Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday was my oldest daughter Emma's 22nd birthday, so we took a trip to the 'Big City' for shopping and a meal at The Cheesecake Factory. The meal was good, except I confirmed my suspicion that the only vinaigrette dressing I like really is the blueberry vinaigrette on the Bar Harbour salad at Red Lobster. (I love that stuff!) The shopping was mostly for clothes, (Although we did do Barnes and Noble),which is always a bit of a drag for me,since I am too fat and old for the clothes in the stores my daughter's shop in. Not that I don't like the clothes, I just don't like the me I have to put in them. (I like 'me' fine, by the way, just not the look of me. But I'm working on that.) If I fit in any of the clothes I wouldn't be so depressed by clothes shopping.I did some serious dieting last year and lost about 40 pounds. Some of it threatens to come back every now and then, but I have been able to keep it at bay and not gain any permanent pounds back so far.I've set a date (The day after my Dad's 90th birthday, in about 2 weeks),to start my diet up again in earnest. I have a lot more weight to lose and this time I need to gain some muscle too. For the first time ever, losing weight left me somewhat saggy last time. Age is catching up with me!
   Anyway, while we were shopping we came across the Disney Store in the mall. Gone are the days when any of my children actually want to go in the Disney Store I guess. It was only last birthday that it was Emma's idea to go in the Disney Store, and if they had had a cool Muppet, don't think she wouldn't still buy it. But this time it was me who asked to go in. They agreed somewhat reluctantly (time was an issue). I wanted to see if they had any cool Muppets too. Other than that, I really wanted to see the Animator's Collection dolls. I've seen pictures online and they looked really cute. I found out that in person they are still cute, and my favourites were Merida (I love that expression.) and Mulan.Plus I wanted to see what other really good dolls they had, especially the 11" Merida, from Brave. I have been wanting a Merida doll since they came out. (I wouldn't say no to her mother, either.) I wanted a Rapunzel from Tangled too.Then I recently went through a box of dolls I bought last summer but haven't done anything with yet,and found that I had one all along! She has the jointed wrists too, so I'm set. I saw  the 17" talking Merida, and she is nice. In fact, I was looking at her when I noticed the 11" Meridas that were on sale for $8! I totally embarrassed my daughters by suddenly exclaiming, "Eight dollars?! Eight dollars!" My husband started looking at them with me,(as my daughters scolded me for my outburst). Then my daughters said, "Just buy your wife one so she'll shut up." Aren't they sweet? Luckily my husband really is sweet, and for $8 he could almost afford to be. He helped me pick out a good one, and here she is.

  They had varying amounts of blush on various parts of their faces. My youngest, Ivy doesn't approve of my choice. She thinks blush on her forehead is going too far, but I liked the ruddiness on the bridge of her nose.

The regular line of Merida dolls sold elsewhere are always  super pale, which I also like. (I told my husband that I still want one of those Meridas too, and if I find one at a yard sale I still won't hesitate to buy it.) These Merida dolls have a more natural complexion, but still not as Ruddy as the character was animated in the movie. The eyes look slightly crossed, but she looks that way in the movie too.

I like that she has a bow and arrow, but why is the bow sort of flesh coloured? Look at it compared to her hand.

Ivy also complained that she has only one arrow. "Who only has one arrow?"

Maybe she has been shooting? Maybe she lost them. It's not going to be very much fun for the child who gets this doll and tries to fire the arrow. How long before they lose that one and have nothing to shoot? I know when I was a kid I would have been making her shoot that arrow. (Ivy says, "Who are you kidding? You were trying to do it now.") At least if they had given her more arrows there would be more of a chance she'd have some left. It wouldn't have added more than a couple of pennies to the cost of making the doll.So that's a thought.
  Here are some points:
  She has jointed wrists, so she can be posed as if she were shooting the arrow. Or whatever...
   Her dress is very similar to the dress she wore in the movie, although I see it more as wool, or maybe velvet, but it definitely shouldn't be shiny. I know the toy companies think little girls want everything to be shiny and pretty, but even as a kid I wanted things to be as realistic as possible. There must be kids like that out there too.And there are beautiful things that aren't shiny and tacky. They could have put some fake laces at the bust where her dress laced up too. Come on.Make it like the real one!

Her cape is pretty cool. Love the little clasp detail.

Her hair is darker than in the movie, and darker than most of the regular line of Merida dolls. I love Merida's hair. I used to have Merida's hair. 
Here I am in the 80's with my big Merida hair. Please try to ignore the unfortunate patch of sunshine on my nose! (And mouth, and chin...)
Apart from the colour, they don't make it curly all over like it should be. In the movie the curls  are smaller and all over her head, but the dolls just have big curls about halfway down. And I just know this hair is going to be stiff and probably parted in the back semi permanently, from the way they have it all pulled to the front to make it look full in the box.
   They make it almost impossible to get her out of the box. In order to take out all the stitches and twisties and tape to take her out you have to take the whole box apart. This is why very few kids will still have the box to this one!


And here she is out of the box,looking slightly perplexed.

Her hair isn't quite as stiff as it looked. It did have that part in the middle though. With some careful combing I managed to get it to join together,but it still wants to part there.
Kids would probably ruin the curls trying to fill that hole. With all the stiffness in the hair combing is probably going to create a frizzed out mess
  She's more jointed than I thought she'd be. Besides her neck,shoulders, and hips, she's also jointed at the elbows,wrists, knees, and ankles. Her head is on sort of a ball joint, because she can look up,down, and around a bit, and not just side to side. I forgot to take pictures of this, but it's only my second post. I'll get better.
  For being so jointed she's not as poseable as she could have been. She can't get her hands very near her face for example.
I read somewhere that you can file down the inside edges of the joints (where they rub together when the joints are bent) so that the joints can bend further. It looked like it worked pretty well on the before and after pictures they showed of the doll they tried it on.I haven't tried it, but I might experiment on a Liv doll.  
  She could also have done with a waist joint, like a Liv doll for example. And when she sits her legs go out to the sides. (Not a very ladylike pose.)

Her bow is just strung with string, not elastic, so you really can't shoot the arrow. I'm very disappointed!
  Just for the heck of it, here's a doll I'm making that my husband keeps calling "The 'Brave' girl". She's not very pretty, but she has personality...and some awesome hair.

You can't really tell in these pictures, but her eyes are glossed so they look wet like real eyes, and her mouth is actually open, not just painted that way.
 I gripe about the inaccuracies of the Merida doll, but I realize no one is ever going to make a doll exactly like the character looked in a movie. Usually you would have to combine the qualities of a lot of doll versions of the character to get one that came really close.Toy companies seem to spread the accurate points around;one doll with the right hair, one with the right dress,one with the right face, etc. This is why collectors took the head from the Audrey Hepburn doll and used it to replace the head of the Barbie as Eliza Doolittle dolls. The same thing happened with the Mattel Scarlett O'Hara doll head, and the Barbie as Scarlett  costumes. All in all I really like this Merida doll. I think kids who love the movie character will think she comes pretty close to the animated version. I just still wish I could shoot that arrow...

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