Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sadly, Some Good Things Do Come To An End ...

It's taken me a long time processing the news that Robert Tonner has discontinued all his commercial doll lines.  Many years ago, I collected Sydney Chase and Tyler Wentworth dolls.  When Integrity Toys came out with their taller dolls with better bodies and articulation, I sold all of my Tonner girls even though some of them were designed with the most beautiful and detailed clothing!

I remember losing my mind over Tonner's Tiny Kitty line which appealed to the classic side of my collecting.  Sadly, those, too, have gone to new homes as I have narrowed my collecting focus.

I was very impressed with the Deja Vu line and have added one to my collection.  I keep thinking about finding her a new home, but she just seems to like living here.  I posted a blog about her in 2015: Deja Vu Blog Post .  Agatha Primrose, a relatively new line, captured my attention; however, I somehow managed to resist.

One line that continues to pull on my heart strings is Ellowyne Wilde.  For some reason this doll holds a very special place in my collection.  I had to sell many of my Ellowyne dolls when I remarried.  Those I managed to keep were boxed and stored until they were unearthed in 2014.  I blogged about them at that time:  Ellowyne Wilde Collection .

Once I resuscitated my Ellowynes, I added a few additional versions to "flesh out" my collection.  Since Tonner's announcement, it is becoming more difficult to find Ellowyne on secondary market at a decent price.  One doll that I had been looking to add to my collection was All Natural Lizette (2014).  She is a friend of Ellowyne's and a collector favorite.  I finally got one this spring.  Here's Lizette wearing Spring Awakening (2010),  an Ellowyne exclusive ensemble.
I couldn't believe my luck when I opened the package and found several outfits included in the purchase!  One of these was a Woeful Green Dress (2009) that I had been trying to find.  I even found the tights that went with them at a sale!  I knew there was only one model for this, Sweetly Sullen (2009).  Sweetly Sullen has been here a few years and is named Brie - short for Brystol.
Another doll that has been on my watch list is Essential Ellowyne 4-Brunette (2011).  You cannot imagine my excitement at finding her on e-bay enhanced by Bev of Enchantment with a good BIN price!  She is named Daelyn.
I often visit the doll board Ellowyne's Ennui, and the members there are very kind and generous.  One of them helped me acquire another doll I felt I couldn't live without, Always Playing Solitaire (2008).
One of my 2017 goals was to bring my number of Ellowyne dolls down to 12.  It just doesn't look like that is going to happen.  With Tonner's decision to no longer produce this line of dolls, I don't think I want to let any more of them go!  I definitely wanted to keep at least one of each of her friends.  In addition to Lizette (above), I have my favorite Amber, A Dark and Stormy Night (2011 -wearing her stock ensemble).
She has such phenomenal eyes and redresses so well!
And then there is Ennui & Me Prudence (2010 - she has never been redressed!)
And some of my favorite Ellowynes (by year produced) ...

The first ever, Chills (2006).  When this is your first experience with a doll line, you know you are a "goner".  She is wearing Tea & Ennui (also from 2006).
My first Essential Ellowyne (2006) was the original blonde version.  Look at the intricate detail in that hair!
I remember when I saw this doll on the cover of the very first Ellowyne Wilde catalog ... there was no doubting that Tatters (2007) was going to live here (another that has never been taken out of her original ensemble) ....
Then came Pale Memories (2008 - I just can't bring myself to redress this flower child either) ...
I can't leave out Lonely Heart (2008)!
I realized I was beginning to have too many blondes, so Essential Ellowyne Too Brunette (2008) came along.
Then, of course, we have the first "wigged" Ellowyne I ever purchased.  She is Wigged Out Too (2009).  She is also the first Ellowyne with inset eyes to join my collection.
Even though she is blonde, Mistakenly Sad (Brittany - 2010) became an instant favorite here.  She is my only doll that wears glasses all the time!
Also arriving in 2010 was Prudence Dressed Me.  Unfortunately, I purchased her nude on secondary market, so I don't have her original ensemble.
I also got An Empy Thrill (2010) on secondary market, nude.  I wish I could find her complete ensemble at a good price.

And Tonner started experimenting with inset eyes with the Essential Line, I adore Essential Ellowyne 3 (2010) who is the first wigged essential doll.  I was lucky enough to purchase her wearing this Woeful Pink Dress, correct Woeful Light Tights, and some super nice pink boots.   I got her, An Empty Thrill and Lonely Heart from the same collector!
Then I decided I needed to add another redhead.  Here's Essential Ellowyne 4 (2011).  I have all versions of this Essential doll.
In addition to the brunette above (Daelyn), I also  have the Essential Ellowyne Blonde 4.
How about Dark Shadows (2011) ...
Next to come along was Essential Ellowyne 5 Brunette who we call Fern (2012).
Excluding All Natural Lizette above (2014), only two other Ellowynes came to live here from recent productions (both from 2015).  Here is Romance and Whipped Cream with her beautiful strawberry blonde curly hair.
And New Year, New Look (called Noelle).
Do you think this was enough?   Before Tonner announced the demise of the line, I had started trying to add a few dolls that I had missed over the past several years.   I am lucky to have ten NRFB girls for those moments of ennui that I experience myself.  (I am still looking for four dolls and I will consider my collection complete:  EE2 Blonde, EE2 Red Head, I Wait Alone, and Tears of Endearment.  Who am I kidding, there are several others I wouldn't mind adding to my collection!)
The original story behind Ellowyne is that she lives in her grandmother's house which sits on a fault line in San Francisco.  She loves frequenting Thrift Stores and often visits her psychiatrist, Dr. Bantam, because she suffers from chronic ennui.  I believe the first several years of production were magical.

Although there were exceptions, I found most dolls produced after 2012 less interesting.  There were often production issues with eye placement or staining from clothes.  Quality control seemed to drop a little and many of the cute little details began to disappear.

Then the line began to wander from its original storyline; we started seeing dolls with names like "Ship Shape," "Summer Breeze," "Rock Royal," "Right on White,""Totally Coolness," "Delicate Balance," and "Seventies Sweet".   I don't know if this was attempt to reach more mainstream collectors, but those of us who are drawn to Ellowyne began to miss our bored girl who was constantly dissatisfied with the world.

It is difficult to accept that there will be no more Ellowyne Wilde dolls offered to collectors; this makes those currently residing here only more precious.   Fortunately, there are many wonderful artisans that support the Ellowyne line.  I don't anticipate my love for her fading any time soon.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

LLL Agnes Von Weiss, Take 2 (Literally)

I apologize for the lengthy delay in posts.  I took 32 gifted children on a three-day field trip in the middle of March.  It was a wonderful experience for these children, many of them being from lower socio-economic homes.  We went to Jekyll Island, GA.  Some of them had never seen the ocean before and it was an experience I loved sharing with them.  Now, we are gearing up for our End Of Year standardized tests.  I also just found out that my dear friend and partner in crime is retiring at the end of this academic year.  To me she is irreplaceable.

So ... in early February I reviewed Love, Life and Lace Agnes Von Weiss.  If you go to the next page you can find it, or just click on this link: LLL Agnes Von Weiss Review.  I have been waiting patiently for the replacement head to arrive.  I do believe it was EXTREMELY KIND of Integrity Toys to let me keep the original since I purchased it directly from The W Club.  (Another perk of being a member!)

My replacement head arrived last week, I promptly pulled out the heating pad.  Here is a closeup photo of the two versions.
The original head actually matches the FR tall body porcelain skin tone.  (This body is from Follow The Line Kesenia.)  As you can see, the replacement head is a very good match to the original body which was a cream skin tone.  Both heads have great hair and an awesome screening.  The depth of color on the replacement is much deeper to accommodate the skin tone, whereas the original head seems more ethereal to me.

Here is a full length comparison.
When I contacted Patient Care about the lace on my dress being cut too high for the hem of the dress, I was told "The lace stretches a lot.  Pull it down and see if it stays. If there is still a problem, take a picture and send it to us."  I though to myself, "What hogwash!"  But it actually does stretch A LOT.  It's not perfect because when you pull it down, it slowly rides back up.  I find myself pulling it down often.  Maybe over time, it will give a little and be alright.

This reminds me of those older, larger ladies at church who wear polyester dresses in the summer.  Every time they get up to sing, their dress rides up and they have to pull it down.

When we were little, we used to beg our parents to let us sit with friends at church.  (Just sitting anywhere except with our parents was an exciting change!)  At church one Sunday, we were all getting up to sing and the lady in front of my sister turned around and smacked her.  When we got up to sing again, the lady smacked her again!  After church, my Mom asked my sister why the lady smacked her?  My sister replied, "When she got up, her dress was in her crack, so I pulled it out for her."

"Why did she smack the second time?" My mother asked.

"She was so upset about me pulling it out that I put it back!"

I know ... old joke ... but I couldn't resist.

So to close this out, and, since this IS a doll review blog, here are close up photos of the two dolls separately.

First up is the replacement head on the original body.  I actually like this gown so much that I plan to continue displaying her in it for now.
And next is the original porcelain skin tone head wearing My Precious Luxury Wear from 2005.  I thought I would start a set of photos of my dolls wearing some of my favorite IT lingerie.

Even though these are the exact same screenings and hair, the skin tone makes enough difference that I plan to keep both in my collection.  I will have one version that can wear all of the original clothing and one for the FR2 couture!