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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Happy Birthday, Tinuviel

I recently “came into” (cough*impulsepurchased*cough) some wigs from Beautifully Custom. I’m only now getting into the high-end doll wigs, and I figured I’d buy a few, see if I like them, and if not sell them on eBay. Really I’ve been looking for a good blonde wig for Evelyn, but the platinum wig was the only blond wig they stocked this time and I’m not liking it so that’ll be going on to a new home.

I impulsively bought a red wig as well because I’m a sucker for a good red wig. I had no plans at the time to rewig Tinu. But when it arrived, I realized it’s way more like the color I’ve envisioned for her. On impulse (see a theme here?) I tried it on and viola!

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So here’s the thing. I think she’s actually a less “pretty” doll with this than with her Saige wig.  The auburn color with the hazel eyes was just stunning. But this wig is way more true to her personality, so for now, it’ll stay. I think. I’m still trying to adjust. And it’s SO thick, I need to actually learn how to style doll wigs! img_9938img_9940

I may also curl it because it’s one of those heat-resistant ones that’ll let you straighten and curl. I dunno. For right, I’m just looking at her. I do wish it had a part, is my only thing. I’m not gluing it on yet, letting myself get used to this vs. the Saige wig. Sometimes change is hard. But I’m also feeling pretty pleased that she’s looking more like story Tinu –even the mossy hazel green eyes are finally feeling right!img_9942

But hey, that’s a great segue to: Happy birthday, Tinuviel! This doll is one that’s been in progress for several years. I started writing her story a few years ago, unrelated to doll collecting, and then considered that it would be fun to have a doll version. About that time, Saige launch and so for a time, Saige was Tinuviel.

So pretty! And spunky! But ultimately not right for Tinuviel. So once I started writing Delaney’s story (which crosses with Tinuviel’s and Evelyn’s once they’re adults), I purchased a gorgeous #55 and swapped their wigs. Tinuviel was more pretty than feisty now, but who doesn’t love a pretty doll?

And who knows, I still love her with the Saige wig and maybe I’ll end up back there. But the foxy red, though it makes her look a little older, just really captures that firecracker, strong, outspoken rebelliousness that she had, even as a little girl!

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^Back in her Saige days… such a gorgeous doll. Tinuviel also has a really fun wardrobe. I’ve had a lot of fun making up the fashion rules for her, and a lot of her stuff is sewn from old clothing of mine (like the yellow gown above which was a dress of mine), which means her wardrobe has a bit of fun nostalgia for me too. That yellow dress was one of the first things I ever made and I still love it!

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So happy birthday Tinuviel, whatever your hair color. Thanks for being such a good little muse as I’ve worked on your stories and wardrobe!

 

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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Tinuviel’s Blue Gown

Ok, I may have mentioned I had another fabric shopping spree recently. I’m not posting a pictures of the haul because if I don’t post pictures, it didn’t happen. Needless to say, I am grounded from all doll spending. It’s going to kill me not to buy the exciting new stuff leaking for the BeForever dolls but hey, it’ll be stuff to ask for at my birthday in April. 🙂

Anyway, back in the fall I did some redesigning for how I define fashion for Tinuviel, Evelyn, and Delaney. Which means they each lost a good chunk of their wardrobe as I deemed it no longer accurate. Which means of course they need new clothes! So this fabric order included a lot of velveteens, velours, chiffon, and viole.

Inspired by running my hands over this shimmery blue velour, I got to work and immediately remembered how much I hate sewing with: 1. velvety fabrics, 2. viole and or chiffon, 3. knits. SO I decided to do a gown that included all of the above, obviously, and using a pattern I’ve wanted to doctor before.

I used the Carpatina A-line Medieval dress, which I’ve used before with moderate success. I don’t like how high the neckline is though so I adjusted that myself. I also made up my own sleeves for it because I was inspired, of course, by one of my favorite fantasy dresses of all time, Arwen’s crushed blue velvet dress from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Obviously it’s not an exact replica, more inspired by, but I wanted to doctor the Carpatina pattern to get closer than they were on some things like the sleeve.

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Some of the detail is tough to capture in photo. You can of course see the wavy blue stitching on the sleeves, but the hemline has the same wavy stitching in silver. The trim is all hand sewn on, and that trim is SO SPARKLY and pretty that it was pretty mesmerizing to sew with. I also somehow managed to lose a needle on my couch that I still haven’t been able to find and I’m terrified someone’s going to get stabbed.

The only thing I still don’t like about this pattern and forgot about until too late is the seam inside of the sleeves. Sleeves like this ought to be lined so you don’t have that big ugly seam distracting from it all. I have more fabric to make another version of this and I think I’ll make my own pattern piece in order to do a fully lined version. It’ll save me the hassle of having to hem the sleeve anyway and make it all more billowy to boot!

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I also made a simple headback for her while I was at it. I think my instinct is to overcomplicate outfits sometimes, whereas this gown is partly beautiful because of its simplicity. And also because it’s velvety and sparkly.

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And of course now I, my sewing table, and everything I love are coated in a blue glittery fuzz, because the fabric actually has some glitter in it. What a mess! but I’m generally happy with this turned out and look forward to making a few final tweaks next time.

 

Carpatina Scenes

After buying the American Girl holiday party scene back in November, I am suddenly a huge fan of these backdrops. Kind of makes me regret selling the 2 Scenes & Settings I had, except they were taking up SO much space in my house. The AG cardboard backdrops are small, which means they also fold up smaller. Not as sturdy for play but perfect for backdrops.

I’d also noticed Carpatina released some of their own scenes for 18 dolls, though at a much higher cost. Still, I decided to take the plunge and ordered both of their listings.

The Summer Garden to Forest with grass floor was $40, more than TWICE what the usually-expensive American Girl pays. I was dubious that it could be worth that much… and I’m still not convinced, though I am very glad to have it. The scene is made of extremely heavy cardboard, much thickier and sturdier than the AG one. It also comes with a flimsy but usable piece of rough felty paper to use as a ground, which is a nice addition. My house is all hardwood and carpets which don’t make sense for an outdoor setting.

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I’m also not thrilled with the white tag in the corner. I get they want their branding, but would have been nice if it could have been a bit more subtle. That said, these are so nice, and I like that the details leave them pretty flexible to different dolls. The woods have a Kirsten vibe to me, and the garden could work for a lot but to me feels right for maybe Felicity or Caroline. The chickens make it a little less relevant for like, Samantha.

The Interior and Castle with Floor Scene was even more expensive at $48. The price difference is due to this one coming with a reversible heavy-cardboard floor.

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I do like the floor MUCH better and would have preferred to pay more for the grass to come glue on cardboard. Maybe I’ll even do that myself. The cardboard floor makes it easier to stand the dolls up. And the details of both scenes are just stunning. Exactly what I wanted for my dolls. I think the parlor is sort of my Rococo Rosie’s, and the palace balcony is Tinuviel’s. I really am in love with both of these rooms, and while the garden and forest to me felt very much like painted backgrounds, these feel a little more actual backgrounds –the kind where in close up photos you can’t necessarily tell if it’s real stuff or not.

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So, final score: I love these. They all fold up into one-panel width, and the floors fold in half, so they’re easy to store. They’re durable. I love the way they look. The price is high, especially because I do like the American Girl ones a lot, but I hae no regrets about buying these.

I also recently bought an indoor lighting kid (not just a lightbox) and it’s being used to take these photos on a rainy day. So hurray, my indoor photos are going to be a lot better now!

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.

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.

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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!!)

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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.

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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!

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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!!!