"When did Adora put out something like this?" I thought, and started googling, because wow. Ever fall in love with a doll from just a picture or two? Yeah, that's exactly what happened. I Had To Find This Doll. I found out quickly that this was not an Adora doll, but otherwise couldn't find her anywhere. I. Had. To. Find This. Doll.
I found a couple of listings for her on eBay, still really vague and disconnected from any actual name of doll or company. Some truly determined image searches (if I can't find it, it isn't on the internet) finally came up with a listing on Aliexpress.com, an international shopping site based in China with which I was not at all familiar. A few searches more, and finding that this was a legitimate business site (I'm not kidding, I truly was not at all familiar with it, and I wanted some reassurance), I immediately....took a few days to think it over. Let's see, a doll I've never seen before, with no name, with only a few pics on the internet, available only directly via China, "some variation expected...," and over $50....sounded like a risk to me. She wasn't irresponsibly high-priced, however, so with free shipping offered, and a great big "It's my birthday, what the hell," I ordered.
I almost instantaneously got a message back:
Dear Charlie Riley, We are very glad to receive your order. Thanks for being interested in our products. We will take a note about your order and will do our best to send you the Brown hair and Red dress baby dolls. Anyway, please kindly pay attention. Our baby doll clothes is a random gift, it may have some style division. hope you could be kindly understood! It will need 5-8 working days for the Artist to hand make this baby doll! Thanks for your kindly patience! If you have any questions about it, please feel free to contract us. We would be very glad to offer any help! Thanks & Best regards.
Okay, that was probably a standard reply, but I responded to it anyway:
Always be nice, unless there's a damn good reason not to be--that's my communication policy.Thank you for confirming my order. I'm very happy to have ordered this beautiful doll. I will be reviewing the doll on my doll blog http://www.dollsbehavingbadly.com/ when I receive it, and if she's really as lovely as I'm sure she will be, this may bring in new orders for you. Thank you again.
I got another message:
We would be very glad to have a long business with you! We can not open your blog, but guess it must be very beautiful! Your baby dolls is hand making now! After it is finished, we will do our best to send it to you as soon as possible!@ If you have any questions about it, please feel free to contract us. We would be very glad to offer any help! Thanks & Best regards.
Well, how 'bout that! An actual person answered and clearly was replying to what I wrote. That made me feel a tiny bit better about throwing some money at them. Plus, dropping the blog review thing got me upgraded shipping. What? It's good for business.
I got a shipping notice in due time, which updated in due time, and then came--The Waiting. I'd ordered from Hong Kong (yes, I do know that's also in China, shut up) and Japan previously, so I knew this stuff takes time, plus customs clearance, and tracking with China Post is inconsistent (and in Chinese...), and so I settled in for an impatient but resigned Slow Boat From China vigil.
She arrived today, at my office, 26 days from order, which is actually pretty damn quick, considering--I was settled in for 2 more weeks of waiting at least. We'll skip the part about how I squealed, hugged the package, and said "Yay, new dolly!" in the reception area of my very professional office. You don't need to know that part.
Here's the package as it was handed to me:
Looks rather skrunkled up, doesn't it? One end of the box was totally crushed inside that plastic mailing wrapper. "Oh, damn, I hope her head isn't in that end."
Oh, damn, her head was in that end. Yep, just a standard generic smashed doll box in a plastic wrapper, and of course the really bashed end WAS the head. *afeart*
Holy crickets. I was starting to feel very concerned about the poor baby's head.
Plus, the box graphics have no relation whatever to what's supposed to be inside--and the damage looks even worse from the bottom.
Holy crickets, times two. My heart started to sink.
I open the scary box, to find--the doll is intact! Whew! The box bashing just missed her. Thank you, Travelling Dolly Guardian Angels. Her head was, however, seriously backwards.
A quick directional correction, and in all the plastic wrap, it seems that the only thing askew is her headband.
She looks a bit like a very girly pirate here, doesn't she?
Seriously, I don't know how she survived that box smash.
Let me out! I want to see the world!
Oh, good, she speaks English. *ahem*
Aaaaaand--HERE SHE IS! None the worse for the journey and the bumping and bashing and seasickness (or airsickness, depending on how the passage was actually made).
A bit unsteady on her feet yet, though. Poor thing needs a freshening up and some clothing adjustments after her long, perilous trip.
Ooooh, this hair! Long and curly on the ends!
Her eyes are, indeed, purple and HUGE. I didn't exactly expect purple eyes, as the website pics were all the usual brown/green/blue eyes. However--HOLY MOLY I DO LOVE PURPLE EYES. And they're HUGE. Did I mention her eyes are huge? Because they are really really big. And HUGE.
The real point of this pic, however, is to show off her eyelashes. Super-fine, long fibers, well-placed. Just beautiful.
I knew from the pics that her arms and legs had joints, which was part of her appeal. Lookit what she can do!
Also note that her bangs are nicely cut. A lot of dolls with bangs look like they were trimmed with a weed whacker. These are much more carefully done than I expected.
I've resettled her headband and finger-combed her hair, which feels very silky and soft.
Then, of course, I started taking her clothes off. Sorry, dolly, but we do need to do an inspection, after all.
Look at those jointed knees! And the boots. More on those later.
She stands rather well, although here she's tilted forward a bit, looking like she's about to take a step. Her vinyl is smooth and clean, no stains or marks.
Her hair goes to her ankles. Y'all know by now just how much I loooooove long hair on a doll. This is borderline-Rapunzel length. Mind, when I let go of it, with the curls it bounces up nearer her knees.
No scars, marks, stains, seams, or flashing. She's well-finished.
Her hair is a wig, well-glued in place and not loose anywhere around the hairline. Here you can see the wig cap when her hair is parted in the back. A thicker wig would have looked rather overdone, though--her head is smaller than the usual 18" play doll head, and thicker hair may have overwhelmed her.
The fiber in the wig is amazingly lifelike, naturally varicolored, and does not frizz, or at least not so far. I didn't have my doll hair care kit when I opened her (I was at work on my lunch break and couldn't stand to wait until I got home to open that worrisome scary smashed box), so didn't actually brush and play with the hair until hours after I took this. When I did get to my brushes and such, I brushed rather thoroughly, and not only did the hair not frizz, the curls not tangle and get unruly, and the ends not break--but there were only one or two stray hairs in the brush.
I have GOT to find out where this company gets these wigs, because I'd buy several in different sizes and colors for a lot of other dolls.
Eyebrows and eye paint. Her face paint in general is more Asian bjd-style than most 18" play dolls.
Showing off her sturdy bendy limbs.
I'd also like to point out here that her hands are two different molds, not just the same mold flipped for left/right. The nails are very delicately blushed a barely-there pink, as are the toenails. I couldn't get my iPhone camera to get a good pic of the hands in the light I had available, alas.
Here's the dress flipped inside-out to show the finishing. The skirt is two full pieces, one for the petticoat and another for the outer skirt.
Her bloomers are pretty standard issue, but like the dress are nicely finished, no raw edges.
Close ups of the knee joint (top) and elbow joint (bottom). Real ball joints!
Here's the inside of her sweater, lined and without many stray threads.
I freaking love these boots. I didn't have to totally unlace them, they came off neatly with a smooth pull after I untied them and loosened the laces at the top. They went back on just as easily in reverse.
Plus, I want them in my size in lavender.
The soles have treads, in a little diamond pattern proportionate to the size of the boot.
Our Madame Alexander Favorite Friend, Emma, is always glad to help out with a comparison. Keep in mind here that Emma is barefoot, while the new girl is not.
Note the difference in head size. Hats would have to be smaller, I think.
Once I got her home (and out of the clutches of one of my coworkers, who came by to meet the new kid and ohh and ahh over her), I changed her clothes into something more appropriate for a good night's rest after a long strange trip, and got her settled in.
We stopped by a Michael's on the way home from work and got the girl some jammies. Here she's all cozy in her new Springfield collection nightgown (with blankie), robe (the nightie is sleeveless and it's chilly out tonight), tights, and fuzzy bunny slippers. They all fit nicely, not too loose or too tight, including the slippers. She's also wearing her bloomers, because, really, it is chilly tonight, and if the doll looks cold, I feel cold (leftover maternal "Put on a sweater!" instincts). She's also holding a little brown teddy I gave her. I also brushed and braided her hair. She looks all sleepy and warm and ready to turn out the light.