American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Clothes Reviews: Isabelle's Separates (2014)

Marisol has, of course, always been the better dancer.
I have bitched, and bitched, and bitched about Isabelle Palmer, GotY 2014 AKA Wonderbread the Ballerina. Just search my archives, you'll know it to be true. I have bitched about her face, her hair, her whiteness, her ugly clothes covered in sparkle barf, her stupid creativity center, and her books--I'm struggling to get through Book Three because gods, does everything go her way all the time. "Look at me design clothes and dance in everything and my favorite dancer ever in the world gives me one on one time and everyone thinks my clothes designs are sooo fucking special and blah blah blah eeeen~" I'd bitch about her movie but it can be summed up as "gods, Isabelle is the entire center of everything and the best part of the movie was Jade calling her out on her self centered bullshit."1

So yes, I hate Isabelle with the fire power of Mega Charizard Y using Fire Blast. But, like Chipotle Mayo, McSeattle, and EnviroLanie before her, I am not above jacking her shit for my own dancer needs. Or reviewing them for yours. I'm not a monster, after all. I'm just one hell of a hater. Over the course of the year, I've gotten Isabelle's Coral Sweater for $14, Isabelle's Rosette Leotard for $10,  Isabelle's Tutu for $14, and Isabelle's Legwarmers Set for $12. (I'm still debating the Wrap Sweater and dismantling her Metallic Chaos Theory Set.) I have also been able to obtain her most simple ballet shoes without having to buy that entire dance barre set for $10 and so here we will call them Isabelle's Practice Slippers. Total cost of this mix and match set? $60. I'd bitch more but all of Addy's BeForever newness (sans the two-book volumes) is in my house and waiting on review. (If you haven't noticed, my site icon is now her BeForever image. Thinking of sticking it on the side somewhere.) Come December, all this shit will pop out of stock bit by bit, get retired Dec 31st, and Wonderbread will take her place in the archives as we prep for 2015 and I get to raise my hopes only to have them smash into the pointy rocks of racism when they give me another white girl for a Connect Four Years of Failure. Plus we'll get all the fun of on the Facebook page loaded with ignorant ass parents complaining that they didn't order her in time so now Giftmas is ruined, or asking for her to be restocked.2 You got three months, maybe less, maybe more when it pops up as a sale item. Get on it.

Marisol, the resident Dancer of the AGGIB, is here to show off how all this looks 200% cooler on her tan skin. Also, partially through we get some modifications because fuck your design style WonderBread, that's why. Since these items are sold separately (with the exception of the tights and shoes), they will be reviewed and graded separately, then get the end overall feels. While the closest I have ever gotten to dancing is the Get In Shape Girl Workout Bar playset3 I sorta love the sport-slash-art of ballet and read hella books about it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Book Blather: Review: Doll Couture by Marsha Greenburg

Doll dresses from vintage fabrics. In its own way.
A few weeks ago, while I was anticipating the arrival of the Cousins and prepping for their arrival,1 I was contacted by a representative of Running Press who was contacting AG bloggers regarding an upcoming book: Doll Couture by Marsha Greenburg. She asked me to do a review of this book as a prominent AG blogger, and I stepped up to the plate because I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to offer an open review on AG stuff, and that includes AG craft books. The book arrived a few days ago, and I was able to sit down and snap some pictures and get a good feel as I read through the book.

From the writer and crafter of Hankie Couture.
Doll Couture is a book focusing on how to craft 18" doll clothes from vintage fabrics such as handkerchiefs, doilies, hand towels and older fabrics. I actually own a copy of Marsha's first craft book for doll clothes, Hankie Couture, that I purchased after checking a copy out at the library; that one focuses on 11 1/2" fashion dolls such as Barbie. Her website and the book states "it's not just a dress, it's a lifestyle." I'm not the kind of person to subscribe to other's philosophies upfront, mostly because I write my own and it often involves evil grins, cursing, and snarky statements.2 My lifestyle does also include crafting doll things, and while my crafting has been semi-delayed by a need to sort a lot out in my life--mostly accessing the sewing machine--I plan to pick it back up wholly. I loved the idea of making doll clothes from old handkerchiefs and fabrics, mostly because I'm often considering doing that from my old clothes to scale down to AG. Nowadays many people have no use for a handkerchief or tea towels, and they are primarily a thing from the past when we didn't have Kleenex tissues or decoration around the house and kept to be the nice things. (Which is better than wicker balls in glass jars, let me tell you internet.) The book retails for $23 and can be purchased from various book places, including Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Consider this review a craft book review between the upcoming clothes and BeForever/Wonderbread reviews,3  secret craft displays, and ongoing complaints about the American Girl fandom of the past and present. Also, I'm going to be wholly upfront about this: I was sent this book for free to review on behalf of Running Press. That statement on the side isn't just for show: if I get things as gifts or for free to review, I'm going to say so. Because this is a book, and books are meant to be bought, I only snapped a few preview pictures. One does not want to discourage book buying by snapping all the details.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pet Reviews: Fancy Pomeranian Pet House Set (2014)

Puppy power!
Okay, I said I was going to start BeForever reviews soon. BeForever is breathing huge life into the Historicals where it wasn't anywhere near true for a while and I'm still on an Addy high. But there's been an AG new product release and it's a) a leak of the likely new Fall Shit and b) likely a limited time offer, since the place I got it from has weird ass turnovers. And since I'm due to be busy as shit the next few weeks with the Cousins, I wanted to go ahead and get this one out. So pet reviews it is! I do stuff like that because I'm cool and hip.

American Girl, since being owned by Mattel, has hugely branched out to get their brand into the minds of their target audience beyond word of mouth and catalogs (which are nice but nothing on a website for information). They opened physical stores--probably the best damn idea they ever had-- launched the website, and they started the movies and poking markets that went untapped by Pleasant Company, like craft sets at Joann and Michaels stores. One way is by having bundles of items at big box stores like Costco and Sam's Club. They've been doing this for at least since I've dealt with Costco--that's where we buy ridiculous amounts of things in bulk. Seattle and the surroundings are not big on WalDeMart, the Store That Shall Not Be Shopped.

AG, natch, won't sell dolls or outfits through the Big Box Stores--that would be competing with their own stores, especially with a store here in traveling distance. But they have sold things like expanded craft and activity bundles (the fashion design sets, I have), books and book sets often with mini dolls,1 playsets, and pet bundles. It's where I got Honey and Chip from my last review, and I keep an eye out for some smaller or more interesting AG stuff there, especially during the Holiday Toy Stack-ups that run from Sept to Dec. So when it leaked recently that new pets were being found at Costco--ones that weren't even up by AG yet!--I asked the man to run me there and was delighted to find the new three pets there. I am pretty sure this is a early product leak, and not some sort of one off thing with Costco, especially with the official names on the packaging and labeling and all. With BeForever, there wasn't the typical AG Fall and Winter Holiday Release, and there's going to be by probably mid October.

New dogs!
The three new pets leaked are the Preppy Sheepdog, Funky Terrier, and Fancy Pomeranian. Since these are through Costco and Costco can have a turnover of a month, I jumped on this. I got one as a Giftmas gift for a buddy and one for me--both the Fancy Pomeranian, since that's the one she asked for and the one I liked best. AG confirmed officially on a Facebook reply that these are not available through the catalog or website, so if you want one bundled like this you're going to need to haul buns to Costco somehow. (Or know someone who's cool enough with you to go to Costco for you.) The set comes with the pet, a magnetic toy, two food dishes, a small book, stickers and decals, and a cardboard house. The retail price on the box listed by AG is $52 bucks, but the cost at Costco is $29.99. Considering that a naked pet with their toy costs $28 now, I basically paid an extra two bucks plus tax for the accessories.