn go on those little green fiddly things with four pins, and these in turn slip onto the green I-beams flower stems that hold up the flower bed. Whew! Who knew nature was this complicated?!


Fabric bits
Pillow, duvet, mattress, curtains. Crown goes on top.
The bedding material is considerably more straightforward, and actually really cute. Very good condition, no snags or stains, but I cleaned it anyway to be sure. The mattress is basically a paper plate with a thin layer of nylon stuffing glued to one side and the whole thing stuffed into a pink fabric envelope, but it does the job.

Flower Fairies Bedchamber
So. Close.
The curtains bear the classic playline accessory insignia of skimping on material: just one more centimeter and it would have hung perfectly over the edge of the bed, like the picture on the box. Aaaarrghh! Or maybe I managed to shrink it when I washed it?

Flower Fairies logo
The Da Hornby Code
Also, the bottom section has a molded Flower Fairies logo. This is one of the telltale signs this set is almost unused: there's no sign of dirt or icky grime along the edges of the letters. Still, a funny place to put it, like some secret stamp of authenticity.

Flower Fairies catalog
Notice the address: Fairy Treasure Department!
There was a Flower Fairies catalog too, which didn't contain any revolutionary new information apart from this token offer, which honestly reminds me more of a well-padded casket than a toy. Or a toy casket, I guess.

There was also a catalog for Hornby's Flower Fingers, which was a series of sets of even more plastic flowers plus little plastic pots to put them in. It's an incredibly '80s product, and one of those things that just leaves you wondering "WHY??". Well, the previous owner had included one or two (incomplete) sets in the box, and if you put them next to a big plastic gold spray painted flower with I-bar grass and flowers on top of butterflies, they actually look comparatively sane. Or at least they fit right in. I forgot to take a proper photo, but I am now the proud owner of a little white plastic swan and a little white plastic watering can (with a non-working spout), plus a bunch of fake flowers to stuff them with. Looking at the catalog, I kind of wish I had the little white plastic bird bath or tiny white plastic bridge, because they would make great 1/6 garden decorations. Also, some sets seem to have come with those little plastic frogs that seemed to be everywhere in my childhood, so that's their origin explained I guess.

The price was a little over $4, which isn't bad for a complete set in good condition. All goodwill stores have their pricing quirks, and I've noticed this one tends to overprice their dolls while dollhouses and other structures are really cheap. All in all, a really good find!

2015-09-02

ID needed: Pink hearts + mysterious wedding gown!

ETA 9 sept: Wedding gown has been identified over at Flickr as 1990 Wedding Collection #8289. Thanks to FanofBarbie! Still no ID on the heart print dress though, so I'm keeping the post as it is.
 
---------

Once in a while I like to try and put a name to the doll clothes I pick up at goodwill. Sometimes this turns out to be surprisingly difficult. Here's two dresses I'm having trouble identifying. One I'm not sure about, but the other one is definitely Barbie - which makes it all the more frustrating that I can't find out what it is.

ID help please!
Mystery frilly flocked heart dress
This frilly, slightly frayed thing with pink hearts doesn't have a label. I'm guessing mid-90s. It's too big for Sindy, and I can't find anything like it on this Sindy ID page anyway. The style reminds me of Petra, but I haven't found any match so far. Of course it might as well be any Barbie size clone doll.

Mystery dress + bow
Mystery dress + matching bow
Fun fact: about three weeks later, in a completely different goodwill store (although run by the same organization), I also found this bow that looks like it came with the dress. I'm guessing it was part of a hairband that's disintegrated since. Donated sets get split up between stores all the time, so it's not unheard of, but it's such a tiny scrap of fabric and I'm surprised I even spotted it.

ID help needed - Barbie wedding gown
The elusive wedding dress with its tag
Now, this one has been ridiculously difficult to pin down. It has a tag, so we know it's Barbie, and I'm pretty sure it's a wedding dress because, well, look at it.

The design is simple: the skirt is a single layer of shiny, ribbed nylon fabric. Many Barbie wedding gowns have a layer of tulle on top, but this one hasn't, and there's no sign of any having been cut off either. The top is made of lace with long puff sleeves and a fairly high neckline, over a bodice of the same shiny nylon as the skirt. The waistline is V-shaped.

Wedding gown - detail
Inside the bodice
It looks a bit on the cheap side, so it might be a fashion pack rather than a doll (but that might just be because I hate the look of the fabric). Going by the style and materials, I'd say '80s-90s. Should be easy, right? Wrong.

I've googled, ebay-ed, flickr-ed, and gone through this entire list of Mattel wedding dresses and not found anything like it. Well, I've found several that looks a bit like it, but there's always some part that doesn't match: Wedding of the Year (1982), Private Collection outfit (1987), Wedding Party (1994), or Bridal Collection outfit (1995). Although the last one has a pretty similar style and uses what looks like the same shiny fabric, so maybe I'm getting warmer?

Wedding gown + wrong hat
Close-up of bodice with V-shaped waistline (ignore the hat)
I originally thought the hat was from the same set since it kind of matches, but I've ID'd it as most likely being from the set Romantic Wedding (1986) and that dress is quite different.

So there you have it: a tagged Barbie dress that seems to have mysteriously disappeared from Mattel's online annals of fashion. Any leads are greatly appreciated!

2015-08-30

Other people's posts: Once Upon A Zombie and #NoMoreGlueHeads

Today I don't have anything of interest to post, but luckily there are others who do.

Good news: Once Upon A Zombie has apparently been un-discontinued, which I guess you already know if you follow their facebook. I didn't, but luckily ChristinaArticulates wrote a post about it - apparently there's a book/web series/something else that isn't dolls coming out, and there's a promo campaign where you can win dolls and stuff if you're American. The rest of us will have to wait, but at least this means their zombie!Alice doll is coming out after all. Alice seems to be a really popular choice for a doll character - there's probably a doll with a blue dress+white pinafore+blonde hair combo in every single doll line, from Licca to Liv. While I'm not automatically a fan of the Alice look, I really liked the OUAZ prototype from the toy fair last year and I'm glad it wasn't scrapped after all.

Also, D7ana/PhillyCollector is gathering links for a pinboard dedicated to Mattel's head glue problem. Got any links to posts, forum threads, reviews, rants about sticky doll hair? Submit'em! Of course, if you're following me you're probably following her as well, but I figure it doesn't hurt getting the word out as much as possible.

Part 1: Request for links & Part 2: Pinterest post promotion @ PhillyCollector
#NoMoreGlueHeads @ Pinterest

2015-08-19

Thrift store find: Arco Office play set

For some reason I've made a few really good doll finds at goodwill this summer. Maybe it's just that I've been looking more than usually, I don't know - after all, part of the charm of thrift stores is the unpredictable stock. So while I'm still a bit annoyed that I'll have to pass on the Steffi Love boutique play set from last post (although I hope I can tempt one of my readers into buying it instead and then post loads of photos of it) I'm still pretty happy with my summer haul, particularly when it comes to furniture. Because last week, I found this:

Arco Office Play Set!
Box and some of the contents

Arco Office play set! In original box, in good condition and almost complete. It was on the top shelf along with a couple of other boxed playsets, which I don't think I've ever come across before. I almost missed it since those square boxes in the corner of my eye didn't register as "possibly interesting doll stuff". There were a couple of fairly boring 80s sets, something with Skipper and t-shirt printing I think. There was also another Arco set, barbecue I think, which I briefly considered but eventually I felt I couldn't afford both. And really, between office and barbecue party, I'm picking office anytime.

Arco Office Play Set - contents
List of contents. As far as I can tell, all that's missing is the pens, file folders and in&out trays.
The price was 95 SEK, which is a little over $11 with todays rates. Interesting enough, there's another price tag under it which says 200! From what I can tell, goodwill pricing seems to be completely arbitrary, and I always wonder how they settle on a final price tag. I can vividly imagine two goodwill employees with completely different ideas about resale value engaged in a low-intensity duel, sneakily retagging items when the other isn't looking... or maybe they just marked it down since nobody bought it, whatever.

I can't place the dolls modeling the set, but apparently Arco is owned by/part of Mattel. I'm wondering why they chose to release these sets separately from the Barbie brand? There was also a Travel Agency set that contains pretty much the same furniture, but in other colors.

ETA: Mystery solved! As Andrea/DollsAhoy explained over on Flickr, Mattel only bought Arco Toys in 1986. This was made in 1985 and on closer inspection does not say Mattel anywhere on the box, so I guess they were free to use any clone dolls they wanted as models.

Greetings from Arco Office!
The Office
The set comes with a backdrop, which lay in the box perfectly flat and apparently unused. I feel like this should be a postcard.

Arco Office - desk stuff
Desk stuff. I love the little statue!
There's loads of little stuff in this set. I tried to fit it all on the desks in a realistic fashion, but it wasn't easy. I need more desks! Also I could do with it being a bit less pink, but it could be worse - the travel agent set was more garish. At least the cabinets are the perfect boring shade of off-white.

hollow furniture
Hollow furniture
The furniture is all fake with nary a working drawer in sight. Oh well.

Playing office
"La la la I don't know what I'm doing"
Anneliese has finally found her calling as a proper Office Lady. Her 27cm Obitsu body is a bit too short to enable her to sit ergonomically, but she makes up for it with her snazzy outfit.



stuff on my xerox
Stuff keeps piling up...
There were a few things in the box that didn't belong to the original set, for example a couple of paperclips and what appears to be a crudely drawn map of the United States on a post-it note. This little computer was the best thing: when you wind it up it whirrs like crazy (I assume computers did that in the 80s?) and displays a rolling wall of text, mostly Mattel copyright info. I didn't manage to get a good photo of  it, but you can find loads of them if you google "vintage barbie computer".


Office pranks
"AAAAAHHH who put all this stuff on my desk!?"
Most of the pieces are pretty straightforward (although what I thought was a lockable storage box for floppy disks is apparently supposed to be a pen sharpener). One thing puzzled me though, and that is the file rack. I've never seen one in real life, and the images of real ones I found on google didn't resemble the one pictured on the box. Another owner of the set told me the original files were just folded pieces of blue cardboard, which doesn't sound very realistic but whatever. I did actually find a piece of dark blue paper in the box, but whether it's part of the original set or not I can't tell. I just stuck it in there for now.

 Oh well. The Mysteries of the File Rack.

Mystery office supplies
"So... none of us actually knows why we have this thing?"

Also, in a coincidence almost too good to be true: when I found the set I had just put the second season of The Office (UK) in my basket. So if I ever get bored of the cityscape backdrop, it's good to know I have other options for setting the scene.

"Haha oh Mr. Brent, you're hilarious!"
I already have the stapler - time to buy some Jell-O...

A few more photos here.

2015-08-16

Anybody interested in an incredibly stylish Steffi Love Fashion Boutique playset? There's one on ebay with a fairly reasonable starting bid, but the shipping to Sweden is ridiculous so I'm leaving it for you guys. Just look at it: