Friday, August 30, 2013

La Dee Da Garden Tea Party playset

Oh my gosh you guys, I have been bad this week. While the local Wal-Mart has not added anything to its clearance table (1D dolls are STILL there!), that doesn't mean I haven't been spending money.

A trip to a neighboring town led me to another Wal-Mart with a very picked over aisle of clearance. The only thing I brought home with me from this trip was THIS:

Nii's got that nefarious look again.
Yep, that's the La Dee Da Garden Tea Party playset, and yep, it was only $5! I had my doubts about this thing as I stood in line with the rest of the Labor Day traffic, but home it came.

Here's the back of the box, showing all the 40+ pieces. (No dolls) The gimmick here is that you're supposed to use the dry erase markers, stickers, felt cut-outs and the magic of imagination to customize your own version of the set. You know, I want to like the La Dee Da dolls, but with their limited articulation and really pointy chins, I just can't quite get into them.
This is the most adorable barcode I think I've ever seen.

So much STUFF!

The box opens easily, giving you access to the taped and tied-in pieces. The tape is fantastic. It pulled right off the inner box surface without leaving so much as a sticky spot. I like when you can salvage the box background.

Here's the stuff that's visible from the outer window: A turquoise lamppost, stickers, folding dessert boxes and a pinwheel-type craft, punch-out lanterns, most of a chair, two sets of utensils in turquoise and hot pink, and the two dry erase markers. Under the pile o' other stuff, you find two decently-weighted, UV coated cardboard backdrop pieces. Each side reflects a time of day so you can stage your Godzilla-sized tea party during the day...
Or night...
Beds are probably not the most stable surface to have tea parties on, though. Especially ones prone to random cat photobombs. Other included pieces include:

Punch-out paper flags...
Some-assembly-required trees and cut out props, instructions and felt cut-outs (I think I'll leave these in the bag)...
The rest of the furniture pieces, and a baggie of plastic party props. This bag also includes stands for the cut-out trees and topiary, as well as pieces for the pinwheel-thing.
I can't get over the plates having little holes in them. The look like 80's-tastic toy records.
The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but I'm not messing with that pinwheel. Thanks.
Now here's something odd.. This set is for a TEA party, right? Not surprisingly, it comes with a teapot. Know what it doesn't come with? Teacups. That's right, you have one table, two chairs, plates and cutlery for FOUR, but not a teacup to be had. The instructions dare suggest that you can pop the flowers out of the teapot and use THAT as a teacup.

Why is it always night when I put stuff like this together? Anyway, here's the table and chairs, with the lamppost and backdrop.

The chairs are too short for Monster High dolls to sit at without tucking their legs to the side... or just hogging both chairs as Heath has. Heath, this is just one of the reasons why you have trouble getting dates.
But with legs swept out to the side or stretched out in front, the MH crew can manage these. They look best in closeup shots.
"No thanks, I'm barely managing to sit down in this dress as it is!"
"My... my fondue is looking at me..."
It might be heart-shaped, but the table has plenty of room for lots of toy food and a couple of place settings. I'm a little mystified why there are four place settings, though. Maybe they're extras for when some of these pieces inevitably get lost?

At any rate, I'd say that this is a great value for the price I paid. It might be a little underwhelming at full retail, though. There are many disposable pieces, along with tiny pieces that will immediately get lost. The lack of cups and at least some sort of molded plastic dessert offering is puzzling as well. Two cake display platform plates are included.. but not a single cake? Just a cake box you have to assemble?

I also can't help but wonder how badly the dry-erase marker would stain doll clothes. (And furniture. And carpet. And pets... pretty much everything.) But for what it is, and for just $5, I'm satisfied with it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Catty Noir: FOUND!

I found Catty Noir! She has more hair than Nii, I think! I've already redressed her, but plan to do a review post later. (Soon, I hope!) Hope you're finding cool stuff!

The good news for Heath? He might just get that rock band! The bad news? Yeah, he's probably not going to get the lead singer position... 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Danielle's biker photo shoot

Danielle is still rocking the biker leather today, and swiped Eugene's motorcycle for a quick spin around one of the local parks. 

Upon arrival, we had to act fast to secure a good spot on the creek shore. The park is very popular, especially during nice weather.

There were some teenagers downstream a little ways, but they didn't much care what we were up to. 

It was a nice afternoon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Teen Beach Movie and clothes for Pepper

Clearance is still going on here at Wal-Mart, and while the 1D dolls have barely moved, they're just about the only dolls that haven't. Yesterday evening the stock refreshed, bringing out "Disney Teen Beach Movie" dolls from some misbegotten corner of the store room. I can guarantee you that these dolls were on the sales floor for the first time since arriving in the store.

The Muppet Babies had smaller heads, proportionately.
They're singing dolls, which surprised me a little since they're marked $20 (I paid $5 each). The 1D singing dolls are marked $30 (really $7.50), for comparison.

The other thing that surprised me was the size of their heads. Good gravy, LOOK at those things!
Even Oscar is put off! I'm not sure why these dolls have such mammoth heads. It would nearly be understandable if they were good likenesses of the kids they depict, but they're really not. Not even close.

Disney presents: Something that looks similar to "Grease"!
Here they are, free of all their packaging. Each of them comes with a really cool vintage-style standing mic, a pair of sunglasses, and a hair care item. I love that the boy's comb is giant wacky novelty size. It looks like he bought it at one of those giant truckstops that has five kinds of slurpee machines and a gift shop. Here's another thing these kids have in common with Oscar Diggs besides hydrocephalia... their legs don't bend and they have no wrist articulation. Oh, and they can't stand unassisted. They have very decent hair, though.

So who can steal their clothes?

Beyond trailer park trashy!
Liv can't get the gal's bandanna-patterned shirt to close, and just barely can squeeze into these skin-tight stretch pants with oversize belt. The shoes fit nicely, though.

Greaser gorgeous!
While the shoes are a little big, the boy's entire outfit looks great on Liv! Daniela looks ready to rumble!

"Don't take a picture of me like this!"
Monster High would find the outfit too big and the shoes too small, but Ever After High can wear the girl's pants, if you don't mind them looking a little loose. (Somehow Raven summoned a supernova-level flash for this picture)

"Nothing really fits me, except maybe these shoes!"
The shoes fit Pinkie Cooper dolls like they were made for them, if a little bit on the tippy-toe side. Incidentally, Disney Fairies dresses are too big in the bodice for Pinkie and friends, and just barely fit around their hips!

This look is adorable on her, if a little over-sized.
This 2010 Bratz dress looks pretty good and closes okay in the back (just a little bit of gap), but the bodice is, once again, too big.

"I'm HOT BLOODED! Check it and see! I GOT A FEVER of 103!"
Heath Burns has escaped from his box, and has been loving the microphones, though. He's working pretty hard on getting Marceline to form a band with him.

Turns out yeti chicks dig singers. Who knew?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Clearance Day 2013!

You may remember my post last year about the Clearance Extravaganza that happened at my local Wal-Mart. During that feeding frenzy, I got 21 dolls for just a little over 42 dollars. The store has started purging old stock in August to make room for the toy section holiday reset, and now that I know about when it happens, I've dubbed the phenomenon "Clearance Day". I say "day" because although the sale lasts until everything is gone, the good stuff goes FAST.

This year I didn't do quite so well, but I did get some nice stuff! Rapunzel got a single thing this year, a long-abandoned Liv bowling accessory set. She doesn't bowl, but the black and pink sneakers are nice!

"$5!? I'm worth more than that on my own!"

The "largest" item I got was the Monster High Coffin Bean playset. Regularly $30 or so, I got it for $5. I really like this version of Clawdeen, but never had a use for the playset. So now I own Clawdeen, and I've sold the rest of the set to someone over at the MH community.Yay for me, yay for them, everybody's happy! I think there was more MH out earlier that day based on something one of my fellow shoppers was saying, but this set and some iPhone covers was all the MH out when I got there at noon.

Nii frolics in stolen clothing.
I also got some Bratzillaz. These two Megana's and a couple of Chloe's were all that was left. I don't care for Chloe's bi-color scheme much, so I left her. The Magic Night Out Meg was $3.35, The Basic Meg was $1.95 or so. I also nabbed a Disney Fairies fashion pack for $1.75 and a pair of Hello Kitty Megablocks blind backs. I got the gardener and the swim versions. Nii has, as you can see, already begun plundering outfits like it's going out of style. Basic Meg thinks she's safe because Nii's already prancing around in Magic Night Out's outfit (did you know that dress is one piece? I was disappointed!)
"I made it work!"

Basic Meg's dress isn't as forgiving when cinched as MNO Meg's, but Nii's getting around it by wearing that frilly tulle collar as an overskirt. With all those wings, she looks like a really weird stewardess.

Both MNO and Basic Meg have MUCH nicer hair than my basic Meg does. Both these new dolls have soft, silky hair. Somewhere around here, there's also a Winx accessory set that I bought for the yellow dress boots.
Best friends.
 I also bought some Novi Stars. Novi's have had two big problems. One is their limited articulation. They're more like nice desk accessories than dolls or action figures. Ones like Tula (left) can only move their head and arms. (Careful, those arms can and will fall out!) Newer ones like Malie (right) have articulation added at the hip. Malie's gimmick (stretchy, glow in the dark arms) means she has no arm articulation, though.
Ari Roma's stand doesn't fit her.

The second problem Novi's have had is their price. For $20, there isn't a lot to them. You get a glow in the dark stand that *might* hold them up, a pet figure, an utterly useless brush, and the doll/figure itself. Compare that to a deluxe Monster High doll, which is fully articulated, may come with a plastic stand (some do, some don't), a brush, a pet (signature releases), a diary booklet, and a few other accessories, and it's just no contest. $7-10 is more in line for what I'd expect to pay for these. I paid $3.25 each for the Novi Stars in this post (including Una, who is still in her box), and $1.75 each for the three fashion packs for them.
Mae's antennae have already been lost.
They're really cute, but they probably won't get a lot of play. Since they're so small, they also can't share clothes, except with each other. Mae here is wigged, which the rest of the dolls have rooted hair. Since Mae's hair comes off, she has fallen victim to Nii's new apprentice...
Now we have the hair thief to worry about, along with the clothes thief!
Pepper Parsons, from Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets. Pepper's just barely too big to wear Novi clothes or shoes, but with a clear rubber band to keep it steady, she wears Mae's teal tresses like a champ.
Here's Pepper with her own ears/hair in.

All told, I definitely spent more this Clearance Day than I did last year. I'm still suspicious that the Bratzillaz beach line dolls are supposed to be out on clearance, but I'm not wild enough about any of them to press the matter. I'll definitely have to do a review of Pepper later, she's the new purchase I'm the most thrilled about right now!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A New Dress that's Twice as Nice!

I've been hitting the local thrift shop again after a self-imposed exile of about a week, and they're finally getting some toys in again. (YAY!)

I found a much-battered blonde singing doll in a box of stuffed toys, and bought her for her clothes. I'm sure she's supposed to be someone, but I'm not up on my country(?) singers enough to have any clue who she is. Anyway, her reversible dress was in okay shape, other than some stains on the white side of it. I've taken the Clorox bleach pen to it and sent it through the washing machine once in a sock with some Oxy-Clean, but they haven't faded much.

"Am... Am I wearing a Moxie Teenz belt on my head?!"
The good news is that unless she's in direct light, they don't really show up much! The lavender belt on this side of the dress seems to have a flaw. One end is at waist level, but the other is practically up under her armpit.

"Hello, Mr. Butterfly!"
It does look very princess-y, though. So much so, that Rapunzel didn't even have to sing to charm some wildlife into coming close.

"Bring back a weedeater, Mr. Butterfly!"
Big clumsy me scared the butterfly away by coming in for a closer look, though.

This is the second side of the dress, a corseted-looking lavender affair that looks much more like something Punzie would wear, if she does say so herself. The ribbon at the waist looks like it's supposed to be in a bow, but that's easy enough to fix. There is a small tear in the irridescent underskirt, but I think some fraycheck or some fabric glue can fix that.
"You're... letting me near one of these again? ME?"
I was curious to see if the dress and it's power over woodland creatures would allow Rapunzel to sit for a portrait with my (very naughty) male cat, Finn. As you can see, he was quite incredulous that I was letting him be near one of my dolls after he had previously gotten in trouble for chewing the hand up on another one.
After a moment or two, his curiosity got the better of him, and he started investigating Punzie's bodice. This brought an end to our experiment quickly.

Still.. not bad for a $.65 investment!