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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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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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. 

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.

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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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.