Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Disney Store Order Arrived! :)

I'm so excited!  My Disney Store order came from UPS today. :)  Because I pre-ordered Beauty and the Beast on Blu-ray from them, I got a coupon for $10 off a future purchase.  I had some rewards dollars left, so I picked out two things. 

The first item I got was this cute Belle and Beast Christmas ornament.  It's surprisingly detailed for how small it is.  I can't wait to hang it on our tree this year. :)

Next, I got the Belle Boutique Playset, pictured here:

Here are the dresses out of the package

I know you're probably thinking, "She got another Belle doll?  This one looks just the same."  If you're thinking that, you're right.  It is the same doll.  I basically got it for the outfits.  Between this set and last year's Belle Wardrobe Playset, I think I have just about every movie outfit for Belle, plus a wedding dress.

I just had to share my thoughts on the two sets I just mentioned, though, especially if someone is planning on buying the Belle Boutique set this year. I have to admit I was disappointed in the quality of the dresses in this year's playset.  You can tell they put a lot more effort into the dresses last year.

For starters, here is the Belle doll and Wardrobe Play set from last year (I'll call it the BWP for short). 

I was really excited to get this set last year...until it came and I saw Belle's face.  For one thing, the eyebrows are all wrong.  Then there's her blue eyeshadow and excessive glitter.  I don't know if you can tell, but they used so much glitter on her lipstick that her teeth are covered too!  The bottom line is she just really doesn't look that much like Belle.  

This year's Belle doll (from the BBP) is much prettier.  She has the exact same face as my Belle doll I already posted about earlier, so you're not seeing anything new here.  I just love her so much, though.  There's something about her eyes that just captures the essence of Belle from the movie.  She has a sweetness in her expression, whereas the older Belle doll looks a little vacant. 

When you compare the two side-by-side, it's an obvious choice (at least for me) which one has a better face.  Not to mention that the newer Belle has the advantage of super poseable arms. :)

Now for the clothes.  Even though I didn't care for the BWP Belle doll, I loved the clothes from this playset.  There were lots of little details, such as the lovely roses on her Christmas dress, that made these dresses stand out. 

As I said before, I was very unimpressed with the quality of the BBP dresses.  I think my biggest complaint would have to be about Belle's Christmas dress.  Maybe you wouldn't notice a problem if you had nothing else to compare it to, but this dress was downright shoddy.  Take a look at some of these comparison pics here:
The Christmas dresses side-by-side

Bodice details of the BWP Christmas dress

Bodice details of the BBP Christmas dress-see how crooked the seam is?

A comparison of the sleeves-the BWP sleeve (on the right) is much more detailed and elegant.

The beautiful rose and glitter details of the BWP dress (once again on the right), contrasted with the plainness of the BBP dress on the left.

The other dresses weren't quite so bad.  I did like the golden ball gown, although I still liked the earlier version better.  The BBP ball gown is actually a little truer to the movie gown, but the BWP ball gown is just a bit classier.
BWP dress (left) and BBP dress (right)

A close-up of the BBP dress details

A close-up of the BWP dress details

There was another disappointment with this set.  After opening it, I discovered that the pink dress and red cape are sewn together!  Maybe that doesn't bother some people, but I thought it was sad.  Belle wears her pink dress by itself so many times in the movie, and her pink dress and her green library dress are the two hardest dresses to find in a Barbie size.  I was looking forward to using the pink dress by itself as well as with the cape.  Not to mention that it would have been nice to have the cape available for other outfits.  Also, the cape doesn't have a hood like in the movie.  

I don't know if you can see from this pic how the cape is sewn right on to the pink disappointing!

I do like the wedding dress that came with the BBP.  You don't often find a wedding dress for Belle either.
In summary, I still would recommend the BBP overall with an exception where the Christmas dress is concerned.  The clothes are still nice, and I probably wouldn't have noticed the quality level as much if I didn't have the older playset to compare with them.

Eventually, I'll take some pics of Belle in all of her different outfits...not sure when.  I have 2 girls fighting colds so I've been averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night.  Needless to say, I'm a little tired! :)

Here's the whole lot of what I'm keeping at this point (I'm not sure if I'll keep both dolls yet or not).

Missed Opportunity

Have you ever missed a really good deal on eBay and had a hard time getting over it?  I had that happen to me last night.  But first some background.

I've been trying to find an American Girl Mia doll.  You know, the girl of the year from 2008?  I love how beautiful she looks in everyone's pics and in videos on Youtube.  I'd also like a Ruthie Smithens doll to be my look-alike doll.  At first, I thought I'd like a MAG #41 as my look-alike, but I realized after some study that Ruthie's eyes are actually closer to my color.  Mine are grey-green, and MAG #41's eyes are such a bright green that they just didn't quite fit.  Anyway, moving on.

I've been following Craigslist for a while, have bid on several eBay Mias, and even checked places like and  Nothing's worked out so far.  Part of the problem is I can't spend $100 on a doll at this stage in my life (or any past stage of my life, for that matter), so the eBay ones always go too high.   

I've had a Mia doll saved on my watch list for a few days now, and for some reason I didn't really look closely at her until last night (probably because the starting bid was $99.99, and we're trying to be more careful financially right now).  Last night I took a closer look and got really excited.  She had a buy it now option for $110, with only $8.99 shipping.  The auction included Mia, both of her books, her original meet outfit, her accessories (just missing her ipod player), her 2-in-1 skate outfit (just missing the hockey puck), her skate practice outfit, and her green ice skating outfit, plus the four boxes for her outfits!  I did some research on what her things were going for by checking completed listings.  I checked AG playthings to see if there were any missing items (which is how I found out that her ipod and hockey puck were missing). 

The important thing to me is the Mia doll herself.  While I love her outfits, I wasn't planning on making her an ice skater.  I figured if I bought her, then I could sell all the clothing and accessories in different lots to help pay for her.  I'd recently made $70 from Craiglist sales.  I was confident that I could get back $85, at the least (meaning I would have spent $35 on a Mia doll in excellent condition from a smoke-free home!). 

The problem was the initial price.  I almost just clicked buy it now, but I didn't feel right about going for it without talking to my husband first.  So I called him at work...and immediately lost my nerve.  I know it's silly (he's not an ogre or anything), but I could tell he was really busy and I felt so selfish asking for it when we've been trying to be good.  I didn't want to just spring it on him, either.  I just asked him how things were going and if he knew when he'd be home (he didn't)...and hung up.

I gave the girls their baths, but the whole time I was going crazy.  Mia only had a little over one day left, which meant that she could go at any time, especially with that amazing buy it now price.  Finally, I couldn't stand it any more.  I sent him a text ( a really long text!!) explaining everything and then nervously waited.  While I waited, I checked the computer again, only to discover a big "Ended" sign over Mia's picture.

I know it's silly, but I literally felt sick to my stomach.  I couldn't believe I'd missed it!  I'd known that someone would snatch her up soon...I'd just hoped she would last until I could be the snatcher! :}  I sent my husband a short text:  "Never mind-just ended. :( "

The funny thing was, he didn't get my texts until an hour later.  He called me and said he was sorry I'd missed it.  I told him it was okay and wished for the hundredth time that I'd just spit out my question the first time I'd called him.  He probably would have said yes, because I was going to tell him he could use it as my Christmas present, and he always stresses about what to get me.

Okay, so that's my pathetic confession of the day.  I get waayy too involved with eBay.  As I sat there planning and studying, I was already picturing Mia with my other dolls, and already planning the wording for my eBay listings when I sold her clothes.  It was like I already owned her, so to have her suddenly gone was a blow.

I've been comforting myself with the fact that she was probably purchased for a little girl who's been wanting a Mia doll instead of a silly mom like me who already has plenty of dolls for herself. :}  It's also nice to know that God's in control of everything, even eBay purchases.  If I really had needed a Mia right now, it would have worked out.  I'm also hoping that maybe someday, by some miracle, I'll find Mia at a garage sale or flea mart or something.  Until then, I'll just be content with what I have and try not to keep thinking about my missed opportunity.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Craigslist Christmas Barbie Project Part 2

Yay!  They're finally done! :)  It took a really long time for everyone's hair to dry enough to be styled, but all 20 dolls are now officially finished.  So here's the group photo:

I'm getting ahead of myself, though.  You'd probably like to see how I did some of the hairstyles, right? 

For starters, here are some of my favorite Barbie hair accessories:

I found most of these things at Wal-mart, but you can find them at Target, Kmart, and other places, too.  Check in the hair accessories aisle or the baby section.  I didn't take a pic, but I also use the rubber band-type hair things to do ponytails ( the ones that actually look like little colored rubber bands...they were Goody brand as well).  I really like Goody and Faded Glory because they're fun and cute but fairly inexpensive.  

As I'm getting ready to style my Barbie hair, I try to think about several things.  For example, how did the curls turn out?  If the curls are really luscious and beautiful, I'll usually just pull part of the Barbie's hair back and secure it with a claw, like I did here. 

Sometimes I gently separate the curls with my fingers (don't ever run your fingers all the way through the curls, though-you'll end up with a big mess and have to start all over again).  Other times, I like the look of the curls just the way they are, so I leave them.

If Barbie's curls didn't turn out so hot, I usually decide to do a little more with her hair to make it as pretty as possible.

I also want to think about variety.  I try to do up-dos and long, flowing hair so that there's plenty of choices for my customers. 

I'll go through just a few of the hairstyles I did this time around.

First off, we have Sara (I name each of my dolls that I makes it more fun).  For her hair, I took a piece on the side and twisted it up over her head.

Then I took another strand of hair and did the same thing.  

I continued this around her head until all of her hair was on one side. 

Next, I took a section of hair from the front and wrapped it around the rest of the hair. 

I finished by securing everything with a ponytail holder. 

Here's her final photo.  I think she turned out really cute, although she kinda got stuck in the 80s with the whole side ponytail thing. :)

Now I'll show you 3 variations of the same style:

First, I took most of the doll's hair and put it in a ponytail, leaving a section free on the bottom. 

Next, I took the free section and twisted it around the ponytail.  This covered up the ponytail holder and also looked a little more elegant. 

I secured the twisted hair in the back with a mini claw. 

If you decide to try this style, then at this point you have several options.  You can leave it just like it is and have a style like Lily's:

You can also use mini claws to secure the curls against the head, like I did with Bailey:

Or, you can take the remaining curls and twist them around into a big bun, like I did here with Lucy:

One of the main reasons I chose to do Lucy's hair this way is that her hair is a little more played with and the curls weren't as pretty.  I thought this would be a more complementary look. 

Another simple style I like to do is to pull all the hair up into a ponytail and then secure the curls in various spots with mini claws or other hair accessories.  It's basically the same as the last style without the twist of hair over the ponytail holder.  I think it gives almost a Jane Austen type look. :)


A quick note on hair:  when I first started this 3 years ago, I was worried that the curls wouldn't stay in, so I used gel or hairspray to help keep the curls in place.  One year, I even used glitter hairspray to make the dolls prettier.  The problem with this is that it leaves a yucky residue in the Barbie's hair.  It's much better to let the curls stay natural.  When they get unbearably frizzy or messed up, you can always downy dunk and start again! :)

Once their hair is done, it's time to dress them up!  You can find fancy Barbie dresses at thrift stores or yard sales.  Most of my really fancy dresses came from the eBay seller flyingannalee.  I was disappointed when I looked her up the other day, because she doesn't have the same selection she did earlier this year when I bought the dresses from her.  I got several dresses for 1-2 dollars each and free shipping.  Now she sells her dresses in lots of 4 for $9 with free shipping, which is still a good deal. 

Out of all the overseas sellers that I've bought Barbie dresses from, flyingannalee's the most consistent at making dresses that fit my Barbie dolls well.  As some of you may know, there are 3 basic Barbie body sizes (there are more than that, but 3 are the most common), so buying dresses for your dolls can be tricky.  Some dresses fit only 1 or 2 body styles.  When I get a chance, I'll try to post a pic of the different Barbie body styles.

Here are some more close-ups of finished dolls.  I won't do all of them because it takes forever to upload that many pics on Blogger.  I did take pics of everyone, though, so if you have other dolls you'd like to see up close, let me know in the comment box and I'll put them in another post.

                                                            Jade~front and back

Madelynn~front and back

Scarlett~front and back

                                                               Coral~front and back

Hope you enjoyed these posts.  Let me know what you think!  And like I said before, if you try any of this, I'd love to hear how it went for you. :) 

P.S. After I posted this, I realized how dirty my fingernails look in some of the pics...sorry about that! :}