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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A Sunday Afternoon Walk

This walk actually took place back in early June, when we had a few hours of sunlight and my husband wanted to take us to a new park he’d found. I wanted to take Kirsten to take her birthday photos but also got a little too excited and wound up taking FOUR dolls. This was the first time I’d ever taken dolls to photograph away somewhere, rather than just to a park or something around my house. At first I was a bit shy but found that the more I photographed, the less I Really cared about the people walking by. It probably helped that my husband and toddler son were with me.

So here are some of the pictures I took. It started to rain towards the end so we had to wrap it up. Also I refused to edit my photos because I have just do not have the time, haha.

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Happy Birthday, Kirsten!

A birthday post on time! Oh man all I’m doing a birthday post ON a birthday and it’s extra incredible because this has been a bonkers week with a super sick kid. The weather has also not been great. But last Sunday we had a few hours of decent weather before it got cold and rainy and, knowing Kirsten’s birthday was coming up, I took Kirsten and Addy out for some photos.

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Kirsten was one of the dolls that got me back into collecting as an adult. I loved pioneers and the Oregon Trail as a kid and my godmother had given me all Kirsten’s books, but I never got the doll, so when I found out they were retired, I ran to eBay to buy Kirsten and Felicity. Of course, since I didn’t do ANY research beforehand, I wound up with two Mattel dolls and just didn’t quite click with them, though sometimes I regret getting rid of my Kirsten. She didn’t look like book Kirsten to me, but she was a pretty doll.

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Did I get rid of this brown dress? I didn’t remember making it and don’t remember seeing it in her clothing box… maybe I put it in the “for kids to play with someday” box? Hm…IMG_9712

Anyway, the hunt was on for the perfect Kirsten and one day she popped up on eBay, a white body Kirsten with the sweetest little face. Unfortunately, she was dirty, had cut hair, and her fingers on one hand had been chewed off… But I bought her anyway, scraped the paint off her face, and eventually hunted down donor arms.

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The wig was a harder fine. I tried several blonde wigs but they all just looked too modern next to Kirsten’s. Finally I took a chance on some Engelpuppen wigs from Germany and the curly banged blond wig was perfect! Makes sense since that company made the original WB wigs. Maybe book Kirsten didn’t have pretty soft curls but I think she’s lovely and am happy with how she’s turned out, even with my kind of terrible face paint refresh.

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Poor Kirsten gets overlooked a lot. Her time period isn’t my favorite to sew for since there isn’t a ton of variety, and her things on the second-hand market are soooo pricy. Someday I do hope to track down pretty much her entire collection, because I just love all the wood and painting of her pieces.

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Ugh, now I’m feeling guilty. Maybe I’ll make another dress for her next. 🙂 I apreciate that she’s such a sweet girl, and I do really like her character in the books a lot too. I even like that simply by existing, Kirsten’s presence in the American Girl line-up helps reiterate that being born in the country is not what makes you an American, and that this country is made up of people born all over the place who found their way here (in both good and bad ways).

So Happy Birthday, Kirsten! I promise to make you a new dress soon.

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Final Doll Group Photos

I don’t mean final ever but good god I am not doing this again until I have a house with a doll room and can make some proper risers and set up my lighting kit and do the whole thing in stages. Also because, to be honest, looking at my collection as a whole makes me both happy and guilty. I have SO MANY dolls, and it feels selfish when we’re saving for a house and have a kid and all that. Doll collecting is such a luxury and I’m grateful for the time and money I’ve been able to put into mine. I try not to let myself feel too guilty.

Ok, more than guilty, I feel tired and lazy. Taking aaaall the dolls out of the dollhouse and getting them aaaaall set up at varying heights and checking aaaaall their hair and skirts and then making sure they’re aaaaaall facing the camera and then putting them aaaaaaall away… it takes forever!  have so little time for this.

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So anyway, here they are:

IMG_1478Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is the most POORLY laid out photo of a doll collection that has ever existed. They are at all sorts of different, weird heights. The photo can’t be cropped so you can see my kid’s toys and dog toys to the side. There’s a shadow cast by me and a shadow cast by the window shade so the girls in the back are 7 miles away and blocked out by the light?

You know what? Too bad. 🙂 This is all I had time for and I’m not redoing it. Do you know what a time-consuming thing it was to even construct this awful photo? My photo teachers from college are turning over in their beds (not their graves! I’m not that old!)

So I was unhappy with the photo but not about to set them all up again to redo it. Instead, I decided a more manageable way to photograph my collection for now was in clusters. Ok, also I’m just a big nerd and I like categorizing things a LOT and I’ve made enough lists just writing out my dolls’ names in the past few weeks to look crazy, so this was an excuse to do something dorky.

Now, don’t be prepared to be amazed just because I decided to do smaller group photos. These photos are still TERRIBLE. But you try photographing a collection of like 34 dolls with a toddler who’s cutting his molars. It is not easy!

First, the fantasy girls: Kestrel, Evelyn, Delaney, Tinuviel, and Eirlys.

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Then the 18th century girls: Kaya, Felicity, Vivienne, and Rosie.IMG_1480

Now the photos get even worse than standing on a blue towel. The 19th century girls: Josefina, Jemima, Caroline, Kirsten, Addy, and Gracie. (First, did you know I was almost named Jemima? I’m disappointed. It’s cute. Second of all: YES, I am trying YET ANOTHER doll for former-Ellen-then-Deirdre-now-Grace.)IMG_1505

What’s that? You miss shadowy pictures? Ok here you go! 20th century girls: Samantha, Nellie, Rebecca, Odette, Kit (whose eyebrows get totally lost), Bea, Emily, Molly (who needs her bangs cut), Maryellen, Nina, Meldy, and Ivy (who refuses to look at the camera). Also my dog Watson’s face because he refused to move away.IMG_1527

And finally, the modern girls. I don’t think i was even trying at this point. It looks like someone sneaking a cell phone picture on a closed movie set. Uh well. Here’s ???, Parisa, Margo, Flora, Leyla, Lenore, Sorah, and Kanani. Top left girl needs a name. Kanani has dark hair since this picture was taken mere days ago. And Margo and Flora have both been contemplating some time travel lately, so we’ll see what happens with them. IMG_1531

Ok, whew. We can all agree those are terrible pictures but there’s the fam and let’s not do this ever again*.

*Ever being until we get our house like I’m dreaming of and I have a dedicated doll room because I’m an overgrown child who refuses to buy a house that doesn’t have enough space for a dedicated doll room. 

Snow for some 19th century girls

OH MY GOSH, this never posted?? I’ll post it in May, fine. Obviously this did not just happen in May.

We got more snow! And despite the fact that my backyard is small and ugly, I still wanted to snap photos of a couple dolls out in it. Kirsten was an obvious choice because this is the first winter I’ve had her snowshoes and ribbons. And Addy made even more sense as well because it’s Black History Month (separate celebration post coming) and taking pictures of this beautiful girl is one of the small ways to celebrate.

So without further commentary, some pretty pictures!

Of course I JUST realized that one of Kirsten’s mittens slipped off. I had my toddler and two puppies out with me so there was a lot going on. But I rarely wear more than on glove (I keep one hand free to do things and just put it in my pocket to keep warm) so maybe Kirsten takes after me. 🙂
I also repainted Kirsten’s and Sam’s lips recently and I think I finally got the color right! Hurray!

Ok bonus pictures of my son and pups.

Happy Birthday, Addy!

What a good post to come back on. Today is Addy’s birthday, which is always super easy to remember since mine’s the day before! Like me, Addy had a quiet birthday this year. It was FINALLY a nice day (mid 60s!!) after this long, cold winter has really been getting my down. So I did put her into the stroller and set out with my son to see if I could find a good place to take pictures. But unfortunately, there just isn’t anywhere decent within walking distance of us in the city-burbs.

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So poor girl only gets a couple pictures on my back deck, and I’ve been so out of it that she doesn’t even have a birthday present. I’m the worst dolly-mom! But considering the kind of spring it’s being, let’s just say it’s impressive I’m even managing to find the time to blog. Yesterday I even did a little sewing! Crazy.

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But about Addy. My mom got this girl for me the first year I was back into collecting as an adult, so she’s Mattel but pre-BeForever. Her books are among my favorite, not just because it’s such an important and tragic part of history, but because I think Addy is one of the best characters. She’s fiercely brave, hard-working, clever, loyal, and kind.

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Despite my love for Addy, I haven’t gotten to do much sewing for her, mainly because she has one of my two favorite American Girl collections (Josefina is the other). Her clothes are amazing! Fantastic color palettes, gorgeous designs. Granted, a rather beautiful and rich wardrobe for a young girl not in the upper class, even if her mother works for a dressmaker. I can barely change her quickly enough to get through all her clothes, and I don’t even have everything (yet ;)!

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So dear Addy, while you are a stable but underserved doll in my collection, someday you will get your own room, more of a wardrobe, probably a Sarah or Hattie. I also promise I am trying to get better at styling your hair. You don’t have difficult hair, I just am really really bad at styling hair.

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Pajama Party

I forgot to post this in January, but that’s the month each year I put my dolls in their PJs. For me, it’s because January is the worst month –the holidays are over, it’s cold and dark and snowy, and I’m always in a slump. This year wasn’t so bad, since my kid kept me hopping, but it still made me warm and snuggly to see everyone looking cozy in their jammies.

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