Welcome Home, Julie!

So I recently got a bee in my bonnet about Julie. I don’t know why. A year or so ago, I’d got a very pretty Julie, experimented a bit, then accidentally sold her and it had haunted me a bit because I felt like a let a good girl go. Julie has always felt a bit too Barbie to me and just really hadn’t appealed to me anyway.

But then what changed? I have no idea! Suddenly I felt the need for Ivy’s friend to join the family. So I sold some doll wigs to get the funds and kept an eye out for just the right Julie because in looking at dozens on eBay I realized I’m very picky about Julie. I prefer pre-BeForever Julie’s meet outfit, and I find that the older Julie’s more commonly have the sort of softer, warmer look I like. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Anyway, I finally found the perfect Julie: $60 + shipping, pristine hair, beautiful face, complete old meet outfit, AND pierced ears. She seemed too good to be true but when she arrived she was even better than I’d hoped. I adore her! She just seems so sweet and snuggle-able. She and Ivy are thrilled to be together and have been discussing how they’re divvying out clothes and planning their someday bedroom.

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Maybe it was Ivy’s movie that made me like Julie more? Maybe it’s talking to my mom more about the 1970s? Or maybe it was just inevitable, the same way my eventually falling for Caroline and Maryellen was inevitable, even though I resisted. Either way, Julie is here now and not going anywhere.

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Ivy’s Paisley Dress

You could probably guess that my American Girl drought included sewing. I wanted to sew. But I’d look at my sewing table and just feel overwhelmed and unfocused and not into it. One thing I’ve had to learn is to not let myself feel guilty about taking a break from hobbies. It ruins the joy. The reality is that I go through hobby phases, and some never come back (fencing, Irish dance, and half marathon running have all faded away) while others are recurring and will come back into bloom if I’m just patient. Reading, writing, sewing, and video games all fall into this category. I can’t seem to do all of them at once. Instead I’ll obsessively do one or two at the expense of the others for a few days or a few weeks, and then the tides change.

Anyway, on my birthday I found myself drawn to my sewing table while my son was napping. I knew I’d been gearing up for it; a couple times in days before I’d sat down and looked at fabric before shrugging and doing something else. But finally I picked up this project for Ivy that I’d half-finished back in early February and found myself completing it. Hurray!

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The pattern is Flossie Potter’s 1970s First Formal Dress. It’s a pretty basic, simple dress that just seemed to call to this fat quarter I had. Overall, easy pattern, but I will say the sleeves threw my a bit. They’re an odd shape, and the sleeves have the really thick cuffs with velcro. It turned out ok, but I might do it differently if/when I use the pattern again. I think they’re a little too puffy…

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I knew the dress needed a belt and at first didn’t really have anything I liked. But then I remembered that the 1970s seemed to be a lot about discovering ways to artfully clash, so I added a yellow ribbon and yellow clogs, and I like the result! Very appropriate for spring, which has finally come to Boston!

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Happy Birthday, Ivy!

My Ivy came home with me as soon as news of her retirement broke. I couldn’t let the only Asian historical get away from me! Despite growing up enamored with the 70s, I initially considered the American Girl 1970s dolls to modern and saturated in pink and purple to really appeal to me. Cutesy, matching flower child stuff seems way more 2000s to me. Give me the avocado green, the orange, the red and yellow.

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But then I bought Ivy and decided that she was just too cute, and I decided to just be selective about what I collect for her. I don’t have Julie and probably never will, though I admit she’s grown on me over the years. But Ivy is my 70s doll and gets her pick of everything that’s released for Julie since her own releases were depressingly paltry.

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I love Ivy’s painted eyes, though of course these are no longer unique to her. I’m honestly not crazy about her hair, which is short and striaght as sticks and styled in a cut a bit too similar to my estranged mother-in-law. I’ve actually long dreamed of rewigging my Ivy, perhaps with a Kaya wig; just having to wait for the right deal! But most of all, I like that my Ivy has a little dark spot on her upper lip a la Marilyn Monroe. I have no clue where it came from but it is actuall a mark, maybe from a pen?, on her vinyl.  I love it. The new Z doll has a similar mark, as does Tenney, but my Ivy started the trend! (You’re welcome, Marilyn.)

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I actually really enjoyed Ivy’s one book as well. I desperately wish she had more and am thrilled that it sounds like she’ll be the lead of her own movie coming out this spring –although that’s an odd choice, if true, considering she’s a retired doll. I probably ought to read Julie’s books even just to enjoy the Ivy bits. Maybe once I read through the AG books I have!img_0298

Ivy’s gone on a couple business trips with me, too! Because her hair isn’t easily destroyed, I’ve packed her away on a couple trips to keep me company in my hotel room. Mainly to California. I’d thought about taking her on my big Asia work trip and didn’t, and since regret it. Next time, Ivy girl!

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For her birthday, Ivy gets the roller skating outfit and skates! I think it’s a decently cute set although it drives me up the wall she doesn’t have a t-shirt to wear under that zippered top!

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I have dreams of a pretty fun wardrobe for Ivy that’s inspired by my mom’s middle school pictures. There’s so much sewing I want to do, and so little time! But when the time does come, I’m so glad I snagged such a cute Ivy.

Family Photo Update!

Well… I don’t yet have an outfit made for Cullen. But everyone else has an outfit and he has a TEMPORARY outfit, so I decided to go ahead and take a family photo today since I was already changing everyone anyway. And because I honestly had no idea how many dolls I had and wanted a count.

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L-R, B to front:Kanani, Kaya, Vivienne, Tinuvial, Delaney, Evelyn, Addy, Kirsten, Cordelia, Felicity, Nellie, Samantha, Josefina, Cullen, Ellen, Peter, Kit, Molly, Emily, Ivy.

Holy smokies. Twenty. I have twenty dolls. And it’s not going to be the end because I still want Rebecca and #58 and who knows what next year will bring at AG. However it WILL be it for me for a while unless I ask for one for Christmas for exciting reasons I’ll talk about in another post. 🙂

In the meantime, i’m having to glean my collection quite a bit and boy is it stressful. I hate selling things. I should just accept I should only ever buy things I *really* want because selling things is the pits.

Summertime Temps

We’re finally having some uncomfortably hot days in Boston, so it was time to get most of the dolls in their bathing suits (and the rest at least into new outfits). No group shot because this was at the end of doll-spa-day and I’m wiped, but here are some candids!

Up above, we have Emily, Molly, Kanani and Ivy hanging out at the beach!

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Kirsten is so happy to have all ten fingers for her fishing trip!

IMG_0370Cordelia & Felicity keeping it cool in their summer linens.

IMG_0378 Felicity, Cordelia, and Vivienne out for a stroll while Kirsten does the actual work to make sure there will be dinner tonight!

IMG_0379Kit and Peter… and Ellen who may not be wearing summer colors but IS wearing shorter sleeves than she usually gets away with! I just realized Meatloaf isn’t with Peter, oops!

IMG_0380 Samantha, Nellie, and Addy having a nice little girls party in Sam’s room.

IMG_0381Ok, I almost can’t handle how much I love Kaya’s new outfit, and Josefina’s summer outfit remains one of my favorite AG has ever made. This shelf is high above my head, hence the sort of weird angle… oops!

Not pictured… Tinuviel, Evelyn, Delaney. OOPS.

Ivy’s Christmas Dress

I have been sewing an ABSURD amount the past few days. Finally using personal and sick days from work (since they’ll expire at the end of the year if I don’t) combined with a weirdly focused crafting bug means in the past 3 days I have plowed through FIVE outfits. FIVE. And since I sew for historic dolls only so far, that’s no mean feat!

Here is the first I’ll show off: Miss Ivy Ling’s Christmas dress! Though I know many use Ivy’s Chinese New Years dress at Christmas, I just can’t find it in myself to shoehorn that in to an incorrect holiday, since Chinese New Year will be in February in 2015.

But I saw this pattern from Eden Ava Couture long before I even got Ivy actually and fell in love. So as soon as I realized Ivy needed a Christmas dress, I went right to it.

My hunt for fabric led me to fabric.com on a late, rainy night. I searched for basically the tackiest Christmas shiny fabric I could find. I also purchased a green woven print with metallic gold stars that I’d thought might work (you may have seen both in earlier pictures) but seeing the plaid in person, I knew it was the one.

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The skirt itself was easy to make though fits VERY snugly on Ivy’s boheiny. I like the waistband in front, elastic in back combination though.

For the top, I was SO glad the pattern suggested sewing the lace pieces to the liner. Doing so made the whole thing much easier to construct, and just from making the sheer sleeves I could understand what a mess it would have been to try to make it separately. It also came out a bit snug. I definitely wasn’t using large seam allowances. Is my Ivy just a bit tubby?

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Conveniently enough, my sewing machine had the hardest time sewing the lace. The tension just got all out of whack, and basically would gather ever seam, which was perfect for making the lace trim at the neckline and wrists.

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Michael’s didn’t have plain black velvet ribbon when I looked, but I like the glittery black ribbon just fine. Ivy still needs a little cameo for her neck, but Michael’s didn’t have quite what I wanted so I decided I’ll wait it out until I find the perfect little one.

In the meantime, Ivy is dressed early for the holidays, and I’m so happy with the result that she’s just going to be decked out a week longer than anyone else because I’m not about to take this off. How great does it look with her hair color?

IMG_9696And also, did I ever mention that my Ivy has a beauty mark? She’s totally going for a Marilyn Monroe look 😉 You can barely see it in the picture above, by her left cheek.

Oops! Welcoming another new girl…

Let me start this by saying I had no plans to do this really. I’ve stated before that I prefer to not buuy my own dolls, so that then I have some special memory linked with them. BUT then American Girl officially announces that an archive is on and I find I can’t help myself…

Last year about this time, Molly and Emily were announced. My husband dutifully drove me to the store and encouraged me to get Emily, since I’ve expressed concerns about her going away so I’d never get her, considering she’s the closest doll to what I look like.

This year, I’d sworn up and down I had no interest in Julie and Ivy. The 1970s is too modern, I said, their accessories are too pink and plastic. The next three dolls at the top of my list are Sorah (#30), Rebecca, and either #26 or #58. And yet NOT getting the only Asian historical doll left me feeling like I was missing out, especially because I strongly prefer Ivy to Julie. Even Ivy’s haircut has grown on me (though not my husband, as it’s identical to his Korean mom’s haircut).

SO I went to the store with a friend, JUST TO LOOK, but of course I came home with Ivy. And though I had sort of planned on it maybe a little, I had also planned on not keeping her 1970s. But then I thought about how hippie my clothes were when I was younger in the late 90s/early 2000s, how my teachers called me flower child, and I realized (with some heavy coercion from my friend) that yes, Ivy probably did need to stay in the 1970s.

First the bad news. Though we carefully checked every doll’s bangs and eyes before settling on my Ivy, it was difficult to check her hair without taking her out of the box. Though I intended to do that before I drove off, we ate lunch, I forgot. Upon arriving home hours later and finally getting to take her out of the box, this is what I found.

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No, the doll is not tilted. Her wig is just that uneven. I spent a few minutes stomping around that I spend $120 on a doll that clearly didn’t even go through the slightest quality assurance. Usually I just accept I have to go back (I had to exchange my Kaya for SUPER wonky eyes) but since I’ll be traveling for work the next two weekends, it’d be a while before I got a chance to go back.

And also, let’s be honest, it’s no fun to have a doll around for several weeks and then take or back OR to buy a brand new doll and then have to tuck her away. So I figured I couldn’t make it worse, grabbed some scissors, and did some trimming.

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Tada! MUCH better. It’s definitely short now, but it was short to begin with. And who knows, I may end up rewigging her anyway! Her hair is SO silky though that I’ll definitely keep it for now.

So, between the difficulty getting non-wonky eyes, the hacked hairjob, and the earring issue (my girl came with the clear spacers, but since I got her accessories I’ve already added the jingles), I can see that Ivy’s a bit of a troubled doll. BUT that’s no excuse for selling apparently very poorly; she is cute as a button. I’ll need to get some better pictures of her soon though!

Anyway, I’m in love. I adore the Jess mold as much as I knew I would and, like many dolls before her (Cecile, MG, Emily, Kaya), I have a sneaking suspicion Ivy will end up being one of my favorites even after I was certain for so long I wanted nothing to do with her.

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