Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Haul of the Century

Last Wednesday, as I was trolling the AGPT forum for the millionth time in between doing actual work at work, I noticed my state mentioned in a new thread. A click revealed an eBay auction that was listed as "local pick-up only," and a kind board member pointed it out to us because it was THE. BEST. DEAL. EVER. I had to look at it several times before I could even comprehend what I was looking at.

It was a nearly complete early Pleasant Company Kirsten doll and collection. Everything was photographed so nicely. There was a doll asleep in her bed, surrounded by tons of outfits and accessories, and her beautiful trunk in the background. Behold!

The BIN price was $200. That sounded like a lot for a second, until I started to really think about what I was seeing her. A PC Kirsten alone could conceivably go for $200, if the condition was right. And the trunk? Holy cow! 

Now, there were a lot of factors that could have made this dream collection a nightmare. There were only two pictures, the seller had 0% feedback, the only thing in the item description was "entire set in excellent condition." The doll was only pictured lying down, so I had no idea what the state of her hair was, or if she had silver eye. Everything could have reeked of cigarette smoke or perfume. It could have mold growing all over it from being stored in a basement. When it comes to buying anything AG on eBay, especially dolls, I always make a point of asking the seller the important questions about strong odors. I am horribly allergic to pretty much everything, and things like mold and cigarette smoke can trigger my asthma. 

But, that morning, I sort of freaked out, and the thought of someone else possibly getting to this first made me panic. I didn't want to wait around for an inexperienced seller who may or may not see my question before it was too late. SO I BOUGHT IT!

Since "summer hours" at work mean that I can go free at 11:30 am on Fridays, the seller and I decided I would pick everything up that Friday. It's actually embarrassing how excited and nervous I was throughout the rest of Wednesday and Thursday as I went over and over again in my head how I could have screwed myself out of $200 taking such a gamble as this. 

Friday came, finally, and when I arrived at the seller's house, I felt a rush of relief. The seller was so sweet, and told me that this collection had been given to her daughter at Christmas a long time ago, and her daughter showed little interest. I was laughing because she said her daughter maybe changed Kirsten's clothes once, and then she put her to bed...forever. Like a little Sleeping Beauty! Everything except Kirsten in her bed was packed up and ready to go in the trunk, and my first impression was that I had nothing to worry about; the worst thing I could detect was a layer of dust on the bed and Kirsten's sleeping face. That was easily remedied.

The whole way home I was flying high, and kept talking to Kirsten, who was in the trunk of my car, and apologizing whenever I took a turn and heard things bumping together.

When I got home and started to inspect everything, I literally started to get overcome with excitement. I don't think any of my childhood Christmases could compare (sorry, Santa!) Even Parlor Day was overshadowed! Kirsten herself was so lovely, with manageable hair that just needed a little care, and no sign of silver eye under those lovely brown lashes. Her Meet Dress read "Made in West Germany Especially for Pleasant Company." She was wearing her authentic amber necklace, though someone (probably the daughter) had comically wrapped her neckstrings multiple times around her neck as well (which seems like it would be a completely logical solution for what to do with them, for a kid). 

As I lifted each accessory and outfit out of the truck, I continued to be amazed. I was seeing all these tiny treasures from the Pleasant Company catalogs of my youth, largely untouched and perfectly preserved. Everything was there, from her wooden spoon in the spoon bag to each little grasshopper in her bait basket. Even the fishing pole, with it's cork floater and minuscule hook, was in tact and all there. When I opened the carpet bag, I had another heart attack of joy when I found the paper dolls mint in their original envelope and the thaumatrope still in the plastic package! 

At this point, my DH had to kindly ask me to stop screaming, because he was working at home that afternoon and didn't want to have to explain what the heck was going on to the other people on his conference call. 

For the rest of the day, I gave lovely Kirsten a spa treatment, softening her hair with conditioner and giving her vinyl a good cleansing. Then I handwashed her entire wardrobe, which was a bit dusty. I never wanted the day to end! 

Miss Kirsten!

The Whole Collection!
Look at dis stuff!! Isn't it neat?

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