Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Toy Review: American Girl dolls vs. Corolle dolls

Ok.  There are a lot of dolls in my house.  A LOT.  (and a lot of kids, too, a half dozen! - so hopefully that explains the abundance of toys and dolls.)  :)

I think, for as long as I've been a mother, I've been looking for the cutest, cuddliest, sweetest smelling, nicest dressed dolls I can find.  And I have found some very nice ones! Then at some point my husband declared enough was enough.  I agreed.  And yet, when a 4th birthday loomed on the horizon for Olivia, (who has been especially envious and covetous of big sister's American Girl doll Julie), I thought we should get her an American Girl Bitty Baby.  It made sense, in a way, to give her a baby doll, since we have a new (real) baby in the house, even though we already have baby dolls aplenty.  (See honey, I do know!) Really.
But an American Girl Bitty Baby baby doll would be extra super dooper special, right?
Known for their high quality and purportedly the 'perfect size' for 3 and 4 yr olds, Bitty Baby seemed the way to go. So I ordered the red head Bitty Baby with gray blue eyes. (We didn't have a red-headed doll yet was my reasoning, plus our real baby's downy fluff looks a bit gingery to me).

Well....when it arrived, I was surprised by the flatness of it's face sculpt, and the pallor of it's face and limbs.  Lifelike it wasn't.  Her clothes were lovely, though.  As was the fun, pretend baby monitor I'd ordered.  American Girl really does an outstanding job with their doll accessories and doll clothing.
But the doll.  Hmm.  15 inch Bitty Baby just simply was not as cute and cuddly as one of the dolls we already own; specifically 14 inch Corolle's Bebe Do.

Now, our Corolle Bebe Do doll has not been given the love she deserves in our house, nope.  I think I bought her 3 years ago and so, for 3 years she has mostly laid in a doll crib in the playroom, seemingly ignored.  Sometimes I'd find her one white plush outfit removed, but I never saw her in the dolly highchair being 'fed', never saw her at a 'tea party' with the other dolls, never helped her into a carrier on my girl's back - why?  Surely not for lack of cuteness!? Or cuddliness!?

I asked Big Sis (age 7.5) what she thought of the Bitty Baby doll vs. the Bebe Do doll - and shockingly (she's an American Girl doll lover), she agreed with me, that the Corolle Bebe Do was actually 'cuter', more life-like and cuddlier!  She gave both dolls many squeezes and hugs and finally sniffed both doll's heads - "this doll smells better too", she said.  Huh.  Our 3 yr old Corolle still smells faintly of the vanilla scent Corolle uses in their doll-making.  It never was an overpowering scent, and I am sensitive to such things...and she was right, the Bitty Baby did not smell quite as good.  And our birthday girl is all about things smelling good!

I think Bitty Baby has no really discernible smell, just a faint sort of new car kind of smell...but...Bebe Do did smell 'better', kind of like a freshly bathed real baby.
Hmmm.  Look at the difference in hand sculpts! I love Bebe Do's delicate fingers and oooh those babylicious lips! Overall, I find Bebe Do has a more delicate appearance, and a more finessed sculpt, whereas Bitty Baby's sculpt seems a bit clumsy and unrefined.  I keep thinking poor Bitty Baby is going to need braces for that underbite when she grows up.  ;) 
I firmly believe that "The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst beautiful things!" (supposedly Plato said that.)  Well, I say it, it helps me edit the house.    
So here was my idea: return the American Girl Bitty Baby doll, clean up our Corolle Bebe Do doll, and use the return money to dress her up in cuter clothes, outfit her with some awesome accessories and see what happened....

Stay tuned, and I'll show you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

What says Valentine's more than a cupcake paper garland? Uh, maybe actual cupcakes and some Valentines?  I better get crackin' while the kids who can read are at school!  By the time they get home I hope to have valentines and cupcakes AND cookies made! Yikes!  Happy Valentine's Day!  
 more pretty cupcake papers garlanding our kitchen window...
and some turtles in love... :D

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Old toys made new - Vintage Fisher Price Pull-a-Long Lacing Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe...She had so many children she didn't know what to do!
See the old woman in the shoe? :)
So she gave them some broth and she gave them some bread, 
and she gave them all kisses and sent them to bed.*

Here is one of my favorite things to do - to make old toys new again, and fun again, for my kids. And for me I suppose! So here is a vintage Fisher Price Lacing Shoe.  I love the old graphics on the litho stickers -but- the peg people that originally came with the shoe were not my cup o' tea. And this is the old woman with soooo many children, right?! Yet originally this set came with only 5 'children', one of which was a dog?!
Ha.  Ok, so since I have 6 kids, my old woman has 10 kids.  Because 10 is 'so many', right?   And they are numbered underneath, for little learners, and also because that was fun and also because it helps me know who is missing after my kids are done with playtime and we are cleaning up.  "Kids, number 5 is missing! It's one of the middle kids, a boy - let's find him!" and somehow, we do find him - the 2 yr old running around saying "Boy, boooy, where AAHHHH yooooou???"  and then we  find him under a couch cushion. Fun.  Now, does this old woman yell or spank or become impatient with sooo many children and all their wily ways? Heck no. She's a real sweetie.  She does send them to bed, though.
Here's one way the original toy looked (notice the graphics feature block people ) :

and here's a different version: (I love these graphics, just not the block people)

and lastly above here's a modern version available today! And look, they kept the old graphics that I like!  Hmm - was nearly tempted to buy this but nah.  For $34 where's the old woman? And you only get 2 kids? Huh? how does that even make sense?  And goodness, ok, these are not choking hazards, so that's good, but good golly these 'little people' are HUGE!

 Well, I'm pleased with how mine turned out.  Glad  I put the time in instead of the money forked out.  Now if we could just find number 9?  "Ooooh Booooooooyy? Where ARE you?! Oh THERE you are boy! Time for bed!"
* original nursery rhyme: There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she didn't know what to do.  So she gave them some broth, without any bread and she spanked them all soundly and sent them to bed.  
Oh dear.

About Me

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Mamazakka is Mommy blogger Autumn Sousanis; also-known-as Autumn Dunbar; and also-known-as "Mama" to six little ones, ages 9, 7.5, 5, 3.5 2 and a 3 month old! :) Busy,yes. A graduate of C.C.S. (Center for Creative Studies, School of Art and Design in Detroit) with my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, I have finally found my calling as 'Mamazakka', maker of everything and anything that might improve your home, life and outlook. :) It's my goal to create things that truly meet Wikipedia's definition for 'zakka'; (here's an excerpt)..."cute, corny, kitschy is not enough. To qualify, a product must be attractive, sensitive and laden with subtext." Oh yeah! You betcha! Well, that's my goal, anyhow! I'm also known as an over-user of exclamation marks(!) and parentheses (can't help it) though I do try to keep my smileys to a minimum :)