BJD Bhiner, a Taobao proxy

For my birthday I decided I wanted a new Dollfie Dream girl. Initially I had planned to get one during a trip to Japan later this year, but with Covid-19 going around I doubt we will be able to travel. Dollfie Dream are ball-jointed dolls made by Volks and they are iconic for their anime/manga look. I own one already, she is a 1/3 scale girl but I really wanted a MDD which is a smaller scale girl (1/4 size). Because I want to avoid the hassle with customs, I normally try to buy through European dealers and for Volks doll that’s a bit hard. I only know of two official dealers here in Europe which are Sakura Dreams and Papettes Store.

Just received notification that my girl is in the process of being shipped, but I’ll write about her when she gets here.

In my doll collection I do not have a lot of 1/4 scale dolls (they are around 45cm and called MSD), I have either SD (60cm) or YOSD (30cm). The MSD that I have is a slim version which means that her clothes are more mature and don’t really fit the bulkier shaped MSD dolls. So I need more shoes and clothes for my girl that’s on the way. I had already bought an outfit from Volks so she won’t be nude when she gets here. But she still needs more.

Etsy is my normal go to for doll apparel but I really wanted to try ordering from somewhere different. I’ve been eyeing Taobao for a while but ordering is difficult as some sellers don’t ship abroad and everything is in Chinese. Taobao is like an online marketplace, where sellers offer their handmade products. There is also a lot of knock-off products on there so you have to be a bit careful with what you buy. Orchid Dolls‘ review on BJD Bhiner gave me a proxy service I could try out.

Bhiner is one of the many proxy services that help you make purchases from Taobao. They communicate with the sellers and collect your order in their warehouse before shipping it overseas. For their services they will charge you a fee. What differs them from the other proxies, is that they have a website that collects a lot of BJD related sales on one page but you can also add links from other Taobao sellers if you find something off-site that you want to buy through them.

The sale pages look a lot at what you find on Aliexpress and ordering almost works the same way. I think Taobao is owned by the same owner as Aliexpress. Only difference is that you can quote the items that you have in your cart, Bhiner verifies with the seller if the item is in stock and confirm this with you. It’s your own responsibility to not wait to long with your purchase or else it could be gone.

Payment is always upfront as they have to pay the sellers and the shipping costs to the warehouse. When the items are received by Bhiner, you will get sent photo proof that the items have arrived and get the second quote for shipping from China to the Netherlands. I was amused to see that from mainland China you can have your parcel shipped by train. How cool is that!

I ordered 5 items from Bhiner. 1 wig, 2 pairs of shoes, a graduation hakama for my DD girl and a Neko hat. The hat is a custom order, which means it can’t be refunded. I had more in the cart but the order was already at $99 so I called it quits. I find it easier to spend money on clothes and shoes for my dolls than on clothes on myself ^^;;.

Bhiner order
Bhiner order

So on an order of $99 the agent fee is $6.67, which is very low in my opinion. I had to pay around $14,90 in domestic shipping to the warehouse and now I wait until it arrives there. I have no idea how long it will take, one item in my order will take around 5-10 days before it ships.

I’ll write again when it arrives at my house.

AliExpress – Dollfie Dream clothes 1

It is always hit and miss with AliExpress when purchasing stuff for dolls. Dolls I will never buy on Ali, as most of them are recasts.
Recasts happen when somenos purchases a doll from a sculptor and then copies it for anyone who wants to have it cheaply, selling it for a much lower price. Usually the quality is inferior and.. well.. the design is stolen. So no dolls bought on Ali for me.

For other stuff like doll clothes and shoes, you’ll sometimes find good quality on there. Lately I’ve noticed people reselling stuff from Ali on Etsy for a higher price. Heck, I even saw people resell a toilet bag bought on Ali for €2 for €9,95 on Bol.com. It’s not against the law but it is annoying, especially when you find out the quality sucks afterwards. So with doll clothes I am a bit cautious when buying for the first time from a new seller I discovered on Ali. Losing €10 on a skirt for a doll that looks terrible isn’t a complete waste of money.

It is quite hard to find fitting clothes for my Smart Doll and Dollfie Dream as they have anime features, extremely long legs, tiny waists and sometimes huge breasts. I try to keep the chest size small or medium, as I really don’t like the big ones, unless I can cover it up with clothing. My normal SD clothing doesn’t really fit my anime style dolls as they are too wide and sometimes too short. So slowly I started building up my Smart Doll and DD clothing collection. First try out was with WAW Dollhouse and from them I bought an inexpensive skirt that costed me €10,01 in total including shipping.

Skirt
Skirt WAW Dollhouse

I am surprised by the quality of this skirt. The fabric feel sturdy to the touch and the finish in brown stitching is done neatly. It has two functional pockets and the final finish was done with a overlock machine. For this type of quality I would have gladly paid more for this skirt. For the record, I have spent over $100 on a single outfit for dolls.

Overlock finish
Overlock finish
Suits my DD nicely
Suits my DD nicely

The waist is a bit wide, but I cover it over with t-shirts or sweaters. The store had two versions: the white with blue stripes that I bought and a darker denim. The darker one goes on my next to-buy-list along with a few other items now that I tested the seller. All and all I am very happy with my purchase and will definitely shop there again.

Outdoor doll photo session – Oisterwijk Fens

The best photos I make of my dolls is when I take them outdoors, often to nature reserves. I love taking photos of them, but I hate the stares I get when I am taking the photos. Luckily I am armed with my boyfriend these days, which makes me less aware of people staring at me.

I’ve visited this nature reserve in Oisterwijk quite often. I used to take my dogs there and spent many hours roaming the fens. In the early hours of the day it has very mysterious atmosphere, especially when there is fog. But today the sun was out, and so were the pollen. I love being outside, but my hay fever often kicks my ass the next day.

Fuyumi
Fuyumi
Fuyumi
Fuyumi

At one point a man thought I was taking photos of a mushroom, while I was posing Fuyumi. A very strange mushroom indeed ;P.

Pip
Pip

It’s still early in the season so the bug count was very low. During the hotter part of the year, the fens will be swarming with a lot of nasty that stings. After putting some colour on our cheeks, we treated ourselves with a big lunch. No photos were taken as I was famished and practically inhaled the food xD.

complementary action photo
complementary action photo

For my boyfriend it was his first time out to the Oisterwijk Fens and he really enjoyed it. I made him say it a couple of times, just to make sure 😉 We will certainly be back, maybe take his dogs with us next time.

Oisterwijk Fens
Oisterwijk Fens

Doll and Bear Show – spring edition

The Big Event Doll and Bear Show is one of the conventions I look forward to each year. Normally set in the fall, the organisation decided to also hold one in the spring.
One of the first conventions I went to was held in Rotterdam but they moved to a more central location in my hometown a few years ago. Often I go by myself, but sometimes friends accompany me.

You can find anything here when you are a doll or stuffed animal collector, even some very old antiques which cost a small fortune. I’m always happy to see if there is at least one BJD or Blythe related stand. This time there were four. I always wished I have a big bag of money for these conventions but with Record Store Day and Blythecon EU around the corner I had to keep to my budget.

BJD apparel
BJD apparel
Angels Designs
Angels Designs

I had been thinking to put my Barbie’s on display again, but I needed some nice clothing for the ladies instead of the default Mattel garb. Lucky for me ELENPRIV was also selling at this spring show. I forgot to take a photo of her stand, due to my excitement. But my girls have two amazing outfits. Well worth the price when you look a the quality of the fabric, design and skill.

Fashionistas
Fashionistas

And I couldn’t resist to buy another handmade bear. I wanted to take them all home, but that meant I had to rob a bank to do so.

Bear by Catootje en Co
Bear by Catootje en Co

Cheska was also spoiled a little with a new dress but I haven’t had the chance to take photos of her yet. Will do so soon.

All in all, a great Doll and Bear Show – Spring Edition for me. Bought some great outfits for my girls, a new handmade bear and had the chance to chat with some friends. Can’t wait for the Fall Edition.

Fuyumi’s new kimono

My two Azone girls don’t have a big pile of clothes like my Blythes or BJD’s. So I’ve started to fix that problem by ordering them some clothes and shoes. The biggest problem I have with these girls is getting nice shoes for them, they have tiny feet.

I remember ordering once from Hobby Search long time ago. Normally I go to AmiAmi, but Hobby Search has everything that is released by Azone International, the manufacturer of Pure Neemo dolls. Which means I finally have more shoes for the girls instead of one pair each.

Sadly, the yukata with sandals went out of stock which means that Reiko is still missing her shoes for her Miko outfit. Next time I will get them.

Shipping is always super fast with EMS, down part is the ransom money I need to pay to the post office. I don’t mind paying for the VAT, the amount of administration costs pisses me off.

Kimono
Kimono
Slip-on Shoes
Slip-on Shoes
Cute Boots
Cute Boots

The quality of the kimono and shoes are fantastic! Worth every penny. Shoes this small which look so adorable are hard to come by. I’m happy I’ve placed the order so I can keep dressing my girls up in cute outfits.

Fuyumi
Fuyumi

All I wish now is for the weather to clear, so I can take some outdoor photos with my girls. A shrine photo would be fantastic, but these are hard to find here in the Netherlands.

New arrival: my first Smart Doll

My Smart Doll Cherry was only held hostage for one day at the Dutch customs, which is a miracle. They can hold a parcel up to 4 weeks but she was processed quickly. So it took her little over a week to get from Japan to my house. My mother was so sweet to pick her up from the pick-up point and pay the ransom. The custom fees were €75 this time, which is not bad considering I paid almost €300 for my Dollfie Dream a couple of years ago. The penalty you have to pay for spending your money outside of the Netherlands. TAX IT!

The funny thing with receiving parcels, my cat’s curiosity is activated and he stuck his big fat nose in my unboxing. I had to stop him from attacking the items I received with the doll. Anything that has threads attached = cat attack.

unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry

My girl was carefully bubble-wrapped in the iconic ‘Keep calm and carry a Smartdoll’ bag together with a box of apparel. The extra things I ordered (because I didn’t want to go overboard with spending) were a telescope stand and some leggings to protect her from staining her legs. To my surprise I received a second free telescope stand as a gift. A little card refers you to a ‘welcome’ website where you learn everything about your doll and how to handle her. I had a general idea on what apparel she would receive, but the set is quite lovely. Greenish jeans with a white v-neck and brown ankle boots.

unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry

Cherry is nicer in person than on photos. I didn’t even notice that she had light lipstick/gloss and it really suits her. The hardest part left is finding her a name. I kinda hoped I had thought of one during her transit, but life caught up with me and kept me busy.

unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry
unboxing Smart Doll Cherry

I am surprised how light she is, I think she weighs less than my Dollfie which is also a vinyl doll. Can’t wait to have photo shoots with her, but first she needs a name and a story.

Reika, the Shrine Maiden

In January I saw a shrine maiden outfit pop up on AmiAmi and thought this was perfect for Reika. Compared to Fuyumi, Reika doesn’t have a different outfit besides her default clothing she was shipped with. So it was time for me to get her the outfit.

Azone Shrine Maiden uniform
Azone Shrine Maiden uniform

The quality of outfits made by Azone always blows me away. Very delicate stitching and high-quality fabric. The dolly hobby is an expensive hobby because all manufacturers hold up high quality standards. You always get your money’s worth.

Buying this outfit also helps me develop her background story a bit. She is following in her mother’s footsteps as a miko and is highly skilled in sacred cleansing.

Reika as a miko
Reika as a miko

There are still a few accessories I need to make for her including socks, sandals and a gohei (a wooden wand with two zigzagging paper streamers). But she is looking really adorable already.

Planning a new doll

In the past I just bought dolls (ball jointed) on a whim. Which resulted on having several on the way and at the same time selling dolls I’ve lost interest in.
I bought dolls which had fantasy parts like dragon wings or bird feet which ended up being very impractical for me. I like taking the dolls out on walks and take photos of them. Dolls with huge parts just didn’t work out as a carry on.

My wishes have grown smaller in the past. I don’t feel the need to buy when browsing through the vendors’ websites. But there are a few dolls that are on my list that I will get one day: a Lillycat girl, a Fairyland Minifee and a Smart Doll.

Since November I’ve been debating with myself which one of the girls I would want to have. It’s tough to make a decision when you like a lot but can’t have all of them.
After three months I’ve narrowed it down to two molds and at the moment I am leaning towards Cherry, she is a seasonal limited. When I saw that one after the other was vanishing from the list, I feared I wasn’t able to nab her up if I waited too long. So I placed my order on Tuesday the 5th. I was surprised to wake up to a shipping notice the next day.

I know they have several dolls in stock but I didn’t expect her to ship the very next day.
Now the waiting game started. Shipping from Japan is not bad, usually takes a few days to get to the Netherlands. Dutch Customs is usually the killer. In busy periods they can take up to a month to process your parcel. OUCH!

At the moment I am keeping her wig and eyes like this. Her cherry coloured eyes look quite lovely in photos and I want to see them in real life before I make a decision. I have a box with glass eyes for my other bjd’s and after ending up with over 30 pairs of eyes I don’t want to go crazy on the anime eyes this time.

When buying a doll from Smart Doll you get the option to add a set of clothes for only 10.000 Yen extra which is a steal. Buying these items separately you will pay double the price.
Because Cherry is made from vinyl, she is prone to staining which is a nightmare. I had a lot of issues with staining on my Dollfie Dream Saber Alter. I was prepared this time so I also purchased anti-stain leggings for under her jeans and have a pattern for a bodysuit if I get darker clothing for her.

I’ve preordered an Azone outfit from AmiAmi which is more of a classical girl style but I am still searching for her look and of course a name.

Photo property of Azone

Pip: new member of the family.

I’ve been collecting dolls for quite some years now, it might be 10 or more. I started with Pullips, moved on to my first ball-jointed doll. Then Blythes came into the picture and my collection grew with 5 different types of dolls. I’m not picky when it comes to what I like, kinda like Pokemon (gotta catch them all).

So I am on type 6 now, Pipita, designed by Jenny Yi. I’ve seen her other doll, Holala, popping up on my Instagram for a while. Holala is cute but when I saw pictures of Pipita I was sold. I think its the little puckering lip that attracts me the most.

Obtaining a doll from Jenny is always a challenge. They are hand painted so you can’t count this doll as a mass production one like Barbie. Jenny herself was at the previous Blythecon EU last year and they went like hot cakes. I try to refrain buying from the second hand market when the dolls are scarce, sometimes people drive up the price to ridiculous heights just because there is a demand.

I was overjoyed when a pre-order for Pipita opened in November. Jenny’s assistant sorted out insured shipping for me and the waiting game started.
When the first arrivals started popping up on Instagram, I couldn’t wait for mine to arrive. Lucky for me no custom fees and she arrived on the 19th of January 2019. Today I unboxed her and named her Pip.

The quality of Pip is amazing, she is prettier in person and you can see that a lot of care went into her assembly. The last few weeks I lurked on Etsy and bought two outfits for her, which are also on their way to me.
Let’s hope the weather will clear up so I can take some outdoor photos of Pip.

Pip and Ted
Pip and Ted