New releases–what did you buy?

What did everyone think of the new American Girl releases?  I thought there was some cute stuff this time around, but several things were rehashes of previous sets.  Gabriella’s bed looks a bit way too similar to McKenna’s bed to think it was an accident!  At least they changed the color. And a lot of plastic throughout the releases.  😦  However, one item that fits in both of these categories made this gal (and plenty of others I suspect) very, very happy.  What was that?  The Class Pet Hamster set!

I loved this set when it was issued with McKenna’s bedroom set, and it is regularly on Ebay, but at an over-inflated price.  I’ve seen this set go for as much as $100!  In the words of Gru–“I don’t think so.”  That’s just ridiculous.  Apparently someone at American Girl has been paying attention (finally) and gave the fans a set that not only did they want, but they improved upon it.  And for $24, I have a feeling these sets have been flying out the door.  Luckily for me, I had a $20 rewards coupon that I’d been hanging on to in anticipation of the new releases.

Here it is!

I have mixed feelings about these new boxes. I do like the idea of seeing the photo of what it is on the box, but I don’t care for how hard some of the boxes are to get open. I didn’t do so well with this one:

It just didn’t seem to want to pull open after I got the seal off. I don’t save the boxes for most things like some people do. I also bought the boots from the new releases and the box on that…it was totally trashed as the tab to pull out didn’t want to come out at all. Oh well.

Here are all the pieces out of the box, so cute! And the improvements over the prior set? We have faux “bedding” in the bottom of the cage and food in the bowl! The set for McKenna didn’t have anything for bedding and an empty bowl. I do have one complaint about the bedding though, it is very uneven and makes it difficult to keep the wheel in place. I need to get a piece of sticky tack to put on the stand to help it.

Let’s look at the pieces individually. First, the cage itself. Very simple, and I love the little water bottle. I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be until they make an accessory set that turns this into a hamster Habitrail, and includes one of those balls you can use to exercise your hamster? In the meantime, you can bet I’ll be watching the candy/toy machines at the different stores!

The food bowl is very cute and nice and full, so your hamster won’t go hungry.

The wheel is adorable, it even spins like a real one!

And the star of the show:
   
I was a bit disappointed that the flocking dulled his eyes a bit. I’m tempted to take either a fine point black Sharpie or a dot of paint to make them stand out a little better. Otherwise I think he’s so cute!!!

They even give you a booklet to help you care for your new friend:
 

Here it is all assembled:

I’m so pleased that AG decided to make this an item available for individual sale, long overdue. I’m sure all of those people who paid a ridiculous price for it on the secondary market are kicking themselves! This set is not only cute for all of us doll folks, but I think it would be a great toy for a child who perhaps wants a hamster, or even already has one. I see tons of sales potential for this set–little brothers who have been taken to an American Girl store against their will, hamster enthusiasts, etc. Plus at this price point, it makes a great gift item. I’m hoping this also means we might see more expansion in the pet category, I mean, seriously, not everyone has dogs, cats or horses!

So who is going to get this set out of my crew? That’s a good question! It’s one of the few times I’ve bought something like this without a game plan in place. I do know what his name is going to be–Chum! Anyone who is a fan of the “Mouse and the Motorcycle” series by Beverly Cleary knows where the name is from, and as a child, I had a hamster named Chum as I loved those books. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that I re-read the first book with a friend, I still have an old 1970’s era copy and she had a new one, it was fun to compare the illustrations. If you’ve never read the series, I highly recommend it, such a cute story and it’s probably what sparked my thoughts of “what is going through a pet’s mind”.

Did you buy anything from the new releases?  I mentioned I got the boots and I also got the turquoise sweater.  Not so sure about those dots on it, but I did like the preppy vibe.  And I am in LOVE with #67, she is gorgeous and I’m seeing so many awesome photos of her on Instagram that make me like her even more!  I’m anxious to see a review on her where someone quits gushing long enough to really give a good evaluation on her hair before I make the jump.  Plus I’m waiting for Permapanties to disappear…  😉

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Toobs

Are you familiar with Toobs? In case you aren’t, let me enlighten you. Toobs are collections of different themes of plastic figures, made by Safari Ltd. They are the same folks who bring you some of the highly detailed plastic animals and figures you sometimes see in craft stores and toy stores. They are very similar to Schleich (if you are familiar with them), but a little less expensive. Toobs are called such because they are sold in plastic tubes with a theme, and usually contain 8 – 12 figures. I’d seen them around, but really hadn’t paid much attention until a post I saw at AG Design/Craft/Create where she made pet enclosures using them. I thought it was a great idea and kept my eyes open the next few times I was out and about.

toob 1

I did finally come across these sets at my local craft store, they usually run around $10, give or take a buck or two.  They had a nice selection, and I was excited to find the pet set I mentioned.

toob 2
The pet set includes a hamster, mouse, parakeet, goldfish, lizard, hedgehog, turtle, frog, cat, dog, ferret and a rabbit. I thought the detail was very good on all of the items. Not all of them are proportioned for 18 inch dolls, I felt that the hamster, parakeet, turtle and lizard were the best suited though. Here is Marie-Grace with some of the menagerie crawling on her!
toob 3
Here she is with the cat, dog, ferret and rabbit–they are just a bit small, but I suspect they would probably work well with the mini dolls, particularly the cat and the dog.
toob 4

I really hadn’t thought too much about buying another set of these until I came across a couple of sets on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $5.99.  Looking through them, I came across one called “Around the World”, with buildings from several different historical locations.  It included the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Arch of Triumph, Statue of Liberty, Temple of Inscriptions, Pyramids of Giza, Empire State Building, Big Ben, and the Parthenon.  I thought it would be a fun thing to have since some of the girls have personal connections to several of these buildings, plus it would be nice for a school room set up.  At that price I couldn’t pass it up!

toob 5

If you look closely, you can see we have a bit of a problem: ours came with the Leaning Tower of Eiffel, and the poor Statue of Liberty looks as though she has gotten tired of holding that darned torch. Wouldn’t you if you’d been holding it for as long as she has? Either that, or she’s doing yoga moves when no one was looking. Caught ya Lady Liberty!!!! I’m hoping that some hot water will help me get these buildings straightened out.

toob 6

Here is Marie-Grace with the Arch de Triumph, she thought Alya might enjoy it!
toob 7

After purchasing this set, I went to their website–oh my! So many themes in these sets ranging from animals, buildings, even Civil War recreation sets. They also sell bulk bags on the website which would be nice for teaching purposes. There were several sets that I thought would be fun to have. I also saw mentioned somewhere that these are nice for traveling with kids as they aren’t large and they are self contained in the storage containers. Huge plus!

If you haven’t checked them out before, you really should. Safari Ltd.   I’ve seen sets in Pat Catans, Hobby Lobby, Michaels and on Amazon.  Happy looking!