Tag Archives: Barbie

Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse

Today’s post is about something near and dear to my heart: a dollhouse. I love dollhouses. Ever since I began collecting dolls I’ve been buying plastic house play sets, which are great. I can set them up, do some photo shoots, and put them away. I never thought of buying a large dollhouse for my fashion dolls–until I saw the house of my dreams. The Imaginarium City Studio dollhouse, from Toys R Us, was beckoning to me. It was on display in the dollhouse section, furnished, and placed behind glass to protect it from grabby hands. When Ghouliette and I first saw it, Ghouliette said to me, “Monster High dolls would fit in that!”  I stood there and admired it for a while, but decided buying it would  be impractical. But from time to time I would walk past the display so I could stare at it.


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Finally, I broke down. Because it was so cool. And because my sister was right, Monster high dolls could fit in it. Unlike the often flimsy plastic play sets, this was a large, sturdy house. Barbie could also fit in it.  With fancy photo shoots in mind, I gave in to temptation and bought the house. And I love it!

The City Studio dollhouse is a heavy wooden dollhouse that has four rooms and an outdoor patio. It comes with 11 pieces of 1/6 scale furniture. (the fridge in the kitchen did not come with the house.) An elevator runs along the left side of the house. The high ceilings make it perfect for 11.5″ – 12″ fashion dolls such as Barbie and Momoko. Even Blythe and her big head can fit in here comfortably!

The design is clean and bright, with lots of color, clever details, and some neat “views” of the cityscape out of the windows.  My favorite detail is the hardwood flooring and area rugs in the living room and bedroom.

The house comes unassembled, with clear step-by-step diagrams. I had no trouble understanding the diagrams, but it did take me three hours to put this house together, mostly because the pieces are very heavy. One side of the house has heavy wooden walls, while the other side of the house is supported by thin wood and plastic poles for the elevator. Because of the uneven weight distribution, shifting the house from side to side during assembly a little difficult. The one complaint I have about this house is that two of the three drill holes on the elevator side do not line up with the corresponding drill holes on the wall side. I had to leave them undrilled because lifting the floor up to the holes put the floor at quite an angle. I left them undrilled, and I have to say the house is still very strong and sturdy.

Are you ready for the house tour? Let’s start on the first floor. The furniture you see in each room comes with the house.


The Kitchen    The City Studio kitchen takes up most of the first floor. It contains this asymmetrical dining room table and two diner stools.  The table has a built-in (i.e., painted on) cooktop that’s flush with the table surface. Like Penny has in the Bg Bang Theory! As you can see, glaring pink is the main theme here. I love doll kitchens, and the counter. refrigerator, oven and sink that are painted on are adorable. Nicely done, with highlighting “shine” on the chrome sink and fridge. But I like doll kitchen furniture more than anything. The nice thing about this house is there is plenty of room to add other pieces of 1/6 scale furniture, such as the Barbie refrigerator seen in the first picture of the house. Personally I don’t like the table in here; it’s weird. I’m going to put my Re-Ment dining table and china hutch in here. Because what’s more fun than decorating a house? Redecorating a house until it suits your tastes! Next up:


The Bathroom   There’s more bright pink in the bathroom, which is just off the kitchen. What can I say about the bathroom? The tub is cool… I don’t see myself using the toilet in photo shoots. Personally I’d rather have a separate dining room or a den in the house than a bathroom.  The lime green floor mat is a nice touch. Now let’s move on to the second floor.


The Living Room   This is my favorite room in the house. The living room takes up the entire second floor. It comes with the retro-inspired furniture here. The couch comes with one long cushion and two throw pillows.I have to admit the furniture in this room is what caught my eye when I saw the house displayed in Toys R Us. I’m a fool for retro stuff!

In the left hand corner of the photo is a ballet bar. It’s perfect for all the Made To Move Barbies out there! Flex and stretch! Reach!

The wall details include two floor-to-ceiling picture windows, a cozy fireplace, and built-in bookshelves. There’s a cut-out window behind the sofa.


This room will be excellent for staging photos of parties and special events. There’s plenty of room to add more furniture in here.  Now let’s move to the top floor.


The Bedroom   I like how the house carries the pink/blue/lime green color scheme from room to room. The modern platform bed comes with fabric and pillows that match the ones on the living room couch. It came unassembled but the pieces slot together easily. In this photo the “wicker” chair in the back almost looks three-dimensional, but it’s painted on the wall. Beyond the doorway on the right is the outdoor patio.


The Patio   The patio is pretty simple, a little small, with a chunky wooden fence. The outside wall detail continues up the entire side of the house from bottom to top. I added the Barbie Grill. Because it’s summer time, and Barbie and her friends can grill some hot dogs and burgers out here.

Like I said earlier, redecorating a dollhouse is more fun than setting it up. I’ve added some Barbie furniture in here, so Barbie and her friends can relax.


One sister is doing homework, and one sister is playing games. Guess which is which?


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Mandy loves to gossip. Francesca is stunned!


Ronnie and Francesca catch up over a cup of coffee.


I love when a dollhouse comes alive. I give the Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse two thumbs up for being a chic yet cozy place where friends can get together.

Do you have any dollhouses you’re fond of? What is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!


More Fun With Fake Food!

Yup, it’s time once again for our recurring theme: Fun With Fake Food.  Because Ghouliette and I cannot stop buying dolls and playsets that come with little plastic food.  Or stoves. Or kitchens. Today’s edition of Fun With Fake Food comes to you courtesy of Mattel and Barbie.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Wal-Mart’s toy aisle and I spotted this in the sea of pink and red that is the Barbie aisle:


Barbie: Cake Baker? Oh, Mattel, you had me at Cake. The irony here is that, when I bought this, I had just put a Moxie Girlz Baker doll back on the shelf because I didn’t want to “waste money” on dolls that week. I was feeling like a responsible adult (which doesn’t happen often), and then I spied Barbie. What did I do? I grabbed the Barbie Cake Baker, of course…aaaaand…went back and picked up the Moxie Girlz Baker, too. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

So let’s take a look. It’s not a full playset, but a doll with extras, which I love. Let’s call it a mini-playset. Barbie Cake Baker comes with a Barbie doll, an antique-inspired gas-top oven and attached counter, and a large four-tiered cake that separates into four single cakes. The cake sign attached to the oven suggests Barbie is working in a shop rather than a home kitchen. I love the little gas burners on the stovetop.


Barbie is dressed in a cute polka-dot top and pink capris, and high heels. The apron is stitched onto the capris and does not have a tie-back in the back. Barbie wears a hard plastic chef’s hat (removable) and holds a piping bag for icing cakes. You gotta hand it to Mattel on how well  they handle the details.

But there’s more–this oven set is full of surprises…


The drawer opens and closes. But that’s not all: The oven door opens and closes, too, and each time you open the oven door…


The batter in the pan goes from raw…


…to done! The oven rack and pan flip over each time the oven door is opened. Adorable, yes?!

The cake is a really neat feature. It’s four smaller cakes and two rings of outer piping that stack on top of each other. Barbie can serve one enormous cake, or four smaller ones.



I like Barbie’s outfit in this playset. It’s adorable, and a huge step up from the outfit she wears in another kitchen playset I bought from Mattel. Remember the harsh words I had for the flimsy and unimaginative dress Barbie wears in the From Stovetop to Tabletop playset? Big improvement this time, Mattel!




I’m very pleased with this doll and accessories. Mainly because I can never have enough toy ovens and cakes. But everything here is bright, appealing and nicely detailed. I loved playing with this and taking pictures. I have a lot more fun planned with this set for the holidays.

Barbie Cake Baker retails at a reasonable price for a doll and accessories. I paid $19.97 at Wal-Mart.


Until next time!






Hello Barbie my old friend

Last week I did something I haven’t done in years. Decades, actually. I bought a Barbie doll. Now that I think of it, I probably didn’t buy the last Barbie doll I owned myself, since I was barely into the double-digits, age-wise, at the time. It was probably my mom or my favorite aunt who bought it for me.


This Barbie wasn’t a sudden impulse; it was an idea that came about gradually.  While checking out the doll aisles at my local retailers, I usually scan the Monster High, Disney Princess, Lalaloopsy and Kawaii Crush sections.  Then I began to take a closer look at the Barbie shelves.  I’m an adult who buys toys, so I’m already past the point of no return; why am I ignoring Barbie, one of my oldest friends? Whenever I think back on my childhood and the toys I loved the most, Barbie (and her clothes, and her accessories, and her domiciles) springs instantly to mind. So I began to browse the Barbie aisles, when a certain playset caught my eye. Today’s post is a review of Mattel’s Stovetop To Tabletop playset for Barbie. This is an adorable kitchen counter/stovetop/sink that comes with a Barbie doll and many pieces that simulate kitchen tools. Let’s start with Barbie herself:


The doll:  I like this doll. Barbie’s appearance has changed so many times over the years, and there are so many face molds out there simultaneously now, but Stovetop Barbie has a friendly looking face that reminds me of the Barbies I had when I was a kid. She wears a lot of eye makeup, but apart from that, not too much elswehere. Her hair is soft and shiny and satisfying to brush, and ends in a pretty curl—just as a Barbie doll’s hair should be! The plastic has a different feel from that used for the dolls in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but what surprised me the most was that her legs are ball-jointed rather than the old-style clickable bending knees. As I said, it’s been a while since I’ve owned a Barbie.

Barbie’s dress, to be honest, didn’t score many points with me. The dress is, well, kind of meh. It’s like Mattel just phoned it in. I think I was too dazzled by the awesomeness of the kitchen equipment to notice it at first, but it’s not nicely made at all, and it’s a little on the skimpy side. I like the polka dots, but closer examination reveals that the dress is like a polka dot apron on top of a halter dress but it’s all one piece, held together at the neck and back by very thin ribbon. And when I say one piece, it’s really a bandeau top and skirt held together by the apron on top. Barbie’s not wearing a lot of fabric here! The dress is so short it flips up a little and exposes a rough and uneven hem. It’s hard to pose her in a seated position while…uh…maintaining a ladylike demeanor. For better or for worse, it gave me an excuse to buy more Barbie clothes, such as the chef/waitress uniform pack.


The playset: I have a little thing for kitchen playsets. Or restaurant-themed playsets. Anything with little plastic food or cookware. I don’t know what the appeal is, because I do have an actual kitchen, so it’s not like I’m living out some kind of fantasy through toys… But I digress.  The Stovetop To Tabletop is made out of (mostly) sturdy plastic. The legs are a smidge uneven and wobble a little bit when I touch it but it stands on its own perfectly fine.  My one quibble is with the tall barstool-type kitchen chair. The bottom section keeps popping out of the orange seat piece. It pops back in easily enough but eventually it pops out again.  The legs on the chair are extremely thin and light and seem like they barely manage to hold the weight of the doll without buckling. I would have liked to see the chair made a little bit thicker and stronger.

The stovetop/counter and sink areas are nicely detailed. I love the fancy silver faucet and sink! The oven opens and closes and the oven rack inside slides forward just like a real oven. The microwave over the stovetop spins around to reveal a built-in TV so Barbie doesn’t get bored while waiting for dinner to cook. (She can sit on her chair, as long as it doesn’t buckle under her own weight.) The Barbie head silhouette piece on the top is the handle.



The attention to detail with the small pieces is excellent. The food and cooking utensils are basic but quite clever. There’s a skillet, a dutch oven with a lid that comes off, a “fresh baked’ pie, a large soda bottle, 2 plates, 2 cups, 2 yogurt containers, a measuring cup, spatula and spoons and forks (there are no knives). I admit I had a lot of fun playing with these while I was taking pictures.


The graphics on the toy are bright and cheerful and show items found in a kitchen such as a blender, glass storage containers and food in the small fridge in the front and in the oven.

Barbie Stovetop To Tabletop retails for anywhere between the $25-$27 mark. I bought it on sale for $22.00. As of the date I’m writing this post, Mattel.com has slashed the price from $26.99 to $16.19.

I predict a lot more fun with fake food in my future.


Barbie’s sparkly chef’s jacket left a lot of excess glitter on her denim capris–and on mine.