Review of Julie’s Pinball Machine

Yes, it’s the first review of 2020, and I’m very excited to share this one with my readers.  When this item came out, I was very curious about it.  After reading some reviews and seeing more pictures of it, I was very tempted.  Then American Girl ran a 25% off sale…done deal!  I was a bit nervous while I waited for it to come, but once I got it out of the box, the batteries in it and I played it (literally), I was super pleased I decided to take a chance on it.

It’s literally ready to go out of the box, just install batteries and it’s ready to play.  I was very surprised that I didn’t even have to put the legs on it.  It’s a sturdy piece with wood construction for the main part and metal legs.

The fun, funky 70’s vibe theme carries around to the side.  Very cute!  You can see in this picture that the legs have rubberized bottoms too so they won’t scratch surfaces.  You can see the flipper controls here too, one on either side.

The controls and the money “slot”–except no money required here.  Hit the red button and it’s ready to play, pull the plunger and release that ball!

The underside holds the battery compartment, the speaker for the sounds and an on/off switch to prevent accidentally turning it on and running down the batteries.  Here you can see the solid construction too.

I tried to get a couple of shots so you can see it lit up as it works.

Mimi is enjoying it too!

“I’m trying to beat the high score!!”  (Yes, it does keep track!)

I give this piece an A++++!  It’s well thought out, well made and has amazing playtime appeal.  I found myself having a hard time stopping, and I’m finding I’m just as bad at doll sized pinball as I was at human sized pinball.  Oh well.  This is just one of a number of items American Girl has recently come out with that are a sign of a renewed commitment to making quality, heirloom pieces that are not only worth the expense, but will hold up in the long run.  Fingers crossed this will continue.  A bit pricey at $150, but I paid $112.50 thanks to the discount.  Yes, you can get other similar items for less, but I don’t know that the construction would be quite as good and I can tell you for certain that those items are all plastic.

Here’s a video I shot so you can hear the sounds and see the lights in action.  It is rather difficult to play one handed though. 😉

 

I Went On An Adventure!

Hey everyone, it’s Mimi again!  I hope you all are well, and those of you in the snow areas are safe and warm.  I’m so glad we are home safe–we went on a little trip earlier and got home before all of this nasty weather hit.

Where did we go???

 

ORLANDO!

Dad had a few days off and mom thought it would be a nice opportunity for a little get away.  I was excited that they were taking me along too!  What did we do?  A couple of things.  But the first stop on our trip was a visit to the American Girl store!  I was so excited to go there and visit with some of my friends.

I was very excited to see Maryellen.  She even had the sofa ready for me. 😉

Checked out the new cabin at camp.  Pretty cool!  Except no one told a few of these girls I was coming, they were still sleeping!

These guys were having a pool party, and I didn’t have my swimsuit, darn!

I was super excited though to meet the new Girl Of The Year, Blaire!  Mom was too, she said this was the earliest she’d been to an AG store after a new release.  We both loved the restaurant, so cute and so many neat accessories.

I had a really nice conversation with Blaire too, she’s really enjoying her time as GOTY.  After talking to her, we looked around a bit more and then it was time to head to our hotel.

What did we get while we were there?  A couple of things!  But you’ll have to wait a few days for me to show you what we got, along with some other items we picked up on the trip.  We had a lot of fun though!  Stop by in a few days and I’ll show you some more of what we did in Florida.

Merry Christmas to me! (A minor splurge…)

I think by now most of you know that Kit is my homegirl.  I don’t know why, but I think it’s primarily because the time period she grew up in is the same one my mom did.  And it’s not just the stories I love, but all of the cool things that they’ve made over the years for her as well.  I’ve got more of Kit’s collection than any other doll, and I’m hoping to keep adding to it with some of the things I missed out on as well as (hopefully) new items they come out with.

One of those things I missed out on was her laundry set.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at it on Ebay and almost went ahead and bought it.  But the price was a bit more than I felt like spending, and seriously, how much would I actually use it.  A few weeks before Christmas I decided to do a bit of looking.  That’s always a dangerous thing, but this time it actually worked out.  I found an auction that wasn’t ridiculous, kept an eye on it–and no one bid against me!!!

Just look at it, whooo hoo!  It is missing the smaller pieces–a box of laundry soap, a laundry basket, apron and two little towels, but for the price I got it for, I don’t even care.  $55 and that included the shipping to my house!  I can make two little towels and an apron, I’m sure I can find a cute wicker basket at some point and as far as the laundry soap–I’m going to be honest, that isn’t all that historically accurate.  Yes, laundry soap existed, but it was more of a luxury item during the depression.  I remember my mom talking about taking a bar of Fels Naptha or other similar kind of soap and having to grate it into the water.  And if you were really struggling, chances are you were making your own soap out of grease drippings saved from dinner!  (In case you are curious about making your own soap from scraps, go here: https://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2008/10/if-youre-saying-to-yourself-ivory-i.html)  Something tells me that the Kittredge’s were probably making their own soap.  So I don’t care if I ever have the box.  I’ll make a little bar of soap out of clay.

Let’s see some close ups!!!

First the drying rack:

This little piece is pretty awesome, it folds down for storage just like a real one would.  I was surprised to see that it was made out of plastic though, for some reason I thought these items were made out of wood.  I remember having one of these in our basement for years.  My mother-in-law had one too.  (and now I’m suddenly wondering where that went to when we cleaned out their house…)

Next up–the ironing board and iron.

These are both cute pieces.  Again, plastic instead of wood.  And they didn’t make it so it folds up, that would have really impressed the heck out of me!  But it’s very cute and sturdy, much more so than the one I got with my modern day laundry set from Our Generation.  The iron is nice as well, it is metal and plastic and actually has some weight to it.

And now…the piece you’ve all been waiting for!  The washer!!!

Okay, so maybe YOU weren’t waiting for this, but let me tell you folks, this is what sold this set for me.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m going to confess something here that might shock some of you, but it’s the honest to god’s truth, and if you don’t believe me, I’ll have my nephew Matt come on here and post confirmation (he loved helping me do laundry with it, strange kid).  Evil Twin can even vouch for it too.  Up until about 1996, this was the kind of washing machine I used!!  Yep!  I inherited my mom’s and used it until it couldn’t be used anymore, the wringer would no longer lock into place which made it very unsafe to use.  I finally broke down and bought a conventional top loading washing machine at that point, but we turned the old wringer style washer into the drain tub for it, so it still had a life well beyond 1996.  In fact, it was still in the house until 2010 when we sold it and had someone come remove it from the basement!

This replica is really well done, the wringers even turn if you crank the handle.  Better yet, the wringers are made out of a similar type material as what the real ones would have been.  However, at least with these ones, I don’t have to worry about accidentally running a hand through it!  (Yes, I did that one time, didn’t break anything, but it did hurt!  Thank heavens for the safety on them that popped at a certain point.)

On the bottom back side of the washer is a lever.  I wasn’t real sure what this was about until I moved it.  It makes the agitator spin!  And if you move it back and forth, the agitator goes back and forth, just like a real washer!

Overall, I’m really happy with my Ebay find!  The pieces I did get are in fantastic condition, the listing said it was from an adult owned collection.  I do find it odd that it was missing the smaller pieces if that was the case, but who knows.  It even had the original box but not the Styrofoam insert.  Not a problem, I wouldn’t be taking it apart to store it anyhow.

The bigger question is what am I going to do with it?!?!  I don’t usually buy doll stuff with no real purpose or storyline in mind, but this time I was willing to make an exception.  I suppose I could do a post with modern day Kit and her friends trying to figure out how to use it.  (If you’ve ever seen those videos where they show modern day kids trying to use items from the past, you know what I’m talking about. 😉 )  If it wasn’t so big, I’d be tempted to build a permanent type display for it, a vintage laundry room.  Just not sure where I could put it!  Regardless, I’m still glad I managed to get one at a decent price.