Newberry Café Set

I’ve seen several different sets by Newberry on various blogs I follow, and I have to admit I was a bit envious.  Newberry doll items were only available in Canada.  But that changed recently, and Kmart has now started selling them in the US, YAY!  While in a nearby Kmart, I found this set:

And out of the box:

You do have to be very careful taking the menu board out as it’s holding the parts for the table in place, but it will come out so you can reuse it.

You get a nice apron, I just wish it didn’t say Newberry on it.  I’ll have to fix that!

Four coffee cups.  They are a little bit big, but not horrible.

A tall table which has to be assembled.  I’m tempted to find a dowel rod the same diameter and cut it down and paint it so I can use this as a normal height table as well.

A cake stand.  LOVE this piece as it’s the right size for most all of my gorgeous cakes I’ve picked up on Etsy!

Six cupcakes, a little bit big also, but not completely unbelievable.

French bread!

And these enormous donuts!  Not sure what they were thinking there, but the girls have decided to start a new trend.  Remember those giant chocolate chip cookies you used to buy at the mall all decorated for special occasions?  Well, we are selling birthday donuts!

The coffee machine and cash register both make sounds when you press the buttons.  Very cool, and I like the cups that came with the coffee machine.

The case is nice, but one thing I didn’t like is that they have a zillion holes punched in the shelves.  They used those to hook all the items in place for packaging.  I’m hoping I still have some of that fun cupcake design paper that I can cover them with.  If not, a solid color or basic pattern will work too.  Two shelves you can see from the front but there is also ample storage on the bottom for additional items such as boxes, bags, extra pastries.

Overall, I think this is an awesome set and will go great in my bakery set up.  A fantastic set for anyone who perhaps wanted Grace’s Bakery, but didn’t want to spend $500.  I paid $40 for this set, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you can frequently get it online now for less.  I give this set a B+, and only because of the weird sized accessories.

“Can I help you ma’am?  The cupcakes are delicious!”

Wait a second…who is that?  Stay tuned! 😉

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…  😉

The $1.25 Experiment

I’ve mentioned in the past that I regularly check Ebay for doll stuff.  I’ve picked up a few bargains here and there, and for a time, some of the crazier listings provided me with some fun photos for my “Bad Ebay” posts.  Over the past year though, I’ve noticed a marked change in Ebay listings for 18 inch doll items, and not necessarily for the better.  Not only has the number of auctions dropped significantly, but there has been an influx of stuff that comes up when you search “American Girl” that is coming out of China.  Much of it at almost ridiculously low prices.

I’ve also noticed that most of this stuff seems to come up first thing in the morning when I am checking.  I’m assuming it has something to do with the time difference between here and there.  As the day progresses, it doesn’t seem to be as prevalent, but it’s still there.  It is annoying though when you just want to search for stuff while drinking your morning coffee.  I get tired of weeding through junk to find a good deal.  However, one morning, my curiosity got the best of me.  One of the auctions was for a doll sized backpack.  And it had a minimum bid of $1.25 with no bidders, and free shipping as well.  I decided to give it a try and see what happened.  Worst case scenario was I never received the item and I’d be out $1.25.  Or I’d get it months later, or even perhaps receive it, but it would be poorly made and not worth the time it took to open the package.  Well, it arrived, and here are the results!

First off, my package arrived in 16 days!  I was very surprised as it arrived before the earliest date that it said I would receive it.  So far so good.  It was packed in a heavy duty envelope that took a bit of work to get open.  Backpack was also in a cellophane bag within that bag too, so it was nice and clean.  Once the backpack was removed from that, I examined it closely.  I was surprised and impressed!  I’ve purchased doll sized backpacks from name brand companies that aren’t as nice as this one.

The stitching was straight and nicely done, and it seemed to be well made. There are some strings that need trimming, but overall it is a nice piece.

A pic of the back and straps:

The final test was if it actually fit a doll and correctly. I grabbed Ryan for this because not only does it look more like a boys backpack, but with his short hair, you’d be able to see better how it fit.

As you can see from those photos, it fit just fine! I would say this $1.25 was well spent and the experiment was a success.

Now, I do want to warn everyone to take this review with a grain of salt. There are some truly crap items being sold out on Ebay by Chinese sellers. I lucked out, but I did a little bit of homework too by checking the sellers feedback. This seller did have some negative feedback, but for the most part, it was not for any of the doll clothing items they sold and the majority of them at the time I checked were over items not received. That is always going to be a risk when you purchase items from out of the country, particularly items drop shipped from China. Would I buy from this seller again? Probably, as long as it was something I liked. Again though, I would proceed with caution and not get a lot of money tied up in anything just to be on the safe side. But for me, it was a fun test just to see what I would get for my $1.25. I’ve wasted that much money on a candy bar, and at least this didn’t have any calories! 😉