Julie, Ivy, and Annabel Take a Hike

Another fun summer trip I will now post pictures of while I shiver in this wintery apartment. We took a family outing just to this park area that has a little lake people swim in. Ivy and Julie brought along their picnic stuff to make a real outing of it, too! Addy, Kirsten, Jemma, and Caroline have been to this place and really sold the new girls on it.

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Annabel came to. This was back before I was quite sure what I’d do with Miss Annabel, whether I could handle having two Samanthas in my collection. This outing is basically what sealed her fate, securing her as a permanent modern girl.IMG_3319IMG_3326

This tank top is another one I made this summer. I think I made 2 or 3. I love the coordinated but contrasting fabrics. I’m so tired of wearing coats already and I miss it being so easy to throw some clothes on and go outside and be warm in the sunshine!IMG_3328IMG_3343IMG_3345

You can’t tell from the pictures but by this point my toddler was having a meltdown in need of naptime. 🙂 So husband was buckling him into the car while I grabbed a few final shots, including my favorite of the entire trip! IMG_3346

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Annabel

This summer I finally bit the bullet. I have stared longingly at ever BeForever Samantha since she was released. I have a Samantha, my very first doll in fact, but she’s an infuriating blend of “old” and “not actually my childhood doll.” As a teenager, I sent my PC 1994 Samantha to the doll hospital because her hair was a total rat’s nest. She came back with an early Mattel head which has faded over time. So I lack the total attachment to her I ought to have with my childhood doll, but there’s enough attachment there that I haven’t found myself able to just get rid of her! The thought seems beastly. It just seems so unfair to pass her along or stick her in the closet when she’s the doll who started it all, the doll who’s stuck with me all these years, even if its not her true head…

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Yes, I’ve thought about hunting down a 1994 Samantha on eBay. But that would still leave me with the question of what to do with this Samantha. I’ve debated this back and forth for like two years by this point, and this summer saw someone getting rid of their BeForever Samantha at a steal. So I brought her home and figured I’d decide what to do with her once I had her in hand. Maybe the old doll would get rewigged as a different girl and this girl would become Samantha. Maybe having the new girl would awaken an appreciation in me for the old. Maybe I’d love the new one so much I could retire the old one to the closet until I decided what to do.

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the nostalgic collector in me won out. After a couple months of continuing to debate, and trading their clothes, and trying to force myself to make a call… everyone stays. Old Samantha maintains her reign as old Samantha. BeForever Samantha just looks too shiny and modern next to my old Nellie doll. She and Nellie were… a bit stiff with each other, to be honest.

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But BeForever Samantha can’t go either! She’s one of the dolls I most like to just stare at. She’s so pretty. She actually instills a strong childhood nostalgia in me, perhaps because as a little girl I switched my Samantha back and forth in time with ease. So I decided to make her a sort of representative of my childhood after all. I briefly thought about actually making her a 90s doll and dressing her in only the clothing I remember seeing in the American Girl catalog as a kid… but let’s be honest, the 90s were not a prime time for fashion. While I would kind of love a quirky, spunky 90s doll, this doll felt to dainty and pretty to be forced into that roll.

So instead… she’s just a sort of stand-in for young me. She likes the things I liked as a child –writing, gymnastics, reading Animorphs, etc. I dress her in whatever the hell I want. Personality-wise, she’s creative and bossy and out-going like I was.And she makes me happy to look at, like some little innocent, uncomplicated part of my childhood got preserved through this doll who didn’t actually live it, unlike my beat up old Samantha who shows her stains and scars, haha.

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And she’s named Annabel, not only because I would have found a haunted doll fascinating as a kid, but because my mom always called me Jessica Annabel when I was being goofy, even though my middle name is only Anne and I go by Jessa now.

More Random Sewing Photos

Time for more snapshots of things I’ve sewn in the last 6 months!

A dirndl for Delaney:

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A 1920s dress for Odette. Ok and this was actually exciting because it’s the first time I’ve drafted my own pattern completely from scratch. I based it on a fashion plate and cut out paper towels and did a trial dress and everything. I should find the photos I took in progress and post those…  Anyway, it’s hard to tell from the photos, but it has a T-shape bodice that goes all the way to the hem and then the skirt is gathered around it.

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A 1950s shirtwaist dress for Maryellen… can’t remember if I’ve posted his before or not… Here she is when she and Sorah went home to Texas with me in July!IMG_2838

Is this new? I don’t remember… Parisa wearing a new blue dress when she went to the zoo with us. We really had a busy summer!IMG_2593

Ava wearing a pretty lace and flower dress I made this summer. Here she’s actually at the Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland. I took her with us only to discover they don’t allow strollers… so I had to carry her around in my arms the entire time. Oops!IMG_2414

A batik vest for Kestrel!IMG_1758

A fun summery skirt set for Kanani: IMG_2642

A pretty green dress for Jemma:

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A funky patriotic swimsuit… This is Nina wearing it… Nina with her old hair!7035FBD1-1311-45CA-B904-8DE3CDC776D7

Eirlys’s pretty green kirtle. I want to make her a peach or coral gown to wear over it.FDD14F62-98FE-403D-AA26-47D7BA286528

Kestrel in her bright blue dress: IMG_4983

Whew, ok. That was a lot and we still aren’t through everything. 🙂 Although without blogging, a lot of the things I’ve made have gone unphotographed. Criminal!

Nanea’s Homecoming

Here’s another thing I didn’t get to blog about when it happened, which is a shame because it’s one of the most fun thins that’s happened since I started collecting AG as an adult. Nanea was made available early to Rewards members (I can’t remember if it was Berry and Gold or what) and I saw online that someone had been told on the phone that the dolls were actually available in stores. I called to confirm but CS wasn’t sure, so I decided to risk it. I drove to AG during my lunch break and found out it was true! I was able to bring Nanea home with me that very day, and wound up being one of the very first people on instagram to have her. Which meant when I started posting pictures, I was flooded with comparison requests, which I was happy to oblige.IMG_3552

I took dozens of photos of Nanea in Molly’s, Emily’s, and Kit’s clothing. It was really hot out, being early August, and I remember sweating from so many wardrobe changes. Poor Nanea must have been exhausted! I made one of these compilations for Kit’s clothing too but can’t find it. :/ IMG_3570

Even my son had fun taking her for a ride on his scooter.

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I was so inspired I sewed her another dress right away.IMG_3592IMG_3595

We went to Wingersheek Beach a few weeks later and Nanea came along. It’s certainly MUCH colder than the beach she’s used to, but she still had tons of fun! So much fun in fact that we lost Molly’s glasses. 😦 Someone picked them up before I could retrace my steps quickly enough. But it was beautiful despite that.IMG_3703IMG_3723IMG_3725IMG_3782IMG_3786

I read her books immediately and really loved her character. My husband lived in Hawaii for a summer during college and has been dying to take me there for a visit ever since then –I think Hawaii has become a sort of “golden time” for him. He’s been super enthusiastic about Nanea too! This was the most I’d enjoyed getting a new doll in a long time. It almost felt like being a little kid again and getting just the doll you wanted for Christmas! I think getting to join in all the early discovery of her just gave me so much of an excuse to play with like I did as a kid. And she’s SO stinking cute, so there’s that too.

All the excitement tuckered us out and… ok, I did have her sleeping on my nightstand for a little bit… even in bed with me… here’s a photo my husband snapped one night. Oops. 😀

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An October Hike

That’s right, I’m posting this in nearly December. Maybe it even will be December! And yet these photos were taken back in October, on a cozy fall Sunday afternoon when me and my toddler son and a bag full of dolls ventured to the Middlesex Fells for some dolly photos.

First, Layla. I got this 62 last winter and have been unable to find quite who she is… but I think she’s sticking this time.  I don’t know much about her yet other than that she’s at least part Egyptian and she loves theater and singing and wants to be an actress. Oh and also that she’s really pretty and she and Parisa are friends but also sort of competitive with each other. Layla isn’t as aware of it as Parisa. (Also the gold dress she’s wearing is one I made this fall.)

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Sorah came along. I continue to bounce her back and forth between her original wig and this long Beautifully Custom one. I like her with long hair but it’s so long and heavy that it’s hard to do anything with, so she just changes for fun. Her little forest animal dress is also newly sewn.IMG_5002

Berna Bea came along. The latest in her life is that she went from being a 1940s Beatrix to a modern Bernadette Beatrix. She’s still from the South, still loves working on car engines with her dad, still wants to be an engineer or an inventor but also is starting to explore more hobbies like dance. She still goes by Bea sometimes, or Berna, or Berna Bea.IMG_5010

This new girl may not be permanent. Her name is Olivia and she’s pretty and she lives in the anime world of Attack on Titan, so she’s not actually modern but still hangs out with these girls a lot.

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Akane also came along. Her name used to be Margo, yep, but I wanted her to have a Japanese name too, and then found myself calling her by her Japanese name more. So while technically her name is Margo Akane _____ (none of my modern girls have last names), she goes by Akane these days. Maybe it’s a phase, who knows. 😉 Also she’s over wanting to be a travel food TV show host and now she wants to be a detective.

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I was about to say “well at least Ava hasn’t changed” but then I realized that Ava may have been a new edition this summer and if I didn’t post about our trip to DC (which was sort of her debut) then she may be new to the blog.

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It was a lot of fun taking the photos although we got worn out before I could do any group shots, which is a shame. And by “we” I really mean my son, who was really the life of this trip.

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Ok, I KNOW the photo below looks like he’s about to straight up murder Olivia, but I’m 99% sure he was actually trying to comb her hair. He really likes doll hair.IMG_5024IMG_5025

For some reason he’s decided that lying on the ground next to dolls is what you’re supposed to do and I have like 5 photos on different days of him posing like this.IMG_5028IMG_5034

In the next shot, he’s the one who decided Ava needed the puppies next to her, and he spent a great deal of time getting them carefully arranged.IMG_5072IMG_5056

Anyway, fun day! Although the real cherry on top was when we were leaving. We walked past an older man and his two dogs who sniffed around us. This fun exchange happened:

Man: He likes to play with dolls?
Me: *thinking he said dogs but it’s true either way* Oh, yeah!
Man: You should get him some guns.
Me: Uh…. goodbye.

Where’s the eye-rolling emoji when you need it.

Downtown Girls

I’ve been smuggling dolls. Ok, less menacing than that sounds. I work in downtown Boston, and since work has been consuming my life this… year… I decided to make my days in the office a bit more productive. By sneaking a doll to work with me in my backpack, and then taking a lunchtime stroll to photograph them in some of the amazing downtown locations.

On Caroline’s birthday, I took her downtown to take her photos by the big ships, only to find the big ships were out to sea. Still, we found a small ship.

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You’ll also notice the lighting was a disaster. It was pretty cold. I was afraid she’d go for a swim. But it was actually a nice little break during my workday. So I decided to take Melody another time… only to find the light was also terrible for her. Plus it was bitterly cold and windy. And her new dress got wrinkled in my backpack. 😦

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But in between those two disappointing times, I took Felicity and we went to visit my favorite graveyard, Copps Hill Burying Ground in the North End. It’s on a high hill overlooking the ocean and is one of the oldest (maybe even the oldest? I don’t remember) cemetery in Boston.

The results were pretty beautiful.

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Right??? Probably the prettiest photos I’ve taken all year. So now I frequently take dolls into the city, just in case I can take a break from work, though it’ll be more challenging as it gets colder and colder. Also sometimes I’m just too busy. Addy went to work with me five times and I still never got a break to take her photo.

Sorry, Addy!

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Kirsten’s Pinafore Dress

I have long wanted to sew this pattern by KeeperDollyDuds. I just love the look of her patterns and my little Kirsten has such a fledgling wardrobe because her retired outfits are just TOO expensive. Now I know I went for very bold colors with this, making it a rather expensive dress and pinafore for a frontier family, but it couldn’t be helped. Consider it my gift to you, Kirsten Larsen.

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Clearly needs to be ironed and I was too lazy. Let’s not talk about it IMG_5146IMG_5169

I also wish I’d taken a couple photos of it with the pinafore off so you could better see the sleeve ruffles and pretty fabric. But I wish a lot of things and it doesn’t make a difference and I don’t have it handy to take more now. Someday I’m sure more photos will be posted of it. 🙂 I’ll sneak it into another unrelated post, how about.

Anyway, love this pattern. I already have actually another pinafore made, a sort of khaki material that I had originally intended to go with this dress, but then I didn’t really like the look of it with the black and blue fabric. So I made a red one and set the khaki aside, and am now on the lookout for just the right material to make Kristen another of these. Someday her wardrobe is going to be so big she’s going to need a frontier friend!