Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Little Creepy

Do you know what I thought of when I first heard about the Barbie Video Girl doll? Those nanny-cams inserted into stuffed bears and other toys so "concerned" (and by concerned I mean overprotective and potentially crazy) parents can spy on the babysitter while they're out of the house.

That's not a good association.

Barbie Video Girl has a video camera built into a necklace and an LCD video screen built in her back. Kids can watch videos back on the little screen or plug a USB cable into Barbie and watch the videos on a television or computer screen. Read about it and see pictures here.

WTF?

How about just dressing the doll up and playing with her that way? I understand kids today are more interested in cell phones and technology than dolls a lot of the time, but sticking a video camera in Barbie's back and a USB cable who-knows-where? Yikes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Buying, Reselling Older Dolls

I'm fortunate that I (currently, anyway) have space to store my bulging doll collection. I also am lucky at the moment to not need to liquidate any of my dolls for fast cash. Not all collectors are as fortunate.

However, because of this, I'm not up to speed on the best venues for selling dolls or on the average prices certain dolls currently fetch at market. I have an idea that today's prices aren't what they used to be, but, thanks to the economy, what prices are?

I recently received in the mail a catalogue of "old-store stock" dolls from a doll seller, which I'll leave nameless. The prices in it seemed laughably high! A 1995 Pretty Hearts Barbie, which sold ubiquitously for cheap, cheap, cheap in the stores, is listed at $65. The hideous and clearenced-out 1999 Hollywood Nails Barbie (the picture of which in the catalogue actually shows a sale price tag of $17.99) also is listed at $65. The notoriously overproduced Barbie as Scarlett O'Hara (green dress) is listed at $85.

I've got a good number of the dolls listed in the catalogue, and it's interesting to see the prices this companies believes they should get for them. But I am hesitant to believe these are typical MIB prices.

A random eBay check of the three dolls I mentioned showed much different pricing. Pretty Hearts Barbie averaged around $10 as a listing price with few if any bids. Hollywood Nails Barbie ranged from about $10 to $25. Most Scarlett O'Hara listings hovered around $20, though a few hopeful souls had their dolls listed at nearly $100.

Those of you who are more active in selling your dolls, where do you go to get a good sense of market value?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweet Treats

My eating habits were pretty different when I was a kid: Happy Meals, hydrogenated snacks, carbonated syrup-based beverages. Oh, sure. It tasted pretty damn good at the time, but I wouldn't dream of eating the same items now.

To put it one way, I've refined my palate. Or to put it another way, I've become a bit of a food snob.

But I digress. (If you want to talk about locally grown, ethically raised food, feel free to e-mail me.)

One of the not-even-a-little-bit-good-for-me foods I adored as a child was Little Debbie snack cakes. Swiss Cake Rolls and Zebra Cakes were my favorite.

That's 270 calories, 6 grams of fat and 38 grams of carbohydrates for two Swiss Cake Rolls, and it's 320 calories, 14 grams of fat and 48 grams of carbohydrates for two Zebra Cakes, according to the Daily Plate.

But I digress (again).

Given my love of the wee sugary cakes, I was especially excited when the first Little Debbie Barbie debuted. I remember encouraging my mom to buy box after box of the stuff so I could get enough box tops to send in for the doll. That's a lot of snack cakes.

But the effort paid off not once but four times, as I have four different Little Debbie dolls.

The first doll is my favorite, because it so closely mirrors the "Little Debbie" logo on the snack boxes. I love how Mattel interprets the Debbie design with the second and third dolls. Both have staw hats and feature blues and gingham, yet each is unique and different from the orginal.

The fourth dolls strays a bit from the design themes of the first three: no hat, no gingham. I realize it's the Little Debbie 40th Anniversary version, but no gingham? It's just not right. Consequently, she's my least favorite of the four.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Barbie Eat A Sandwich

I stumbled across this amusing (yet repetitive) ditty on YouTube.

A word of caution: it can get stuck in your head, not unlike Aqua's Barbie Girl.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Barbie Versus Actual Females For President

We all know Barbie has weathered her share of image-based controversies through the years. (Who can forget the "Math class is tough" kerfuffle of 1992 with Teen Talk Barbie?)

A recent Boston Globe article discusses President Barbie, the White House Project and the media's current treatment of female politicians. (Learn more about Mattel's I Can Be campaign here.)

The article notes that Marie Wilson, founder and president of the White House Project and one of Mattel's 10 women to watch in 2010, champions tiny-waisted, big-chested Barbie yet criticizes actual female politicians.

From the article:
But who is President Barbie supposed to inspire girls to be?
The next Hillary Clinton, who is anything but Barbie-like? Or, the next Palin, who was criticized by Wilson as vacuous and then urged to use her identity as a mother “to call for a new focus on the need for a comprehensive child care policy’’?
If President Barbie does inspire girls to think about running for office, a serious mother-daughter conversation should follow about the challenges that lie ahead: Yes, dear, you can be anything you want to be, but be prepared for ugliness on the campaign trail.

It's an interesting read.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Most Barbie tie-ins with celebrities and popular TV shows and movies fail to excite me, and the Barbie Mad Men dolls are no different. (You can see my rant about Barbie just being Barbie here.)

Mattel announced the line of dolls designed by Robert Best today and will release them in July. The characters include Don Draper, Betty Draper, Roger Sterling and Joan Holloway.

They are the first licensed dolls in the Barbie Fashion Model Collection and feature silkstone bodies. The suggested retail price for each is $74.95.

For those collectors out there who buy the silkstones, what do you think? Will you buy these?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Barbie! (And $3 SuperStar Barbies For You And Me!)

It's Barbie's birthday, but collectors and Barbie fans are the ones getting a gift. In celebration of Barbie's birthday today (March 9), Mattel is selling SuperStar Barbie for $3 all week at retailers nationwide.

The SuperStar Barbie selling for $3 is an updated version of the original SuperStar, which made her debut in 1977. Instead of the long gown and feather boa the original wears, Mattel has updated SuperStar with a short dress and kick-ass shoes.

I'm pretty excited about the bargain. (Seriously, who can resist a good deal?)

I scooped up a couple of Bathing Suit Barbies when she was on sale for $3, and I'm sending my husband AND my mother on missions to find SuperStar at the temporary low, low price. (I typically don't send loved ones out to do my bidding, but I have no time to hit any major retailers after work this week, I swear!)

UPDATE: I'd like to officially thank my mother for nabbing two SuperStar Barbies at the $3 price at her local Wal-Mart this morning!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do You Observe "Barbie In A Blender" Day?

Mark your calendars: July 27 is National Barbie In A Blender day, according to an international student movement, FreeCulture.org. The group launched its Barbie-in-a-blender campaign in 2004 to celebrate the legal case of artist Tom Forsythe versus Mattel.

Forsythe photographed nude barbies in fondue pots, blenders and cooking pans for his art, and Mattel sued him for copyright infringement. The artist published the "Food Chain Barbie" series of photos in 1999.

Ultimately, the courts ordered Mattel to pay Forsythe $1.8 million in legal fees he incurred throughout the five-year dispute over the pictures, according to this article.

You can see examples of Forsythe's Barbie art here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Impress Your Friends With These...

Want to impress your friends at parties? Just pull out some of these Barbie fun facts. I gaurantee you'll be a hit (or potentially not asked to return, depending on your type of friends).
  • 1 billion fashions have been produced since 1959 for Barbie and friends
  • 105 million yards of fabric have gone into making Barbie and friends’ fashions, making Mattel one the largest apparel manufacturers in the world
  • 74.5 million results received from “Googling” Barbie
  • 18 million registered users worldwide on BarbieGirls.com
  • 300,000 Barbie dolls sold in 1959
  • $27,450 was the highest auctioned price of the original 1959 Barbie doll in mint condition
  • 300 Facebook pages in her likeness
  • 120 careers Barbie has had in her lifetime
  • 1,000 YouTube Channels dedicated to Barbie
  • 100 people, designers, seamstresses, pattern makers and stylists needed to create a single Barbie outfit and look
  • 90 percent of girls ages 3-10 who own at least one Barbie doll
  • 70 famous designers who have outfitted Barbie
  • 50 pets including dogs, horses, ponies, cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion club, a giraffe and a zebra Barbie has owned
  • 50 designers who created looks for Barbie’s first-ever runway show at Mercedes-Benz fashion week in 2009
  • 50 different nationalities Barbie has represented
  • 30 times, on average, a Barbie movie is watched
  • 15 fine artists who work on one Barbie using water-based acrylics and tiny sable brushes
  • 16 chart-topping, direct-to-DVD movies Barbie has starred in (17 and 18 launch in 2010)
  • 12 average number of Barbie dolls girls ages 3-6 own
  • 11.5 inches Barbie stands tall
  • 7.25 ounces, Barbie’s weight

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Barbie: The Fashion Experience

Is anyone headed to Indianapolis between now and February 2011? If you are, don't forget to stop at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis to check out Barbie: The Fashion Experience.

I'm in the process of trying to convince my husband we need to go on a road trip right now.

Visitors to the exhibit can design fashions for Barbie and Ken, walk the runway and see collectible dolls.

According to BarbieCollector.com:
"The exhibit includes Fashion Studio Lobby filled with memorabilia representing 50 years of Barbie and featuring dolls designed by Bob Mackie, Bill Glass, and Kate Spade. Inside the Pink Vault visitors will see some of the rarest, most collectible dolls and artifacts such as the #1 1959 Barbie doll and the 1961 brown-haired Ken, along with Andy Warhol’s 1985 Barbie portrait."

Take a look at the "Barbie Collection" section of the museum Web site, where visitors can choose which dolls of a select few they would want to collect. Included among the choices is a Barbie inspired by Dale Chihuly's art and designed by Kate Kyaw. It's based specifically on his "Fireworks of Glass" piece at the museum, according to this article.

"Fireworks of Glass" is the largest permanent sculpture of blown glass by Chihuly, according to the museum.

The dress design is amazing. Seriously amazing. Though, to me, it's more Seussian than reminiscent of the sculpture. Maybe it's the striped tentacle-looking parts that are causing the Seuss reaction...

What do you think?

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Barbie Fan Club

My welcome package for the 2010 Barbie Collector Fan Club arrived over the weekend. Our ever-surly postal worker jammed it into our tiny mailbox, so I had to flatten it out before taking a look. (You can hardly see the crinkles in the pictures!)



Admittedly, I was a bit underwhelmed with the packet this year. The pin last year was great. This year it included a fashion card of Palm Beach Honey Barbie, a collector club exclusive.



I say "Meh" to the card and the doll. I typically don't purchase dolls in the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. I will, however, be making good use again this year of the shop rewards!