Friday, August 31, 2018

You've Got Mail! @USPS + #AmericanGirl 🐕 Coming! Stuff For Your #18inchDolls Arrived...

Got an USPS e-notice in the afternoon on the day before yesterday, that my Listia auction win (or Stuff For Your 18" Doll) has reached my local post office. Yesterday, I received the package. I was very excited to test out the teeny working flashlight and to see if the little rubber duckie actually floats. Haha! Then, I opened the package and was disappointed.

Although the Listia vendor advertised the items as "Stuff For Your 18" Doll," this particular stuff is NOT (for the most part) anywhere near 18" Dolls Scale. If the vendor had stated the items were child-sized this would have been a more accurate description. You know this is a pet peeve of mine, because it amounts to false advertising. If a person buys something based on the fact that a seller states it's "for an 18" Doll" and then the item arrives and it's nearly as big as the doll itself, the seller is NOT giving accurate descriptions of the merchandise. And because it's usually a hassle to return items purchased online, many buyers will just suck it up and keep the items (and unfortunately some unscrupulous vendors count on this).

By eyeballing the images posted in the original listing, I could see there was a size discrepancy across the lot of items. But as I had no point of reference, no 18" Doll standing nearby for instance --- and then, perspective can be fudged --- I couldn't be certain which items were closer to 18" Dolls Scale and which were not. Scale is always in reference or relation to... To demonstrate this, I placed my American Girl® Lea's Green Laptop in the upper right-hand corner to show how big most of the auction lot items are in relation to it. Take a look at the image below for my scale mismatch comparison: 
Auction Items Scale Mismatch Comparison
The cell phone toy (which is actually just a rubber cell phone case with a cardboard placard stuck inside it) is BIGGER than a laptop! WTF? The "small" bound notebook is much BIGGER than a laptop! Don't get me started on the rubber duckie! All of the items on the left-hand side of the above image are NOT anywhere near 18" Dolls Scale. As a part of the auction listing description, the seller also stated that all of the included items "would fit into your doll's purse" ---only if the doll's purse is AS BIG AS the doll itself, buddy.

The one item in which I was most interested is the tiny working flashlight, which luckily is within tolerance of the 18" Dolls Scale. The main reason I decided to purchase this auction lot is due to the picture/s and description of this little flashlight. In the auction listing, the seller accurately described it as a keychain. It does actually work and is roughly 18" Dolls sized! I do adore this tiny flashlight. It was the one clear win out of the grab-bag lot of stuff. The little pony tail holder and the two smaller heart stickers are also passable for 18" Dolls use. (I grouped these 18" Dolls scale-appropriate items on the right-hand side of the above image, closest to the laptop.) The other items from the auction lot are... Hmpfff!

I wasn't mean about it, but I did leave seller feedback stating that most of the items were NOT to an 18" Dolls Scale. As I don't personally know the seller, I cannot say whether the inaccurate description of the merchandise is intentional or whether he simply doesn't understand scale and thinks any little item is going to be appropriate for 18" Dolls. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between.

Anyone placing the items next to each other in order to photograph them for auction or to package them for shipping can see with the naked eye that not all of these items are a similar size (in relation to what the item is supposed to be). If the tiny flashlight is 18" Dolls-sized, then by default, the bound notebook isn't, because the small notebook is so much larger than the tiny flashlight ---and by comparison, 8"x11" bound notebooks are quite close to an 12" flashlight's length in real life. But of course, 18" Dolls/American Girl® are popular, so any seller worth his salt has to know that marking a listing of random little stuff as "for your 18" Doll" will likely get the listing more views than merely naming said listing "random little junk."
18" Dolls Scale-Appropriate Items (Close Up)
On a brighter note, I also received a pre-shipment "label has been created" USPS e-notice for my other Listia auction win (listed as an "American Girl Doll Dog Plush"). This item should be en route to me soon. As this is a genuine (used) American Girl® toy, I know that the little stuffed dog should be about 6" in size depending on breed depicted, because American Girl® is pretty accurate with scale. I love getting mail, especially rewards, prizes and freebie shopping scores! No bills. (My few bills are all e-statements these days, anyhow.) So I'm excitedly awaiting this little pup to arrive.

Speaking of stuffed toy dogs, a few days ago it was National Dog Day. Woof! American Girl® tweeted about this National Day (holiday) by using a picture of a group of various little Dog Plush Animals that the company has made as 18" Dolls Pets and asking about how dogs were special to us. I mentally remarked that it was quite timely for me to discover an American Girl® Dog Plush for sale online and to buy it right as National Dog Day was approaching. This is my first American Girl® Pet, so next year my dolls can have their own holiday celebration. By the way, I am decidedly a dog person.

It's a grand time at ModDoll Fun!™ whenever new goodies arrive. I'm sensing a party scene, perhaps depicting the waning days of Summer or possibly a Labor Day cookout. Holidays are made for spending extra time with your pup. Why would a doll's lifestyle be any different? LOL!

My First @American_Girl #AGRewards Certificate Is Coming Soon! FTW!

The other day, I realized that I was only 5 points away from earning my first American Girl® $10.00 AG Rewards Certificate. I was aware that I should have been getting close to the 200 points conversion mark, because I keep a loose tally in my head, but still grinned when I noticed that my account had accumulated 195 points. To get me over the hump quickly and get the rewards certificate into my grubby hands, I wrote a few reviews of some of the AG products that I own and like.
*AG Rewards program members can earn 5 points per approved review, up to 6 reviews (or 30 points) per member anniversary year; 200 points = $10.00 Rewards Certificate.

I'd never bothered to write any reviews on the AG website before, though I own a decent amount of AG items at this point. However, once my doll collecting sister pointed out that AG Rewards members could earn points... I figured that I'd eventually try my hand at the review process ---and this made a good opportunity! It took a few days for my reviews to credit (so presumably the review approval process isn't entirely automated and a person verifies that the content you submit meets AG guidelines).

Now that I'm at the 200 points threshold, I simply need to wait for my AG account points to convert into a rewards certificate, which should be around the 15th of next month (September). Of course, I verified the points conversion timeline: In response to the question "When will I get my AG Rewards certificate?" American Girl® stated in a tweet that the 15th of the month is the date rewards certificate emails are sent. I'm already plotting purchase possibilities!
Image (Screenshot) Copyright American Girl®
American Girl® AG Rewards Logo
As my philosophy is to always use any rewards I earn, regardless of program, to acquire free items (or as close to free as possible), this means I'll be looking at AG accessories sets and single piece clothing items that cost ~$10.00. Luckily, there are a decent amount of items from which to choose. Certainly, I'll find a neat little item/s to add to my burgeoning doll collection.

Also, my doll collecting sister has been ruminating on making a trek to the American Girl® Store - Atlanta which is actually located roughly 30 miles from Atlanta, in Alpharetta, GA but whatever... So perhaps, I'll be able to do a store pickup, save on shipping costs and end up with a genuine freebie reward (excepting travel time, gas, etc.). Now that would be a win, indeed.

Counting down the days until the 15th of next month!

Win An #AmericanGirl Doll + Pirate PJs + Quilt via #PixieFaire #Contest!

Every week Pixie Faire, a doll goods store and marketplace, gives away a doll and some custom clothing and/or accessories from a currently featured designer. Often the prize is an 18" American Girl® Doll, but it varies and other brands and/or size dolls are sometimes highlighted.
This week's [August 27th - September 3rd] Mod Doll Giveaway is for an 18" American Girl® Truly Me Boy Doll with Pirate PJs and Quilt!

To enter, you vote on which doll (of a pair) wears the featured designer's custom outfit best. You can earn additional entries by social shares, visiting webpages or following designers on social, etc. Sponsoring this weekly contest is a cute way to promote the Pixie Faire store and marketplace.

[SIDENOTE: There are a lot of small businesses and independent designers doing creative things in the Dollworld industry and I happily lend my support to such endeavors. This is also a reason why I enjoy online auctions and buying things (new or used) from the "little guy." I shop small year round, not merely on Small Business Saturday ---though I wholeheartedly support the AMEX promotion.]

I usually only enter in the weeks with an 18" American Girl® Doll as the prize, as these are my main focus. This week I'm in luck. (Doubly so, as a pair of Boy Dolls are featured.)

I will try to get into the habit of posting a reminder on here to enter the "Who Wears It Best?" Mod Doll Giveaway each week.

Enter the contest here (gleam.io hosted contest).

Get Your Freebie Friday #18inchDolls Pattern! #PixieFaire #AmericanGirl

Each Friday Pixie Faire, a doll goods store and marketplace, gives away a free doll pattern (clothes, accessories, etc.) to its newsletter subscribers and site visitors; leading up to the Friday giveaway, site users can vote on the freebie item choice from a selection of patterns presented by a featured pattern designer. The giveaway pattern is free on Friday only. Featured Doll Sizes vary depending on designer, but most giveaway patterns I've witnessed are for 18" Dolls, as one would expect.

You claim a pattern by adding the free item to your cart and checking out. Patterns may be downloaded immediately or left in the cloud for downloading later. If you're interested in making things for your dolls (or for someone else's) this a great way to get high quality, creative patterns for free, roughly 52 times a year ---and to patronize a small business. (Check out the Pixie Faire marketplace and the storefront. There are some really creative things on offer. Plus there are other free patterns and How-To Tutorials available. The site is a great resource for Doll Collectors.)

I will try to post a reminder each Friday to download the day's free pattern.

Today's Freebie Friday Pattern is: Rainy Days Are Fun Days pattern (designed to fit soft-bodied 18-inch dolls) [MSRP $5.99] by designer Little Miss Muffet. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

American Girl #18inchDolls Lea's Collection: Green Laptop/Tablet #ToyReviews #ReplacementParts #BizIdeas

Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
Lea's Green Laptop (Front, Together)
I purchased this item on eBay and it arrived today. It was labeled as new in the auction listing, but as it's an odd lot piece from a larger playset called Lea's Rainforest House, I figured such labeling was circumspect. Though the little toy laptop/tablet is actually Made in China and the vendor is also in China, so perhaps he/she got hold of some overrun solo pieces from the playset and is selling these per item.

In the original playset, the laptop/tablet apparently comes with 2-3 image slides that slip into a side slot on the tablet (piece) to simulate onscreen activity. The vendor did not include these (or mention them). Wonder if I could order replacement slides from American Girl?
AG should definitely offer missing parts to order. That would be a budding side business. I'll probably just buy a clear overhead projector sheet and cut out some pieces to size, then draw/paint some scenes on them. I am a geek, after all. Perhaps, I'll create custom packets of slides for different size AG items and peeps can order them from me. LOL! My sister has various AG devices like a TV and a tablet computer that are in a similar state ---missing the image slides. So it seems a common problem.
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
Lea's Green Laptop/Tablet (Front, Separated)
The date on the back says 2016. It's very cute. It's hard, sturdy plastic and has realistic detailing (excepting the blank screen). American Girl created a nice little toy here. I'm very satisfied with my freebie purchase. (I used an eBay coupon from a promotion and got the item for free including shipping.) It will be a nice prop to stage techie 18" Dolls scenes.
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
Lea's Green Laptop/Tablet (Back, Separated)

My Life As... An "Outdoorsy Boy" Doll (Walmart) #18inchDolls #ToyReviews #MarketInsights

"OMG! He's got a man bun!"

This is how my sister alerted me to the fact that she had just spied a My Life As... 18" Boy Doll when we were browsing in Walmart the other evening (part of a toy run). I quickly moved down the store aisle to see what she was talking about and gasped when I noticed him on the shelf. (See picture below.)
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
MLA "Outdoorsy Boy" Doll
Upon closer examination, to be technical he's wearing more of a high pony versus a "man bun," but her laughing response was on point. Can you believe this thing? What were the designers thinking? I can appreciate that whoever came up with this doll concept design was trying to create a toy that was hip and relevant and contemporary, but my first reaction was I'm not going to purchase "Outdoorsy Boy" Doll. Would you? LOL! There is such a thing as too much pop culture embrace.

But then I actually saw past the silly and examined the doll itself. The actual doll design isn't bad. It's nice that the boy doll is seemingly "ethnic." Variety is always nice (not to mention, the spice of life). And presumably, his hair style is adjustable. So you could take down the high pony, but I'd prefer to have been able to see what his hair looks like hanging. To see what the actual hairstyle or cut looks like. Pony tails can be deceptive. His outfit isn't horrible. The pants and sweatshirt are pretty basic attire. I don't like the shoes at all. Compared to the material of the pants and the sweatshirt, the boots that he's wearing seem to be made of particularly cheap plastic. I get it: there was a set budget per doll and most of it was spent on the silky hair and the clothes. (Isn't this the same with humans?)

Obviously, his cheap plastic boots can be replaced with a real pair of little shoes ---like ultra cool 18" Dolls Hiking Boots (two pairs) which I already own. I actually bought them thinking that these would be perfect for an Outdoorsy Doll outfit, since I also own an 18" Dolls Camping Set and was mentally plotting out scenes that I could create with it. I LOVE the Great Outdoors! (It doesn't always love me in return or perhaps, it loves me overmuch. Thanks allergies.) Granted the little camping gear I purchased is pink, but if this fella is wearing a high pony, he's hipster enough to use pink camping gear. Don't you think?

On second thought, I might get this doll for the right price (i.e., on sale) or if someone gave me one, but if I were out shopping for an 18" Boy Doll specifically this would probably not be my first choice. I like Boy Dolls, because they are a comparative rarity in the 18" Dolls World. I always pay attention to 18" Boy Dolls when I find them in the wild and examine what manufacturer's are putting out and considering relevant to the 18" Dolls marketplace audience. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

#Listia Auction Score! Stuff for Your #18inchDolls. Purchased Using #INK$ #Cryptocurrency

Got an email alert from Listia the other night regarding an auction matching my preset search criteria (18" Dolls items). So I clicked through to examine of what "Stuff For Your 18" Doll" (the listing's title) consisted. After checking out the listing description, I decided the stuff was too adorable to pass up. Thankfully the fixed auction was listed at a great [Get It Now!] price and I had enough Free XNK cryptocurrency in my account to cover the cost.

So I snatched up this little grab bag of neato miniatures! Although the seller states that these items are "for your 18" Doll," I'm not expecting an exact scale match due to the fact that these are miniatures from other disparate categories (like erasers, etc.) merely being re-purposed for doll use. This stuff wasn't made to scale for an 18" Doll, these miniatures simply happen to be in a similar scale (range) and thus, can be used for an 18" Doll.

This grab bag of little stuff includes: a tiny toy cell phone, a tiny toy rubber duckie, a very small composition book, very small heart tablet, little pony tail holder, an itty bitty screwdriver (that's really a tiny ink pen), a mini working flashlight and some tiny heart stickers. Check the images below. How could anyone see this stuff and not think it was cool? Did you read that the itty bitty flashlight actually works? Be still my geeky heart. I'm on pins and needles awaiting the arrival of my tiny new toys. Woot!
Image Copyright Listia / Vendor Image
Auction Win: Stuff For Your 18" Doll
Image Copyright Listia / Vendor Image
Auction Win: Miniature Screwdriver, Flashlight & Notebook (Closeup)
Image Copyright Listia / Vendor Image
Auction Win: Miniature Heart-Shaped Notebook (Closeup)
Image Copyright Listia / Vendor Image
Auction Win: Miniature Mobile Phone (Closeup)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What-A-Doll #18inchDolls Salon Chair with Accessories #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Dolls Salon Chair with Accessories
What-A-Doll 18" Dolls Salon Chair with Accessories (MSRP $25.99):  The set includes a salon chair and a pack of 7 accessories (a flat iron, a hair dryer, a hairbrush, 2 hair clips, 2 curlers). The accessories are fairly well scaled, the chair slightly less so but within tolerance. Seems fairly sturdy and fits most 18" Dolls. Chair can be moved up & down and has a seat belt to hold doll in place. Seat is padded cushion/upholstery. Perfect for setting up a spa or beauty salon. It's pink!

Purchased via Kmart.com using SYWR points.

Enertec #18inchDolls Heal & Care Set: Wheelchair Crutches Cast #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Enertec Dolls Heal & Care Set
Enertec 18" Dolls Heal & Care Set (MSRP $26.99): This set includes a working wheelchair with rotating wheels, a (snap-on) leg cast, a pair of crutches and a sheet of stickers to personalize the cast (as if it's been signed). Fairly well scaled for a standard 18" Doll --- says "fits most 18" Dolls" on the box --- and made of pretty thick plastic, so seemingly sturdy enough to hold up rather well. (The color scheme of the item I received was slightly different than that pictured, the shades were darker which I actually preferred.) It's a nice set overall and great for hospital scenes.

Purchased via Kmart.com using SYWR points.

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls 5-Pieces Cookie Baking Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
TQT (Cookie) Baking Set
The Queen's Treasures 18" Dolls 5-Pieces (Cookie) Baking Set (MSRP $9.99): This set includes a wooden rolling pin, a wooden cutting board and 3 metal cookie cutters. Very well made and adorable to look at --- you could actually use these cookie cutters to make teeny tiny cookies; however, the rolling pin and cutting board are not scaled correctly for American Girl Dolls (too big), the cookie cutters are closer to scale.

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls 18-Pieces Travel Accessories Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Travel Accessories
Newberry Dolls 18-Pieces Travel Accessories Set (MSRP $19.99): This is a very nice set of 18 little items. The set includes a rolling hard plastic shell suitcase that can be opened and that has a deep enough well to store a few items inside; a toiletries kit/bag that has 2 hand towels and 2 tube bottles stored in it; a hairbrush; a tablet computer, a handheld digital camera, a mobile phone, 3 other toiletry bottles, a passport, 3 travelers checks and a pair of sunglasses. The scale is fairly accurate for an 18" Doll and the items are cute and colorful (not only pink). Perfect for staging Gap Year scenes or other trips abroad.

Purchased via Kmart.com using SYWR points.

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Decorative Party Cake 🍰 #ToyReviews

TQT Dolls Party Cake
The Queen's Treasures Party Cake (MSRP $6.99): This "cake" is ceramic and comparatively very heavy. It looks nice at a distance and comes with a nice little cake box. Seems to be hand painted, but I'm not certain. Photographs well for staging scenes.

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

Springfield Collection (Fibre-Craft) #18inchDolls Backpack #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
Springfield Collection Doll Backpack
Springfield Collection 18" Dolls Backpack (MSRP $7.99): This is a nice little backpack. (The picture is merely for illustrative purposes of color choice as the item is only a single backpack per package.) Seems sturdy, can unzip to place contents inside and the straps are nice and thick to hold "weight." Decent scale. Perfect for staging bus stop vignettes and back to school scenes. Manufactured by Fibre-Craft

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points. 

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Table and Two Chairs [Kenyield] #IKEA #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
Newberry Dolls Table and Two Chairs
Newberry Dolls 18" Dolls (Round) Table and Two Chairs (MSRP $24.99): Flat white composite wood, round table & two chairs. Some assembly required. The box contains precut pre-fab wood pieces that must be screwed together. Rather like if IKEA made Doll Furniture for American Girl. Never heard of this brand before, but the set had a couple great onsite reviews. As a miniaturist modeler I LOVE kits to assemble --- and customize!

*The onsite description stated this was a Kenyield Table and Chairs, but this product actually came labeled "Newberry" on the box. Seems "Kenyield" may be the (Chinese) company that manufactures it for the Newberry Dolls label. After opening the box and putting this together I discovered the scale is a good bit off (especially if the dolls are an "adult"). By this scaling, an 18" American Girl Doll appears as a young preteen at best in an oversized-for-a-child setting or perhaps like Alice after she shrank to enter Wonderland --- feet wouldn't touch the ground even if the dolls legs could bend at the knee. The set is well made, prefab composite wood, sturdy and an adorable design. A shame about the scale. Again, a child may not mind the size discrepancy.

Purchased via Kmart.com using SYWR points.

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Bunk Beds [Kenyield] #IKEA #ToyReviews

Newberry Dolls 18" Dolls Bunk Bed Set (MSRP $38.99): This set includes a composite wood Bunk Bed Set that can be separated into two single beds. Comes with a mattress pad & pillow for each bed --- very thin padded items, but cute pattern cloth --- plus a ladder. Some assembly required --- like IKEA doll furniture, so one need a bit of DIY savvy. (The box contains pre-fab cutout wood pieces that one screws together.) Actual manufacturer is a Chinese company called Kenyield.

Discovered a defect when I tried to put the beds together. Two of the legs on second bed are glued facing the wrong side (screw sink holes lead in instead of out). Disappointing, but I've decided to get longer screws to compensate for the extra distance needed and just live with it! The screw heads won't be flush, but that's simpler than shipping it back and possibly receiving another defective item as a replacement. I don't know anything about the manufacturer, so can't guess whether the defect is common. There weren't any product reviews to go by online that I could find.
This is the main reason that I'm now writing reviews of the 18" Doll toys that I purchase, because product reviews for many of the items were non-existent at the time I was shopping. 99% of the things I've acquired so far were blind buys. I was willing to take a chance, because I was using rewards points to purchase things. But it needn't be this way for the next person.
Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Bunk Beds
Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

#WorldsSmallest #Toys #HotWheels #18inchDolls #Miniatures: Shopping with My Sister in Fayetteville

My crazy doll collector sister called me somewhat out of the blue yesterday afternoon and asked if I wanted to "ride out" with her to Fayetteville (Georgia) as she'd searched online and discovered the JOANN store there had the World's Smallest (toys) Hot Wheels Collection in stock. (If you're curious about my take on the World's Smallest brand by Super Impulse, read the summary at the top of this page.) The phone call from my sister was only somewhat out of the blue, because a few days prior she'd mentioned to me that World's Smallest had created a Hot Wheels Collection and that she wanted to find them. So I was aware that she was on the lookout for these toys, but didn't expect at call at 5:30p Saturday inviting me to tag along on a toy hunt.
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
WS Hot Wheels Car

I grew up playing with Hot Wheels (I was born a gearhead and an engineer), still loosely collect them and I'm also a miniatures fanatic. In response to her invitation, I think I yelled something like "Let me get my shoes!" I couldn't resist the chance to see teeny tiny working versions of little cars and race tracks. Hot Wheels themselves are miniatures of actual vehicles. The World's Smallest versions of Hot Wheels are less than an inch long (a miniature of a miniature = awesomesauce) yet still roll and can run (be pushed) on the teeny race tracks World's Smallest also created as part of the collection.
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
WS Hot Wheels Car + Racetrack

But of course, my sister is a Shopper (that S is capital for a reason) and never merely goes to one store, so we also visited a Hobby Lobby store which had some World's Smallest toys, too, but not as much of a selection as the JOANN store; two Walmart stores, because my sister said the My Life As 18" Dolls brand was on sale (I'll discuss what I saw at Walmart in a separate post); a Goodwill, because who knows what surprise toys one can score when thrifting; and a QT. (I admit the QT was my idea, because I wanted a Frozen Hot Chocolate, but unfortunately the machine was broken, so I had to settle for a smoothie --- the cashier was nice enough to comp my drink of choice due to the inconvenience of the broken machine, which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. I love QT!)

My sister came away with a nice little toys haul, all accessories for one of her American Girl Dolls. She's decorating a bedroom and a playroom in her dollhouse, I believe. I was a sharply focused on the teeny little cars, so may have missed a part of the discussion. I was just along for the ride and to see the toys. It was also fun to discuss the toy industry with my kooky sister and hang out. I try not to be a splurge (of the moment) shopper and instead plan my purchases to get the best deal/value, so I had determined on the ride down not to buy anything on short notice, still I was sorely tempted.
Image Copyright ModDoll Fun!
WS Etch-A-Sketch
Now, that I've seen several examples of World's Smallest toys (thanks to several of my sister's shopping trips), I will definitely acquire some of these items for my staging projects --- the brand does good work (exceptional miniature design engineering)! I certainly want the World's Smallest Hot Wheels Collection --- all of it! (2018 is Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary, so this line is part of the celebration.) The items we saw were so sweet. I had to tell myself several times, "No, no, no!" Not today, but eventually I will get my grubby hands on some choice World's Smallest pieces. Bank on it. I think I dreamt of tiny Hot Wheels cars last night.

Springfield Collection (Fibre-Craft) #18inchDolls Cheerleader Outfit #ToyReviews

Springfield Collection 18" Dolls Cheerleader Outfit (MSRP $11.99): Almost too tight for an AG Doll's body, may fit other dolls better. Description states fits most 18" Dolls. (It's designed for Springfield Collection 18" Dolls and their bodies are obviously slimmer than AG.) Cute outfit, but Lordy it's pink. Outfit includes soft cloth sneakers and pom-poms.
Image Copyright Sears
SC Cheerleader Outfit
Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points. Need a filler item for an order to reach the free shipping threshold and this was on sale at the time for ~$6.99 (roughly the amount needed).

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Kitchen Utensils Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
TQT Kitchen Utensil Set
The Queen's Treasures 18" Dolls Kitchen Utensils Set (MSRP $11.99): This set includes a wooden bowl, a wooden spoon, a  metal spatula, a metal strainer, a metal ladle, and a metal whisk. Beautifully crafted pieces, not to scale (for a standard 18" Doll like American Girl).

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls School Supplies Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
TQT School Supplies Set (Doll not included)
The Queen's Treasures School Supplies Set (MSRP $9.99): This set includes an (wooden) apple, three (painted wooden block) books, a pencil, and a (painted wooden block) chalkboard. As with most TQT accessories sets it's nicely packaged in a drawstring cloth tote bag for handy storage. The best piece in this set is the little pencil. It's not to true scale for an 18' Doll, but it's a real little pencil. The rest of the stuff consists of wooden blocks painted to resemble items which is disappointing. I happen to collect miniature books, so I know very well that real tiny books exist. It would have been nice if TQT had made actual little books with flippable pages for this set. I'm not asking for printed text on the pages, blanks would have been perfectly acceptable here. The apple is OK as a prop (although molded clay or ceramic would probably have made a more realistic apple than wood). The chalkboard is very disappointing because tiny real chalkboards abound in craft stores and can be had cheaply. It should not have been a difficult prop to make, but instead of including a real little chalkboard, TQT merely painted a flat piece of wood black on the front  to approximate a chalkboard. The scale of the items here is close to where it should be for most pieces, but the pieces themselves are poorly done miniatures. Of all the TQT sets, I purchased this one has the weakest craftsmanship. It's like all the pieces were an afterthought.

WARNING: In the set I received, the various wooden blocks had rather sharp edges (were not filed round), so might not be entirely safe for a wee child.

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points. 

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Sewing Kit #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
TQT Sewing Kit
The Queen's Treasures Sewing Kit (MSRP $9.99): This kit includes three spools of thread, a measuring tape, a pair of scissors, a pin cushion and a piece of cloth. It's a good thing I sew as the items a nearly big enough for me to use, instead of an 18" Doll using them. Scale is all over the place with the pin cushion absolutely dwarfing the spools of thread and the (wooden) scissors being like a clown prop. Again, it's cute and I'm happy that TQT looks at creating more than kitchens and bedrooms which seems to be the main commercial doll fare, but it's NOT to scale. (The spools of thread are closest to being correctly proportioned.)

Purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Pizza 🍕 Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Sears
TQT Pizza Set
As is ever the case with The Queen's Treasures items, this 18" Doll Pizza Set (MSRP $11.99) is summed up as poorly scaled, but wonderful craftsmanship. The little pizza cutter actually rotates, but it is way bigger than a pizza cutter should be in relation to the Doll's Size/Height (scale). The mitt is OK, a bit roomy but wearable and the metal pizza platter could be an "end table top" (i.e., it's much bigger than a plate should be in relation to the Doll's Size). It's a miniature work of art, but NOT to scale for an 18" Doll. A child might not care. I was born an engineer, so paid attention to scale even as a small child --- finding a working scale model of a wind-up music box in a second-hand store when I was but a wee tot is one of the reasons I started collecting miniatures in the first place. I am an odd duck, however.

This was purchased via Sears.com using SYWR points.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Shoes Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Shoes Set
Newberry Dolls Shoes Set, including four pairs (MSRP $9.99): Both pairs of boots look better on a doll than in the package suggests and fit well; the black Mary Jane's are clown-size over-large floppy shoes for the average 18" Dolls, whereas the sandals are nearly too short (hanging toes). A mixed bag. 

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Colonial Utensils Set #ToyReviews

A set of metal knives, forks and spoons (4 ea.) in wooden storage drawer (MSRP $24.99). This The Queen's Treasures set was such a disappointment! It contains unbelievably well-crafted metal utensils and a nice sturdy wood box, but the scale is ludicrously off. These pieces are clown-sized in an 18" Doll's Hand like a two-foot long fork would be in your hand in real life. The bigger pieces may be safer for a child to play with ---though this might be negligible, since these are metal pieces with a certain sharpness. I never bothered to open it and have left it sealed in the shrink-wrap due to the off-putting size discrepancy. It's beautiful to look at, but rather useless for my purposes (crafting realistic scenes using scale models). Luckily, I got it for free using SYWR points.
Image Copyright Sears
TQT Colonial Utensils

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Vacuum Set [Camino Toy] #ToyReviews

This Newberry Dolls set includes a vacuum with sound (battery powered), a brooms, two dustpans, 2 cleaning bottles, cleaning brush, cleaning sponge (MSRP $19.99). It's sturdy plastic, but the scale is all over the map. The cleaning product bottles are MUCH larger than 18" Dolls-Scale, as is the bulbous vacuum. The brooms/dustpans are about right. It's cute that the designer/s tried to add sound for authenticity and interaction, but this caused them to over-enlarge the vacuum to accommodate the batteries. As a result of the scaling hodgepodge, I only think this playset is meh. A child may not notice or care, but I'm an engineer and modeler, so accurate scale is an integral part of my makeup.
Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Vacuum Set

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Sports Combo Set [Camino Toy] #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Combo Sports Set
This set includes a (push leg or kick) scooter, a skateboard, a helmet, knee pads and stickers (MSRP $14.99). Originally the scooter and the skateboard were available as separate sets, each priced $14.99, but early last year this new combined set appeared on Kmart.com at the same price as a single kit. The combined kit doesn't include the elbow pads (from the solo skateboard) or the goggles (from the solo scooter) but while these add to the "authenticity" neither were a major item. Nice set, especially to get two modes of transportation at a moderate price. Well made and of decent proportion. Fairly sturdy. But again, pink.

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls 5-Pieces Camping Set #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Camping Set
The set includes a tent, a folding chair, a sleeping bag, a backpack and a water bottle (MSRP $29.99). The water bottle is a bit of a cop out as far as the five pieces go, but otherwise it's a very nice set. Well crafted items that are fairly proportional (in scale). I do hate that everything Newberry Dolls makes is pink. I get it, it's aimed at little girls, but broaden your horizons. Pink wasn't my favorite color even when I was a little girl. But this is a general gripe and doesn't invalidate the fact that this is a very nice playset overall. Perfect for outdoors scenes. It was on sale one week for $23.99 and I had enough SYWR points to get it free on Kmart.com.

The Queen's Treasures #18inchDolls Hiking Boots #ToyReviews

1 Pair of Hiking Boots (MSRP $10.99) in a Shoebox: This pair of little boots is easily the best The Queen's Treasures (TQT) item, I've purchased. The styling is authentic (includes grommets & laces), the boots are very well made with nice detail (thick soles), and fit most 18" Dolls. I liked them well enough that I bought another pair, so now own two. Perfect for outdoorsy scenes.
Image Copyright Sears
TQT 18" Dolls Hiking Boots

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Foldout Chair/Sofa Bed [Lotus Onda] #ToyReviews

Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Chair/Bed
Chair, pillow and blanket (MSRP $14.99) by Lotus Onda for Newberry Dolls: The blanket is more like a half-blanket as it neither covers a doll or the bed fully. Pillow is OK (it's a puff rectangle). This chair --- described erroneously as a sofa but is only wide enough for a single doll to sit in at a time --- is made of firm foam that holds it's shape well and supports the weight of an American Girl Doll (though an alternate brand product). So it functions as a chair. It also unfolds completely to flatten into a mattress or futon so it also functions as a casual doll bed. The problem is once the thing is unfolded it's difficult to return to chair form. The pieces are attached by straps and Velcro, but sometimes flip in the opposite direction as you're  trying to reassemble the chair. Ends up being a hassle to unlatch and flip and reattach. The issue could have been corrected, if the design had left the chair back as a solid piece that does not flatten and only folded out the seat cushions section. It may be too much of a hassle for a child to switch back and forth from chair to bed. I'm annoyed enough by the design flaw that I usually leave it as a chair, but that's why I bought it. (I have real doll beds for use as beds.)

The product mimics real-life in this sense: I know sofa beds were popular for a time, but few people used them regularly because invariably they were difficult to pull out and then return to form (sofa). The combo sofa/bed is a nice thought, but a poor actualization (in real life and in the doll world). Because I wanted more chairs, this is a decent product even with its design imperfection, because it actually functions as a chair --- unlike the similar Badger Basket item I bought (also from Kmart.com) --- and it was roughly half the cost, $14.99 vs $29.99 for a poor excuse for a chair.
Image Copyright Kmart
Badger Basket Chair/Bed

Mini Bible & Chaplet NOT for #18inchDolls #Listia #ScaleModels

I won this auction on Listia (shortly before the site switched from credits to XNK cryptocurrency). The pair of items didn't cost very much, but the transaction turned out to be a disappointment due to a very poor description of scale. Sigh.

Many vendors are lax in this sort of thing and it matters. Some people genuinely don't understand scale. Others are simply trying to take advantage of the popularity of 18" Dolls in general and of American Girl in particular by labeling any small toy-like item "for 18" Dolls" or "like American Girl."

This bible is 6" tall making it exactly 1/3 of the height of an 18" Doll. While there may be some huge bibles in existence, the average bible size is NOT 1/3 of the height of a person in real life, which is the scale equivalent. I'm willing to give some leeway in scale due to the nature of the toy business, but this is ridiculous! Bibles aren't this big even when compared to a child in real life. (The chaplet was more appropriately scaled, but still off.)

While the bible won't work my purposes here, I gave it to my niece as her own personal little bible. Most tiny items bought online aren't worth the effort to return (and unfortunately, some unscrupulous vendors count on this). I don't know the vendor of this specific auction one way or another, my comments speak to the general tenor of what I've encountered in online auctions while searching for ModDolls (18" Dolls-Scale Models).
Mini Bible & Chaplet (auction win)

Newberry Dolls (Kmart) #18inchDolls Bicycle [Lotus Onda] #ToyReviews

This Newberry Dolls 18" Dolls Bicycle is adorable! Manufactured by Lotus Onda, it's very well made with nice rotating wheels, well proportioned to an 18" Doll and decently priced (MSRP $19.99). There's even a little basket up front to carry items, tassels on the handlebars --- and an invisible (i.e., clear plastic) brace to help hold the doll upright & in place on the seat. Like seemingly everything Newberry Dolls makes it's mainly pink, but at least it's an deep shade.
Image Copyright Kmart
Newberry Dolls Bicycle
I purchased this via Kmart.com using SYWR points (got it free).

American Girl Customer #Survey: Request for Brand #Feedback #MarketInsights #IndustryNews #IMO

Last night, I received a survey invitation from American Girl looking for Customer Feedback. Boy, did I let 'em have it!
American Girl Survey Invitation
It was an interesting survey. I gave my honest opinions. As I said, I'm not impressed with everything Mattel has done with the brand since buying it. Trying to milk the brand of every penny by releasing ever-cheaper plastic toys at the same exaggerated price-point wears thin (sometimes literally, as items break quickly and don't stand up to usage/play). When the toys were made of wood and metal (Pleasant Company) they were expensive, yes, but a worthwhile investment in authenticity that could last years and years. Nowadays, I hear reports of stuff breaking practically out of the box because the plastic being used to fashion the items is of such a poor quality. While the designers at American Girl often still have wonderful ideas, the business-side seems to choose manufacturers that aren't cutting it, so the execution of those ideas is lacking. But the rumor is that this new president will be taking the brand back to its core values. One can hope.

It will be interesting to observe how the brand adjusts to having a new president at the helm in this lead up to the holiday season. There's already been an (email) announcement of upcoming news from the AG Rewards program, so some changes are afoot this Fall. To also receive a customer feedback survey so soon afterward at least seems to demonstrate that someone is trying to gauge brand resiliency. We'll see... the proof is in the pudding (of what American Girl does going forward).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

#Listia Auction Score! #AmericanGirl Sandy the Dog Plush (2003) #18inchDolls

I earned some Listia XNK (cryptocurrency) by completing a task for the website and this free money was burning a hole in my virtual pocket. Today while eating a late lunch, I was browsing Listia.com (one of my leisure time hobbies) when I found an auction listing for an "American Girl Doll Dog" with a [Get It Now] price. The pup is used, but in very good shape and still has its lavender bandana.

I couldn't resist and pulled the trigger, buying what turned out to be an American Girl Sandy the Dog (plush) that was released in 2003 and retired the following year. [According to the American Girl Wiki: Sandy the Dog is part of Kailey's Collection. The retail cost was originally $18.]
Image Copyright American Girl Wiki
Sandy the Dog (2003)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Poor #ToyDesign: #BadgerBasket #18inchDolls Chair #FailWhale #ToyReviews

I purchased a Badger Basket: Upholstered Doll Chair with Foldout Bed - Pink Chevron (MSRP $29.99) from Kmart.com. The product description (on Kmart) states that it's appropriate for 18" Dolls like American Girl and a non-AG 18" Doll is shown using the chair on the manufacturer's website. (The chair design on the manufacturer's site seems slightly different from the chair I received --- the top seat cushion looks thinner and thus firmer --- so I don't know if it's an update, an older model or an assembly-line variance.) 

Unfortunately however, the chair I received does not support the weight of an American Girl Doll (other 18" Dolls may have different weight ratios) which means it fails at being an American Girl Doll chair.

The chair is made of foam covered in fabric. The foam used for the top seat cushion of the chair is too thin to support the doll's weight, it flattens almost completely and the doll slides forward. (See image below.) Both seat cushions should remain the same thickness, but the top cushion becomes roughly half the thickness of the bottom cushion with a doll seated on the chair and the loose fabric puckers out.
Badger Basket Chair Weak Seat Cushion
To use the chair at all, an American Girl Doll (like the one pictured) must not only be pushed all the way against its back, but the doll's arms must be extended against the chair's armrests as stops to prevent her from sliding off. Were the doll seated more toward the front of the chair then the top cushion would appear nearly non-existent. The chair may work OK for other dolls made of a different weight plastic, but American Girl Dolls are fairly solid. It would be fine for a light-weight stuffed animal. It is not appropriate for an American Girl Doll which is the reason I bought it.

I contacted the manufacturer to try to determine if it was a manufacturing defect (i.e., I happened to receive one poorly made chair because the seat cushion foam was cut too thin on an assembly-line) or a design defect (i.e., we actually didn't try the chair with an American Girl Doll only with other brands that have different weights, but want to capitalize on the popularity of American Girl and sell to those customers). Was told they had never received such a complaint before, was asked for photo proof (I sent the photo above) and then was basically brushed of with an "Oh well, write a bad review of the product, if you want." Not exactly proactive customer service.

So here it is, my bad review.

Needless to say, I would not purchase this item ever again. It was not worth returning to Kmart due to the fact that between the cost of return shipping, my time and hassle, etc., I likely would have paid for the chair again. So I kept it, but we are not amused.

#AmericanGirl Live Event Tomorrow! #Giveaway #Prizes #18inchDolls

Just saw this tweet on the American Girl Twitter:


Apparently, there will be a Live streaming event tomorrow and this will include a giveaway. Would totes love to win a prize pack. I wonder if any new products will be announced. Will you be tuning in?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Picked Up A $5.00 eBay #Freebie: #AmericanGirl Lea's Laptop #18inchDolls #Toys #Coupon

As noted here, I discovered a $5.00 eBay Coupon while playing a game earlier. The coupon seems to work on any purchase, so I decided to look for a toy to use in ModDoll Home staging. I searched for 18" Dolls and looked for items $5.00 or less with free shipping.
eBay Vendor Image
Lea's Green Laptop
I found an American Girl prop. A seller was hawking "Lea's Green Tablet/Laptop" toy. (Originally a piece in Lea's Rainforest House playset.) I could [Buy It Now] for $5.00 with free shipping. So I added it to my cart, applied the $5.00 coupon I'd found and got this cute little toy for FREE which is my second favorite price (the first is a moneymaker). Thanks, eBay!

Here's a hot tip... visit eBay and try this code: MYFUNFIVE.

As with any online promo YMMV but if it works for you, what are you going to buy?


Copyright American Girl Wiki [http://americangirl.wikia.com/wiki/File:LeaRainforestHouse.jpg]
Lea's Rainforest House [Image Copyright © American Girl Wiki]

Monday, August 13, 2018

Register For A #Kids #OGDolls Event @Target Next Month! #MarketInsights #18inchDolls #AdoptAPup #OurGeneration #Gifts #Sweepstakes

Click To Register

Our Generation (OGDolls), the Target Doll Brand made by Maison Battat, is having an Adopt-a-Pup Event for kids next month at select Target stores nationwide. The event has an associated gift (6" stuffed dog toy) for attendees while supplies last, so it's strongly suggested that you register for it. Walk-ins are welcome but are not guaranteed to receive a gift.

This sounds like fun! I grew up adoring American Girl Dolls and thus mainly focus on the totality of this brand. But I'm also tangentially aware of other 18" Doll Brands. I'm learning about these competing brands (mainly) to keep abreast of market dynamics. Always be aware of what the competition is doing. Whenever I discover interesting things that concern any 18" Doll Brand, I'll probably mention them. My plan for developing ModDoll Fun! --- this 18" Doll-scale Models site --- is to acquire select pieces from whatever brand is putting out good toys to use as additions and supplements to my own DIY creations. If other brands are creating fun and worthwhile 18" Doll Toys, I want to know. I am always a seeker of quality first and a "brand loyalist" second. I loved the original American Girl Dolls (as created by the Pleasant Company) and have only recently become reacquainted with the brand as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., so I'm not wedded to it.
Our Generation Logo
Our Generation Dolls Logo
To digress again, I will state that it would be nice if Target and other companies with Doll Brands put on separate but equal events for doll collectors who happen to be adults --- nothing wrong with expanding your market view and courting a wider demographic of customers. This is one of my recurring themes. I'm amazed at any company that sells Dolls or other toys willfully leaving money on the table in an era of "sluggish toy sales." (Kids' attention is being consumed by electronic devices. Screen-time has replaced playtime.) It's funnier still that adult collectors of dolls are largely ignored, because many of these Kids Events will conduct a sweepstakes that one has to be "at least 18 to enter." (It's recognized that adults are usually present at Kids Events, but they are regulated to a position of child chaperone only. Instead, draw them in as brand fans in their own right.) But back to the event at hand...
Yes, the Our Generation Adopt-A-Pup Event sounds totes adorb to use the vernacular. However, it would be made mo' betta, if Target also partnered with a dog rescue organization/s to collect donations (perhaps a percentage of sales generated by the event) and give out information on the plight of pups needing forever homes. Toys with a message. This would garner my support, kids or no. (I don't have children, by the way.) Companies have to start looking at a bigger picture.

Here's a direct copy of the OGDolls Adopt-a-Pup Event ad details:
Target OGDolls Event Image
Join us in the toy department at Target for a very special pup adoption event!
Kids are invited to bring their Our Generation doll, choose a free 6” plush dog to adopt and pose for photos with their friends.
Register by August 27 to secure your spot (and FREE gift). Walk-ins will be available the day of the event while supplies last.
NOTE: When you sign up for this event, you will automatically have a chance to win* over $200 worth of OG products.
Want to add to your OG collection? During this event, at participating Target locations, there will be an in-store sale offering 15% off** select dolls and accessories! (View the complete list of conditions and FAQs.)
*Click here for more information on the sweepstakes rules and regulations
**Selection is based on product availability and stock.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Grand Opening Of The #AmericanGirl Outlet Store This Weekend! #MarketInsights #Hershey #TangerOutlets

According to a local (Philadelphia) news affiliate, a ticket will be required to access the American Girl Outlet Store this weekend during its Grand Opening. This is Pennsylvania's only American Girl Store and currently the first and only American Girl Outlet Store. Apparently, there's going to be a big celebration with special giveaways (for children), deals and crafts, etc.. A large crowd is expected. Though I abhor crowds, this is the sort of thing that could lure me out to a Brick & Mortar store ---a one of a kind event at a singular location. But as I'm not trekking to Hershey, PA this weekend, I'm hoping that those who are in attendance post tons of pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing what American Girl has up its sleeve for the long term viability of the brand and how it will handle an Outlet market.
American Girl Dolls (American Girl Store - Atlanta Display)
As the Grand Opening event has giveaways with the parenthetical "for kids only," this again made me marvel at American Girl turning a blind eye toward adult doll collectors. I still think it's mad (shortsighted) for American Girl to overlook adult doll collectors when holding promotional events and I'm not saying this because I'm an (newly minted) adult doll collector. My statement is based upon market observation. While the American Girl Dolls are aimed at children, specifically young girls, many of the brand's fans are not children or are no longer children. The American Girl Brand is now 30 odd years old. There are certainly fans who discovered it as a child and grew up adoring the brand as I did. Perhaps, these fans now share their interest in the brand with their own kids (or other young relatives). To exclude a large demographic from giveaways, events and other promotions basically says "we'll take your money, but we don't value you as a customer." Shunning customers doesn't usually end well, if you're a business.

By the way, I'm not advocating that American Girl open up Kids Events to adults. (This would not end well.) No, I think American Girl should establish adult only events and promotions. Have an American Girl Store Café Event aimed at adult doll collectors, for instance. I'd absolutely attend a "Meet the Doll Designer" Event, as another example. If carefully handled, joint adult/child events could also be held, something along the lines of "Mommy & Me plus Our Dolls," but I would start with the introduction of separate adult only events.

Other "Children's" brands do this sort of thing. These brands understand that the longevity of their brand is an asset. They expect their fans to grow up and introduce the brand to the next generation. In fact, they count on it. When American Girl debuted it redefined a genre of toys. Its longevity as a popular Doll Brand is an asset to be leveraged. Giving the adult fans of the brand promotional perks that are separate but equal to the Kids Events (crafts to make things for your doll, giveaway doll t-shirts, special sales, etc.) would encourage more sales while broadening and reshaping American Girl's market share. (The AG Rewards program is a start, but again, this is basically a "We'll take your money, but not really embrace you" sort of business move.)

Take heed American Girl: Embrace long term and recent adult customers or continue to flounder! (There are brand reorganization and reinvigoration rumors floating online as American Girl seeks to "return to its core" with a new president at the helm.) When a brand willfully leaves money on the table by making a sizable customer demographic feel less than welcome, then the brand shouldn't be surprised that its sales weaken over time. Underappreciated customers often take their business elsewhere.