Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Review of Maru and Friends Dolls---NOT!

 UPDATE: As of April 6th I have received Maru. Full review coming soon.(Thank you, Maritza.) I still don't know why I got no response at all from the company.The package was shipped a few days after this post appeared.I don't like to think Maritza felt blackmailed. I was only telling what happened to me.I told her when I would be giving up in case she wanted to respond, not to force her to do anything.

  Regular readers may know that I have had various Maru and Friends dolls, (Especially Savannah), on my Christmas list for the last two years.

I love the faces on the Maru dolls.All of the dolls except one are sculpted by Dianna Effner, so they have those beautiful children's faces.

The one doll not sculpted by Effner is Valentina.
Valentina.She's supposed to be Maru's little sister, but she looks older and unrelated. 
 She's sculpted by Maya Bill. She's not as cute and sweet looking as the Effner sculpted dolls, but she has an interesting face, and I like her.
   I still don't own one of these dolls though, and now I may not. But I came very close recently.
  This SHOULD have been a review of a Maru and Friends doll. I recently decided to try to help keep the blog up to date and interesting by asking a variety of doll companies if they would be interested in providing products for review on the blog. One of the companies I contacted was Maru and Friends. I messaged them on their Facebook page.Less than 2 hours after messaging them I received this reply:

Welcome to the world of Maru. Yes... we would love to obtain a review from you. Send me all your contact information and I will get a doll right out to you. Thanks so much! maritza

  I was excited, So I immediately sent them my mailing address, offered to send them links to previous reviews, and told them that, if they were checking out the blog, my most recent post was not about dolls,due to my bird's death. And I waited for the doll to arrive.
  And I waited.By February 22  I still hadn't received anything.Did they need my blog stats? They hadn't asked for them, but when I had contacted A Girl For All Time for the same purpose I was asked for my blog stats.To make sure, I sent them this Facebook message:

Hi, Just following up on our last messages to see if there is anything else you need from me. If there is, please let me know. I'm looking forward to receiving your doll! Thanks again. Tammy

 I know that at some point I sent them an email through their website asking them to let me know when the doll had been shipped so I could watch for it's delivery, because we often get mail delivered to our side steps where we don't look for it. The steps are basically on the sidewalk, so anybody walking by could just carry a package off. In addition,if things get delivered there on a rainy day and we don't notice it,they can be damaged.(Like today when our photo book from Shutterfly got delivered out there in the rain.) No response to that either.
  By March 16th I had received neither a doll, nor a message from Maru and Friends on Facebook or by email. So I sent them one more Facebook message and one more message on their web page, both telling them that if I hadn't heard from them by March 30th, (A full two weeks after my previous message.), I would assume they were not sending a doll and I would post what should have been my review without the doll to review.
  At this point you may be thinking, 'they have every right not to send a doll', which is true.If they had never answered me at all, or if they had answered and declined to provide anything for review, I would have been fine with that.Even if they had contacted me and said they had checked out the blog and had changed their minds about sending a doll,I would have been a bit hurt and offended, but that would be their prerogative. But they committed to sending a doll. Then they reneged on their offer, and didn't even respond to messages. If this is what their communication is like,and if they don't carry through on their word, I'm not sure I'd even want to order a doll from them now, How are they on responding to customer problems or complaints? Do they ignore the messages, or do their message links just not work? Either way they aren't going to have very good customer service.
  And that's my story.Pretty disappointing, isn't it?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Girl For All Time: Your Modern Girl Kickstarter Campaign

  In case some of you haven't heard, A Girl For All Time is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to finance a couple of new dolls. The new line is called "Your Modern Girl", and includes Maya,a member of the Marchmont family, like the previous dolls made by the company...

...and Maya's friend, Nisha. Nisha is the first doll produced by A Girl For All Time who is not a member of the Marchmont family.

  Maya looks to be made from the Matilda head sculpt,and is practically identical except for her hair style.

Matilda's picture from A Girl For All Time's website...

Nisha seems to be made from the Lydia sculpt, but doesn't resemble Lydia nearly as much as Maya resembles Matilda, due to her darker skin tone and brown eyes.

...And Lydia's.
There will be a whole line of clothes and accessories made available to go along with the new line. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign HERE.The campaign offers a few goodies in exchange for your pledge, which add up as the amount of your pledge goes up.
  Some of you will remember that I bought a Clementine doll from A Girl For All Time a while back. (You can read her review HERE.)

 I love Clementine and would love to eventually add other dolls from the line to my collection. I think they are beautiful play dolls, made from a wonderful smooth vinyl, and their clothes feature quality fabrics and construction.

 I also like the fact that the dolls have a backstory. There is a book to accompany each doll, telling her story. The books have gorgeous colour covers,and black and white illustrations.
  For those of you interested in the process that takes a doll from idea to design to completion, there are pictures and details on Maya and Nisha's creation on the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends on April 16th, so you have almost 3 weeks if you're interested in taking part. For those of you who aren't familiar with Kickstarter, if the goal of the fundraiser isn't met the dolls will not be produced, at least not at this time. So if you've fallen in love with the photos of Maya and/or Nisha, you'd better hop on it and pledge! 

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everybody!

 I know I promised a report on my birthday gifts, but I wanted to take some outdoor shots and the weather hasn't been cooperating. We have had rain, cold, and even some snow and frost. My poor daffodils are still not open. I do, however, have some baby tomato plants starting, and some of my amaryllis' are almost ready to bloom. On top of the weather, I, along with Ken and Ivy, have had a bad cold that's been lingering on for about 3 weeks now,and some sort of eye thing that has had me waking up with my eyes glued shut! They have been blurry throughout the day too. And to top everything off, our basement flooded about 6 weeks ago, and our water heater still doesn't want to re-light. So we've been abusing Emma's hospitality to take showers, and boiling water to do dishes. Either the water heater is going to dry out enough eventually to restart, (To be fair, it was under a foot and a half of water for about a week.), or we are going to need a new water heater. When our basement flooded a couple of years ago during the hot summer, it took a week or more for it to dry out, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt with the weather being so cold, (And so the basement is cold too.), that it will take a bit longer this time.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Whoo Hoo! It's My Birthday!

Since I've used the same mini cake for the last two years I thought I'd change this year. Ivy made this one when I made the other one. It's pretty good. No candles though. 'Tammy' is still 10 or 11 years old, just like me,(on the inside)!
Today is my 54th birthday. And what does a 54 year old woman get for her birthday? Well, I don't know yet. I had a lot of things on my wish list. (Quite literally. My Ebay Wish List.) What Ken bought from that list remains to be seen. He likes to make me wait for my gifts, so I won't know until later today. So I'll let you know in a few days. I'm already sure he spoiled me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

American Character Little Toni Doll

  We were moving some boxes the other week, (Ok. I was.), when I came across the box with this doll in it.
I had her bangs laying down, but they have since popped up again.  

I thought she was so pretty. So while she had been in a box of stuff to sell, I sort of snagged her for myself.

She's a Toni doll by American Character.

You can see the American Character logo on her back.

The original Toni dolls were larger than this girl, and debuted in 1949. Following that doll's success,Toni dolls came in several sizes throughout the 1950's. This is Little Toni, and she's 10 1/2" tall.
Why Toni! What big feet you have!

The Toni dolls originally came with a 'play perm' since they were tie ins with the Toni home permanent.The 'setting lotion' the dolls came with to 'perm' their hair was sugar water!Apparently it didn't work well.
As you can see, my girl could do with a touch up to her 'do'.

She has green sleep eyes with hard molded lashes.

Toni dolls were competitors of the more well known Miss Revlon dolls. This girl is around the same size as Little Miss Revlon.
Little Miss Revlon on the left, Little Toni on the right.
Toni has a very different face from Little Miss Revlon, a bigger head,but a similar body.
Little Miss Revlon's identifying marks.

Little Miss Revlon competitors were plenty.Here are Little Miss Revlon and Toni with a Uneeda Tiny Teen Suzette. 

Tiny Teen has a much more similar face to Little Miss Revlon.

All three have almost identical bodies and hands.(You'll notice Toni is missing a pinky finger.)You can see other similarities too. Look at those feet.
Little Miss Revlon has bigger hands.
'Uneeda' on Tiny Teen's head.
 While I'm at it I'll compare her with Miss Ginger, another Little Miss Revlon competitor.

Like Tiny Teen, she has a short neck. Her arms are a little pudgier than the other girls'.

But again, the same feet.
The one piece undies are Toni's original clothes.

The dolls came in this one piece underwear, or in outfits. I'm assuming the underwear dolls were cheaper. A lot of additional clothes were made for her too.

Now I just need to get her some clothes worthy of her.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Cricket, Tressy's Little Sister

    First of all, welcome t our newest follower, Laila. Thanks for joining us!
  Back some time last summer I got a doll in a junk shop for 75 cents. She was wearing nothing but this  jacket to Barbie's Winter Holiday fashion.

 I was pretty sure she was Tressy's sister Cricket, but Cricket is pretty unknown. I had to check it out when I got home to make absolutely sure, and was pleased to find she was, indeed, Cricket.
Somebody did a little work on her face. She needs darker eye brows and her nose is red. Looks like she has a cold.
  At this point you may be wondering who Tressy was. She's not super well known these days either. So we'll start there. Tressy was a Barbie competitor. She was developed by  a furniture designer named Jesse Dean, and his wife, Diana, and made by American Character from 1963 until 1967, when the company went out of business.

There's Cricket on the right.
 And why was she developed by a furniture designer? Well, there was something different about her. She had a feature Barbie didn't have at the time: her hair could be made to 'grow' by pulling the extra hank of hair while pushing a button in her stomach,

Tressy's belly 'button'.Unfortunately, my Cricket is missing the whole mechanism for cranking her hair in and out.
...and then retract back into her head so she could have short hair, by use of a T shaped key inserted into a hole in her back and turned.

Tressy's key hole.
This feature was later used on the Crissy line of larger dolls, (Except the key idea was given up in favour of a round crank.),when the patent was sold to Ideal, following American Character's demise.(For more detail on Tressy see my Tressy post HERE.)
  During Tressy's run she was popular enough to be: the basis for the Mary Make Up doll, (As if anybody would want to admit to that.Ew.), made in various hair colours,have her own extensive wardrobe,beauty salon...

That beauty salon looks pretty cool.
  ...and millinery shop!

Whoa! Make your own hats! This looks like fun!
 ...her own '4 and 1/2 room penthouse apartment'.
And a half?

...and her own little sister, Cricket. (Cricket was called 'Toots' in England for some reason, and was made by Palitoy.)
I'm not sure all Crickets came wearing this white ballet outfit, but it seems that at least most of them did. The little T shaped key you see hanging on Cricket and Tressy is the key that is used, in the key hole in their backs, to crank their hair back in.
  My sister had a Tressy doll when we were kids, and I was given Tressy eventually. I still have her.
My original Tressy on the left,with her pal Glamour Misty, The Miss Clairol Doll.

But as a kid I didn't even know Cricket existed. I have learned of her since, which is how I was pretty sure the doll I found was Cricket.

  Cricket was introduced in 1965, and produced until 1967. She's 9 1/2" tall, so she's just about the same size as Skipper.

Cricket has the same grow hair feature as Tressy,plus bendy legs. The original Tressy had straight legs, but later ones had bendable legs.

Cricket's bendy legs are rubber, with a wire armature, like Penny Brite, except her legs are easier to bend than Penny's.

She also had her own wardrobe. (Toots had the same fashions, but they were given different names, at least some of the time.)

'The most wonderful little girl in the world'.

  This girl was wearing the aforementioned Barbie coat when I got her, but I already had several pieces of Cricket clothing I had accumulated over the last few years.The checked dress in the above pictures of my doll is called Just Pals, and originally came with white flats and two little plastic poodles which were WAY out of proportion to be her real dogs.My dress needs some restoration.
  Sweet Treat was a blue dress with white organdy collar and bow, and came with white flats and an ice cream cone.I know I have it somewhere!It's pictured in the ad below,along with...

  ...this dress...
...which is her original dress and coordinates with big sister Tressy's original dress...

...came with white flats, and a doll sized paint brush,set of paints, and paint by number book.

Fan Club Fun came with this blue jacket,a pencil and Cricket's scrapbook,as well as, what else? White Flats.

There is also a matching blue skirt, and a white blouse with lace. I swear I have them somewhere.
There it is on the bottom right in this French booklet. The doll in the pink dress is wearing the clone of Skipper's red Sensation, which you'll see below.The checked dress is just above that, and the red and white dress is bottom middle. I'm not sure all of these outfits were available here though.
  This cute corduroy outfit, called Shutter Bug, came with a camera.
It's a cozy corduroy 2 piece.

There was also a dress for Cricket, made of the same fabric,but with white sleeves and collar.
    Like Skipper, a lot of Cricket's outfits were meant to coordinate with her big sister's clothes. Several Cricket fashions matched Tressy's in style and /or fabric. There was also a more direct connection to Skipper: some of Cricket's fashions were directly copied from or influenced by Skipper fashions. 'TV Time', with it's black and white checked tights and jumper dress, was a direct rip off of Skipper's 'Town Togs'.

Skipper in Town Togs. (You can see this whole post, including a short photostory and the story of this Skipper's make over HERE.)

'TV Time', top left.I'm wondering what the thing under the Coke, radio and red pennant is. Looks like a Cousin Itt mask...

Fun and Fancy was a pink version of Skipper's Red Sensation, and came with the usual white flats and a white vinyl purse.

Another Skipper clone fashion on the left, and the real Red Sensation on the right.This is from my post on Skipper clone fashions, which you can see HERE.
Skipper wasn't the only one influencing Cricket. Cricket's 'Happy Birthday', from 1967,

seems quite influenced by Francie's 1966 fashion 'Fresh as a Daisy'.

Francie is 'Fresh as a Daisy'. (By the way, you can see her whole post, including her before and after restoration photos HERE. )
  Cricket and Tressy's clothes didn't have quite the quality of Barbie's, but they were well designed and used fabrics like corduroy and velvet.

Tressy in a tagged Tressy velvet coat.It's missing a couple of buttons.

French booklet. Somewhere I saw a picture from a French booklet that showed this red velvet coat in green. In France Tressy and her sister were made by Bella Poupees.
 The accessories to Cricket and Tressy's fashions were also imaginative and fairly well made. The accessories included with the fashions included a gift and cake for 'Happy Birthday',a score card, a trophy, and 'Bowling' ball and pins, a tiny telescope with 'Ship Ahoy',a bundt cake,mixing spoon, and cook book for 'Kitchen Cuties', a guitar and sheet music for 'Hootenanny',a milkshake, records and record player included with the 'jump on the bandwagon' outfit 'Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!', from, when else, 1964,the year the Beatles hit America.'Winter Weekend' included a cozy sweater and leggings, mittens, toboggan, boots, goggles, skis, and poles.
  I'm not a full on Tressy collector, but in addition to my childhood doll I have a couple of others, including this gorgeous dark haired Tressy.
I took this picture today, and yes, that is ice on the bushes!

So it was nice to have a Cricket to go with them. Also, as a Skipper collector,I can add her to the few Skipper competitors I own.