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. 

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Just Plain Me

So… what’s going on with me. Why so few posts? It’s a fair question.

First, my relationship with AG has soured. The decreasing quality has bothered me for some time, particularly (but not only) in conjunction with rising prices. Queen’s Treasure, Etsy, even Our Generation can give me better quality and prices. Add in the perma-panties, and I find there’s less and less to interest me at the store. They company is headed in a direction I don’t have interest in following. They appear to me to be panicking and throwing everything at the wall to see who will stick, and seeing as how their revenue is declining, I think it’s safe to say this is not working as a business strategy for them.

Then, dolls in general. Am I done with them? Absolutely not! In fact, I love them just as much as ever. But this spring has been so stressful for me in so many ways that I just haven’t gotten as much time as before. My family is bursting at the seams in our apartment, so I recently had to pack away the bottom room of my dollhouse so I can store sewing stuff there (our dining room also functions as my office, my sewing room, and my husband’s office). This was really depressing for me, because it feels like I have to make the choice to put some of my hobbies on hold until the time when we can afford a house and I’ll have the space to actually set up. We’re saving for a house, but are probably still about a year away, depending on whether we remain in Boston or not.

I’m also in general just trying to get out more. Between hearing loss and having a kid, I’ve found my social life shrinking more and more. It dawned on me recently that not only do I buy dolls when I’m stressed, I buy them when I’m lonely, too. While I think dolls are a great comfort and even coping mechanic for really stressful times, dolls can’t replace sunshine and friends for me, and I don’t want to go into that spiral. So, when also up against space and money constraints, it just means I’m trying to find the right place for them in my life.

And finally, my kid is SUCH a toddler. He is perfect and I love him but trying to take care of him, keep up the house, repair my marriage, and deal with some health problems (I’m on day 3 of a migraine; so cool!), dolls fall lower on the totem poll.

But like I said, they aren’t going anyway. And while I’ve been sewing less, I am still sewing! It’s just another hobby that’s stressing me out a little because we have no space. When you have to pull everything out to sew and the put everything away afterwards, it cuts down on the impulse sewing.

But here, take a look at some of the odds and ends I’ve been sewing lately, also so this post isn’t just a whiny life update! There are a few things not pictured too… a velvet gold dress for one. Can’t remember what else… it’ll all show up in photos eventually though! But let’s say these add 6 things to the Make 25 in 2017 challenge hurray! Plus 4 flower crowns (one shown below), that’s 10 new things! Wheee!

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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The Great Sweater Challenge

February is fast approaching, in which I dress all my girls in their cozy winter gear. I know I’m a little short, with so many dolly additions last year, so I’ve been trying to focus on making some (ok, and failing, because I’m mostly just distracted by whatever shiny fabric is first within reach). I’m also needing to quickly sew through some of my bulkier fabric, which includes a pile of old clothes I’m wanting to turn into doll clothes.

First up was this grey sweater I got from H&M about eight years ago. I tried it on for a good measure, and it’s just not flattering at all. So my first and most obvious thing to make was just a grey sweater for the dolls, using Liberty Jane’s repurposed sweater pattern. It was super easy aside from the general annoyance of sewing with floppy knits.

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It fits better when it’s not over a puffy-sleeved dress, ha, but you get the idea. I’ll have a better picture of it soon when someone’s wearing it next month.

I still had quite a bit of sweater though so then I got more creative.

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Not too bad. And I cleared out a wadded up sweater from my fabric pile so hurray! I look forward to getting creative with some of the other stuff in that pile. It’ll be much easier to sew throughit now that I actually have modern dolls!

And while I’m here, I might as well combine posts and show off the dress Margo is wearing under the sweater, which I also just made. I had an Amazon gift card from Christmas and used it to buy a bunch of patterns. I started with Simplicity 2296 just because that’s where inspiration struck first.

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I’m glad I got to use some more fat quarters, and I’m not so displeased with this that I won’t use the patterns in this one again. Things fit a little boxy and big. The dress actually ends before Margo’s knees so it’s not as long as it looks, and it’s growing on me a bit, but I don’t love it. I suspect the other things will also turn out a bit more childish than I usually dress my dolls. May be best for when I’m sewing for my kids’ dolls, since the patterns are at least easy to follow and make, and don’t require a great deal of fabric.

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The AG Kitchen Has Arrived!

This year, my big gift to my dolls thanks to my Christmas bonus was the adorable AG kitchen! I grabbed it with a 20% off coupon since the price tag still scares me, even knowing it comes with tons of stuff. I knew it was backordered but jumped at the chance to use that coupon, and on the very last day of December it arrived, 2 weeks ahead of schedule!

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Now, this is the first thing I’ve bought knowing it’ll have to sit in storage until we buy a house. In the past, I’ve avoided doing that, because why buy things I can’t enjoy yet? But now seeing how much Caroline’s parlor is going for on eBay, and knowing that the other big ticket items will be the same, I decided to make an exception for this one. The other option is to redo the kitchen in the dollhouse, which I might also do for a while, and store some of the stuff in there (like Kit’s cookstove). Either way, I’m out of room for my stuff. Boy, we’d sure like a house! But that’s why these aren’t the best quality photos, just enough to show everything off.

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Still, it was fun to unbox and open the dozens of little plastic bags with tiny kitchen items. I’m a sucker for tiny kitchen items. And truthfully, I hadn’t really looked at exactly what it came with, so I was delighted to discover it comes with a chair (kind of odd but ok) and even more little foods than I knew. Pieces of the kitchen are sturdy metal, like the pot rack and the butter knife. It looks like the mixer can actually spin. And there are a plethora of cabinets and drawers.

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There are some weird pieces about it too though. For instance, the scale is ALL over the place. The half-gallon of milk is tiny in scale for the 9-year-old dolls. The sink can fit almost a hand. The measuring cups are teeny tiny, particularly compared to the measuring spoons, and mine don’t have a ring attaching them even though they’ve got the hole for it. The recipes have to fit diagonally in the recipe box, and the box doesn’t close with them in it. That’s pretty low quality for the cost of this set.

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The set comes with more spice jar labels than spice jars, which I find really obnoxious because you have to pick your favorite spices, and not all of them are things you would really keep in those giant jars. Odd choices. Like, why mustard but not thyme? Garlic? Very strange. The jars also aren’t enough to really fill out the spice rack, but the salt and pepper grinders (which actually turn!) and vegetable oil are too big to fit.

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Our dogs are absolutely part of our family, but I would never teach them to ring a bell when they wanted more food. They’d ring it all the time! Although they sort of do this when their water bowl is empty; we hear their tags clinking against the metal bowl and know to refill. Anyway, I think this part is cute, though it would annoy me if I didn’t have any of the pets.

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I think when I set this set up for real someday, I’ll put spices in those jars so they aren’t just empty. And while I’m pointing out a lot of annoyances, in general I do really like the set. The butcherblock countertop is beautiful, and I love the design of the whole thing. I love that there’s a little pull out garbage can and need to make a tiny trash bag for it. I love that the bread slices fit in the toaster and can go shooting up out of it. The modern girls will be very happy with this part of their apartment when I get it set up someday. If I was a little girl, I’d lose my mind over this set; I came close to it even as an adult.

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Worth the full price? Hm… I don’t know, but I tend to be pretty unhappy with AG’s prices anyway (even though I keep buying). And yet I prioritize and buy, and I’m glad to have this! With all those little pieces, it’ll definitely be crazy on eBay.

 

 

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.

Happy birthday, Margo!

Modern dolls are new to my collection, and in a way they get the short stick. My historical dolls tend to have really elaborate (sometimes even written!) stories, all sorts of detail figured out about who they are. The modern girls, not so much. I haven’t wanted to force myself to over-define them when really I just enjoy learning bits and pieces about them over time.

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For instance, I thought Margo was the oldest, but she’s actually the youngest of three -she’s got an older brother and sister. I thought she was super into science, but actually I think she likes ice skating and I don’t know what else! I’m thinking maybe she’s a writer and into theater, but I can’t say for sure yet.

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Margo’s father is Japanese and her mother is European-ancestry American. They lived in Japan until Margo was about five and then moved to Boston. Sometimes she’s frustrated because she doesn’t feel Japanese enough or American enough, but like she’s somewhere in between. Her siblings are both quite a bit older than her.

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Margo likes ice skating but doesn’t think she’d want to make a career out of it. She also plays volleyball and is part of her school’s drama club. She loves calling the shots and being right in the middle of things, but then hits her limit and wants nothing more than to curl up with a good book at home. She’s funny and clever and in general pretty even-keeled, but that doesn’t mean she can’t ever get fired up! I don’t think she’s as ambitiously type-A as Lenore; more casually responsible, relaxed but still mindful of the proper way to do things.

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And that’s all I’ve got on Margo so far! Some of that might even change, who knows! But I do know that she’s a gorgeous doll. A Jess in her former life, I lucked out winning this girl on eBay when I didn’t think a buy it now would possibly get accepted. It did! She’s even prettier than I expected. Still a few marks to get off her arms and legs, though I’ve gotten rid of most of it now and cleaned her up rather nicely. You’ll notice I braved taking a doll in public, down to the park around the corner, to take pictures. But the sun was all wrong, it was very cold out, and I had my son, so I couldn’t really get shots set up the way I wanted them. I’d say these are more just for fun, rather than putting that photography degree to any use whatsoever. But to be honest, I weirdly don’t have much interest in exploring much photography with my dolls. Weird.

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Japan has popped up throughout my life, though because my husband is Korean, I’m in general much more drawn to that culture. My uncle’s family live in Japan for a while, and my brother has traveled there several times. When I was a little girl, my mom worked iwth some Japanese men who would come to our house for dinner when they visited the U.S. and I’d learned a bit of Japanese to be able to impress them. They were so impressed they sent me a real Japanese Tamagotchi, haha! I think I spent too much time reading about Japanese atrocities throughout history, and it soured me on the country. My husband is fascinated by Japan though, and he and Margo are helping me relearn all the beautiful things about Japanese culture. Not in a way that erases the bad, but that serves as a reminder that countries and history are complicated.

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The kimono is so pretty I never want to take it off! I’m excited to learn more about Japan with Margo’s help. My husband has been wanting to visit for ages, so we’ll probably go within the next few years. Maybe Margo will get to sneak along!

Happy birthday, Margo! Maybe by this time next year, I’ll know more about you!