Zylie the Bear

As you know, along with 18inch dolls and clothing, Moppet Poppet is also the exclusive Australian retailer of Zylie the Bear – the most stylish and adventurous teddy you will ever meet!!

http://www.zyliethebear.com

The creators of Zylie have just released new interactive web content with fun activities for your kids to get involved with. There are four categories to check out : Activities, Stories, Contests and Explore.

You can also follow the adventures of Zylie and her best friend Shen the Panda via pinterest or their blog:

http://www.pinterest.com/zyliethebear/pins/

blog.zyliethebear.com

And don’t forget…you can purchase the entire collection in Australia from us at Moppet Poppet!

Amanda xx

Fun printable activities

The other day I was cleaning our floors and (while having a rare moment of enthusiasm) moved the kids large dolls house to clean behind – not far…about a meter to the left.   Well, you’d have thought it was a brand new toy!  They have been playing with it for three days non-stop and even gave it a spring clean.  We were laughing at some of the quite gaudy designs on the walls and it got me thinking about a makeover.  I stumbled across this fun site with hundreds of printable designs including wallpaper, groceries and shop themes.  It’s quite an interesting place to look around, even just to get some inspiration from!

http://www.jennifersprintables.com

Enjoy! Amanda xx

Some thoughts on branded toys….

Branded Toys

Love them or loathe them….there is no getting away from popular branded toys that saturate our letterbox catalogues and TV ad space.  Millions of advertising dollars are poured in to achieve the exact result we all wish it didn’t….kids just HAVING to have the latest toys based upon their favourite characters.

Now don’t get me wrong – my own kids love their Toy Story toys and I have finally succumbed to the Barbie world after resisting for MANY years….but I do find it interesting how kids related to these toys as compared to the generic, unbranded ones.

Branded toys will always bring with them a pre-programed personality – Dora is always Dora and Woody is always Woody.  Kids find it hard to assign them with new identity and therefore will copy and repeat the toys behaviour from what they know from the movies or TV show.  Generic toys allow kids the artistic license to create any character they want, as often as they want.  When was the last time you saw Dora dressed up as a nurse called Alice???

So what’s a mum to do???  Here are 5 ways to sway your kids into alternative choices:

 

Don’t get sucked in:

What mum wouldn’t love a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s in her wardrobe?? I don’t even need to tell you what they ARE for you to be swooning already! But how many of us have actually even SEEN a pair??  TRIED a pair on??  I have no idea what they are really like but Carrie Bradshaw and clever marketing have told me they are the best and so I must have them.  Kids are no different – don’t let them fool you – remember that they have NO idea what they are actually asking for – they just know they should have it.  End. Of. Story.

 

Barter System:

Cost is a HUGE consideration!!   Branded toys cost the earth and quite often, you can buy more if you swap to generic items.  Try and get kids to see past the packaging and focus on what they are actually getting.  Don’t be afraid to point out that ‘X’ is $5 more than Ý’ which means “we can’t get a vegemite scroll on the way home – what should we do”??   It doesn’t have to turn into an in-depth discussion about finance in the middle of Toys-r-Us, but pointing out that they can have both a generic Barbie car AND a scooter – meaning TWO boxes instead of one – will no doubt win out every time.

 

Bells and Whistles:

This is the best point.  Don’t get the toy with EVERYTHING.  Leave something for the kids imagination to ‘fill in the blanks’ so to speak.   Avoid the train track that has every sound and light available – try an old fashioned wooden one instead.

Research identifies that instead of being surrounded by the noise and atmosphere of loud toys (leaving nothing to the imagination), kids will create the scenario in their own mind, hearing the right sounds and imagining what each character will say.  This in turn has shown to result in a quieter, more relaxed yet equally as stimulating play environment – and anything that promotes a moment of peace is worth trying in my book!!

 

Don’t peak too soon:

Consider the developmental stage your child is at.  They may THINK they want a Barbie when they are 3 years old…but very few kids of this age have the dexterity to dress and manipulate these dolls by themselves.  All that happens is they get frustrated, it gets tossed aside (you end up buying something else) and then when they ARE ready for a Barbie – you have to fork out for a new one as the old one is now ‘boring’.   Don’t hesitate to let them know they can have the toy when they are a bit older – the element of anticipation and proving they are a ‘big kid’ helps with their own motivation and self esteem.

 

Lead by example: 

I’ll admit it – we all take the easy option at times when buying birthday party gifts and its just too easy to pop into K-mart and grab the closest Barbie / Ben 10 / Elmo toys that comes to hand.   But most mums will secretly be giving you a thumbs up for not adding to their already bulging toy box of plastic crap by selecting something slightly more traditional.  And trust me, it may not be the first thing that lights up the kids eyes when its opened, but it will be one gift they remember once the party is long over.

 

I’ve yet to face the teenage years as a mum but hopefully my girls will continue to appreciate a wide variety of fashion and toy choices.   I know we will have to pick our battles and give in at times for the sake of sanity – we all want our kids to feel confident and happy which often means treating them to the latest gizmo EVERYONE else has.  And who knows? We might just end up with the same size feet and be able to afford those Manolo’s after all…….

 

Crown Braid for your Dolls …

Image

DIY crown braid for dolls hair.

Growing up, I was lucky to have two younger sisters with gorgeous long hair, who could also tolerate sitting still for loooong moments so I could create intricate hair styles – something I enjoyed due to the quite technical and almost mathematical nature of design.

This was of course WAY before YouTube so ideas had to be dreamed up or interpreted from the pages of the latest Women’s Weekly (and yes….Princess Leia ‘buns’ did feature for a dress-up party once!).  Considering I was in my early teens and sporting a spiral perm of my own, hair design has come a long way since then!  Facebook and YouTube have endless instructions for amazing styles you can easily follow – the sky really is the limit.

One of the most common questions I’m asked in my business is how to keep dolls hair frizz and knot free. One of the easiest ways is to up-style the hair, keeping it pretty, yet tucked away to avoid the inevitable snags and brute force only a 4 year old can inflict.

So aside from admitting I’ve had many a perm,  this post is to give you an idea of what can be achieved with dolls hair –  imagine the look of delight your little one would have if you did an extreme makeover on her favourite doll with this design!

Below you will find a step by step guide to a crown braid for your doll…..don’t be daunted by the word ‘braid’ either….if you can do a basic plait and keep a doll clamped between your knees for 15 mins or so….you’ll be as good as gold.

Step one
Ensure your dolls hair is brushed and knot free – pay attention to the hair around the hairline as this will be the section that gets braided.  Don’t worry if you have different lengths of hair, the ends will all get caught up in the braid as you go along.

Step two
Just above the ear, take a small section of hair and plait UPWARDS, towards the top of the head, using each strand once.

Step three
Working around the hairline, continue to plait, taking a new piece of hair to wind into the braid from the hairline side only (not the crown side).
Note: Keep an eye on the unused hair hanging down from the crown area – make sure it stays fairly flat – it might be easier to keep it tied away from your working section of hair.

Step four
You will need to adjust the dolls position as you go, so you can easily get a nice even plait around the hairline – finish just past the halfway mark of the nape of the neck.  You will still have a fair bit of loose hair hanging down, the trick now is to incorporate this into the final look.

Step five
Split the remaining hair up into three longways sections, and plait these into the existing three sections you have.  This will finish the style with one long braid down the same side of the head from which you started the braid.  Tie this off with a hair tie.  I find this looks slightly messy with lots of short ends starting to poke out.   Try bending it in half backwards so it is poked up behind itself.  Now you can tie this off with a cute scrunchie, ribbon or hair tie – concealing the original hair tie for a slick overall look.

Hairstyling for your dolls!

Busy here at HQ updating our website and ordering new stock…..some exciting things planned!

One thing I love is creating gorgeous hairstyles in my girls dolls hair….but find it frustrating when the inevitable frizz leaves hair in less than perfect condition.

I stumbled across this fantastic American blog dedicated to all things dolls, especially 18inch style ones such as our Moppet Poppet dolls.  It has an amazing section providing helpful hints and instructions to create your own pretty dolls hairstyles (some look very cool for little girls too!).  The best bit was finding out that fabric softener helps to de-frizz hair! I gave it a shot (1/5 softener to 4/5 water) and whilst not a miracle worker, it definitely made combing the hair much easier and restored shine.  I used a plastic spray bottle and really soaked the hair, leaving it for a few hours before combing. I also trimmed the ends to cut off the really bad frizzy bits – don’t be afraid to give it a good trim as the results will be much better……there is even a really cute picture in this blog of a doll with a new short bob cut….I haven’t been that brave yet!

I get lots of emails requesting info about restoring dolls hair that is frizzy, so this has inspired me to create a new page on the website answering all your hair FAQ.  Check out the below link for the “doll diaries” – have fun!

http://dolldiaries.com/category/doll-hairstyles-2/ 

 

Party wrap-up…

Well another birthday party is over – we survived!

A quick post this week just to share my creations…..

 

The ‘beach’ themed cake was inspired by   http://lovelypartythings.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/beach-party-cake1.jpg?w=630&h=759

P1030716I cheated with a Woolies sponge which took 9 packets of kitkats to surround it – lucky they were on special that week for $1 !!

I used normal butter icing which gave a good wave effect – and ginger nut biscuits for sand which kept their crunch and provided a nice colour contrast.

Tiny teddies of course and I made do with lollies I’d already purchased – jelly jubes from the party mix used for lolly bags, and liquorice for the towels as I also needed this below.

The overall effect was simple yet eye-catching….and as we know….its all about the cake!!

 

 

The Alien cupcakes were a huge hit!  Again inspired by one of my favourite sites http://spoonful.com/recipes/toy-story-green-alien-cupcakes

P1030710After a disaster first batch of home made cupcakes, I bought the small choc chip ‘muffins’ from Woolies – again on special for $3 for 8 cakes !!

Green butter icing (I made a huge batch then split it up for colouring) and milky way button for the eyes worked perfectly.

Liquorice detail for the eyes and mouth (I bought the strap liquorice and used clean scissors to cut), then spearmint leaves for eyes and antenna.

A fun idea which was perfect as a table centrepiece – Toy Story always finds a way to sneak in an appearance in this house!!

 

 

So time to get back to work……I just need to finish off that last Kit Kat…..xxx

 

 

Easter is here!!

Can you believe I saw hot cross buns on sale on Boxing Day!!    Finally the Easter bunny will soon be hopping its way to us all…..my kids are confused already and wake up every morning saying “nope, he hasn’t been yet mum” after looking outside!!

Easter is pretty low key in our house, a small egg hunt and (our!) traditional breakfast of panckes, bacon and maple syrup.   

There are endless craft activites around but I have picked two that have caught my eye….and ones that seem a bit more d0-able than intricate designed chocolate creations that must take hours and a PhD in engineering to construct!!

This one I found on http://www.tipjunkie.com 

button-egg-diy-easter-decorating

Its actually quite an involved sewing activity but could easily be adapted to suit your kids with a few buttons, strong card  and hot glue gun (with help of course!).  It would even make a great gift for grandparents and any shape could be made out of the buttons to suit any occassion.

 

 

This is another activity I cant wait to try!  http://columbinethebutterfly.com/candy-eggs-inside-craft/  I have some leftover natural coloured jute that I might use – could be a nice contrast with a bright egg inside – maybe a picture next post!

Wishing you all a safe and relaxing Easter break. xx