Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lesly Famosa: La Hermanita de Nancy


Once upon a time, I ordered all my Nancy dolls from El Corte Ingles in Spain, but they discontinued shipping service to the United States. I went for quite awhile without getting any new Nancy dolls. Nothing puts a damper on collecting like an impossible situation where you cannot buy what you want. The other day, I decided to cruise over to El Corte to see what was up with them. And guess what? They are shipping to the US again! Woo hoo! There is a difference now. In the good ole' days, I could order pretty much however many Nancy dolls I wanted for one flat shipping cost. Now, there is a limit of 3 kilos for 40 Euros. It's not as good as it was before, but it's not terrible. As soon as I found out they were shipping, I just had to place a "test order". I ordered two Lesly Famosa Communion dolls, one for me, and one for a friend. They arrived from DHL within one week, which was a lot faster than the previous orders I had placed. I checked their weight, and they were about 1.5 kilos. The Nancys will be heavier, so I'm thinking I will probably be able to order Nancy dolls in the future 2 at a time.
My sweet Lesly

I was really happy to finally get a new Lesly. I have an older Lesly, but I bought her out of desperation to have one (because she was for sale here in the US), and she is in really terrible condition. Her hair is a nightmare that I don't even know how to begin to fix.
My Two Leslys

My new Lesly does have a few flaws. First off, although this isn't inherently a flaw, she is made in China. That was disappointing. I have found consistently that the Nancy dolls made in Spain are of much superior quality from everything from their plastic to their clothes to their hair. This Lesly is no exception, and the most notable issue she has is that her shoes are way too big. They will not stay on her feet. When I pick her up, the shoes just fall right off. I think I will be able to get her some tights or socks and that will fix the problem, but they should be a little snugger than they are. Her legs are also a little unevenly sized, which is not atypical for the other Nancys I have. Otherwise, I really love her and she's such a cutie. I'm so glad I finally got the opportunity to add her to my collection. 

For those that don't know her, Lesly is Nancy's little sister, and she's about 12 inches tall. Here's a photo of her with some other dolls so you can get an idea of size:
Little Darling Elsa, Lola from Berdine Creedy, Lesly, and Hearts for Hearts Tipi

Lesly will definitely need some new clothes, because I'm not a huge fan of the communion look. It looks like she may be able to share with some other dolls, but I haven't had the opportunity to have a fashion show yet. 

If you're on the fence about Lesly, I would say you should have one if you are a Nancy collector. Even though the quality isn't perfect, this is a good way to get a nice, clean Lesly doll to add to your collection.
How can you resist this sweet little face?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

IDS: The First Annual International Doll Show in Asheville, NC


This past Saturday, my friend Diana and I attended the First Annual International Doll Show held in Asheville, NC. It has certainly been an exciting two weeks here in the South for doll shows! I wish this happened more often (actually I don't, because I would be flat broke). What follows is a rundown of the show.

The IDS was held at the Crowne Plaza resort in Asheville. The resort itself is a bit dated, but the expo room where the show was held was nice, large, and clean. It was also very well lit, which is good when you're inspecting dolls for purchase. I liked the location, and would hope it would be held there again next year (if there is another IDS next year, more on that in a bit).

Doll Artists and Vendors In Attendance
There were a lot of reborn artists in attendance, I would say about 50% of the artists there were reborners...if that's what they are called. I am not into reborning at all, so I'll leave that post for someone else. What I am into is some of the other types of beautiful artist dolls. What was so fascinating about this show to me is that it was the first show of this type I had ever attended. The other doll shows I have been to in the past were just re-sellers of dolls, mostly vintage stuff. At this show, I was introduced to lots of other types of dolls that I would never have discovered on my own. Since there were too many artists there to talk about them all, I'm just going to throw some doll porn on here and talk about a few of them.

Twisted Wickets

Twisted Wickets

Twisted Wickets

Twisted Wickets was one of the new artists I discovered at this show. I absolutely loved these dolls. They are so unique, and so pretty. They really are more than just a doll, they are art pieces.

I don't remember who this artist was, but I loved this piece.

Marbled Halls

Marbled Halls
Marbled Halls

Marbled Halls

Marbled Halls

Marbled Halls

Marbled Halls
I really wanted this doll, she was so supernatural in her look and feel.

Marbled Halls was another great artist I discovered. I would actually like to save some money and buy one of these dolls. They remind me of fine art that one would see in a museum. Seriously. Just look at that last picture and tell me that isn't art. It's beautiful and perfect. 
Another fun doll, but I can't remember the artist.

I was also impressed by Canadian artist Kimberly Arnold of The Trinket Box. I bought a very cute necklace from her. Here is a photo of her table:

Berdine Creedy was also there, with her lovely dolls. I wanted so badly to buy a Lola doll, but I didn't have the funds to do so. 
Berdine with Diana (Diana creates some of the doll outfits for Berdine). Just look at all those Lolas in the background!

Another artist I was really impressed with was Judy Rankine. She makes cloth dolls, and they are gorgeous, and different. I was so drawn to them because they are totally unique in today's doll collecting universe. She has been making them since the 1970's, so I was a little surprised I had never heard of her before. She apparently has quite the fan following as well.
Cloth doll face

Alice doll
Her dolls were only $250. I say only $250 because the quality of craftsmanship in these dolls is impeccable. Each hand has five perfect fingers that can bend and pose (wire inside, of course). I really loved them and can see myself acquiring one in the future.

So, what did I buy anyway? Well, Helen Skinner and Joyce Matthews, both of whom are Little Darlings artists, were there with a handful of Little Darlings! I have deposits on two little darlings, but they won't be delivered until sometime next year. I couldn't resist, and bought two:
Anna and Elsa
And guess what? I got to name them while I was there. Don't you think the names are appropriate? Now I just need to save some money and get some cute outfits for them. There was something of a teaser in their booth though:
Dianna Effner BJD

Yes, that is an Effner BJD. Collectors have been asking and here she is. She's not quite ready for sale yet, but I believe it will be fairly soon. The head is made of porcelain and the body is resin. Isn't that exciting? This particular model was painted by Dianna Effner. 

Activities At The Show
There were several activities going on during the show. The Dolls Magazine awards were given away on Saturday night, and you could purchase a ticket to attend these awards, which included dinner. Also, about once per hour, there was a drawing for prizes. I didn't see all of the prizes, but I did see that one was a pair of Marie Osmond Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. This was not an additional cost, you just dropped one half of your entrance ticket into a box, and they pulled tickets every so often.

Technically, this is not an activity, but the awards and the event were sponsored by Dolls Magazine, and they had a special where you could purchase a one year subscription to both Dolls and Haute Doll for $20. Yes, $20 for BOTH. I couldn't throw my money at them fast enough. 

Friday, there were also some activities offered by doll artists. Berdine Creedy hosted a tea party where you could paint your own BJD (would LOVED to have gone to that one), and there were some reborning classes as well. Next year, I would possibly be interested in one of these classes.

Next Year...
Diana and I both enjoyed this show tremendously, and are very hopeful it will return next year. According the IDS website, they will see us in 2015, so that is very promising. The only force working against its return is how well the artists fared. One artist told us she had been moving dolls all day, but still hadn't even met her expenses. She said if artists couldn't make their expenses, they wouldn't come back. Makes perfect sense, but I really hope everyone had a great Saturday and Sunday so that it will be back, bigger and better next year!

Did you attend IDS? Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought of it!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Tonner Salute To Gone With The Wind


Yesterday, I attended my first ever doll event: A Tonner Salute To Gone With The Wind. I am not really a Gone With The Wind fan, but I am a doll fan (obviously), and since this event was in Atlanta, it was close enough for me to drive. I enlisted one of my best friends, Henny, to attend, because I didn't want to go alone. She also happens to be a huge GWTW fan, so it wasn't too difficult to convince her. Naturally, my ulterior motive is to hook her into the world of doll collecting, so we'll see how this all pans out.

Since this was my first event ever, I didn't really know what to expect. I'm going to lay everything out here, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that if you, like me, are planning on attending a Tonner event, you can know a little more about what to expect, in terms of the event itself and costs associated with the event.

The Hotel

The event was held in the JW Marriott in Atlanta (Buckhead), and we did drive down the night before so we wouldn't feel rushed the next morning. Henny's father in law works for Marriott so we did get a little bit of a discount (about $20) on the room. The hotel itself was gorgeous, and it was one of the cleanest hotels I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. We ordered room service for breakfast (a continental) because we wanted to get ready and eat breakfast in a leisurely manner. The total cost for the room plus the room service was $126.44.

Registration began at 9:30, and we went to register around that time. There was a very nice spread of pastries and beverages available for attendees. Of course, we had already had our fill with our breakfast, but it was a nice touch, and definitely something I'll remember for the next event before I consider room service. When we registered, we got a hand stamp.

This was also when the opportunity to buy raffle tickets presented itself. I bought 50 raffle tickets for $35. 25 raffle tickets were $25, and there were bigger price breaks the more tickets you bought, just to give you an idea. I'll talk more about the raffle in a bit though, as I would like to go in chronological order. After registration, everyone was mingling and waiting on the sales room to open. There were no lines, just everyone meeting and greeting. The ladies did finally open the doors, and we walked through the main event area into the sales room. 

The Sales Room
There was not a lot of competition to get into the sales room. There were plenty of dolls to go around (I don't think this event sold out, I felt like we were a small group, maybe 80-100 people maximum). The event exclusive dolls were immediately to the right, across from the cash register when we walked into the room. There were 3 event exclusive dolls: Over the Top? Ellowyne doll, Lost Honeymoon Scarlett Doll, and Shame Scarlett doll. I grabbed an Ellowyne and a Lost Honeymoon doll, but the Shame dolls seemed to already be sold out. How could that I be? I was one of the first in the room...more on that later. Since we were in the sales room early, I was able to check out with ease. The Ellowyne doll was $165, and the Scarlett doll was $225. With sales tax, the total cost came to $421.20. Ouch. What follows are some pics from the sales room.

That sales room is a bit dangerous. I had never been a fan of Evangeline before, but seeing her in person really piqued my interested. I think I will probably buy one in a few months. She is really stunning in person.
The Lost Honeymoon Scarlett was also the centerpiece of the tables
Gorgeous Ellowyne

She has the prettiest coloring.

Meeting Robert Tonner
We were among the first folks to check out in the sales room, so we had a quite a bit of down time afterwards. We had gone to pick our table and stood by our chairs talking, people watching, etc. We chose a table in the back, and we were the only two people at our table at that time. About the time I had organized my purchases underneath my chair, Robert Tonner walked over to us and started chatting. The 3 of us chatted for about 10 minutes, and he is such a nice person. I didn't really expect to get to talk to him much other than a "Hey, how are you, could you sign my doll" kind of situation, but it wasn't like that at all. We didn't even talk about dolls, we just had a normal conversation about life, what we do, and business in general. It was really nice and I was so happy to be able to have that experience and to meet him, and to be able to have a normal conversation (not about dolls). He even teased us a little about maybe having a convention in Atlanta, they were so impressed with the hotel. He also let us take this selfie:
Henny, Robert Tonner, and Me

The Raffle
After he walked away, I decided to choose my raffle dolls. I was trying to wait until everyone had put their tickets in so I could see which dolls had the least amount of tickets. I put 25 tickets into Golden Gothess Evangeline, about 20 tickets into a Parnilla doll, and the last 5 into some random bags. The drawing was held later in the program, and very sadly, I did not win anything. This was actually very disappointing for me as I felt sure I would win, since I had put 25 tickets in one bag. I think that was a bit of naivety from me, because I'm sure other people bought a lot more raffle tickets. Two gentlemen in the audience won raffle drawings twice. You want to be happy for them, but well, you know...Anyway, I'm sure I would buy raffle tickets again. The anticipation of waiting to hear your name called is so exciting. I think next time I will spread my tickets out and put at least one in each bag so that I still have a chance up to the end.

The raffle dolls

More raffle dolls

Not a winner :(

The Luncheon
The lunch was served buffet style, and we were dismissed table by table to serve ourselves. The food was excellent, and much better than I expected. On the buffet were the following: mixed green salad, shredded carrots, red wine vinaigrette dressing, tomatoes, tomato and cucumber salad, shrimp and pasta salad, marinated tomato and mozzarella salad, spiced collard greens, green bean almondine, sweet potato hash, baked chicken with a mushroom gravy, bbq pulled pork with a Georgia peach sauce, Parmesan crusted trout, mini pecan pies, peach melba, and a triple chocolate mousse. Man, was that lunch good.
My plate

Mini pecan pie

A nice surprise: a choice of red or white wine

Gettin' crunk at the doll event

The Event Presentation
While everyone was wrapping up lunch, the presentation began. First to speak was a lady whose mother was Margaret Mitchell's first cousin. She brought a few things that personally belonged to Margaret Mitchell, and they were on display (now that I'm thinking about it, this lady may have actually spoken to us before lunch, but I considered her part of the presentation). 
A Madame Alexander Scarlett doll, belonging to Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell's perfume jar and powder jar, plus some GWTW memorabilia
The display

Next to speak was a local Atlanta historian and writer for the Atlanta Constitution. She gave us some interesting stories about Margaret Mitchell, and invited everyone to come visit The Margaret Mitchell house, where she gives tours on Tuesdays and Fridays. She also gave our her email address, and told everyone to email her if we were going to be visiting, and she would make sure she was there. It was interesting and informative, and probably more so for Henny who is a GWTW buff. Next, RT did a short presentation about the GWTW dolls that they have done, and told us that they will continue to make them because the line does very well. He also said they were "scraping the bottom of the barrel" on dresses, so they were making a lot of costumes that had been created as prototypes but never actually used in the movie. The Lost Honeymoon doll and souvenir doll are both lost costumes.

The Door Prizes
Once the presentation was complete, it was time for door prizes! We were told to number off at our table. At our table, there was one other couple that was together, and then a lady we met who was also a newbie that we invited to sit with us. We had three empty chairs at our table, so we numbered off. For the empty chairs, we gave each couple another number, and the lady by herself also got another number. So really, we all had more than one chance to win. Note to self: always sit at the back for optimum chances at winning. The tables were all numbered. The way the door prizes were awarded was RT would pull a person number, and then he would pull a table number. They gave away quite a few door prizes, and one of the guys at our table won a doll, but not us sadly. At this point I wasn't totally disappointed because I still had the raffle to come (see above for the sad ending to that tale), but I thought it was so exciting to have the door prizes. That's something I would definitely look forward to at another event.  

The Souvenirs
At the table itself, we had a small table gift, which was a cute little ceramic Scarlett bell.

The table gift

The teaser all along about the souvenir doll had been that she would be featured in a dress from the movie, but in an original color that was rejected from film. And we weren't disappointed:

Shame Doll (Duh--of course she wasn't sold out)

One Last Surprise
Just when we thought it was over, they revealed one last surprise. They had brought the factory sale to us! My blood pressure shot up as I looked over at the bags of dolls they were unloading onto the table behind us. RT drew 3 people numbers, and those people could go to the table first. They had 2 minutes to make their selections, time was called, and then the next 3 people numbers were called. I got in on the 2nd round at the table, but with only 2 minutes to decide, it was so hard! I ended up with a Disney Small World doll for $20.
The factory sale dolls are all bagged like this and priced.

By the time I was finished checking out, everyone had a chance to have their turn at the table, and so it was open and you could just browse with less pressure. On my second round, I picked up a Prudence for $65, and a Cami and Jon for $35 each.
My Prudence

Some sample items they had and their prices were: Glinda for $80, several Lizettes and Prudences for $65 (I wanted a Lizette but they went too fast so I didn't get one), lots of Tonner Models who I don't recognize were $60, Rufus for $70, some male dolls I didn't recognize for $50-$60, Viktor Krum for $70. I was a little sour about the pile of Viktor Krums there, since I paid full price for mine way back when. One lady scored an Ellowyne wig for $10. 

I could have gone totally nuts on that table, but I didn't, thank goodness. I got home and totaled my bill:
Registration: $225
Raffle Tickets: $35
Event Exclusives: $421.20
Factory Sales: $167.40
Hotel: $126.44
Parking: $12 (Tonner validated our parking but it only covered the hours we were in the show)
Total Cost: $987.04

Wow. Not for the faint of heart. I will definitely have to let some other dolls go to make room for the new ones (and recoup some money). The surprise factory sale took me by, well, surprise. Overall, I loved my experience. It was expensive, yes, but less expensive than travelling to one farther away. The most important thing is I had a great time, with a great friend, doing something I love. In fact, the entire Tonner staff is so friendly, you feel like you're there with lots of great friends. I will definitely be attending other Tonner events in my future. If you've never been, and you've been considering it, I'd say go for it, but keep in mind you need to be financially prepared.