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.

Caroline’s White Floral Dress

Now that Caroline has become her true self, girl needs some clothes. I’ve seen seamstresses make some truly gorgeous stuff for her, and I want me Caroline to have a pretty sweet wardrobe too. So I stocked up on Regency patterns (though Josefina’s Christmas dress is one of my FAVORITE patterns to sew!) and have kept a sharp eye out for fabrics. The first one I saw that I knew I had to have for Miss Caro was this floral sprig print sold by PastCrafts on etsy. I stocked up on a bunch of fabric there and knew exactly what I wanted to do with this one. I believe Caroline has a paper doll dress similar to this.

I searched and debated on the pattern, but ultimately realized that Dollhouse Design’s Georgiana pattern actually included exactly the style I was looking for. So first, I want to just vent again: one of my absolute biggest regrets since I began collecting dolls is that I didn’t buy Dollhouse Design’s Georgiana dress –that purple one. I just happened to see it in her etsy store but I don’t ever spend that much on doll clothes so I passed. The next day I was still thinking about it and went back, but of course it had sold. The snowflake one was there but it wasn’t exactly the one I wanted… another regret! These two dresses taught me that if there’s a dress that is just dear, dear to my heart and I will forever regret it if I don’t get it… I find a way to get it. Doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. 

Anyway, those gowns are so gorgeous that I assumed the pattern would be a beast to follow. Not so at all! The gown is sort of surprisingly complicated for Regency gowns –I always think of them as so simple– but the pattern has very easy to follow directions. Some of the steps are a little out of order from what I’m used to (like you sew the arm band on after you’ve already attached the sleeve to the bodice), and it definitely felt like a project that needs your full attention, but nothing ever felt too overwhelming to figure out.

Did you notice the tucks? I love the way tucks look although I hate sewing them. This dress also has pleats! And yet despite both of those things, I think it turned out exactly how I wanted. The fabric was a dream to sew with; not to sticky or too slick. Of course, I didn’t have the right lace so I had to make a trip to JoAnn’s which led to… well…

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They had a sale and I had coupons and I have no regrets but hot damn I need to sew through my oodles of fabric before I buy ANY more. My fabric collection actually wouldn’t be so bad if I had anywhere to put it all, but instead my desk area just gets harder and harder to keep organized.

Another completely random thought: do all Caroline’s have sort of sunken eyes so it looks like they have eyeliner on or is that just special for mine? Scroll up to the portrait and you’ll be able to see what I mean. I can’t not notice it now when I look at her… I just realized the lighting makes her body look like it has discoloration. Just shadows, oops!

To wrap it up: loved the pattern, loved the fabric, looking forward to using both again!

School Photo Reshoots

Just like in real schools, I found that taking school photos actually helped me solidify some things about my collection. Hurray! You may have noticed there’s been a flurry of wig activity. Marisol became Nina (Antonina Anaya) who is my own 1950s Cuban girl who’s super into science and math and wants to be some sort of engineer or inventor. Caroline shed her Cordelia personality and became her true Caroline self (who I planned to refer to mostly as Caro since I have a cousin Caroline, but I’m not sure it’ll stick…), and I’ve begun reading her books and weirdly enough, I think they’re some of my favorites so far! Did not expect that. This means I have no Cordelia, so all those beautiful dresses I made are just going to have to hang out until I find the real and true and final Cordelia someday.. And finally, Molly got her new wig.

SO without further ado:

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OK, I know I really do need to trim Molly’s bangs a little at least, but I think it’s endearing they’re in her eyes and in the books they were too.

Nina is going to read Maryellen’s books with me and we’ll see if I’m convinced I need the doll to be Nina’s friend. But for now me and Caro are reading the Caroline books. I’m not sure why I’m enjoying them so much. Maybe because Caroline is imperfect but not obnoxious? The war seems exciting and yet strangely small because so far they’re focused specifically on how it’s affecting her village. Her mom is great. Her dad is oddly attractive in the illustrations. Huh.