Just a quick post to show you a cute 18″ doll accessory I got from Target. The Our Generation brand is basically a cheaper, more accessible (being sold a Target is much easier than exclusive stores or online only) version of the ever popular 18″ doll. I don’t care for the look of their dolls but they have been putting out some really cute outfits and accessories. I love their sewing supply set that I have.
The “Pretty Nifty” set includes a pair of retro styled sunglasses, purse, and handkerchief. Simple but super fun and girly, but in a cool way since most anything “vintage” is in style right now. Major plus that nothing in the set is pink too! It’s really hard to resist such a cool combination for only $7.
And it goes so well with Molly in her 1940s clothing.
Name: Pandora’s Box Lottie
Company: Arku, these dolls seem to be primarily marketed to the UK and Ireland and the only place I’ve seen them for sale in the US is on Amazon, but there’s not price hike.
Back Story: The Lottie website has a lot of information about these dolls. The dolls are meant to be “a wholesome doll alternative for girls aged 3-9; she is 7.5 inches (18cm) tall, so is very portable and easy for little hands to carry around.”
Lottie is a feisty character; she can stand on her own two feet and whilst she occasionally makes mistakes, she learns from them. She is not perfect. Lottie loves adventure and the outdoors and uses her imagination. In many ways, she is inspired by the spirited female characters in books we loved as children: Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, Jo in ‘Little Women’, Nancy Drew and George in the ‘Famous Five’.
See more in our ‘Great Books for Girls’ on Pinterest.
Lottie lives in a fictional place called ‘Branksea’. Branksea is a mixture of woodland, countryside, and coastline; very much in keeping with the active, outdoors Lottie ethos and an ideal setting for all of Lottie’s adventures and escapades.
‘Branksea’ is inspired, in part, by the real-life Brownsea Island, an island off the coast of the Dorset coast in England. Now owned by the National Trust, Brownsea Island is also notable for being the birthplace of the Scouts and Girl Guides movements; it was the location for the first Scout camp in 1907.
‘Branksea’ is the old, historical name for ‘Brownsea’.
There were 6 Lottie dolls originally released in 2012 (Autumn Leaves, Spring Celebration Ballet, English Country Garden, Pony Flag Race, Snow Queen, and Branksea Festival) and now 6 more for 2013 (Pirate Queen, Butterfly Protector, Robot Girl, Lighthouse Keeper, Kawaii Karate, and Pandora’s Box), so they must be selling well. Honestly it was really hard to pick just one Lottie, but the brown hair and glasses combo always seems to win me over! Plus, cats. There are also accessory and craft sets now (such as Pandora the cat that goes with my Lottie).
Packaging: The box is really great, it’s meant to be reusable as a carrying case for Lottie (I didn’t keep mine though…), and is really cute with all the cartoons on it. Lottie was pretty easy to get out too since she is mostly held in with twist ties.
Height: 7″, here she is next to AG Mini Saige since Saige is the only other doll I have of a similar size. Lottie is much skinnier looking in comparison.
Number of Joints: 7. Her legs and arms are rubbery and the knees have internal click joints. Lottie’s head only has side to side movement, but otherwise she moves really well and feels sturdy. She does not always stand up on her own though, the only time she does stand is when she’s wearing both her tights and boots (the boots are too big, I assume so that they can accommodate the tights).
Hair and Face: Lottie has a cute, anime style face with minimal paint, adding to the child-like look. I also like her hair a lot, it feels thick (for her size) and smooth, but tough too like it won’t tangle easily. A Lottie with short hair would be super cute I think.
Clothing: All Lottie dolls come with a lot of clothing pieces, Pandora’s Box has a corduroy dress with cotton sleeves and hem ruffle, a felt coat that is partially lined with cotton, knit tights, felt cat hat, glasses and rubber boots. The clothing is loose and easy to get on and off. The dress has a little felt cat face on the front that is attached with velcro so it could be swapped out for another image if you wanted.
Accessories: Cat hat and glasses. The glasses are my favorite of course, though she looks good without them too. The hat is cute and fits pretty well but I wish it was either shorter or came down all the way. She kindof looks cone headed with it on.
Overall: I had read a couple reviews of Lottie before buying so I knew I was getting a small, child appropriate doll with minimal articulation, but those are great qualities about her. She actually feels a little timeless, she would be easy to sew new clothing for and have a totally different looking Lottie. Lottie as a brand seems very creative too, coming up with some great variation ideas (because not every girl likes makeup and fashion).
These dolls were all made by my grandma. I’m pretty certain she always used patterns but I don’t know what patterns so I can’t tell you any details other than I know some of the pattern designers were local to Nebraska. If anyone recognizes the designs, let me know! Otherwise I don’t have much to say so I’ll just show you a bunch of pictures of them
I love minions. I think everyone does, that’s why they were such a big part of the second Despicable Me movie. Before the movie came out there were tons of minion toys but now that the movie has been released I’ve seen some additional purple minion toys that they must have held back at first. I don’t think purple minion toys would have given the plot away but I get why they did it and I’m so happy they did make purple minions! More minions is always a good thing.
Name: Chomping Purple Minion (CPM for short)
Company: Thinkway Toys
Back Story: Any backstory I could come up with would totally be a spoiler… basically the minions get stolen and transformed into purple, evil minions that are going to destroy the world and Gru has to stop/save them.
Packaging: I have a yellow minion in this same size and they both come in nearly identical packaging, cardboard with a plastic bubble.
Number of Joints: CPM doesn’t have any typical joints at the arms or legs, his body is totally fixed except for his eye and mouth. All the minions of this size have a gimmick of some kind, CPM has wheels in his feet and a whole through his torso for a pulley (the arms are fixed and have rollers on the hands to balance him). When you pull the pulley out fast he rolls across a smooth surface, just like toys cars that wind up by pulling them backwards. As his feet wheels spin, his eye shifts back and forth really fast and his mouth opens and closes a little (hence the “chomping” in his name) but the mouth movement isn’t very dramatic. You can re-position his eye and mouth by rolling the feet wheels by hand too. The gimmick isn’t that great, but that’s not really why I got him…
Hair and Face: In the movie the purple minions have crazy, frizzy hair. CPM’s hair looks much more flowing and neat, but I imagine frizzy would be hard to capture in plastic. Otherwise I think his face is very good looking.
Clothing: CPM just has black molded overalls in the same style that the minions usually wear.
Accessories: Just the rip cord thing, if you can count that.
Overall: I love all the minions so this was going to be a winner no matter what, but I love his size and the eye movement is fun (it makes him look really shifty sometimes). He fits in great with my normal minion of the same size. The rolling would be really fun for a kid, I know I used to spend plenty of time playing with toys like that trying to knock them over or run them into things. That doesn’t matter much to me now but I’m glad that he can stand on his own well even with the wheels.
A while back, I think in July, the online Disney store was having a big sale to clear out old inventory. I had been eyeing their 12″ Merida doll since it came out (the new version is too sparkly and doesn’t have as many accessories), she was on sale for $4 so how could I pass that up? Problem was, I was about to move that weekend so I had Merida shipped to my mom’s house and wasn’t able to get her until Labor day weekend. That’s fine, I could wait because at least I knew she wasn’t going anywhere.
But then I go to open the shipping box (which was way over sized, they could have probably fit 10 doll boxes in that thing) and there is not one, but TWO Merida dolls staring back at me! It must have been a mistake, or they just really wanted to get rid of her. The second Merida will most likely be a christmas gift for a certain cousin of mine (family members reading this will say nothing).
Back Story: Merida is the star of the Disney animated movie Brave, here is the movie description from IMDb:
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Merida is a great new princess character because unlike all the other Disney princesses, Merida doesn’t want to be one at all. There is no love interest in the story (although arranged marriage is discussed) and there is no prince to save the day. Merida is headstrong and stubborn, but she is able to right her own wrongs and saves her family mostly on her own (her three super cute brothers help somewhat).
Packaging: Merida comes in a plastic window box and is tied and taped to a cardboard backing. It was actually really hard to get her out of there because you can’t just open the box and slide the cardboard out, you have to completely destroy the box. And she’s tied down in as many ways as possible.
Number of Joints: 13, it might not be typical but this doll will not stand up on her own at all, most of the time she won’t even stay up right with the assistance of a stand either because her knee and hip joints are loose. She just collapses.
Hair and Face: Merida has a very nice round face that is mostly similar to the movie character, I think she looks older as a doll because her neck is skinnier. But I like how happy and interested she looks, like she’s getting ready for another adventure. Her hair is also great, surprisingly soft too, I thought there might be a ton of gel in it to hold the curls but it doesn’t feel too bad. There are several different curl sizes to make it look more unruly. For some reason there is a longer section of hair in the back that wasn’t curled as much and got flattened out by the packaging, but once I messed with her hair some to distribute it, it didn’t look out of place.
Clothing: I love that Merida isn’t wearing a puffy princess dress (tight bodice and huge gathered skirt), instead it is a simple floor length a-line dress that fits her very well. Bonus that it isn’t covered in sparkles. The shear sections on her sleeves are a great addition. Merida also wears a black terry cloth cape that is really well done. The cape has a hood that I’m pretty sure won’t fit over all of Merida’s hair and secures at the neck with velcro covered by a plastic version of her family crest.
Accessories: There are a great number of accessories included with this doll, it might be the best part about her even. Merida comes with a bow, one arrow, quiver that hooks around her waist, shoes (that are nicely character appropriate), and sleeve guard (there might be a better term for this but I’m not sure what it is). Merida can kindof hold the bow and arrow, but not very well and the sleeve guard looks really cool but to get it on and off the sleeve of her dress has to be held down by a rubber band (even with the rubber band, it’s hard to get back on).
Overall: Awesome, Merida is a great princess and I hope they keep making more strong female characters. This is a great doll too because she isn’t overly “Disneyfide” yet with sparkles and puffy dresses. Instead she comes dressed (and equipped) just like the movie character, ready to ride through the forest at full speed.
You’ll have to excuse the radio silence around these parts, I’ve just started my first big-girl job and I have much less time to waste on my toys . Over Labor day weekend I traveled to my grandparent’s house and took some dolls home (my grandma had quite a few displayed around the house that few other people had interest in) so I’ll probably be photographing and sharing them over then next few weeks or months. These reviews won’t be my usual format because most of them I don’t know the manufacturing company or any information about them.
First up is a very cute doll originally from Holland, my mom is pretty sure a family friend that traveled to Holland for work a lot brought it back for her when she was little. The doll is very light weight, I’m not even totally sure if she’s made of plastic but it feels like plastic. The material is very sturdy though. There are 5 joints, hips, shoulders, and head. She is strung with elastic which has come very loose, her arms are hanging off her shoulders a good inch or two. The doll doesn’t stand (or even sit really) well on her own, but if she did she would be 14″ tall.
It’s pretty obvious that this doll probably wasn’t played with much because her skin is discolored, any part of her that wasn’t covered by clothing has turned a pale yellow/tan color. I didn’t get a good picture of it but her upper arms are pink (same with the rest of her body) and her lower arms that were exposed to sunlight are yellow.
Even though she’s discolored, I love her face, I just think she’s painted very well and her blue sleep eyes are cute. She has a weird hair situation though, I looked up under the cap a little and she pretty much only has bangs, the rest of her head is covered in black fabric and over-layed with the lace hat. I wonder, because of the skin discoloration, if her hair used to be more of a blond color too, instead of white.
The doll is wearing a lot of clothing: bloomers, underskirt, flannel over skirt, apron, dicky-style undershirt, and short-sleeved jacket/over shirt thing, plus knee high socks, traditional wood shoes (that are way way too big for her) and hat. There is no elastic on the clothing, it appears to all use snaps and drawstring ties. I probably could take the clothes off with out doing any harm but I’d rather just leave her. I looks a little to see if she had any markings on her torso and it almost looks like she might have had a voice box at one time because there are holes in her lower back, but that’s all I could see.
Overall I think she is very cute and a great addition to my doll collection, especially since it is a family doll. I’ll have to think of an appropriately Dutch name for her too.
American Girl comes out with some pretty cool stuff for their 18″ dolls but since I do more shelf collecting than playing with my toys, it’s pretty easy for me to resist buying the over priced outfits and accessories. However, I love their mini dolls. Mini Molly was the first AG item I ever owned because she was so much cheaper than the big version and I loved her to death (almost literally, I’ve lost all her clothing except her skirt and her wig has come off, some day I’ll figure out how to restore her). There are some noticeable differences between the old and new mini dolls (mainly the eyes being decals now instead of inset glass) but they’re still cute and I love that you can get all the character without the size and monetary commitments.
Until recently AG has only ever made mini versions of the historical characters (even the retired ones which is awesome), but just in the last couple of months Barnes and Noble and Amazon (surprisingly you can’t yet buy this doll directly from AG) have been selling a mini version of Saige, the “Girl of the Year.”
If you’re not familiar with AG’s strategies to suck as much money out of parents as possible, the Girl of the Year (or GotY for short. Side note: if I read that acronym fast I always think it says Goat) is a limited edition, modern character doll who has books and clothing and accessories to match the story line.Usually they focus on some interest or hobby the girl likes and some issue she is having relating that hobby. For instance Saige is into art, but her school can’t fund the art program anymore. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know what she does about it but she probably doesn’t make a lasting change because she’s only 10 years old. It would be more meaningful if the girls took on bigger issues, or if they weren’t nearly all white girls. But that is AG’s main demographic so whatever.
Anyways, I was pretty interested in getting this mini Saige if only because she is mini and (I assume) limited edition. While Amazon has the minis for about $3 cheaper, Barnes and Noble had her in stock and close to my house (no waiting) so I just went ahead and payed the full $24. If you think about it, these mini dolls are more expensive by volume than the large ones.
Name: Saige Mini Doll
Company: American Girl (Mattel), 2013
Back Story: I kindof mentioned Saige’s story above but here is what the insert on the back of her box says:
Saige Copeland is a spirited girl who loves riding horses and painting at her Grandma Mimi’s ranch in New Mexico. So when she learns her school can’t afford to offer art class this year, she’s frustrated. She can’t imagine the fourth grade without her favorite class! Can Saige find a creative way to help save the arts in her school? Bring her world to life with a keepsake-quality 18-inch doll, outfits, and accessories
Apparently they didn’t bother changing that last sentence to reflect the mini size. And right off the bat Saige sounds like a privileged, superficial girl. If they were going to make a character in New Mexico why couldn’t they do a Hispanic or Native American girl dealing with more important issues? Diversity is good Mattel, get with it!
Packaging: Saige comes in a mini version of the same boxes the 18″ dolls come in, a straight rectangle with a face window. Except the mini boxes are sealed in shrink wrap so the small pieces don’t get lost (at AG stores you can open the boxes to inspect the dolls up close if you want). The box looks like it was designed to be completely interchangeable with the other mini dolls because the only Saige related marketing is on a thin piece of cardboard slipped into the back of the box. There is a plastic try by her feet holding the mini book in place, but otherwise everything is free inside the box.
Height: about 6.5″, this is interesting because comparing her to original mini Samantha (Sam is in slightly better shape than Molly) Saige is nearly a full inch taller. Everything about the new mini doll body is scaled up slightly from the old one. Comparing the two, I think the new body has more appealing proportions.
When the mini dolls first came out in the 90s they were adversized as dolls for your dolls and the proportions for this is correct. To a real 10-11 year old girl, the 18″ dolls are about 1/3 size, and to the 18″ dolls, the mini dolls are also about 1/3 size.
Number of Joints: Saige has the same 5 joints that the large dolls (and old minis) have. The mini bodies (new and old) are surprisingly similar to the large ones, but I don’t think their arms and legs are strung.
Hair and Face: The most noticeable difference between the new and old mini dolls is definitely in the head. First the hair, old Samantha has wigged hair while new Saige has rooted hair. I love Saige’s hair style and the fibers feel soft. Next the eyes (and other face paint), old Samantha has inset glass eyes while new Saige has decal eyes. The face mold is definitely different too, Samantha’s features look more crisp than Saige’s. I can see the benefits of decal eyes instead of inset, but you also loose a little quality. On the other hand, Samantha’s eyes can look a little creepy because they’re so dark and wide.
Clothing: Saige’s blue dress is a very cute style, but I don’t think it translated to mini very well. The two flounce layers needed more volume. But it’s still a cute dress and I’m glad they even included the waist trim. The boots are really cool, I love the tiny buckle!
Accessories: The only accessory Saige (or any other mini ever) comes with is a mini version of her book that is to scale with the 18″ dolls. It is paper back and only has about 45 pages in it, but it is really printed with the first couple chapters of Saige’s book. My old mini dolls came with hardback books of the same size, I’m not sure if the new historical minis have paper or hard backs.
Overall: I would never buy the large Saige doll but I love this mini version of her and I hope AG continues to make mini GotY dolls, even if they are limited edition like their larger counter parts. I definitely plan on getting more of the mini dolls, especially of the retired historical characters like Kristen and Felicity.