Happy (Belated) Birthday, Samantha!

Ok, yes, I missed Samantha’s birthday. I’m so buy lately it’s hard to keep up with the blog –I’m actually behind on posting even sewing pictures! But this is supposed to be a no-stress space so I’m not too worried about it.

Still, I couldn’t let an excuse to post some pictures of Sam pass me by. I received Sam for my 7th birthday, my very first American Girl doll! She was a faithful companion in my younger years, but then as a teenager I made a terrible mistake and got her head switched because her hair had become a rat’s nest! Well, I didn’t know any better. Now I’ve been really tempted to get a BeForever Samantha since my Sam’s head isn’t her original head anyway, and just replace the body (because her body is so stained and squishy and that feels like my childhood!) Or, who knows, have TWO Sam’s? Is that crazy?? Well, it’s not currently in the budget, so moot at this point, haha.

Anyway, I’ve blogged about Sam so much so here are just some pictures. Happy birthday, old girl.




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.


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.


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.



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.

Nellie’s new blues 

I purchased the Simplicity 1179 Keeper Dolly Duds pattern a while ago but had been waiting for just the right fabric to make Rebecca some clothing. I still haven’t quite found it, but I did decide this blue was perfect for a new dress for Nellie! Two more fat quarters I got for $1 each!I’ll be honest, I get a little confused sometimes trying to distinguish what would work for Samantha/Nellie but not Rebecca. It’s easier to see what things work for Rebecca but not for the earlier girls. But I figure I’ll just keep doing the best I can and if a little historical fudging happens, it happens.

Anyway, for the actual outfit: it turned out way cuter than I expected at any step in the process! The pattern was easy to follow, though I really hate using the tissue patterns. There’s a lot of steps, but none too complicated, and really the longest part was sewing on all those tiny buttons! I finished this thing in two evenings, but had to go hunt for just the right buttons. There are 4 on the placket, 4 on the sleeves, 4 on the kerchief thing, 1 on the cincher, and 2 on the belt. SO MANY BUTTONS!

I also sewed the skirt and used velcro instead of doing buttons of snaps up the back, simply for personal preference on this particular outfit (ok, and maybe a little laziness…) Now that I’ve done it, I like it enough I think I may keep trying to find fabric to make one for Rebecca, and I will definitely be sewing the other outfits that came in this pattern. Too cute!

We also had our first real snow of the year (this is pretty late for Boston…) Here’s Nellie looking wistfully out the window, trying not to notice the dead fly on the windowsill (grrrrr) or think about her arm that’s falling off. Nellie is also getting a limb tightening for Christmas, ha. Poor thing! She’s in good company with Kit and Ellen, who both need some leg work.

School Photos 2016

My apartment has TERRIBLE lighting. You’ll have noticed almost all my doll photos are taken in the same place, which is actually in the entryway against a wall where we sort of get a little light in the late morning. If it’s sunny. And the actual lights in the apartment are harsh and yellow. So I decided to investigate a lightbox kit and it turns out they aren’t so expensive! $30 for a box, several colored backdrops, and two lights! And what better way to start familiarizing myself with it than doing class photos? I’ve been meaning to more standardize my “Crew” page for a while.


It’s been several years since I’ve done individual portraits of all the dolls. I’ve done a group shot more recently, but there’s been turnover since then. For a number of reasons though, the group isn’t likely to expand any time soon (it’s highly likely I’ll be bringing GOTY 2017 home but that’s about it). We’re trying to save up for a house! Also, taking these pictures really cemented with me how HUGE my collection is. My collection has grown VERY rapidly in the past few years, and I think it’ll be good to just enjoy what I’ve got for a while. (Yes, I have said this all before. But I mean it this time! More importantly, I want a house!!)


Anyway, on to the photos. Some of the girls definitely presented a challenge. Clothing had a big impact on how the dolls photographed; I discovered this when I changed Ellen’s and Ivy’s clothing and found the lighting worked much better for them. Some dolls gave me a perfect photo from shot one, while others I’d take a dozen and finally just have to settle.


You’ll also notice breaking news. Elizabeth is gone; I spent my whole vacation thinking she just wasn’t right. Instead she’s now Pippa, my English Regency girl! And the modern girls who weren’t SUPPOSED to stay have names and let’s face it aren’t going anyway.

Now without further ado (and then off to redo the crew page!)

I also decorated the dollhouse for Halloween… I’ve put most dollhouse work on hold just because space is at such a premium right now since all the girls have to fit. My dollhouse is a big part of my real house daydreams, when I’ll be able to expand and the girls will all have a lot more room! But recent dollhouse questions made me realize I hadn’t photographed it in a while either, so here’s where it is right now… pretty crowded!


Of course Kaya, not pictured, is on her shelf where she gets all the elbow room she wants.

My one regret with these pictures is that I decided to use my phone instead of my big camera. I thought “well, my phone photos usually look great, and they’re plenty for a blog.” However especially the group photo wound up pretty grainy when you start reformatting. Uh well. Next time. Maybe Christmas? We’ll see!

And thus concludes the doll portraits! All in a day’s (ok 2 days) work! Now to reorganize the crew page. Gotta love organized formatting!!!

New Years’ Eve Spa Day

Today kicked off what I thought would be a multi-day process of washing and changing all my dolls! Instead I did it in one afternoon, and even started in on some of the project dolls, although I didn’t get very far before we needed to prepare for company coming over. I took the opportunity though to take stock of everyone’s condition so I can be thinking about what to tackle next. Below are spa day report cards for everyone!

Kirsten – Washed and changed. Has a purple mark on arm and sometime soon I will probably want to wet and curl her hair, though it curled up pretty nicely even after being in braids for two months. Eventually her eyebrows may want darkening.

Kit – Washed and changed, and got rid of some spots on legs with Magic Eraser. All four limbs need restringing.

Felicity – Washed and changed. Hair washed and conditioned and is so much softer now!

Kanani – Washed and changed, hair washed and conditioned and recurled. She’s drying with her curls pinned right now, but is otherwise in great shape.


Ellen – Washed and changed and cleaned off some spots with Magic Eraser. She has quite a bit of work needed: eyelids need painting, lips could use a touch-up, still a few spots remaining, and her legs are pretty loose.

Kaya – Washed and changed. Perfect condition otherwise!

Ivy – Washed and changed. Perfect otherwise!

Rebecca – Changed, since she’s brand new. Perfect condition.


Samantha – Washed and changed, some spots removed on legs and I did a little bit of work on the staining on her legs from her black tights but it didn’t seem to do much. Her legs are a little bit loose but not too bad. Her body is pretty stained if I ever get around to washing bodies.

Nellie – Washed and changed. She has pretty loose legs too, and her legs are also stained by the same frigging tights. I have three different black tights I put them in though and I’m not sure which pair did it! I’m 99% sure it’s the one that came with Samantha’s new Holiday dress. 😦

Molly – Washed and changed. Great condition!

Emily – Washed and changed. Perfect condition!

Delaney – Washed and changed. Perfect condition!

Tinuviel – Washed and changed. Perfect condition!

Josefina – Washed and changed. Legs are slightly loose but not bad.

Addy – Washed and changed. Perfect condition!


Vivienne – Washed and changed. Perfect condition!

Peter – Washed and changed. Discovered his right hand has some subtle pink nailpolish in the nail beds. Peter came from a board member via eBay several years ago, and I’m sort of surprised she’d have let that slip, but then I didn’t notice for 3 years either so… I’m going to experiment with eye swapping and painting with a project doll and if I like it, I’d like to paint his eyes.

Cordelia & Evelyn – Neither one got washed or changed because neither girl has a nightgown. Oops! Probably doing a JoAnn’s run tomorrow to remedy.

As you can see, quite the ordeal! I mainly used baking soda and warm water for washing, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on tough spots. I don’t think it’s quite the miracle worker people on the board said it was, but it did successfully remove a lot of spots baking soda didn’t, so I’m glad to have it.



All of that took at least four hours, maybe another half hour on top of that –I didn’t do a good job of keeping count. But I wasn’t quite done, so I started a little on the project dolls, but I’ll get to them more tomorrow!