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!


Here's a proper photo:

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!


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.


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!


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!