Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Alternate Reality 2020 Joss

Two of my dear friends in doll collecting suggested that, as Joss' collection does not reflect the reality of a pandemic, we could, for fun, design our own Girl of the Year.

The suggestions that my friends came up with were hysterical and also genius.

My Girl of the Year 2020 came from some of the deep frustrations that I am feeling as a person with a big hearing loss living in the middle of the pandemic.

This is not really new for me, I am always frustrated with how hard it is to live with a hearing loss like this.

I decided to share my comments for a Pandemic Joss to help others understand what she would be experiencing right now.

Joss' Pandemic Accessories would include two different sets of face masks and a cell phone. 

The first set of face masks are hand made ones that her mom sewed when they first realized that they needed face masks for the pandemic. 

Then they realized that Joss could not lip read in those face masks, so she and her mom were forced to make a second set of face masks with a clear plastic layer in the middle to help Joss read lips. 

It wouldn't be sufficient for Joss to have one of those face masks. She does not need to read her own lips. They had to make these special face masks for everyone Joss might interact with- family, friends, teachers, coaches, fellow cheerleaders. 

The cell phone is so that Joss can use a transcription app to help understand people. The transcription app a) needs Internet, so it doesn't work if there is a problem with wifi b) doesn't work if the background is loud c) doesn't work if the person is too far away and d) doesn't work if more than one person is talking. It also frequently says things like "cat sounds" or "trombone sounds" even when these sounds do not exist in real life, so Joss laughs a lot at inappropriate moments. 

Joss is left out of family and group gatherings even more than before, so she spends a lot of time on Instagram on her phone while everyone else is talking. Her parents wonder if she is turning into a sulky teenager early, and she feels sad that she is acting this way, but it takes too much energy to connect otherwise. 

Joss spends a lot of time in her backyard now that she can't go to the beach, so her furniture is a set of patio furniture, two Adirondack chairs and a small table.

Joss also has a laptop, which helps her attend school virtually. She cannot wear a pair of headphones, because it might further damage her hearing, so she has to attend school in her bedroom so that the noise won't annoy her parents or brothers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Create Your Own T-shirt

American Girl now has an option to design your own doll T-shirt.

You get a voucher to make a T-shirt when you order a Create Your Own doll.

I was very excited when they added graphics for Joss, which were surf and ASL themed.

I made this T-shirt that has a graphic with the ASL hand sign for "I Love You."

Danielle also wears hearing aids, in addition to Joss in my collection, so she claimed this shirt initially.

I think they will have to share it.

The circle graphic says "Surf Play Love" around the edges.

The shirt is very simply made- the sleeve do not have a separate seam. I assume this makes it easier to print the design on the T-shirt.

I am really pleased with this shirt, but it would have cost $14 plus shipping without the coupon, making it about $20.

Would I pay that for a doll T-shirt?

Probably not, unless I could add a picture of my own guinea pigs or something.

It's a cool service, though, I am glad that they are offering this!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Saturday, July 25, 2020

MCM Sale Report 2020

Today was the Madison Children's Museum Benefit sale.

I have attended this sale in person for several years. This year, it was online.

This sale is an important fundraiser for the museum. It is especially important this year, because according to an article from NPR, one third of museums may not survive the year due financial issues caused by the pandemic.

I know that the whole AG fandom will be very sad if the museum closes and there are no future MCM benefit sales.

I know that they had to make difficult decisions to hold the sale online this year and to not offer in-person pick-up.

They also had to decide not to offer any tickets beyond those sold at the pre-sale.

I was fortunate enough to have bought a ticket in the pre-sale, but many did not, especially as no one knew at that point that the sale would be online. No one knew that there would be a sale at all.

My ticket time was at 12:00 pm.

Unfortunately, everything on my wish list was sold out.

My wish list was as follows: Truly Me 80, Wellie Wisher Kendall, and Jess mold Create Your Own dolls.

I was also interested in the mystery grab bag and the mystery grab bag with mystery doll.

There were many ravishing Jess mold CYOs for sale. I had a long list of ones that I would be happy to buy.

However, only 300 CYOs were available, and they all sold out by 10:30 am, long before my ticket time.

There were very limited Truly Me dolls available when my ticket time came. Many historical dolls, as well as Blaire and Luciana, were still available.

I considered buying Girl of The Year Luciana or Wellie Wisher Willa or the Canadian T-shirt.

However, I tend not to bond well with impulse buys.

When I made a cart with Willa and the Canadian T-shirt, shipping came to $30. When I removed Willa and only had the Canadian T-shirt in my cart, shipping was still $30.

I decided not to buy anything.

I am sorry not to be able to offer financial support to the museum when they need it, but I need to only buy items for my collection that I really want. My collection is large enough already!

I am not too disappointed in how things worked out, although I would have loved to buy some of those Jess mold CYOs.

The museum did the very best that they could to offer a good sale under very difficult circumstances.

I am grateful to them for the hard work they put in.

This is not the first time I walked away from the sale without a new doll, but it is the first time I walked away without any purchase.

I hope to attend the sale next year and be able to find something to bring home with me.

A lot of what I enjoy about the sale is the anticipation, the camaraderie with other AG collectors, and discussing the sale with other collectors. I did get to enjoy that this year.

I hope to see some of my collector friends at the sale next year!

You can read my reports from past years here:

MCM Report 2019

MCM Report 2018

MCM Report 2017

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Explore the Parks Outfit Review

I recently bought the Explore the Parks Outfit from American Girl.

I have been exploring my state parks this summer, as I can do that and still keep a distance from other people.

This outfit is modelled by Mara, who loves exploring parks!

The outfit comes with a T-shirt, scarf, pants and sandals.

The sandals are the worst part. They look cute, but slide off the doll's foot, and are definitely not what I would choose to wear to a park. I substituted hiking boots in these pictures.

AG is selling hiking boots separately, with hiking accessories.

I love the T-shirt! It's why I bought this outfit.

The pants are fine.

The scarf is cute, but I think it looks awkward hanging around the doll neck.

Mara loves headbands, so I put it around her head instead.

This outfit is great, but don't let your doll wear those sandals hiking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Joss and Sophie

I got some really cute pictures of Joss together with her best friend Sophie today.

Jess is standing in for Sophie. ;)

Joss and Jess are such similar names, it is confusing!

I like to think that they are talking their heads off.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

1980s Doll Clothes Patterns

It looks like our next historical doll will be from the 1980s! I have started making a list of patterns for her, but that list is currently very short.

I am not a fan of 80s fashion, really, so I haven't been looking very hard.

On Pixie Faire:

Forever Eighteen Inches 1980s Romantic Heroine

Frog Princess Fashions Holly and Lace Dress

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Special Edition mini Josefina

I was feeling, oh, sort of restricted one day, due to the pandemic and decided to open this special edition mini Josefina.

I had been saving her for a rainy day, and that day had come.

She is super adorable.

I didn't get a picture of this, but I especially love how her hair is done in the back. She has a red ribbon braided into her hair. I may need to try to do this with my full sized Josefina!

I love her, and I love the stand that she comes with. It mimics the stance of the American Girl dolls on their original meet books.

My mini Josefina has a weird flaw. There is a small area of unpigmented plastic on her thumb. I can only see it if I hold it up to the light. I might not have noticed it if I hadn't opened her at night.

I would recommend getting this doll if you have a chance!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Summer days

Hi guys, I took some pictures of a few dolls outside yesterday.
I wanted to share these.
I am also on Instagram, my name there is igsbeth. Feel free to follow me there!

The pandemic has meant for me, among other things, less freedom to take pictures of my dolls and take pictures of them.

I am also going to have much less Internet access than usual for the month of July.

I have a couple of posts pre-scheduled, though.

It may be quiet here, but I will be back when I can!

I may be more active on Instagram for July. It's faster to post a single picture than to do a whole blog post with commentary.

 Nanea and Mele! Nanea's lei was a gift from Inky's Mom!

 Joss and Murph are picking raspberries.

 Addy climbed a tree!
 Close up of Nanea

 Kit is looking for ripe raspberries. If she picks enough, she can make jam!

 Mara climbed a tree!

Another picture of Joss.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

MCM 2020 News

The Madison Children's Museum American Girl Benefit sale will be online only this year.
They will not be selling tickets other than the tickets that were already sold.
All items will be shipped, and shipping may be expensive.

All of a sudden, everyone wants MCM tickets, haha.
Everyone who ever dreamed of going to MCM can now do so, if only they can get one of those golden tickets. It's like Willy Wonka.

I am not sure I am going to participate in the sale this year.
If I do sell my ticket, I have a friend who has already expressed interest.

The reasons I am not sure I will go are:

a) I don't think the online shopping experience will make an interesting blog.
b) I honestly have all the dolls I am interested in.
c) Financial caution
d) Since I live locally, having to pay expensive shipping is going to negate some of the bargains for me.
e) My ticket time is at noon, and I don't want to sit around all day waiting for my entrance time when I could be out doing something.
f) I live with very nosy people, and I don't want them to get all in my business about why I need to go on the Internet at this specific time.

I am most disappointed about not getting to meet with some of my wonderful fandom friends who were planning to go.
That includes the masterminds behind the following blogs: A Peek Into the PantryLa Vie Revee de SabineNorthbound Dolls and American Girl Outsider. It would have been epic!

If you live elsewhere, and MCM is now accessible for you for the first time, I am happy for you! Good luck!

My friend Gwen who blogs at A Peek Into the Pantry pointed out that museums are really struggling with funding right now, so the benefit sale is very important for the Madison's Children Museum.

So if you are shopping, please be kind to those running the sale! They are working hard to provide important funding!

Here is the whole post from their Facebook page:

Friday, June 5, 2020

Lottie Doll Kid Activist Meg

I pre-ordered the Lottie doll Kid Activist Meg, back when she was first released. I think it was November 2018.

I thought she was really cute, and I liked her message. I also really like Lottie doll Mia, and she needed a friend.

Unfortunately, there was a mix-up where she was mailed out and didn't arrive.

The company was really great and re-sent her, but the delay soured my enthusiasm a bit.

She did finally arrive!

Front of Box
Back of Box

Lottie doll Meg comes with a placard that says "Kids Voices Matter," a tiara, and a megaphone.
She wears a green jacket, a yellow T-shirt that also says "Kids Voices Matter," and denim shorts.

Meg is inspired by real-life kid activist Mari Copeny.

I have not put the tiara on her yet, I am afraid of breaking or losing it.

She can really hold the megaphone, but it only works on her left hand. I tried to put in on her right hind at first.

She is really cute!

She looked hot in her jacket, so I took it off.

Meg can stand well on her own.
Mia was the first Lottie doll I got and did not stand well on her own I think this is due to the heels on Mia's wellie boots.

Wildlife Photographer Mia joined her so that they could hold a mini Black Lives Matter protest.

Meg may be a small doll, but she has a big message, and one that is very important at the moment.

I highly recommend her, and would suggest getting her for any child in your life that plays with dolls.

Don't forget that everyone deserves equal rights, and that Black Lives Matter.

You can read my review of Meg's friend, Wildlife Photographer Mia, here.

Meg and Mia are currently my only Lottie dolls, but I am also interested in the Sinead doll. This doll represents a real-life Little Person, Sinead Burke, who works in the fashion industry.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Bedroom Inspiration for Joss

I saw this ad from Joann's with a surfboard headrest and a shark quilt, and I thought it would be perfect for Joss!

There is a link on their website, with directions on how to make the quilt, which could be adapted for doll size.

Link to Website

Friday, May 22, 2020


Here is A Girl For All Time Elinor!

Isn't she beautiful?

It's so much fun how well these dolls can hold things.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020

Edwardian dress for Samantha

I keep coming back to this one pattern. It is Simplicity 1179, designed by Keepers Dolly Duds.

There just are not that many patterns for Samantha, especially ones that comes together easily and well.

I had wanted to make the Thimbles and Acorns A Piece of History Edwadian dress for my little cousin. After the Civil War dress version of the pattern turned  out to be disappointing, I decided not to waste more time on that for right now, even though I had the fabric for the Edwardian dress already cut out.

I also realized that the sash would necessarily be a separate piece, and I did not think this was the best choice for a seven year old. It would be too easy to lose.

Instead, I made Simplicity 1179 and used some of the design elements from the A Piece of History dress.

I am really pleased with it!
It's a very pretty, princessy dress that should warm the heart of any seven year old.

Here is the link to the first dress I made with this pattern. It is even using the same fabrics!

Here is a link to the second dress that I made with this pattern.

 I feel that all three dresses are pretty and unique, and I am happy with them.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pattern Review: Simplicity 8314

This is not the first dress I have made from this pattern, and it will not be the last.

This is the first version of this particular design that I have made.

The pattern comes from Simplicity 8314, which is designed by the ever wonderful Keepers Dolly Duds.

It looks complicated, but it was very simple!

I timed myself and it took me 40 minutes to sew this dress. That does not include the time that it took to cut out the fabric and iron it.

I don't usually time myself, but it was close to bedtime.

The fabrics in these dresses are probably not very authentic to the 1960s. I just wanted to make something for my cousins and use what I had on hand, and not use my more expensive fabrics, either.

I used two different color combinations so that the sisters can tell their dresses apart.

I like the purple one best; my best friend likes the pink one best. Something for everyone!

I was pleased with how cute and easy this dress is.

The other dress that I have made from this pattern was my Wednesday Addams dress.

Sewing doll clothes is such fun for me, and I can't wait to see how my cousins like the dresses!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Joss in the Garden

Joss can't go to the beach, so she is spending lots of time in the garden!

She is hanging out with Murph.

She is also reading a lot! This book is Poems from The Hobbit!

I hope you are finding ways to get outdoor time also!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pattern Review: Keepers Dolly Duds Reefer Coat

I have been intimidated by sewing doll coats for two reasons: fabric choices and button holes.

Coat patterns often list suggested fabrics that I am not familiar with and do not know how to source.

I CAN make button holes, but I am intimidated by making it as the last step in the pattern, on the front of the clothing, when it is so easy to mess it up.

With this coat, I avoided both of these things by making the coat with flannel and making it close with velcro.

I mean, we are all self-isolating, it's forcing us to be more creative with the materials we have on hand.

I am happy with the coat! It looks and feels like a real winter coat.

I made two of this, one for my little cousin and one for me.

This is the Keepers Dolly Duds Reefer Coat.

It was so easy to make! I was surprised. I really like how the pleats for the sleeves are marked on the pattern.

I need to take more pictures. The back of the coat is a sailor collar. I love sailor collars!

The lining of the coat is a sparkly blue and white snowflake fabric. It's totally historically inaccurate, but very cute. It makes me smile, and I think it will make my cousin happy too.

I did not make the coat tie. I didn't feel that it was needed.

I highly recommend this! If you have been hesitating to make doll coats, this is a great pattern to start with!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sunday, May 10, 2020

More Dirndls!

I made three more dirndls, in different color variations, to give to my little cousins.

They are so cute!

I like seeing all three dresses together. It creates a fun look.

I put the pink and green one on Caroline on purpose, because the color scheme reminded me of her work dress. The style is very different of course, but maybe I can use the same fabric to make something close to her work dress. Hmm.

The pattern is of course Keeper Dolly Duds' Spring Dirndl.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Pattern Review: Thimbles and Acorns A Piece of History Dress

I was so excited about the Thimbles and Acorns A Piece of History Dress pattern.

I am a big fan of Thimbles and Acorns. I have always enjoyed her patterns.

And this pattern had so many cool variations!

I wanted to make the Civil War dress for my seven year old cousin, who has an Addy.
I wanted her Addy to have some clothes, but Civil War dress patterns are so complicated, as opposed to the 1960s patterns for her sister's Melody.

I was excited that this pattern seemed to offer a simpler path to making a nice time-appropriate dress.

The dress pattern is all in four pieces- two pieces for the dress and two for the lining. Sleeves and skirts are all part of the same piece.

There are drawstrings at the neck and waist to create the look.

I had one problem with this pattern- I drew the waistline on the front and the back of the fabric pieces, and I sewed a buttonhole at the back of the dress's waist for the ribbon to go through.

However, when I sewed the pieces together, the waist I had drawn on the front was higher than the waist I had drawn on the back. I had to go with the height of the waist on the back, because I had already made the button hole.

Then, when I put the dress on the doll, I just didn't like it. It just looks very awkwardly bunched at the neck and the waist. It just doesn't look right.

I tried washing the dress, and that helped a little bit with the awkward bunching..

I am debating whether to give this to my cousin at all, or just throw it away.

It's been a long time since I have disliked something that I sewed this much.

It makes me hesitate to try any of the other pattern variations.

I just don't get how mine looks close to the dress pictured on the pattern, but that one looks right and mine does not.

Here is a view of the back, with the drawstrings visible:

The lining of the dress is white, and it is deliberately visible at the sleeves, to easily create a more complicated look.

It is of course entirely possible that the waist of my dress is lower than it should be, but that really wouldn't make a difference in the problem with the bunched up seams.

I just don't get it.

Monday, April 13, 2020

A Girl For All Time Amelia's Easter

I posted this on Instagram, but forgot to add it to the blog before Easter!

Here is A Girl For All Time Amelia with her basket of Easter eggs.

I have fond memories of buying that little Easter basket.
I was actually IN England at the time. I was at the Christmas market in Lincoln, I am not sure why this was for sale at a Christmas market, but it was small and cute and it came home with me.

It still makes me smile every time.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pattern Review: Keepers Dolly Duds 1930s Playsuit

I am delighted that Keepers Dolly Duds has been adding new patterns lately.

I haven't gotten the new 1950s Circle Swirl Dress yet.

I did get the delightful 1930s Playsuit.

It is different from the playsuit AG made for Kit, which is a good thing if you want Kit to have a diverse collection.

I am a sucker for sailor collars. Also Peter Pan collars.

I have some younger cousins who have Kit and Ruthie, so I was excited to make this pattern for them.

I made the first one in purple and blue.

I know this is a rotten picture, but you can at least see the playsuit clearly.

I altered the pattern slightly to not use elastic at the sleeves.

I don't have any one hand and the thing is that elastic goes bad eventually.

Next I made this playsuit in red, white and blue. This one is my favorite of the two.

I hope that my cousins enjoy these!

I am going to make a blue and white playsuit, gather the shorts at the bottom, and call it a Victorian swimsuit for Samantha. It will be for another cousin, who has Samantha.

I think it will be close enough to Samantha's Bathing Costume for play purposes. I can make an over skirt as well.

This pattern is slightly similar to the 1960s Gym Suit made by Wren Feathers, with a different collar and sleeves, if you are looking for a free alternative.

Here is a link to my blog post when I made that pattern.

Here is a link to the original Wren Feathers pattern.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Two Pattern Reviews!

I made two doll clothes patterns in a hurry last night.

Requiem Art Designs released a free pattern for doll sized face masks. You can find the pattern here.

Knowing that my library has an American Girl doll that can be checked out, I thought it would be nice to make her a face mask, and we could put pictures on social media of the doll modelling socially responsible behavior during the pandemic.

BUT if we were going to put the doll on social media, I should hurry up with a project from my back burner list, and make her a T-shirt with the library logo on it.

Luckily, I had all the items that I needed to make this happen, including a T-shirt with the library logo on it that I could cut up.

I used the Liberty Jane Baseball T-shirt pattern for the T-shirt. This pattern is on Pixie Faire.

Knowing that this doll is a chubby Pleasant Company doll and that the Liberty Jane patterns are tight, I added space in the front and back of the T-shirt.  Good thing that I did, it fits her perfectly, although the sleeves are a little tight.

As soon as I finished sewing, my neighbor texted me with the news that my library is closing, possibly until the end of May.

Today is the last day that we are open. It's stressful.

My co-workers are delighted with the doll's new wardrobe.  We have been taking lots of pictures to post on social media, and it's giving everyone a much-needed smile.

We have decided to name the doll Wilhelmina, as the school mascot is named Willie Warhawk.

I think she is a Girl of Today #14, also known as Just Like You #14, whatever you call the modern line of AG dolls.

A note on the mask pattern: I used bias tape to hold the mask on the doll's head, as I had it on hand, but it makes the sides of the mask stand out from her face a little bit. I think very thin elastic would be better.

Wilhelmina also practices social distancing from the library's stuffed tiger, Arthur:

This may be the last blog post I write for a while, as I do not have Internet at home.
Stay safe, everyone!

Alternate Reality 2020 Joss

Two of my dear friends in doll collecting suggested that, as Joss' collection does not reflect the reality of a pandemic, we could, for ...