Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Malibu Ave Market

I opened up my Barbie Collection.Com summer catalog today and they are selling a line of "Malibu Ave Market" play sets for $24.99 that I have not seen in stores. Mattel.com is also selling them, but theirs come with dolls included for $34.99, however, they are currently out of stock.

All these photos are from Mattel so you can see the dolls:

The pink coloring and all Caucasian dolls aside, these are some cool looking sets! We all know I'm not paying that much for them, but oh boy, when they go on clearance, I want every one!  They are compact, well designed and have quite the panache.  I'm actually impressed.

Has anyone purchased one, or heck, even seen one? Are they flimsy or of good quality? Anyone got the scoop?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Little Miss Matched Fashion Pack

Image via TonnerDoll.com

My Toys R Us aren't carrying the Little Miss Matched dolls any longer but they had a few of the fashion packs now on clearance for $3.20. For such a low price I wanted to see if the fashions would fit my largest doll body which is a Moxie Teenz.

They had several of this version and one fashion pack that had a romper and 3 shirts in it. I figured at least the pants would fit so I chose this one. Jordan will start the modeling but other body types make an appearance later.

One of the things that really interested me about these packs is the bold claim that 1 fashion pack can make 32 outfits!  How?! I know that technically they are counting each sock as an individual fashion item, but c'mon. At most you can make 13-15 semi-reasonable combinations, but unless you consider going topless or bottomless an OUTFIT, or you are going to make a bikini out of each sock, there's no way. Now, if someone wants to prove me wrong, please do, because I surely want to see it.

The shoes are an absolute no go for any doll I own. They are kind of a blood red magenta color that I like, but I doubt I will ever own a doll with feet this big so they are going in my thrift bin.

Here are the REASONABLE combinations I got with this pack:

By necessity, the reversible dress is very thick, particularly at the shoulders, but it still shapes her body quite well. They did a great job on the sewing and the material is durable but nice to the touch.

If you put the pants on properly then they are high at the ankle. If you want them lower you have to fit the waist around her hip joints. Although the pants seem tight on her, they are a stretchy material and were easy to put on.

The top fits a little awkwardly, but only because it's not cut for her body shape. Still it closes fine in the back and the tiny piping around the shoulder seams is cool. Oy vey, these socks. I think they are neat, however, I would prefer that they actually matched... but that's just me.

I would never pair the dress with the pants, but I'm just showing one of the MANY combinations you could make <eye roll>.  The bag is very nice. I mean, it's a little garish with the stripes and hearts, but another well made piece.

Oh my goodness, look at all these combinations! Tsk, please! I made 8 outfits and if I pushed it I could have gotten 4 more, regardless of how ridiculous they would have looked. Different socks does not mean you have changed your outfit, okay? It just doesn't. Socks are an accessory, not a main article of clothing. Still, I do love the socks so I'm going to get another one of these packs so I'll have 3 pairs of matching socks.

Cleo shows you how the clothes look on a Fashionista. The dress needs a belt to give her any definition, but otherwise, I'm surprised the clothes actually fit. They are not her style at all and kind of make her look matronly, which made me think to try them on...

Happy Family Grandma! Grandma is rockin' them, yo! I like them on her a lot. She looks like she came back from her social club meeting and then changed to take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. If you've had a hard time outfitting your Happy Family Grandma, these clothes are perfect for her.

Given that multiple body types can wear these packs and they are a quality made product, I say snap them up if you see them (on sale, of course).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Squinkies Battle Games Arena

Toys R Us has been having a pretty good clearance sale (40-80%). The girl's stuff is at 40-60% and the boy's stuff is mostly at 70-80%. I like to go at least once a week to see if they've added any more stock to clear. This time I found something in the boy's section that will make a cool display counter.

Cleo is going to model for us today.

At 70% off, you can get this for $6.30. Can I just say that I really detest TRU's new price labeling system? Don't make me remember what percentage a color stands for and then have to do math on top of it. If it's $7 just say so!

Out of the box you get all these pieces. I'm leaving the Squinkies and ramps encased in their plastic because they are the only things I'm not keeping.

The set breaks down quite easily. The two sides pull outward. The black shelves pull downward. The yellow inserts will have to be pulled out with pliers, but cover them with a cloth first is you want to keep them. The wrestling ring is held with four screws that are easy to get to.

Once detached, the wrestling ring is three separate pieces. Without the ropes I think it makes a cool step or just use the flat top as a wall decoration or,

pair it with a base and try it as a table in a retro café or something. My base here is the vase stand from the Dora Explorer Art Room.

The columns on either end have tops that lift off for the Squinkie balls to go through and there's a panel in front of the columns that slides up so the balls will come out. I think one of those mini lights could be placed inside these for effect.

Even though there are raised knobs on the shelves, you don't have to limit yourself to only putting jewelry on here. I tried shoes, desserts, folded clothes... it all works! Just stick your stuff between the knobs and it looks great.

If you keep the background insert, it also looks cool as a DJ booth!

I like this set a lot and think it can have multiple uses in many settings, not just for fashion or food type stuff. I could see this in a garage/motorcycle type shop as well. The set itself is very well made. It's a good density to be handled by a little kid and nicely detailed. I got the only two left at the TRU closes to me, so happy hunting.

Edited to add more photos for those interested in the background for DJ purposes:

It's taped on the sides so you can open it flat to get the full graphics. If it's left as a box, Cleo can stand in the center, but not fully on the sides. If she's outside of the box there's plenty of room for photos.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fadeless Bulletin Board Paper

The photo real scrap paper in my craft stores is .59 cents each and up to $1.19 for the fancy, glittery type paper. I, of course, only buy paper when I can get it on sale from .25 to .33 cents, which still seems a lot to me. So, I've been keeping an eye out for cheap posters, wrapping paper and other materials to use for backdrops or scenery. Here's an alternative I really like:

Fadeless paper rolls are 4 x 12 feet and they come in plain and photo real options. The photo papers are meant to be viewed horizontally, which makes them very cumbersome for crafting purposes, but still worth it.

Each photo roll has an image on its side so you can get an idea of how it's going to look opened out. I only have 4 to show you but the other photo options are a beach scene, a mountain top, underwater scene, jungle leaves and the night sky. There is also one intended to be the back drop for a theater, but it's pretty much just curtains and not realistic ones at that.

You'll find these at Joann's for $7.99 in the kid craft/teacher planning section. I used 50% off coupons for all the ones I purchased.

At AC Moore they keep them in the foam board/poster board isle (not in kid's crafts) and they are $7.99 as well. AC Moore issues 55% off coupons sometimes, so even if you don't have one really close to you, both Joann's and Michaels' will take their coupons.

At Michael's you will find them in the kid craft/poster board isle, but don't buy from them if you can help it because,

they are charging $8.99 for them. The nerve! However, Michael's is the store that readily has the paper that looks like bricks, so.... yeah.

Anywho, scale photos!

Tatiana is our model today and she's standing in front of the grass and sky background. Some of the papers I wrapped around a tall box and others I'm draping over an ottoman. I used this paper in my last post, so this time I'll show you how you can break it up for multiple use.

I've turned my ottoman on its side so that it covers up all of the grass part and you get this nice blueish gradient backdrop. Since the roll is 12 feet long, you can always just cut a section of the blue part off if you want. But I would probably buy a second roll to cut if I were going to do that so I could have one intact.

You might think from seeing Tatiana stand in front of the entire roll, that the grass is too big, but it's not at all. Also, if you let the grass drop over an edge, it looks like she's on a cliff. I was afraid that the clouds were going to be completely off scale, but nope, and they are not as repetitive as they appear on the wrapper.

Behind the scenes tip: If you put a good amount of space between what the doll is standing on and your backdrop, you wont get any shadows from the doll on the background and you wont have to worry about hiding edges or showing spaces where edges meet.

The brick pattern is actually quite huge and you can tell that from even seeing it rolled up. However, again, the more distance between it and the doll, the smaller it appears. This first photo I'm using wood scrap paper as the flooring so you can see how it compares size wise to the wood boarder paper in the next picture.

Eh, the "planks" are pretty darn wide, BUT, I still like it. It's nice and earthy and "weathered" just as the name of the paper says. I would definitely recommend the wood and brick papers even if they aren't exactly to scale. I bet you can find other applications for them, like for houses, buildings in a distance, walls, steps, etc.

Here's the wood paper from a distance so you can truly judge the scale. Its pattern also doesn't repeat that often either.

One caveat to my recommending these papers is that they are fairly thin and if you are handling them by yourself, they are going to fold over, crinkle and just be generally annoying. If you can get someone to help you roll them out and back in again, it would be easier. If not, you may consider cutting them into more manageable sections. I'm keeping mine whole because I'm a rebel like that.


Walmart has these beach mats on sale but I found some on clearance as well for $2.00. They are 68 x 32 inches and would be great as outdoor walls or flooring in something Asian inspired. The weave is pretty tight and they roll up nicely. They smell kind of woody, but it's not bad.