Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Tiny Tuesday - A Dollhouse for a Dollhouse

 Thanks to everyone that said nice things after my last post. I had my first scan today which thankfully confirmed I'm only having one baby! Twins run in our family and one of our cousins has triplets, so I was seriously having nightmares about the possibilities!

 Today I'm going to show you my dollhouse dollhouse. When I got this, most of the dollhouse sized dollhouses that I could find online were cast resin and didn't open, or the opened but looked very modern and had no dividing walls or floors inside. That's why this one stood out.

This one is by the Dollhouse Emporium. It's made of wood but the image on the front is printed on card that's stuck on. You can't really see ti in the picture, but the sticker is a little loose and creased in the bottom left hand corner. It's actually really sturdy for the size, short of being jumped on, the only part that I could imagine ever breaking is the fine metal rod that hinges the front section.

  The inside is completely painted cream and not only are there wall and floor partitions, there are even little doorways cut into the walls, which is definitely the kind of detail that makes me make high pitched noises. The vertical wall panels aren't completely straight, they're set on a very, slight angle, which surprisingly doesn't bother me at all. That's the kind of thing I wouldn't be surprised to see in an actual children's dollhouse, so in my mind it kind of adds to the realism. On the other hand, to my eyes at least, the front opens the wrong way! Which probably bothers me way more than it should. Even more annoying, you can actually see on the right side, where little holes have been drilled to accommodate the pin hinge, which just makes me confused. Why drill the holes there if you're not going to use them? I have, in a particularly OCD moment, considered trying to rehinge it on the other side but I'm pretty sure I would just wreck it, so I talk myself into leaving it.

  This little house is based on one of the Dollhouse Emporium's actual dollhouses. The Montgomery Hall. It's a pretty good likeness. It's even divided into the same number of rooms inside. Here's a catalogue picture of the actual Montgomery Hall for comparison.

 The biggest differences seem to be that the colours are more washed out in the miniature version, and the big version has two doors on the front, one opening toward each side. The little house would be an amazing dollhouse for inside the big version.

Not including the roof section, the little house is just under seven centimetres high, so about two and three quarter inches, if you prefer inches. And to give you an idea of scale here it is with the child from my dollhouse and a Kelly doll (who I just realised, too late, is having a slight wardrobe malfunction.)

 At some point I would like to decorate the interior. Wallpaper it with scraps of paper, carpet it with scraps of fabric or ribbon and furnish it. But it's a daunting concept because it is so tiny and so I always put it off. I've come up with a few ideas to furnish it. One is to download vintage foldable cut-out furniture sheets for paper dolls, shrink them down, and print them on card and have folded card furniture. Or to do the same thing but only roughly cut the images out and glue them to tiny cubes of balsa wood. OR to buy kits for 1:144 scale furniture and make it. . . I've already bought a few kits, but I'm too scared to attempt making them.

 They're terrifying. And, realistically, at this point, I'm not even sure they're going to fit well in the house. Since it's supposed to be a kid's toy, I'm not going to be overly fussy about scale (and they're supposed to be the same scale) but if the stuff literally doesn't fit in the rooms it's not going to work. But I guess, until I'm brave enough to had a go, that's a fairly moot point.

But of course to make this the coolest dollhouse dollhouse ever, it is going to need a dollhouse inside it. And for that, I probably will just use a square of balsa wood with a picture of this house glued to the front.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A little update

I got my pure neemos. Everything about sizes changing was absolute nonsense which makes things a lot easier. But the doll I'd planned to be Piccolina just doesn't suit. So she will be a second ghost and I will find a new Piccolina. I'm currently tossing up between two different dolls but haven't decided yet. I'll post photos once I have my Piccolina.

 I'm really failing at doll stuff and blogging right now. Actually I'm pretty much failing at everything right now. Everything is getting further and further behind and I don't have the motivation to get back on track. You see, I'm pregnant and I'm having the world's worst morning sickness. About half the time, I'm having trouble holding water down, much less anything else. And the rest of the time, the only thing I can think is "Please don't throw up!" It's a barrel of laughs. Hopefully in the next week or two this will pass and I'll be back to my usual doing thirty things at once (but none of them well) self. Hopefully. Meanwhile I'm already swearing that I'm never doing this again.
 The Giant Baby has one of the most impressive mosquito bites I have ever seen on his cheek.

What's surprising is that he doesn't seem to know it's there. It's not bothering him in the slightest. BUT when I showed him in the mirror, he cried for twenty minutes. So we're keeping him away from mirrors for the time being.
Hopefully I can manage something doll related this week.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

A bit of rambling and some pictures of animals

Just before I start, my kid doesn't habdle heat well. He was up all night vomitting and it was still 28 degrees in his room at three am. So if this post is less coherent than usual, or badly spelt, or a bit whiny it's probably because I'm exhausted. There are pretty pictures of animals at the end. Feel free to skip the blah blah blah and just look at the pictures.

It's not been much fun here since Christmas. Our cat (who was nineteen years old) had to be put down between Christmas and New Years. The Giant Husband has been having some health problems which luckily have turned out to be minor but have meant he hasn't been able to drive. Which, since I don't know how to drive, means we've barely left town for the past six weeks. And I've been plagued by Huntsman spiders.

Losing the cat was sad. I had had him for more than half my life and some perverse part of my brain really wanted him to live to be 20. But he had a brain tumour and it was causing seizures, his kidneys were starting to go and he clearly wasn't a happy cat, which helped. Our little dog on the other hand seems the most upset about it. She's very anxietyish anyway and when she gets stressed she gets bad dandruff and really bad gas. She used to spend half the day following me around and the other half sleeping with the cat. Now she doesn't seem to know what to do with herself.

Huntsman spiders, if you're not familiar with them, are theoretically lovely. They don't make webs. They eat bugs and other spiders. They have no interest in biting and aren't dangerous anyway. BUT they're big. Usually about the size of the palm of someones hand (that includes the legs, this isn't a horror movie) and I am terrified of them. They like to walk across the ceiling, and sometimes they drop to the ground with a PLOP! And one of my greatest fears is of one doing that, landing on my head and getting tangled in my hair. I have seen more of these this year, than in the last five years combined! My favourite  (not at all my favourite) was the one I found at 5am, in the sleeve of my dressing gown. After I'd put it on! And now I can never wear my dressing gown again, unless it's been exorcised by a preist and set on fire first.

I haven't been online as much as usual lately because our internet has been terrible. I've been giving up on our home wifi and using my mobile phone data, even though it's ridiculously expensive, because the wifi has been so very bad. I thought it was just us. But Australia is getting a whole new Internet system, and lately heaps of people have been telling me that they've had the exact same problem since installation of the new system started in our area. On the one hand, that makes me feel better, it's not just me. On the other hand it's frustrating since the new system isn't ready to connect to yet.

Last weekend we took the Giant Baby to the Healesville Sanctuary to see the animals. We wanted him to see native animals. I wanted to take pictures of the animals. And the Giant Husband wanted to prove platypuses exist. I tease him by claiming I don't believe in them. I mean really, a venomous, egg laying mammal, with a duck bill and a beaver tail. It sounds like a bad internet hoax.
 On the Friday we looked at the weather forcast for Saturday and saw it was only going to be 30 degrees. Not that bad, we thought, we'll go. Except it was more like 35 and when you're out in it all day, that's not really comfy. Most of the animals were lying on the ground or hiding because they were too hot. The Giant Husband told me off for saying that the kangaroos looked just like the ones we see dead on the side of the highway. But they did.
Even still, it was a great day. I got some pictures. The Giant Baby loved it. By the end of the day he could say Echidna and Cocky. And since the platypuses are kept in a pitch dark room, in tanks full of leaves and branches, I can still pretend not to believe in them.

Most of the Kangaroos looked like roadkill. This one pulled out it's sexy pose.

Koalas doing what koalas do best. Sleeping.

This little guy wasn't an exhibit. We found him in one of the bird enclosures and he was so desperate for attention, I had to get a picture.

The echidnas and birds were the only animals with any life in them.

I'm pretty sure this emu was plotting my demise.

This Rainbow Lorikeet on the other hand was an adorable little flirt and chatted with us for quite a few minutes.

My best attempt at photographing a platypua in the dark with no flash. Further proof they don't exist. (They do exist.)

I ended up settling for a picture of this platypus sculpture.

And this little guy enjoyed it so much, we got memberships so we can go back whenever we like. Hopefully when the animals don't all have heat stroke.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tiny Tuesday - CPK Little Sprouts


 I picked one of these up at Toys R Us and I'm kind of impressed. For some reason, I expected these to be bigger than they are. In real life they're about an inch high. So, it is quite impressive how much they look like Cabbage Patch Kids! It's immediately obvious what she's meant to be, which I think is pretty cool for something this small.

  According to the list that came with her, this girl is named Joelle Indie. But with the high, blonde ponytail and big smile, she reminds me of Jojo Siwa, so I'm calling her Jojo.

  I didn't take a lot of photos because she doesn't really do much. Her arms are fixed. Her head turns but not very far or well, because her hair gets in the way. Her legs move but not independently because they're attatched to each other. You can, rip her in half, accidentally of course, but it shows her construction.

AND she's the perfect size to be a Cabbage Patch Kid for a Kelly doll! (Excuse how dusty the Kelly is, she's the only one I could find that had clothes on!)

 I DO wish there had been more painted details. Her teeth and the flower on the front of her outfit could easily be picked out with paint. But that not surprising given how small she is. And the quality of the paintwork she does have is really good, not sloppy like it often is on tiny toys. If I went to Toys R Us more often, I'd probably have a bunch of these. Luckily, nobody else seems to sell them.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Great Azone Headache.

 I have always wanted an Azone Pure Neemo doll. They're not so expensive as to be completely unaffordable and they're very cute. But I never knew how to get one. Azone themselves only sell within Japan. Other online shops do sell them but their pre-orders usually sell out in minutes. You can buy them on Ebay but the prices there are completely unreasonable. And then I stumbled across Mandarake.

  If you haven't heard of Mandarake, they're a chain of shops in Japan that sell second hand (mostly) collectables. Even better, they have an online shop that ships internationally. And they generally have Azone dolls. The prices are a bit all over the place. Some things are way more expensive than they were originally. Some things are way cheaper than they were originally. But almost all of their prices are a lot more reasonable than Ebay.

 Possibly my favourite thing about Mandarake, and machine translated websites in general, is the translation mistakes. One line of Pure Neemo dolls is called Ex-Cute, except it never translates as that. Ex translates as basically any word starting with E. Effort, ecstacy, example, except, extreme. And frequently Cute is replaced with a random C word as well. So far my favourite mistranslation is when Ex-Cute was written as Escort Crouton! (This isn't specific to Mandarake. It happens on Hobby Link Japan, Hobby Search Japan, Ami Ami, and even Azone's own website.)

 I got to thinking. Pure Neemo dolls, I decided would be a lot more fun to buy if you had characters in mind for them. Since a lot of their dolls are based on anime and manga characters the work is kind of already done for you there. But I'm more difficult than that. I wanted mine to represent my own characters. I've spent most of my life making up characters and stories for them. Browsing through the dolls and thinking about this, I realised that my characters usually fell into a few archetypes and I decided to make up new characters, which are really just composites of old characters to be represented by these dolls.

  I've already ordered one. If I get money for Christmas, I plan on combining that with my dolly savings to buy two more. The one I've ordered is Little Witch of the Snow Railli (or Rilei, or Riley, or Raili, or Reili - clearly it sounds like Reilly and the spelling isn't important.) She's my Ghost Girl. Currently I'm seesawing between Marcella and Celestine for her name. The next two I want are to be a little Goth Girl and a little Bubbly Girl. Their names will be Tristessa and Piccolina. (In case you're concerned, I wouldn't name an actual human something like that. But since these dolls are so cartoonish, I feel I can be quite silly with their names. I plan on eventually naming one Butterscotch McMustardface.)

 This is pretty much where the problems started. Pure Neemos come in a variety of sizes. And I want Piccolina and Tristessa to be the same size. But Mandarake don't list the sizes of their dolls and because they're selling them secondary market, they're generally from a variety of years. I decided I wanted these two girls to be small or medium. I researched what doll's clothes fit small and medium Pure Neemos. I made lists of which dolls would be good fits for the characters almost like I was casting a movie or something. I felt very confident and very clever and like I was an expert.

 And then something happened. I stumbled across several different pieces of information that changed everything. You see Pure Neemo's have had different bodies over the years. Advance, Flexion, Full Flection. And it seems they haven't all been the same size. There's also just been a new body released (some places call it the Emotion body, some places call it Pure Neemo 2) which doesn't fit the previous body's clothes. One source said that after 2013 what was originally considered a small, was relabelled as a medium. One source said the sizes changed again before that. Another source said the sizes have changed again since then. Another source claimed the sizes have never changed and people are just getting confused.

 At this point, I was so confused (and annoyed that all my research was useless since I didn't know which sizes the sizes I'd read about referred to) I felt like I was having a stroke. I had a brilliant idea. Look up the different sizes in doll shops and see what heights they list for the dolls, if they list heights at all. I was so hopeful. I was sure this would fix everything in my brain. It did not. Yes, some shops do list the dolls heights. But it seems when deciding their heights they don't do anything silly like measure them with a ruler. Oh no. Instead, it seems, they hand them to whoever is closest, that person looks at it and says "Ah, I'd say that's about 25 centimetres." and that number is what they put on the website. At least that's my theory since I saw five different dolls with the same body type, from the same year, all in different sizes all listed as 25cm, and I also saw the small body (in the same body type) variously listed as 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 centimetres!

 I have never been so confused in my life. It's possible that dolls released as a small prior to 2013 would have been labelled medium after that date. It's possible that dolls released as a small on the flexion body are the same size as the medium full-flexion body. It's possible that that information only applies to certain special release dolls. It's possible that the sizes have changed many more times than that. It's possible that absolutely no size change has ever happened. But right now - I have a migraine from thinking about it and can only blindly hope that if worst comes to worst, I can buy Piccolina and Tristessa replacement bodies that are the same size and switch their heads around.

 It probably would've been easier to just magic up more money (it would require magic), go to Japan, and compare them myself.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tiny Tuesday

I had to pack away the Shopkins and Lol Surprise doll AND Twosies today because the Giant Baby kept doing dangerous things to get to them and steal them. In betwern weeping copiously and muttering about how this does NOT mean I'm growing up, I took this picture of Lol Surprise accessories.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

It's been a long time. . .

  The last two and a half months have been tough. Continuing staffing problems meant I spent eight weeks working twice as many shifts as usual, we all got sick with various things and everything has just been crazy busy. I thought I'd still get time to write here, but whenever I had a quiet moment, I just collapsed into a puddle.
  Of course it did not help that the Giant Husband tends to forget everything he's told as soon as he hears it. (He's not horrible, just thoughtless sometimes.) Which meant I spent a lot of that time feeling like I was taking care of everything at home or like I was the only adult in the house. But we all managed to survive.
  I'm back to working my usual amount but for the time being all of my shifts are when the Giant Baby is at daycare, so I'm still not getting any time to myself. And when I do, mostly stolen from sleep time right now, I'm working on my costume for my work Christmas party.

  We finally got the Giant Baby a big boy bed. I liked his cot because he couldn't get out of it but the side of it was only up to his crotch and he was nearly as long as it. But I really like his bed. Mostly because it means I'm not having to lift close to twenty kilos over the side of a cot. And he hasn't actually realised that he can get out of it by himself yet. On the downside, while he was in the cot he always wore sleep bags. They're convenient and they meant he couldn't kick the blankets off or lift his legs high enough to climb out. Now he's in a bed, blankets are safer. He's less likely to hurt himself falling or climbing out of bed if he has all his limbs. Unfortunately he hates blankets apparently, and refuses to use them which meant we had to relearn how to dress him for bed if we wanted him to be warm enough.

  The next Giant Baby project (besides continuing to try to trick him into either bloody talking or eating his dinner) is toilet training. Don't worry, I'm well aware that toilet training is both boring and disgusting, so I won't be writing about that here. But if all my pictures start looking rushed and damp, they probably are.

  I've had a few issues with the LOL Surprise dolls lately. Dolls coming with only one shoe, or the wrong outfit and accessories, or accessories that have been caught in the bag seal so they're melted and wrecked. The first two I actually contacted the Australian importer about. I would like to say they were great but they weren't particularly. Yes. They mailed me replacement parts but they also said that "due to the secret surprise element, the production process of these dolls leaves no room for error and mistakes like these simply don't happen." Which is a giant load of bulldust. If these mistakes simply didn't happen MGA wouldn't have set up a dedicated email address to deal with exactly that issue. Seriously, that exists, but it only services the US. But I'vealso found the failure rate to be roughly fifty per cent! One doll with something missing or broken could be a fluke, two could be bad luck. But when it's three and then four, in a month, that's a pattern. That's a production issue. I also can't help but wonder how many kids out there have gotten one of these with a missing shoe or something and their parents have said either "Oh well. Don't worry about it." Or "Don't be silly. They're so small, you probably lost it." But for the price that they are, I expect better. Especially since the fancy pantsy packaging means you're ostensibly paying twelve bucks for what is at best a seven dollar toy.

 I hope I can make more of an effort to write more now that crazy time seems to be over. We'll see. Meanwhile, if anyone reading this knows of any other doll blogs that might be worth reading, could you please leave a comment so I can have a look? A lot of the ones I used to read don't post very often anymore and I need my dolly fix!