Cyber Monday Finds [PICTURE HEAVY]

2-in-1 Ice Skating Set, Puffy Jacket, Saige’s Bracelet, Mini Nellie Doll | American Girl


So… I wasn’t planning on getting anything during Cyber Monday… But then I did.

Just a couple of things, though. I’d rather wait and see what’s in Girl of the Year 2015’s collection.

Skating Wrap and Pants

2-in-1 Ice Skating Set wrap and pants with Isabelle’s pj top and slippers

I got the 2-in-1 Skating Set (which coincidentally is being modeled by a #53 in the stock photos), because I knew I could use the pieces in different outfits. The pants and wrap make a great dance warm-up set (she just needs actual dance shoes…) or comfy lounge wear. Unfortunately, the blue leotard and skirt shed like crazy. I had a hard time getting all the fibers off the black pants. So… those are staying in the box until I can figure out how to keep them from making a mess.

Ice Skates and Puffy Jacket

The ice skates and guards from the 2-in-1 set, blue puffy jacket and mittens

The skates were pretty tough to get on at first, but they’re really cute. The blade guards fit well and are made of a rubbery material, but can still fall off. They’re great for helping the doll to stand, though.

I also got the Puffy Jacket and Mittens (the link has disappeared from AG’s site, but you can find the sets on eBay or Amazon easily). The jacket fits well and doesn’t make the dolls look overly puffy, but the zipper can be hard to get started and the jacket doesn’t leave a lot of arm movement. The fingerless gloves are really cute! They’re a great finishing touch for an ice skating outfit.

Pink Dress with Skates

A performance in pink

The ice skates also work well with Isabelle’s sparkle dress (even if the skirt is a bit longer than on most ice skating outfits).

Saige's Bracelet

Saige’s Woven Bracelet

I also got something for me to wear – Saige’s Woven Bracelet. One of the benefits of having freakishly small wrists haha… It’s nothing too special, and it feels more plastic-y than woven, but it’s one of those things you could wear out in public and only a few people might know where it was from.

Mini Nellie and Book

Mini Nellie and book

And last, but not least, Mini Nellie! It seemed only fitting that my first Josefina mold doll should have a mini Josefina mold doll. I really wish they hadn’t changed the style of the mini dolls. I can see how the BeForever versions can be easier to pose and handle, but I really loved the fact that the old style mini dolls were made the same way as their 18″ counterparts. Nellie is extremely cute – I actually think I like her mini version slightly better than her full size version.

Nellie and Samantha

Best friends forever!

Overall, I’m really happy with everything I got during Cyber Monday. Now to see what GOTY ’15 brings…


Hooray for Holiday Deals!

Samantha’s Holiday Dress, AGPLA T-Shirt | American Girl

Thanks to a deals-savvy friend and my sister, my husband and I were able to get our first DSLR camera (an older model Nikon D7000) during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness! I am so in love with it and the amazing pictures it’s able to produce in our poorly lit place!

I’m still very much a noob at using it, though… I used to use my parents’ Canon A-1 when I was younger…


Photo by Benjamin.nagel

…but I feel like I’ve forgotten a lot when it comes to shooting manually. But, practice makes perfect, and what better way to practice than taking pictures of easy-to-work-with models!



Christmassy MG

MG is ready for Christmas!

I really love Samantha’s holiday dress on Marie-Grace. My MG has some particularly broad shoulders, and there are some outfits that highlight them a little too much for my taste (e.g. Samantha’s middy dress). This dress looks like a dream on her!

Christmassy MG

Aqua-eyed beauty

I’m really happy I decided to get this set. Someday it’d be nice to have Christmas dresses for all my dolls (after all, they usually become part of the holiday decor), but this one’s a good start. None of the others have really stood out to me as much as this one.

No. 53

American Girl Place LA Shirt

I’m also happy I got this AGPLA shirt. I didn’t think it was worth the original price of $8.00, but $3.00 (and later only $1.00!) is a different story! AGPLA is the only American Girl store I’ve been to so far, but it was quite a trek getting there. The Grove is nice, but driving in LA – and that area of LA in particular – is not fun. So for me, this shirt is a bit of a “I survived the drive to AGPLA” shirt haha.

I was also able to snag a couple of things during the American Girl Cyber Monday sale, but nothing too crazy. I’m waiting to see what Girl of the Year 2015 and her collection will bring!

And in the meantime, I’m still waiting for the new wig for #53. I hope it arrives soon!


More of #53

Before I turn #53 into my mini me, I thought it’d be a good idea to take lots of pictures of her in her original state.


Blondie #53

I’ve only had her a few days, but I think she may be the most photogenic of all my dolls – I have yet to find a bad angle when photographing her! She looks great in t-shirts and jeans…

Disney #53

This Disneyland shirt is still one of my favorite sewing projects.

…Especially Disneyland t-shirts! (I still wish the mini collectible Mickey Mouse ears were large enough to fit American Girl dolls!)

53 LOTR Style

She just needs a bow and arrows…

She also looks great in a fellowship cloak. It sort of makes her look like she could be a young elf – maybe a relative of Haldir’s?

As cute as she is in her original state, I’m excited to turn her into a brunette! Hopefully she’ll look something like this…

Mini Me

Brunette with a couple of freckles – she definitely looks Maltese!

I can’t wait until the new wig arrives! ♥


Soon to Be Mini Me – My American Girl #53

Soon to Be Mini Me, My American Girl #53 | American Girl

After almost a year of seeing all of the amazing custom dolls American Girl collectors have made, I decided I wanted to try my hand at it, too! If I were really brave, I’d try the works – eye swapping, wig swapping, custom paint… but I’m not. So, I’m starting out simple – wig swapping and a tiny bit of custom paint to make a sort of “mini me”.


The Lovely #53!

I’m starting with a My American Girl #53 as a base. She seems to be one of the more popular dolls to customize, and I can see why – she’s lovely! Her dark eyes and light ash blonde hair and eyebrows are a striking combination. Her face paint is really pretty, too – I think her lip color is a little richer than many of the MAG dolls.

#53 is also my first Josefina mold doll. I actually didn’t like the mold much when I first started collecting, but it’s really grown on me – that and my face shape is closer to this mold than the classic mold.

To be honest, I already almost chickened out of customizing 53. I saw this picture of one…


25th Anniversary American Girl Doll – Photo by Madison Children’s Museum

…and began to seriously rethink my wig plans. But unfortunately (or I guess fortunately in this case), my #53’s wig is pretty… flat. I try to fluff the top of her hair as much as I can, but the top remains flat and just the ends fluff slightly. So now I feel better about getting her a long brown wavy wig (which hasn’t arrived yet, but hopefully soon…).


#53 up close

53’s eyes are darker than mine, but from farther away mine look pretty dark, so I don’t mind. And otherwise, the closest to mine are the crazy-hard-to-find “amber” eyes that MAG #26 has (which would also involve boiling water and popping out eyeballs and… yeah…).

I opted to have her ears pierced (like mine), but I didn’t expect she’d come with a little set of mix ‘n’ match earrings, too – that was a pretty nice surprise! I’m impressed with how easy the earrings are to swap and how well they stay in. I almost wish I’d gotten Isabelle with pierced ears, too.

The only other change I’ll be making is adding a few small freckles on her right cheek to match mine.

I’m nervous about the face paint and wig gluing, but I’ve been studying up on the ways that have worked best for customizers, so hopefully she’ll turn out alright. :)


Sewing Project: Fellowship Cloak

PROJECT: A cloak similar to the ones worn by the fellowship of the ring in the Lord of the Rings movies

TIME: 1 day

MATERIALS: gray-green fabric, ornate closure, notions

Kanani in LOTR Cloak

OK, who swapped the “one ring” with a whistle…

My husband is the biggest Tolkien fan I know. He’s read Lord of the RingsThe HobbitThe Silmarillion, watched the movies with me several times (extended version only, yo), and played the heck out of Lord of the Rings Risk. I already liked Lord of the Rings a lot before I met him, but I think his absolute love of the series helped make me into a bigger fan.

So, like any self-respecting Lord of the Rings fan who also loves American Girl dolls and the challenge of learning how to sew fun things for them, I decided it was high time I tried making a fellowship cloak for my dolls!

I chose a grayish green fabric that has a suede-like texture on one side and a darker satin on the other. The real cloaks worn in the movies are actually made of a gray wool, but they always appear a little greenish to me. The closure I chose is actually the same one I used for my human-sized fellowship cloak (My mom made one as a present for my husband a few years ago and I decided I wanted one, too. Mine still needs a leaf brooch though).

My husband's cloak

My husband’s cloak

  My cloak
  My cloak

I used this great tutorial by MyFroggyStuff to learn how to make a cloak. Mine turned out a little big, but that’s just because I made hems smaller than I originally measured for.

Cloak in progress

Gathering is a pain…

One of the hardest parts of this project was making the gathered fabric spread evenly as I lined up the hood edge to the cape edge. My mom helped me with this part when I made my cape and it seemed to take her a minute! It took me a few tries to get everything lined up correctly, but I’m really happy with how I did! Much, much better than when I gathered the skirt on Samantha’s Party Dress

Cape back

The back

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this cloak turned out. It was my first time sewing something without a paper pattern, too! I might eventually try to make the top a bit smaller, but Kanani’s hair can fill in some of the extra space for now.


Mini Tabasco Sauce Bottles


Single Serving Tabasco Pepper Sauce Bottles |  found at a hotel


Sugar and SPICE!

Miniature fake food is great, but miniature REAL food is the best!

I was helping my husband during a convention awhile back, and we were so exhausted after working from 7 AM to 10 PM that all we could do was head back to our hotel, order soup from room service and crash. When the soup came, so did these cute little bottles of Tabasco sauce! And of course, the first thing I thought of was bringing them back to add to my collection.

All this Tabasco and nothing to use it on!

These’s only one problem… I don’t really have any food that would work with Tabasco sauce. I mean, I know you can make Tabasco ice cream, but I’m sure that’s more for a true Tabasco lover (like my husband). My dolls usually end up having similar tastes to mine ha ha. ;) I’ll have to get some scrambled eggs, burritos, or tacos somewhere down the line. Then these bottles will be perfect!


These cones totally aren’t taped to their hands or anything…

And in the meantime, ice cream forever!


More of The Gibson Girl

New header and more pictures of Samantha’s Ice Cream Parlor – which will be primarily used as Disneyland’s Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor for me.


Looks good enough to eat!

I’m already seeing some interesting things happen as I try to photograph it. The picture above was taken just as the sun was starting to rise (for some reason, I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep), so especially with the Main Street backdrop in the mirror’s reflection looking darker, it gives it the appearance that the store has just been readied for the first customers of the day. Ice cream is a perfectly acceptable breakfast in my book… ;)


From 1812 to 1904

For some reason, Caroline’s never clicked with me as a 1812 girl (or even as a modern girl, really), but I absolutely LOVE her as a 1904 girl. I think her ringlets really give her that Edwardian charm. And I especially love her in Samantha’s Middy Dress. I think she wears it best out of everyone in my collection.



In my lifetime, The Gibson Girl has gone through… I think two renovations at Disneyland (I don’t think I’ve actually been back there since they re-opened it), but the one that always stands out in my mind is its previous appearance, complete with giant glass elephant. I might make my backdrops try to reflect that version. Too bad I don’t have room for a mini glass elephant statue…


Bon appetit!

This set could also act like a Farrell’s. I’d never been to one until a couple of months ago. That place is so much FUN! Really, really, REALLY loud… but a lot of fun. Never go there with a headache.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling out of me for now. If I’ve convinced you to get Samantha’s Ice Cream Parlor set as well – first, I apologize, and second, make sure you use the $10 off $100 coupon code 180323 (good until October 15th!).


The (Mini) Gibson Girl


I did the thing.

Samantha’s Ice Cream Parlor | American Girl


Tyson’s Ice Cream Parlor… a.k.a. The (Mini) Gibson Girl

I’ve only ever had room for one large AG set, and for me, it doesn’t get more perfect than this ice cream parlor. As you might’ve guessed from my previous post, I’m treating mine more like a miniature version of Disneyland’s Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor than Samantha’s Tyson’s – which means at some point I should probably make a proper cast member uniform for whoever’s manning the store… But, for now, Caroline and her middy dress work pretty well.


Parlor Pieces (minus the cash register and one green scoop of ice cream)

Oh man, I can’t even begin to express how much I love this thing. The parlor is mostly made of wood, so you get that wonderful “new furniture smell” right as you open it (or rather, unearth it from the largest shipping box I think I’ve ever seen). Each of the pieces are so detailed and beautifully made. I love that the scoop and spoons are actually made of metal and that the dishes are ceramic instead of plastic. The cash register (not pictured) has “working” keys and a crank to open the drawer – but it takes up more counter space than I’m willing to give it.


What can I get for you?

I like how much thought they put into each of these pieces, too. The glasses can be separated from their metal bottoms, the candy topping is one molded piece (so you’re not chasing 500 tiny balls around the floor), and the light automatically turns off after a few minutes, so you don’t accidentally forget to turn it off (…which I would probably do).


Coming right up!

I really can’t think of anything I don’t love about this set. …Well, maybe the price tag – but I know I certainly couldn’t make one this amazing for less. And it’s just the right size for my small place. Caroline’s parlor would’ve been waaaaaay too big. And lacking in ice cream. Which is important.

Now I just need to work on more accurate backdrops (so it looks like the mirror is looking out onto Main Street from inside a building…).


The Return of 1904

We made it! The wait is over and BeForever is here!


Three words: ICE. CREAM. PARLOR.


“Have you ever seen anything so wonderful in your entire life!?” – Ariel, the OG hoarder of neat things

The first time I saw this set, my inner ten year old absolutely lost her shit. Like, I’ve been impressed by some of the other big ticket AG items, like Caroline’s parlor, but this way surpasses everything else for me. I think I love it so much because it reminds me a LOT of the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland.


The Gibson Girl in Disneyland Paris might be the closest to Samantha’s – lots of gold, white, pink, and marble!

…I’ve noticed that anything I really, really love can usually be traced back to something related to Disney. Oh well.

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of AG collectors are smitten with the ice cream parlor. I do think it might’ve been nicer had they offered a separate set of ice cream treats (different from the parlor’s) so that if you couldn’t afford the parlor (price or space-wise), you could at least still have the option to partake in the desserts.


The Bad

I don’t know whether to call this “bad” or “sad”… A lot of people have noticed some not-so-long lost Marie-Grace and Cecile collection items being re-purposed into different time periods. MG’s parasol is now part of Samantha’s collection, and MG and C’s banquet table…


has been turned into…

Caroline’s impromptu table and treats because nevermind the war, let’s par-tay.

Admittedly, I haven’t read Caroline’s stories yet, but from what I know of them, it seems like a lot of crazy stuff is going down (like, say, the WAR of 1812), so is it really the time for feasting? Like, “Yes, Papa is in danger, but these tarts are perilously close to getting stale!” Maybe not so much. I’m not sure if the table covering was made to be more historically accurate or not, but it doesn’t look like as much thought was put into its design compared to the original. Then again, neither do the mismatched dishes, so… yeah… Anyway! Still not as much of a problem as -


The Ugly

I’m sorry… I’ve looked at it and looked at it, and I can’t find anything I really like about this coat – even if it does remind me of something Disney-related…


“I don’t care how you kill the little beasts, just do it and do it now!”

I can’t unsee the Cruella. I knew they’d never re-release her old cape, but man, was it pretty! Maybe it would’ve been too much plaid in combination with Samantha’s new Christmas dress, but a deeper red or a rich green or navy? I’m also curious how many moms saw this coat and thought “That’ll be dirty in 5 minutes…”

New Samantha

I think Samantha’s really cute – they’ve done a really great job reintroducing her, while making her stand out from her previous versions… but now that she is out and the internets are filled with pictures and videos of her, I’ve made a rather surprising discovery. I think I may have liked her for her clothes haha… Her new meet dress has grown on me, but I really did like her original meet outfit. Like with Ruthie, I think she’s really cute, but I feel like I’d rather wait for another doll that I’d want more instead of adding her to my collection. So, for now, Caroline’s my 1904 stand in. I don’t know what it is, but I really like her in that time period!


Something about Caroline and nautical stuff… ;)

It’ll be interesting to see what’s released next in the world of BeForever. And in the meantime, I’m hoping for more leaks… hehehe…


Pretty in Pink

Today’s post is going to be very pink. Consider yourself warned haha…

I didn’t expect this ballet dress to become such a favorite, but it really has! It looks great on Isabelle (big surprise considering it’s from her collection). Next, I’ll have to see how it looks on Kanani…


Izzy in Pink

If you’re looking at this and thinking, “Okay, okay, it is really pretty. Maybe I’ll get it, too,” now is the time! We’re in the final countdown to the mysterious BeForever launch, and is preparing by offering free shipping on any purchase of $50 or more (ends 8/18). They’ve marked down a bunch of sale items as well.

Speaking of the advent of BeForever, rumors are going around that there will be unannounced discontinuations of historical collection items.

Lilly Maiden has an extensive list at her blog:  If you’re considering any of these, your safest bet is to purchase them before 8/28.

The more I learn about BeForever, the more I’m not entirely sure I like the changes I see. To me, it boils down to American Girl trying to appeal to the target audience by making “historical lite” dolls. Their outfits are supposedly historically accurate, but they no longer look like pieces that are very representative of that time. Instead, it feels like they’ve tried to find the rare outfits that look similar to pieces we still see today.

Take Samantha’s new look…

“New” Samantha

This looks like something I wore as a kid in the ’80’s or ’90’s… And that’s the point. If it’s an outfit that doesn’t look too different from those of today, American Girl believes kids will be more apt to choose a historical girl. I can see doing this for the outfits they arrive in, but I hope all  of their collections won’t be this way. I’ve always loved the fact that the historical collections have tiny recreations of real items from the past. And after missing out on Samantha’s items the first time around, I’ve been hoping they’d bring back a lot of the items I drooled over as a kid (even if they didn’t look exactly the same).

I guess we’ll know soon enough! Just over a week left!