Another world

Howard Shore - Mooby the golden calf

Who has never dreamed that the cupboard in the bedroom opened onto another world ? Imagine what a fanciful opera singer can see the other side.
Qui n'a jamais rêvé que l'armoire de la chambre donnait sur un autre monde ? Imaginez ce qu'une cantatrice folle peut apercevoir de l'autre côté.

Tonner Doll Company, Inc. Moves to Uptown Kingston, NY

A press release sent out yesterday outlined the future location of the corporate headquarters of the TDC. I'm quite pleased. As if the other location wasn't close enough, this one is down the street from my hairdresser. Yay.
Tonner is very good for Kingston. Wall St. was once a vibrant shopping street in this small upstate NY town. The last few years have seen many businesses come and go with some stores going empty.
I'm sure those who work for Tonner will be happy to be located down the street from some great coffee and food at Dominick's Cafe.
The Tonner Company Store is going to remain in the renovated historic building near the NY State Thruway exchange in Kingston. At first I had hoped that the store would be located on Wall Street as there is certainly more walk-by and drive-by traffic and exposure would be much greater.

301 Wall Street, Kingston, NY
Here is part of the press release:

Robert Tonner, CEO of the Tonner Doll Company, purchased the building earlier this month. "For years, I've been looking for a special building that has architectural integrity and also has the space requirements we need," Tonner said. "I'm thrilled that we found one in uptown Kingston."

Built in 1887, 301 Wall Street most recently was the home of Chase Bank and has been vacant for just about one year. Tonner hopes to complete the move by May 1, once renovations are complete. "The roof needs some work and we are refurbishing the second and third floors," Tonner explained. "The second floor will be restored to what it was back in the 1940's," he added.

The new home of Tonner Doll will house the design, production, sales, marketing, finance and administrative staff; a total of 17 employees. "Part of my whole belief is that change, while painful at times, is good," Tonner admitted. "I think this space will give us a new creative energy."

Opening in 1991, the internationally renowned Tonner Doll Company has been a staple in Ulster County for nearly two decades. The Tonner Doll Company designs and manufactures collectible fashion dolls, child character dolls and licensed character figures such as HARRY POTTER and WONDER WOMAN.

In 2007, Tonner purchased 12/14 Hurley Avenue in Kingston and made extensive renovations before opening the Tonner Company Store there in December, 2007, which will remain at its current location. The renovation received two local awards; one from the Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County, and another from the Friends of Historic Kingston.

As a nearby resident and a fan of Robert Tonner, I wish them the best of luck with their move.

Tatiana's Doll House: The Bedroom

In the third instalment for Tatiana's doll house, I have the bedroom! Every house needs a nice looking bedroom to rest and relax and Tatiana's is no exception! Of course it is always in the style laid out for the rest of the house - black & white.

The bed and bedding are from the Fashion Royalty Loft collection furniture. This line of furniture was a hit with collectors and most items are very sought after. The bedside tables, trays, striped vases and lamps are from the Jonathan Adler Barbies.

Tatiana repainted lamp bases and trays that were originally hot pink (Barbie anyone?). The bench and vanity table are solid wood shadowbox frames cut with a miter saw - I can see she uses shadowbox frames a lot for making benches or side tables. For the vanity top she inserted a real mirror in the small wooden photo frame.

The Panton miniature chairs came with the Dynamite Girls convention chair pack given to the attendees of 2008 FR Convention. Integrity also sold a pack of chairs in an assortment of colours. The curtains are table napkins. 

The closet door is from Barbie House by Mattel. The hinges were broken by Tatiana's girls beyond repair, so she just cut them off and the closet was born! The fluffy white carpet is a piece of craft fur. The white vases, telephone and basket came with various Mattel play-sets, which Tatiana then repainted. The silver tea set is Re-ment and the tea tray was just a purple no-name doll accessory. 

The wine bucket and bottle are Gloria, the glasses are from a Fashion Royalty convention accessory pack. The small silver cushions came with a jewellery box that looks like a mini sofa - these are easy to find in accessory shops in various styles and colours.
I hope you enjoyed this month's room from Tatiana - back next month with another beautifully decorated room in black & white!

Dead fairy and alive concubine soulless #5

"Suffers for me, dead fairy, and I'll give you what you want."
"Souffres pour moi fée morte et je te donnerais ce que tu souhaites."

Great Pretender Lillith and Perk Colette Nu-Face Dolls

I was sure that I wasn't going to purchase more NuFace dolls; My intention was to concentrate on the more sophisticated dolls and fashions but when I saw these two, I ordered. I am very, very pleased with them and their garments.
My introduction to Lillith was with the convention set of the twins Lillith and Eden. I didn't like her at the time. This one knocks my socks off with her adorable face and coloration.Her hair needs a little trim but temporarily will stay in a pony tail. I added a Fashion Royalty handbag to finish the look. There's a lot of attention to detail, even in the shoes. She's a winner.
Perk Colette is a surprise mix of well designed and executed fashion pieces that work together. I love being able to say that. Believe me, I wish every single doll in my collection could be described that way upon their arrival. I added the handbag. Colette's face is gorgeous. Her hair is pulled back into a low pony tail which is crimped. The blue jewelry is like an exclamation mark on the black, white and grey fashion. It's a wonderful doll.

Both dolls retail for $99. and are available from regular dealers. Get them now before they sell out. I think they just might once everyone sees how cute they are.

Harley-Davidson Barbie and Ken Giftset

Let me say right off the bat that this is one of the best Kens ever made. He's good looking, his hair is done well, he's fully articulated -wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, legs and neck and the clothes look good on him. He's a winner. He comes with an adjustable waist gripper plastic stand but he can stand on his own. The Barbie doll on the other hand is articulated only at the knees, legs, shoulders and neck. Why is she a second class citizen? It just doesn't make sense to articulate one doll and not the other. Her outfit is adorable and fits her well. Her hair is another story. The texture of the hair makes it knotty. Some of it comes out when it's combed. The bump thing on the crown of her head is not hard and could easily be taken down if one wished.
They both come with sunglasses and helmets. The helmets are a joke. They are very small and look like batters' helmets rather than motorcycle helmets. Barbie does not have applied lashes and she does have a rhinestone in her navel.
Barbie's stand is one of those sway types for the models although her body is not like that.
The set, while not cheap, is worth getting just for Ken. Keep her clothes; get rid of Barbie.

The bike in the photo was picked up at a rummage event. It is not Mattel as far as I can tell.

Dollz in Oz event presents two new Integrity dolls

This year's Australian major doll date was again the Dollz in OZ event. Held at the Sheraton Four Points in Darling Harbour, it was a day full of dolls for Australian fans. The event dolls were made by Integrity: Regal Estate Agnes was the event doll and Magnetism Monogram was the companion doll.

Regal Estate Agnes is a dressed doll wearing a black bustier dress with a cream coloured jacket and a black belt over it. She comes with fishnet stockings, clear blue pumps, blue stud earrings and black-and-blue necklace. Her face screening is a softer version of the Festive Decadence Agnes that was the second W Club doll last year. Her hair is long and lose. To me she looks hastily designed and produced. She does not remind me of Agnes at all.And blue with cream and black? The theme was Hollywood, but she would not get a chance there, even in daytime.

Magnetism Monogram doll is a tooted red haired doll, with a very classic make up look - brown and gold eye-shadow with red hot lipstick. She is wearing a gorgeous pink satin gown with matching pink and black shawl. The gown is decorated with a huge bow and it has a matching belt with a gold buckle. A golden cuff bracelet decorated with rhinestones and matching earrings compete the picture. Her shoes (not shown in photos) are emerald green with ankle straps. To me she is very Old Hollywood meets YSL glamour and would get her in an instant if I could.

Diva from another time

Is it the economy or are the dolls just unpopular?

It seems that I've been asking this question on and off for almost two years regarding the prices consumers are willing to pay for certain dolls. This week it's a buyers' market when it comes to Integrity's Gene Marshall line and several Fashion Royalty/NuFace dolls.
I have never, in my years of collecting Fashion Royalty dolls, seen an established dealer selling FR dolls at a discounted price. I'm not talking about the play line dolls from IT. I'm talking about Jason Wu's Fashion Royalty and NuFace Premium Dressed Dolls.
Starting tomorrow, Cherished Friends will be selling off a varied selection of IT 16" and 12" dolls. I've seen them and the prices are excellent. Mary T already has a sale on Gene dolls running. I'm guessing other dealers will follow suit. Marlbe has some FR dolls on sale.
As far as the playline ITBE dolls, MFD is dumping them for $15. each. Makes you wonder how much they cost to make in the first place.
They have also reduced the prices of dolls and fashions from the Gene Marshall line.
MFD's prices on these dolls is very good. You will have to go to the specific sites to see for yourself.
Some dealers are still hoping to get retail on these dolls. But you don't have to pay retail. Shop around. There are many other dealers other than the ones I mentioned above and more dolls on sale other than those pictured.

In my opinion, now is also the time to buy older Fashion Royalty dolls...especially Veronique. I just scored an original close-up blonde Vero fully dressed with shoes still in their package, mint box and shipper for $50 including shipping. That was a very good price. This is my third original Vero. They come and go but I will be keeping this one. I want to try putting eyelashes on her. I have several tall bodies and she will be getting one. Her straight arm body is in excellent condition! They're not all falling apart as some say they are. I think it depends on on the climate and environment where it is stored. The quality of the garment is so fine it makes me pine for the olden days. This doll was $29.99 when it was released in 2001-02 in an edition of 1000 along with a redhead version and an Adele.

Here is the most informative link and I go to this reference site all the time for my archival info on Integrity Toys and Fashion Royalty products. Collect the earlier dolls! Their faces are gorgeous and timeless. These early 2001-2003 dolls would make a great foundation in any Fashion Royalty collection either nude or in original clothing:
Véronique Perrin Silver Society
Véronique Perrin Lush Life
Adèle Makeda Close-Up
Véronique Perrin Close-Up Redhead or Blonde
Véronique Perrin Midnight in Monaco
Adèle Makeda Purple Factor
Véronique Perrin Mauve Absolue
Véronique Perrin Paradise
Véronique Perrin Chic Escape

I have re-bodied all of my dolls who were originally on straight arm or 1st generation articulated bodies. I was not worried about affecting the value as I debox everything anyway. For resale purposes, 99% of the people want the latest body type.

Oh well. Everything changes. Time to look ahead to good things and take care of precious old things. Time to weed out the mediocre and to make decisions not to buy unexceptional stuff. It's not easy because so much looks so good.


Picture of the Week Award ~ March 29, 2010

Lisa Irinyi

When I found out that Lisa did not use any special effects or pixel manipulation I was amazed. This photograph of A Brighter Side Kyori just blows me away.

Here is Lisa's description in her own words:

A Brighter Side Kyori is one of those dolls that’s simply perfect “as-is”. Most of my dolls get redressed eventually, but I’ve not felt any changes could make her better. I wanted to do her ethereal beauty justice with a “heavenly” photo shoot. I saw the morning sun arching through the trees, sending light and shadow across the snow piled on the side of my driveway. The quality of the light almost mimicked the pure white and deep blues of a cloud studded summer sky. I didn’t want to expose Kyori to reclining directly in the snow, so I searched for a throne befitting her regal bearing. I found a small, gilded wall shelf (a Tuesday Morning find) – and turned it upside-down in the snow…it added height, texture and visual interest to the scene without breaking the harmony or stealing the spotlight. I can’t remember exactly how cold it was outside, but I know it was below freezing – one must suffer for one’s art – LOL "

"A healthy piece of advice for shooting snow photos – dress warm, take breaks inside out of the cold if shooting for long stretches of time, power up those batteries because the cold temps drain them faster, position your doll indoors beforehand if possible because colder temps also make the plastic more brittle and susceptible to breakage, use your exposure compensation (I shoot auto, plus 1/3, 2/3 and a full stop just to cover my bases) because snow usually comes out too dark. And have fun. Try things you’re not sure of, take chances. Even if the photos don’t turn out as intended, you learned something. If you don’t even try, you never know what might have been."

I would like to explain why snow usually comes out too dark. When one is using a camera on full auto setting, the camera reads the amount of light coming in through the lens and adjusts the opening of the aperture accordingly. Since snow reflects light more than most objects, the camera shuts the opening down so less light comes in. You may have a snow setting on your camera or be able to set the picture to be brighter. Lisa's camera can be adjusted manually.

See more of Lisa's beautiful doll photography at this link.

Congratulations, Lisa, on the Picture of the Week Award!

Dollz in Oz Event Doll is a Fashion Royalty Agnes

Some of you may know that Agnes is not my favorite character due to the fact that she sports a serious scowl all the time. I'm not a fan of misery so why should my dolls look miserable? Lately, Agnes is looking a little happier and this Agnes looks downright non-committal. Actually I think she looks beautiful. She's been named "Regal Estate" Agnes. At first I thought it said Real Estate and I can picture her as a real estate agent. The suit reminds me of that from the 2009 Agnes Optic Verve Giftset below on the right (or the 2nd down depending on your monitor.) A little too much of a coincidence perhaps?

The companion doll (an optional purchase) was a Monogram Doll called Magnetism. All I can say about this one is that the photographer did a fabulous job. The lighting and posing are excellent. The sculpt was screened with a closed mouth. The wig appears to be the 'default' low pony tail style with a side sweep of forehead covering hair. Or perhaps it is rolled under into a fancy bun. I can't tell. I like the frosted gold eyeshadow. Below on the right (or the 2nd down) is Dania Zarr in Optic Clash from the 2009 FR convention. It looks like there's a game of "Monkey See; Monkey Do" going on here. If a movie star wore any one of these gowns to a red carpet event, she'd be on the worst dressed list pretty fast.

Mattel's Silkstone Barbie "Stunning in the Spotlight"
Pink and black and mermaid gowns are so yesterday. Tonner came up with modern and classy uses of pink and black in the first two outfits below created for Antoinette. The third, created for Tyler, works with the fabric to create interest.

My (Big Fat) Greek Adventure

2009 Wasn't very kind to me. It was a rough year, as far as relationships and money go. I was at a dead end job, my relationship was ending and I was suffering from depression.
Then one day, I received a check in the mail with a small inheritance from a distant aunt whom I never even knew I had.
It was such a blessing! I used the money to pay off my car, then I quit my horrible job and took off to Greece for a few weeks. It was incredibly liberating! I had traveled before but not on my own and it had been a dream of mine to visit Greece and see the gorgeous islands, the temples of the gods and home of the Olympics. I was always a Greek Mythology nerd growing up, so this added to my desire to visit.
The country was beautiful. The food was delicious. The people were kind. It was a photographers (or an amateur, like moi!) perfect dream!!

Here are a few photos I took from my trip...

*you can see more of my photos on my flickr site*

Review of Monogram Dolls "Enigmatic" and "Dreamscape"

Of the four Monogram dolls that were offered this season, Enigmatic was the first I picked. I was so happy to be getting her. She arrived recently along with Dreamscape, a doll that I had doubts about. I got two surprises.
Both dolls are non-rooted and both were $150. each.
Both were packaged in the fancy, glossy red boxes with the Jackson Pollack-type design on the front and a brass clippy thing. Can we get a discount if we don't want an big brass clippy-thing?

But I digress.

This is the first Monogram doll to have closed mouth screening although the sculpt is the same as all the other versions. The screening is very nice and she is lovely. Her skin color is quite pale...Queen V pale. Her wig is the default wig style - parted with a low pony tail in red. It fits very well.

I eagerly removed Enigmatic from her box only to find that I could not straighten her legs side by side due to the tightness of the skirt part of the dress. I moved them this way and that and no luck. No wonder she's shown in a walking stance in the promo pictures. I'm betting that every single dress on every single doll is tight. There is no way a stand is getting in between her thighs. The hat is a felt bendable headband type and since I love hats on my dolls, it stays.

The jacket fabric does not have any life. Fur is shiny; this fabric is dull. I'm sorry to say that this looks more like a plushy polar fleece than faux fur. Disappointing.

The shoes are beautiful. They are lined with a leopard print which matches the leopard panties she's wearing. I love that. The shoes are rather roomy which is good if the doll is wearing stockings. They slip on but could fall off without stockings. Her jewelry consists of a clustery beaded necklace and dark yellow rhinestone studs. I didn't bother to take the gloves out of their package. I don't like paper flowers attached to dresses. Ashton-Drake did that very often with Gene outfits and for me it ruins the outfit. Come on...there are plenty of tiny fabric rosettes out there. Who needs a stiff paper rose sewn to the back of a dress?

I wanted to love this doll. I don't spend $150 on a doll plus shipping just to write a critical review and I am very disappointed. Where is the quality control? Didn't anyone try to stand the doll up using the provided stand?

On the other hand, Dreamscape is lovely. Her screening is softer-looking and the gown, which I thought was odd at first, is well-made, properly fitted and very interesting. The points can be worn as points and can also be pushed in to form curved indents. The rosette on her shoulder is fabric and beautifully made. The ruching of the gown bodice is perfection.

Her shoes are black with teensy satin straps and they fit very well. Jewelry consists of pewter colored metal earrings with stones and a cuff bracelet.

Her own brunette wig fits well but will need some styling. The wig I have her wearing is a KIO wig from My Favourite Doll in Toronto, Canada. It, too, needed a great deal of styling and tweaking. The fibers are somewhat stiffer and thicker than saran hair fibers but the wig has possibilities. The part of the image showing the wig was Photoshopped to remove lots of fly-aways that I couldn't tame.

I love the hat which is netted and just what the outfit needs to complete the look. Hat pins in a proper scale would have shown attention to detail and a little evening bag would have been wonderful.
Dreamscape is a winner in every way. Is she worth $150.? If she brings me pleasure and everything fits and looks beautiful, then the answer is yes.