because this morning I was reading an entry on her blog entitled 'July Doll Haul' and I was so envious of how some people are able to physically walk into a shop and buy nice dolls rather than always on the internet.....I wish I'd been into dolls when we used to spend our holidays in US!!! So you see, I'm completely innocent here ;)
The doll in question is from a Spanish company called Antonio Juan and they produce several sizes of all vinyl or vinyl and cloth dolls, including baby dolls who have the cutest faces and belly buttons!! Anyway, I digress, I bought a 45cm tall doll who was marked 'offerta'....always a good label to see on anything you're interested in. She's all vinyl and is a child's play doll. I thought I would do a review of her box opening etc and hope you will enjoy it. There are a lot of photos, so maybe grab a nice cup of tea and a few biscuits, just in case!!!
The box is very sturdy and rather attractive, with pale pink background and decorated with pink roses and polkadots. The company logo features prominently on the front. As you can see, I had a little helper!!!
This silver sticker is self explanatory.
The back of the box is just as attractive as the front and has all the company's information as well as the warning that the doll is not suitable for children under 36 months 'due to small parts'....Phew, I'm just old enough then ;)
Like most other doll companies that I've come across here in Spain, the Antonio Juan company is located in Onil which is in Alicante. I would love to visit this area but it's quite a way from here....maybe one day I will take the high speed train link and go from there! The company itself was formed in 1958 and has been in the same family for four generations and they pride themselves on their product.
If you go to their website, there is a really good video of the complete process of the dolls being produce, right from the initial sculpting in clay, right through to the completed dolls being put into boxes for shipping out. I was amazed to watch the hair being rooted, the machine operator has to really be on the ball.....it does explain how some of our Sashas and Gregors have some very 'odd' rooting patterns sometimes, because I'm sure the process would have been pretty similar back then too!
To view the video scroll down slightly and it can be found on the right hand side of the page.
One interesting thing of note here, I saw other dolls in the toy shop that had exactly the same face moulds as dolls from another more well known doll company called Paola Reina, so I don't know if they're connected in any way. I'm still trying to find out.
Inside the sturdy cardboard box, once you take off the lid, there is a plastic 'window' which is used to protect the dolls whilst on display in the toyshops...you can see the glare of my flash which decided to go off for some reason! This window is easily removed and can be stored in the lid of the box.
There were two choices left in the shop, one, a blond with blue eyes, was wearing her first Holy Communion dress and this is the other one, who is dressed for winter. The inside of the box is nice, as you can see it's bright pink with white polkadots. Polkadots are very popular here in Spain and used on a lot of flamenco dresses.
Here she is without the plastic window:
And a close up.
She was very easy to remove from the box as she was only held in with clear elastic bands attached to two separate plastic pieces, one around her neck and the other around one of her ankles. Despite only having the two anchor points, she seemed very securely fastened, I was surprised that there was nothing else keeping her so neatly tied in.
Here is the inside of the box, you can see the two plastic anchor points here.
Here she is released from the box......."phew" she says "thank you for letting me out!"
Close up you can see her knitted beanie hat is attached with one of those tiny plastic ties, which had to be snipped to remove it. Her hair is held in place underneath the hat with a clear polythene band.
My intention when I saw this doll was that I might 'customise' her and usually I would remove the eyes and replace with my favourite glass eyes, but these actually are quite nice eyes, so I shall wait and see if I go the full whack and remove them. I think her eyebrows would do with a bit of filling in as they are quite basically done. I am not overkeen on these eyelashes but if I keep these eyes then these lashes would probably stay too. She has a cute botton nose and nicely sculpted pouty lips!
Her clothes are very nice. Her outfit is made up of 7 pieces. She wears the pink knitted beanie, a grey knitted scarf which has knots on each end, a pale pink quilted/padded coat with hood and pompoms instead of buttons. The fabric is really good quality and the hood is lined in white cotton. I was surprised, seeing how nicely made the outfit is, that the seams aren't 'finished' but I guess you can't have everything!
Underneath her coat she wears a sleeveless cotton blouse/angel top in a small flowery print, and a corderoy skirt that flares out from a 'yoke' or wide waistband. Again I was surprised to see that their seams weren't finished, but the items seem well made apart from that. They do however do up with velcro which I don't really like but then these dolls are aimed at children who would probably not mind in the least.
Under the skirt she is wearing white knitted tights. Finally she has a pair of leatherette ankle boots with laces and remind me very much of the ones Ruth of Ruthsdolls makes for our Sashas. These ones are in a nice neutral beige.
Now let's look at the doll herself. Firstly, once released from the polythene band keeping it in place, you can see that her hair is lovely and thick, it's very well rooted with a neat centre parting. It's cut into a shaggy bob which I like, as well as the fact that it is not all the same length, it's cut into layers at the back. The hair itself is of very good quality, it feels silky and smooth and has body to it. I was able to comb it through straight away without it getting tangled and flyaway. It's also not a 'solid' unnatural colour, it is deep brown but as the light hits it so you can see slightly lighter shades in there, which makes it more like real hair.
Now on to her body. She has a child-like body with 5 points of articulation, being at her neck, shoulders and hips. Her head will move up and down as well as from side to side, which gives her quite a lot of expressive posing. You can see her looking up in the photo above and looking down in the photo below. Her head appears to be strung with elastic but I don't know if her arms and legs are strung the same way, they seem to be fitted into the body. When she sits her legs go out in a 'triangle', which I'm not overkeen on but then most of my dolls tend to stand up for that very reason.
Although her body is quite 'child-like' with a rounded tummy, I do wonder if it really 'matches' that well with her chubby toddler like face and her chubby hands? She has a more defined 'waist' which small children don't really have. You can see this more clearly in the photo below, showing her back view, she almost has a 'curvy' figure.
I had hoped that this doll would fit some of the many American Girl sewing patterns that I have here but having measured her and compared with those dolls, it would seem that she is more on a par with the Kidz n Cats, having a much slimmer torso. I will try out some of the AG patterns on her at some point in the future but for now she'll have to wait!
My overall opinion of this doll is that she is definitely worth the money I paid for her. I paid 45 euros and believe the usual price is 55 euros. So not a big price tag for a doll with such good quality hair and outfit. I think the outfit alone would have cost more than that if I'd bought something similar separately! As I said above, I bought her with the intention of customising her and I might still do a few things to 'personalise' her, but for the moment I think she's really very cute just as she is!!!
I hope you've enjoyed reading about this new little girlie who's joined my dolls here in sunny Spain and I hope there weren't too many photos! ;)