Thursday, January 23, 2014

Via-E Alexis Doll: A Collector's Review

First of all, I want to emphasize that this is a collector's review, and that this doll is not intended at all for collectors, but for little girls. Okay, disclaimer out of the way, let's get started!

If you haven't heard of her, Alexis is a new doll in the 18" category, made by the Via-E company. The company is newer, and I got a "first run" Alexis, which the collector in me couldn't resist.
Meet Alexis

Alexis is fully jointed and made completely of vinyl. As a collector, this is a huge selling point for me, since I love being able to pose my dolls the way I want for photos and whatnot. She comes in an outfit, which I happen to think is absolutely terrible. I love cats, but this just doesn't do it for me. I'm sure little girls love it, but the only piece of her "meet" outfit that I like is the boots. And when I say I like them, I mean I love them. 
John Wayne ain't got nothin' on her fringe game...

The boots are really high quality, and the zippered back makes them super easy to get off and on. I will definitely be pairing these boots with some other outfits later in Alexis's life. Since I hated her original outfit, I had to buy an extra outfit, into which I promptly changed her. 
Alexis in the Loving Sao Paulo outfit

The outfit has a dress, a reversible vest, a bandanna, and ribbon sandals. The dress is tagged Carpatina, which I'm still trying to work out (I'm not sure if Via-E purchased some old stock, or they have a deal with Carpatina, or what, but I would think they would be tagged Via-E). One thing I really like about this company is how much they stress learning and creativity, particularly because I'm a teacher. The dress is designed to be styled in many different ways. Why would I care about this as a collector? Well, I am one of those collectors who doesn't sew very well, so my dollies usually only get new outfits if I purchase them. The fun thing about this outfit is I can switch it up and it feels like a new outfit.
Reversing the vest, and using the bandanna as a belt

I really appreciate this versatility in the outfit, and it's easy to create the new looks. Another thing that's striking about Alexis is the attention to detail. 
Separated big toe, and killer pedi!

The mani to match.

Alexis's big toe is separated from the rest of her foot, allowing her to wear more realistic footwear. I love this touch and think it adds so much personality to the doll for such a small detail. Alexis also has a great mani and pedi, and has blushing painted on in all the right places. For a $95 doll, it is really hard to figure out how much profit could have been made from this first run. You are getting a lot of small details and high quality for that $95. You won't see an AG with blushing on her hands and feet, and especially not a mani/pedi. Her face mold is also full of character. If you're looking to add something new, fun, and different to your 18" collection, Alexis is a good choice, particularly for the money. 
Side view of her face mold

Alexis's face mold is very different. My mom said, "I don't like her, she has a snout." Well, she does, sort of, but I think it's precious and it adds some diversity to the Sea of Sameness, where the rest of the 18" world seems to be drowning. Alexis has rooted hair, which I generally don't prefer, but on her it's quite nice. The hair is high quality, and easy to brush. The color is also very complementary to the doll's skin tone. There were some manufacturing issues with the doll's hair originally, and Via-E sent them back to the factory to have more hair sewn into the head. 
Back of the hair

In all of the confusion, according to a Facebook post made by Via-E, the dolls' hair were never trimmed in the factory. Alexis was actually supposed to have a couple of inches less of hair, but I have decided to leave mine like she is and not trim it up. I think it's gorgeous and long, and I will be able to make quite a nice Katniss braid when I get around to it. 

The last thing I want to say about Alexis is not actually about her, but about the the company, Via-E. The lady who founded the company is named Ellen, and she's very transparent about everything Alexis through Via-E's Facebook page. During the production process, she constantly kept everyone updated on what was going on in the factory. Even as an adult collector, this made the excitement palpable, and I felt connected to the doll before she ever arrived on my doorstep. She also frequently posts activities, games, and creative things that can be done with the Alexis doll. While I don't normally do any of these things, as a teacher, I think that shows what a commitment Via-E has to its customers, and to the children who have Alexis dolls. One last commendation is that Via-E even offers a discount for good grades.
10% discount for good grades!

But please Via-E, it's "I before E, except after C", so hopefully they'll fix that "receive" on the good grades image, because that drives me nuts! 

Does anyone else out there have an Alexis doll? What are your thoughts? Please leave them in the comments!

Obsessed with Engel Puppe Disney Dolls

So the title says it all. I'm completely obsessed with these dolls. I have been trying to collect them all, and have added two to the collection in the last couple of months. First, let me present Alice:

Now, you may be saying, "Wait a sec, that's missing something...". Well, yes, she is missing the embroidery on her apron. Let me explain. I finally got so tired of waiting for an Alice to appear for sale, I contacted the Engel Puppe company directly. I asked if they happened to have any of the dolls or outfits left over from the Disney Parks. Mr. Engel wrote me back and told me that, unfortunately, the only thing they had left were some of Alice dresses that had not yet been embroidered, but he would be happy to make me an Alice doll and put her in the dress. Of course, I said yes!! 
Markus Engel's signature on my Alice

I was thrilled to be able to get this doll custom made and signed especially for me. If you have never ordered from Engel Puppe directly, I highly recommend them. The customer service is great, and the quality of the doll is incredible. There is actually only one issue I have with the dolls, and that is their inability to stand on their own. Otherwise, they're absolutely perfect!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found this beauty for sale. 

She loves Minnie, I love Minnie, it was a match made in heaven. 

She was a little dirtier than some of the other dolls I've gotten, so I washed her dress in ice cold water. I was really afraid the red would run into the white polka dots. I didn't even think about the black bleeding into the collar, which it did. Before it dried, I used some OxyClean and was able to rinse all the black ink out of the collar, then I blow dried it so the still damp bodice wouldn't run into it anymore. Worked like a charm. 

 I'm so happy with my additions to the collection, and eventually, hopefully I'll have them all!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My First MIB Nancy Conjuntos!

Last week, I found some MIB Nancy Outfits on eBay. I was VERY excited and bought them immediately! I didn't think I would ever get this opportunity living in the United States, so you can imagine my giddiness.
Without further delay, there they are:
They've never even been removed from the cards.

I didn't realize the outfits would be sewn down to the cards. Of course, I don't know why I didn't realize that, but I didn't. I thought I would just open the boxes up and put the outfits on the dolls. Now I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do.



And here are the outfits as they appeared in the original Nancy pamphlet:

How do you display mint in box outfits? I'm not really sure what to do here. Should I display them on dolls, thus removing them from the box, or should I display the boxes somehow? Any suggestions will be appreciated!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Disney's Engel Puppe Dolls: Part 2

In my earlier post about Disney's Engel Puppe Dolls (which you can read here), I talked about my quest for these dolls. I was very moved by many of the reader comments concerning their personal experiences with Mr. Engel and the dolls they purchased there. Recently, I was able to purchase the Snow White doll, so I wanted to share her here:

My Lovely Snow White

Dopey Detail on the Dress (hey, that's alliteration!)

Of course, I absolutely love her. One of the things that stands out the most on these dolls is the quality of the fabric that is used to create the outfits. The fabric is very heavy, and the dress holds shape very well because of the netting used in the underskirt and lining. I was a little sad that Snow White wasn't signed, but I did receive her in the original box. The price was $120, so I'm assuming she was purchased in the early 90's.

Another piece of Engel Puppe Disney treasure I have is the Belle dress. I've had this for a few years now, because I bought it second hand on eBay awhile back for my American Girls to wear.
Belle's Gown

Yikes! The original price (I paid nowhere close to that).

The underskirt 

Made in Germany

Again, the quality is amazing on this dress. You can see in the first picture the dress will actually stand on its own with the underskirt inside. 

I would love to hear stories of your Disney Engel Puppe dolls, and I would especially love for anyone to share photos of their dolls. Photos of these dolls seem to be hard to come by. And of course, if you would like to sell yours, I am willing to buy! Thanks for reading!

My Famosa Family Is Complete!

My Famosa family is finally complete with the addition of Lesly!
Little Lesly

Lesly is Nancy's little sister, and stands about 13 inches tall. She was produced with multiple outfits and looks, just like Nancy. Mine, as you can see, has short, curly blonde hair, and freckles. The face paint on my Lesly is sadly in poor shape, but as it took me so long to find a Lesly that doesn't both me so much.

Close up of her face

It seems my Lesly also suffers from production issues, as one leg is shorter than the other! Believe it or not, it actually helps her stand. I just keep her posed in a walking position, with one foot in front of the other.

I'm very glad to have my entire Famosa family now!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Disney Fairytale Designer Collection Dolls

Last night, my husband and I were out at the mall so I could buy some new pants for work. As is tradition, I have to go to the Disney Store to see what kinds of new and neat things they have. Much to my delight (and my wallet's disdain), they have a new set of collector's dolls. They are called the Disney Fairytale Designer Collection, and they include a 12 inch Prince along with an 11.5 inch Princess. The placard at the display said "Ask a cast member for assistance". I could have just left it at that, but no. I needed to know how much they were, and if they had any Snow Whites left. So I went to the cashier and asked. For a sum of $130, I could have the VERY LAST SET of Snow White and her Prince they had available in store. Groan. I'm ashamed to admit what a sucker for limited editions I am.

The Happy Couple

The dolls do come in a very nice, very sturdy acrylic ( I think) case. So sturdy in fact, I couldn't really figure out how to open it without destroying something, which is why I didn't. 

She has such a lovely face, and long lashes.
Detail of Snow White's Bodice and close up of the Handsome Prince        

Not all of the dolls have been released yet. Disney is releasing a set every other Tuesday, starting with the Snow White set on August 20th. The dolls are each limited to an edition of 6000. Every Disney Store gets approximately 6 dolls. In order to purchase a set, you have go to the store, and sign up to get a voucher to buy between 12:00 and 1:00. Then, right after 1:00, the employees hold a "raffle" to draw names to see who the lucky 6 are. This seems a little gimmicky to me, particularly since I went in on August 24th and was able to purchase the Snow White dolls, but the employees assured me it was to prevent any fighting over dolls (they didn't actually use the word fighting, that is my interpretation). If you work at a day job or just can't be there, a limited number of dolls are available for sale at, beginning at 12:01 AM PST. Looks like I'll be setting my alarm clock to try to get the next set, which is Rapunzel and Flynn.
The pamphlet that came with my set, describing all the rules for purchasing the dolls.

On a final note, the dolls did come with a very nice bag. It gave me that warm, consumer-y, special feeling that I had purchased something exclusive. Is it sad that I recognize the ploy here and it doesn't even bother me? Oh well, the bag is pretty.

I bought something exclusive!

One last shot of Snow White looking sweet...and is the Prince looking doubtful? Hmm.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Que Buena Suerte! Nancy Hispanoamerica!

Ayer, tuve la buena suerte cuando comprando un lote de munecas. Soy una coleccionista de American Girl munecas, pero en Craiglist encontrado un lote de American Girls y incluido gratis fue cuatro munecas Espanolas.
Nancy Hispanoamerica, un tesoro grande!

Estaba muy feliz porque es imposible a encontrar Nancys aqui, y casi nunca en condicion buena como esa. Yo creo que el pelo se corto, pero no es importante a mi porque no tengo intencion a vender. 

La cara mas preciosa...

Con detalles flores en los pantalones.

La buena suerte no fin con Nancy, tambien incluido un bonus, el conjunto Abrigo Bicolor, con las botas y todos.

Abrigo Bicolor
 Ultimo, esas tres munecitas se incluyo tambien. Yo creo que las dos en el frente son Barriguitas, y la muneca en detras es de Paola Reina.

Estoy feliz esas munecas llegan a mi casa, porque las voy a cuidar :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pinkie Cooper And The Jet Set Pets

First, I need to apologize for the quality of my photos. I couldn't wait to post a review on these, and since I'm out of town, I used my phone. So, who or what exactly is Pinkie Cooper?
Above are what I call the "Basic Dolls", and they are $14.99 each. Below are the "Deluxe Dolls", which are $19.99 each.
These are the Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets. They are a new line of dolls created by Bratz designer Carter Bryant. The cute, puppy face is based on a real cocker spaniel that belongs to his sister (also named Pinkie Cooper). The dolls are distributed by The Bridge Direct.

I thought the dolls were so cute I just had to buy them all. Today, I'm specifically going to review the Pinkie Cooper Paris doll. As of right now, there is a Pinkie Cooper Paris, Beverly Hills, and London. She also has two friends named Ginger Jones and Pepper Parson. The best friends have been released in a basic doll ($14.99 at Target) and the Pinkie Cooper comes in the deluxe travel set as mentioned above ($19.99 at Target) and is also available in the basic format. The basic dolls do not include the smaller pet dogs, while the deluxe sets do.
Pinkie Cooper in Paris Doll

The first thing I noticed about Pinkie Cooper is the box is really nice. I'm a sucker for pretty packages, and this one has a carrying handle, plus an inner box. It also doesn't hurt that it's pink.

Cute handle!

The inner box, above, the back, and below, the inside.

The dolls' outfits have a lot of very pretty details, like this flower on Pinkie's hat. She also has a metallic belt and little metal studs dotting the neckline of her bodysuit (the striped shirt is actually a bodysuit).

Cute details
The doll has jointed arms, and clickable legs that bend and hold a pose. She also has blushing on her knees and the insides of her elbows, which I think is a cute touch. The hair is removable and interchangeable, which is a fun feature for those who like customizing and for kids who just like to play. Pinkie also has very long eyelashes, giving her that oh-so-fabulous look that only real eyelashes can achieve.

Detail of the joints, and the blushing.

Here's what she looks like without her hat, and the removable hair/ears are very easy to take off.
I could be wrong but I predict these dolls will be huge this year. What do you think? Do you love them or do you think they will be a quickly fading fad?

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