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.

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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.

Sorah’s Seahorse Dress

People are always posting pictures of such cute dresses with some quirky, adorable fabric, so I’ve been on the hunt. JoAnn’s has not impressed me with the quirk, so I’m going to need to trawl etsy and Spoonflower but this no-spending period of sewing through my stash means it’ll be a while.

BUT I did manage to find this cute seahorse print in fat quarters, and decided to try my hand at making something in the hopes it wouldn’t look too babyish. I debated the pattern for a while, needing something feminine but not toddler. Forever 18 Inches’ Geometry Class Jumper called to me and did not disappoint!

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I didn’t zoom too close in on the details, but the dress has a fully lined bodice, top-stitching along the skirt side and back seams, a wavy stitch along the enclosed hem, hot pink buttons, and blue snap closes in the back. Might as well get practice writing a description, since I actually made two of these! Once has found its way to the “someday etsy shop” stash, which has grown faster than I expected.

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I had expected to use this fabric for Kanani, but she wasn’t very interested in the pastels, and Sorah very much was. I think it’s perfect on her, and even matches her hearing aids! At least for now, they’re pink. I’m thinking I might make them lavender…

Belated Mother’s Day

I was way too busy sewing and spending time with my family (and being sick, lame!) on Mother’s Day to blog about it, but we did a doll thing! I had an interest in going and seeing Z and her new things in person, so off we went for a late lunch in the cafe and a stroll around the store.

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Oh, and also I wanted to get Sorah’s hearing aids! It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to take a doll to the store, since usually I’m chasing after my toddler, but this time that was my husband’s job! So Sorah went with, and Melody came along to keep Sorah company for the scary procedure. Melody seems like the kind of girl who’d be a good friend during a scary time.

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The cafe was lovely. We got the salmon and wound up not liking it, and their espresso machine was broken so no fancy coffee drinks, but it’s hard not to have fun when you make your husband sit at a table with dolls. He’d never eaten at the cafe before and was amused by the whole thing. He chose Sorah to sit next to him and made sure to fill her little cup up with sugar. Just what a little girl needs.

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We shopped around a bit (I grabbed the new Julie outfit for Ivy or a modern girl, a pair of cateye sunglasses that I’m not happy with because the lenses are YELLOW, and the vest from the Mix-n-match set), then it was time. Sorah went off into the back and returned to us a few minutes later with her shiny new hearing aids!

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Afterwards Melody and Sorah grabbed a burger and shake in the Seaside Diner before we headed home. At first Sorah was a little frazzled from the procedure, but the car ride home in the rain soothed her. 🙂

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I love the hearings aids EXCEPT for one thing that’s driving me nuts. The woman pierced them a little too far below the earlobe, so either the earpiece can go in her ear OR the white wire can wrap around her ear, but not both. It’s kind of driving me nuts. The only way the hearing aid fits right is if you pierce it more behind the ear rather than below. I’m debating whether I try to get it replaced or not…

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Besides that though, it’s so fun! We’re going to repaint the hearing aids eventually though I’m not sure what color yet. Maybe purple like mine?

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. 

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!

Some New Girls

All right, despite being pretty quiet on the blog front, our family around here as grown. Largely in part to some doll splurges to stock up ahead of perma-panties. There are still a few dolls I want, but considering how out of space in our home we are, I think there won’t be many changes until we get a house. Notice I didn’t say none. Because every single time I say that, it’s immediately disproven. So let’s just say, not much.

SO let’s do some roll call, and I’ll add too that some of these girls may only have temporary identities or not entirely figured out identities. And I’m trying not to let that stress me out. For dumb reasons, having dolls without permanent identities stresses me out. I don’t know.

First, Sorah got mentioned already, but she’s great. Sorah is sort of a mini-me except that she’s artistic like my mom, Korean like my husband, and hard of hearing like me. She dyes her hair (hello, excuse to constantly change her wig!) which despite my husband pointing out is an Asian stereotype, is not one I’m trying to perpetuate. She’s not the badass quirky Asian girl with the dyed hair. She’s more of a Luna Lovegood sort. A bit spacey, very creative, sort of lives in her own world. She’s an only child, and her parents are equally as spacey and they’re all very happy. Her mom is completely deaf but her dad is hearing and she herself is hard of hearing. I don’t have her hearing aids yet, but my plan is to track down a pair and then my husband is going to help me install magnets in the hearing aids and her head so that she can wear them or not wear them, the way I do. I’m wildly uncomfortable with the permanently installed hearing aids. That’s a nightmare to me. Sorah herself though is permanent in the family!

Bea is next. I have wanted a #58 since she came out. OH MY GOSH, talk about one of the cutest dolls AG has put out. I’ve fawned over other collectors’ pictures and finally got my own. It took about two months out of the hairnet for her hair to finally reach its perfection, and then another month before I could figure out who she was. Finally she spoke: Her name is Bea, she lives in 1942, and she is the oldest in a family of 4. Her father is one of the Tuskegee Airmen, part of the 99th Fighter Squadron who were the first African American fighter pilots to be deployed overseas and see combat. Lots to still learn here. However Bea herself is precious and hard-working and still has lots to tell me about herself. I can’t stand how cute she is. Definitely one of my favorite dolls ever. She will never leave.

Flora is not new, but she’s had a bit of a make over. She’s now an Isabelle with #33 wig. Not that different from #33, but I love her nonetheless, and it freed up an MG mold for another doll I was wanting to use her for without, in my opinion, losing the soul of Flora, who I still adore.

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Now we’re getting into the more complicated girls. Who I will not let stress me out.

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This is Ophelia. You probably remember that this doll used to be Tinuviel. LOL. Now Tinuviel has had a total make over that makes her much more accurate to her story character, but this girl is too gorgeous to let go. So for now, she’s simply a random Medieval/Fantasy character named Ophelia. I’ve considered making her a Regency girl. She might be a good friend for Caroline.

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This and the next girl are still figuring themselves out. I’ve been thinking of makin her an Indian doll but am not certain yet. She’s jumping back and forth between this and the black wig in the next picture. I like the name Gita if she winds up as an Indian girl, but I’ve also thought about taking her a Medieval/Fantasy route since I’ve only got white girls and she’d make a pretty badass one… Time will tell!

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A #62. She strikes me as Egyptian but needs just the right wig. There she’s wearing a nice one, but that may go to #47. As I write this I”m looking at her with #55’s wig, also pretty and growing on me. So no clue, but she’s feeling her way around.

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This is Eirlys, who sometimes goes by the nickname Mishka. She’s from a story I’ve been writing, and is neither Welsh nor Russian, but that’s neither here nor there. Right now, she’s sort of a one-outfit doll. You may also recognize the base doll from another photo where I called her Myfanwy. They are two different characters inhabiting one doll body. Which will stay? Maybe neither! But for now I like looking at her, and she’s a muse for my writing, and so we’ll see what happens with her.

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And finally, Aloy (ay-loy). Dumb name but it grew on me. She’s not totally my creation, but is actually an homage doll to Horizon Zero Dawn, an amazing video game I just beat and loved. She’s not exactly the same. I don’t even know how long she’ll stay Aloy. I’m tempted to make some of her clothing. But the reality is that I impulse bought a few more wigs, and chances are Aloy will not remain herself long after I beat the game, so don’t get too used to her. When the new wigs arrive, I’ll try some on and see if she speaks to me as someone else. I’ve been missing Pippa, but if Ophelia goes Regency, that’s a lot of Regency girls, but then, everyone loves a Regency girl… hm.

Ok… I think that may be everyone for right now! Wowee. And who knows, some will change, and that’s just the way it goes until a doll really settles into herself. What can I say, I’m a restless collector!