Month: August 2016

How I Collect

How I Collect


There are many different types of collector.  Some people are completist, having to have the entire set, entire years’ worth of items, or even everything ever made for a particular line.  Others will pick and choose different runs or sets and happily let the other toys pass by.  Some people I know of have different parameters, for instance I know of a few pony collectors who are only recreating their childhood herd, or only collecting ponies they find in thrift stores.

As I was drawn more into the world of toy collecting, I realized pretty early on I needed some limits to be comfortable.  There were hundreds of different My Little Ponies made in the 1980’s, and there have been more ‘generations’ of ponies since then.  While I love my toys, I draw a line at having a toy filled house.  Because my interest was first sparked by remembering childhood toys, I have concentrated on those items.  This helped to keep my collection small and somewhat within my budget- a plus as I was in graduate school at the time!

However, as I joined communities I saw many ponies and other toys that were awesome.  Things I’d never seen as a kid, or had known about but didn’t have.  I looked for ways to expand my collecting, but within limits.  After keeping a few ponies with planets and stars as symbols I decided to collect celestial ponies (any pony with a celestial symbol).  At the time I was also teaching an Earth Science course at the local community college, and so the celestial ones also fit in with meaning there (you study space when you study Earth Science, in addition to the Earth itself).  I decided against collecting any non 80’s (G1 or generation one) ponies, as they came along after my childhood toy days were over.  If you combine my childhood heard with the celestial ponies you would have a sizable but not unmanageable (for me) collection, and I liked the defined boundaries of it.

Acquiring Ponies

But..what about all the pretty and unusual ponies that didn’t fit those two categories?  Sometimes you see pictures of something amazing and you just want it.  I gave in to that a few times and had a few odds and ends ponies that I thought were cool.   Sometimes my collecting parameters overlapped with other, interesting groups.  For example, Night Glider is a gorgeous pony covered in stars and planets- covered because she is also a Twice-as-Fancy (TAF) pony.  One of my childhood ponies was Diamond Dreams, a beautiful Merry-Go-Round (MGR) pony.  The more I looked and enjoyed these ponies, the more I wanted others done in that style.  After looking over those groups I decided to include them, as they were small (6 MGR ponies and 12 TAFs).

I do, however, have a specific way I like to acquire my ponies- by thrifting!  I especially love buying dirty and discarded ponies and cleaning them up.  The cheapest way to do this is often to buy lots from thrift stores and flea markets, taking a chance on the contents.  This aspect really appeals to me for a variety of reasons.  I love fixing old items up and seeing their quality shine through.  I love finding things other people didn’t value and revealing their coolness.  I love a bargain, and wanted my thrifting to pay for itself.  What I didn’t realize when I started this was how this aspect keeps my collecting under control.

Because I bought lots and resold the ponies I didn’t want, I have been able to have a variety of ponies and toys pass through my hands.  I get the joy of researching them-their names, who made them, etc.  I get to hold them and shine them up, and then, I let them go.  I have found that for me much of the pleasure of collecting anything- My Little Pony’s, Fairy Tail birds, American Girl dolls- lies is seeing the items, touching them, and fixing them up.  Owning them isn’t actually as important to me as seeing them and researching them.  I still get the thrill of the hunt; a major pleasure for any collector, I think.  I get the excitement of finding something, the thrill of a package in the mail, the joy of opening up a new toy- but without the crowding of my spaces or the pain in my wallet.  I also really enjoy knowing I am passing along these items to new homes and the people that have been looking for them.  This helps me remain satisfied with my small collection.

So, how do you collect?  Does your collecting fill a shelf, a room, or your house?  Are you a completist, or do you just collect what catches your fancy?


Review: Evan Doll by Lori

DSC_0163 (3)I wanted to do a quick review of the new Lori Doll, Evan. A new doll in the Lori line of 6inch dolls (aka mini dolls), I purchased him from Target yesterday.

First up-yay, a boy doll!  Does this mean we might eventually see an 18inch boy doll in the Our Generation line?  Maybe-we know Wal-mart’s ‘My Life As’ just introduced them.  I was excited to see this fine gentleman at the store and for ~$10.00 was happy to purchase him, even though I don’t officially collect the Lori line.

He is the exact same size as the Our Generation and American Girl mini dolls. Like the OG and original AG line, he has a soft cloth body and vinyl limbs.  Clothes are interchangeable between the lines.  (Note-AG now has all vinyl minis, who might be more slender.  I don’t currently own any of those and so can’t compare.) .

Both Our Generation and Lori dolls feature inset plastic eyes; the original (vintage) AG minis did as well.  Now AG’s line features painted eyes (see Marie Grace, above, in pink). The inset eyes are more realistic, but can also be wonky as it seems difficult to ensure they both look the same direction.  This Evan doll has an excellent gaze but I passed over one that had a lazy eye.

Evan came in a hanging box with his name on it, dressed in boots, pants, a shirt/vest/tie combo, and an English style riding helmet.  Overall packaging was nice and light- two clear rubberbands and plastic insets anchored him into the box.  But, oh, but-look at the T tags anchoring on the helmet.  That means we have a hole through the helmet and into the head.  How does that look?

Well, not so great:(   He has rooted hair at the top, but the sides are flocked and do nothing to hide the hole on his left side.  How your kiddo would feel about this depends (I suspect many wouldn’t care) but as a collector that is a disappointment.  I damped the flocking and gently rubbed it, but it didn’t help hide the hole.  On his right side the rooted hair hides it.

Holes aside, this doll has a great face.  Their are subtle differences in the face paint that help him be a little more boyish-no painted lashes, slightly thicker and straighter brows, and a more neutral lip color.  He compares well to my OG and AG mini ladies, I think.

His clothing is pretty standard, and I don’t expect mini dolls clothing to be perfectly finished, especially at Target price points.  The boots are slit up the back to get on and off easily, which would be especially important with children.  Pants are a soft cotton fabric and close with velcro.  Shirt, vest, and tie are sewn together and also velcro closed.  Plastic helmet of course has two small holes (sigh) but is nicely flexible and can actually be tightened down to fit and stay on the doll’s head.

Overall I like this doll quite a bit.  I’m excited to see a boy doll and especially pleased with the differences in facepaint that help distinguish between him and other OG/Lori minis.  The clothing is cute and good quality for the price.  Playability when combined with the new Lori stables, horse trailer, and other dolls seems high to me.  My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that he has actual holes in his head!  There are two other new equestrian dolls that are girls with long hair.  They could have worn a helmet and hidden the anchoring holes; an accessory swap (the two female dolls have different horsey items) would have eliminated this flaw completely with no overall change to the set. I would buy him again, but I also hope that we will see more boy dolls in the future without damage directly from the box.  he is a handsome fellow, however, and how nice to add a boy doll into the play!

The Pull of New Toys…

So today I went to Target, which is always a dangerous proposition for wallets and want lists.  I enjoy cruising the toy aisles for Our Generation Dolls.  This is a line of dolls comparable with American Girl that Target carries exclusively.   And in some ways they give AG real competition; while their quality in dolls and items is less (clothes are thin and often poorly sewn, dolls have very limited face molds, stiff joints, and inexpensive rooted hair) some of their items are almost as good, more creative, and way, way cheaper.

I often look at the dolls and admire the variety of playsets (another thing they do somewhat better than AG, in my opinion) and the cute accessory packs.  However, I don’t often buy anything unless it’s for my daughter and her contemporary dolls.  But today, I gave into temptation and purchased a Lori doll-a boy!

Lori is a newish line of mini-dolls that seem to be the same molds as the Our Generation Mini dolls, and are the same size as AG’s mini dolls.  I have been very impressed with the Lori line since they started out with a bang, producing lovely dolls and a ballet studio for them.  Ag doesn’t offer any mini-doll accessories, let alone playsets.  And lately they have been expanding, coming out with a full dollhouse  and furniture sets. All very mod in style, with cool details like lights that work and neat furniture.  Of course AG minis fit right in there as well…

So upon seeing a boy mini-doll, I decided to purchase him and talk about him on my blog. The world needs more boy dolls, and more acceptance that perhaps boys would like to play with them. I don’t know if he will stick around.  I seem to like the mini-dolls more than my daughter, and he doesn’t fit into my collection.

But the new things Lori is putting out are great, and I can see them being someone’s vintage toy in the future; a toy they spent long hours with and are delighted to find one day at a thrift store, or dig out of their old closet at home.  Perhaps Evan and that awesome house and stable will be my doll’s dolls…

“Evan” with a few lovely AG girls…

And, Evan still at the store, showing off the cool new playsets to go along with him.