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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Jemma’s Christmas Dress

Here’s a dress I’d been mentally planning for a while ago, pretty much as soon as I saw this fabric on etsy. I think because it reminded me of Josefina’s gold holiday gown, I decided I wanted to make another gold holiday gown. It took a while to track down just the right gold trim and ribbon and then decide on the pattern.

I wound up going with Josefina’s holiday gown pattern, in fact. Yes, this means I have two Regency gold and black holiday gowns but you know what? I don’t care. They’re pretty. And I think the details will make them look distinct enough –I’ll definitely get a photo of them together once I’ve got Josefina changed.

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I had to experiment a bit to get the ribbons on the puff sleeves but I’m happy with the result. I’m also glad I added the ribbon around the wrists and the ribbon around the waist at the end on a whim. Otherwise the gown felt a little too bottom heavy, but anything around the neckline would have been too cumbersome I think. The fabric is so busy it really doesn’t want too much.

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This was the first time I’ve done a lace trim like this that needed to be handsewn on and it actually wasn’t as big a pain as I’d expected. I sewed the main stem of each piece first with a new thread each time (in case one gets tugged off, so I won’t have to redo the whole thing), then went back and sewed each frond on. Sounds like a lot! But it was pleasant hadnwork I did in the mornings while playing with my son.

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This is neither here nor there, but I wish I could un-read Jane Austen books sometimes and then read them for the first time. I need to just discover more Regency-era books but… I’m afraid of disappointment…

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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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. 

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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Caroline’s Bib Front Gown

I’m continuing to work through the historic stash of fabric in an effort to get Caroline some more clothing –she’s one of my girls who is lagging a bit in the wardrobe department. I’m weirdly picky about which Regency patterns I sew with, and I’m not sure why; I probably just need to get over it. Maybe it’s that a lot of Regency stuff looks more like little girl nightgowns to me? But there are some beautiful patterns out there, and this Thimbles & Acorn Bib-front Gown is one of them!

With the actual bib-front, this dress is more complicated than it initially looked to me, and I did several new sewing things for the first time! I always consider that a successful project, even if in these pictures I can see a thread that needs to be snipped and it’s driving me crazy.

I got more practice in with buttons, which is always nice. I used a brown lining instead of automatically white to make the gown feel a little more… mature? wintery? I don’t know. I just liked the brown. In the pictures, the doll always has a white band underneath that button band, so I’d expected the pattern to include that. I don’t think I missed it, so maybe the doll in the pictures was wearing under garments? Sort of misleading. I need to get Caroline’s chemise on her!

Those frog buttons were a new sewing challenge this time, and the actual making of the not was pretty enjoyable! You set the stage and then tighten everything and it pulls through, which is really gratifying. However, I made actual bias strips this time, and that was not fun. Usually I cheat and use ribbon but I wanted to commit this time. This pattern calls for three long bias strips. We’re talking some serious sewing patience here! But I just worked on them while watching Gravity Falls with my husban and they turned out just fine!

Those keyhole sleeves were also new, and surprisingly easy. I do wish I’d tightened them a little bit more but uh well. I’m also not totally thrilled with my stitches hand-finishing the arm band. I think I might actually prefer just a top stitch to the floating stitches. Still cute. Here you can also see that actually the front of the skirt is rather loose and just ties tight in the back. It’s a very elaborate and sweet pattern that I will absolutely be using again!

 

Merry Christmas from the family

In chronological, meandering order with some modern girl bookends:

Tinuviel, Evelyn, Delaney, Kaya, Rosie, Felicity, Vivienne, Caroline, Josefina, Ellen, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Nellie, Rebecca, Kit, Molly, Emily, Nina, Maryellen, Melody, Ivy, Kanani, Flora, Lenore on the right, and Margo on the left!

I wasn’t going to do a full family photo, especially because I’m about to get a new girl (yikes) and because I’ve hit the point where full family photos feel… I don’t know, sort of braggy? Or they at least leave me feeling a little bit overwhelmed with how big my collection has gotten I think 20 dolls was the point to me where I went holy cow, I’ve got a lot of dolls. As you’ll see, I’ve made some changes, tucked some dolls away (sorry, Peter!) There will always be dolls I love and want, but I think after I get the new goty, new dolls are going to have to wait for a good long while. I am very, very fortunate to have added so many girls to my family and yes, I’ve been collecting for a long time (I got Samantha 21 years ago!) I think I’m at a good point to sit back and enjoy all the beautiful girls I have!

Photographing this year was pretty difficult as it’s been raining all week so what little light I usually have was even worse than usual, and my phone camera was doing a poor job.

And of course one of my trusty sidekicks helped oversee the photoshoot, made sure everyone was looking where they were supposed to, stitched up any wardrobe malfunctions…

Preparation… yowsa.