Monday, March 23, 2015

Parlor Day: March 18, 2015

THE PARLOR arrived last Wednesday, and I swear I haven't been so excited about what is,essentially, a toy, since the Christmas I received She-Ra's Crystal Castle. For all you non-80s Kids out there, She-Ra was He-Man's sister, and she lived here:

(All credit for these two lovely pictures goes to; I found them through Google, and I'm so happy to be able to see what I once had in all it's original glory. Let me just tell you, the one in my parent's basement looks nothing like this anymore, and I can't remember a time when the doors and windows weren't broken off.)

Anyway, once I lugged the three gigantic wall pieces upstairs and into the doll room, I was squealing about absolutely everything like a 5-year-old. There is a fireplace that lights up. There is a picture of a ship that hangs over the mantel that you can reverse to be a mirror. There is a window that comes with a reversible insert to make it look like it's either sunny or stormy outside! Oh, the possibilities!! 

So, of course, as predicted, everyone wants in on the Parlor action.

First one in was, naturally, Miss Scarlett, thinking to herself that this might do nicely as Tara's parlor, with a little redecorating. What is with all the water and boats out the window? I want to see my flowers and shady trees. Lydia followed her in, playing the part of Miss Melly for the day because she looks the best in this dress (!!) She and Scarlett get along very well, by the way, since they are a bit younger and have lives yet uncomplicated by beaux.

 (All thanks for the amazing GWTW costuming, by the way, goes to bobbyjosue on Etsy.)

Bridie McGowan, who was also already out of the closet for St. Patrick's Day, took a peek out the window. Pardon me, lassies, but I believe ye might be mistakin'! This is surely the common room for 
our school over in London.
O'course, we don't have such a nice view. More likely, it would be loads o' people and hansom cabs rushin' up and down the streets. And fog. Or rain. Or both.

Suddenly, Anna appeared, and was absolutely smitten with the window seat. No, it's not London, it's Arendelle! See all the ships out there on the fjord? This is our palace! Elsa, come here and look at this!

Elsa waltzed in, wearing a bright green dress that she had borrowed from Belle. She is still on a high from being freed from her life of cursed isolation, and she is all about color and happiness. Princess Anna, who is naturally like that anyway, approves mightily of her sister's new attitude.

Oh, Anna, it's perfect! It's everything we could ever want. It just needs a throne...and look at this FIREPLACE! You and Kristoff can snuggle in front of it whenever I decide to bring the winter back! 

That's a joke, right? Anna asked, laughing nervously. She didn't want to see any more ice and snow for a very, VERY long time.

Of course. LOOK! Look at this view! 

Look at these curtains! Don't they make me look like the picture of sophisticated grace?

You're the picture of something, hahaha. Aaack, Anna, what are you doing? You're going to make us fall! 

What is this foolishness? In MY parlor? Maria Francisca Montoya grandly entered the room. This isn't your fairytale palace, it's my stately home in Sante Fe, New Mexico. And we're celebrating my sister Josefina's birthday, so move along, now, if you please!

Josefina was a bit confused, but Francisca explained that once she had married Patrick O'Toole, they would have a lovely new fashioned home build with all the wealth they would have from Patrick's trading business.

So, it's not your house yet, right?

Oh, minor details, Josefina! Besides, don't you want to have a party in this nice parlor for your birthday tomorrow?

Well, when you put it that way...time for a fandango! But, I think we need a piano in here to make it just right...

And so on, and so on, and so on. I don't think this is going to get settled any time soon!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whose Parlor Is This, Anyway?

Well, today I did something I never dreamed in a million years that I ever would or could do. I ordered Caroline's Parlor from American Girl. Yes, that 3-walled monstrosity that debuted in 2012 and shocked the collecting community with an unprecedented $300 price tag. I, like many, looked at it wistfully and then tried to forget it. There was no way I would ever drop that much money on a single doll accessory, EVER.
Today, lo and behold, it was put on sale for $135...and I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. Suddenly, it cost less than the original price of Caroline's Table and Chairs, which I added to my collection gleefully last Christmas. Suddenly, it didn't have to just be a fantasy anymore!
So now, I am having fun thinking of all the scenarios it can be used in. It has a sort of timelessness that can fit into a lot of different historical time periods, which is perfect for my collection. It can be:

-Felicity's parlor, late 1700s
-Cecile's parlor, 1850s
-Scarlett's parlor, 1850s
-Lydia Grace's home in Cape Cod, mid-1800s
-Victoria and Charlotte's parlor at Mycroft Manor
-Generic Victorian/Edwardian parlor for scenes with Samantha or Rebecca
-a perfect backdrop for some of my non-AG dolls, including a palace parlor for Anna and Elsa. I can just see Ariel or Belle or Anna sitting on that window seat and daydreaming!

and so on. Probably the only one who won't be using it, ironically, is Caroline herself. She has completely shed her canon self and become Kirsten's best friend Marta living on the Minnesota prairie. (Josefina and Francisca were delighted to inherit all of her Regency-period dresses!) But one thing's for sure, the parlor is destined to be very popular here.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Wonderful Valentine's Birthday

I have one of the best husbands ever, let me just start with that. American Girl Boston (Natick, really) is a little more than an hour's drive from our house, and he was nice enough to spend the first half of our Valentine's Day this year going there and back with me all while trying to stay ahead of Winter Storm Neptune. After a wonderful V-Day lunch at the nearby British Beer Company, we made it home safely and are now prepared to be snowed in for the rest of today and tomorrow, which is my birthday. I can't complain, as I am surrounded by some great loot!

I have a new girl, who I have been trying to decide upon for months, and (surprise, surprise) she wasn't even the doll I was intending to get today! I originally had decided on MyAG #31, after waffling between her and #58. I wanted another Addy mold in the group, and BeForever Addy is tempting, but I just couldn't stand the thought of replacing my original girl. So I went right for the MyAG section and found #31, and...wasn't wowed. There wasn't that spark. So, on a whim, I looked for #26, who has always intrigued me because of her unique eye color. And the first doll I picked up just glowed. I have so many curly-haired dolls that I was excited for the prospective #31's straight hair, but I couldn't ignore how Miss 26 was making me feel. I chose her, and I'm so glad I did! She looks just different enough from Addy that I can see them as two completely separate characters.

The sweet cashier took her out of the box for me, and I knew immediately I'd made the right choice. After awhile, I fessed up to the fact that she was for ME, not my imaginary daughter, and the lady was very supportive! She even told me a story about an 84-year-old customer who had recently had her own birthday party there and picked out her first "nice" doll. I had 26's ears pierced, and then left in a haze of birthday excitement.

I wanted to give her a name that would remind me of this day, but couldn't think of anything Valentine-y that would stick. Then, as I was checking the weather app when we got home, the name of the winter storm that is currently hitting the southern U.S. caught my eye-Octavia. Perfect! Our blizzard/storm's name is Neptune, so that was obviously a no-go, but Octavia is so wonderful and unique. It will definitely fit the doll should she visit 1850s New Orleans with Cecile, and when she's modern, she can be Tavi for short.

What else? Well, there were some items from the brand new BeForever release that I just had to have. Samantha's Traveling Coat called out to me immediately, especially because I had always been drawn to the travel duster set from her old, original collection. Her Special Day dress had to be mine as well, even though I hate how short they are making her skirts now, because it is AQUA, my spirit color. And then, after I had purchased these two outfits along with Miss Octavia and her earrings, I had to run in again before we left for home to snag Addy's LE Sewing Set, because, aside from the fact that I adore the bold colors of the dress, the little bird pincushion is so adorable that I died.

Here is my new dear, Octavia!

Miss Scarlett gets a gorgeous new dress from Etsy seller bobbyjoesue !

Samantha's brand new Travel Coat and Hat

 Rebecca looking beautiful in Samantha's mint green and pink Special Day Dress

Monday, July 29, 2013

Disney LE Ariel Doll

So, I am learning that not only do I really, really like dolls, but I also have no self control. Like some people go crazy in shoe stores or with makeup, I similarly can not say no to myself. It is a thing I should work on. But, one thing at a time. Right now, what I'm working on is losing weight and training myself to naturally seek out exercise. At 30, this is hard. I have been pretty inactive since high school. I have many, many interests, and unfortunately all of them involve sitting still for hours at a time. So, this is the year of listening to my doctor and getting myself in better shape. I can't very well tackle self doll denial, too!

Back to the topic at hand, the release of the newest Disney Limited Edition 17" Princess doll is/was today, and it's Ariel, since the Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid is being let out of The Vault this fall. Both the doll and the movie will be available in October. I was on the fence about this particular doll. When I saw the first long distance, fuzzy leaked photo, I was IN LOVE. But then, as closeups were revealed, I thought maybe poor Ariel looked a little too tarted up. (Don't get me started on Disney's endless revampings of the original Princesses; they barely look like themselves anymore!)
Actual Ariel
Sexy Vixen "Princess Ariel" 

Of course, here's a picture of the actual doll, which doesn't seem to support my argument at all:
Mardi Gras Drag Queen Ariel

But, I like to think the idea here is to give her an artsy, couture look to celebrate the movie release. We shall overlook the fact that never has Ariel had such huge...seashells. I appreciate the details in the accessories, and her tail, with it's layered, flowery scales, is just outstanding. And her hair is so deep red and lusciously wavy! I could not resist.

So, here's to October, and maybe I can set a weight loss goal for then with Ariel as a reward.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hearts 4 Hearts Girls Dolls

This weekend, my most recent purchases arrived: Hearts 4 Hearts Girls dolls Mosi, Shola, and Rahel! I truly didn't mean to buy 3 dolls at once, but I had to act fast with the two newest ones, and Rahel sort of jumped in the cart for good measure (I've been admiring her a lot lately). I love these dolls so much. As I have shown before, I enjoy making them into little sister characters for my AG dolls. Almost all of the H4Hs perfectly pair up with them. I don't know why it's so important to me for my characters to have sisters, but I have a feeling it has to do with my being an only child. Ever since I can remember, I used to construct great big families with all the toys I ever had.

Here they are! Whoever designed the face molds for this line of dolls is a genius, pure and simple. They are just beautiful and graceful beyond belief. Anyway, obviously Mosi is going to be paired with Kaya, though I don't know for sure if she will be her real sister or possibly Brown Deer's early to tell. Rahel will fit in nicely in Addy and Cecile's worlds, as well as in Barbados with Juliet Lane. That's another story, though, to be told soon.

Shola, I don't know about. I honestly got her mostly because she was new and only available for, what, a few hours? Not that I didn't think she was a beautiful doll, but I just don't have any inkling of her background story yet. At first I didn't want to leave her as an Afghani, but she does look very sweet in her ethnic costume. I also love the fact that her face reminds me so much of Gabrielle Anwar, who plays the character Fiona in the TV series Burn Notice, which I love. I might name her Fiona because of that, but, again, not positive. I'll get to know her in time.

For now, she is hanging out on the shelf with Rahel and Mosi (of course), and also Della (Moira Saige's little sister), Nahji, Tipi, and Rosalita (fka Consuelo).

     Fiona Glenanne (above)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Lost Girls of Hollow Tree

It's been awhile, and a few more dolls have found their way into my home. But right now, I want to introduce a concept that's been about a year in the making. I now have sixteen 18" dolls, and all but one are historical characters, whether canon AG or made up by me. I love history, and historical accuracy, but I also love imagining that the girls can interact with one another. Otherwise, they would all be incredibly lonely, right? So I had to come up with a way that they could keep their historical eras and young ages in tact, but also be able to meet up and be friends. Cue the ever so popular and possibly over used time-traveling portal story angle!

So, at some point in each girl's historical life story, they are wandering alone and accidentally stumble into a portal that transports them into a magical, unfamiliar world. I don't want to come right out and say that this place is "Neverland" because I don't like blatant idea stealing/plagiarizing. The place that they end up in on this "other side" is an ancient, giant, hollowed-out tree. When I say giant, I mean giant. Like, big enough for sixteen 'tweens and teens to live together in pretty comfortably. Rooms, windows, everything.

The girls realize that they aren't alone in winding up in this place, as strange-looking girls of completely different time periods keep popping into Hollow Tree all the time. Many of them are orphaned or were in the process of fleeing danger, and so they have no reason or desire to try and find a way back to their "real world." Others love their new land of adventure, but miss their families dearly. Eventually, a way back is discovered, and the Lost Girls learn how to navigate in between realms. Furthermore, they realize that they are able to transport items and even each other from Hollow Tree to different places in time! In other words, Felicity Merriman and Addy Walker could meet up with Moira Saige in Hollow Tree, dress in similar clothing, and all go together to modern New Mexico to meet Moira's family.

Of course, the girls do have to do a lot of scheming and fast talking often in order to keep their existence and activities on the down low. It wouldn't do for their secret to be discovered in any time period and exploited.

Here is a link to my Hollow Tree Pinterest Board, which I hope to be filling up soon with images that inspire my imaginings as to how this fantasy world might look:

Hollow Tree Pinboard

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Ideas...And Saige!

Let me start by announcing that yesterday, New Year's Day, I drove from Rhode Island to Natick, MA all by myself for the first time. Yes, I am almost 30 years old, and no, that doesn't sound amazing at all, but trust me, it is for me. I am still slowly getting over a phobia of driving, especially long distances. I didn't really start driving until I was 20. So this was a big deal. I wanted to start the new year off right, setting a goal for myself and meeting it...and I reeeeeeaaaaaaally couldn't wait to see (and get) the new Girl of the Year. Saige is gorgeous, and I knew she was destined to be mine as soon as the leaks reached my eyes. Come on, she's an artist who clearly loves to accessorize with jewelry. She was made for me!

Saige is my first modern doll, and I'm still not really sure what to do with her. I love her modern clothes and all, but she doesn't really have a place with the rest of the historical girls here. I have tentatively created a character for her in Josefina's story, which will allow her to stay in New Mexico. Since she has beautiful auburn hair, bright blue eyes, and freckles, she definitely could be believable as an Irish girl, specifically Moira Collins, Patrick O'Toole's little cousin from Missouri. Saige looks like a Moira to me. So maybe the story is that Moira comes with the rest of the family to New Mexico to see Patrick and Francisca's wedding, and she and Fi become fast friends.

Moira and her border collie Bella

I love Hearts 4 Hearts Girls, too, and when Saige's pictures were first shown to me a few months ago, I noticed that she and Dell, the Appalachian American H4H Girl doll, looked very similar to each other. Especially those lovely, bright turquoise eyes! I decided that, regardless of whatever sort of character my Saige became, she would certainly enjoy a little sister. So here is Saige/Moira and her sister Della.

I love how Della's freckled nose is pink with sunburn!

Moving on, though. My last two AG dolls that I bought last year were Emily and Molly. When I was young, I loved Molly's books; they were the very first exposure I had to the American Girls' Collection. But I had a prejudice against the original three dolls that I suspect had something to do with their all having bangs. I was made to have bangs up until 6th grade, and I HATED them. I still cringe when I look at pictures of myself with bangs. I don't think it was a coincidence that Addy was my very first childhood AG doll, followed by Felicity.

But anyway, Molly had the bang thing going against her, and of all of the American Girls, she was definitely not the most glamorous. I never liked her looks, and I wasn't interested in her collection because it wasn't fancy or "old-fashioned" enough. I still retain somewhat of an indifference to all fashions occurring after the turn of the (20th) century. War made everything boring and practical. It made girls wear pants.

After becoming reacquainted with AG later in life, I discovered the "best friend dolls," and Emily caught my eye all the time. I loved her pretty face. She seemed so sophisticated, and reminded me of my childhood best friend. I knew it was only a matter of time before she joined my collection of girls. And of course, the constant rumors of the looming archival for Molly's collection made me decide that she should come here sooner rather than later.

Two months after I had Emily, I couldn't help getting Molly. Mattel Molly is so much more lively and pretty than her earlier Pleasant Company version. She would command my attention whenever I visited the AG Place with those beautiful grey eyes!

So, I have two dolls that I love dearly, but feel no real connection or passion to their intended era. Emily is significant to me personally in that my Grandpa fought in WWII and stayed for a time in Britain. He was said to have pronounced the British a very good and hospitable sort of folk. Grandpa passed away a few months after I got Emily, and so she will always remind me of the hero that he was.

But, that doesn't mean that I want to play 1940s with Molly and Emily. But over the last couple of days, a new idea for them has been weaving itself in my mind. My Molly is going to become Victoria Holmes, the grey-eyed, bookish daughter of Sherringford Holmes. Sherringford Holmes is, of course, the younger (and most ordinary) sibling of the celebrated brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. (I have been a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast since 1997, when I first discovered his stories in my freshman year of high school. Therefore, this story line is exciting me to no end!)

Sherringford was the only Holmes brother to marry and settle down into a normal kind of life. He possesses absolutely no astounding cerebral talents whatsoever, works an ordinary job in London, and has a perfectly normal family of his own. Victoria, who is going to be about 11 or 12 when her story starts, is a puzzle to her parents and her pretty social butterfly of a sister, Charlotte. Her father realized early on that she must take after his brothers, and this causes him to worry endlessly about her future.

Now, I am going to have to do some math to figure out logistics pertaining to characters' ages before anything is finalized, but I'm going to roughly guess that Victoria's adventures will take place in the 1890s. She will have a best friend in the daughter of Dr. John Watson, named Erin, who is just Victoria's age. What will they do? Why, help Uncle Sherlock with his work, of course, and even solve some mysteries of their own!

That sounds SO lame, but I'm getting tired, and that is the most basic way to explain what I've got brewing in my brain right now.

BFFs Erin and Tori,  ready to take on Victorian London! (Perhaps someday they will find attire appropriate for that time period!)