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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Annabel

This summer I finally bit the bullet. I have stared longingly at ever BeForever Samantha since she was released. I have a Samantha, my very first doll in fact, but she’s an infuriating blend of “old” and “not actually my childhood doll.” As a teenager, I sent my PC 1994 Samantha to the doll hospital because her hair was a total rat’s nest. She came back with an early Mattel head which has faded over time. So I lack the total attachment to her I ought to have with my childhood doll, but there’s enough attachment there that I haven’t found myself able to just get rid of her! The thought seems beastly. It just seems so unfair to pass her along or stick her in the closet when she’s the doll who started it all, the doll who’s stuck with me all these years, even if its not her true head…

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Yes, I’ve thought about hunting down a 1994 Samantha on eBay. But that would still leave me with the question of what to do with this Samantha. I’ve debated this back and forth for like two years by this point, and this summer saw someone getting rid of their BeForever Samantha at a steal. So I brought her home and figured I’d decide what to do with her once I had her in hand. Maybe the old doll would get rewigged as a different girl and this girl would become Samantha. Maybe having the new girl would awaken an appreciation in me for the old. Maybe I’d love the new one so much I could retire the old one to the closet until I decided what to do.

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the nostalgic collector in me won out. After a couple months of continuing to debate, and trading their clothes, and trying to force myself to make a call… everyone stays. Old Samantha maintains her reign as old Samantha. BeForever Samantha just looks too shiny and modern next to my old Nellie doll. She and Nellie were… a bit stiff with each other, to be honest.

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But BeForever Samantha can’t go either! She’s one of the dolls I most like to just stare at. She’s so pretty. She actually instills a strong childhood nostalgia in me, perhaps because as a little girl I switched my Samantha back and forth in time with ease. So I decided to make her a sort of representative of my childhood after all. I briefly thought about actually making her a 90s doll and dressing her in only the clothing I remember seeing in the American Girl catalog as a kid… but let’s be honest, the 90s were not a prime time for fashion. While I would kind of love a quirky, spunky 90s doll, this doll felt to dainty and pretty to be forced into that roll.

So instead… she’s just a sort of stand-in for young me. She likes the things I liked as a child –writing, gymnastics, reading Animorphs, etc. I dress her in whatever the hell I want. Personality-wise, she’s creative and bossy and out-going like I was.And she makes me happy to look at, like some little innocent, uncomplicated part of my childhood got preserved through this doll who didn’t actually live it, unlike my beat up old Samantha who shows her stains and scars, haha.

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And she’s named Annabel, not only because I would have found a haunted doll fascinating as a kid, but because my mom always called me Jessica Annabel when I was being goofy, even though my middle name is only Anne and I go by Jessa now.

More Random Sewing Photos

Time for more snapshots of things I’ve sewn in the last 6 months!

A dirndl for Delaney:

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A 1920s dress for Odette. Ok and this was actually exciting because it’s the first time I’ve drafted my own pattern completely from scratch. I based it on a fashion plate and cut out paper towels and did a trial dress and everything. I should find the photos I took in progress and post those…  Anyway, it’s hard to tell from the photos, but it has a T-shape bodice that goes all the way to the hem and then the skirt is gathered around it.

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A 1950s shirtwaist dress for Maryellen… can’t remember if I’ve posted his before or not… Here she is when she and Sorah went home to Texas with me in July!IMG_2838

Is this new? I don’t remember… Parisa wearing a new blue dress when she went to the zoo with us. We really had a busy summer!IMG_2593

Ava wearing a pretty lace and flower dress I made this summer. Here she’s actually at the Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland. I took her with us only to discover they don’t allow strollers… so I had to carry her around in my arms the entire time. Oops!IMG_2414

A batik vest for Kestrel!IMG_1758

A fun summery skirt set for Kanani: IMG_2642

A pretty green dress for Jemma:

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A funky patriotic swimsuit… This is Nina wearing it… Nina with her old hair!7035FBD1-1311-45CA-B904-8DE3CDC776D7

Eirlys’s pretty green kirtle. I want to make her a peach or coral gown to wear over it.FDD14F62-98FE-403D-AA26-47D7BA286528

Kestrel in her bright blue dress: IMG_4983

Whew, ok. That was a lot and we still aren’t through everything. 🙂 Although without blogging, a lot of the things I’ve made have gone unphotographed. Criminal!

An October Hike

That’s right, I’m posting this in nearly December. Maybe it even will be December! And yet these photos were taken back in October, on a cozy fall Sunday afternoon when me and my toddler son and a bag full of dolls ventured to the Middlesex Fells for some dolly photos.

First, Layla. I got this 62 last winter and have been unable to find quite who she is… but I think she’s sticking this time.  I don’t know much about her yet other than that she’s at least part Egyptian and she loves theater and singing and wants to be an actress. Oh and also that she’s really pretty and she and Parisa are friends but also sort of competitive with each other. Layla isn’t as aware of it as Parisa. (Also the gold dress she’s wearing is one I made this fall.)

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Sorah came along. I continue to bounce her back and forth between her original wig and this long Beautifully Custom one. I like her with long hair but it’s so long and heavy that it’s hard to do anything with, so she just changes for fun. Her little forest animal dress is also newly sewn.IMG_5002

Berna Bea came along. The latest in her life is that she went from being a 1940s Beatrix to a modern Bernadette Beatrix. She’s still from the South, still loves working on car engines with her dad, still wants to be an engineer or an inventor but also is starting to explore more hobbies like dance. She still goes by Bea sometimes, or Berna, or Berna Bea.IMG_5010

This new girl may not be permanent. Her name is Olivia and she’s pretty and she lives in the anime world of Attack on Titan, so she’s not actually modern but still hangs out with these girls a lot.

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Akane also came along. Her name used to be Margo, yep, but I wanted her to have a Japanese name too, and then found myself calling her by her Japanese name more. So while technically her name is Margo Akane _____ (none of my modern girls have last names), she goes by Akane these days. Maybe it’s a phase, who knows. 😉 Also she’s over wanting to be a travel food TV show host and now she wants to be a detective.

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I was about to say “well at least Ava hasn’t changed” but then I realized that Ava may have been a new edition this summer and if I didn’t post about our trip to DC (which was sort of her debut) then she may be new to the blog.

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It was a lot of fun taking the photos although we got worn out before I could do any group shots, which is a shame. And by “we” I really mean my son, who was really the life of this trip.

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Ok, I KNOW the photo below looks like he’s about to straight up murder Olivia, but I’m 99% sure he was actually trying to comb her hair. He really likes doll hair.IMG_5024IMG_5025

For some reason he’s decided that lying on the ground next to dolls is what you’re supposed to do and I have like 5 photos on different days of him posing like this.IMG_5028IMG_5034

In the next shot, he’s the one who decided Ava needed the puppies next to her, and he spent a great deal of time getting them carefully arranged.IMG_5072IMG_5056

Anyway, fun day! Although the real cherry on top was when we were leaving. We walked past an older man and his two dogs who sniffed around us. This fun exchange happened:

Man: He likes to play with dolls?
Me: *thinking he said dogs but it’s true either way* Oh, yeah!
Man: You should get him some guns.
Me: Uh…. goodbye.

Where’s the eye-rolling emoji when you need it.

Random Sewing

I’m so far behind on sewing blogs that I’m just going to dump in this post a bunch of stuff I’ve made in the past few months! I’ve done a LOT of sewing so this won’t be at all comprehensive, and some stuff will just get its own blog post. But count this as one of probably several miscellaneous sewing blogs posts!

Back in the summer, I grabbed my first Lee & Pearly Pattern, their Bonjour Paris Wardrobe, because I thought the top looked cute. Well, let’s just say, I love every bit of this pattern. It is so easy and fun to sew, and I feel like the results are adorable. I will definitely be making more shorts, shirts, and dresses with this pattern!

Also these photos are so old that Lenore still had her old wig and Kanani was temporarily wearing a brown wig that Kestrel has since snagged.

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It’s been so long since I blogged that I don’t know if I ever posted pictures of the romper above on here. I’ll have to investigate. But I’ll post anyway. I loved how cute the result is, although I really do hate sewing with elastic…

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Finally upcycled that blue satiny dress into a doll dress. Ava temporarily wore Ophelia’s wig (and looked so cute I almost left it…) and got to sport a super easy and cute polka dot dress!

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This was made with an American Girl Simplicity pattern. I have another similar dress to make with that lightweight denim and I love the way it looks except for the neckline. Berna Bea, my Southern girl, looks pretty stinking cute in Southern cutesy couture.

 

Halloween

I did actual Halloween portraits this year! My modern girls have reached critical mass and after I’d decided not to decorate the house for Halloween (we’re just too busy and the house is already so packed that adding decorations stressed me out), I wanted some way to celebrate more. So all the modern girls (including Olivia, who isn’t really modern but hangs out with the modern girls sometimes) got costumes using my Amazon points. 😀

I’ll include names because I think I’ve got some girls who haven’t ever been on the blog before! Or who’ve gotten new wigs or eyes, haha.

Lenore as Snow White:

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Layla as Little Red Riding Hood because she loves Into the Woods:IMG_5263

Annabel as a witch because I went as witches so many Halloweens as a kid:IMG_5283

Sorah as a princess. She thinks it’s baloney princesses never wear pants:IMG_5286

Kanani as Moana, of course:IMG_5287

Ava as a flapper:IMG_5288

Parisa as Wonder Woman:IMG_5419Akane as Ray:IMG_5421

Halloween isn’t really a thing where Olivia lives but she had fun putting together a weird cat sort of costume:IMG_5457

Berna went as one of her idols, Hermione:IMG_5442

Part of what worked was that I took the dolls out in groups for their photos rather than trying to wrangle them all. First Lenore, Layla, and Annabel got to go to the park with me, my husband, and my son.IMG_5492

On a very windy day, Sorah, Ava, and Kanani ventured into the backyard. This was the most frustrating shoot, and I didn’t realize until afterwards that stupid box is in the background. I was not happy, but then it began storming and I couldn’t go out again. :/ IMG_5493

My favorite of all was the trip with Akane, Parisa, Berna Bea, and Olivia. It had been raining all day off and on, so during lunch I packed them up and took them to the bike path hoping the rain would stop. It actually stopped just enough that we could grab these photos beneath the shelter of the trees. Plus the bike path was mostly empty so I could take my time. Except for that umbrella stroller in the background which just happened to be perfect! It then began pouring and we had to hurry home, but it made the colors look so vibrant in these pictures!IMG_5522

Happy Thanksgiving week recap of Halloween, hahah.

Ophelia

I make no promises there will be more blog posts. This has been a difficult year, and now we’re into the holidays, which are always crazy. There’s more to do than there are hours in the day. But I kind of miss blogging. As active as I am on Instagram, I miss finishing a sewing project and making a fuss about taking pictures and writing a blog. Instead I sew and it goes into my clothing tubs as if it never happened.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about sewing. This is Ophelia. She’s a ballerina, obviously, and she has blue hair. She lives in the world of My Hero Academia, which is one of my favorite anime. If you’d told me a year ago I’d watch anime, much less have favorites, I’d have thought you were crazy, but here we are. It’s a silly excuse to have a doll with crazy hair, which is another thing I never thought I’d do. In fact, for no reason at all, I will probably sometimes make Ophelia’s hair different colors, for no reason at all. She’s also finally an excuse to give a doll ballet costumes.

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The lighting isn’t any good in these photos since I was too lazy to get my lighting kit out just for quick backdrop tests. I was playing around with the new backdrop I got to take our family Christmas photos next weekend. It needs ironing and it has more shine than I’d hoped, but I think it’ll work, and it also makes a pretty good dolly backdrop.

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Although Ophelia should not be wearing expensive ballet slippers out in the snow, so there’s that.

Actually, how about I do a really quick review of this ballet outfit, which I’ve wanted since forever? Here we go:

The tutu is incredible. The leotard and tutu are sewn together but it’s all of pretty incredible quality. The velveteen is heavy, the tulle thick, the embroidery just beautiful. The slippers are white, sort of an off-white. I will say, they are infuriating to get on. I would much rather have had actual ties. It’s hard to get all the elastic to go where you want and then not twist. Newer AG ballet slippers are simpler. There’s also a little velvet choker, which is beautiful. Love everything about this outfit EXCEPT no tights?? Cold, bare little ballerina legs is no good. It also feels like there should have been a bun or hairclip for the doll. Maybe a little gold crown? Anyway, despite these things, this is still one of the better quality and most beautiful outfits I think AG has ever made.