Maryellen’s Seaside Diner

Maryellen’s Diner Set | American Girl

Before I talk about how AMAZING Maryellen’s Diner Set is, I want to give a quick update on what’s been happening to me at work. As I mentioned on Instagram, I recently found out my job will be changing, and not in a way I want.

Even after a few meetings, I still don’t know many details about the new position, but what has been mentioned so far sounds more like a step in the opposite direction from the career path I want to follow. Unfortunately, this decision is a done deal and despite reassurances, I’m not sure they can turn the position into one that I’d see as a step in the right direction. The only positive would be the team – everyone seems really nice and I’ve already worked a lot with a couple of them. But, nice coworkers aren’t something that will help my resume, so last weekend I created a portfolio site, this week I updated my cover letter and resume, and last night I applied for the first of many jobs I will apply for until I find one where I can continue to build up the experience I’m looking for.

Already-way-too-long story short, if you don’t see me posting as frequently on Instagram, it’s because I’m applying as fast and furiously as possible.

OK, back to Maryellen’s Diner! The diner set was recently featured as part of American Girl’s Spring Savings Event, and instead of its usual price tag of $275, it became $151. I hadn’t considered getting it at nearly $300, but at almost half off, I took a second, third, and fourth glance! I missed out years ago when Caroline’s parlor was on sale and I didn’t want to regret missing out on a nicely-made, versatile set again. I finally made up my mind to get it and turn it into a Disney-themed diner. While I waited for the set to arrive, I worked on some custom stickers to use on the diner and the “walls” of the display case. I made sure to print them on removable sticker paper.

Custom Diner Stickers

One Disneyfied diner coming up!

The box the Seaside Diner shipped in was HUGE! It rose just slightly higher than the armrests on my couch! The diner itself is a very large, well-made piece. With folding sides, the diner can be arranged to be a narrow backdrop (which is how I currently have it set up in my display case), or completely unfolded to be one long scene.

Seaside Diner folded up

It just fits inside my shallow display case.

The counter section, booth and table are sturdy and so realistic! A few days after getting the diner, I compared its pieces to the human-sized counterparts at Ruby’s Diner and apart from the difference in color, they’re almost exactly the same!

I especially love the counter section because it gives me a nice surface to display food!

Diner Food

Caution: Image may cause hunger!

Of the food that comes with the diner, I think I like the hot dogs and milkshakes the best. They look the most realistic. The fries aren’t too bad, the pancakes are okay, but the hamburgers are a little too simplistic for my taste. I get why they are, though – the idea is to use them to pretend to cook on the grill, so they don’t really need to be detailed. Maybe I’ll eventually get some nicer ones from Dolly’s Dining Room.

Mia, Cecile and McKenna

Time to dig in!

You can never have too much doll food, right? ;D

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’ve got some jobs to apply for. Wish me luck! ❤
JenniferSig

Advertisements

Meet McKenna!

McKenna Brooks, Girl of the Year 2012 | American Girl

Y’know what? Sometimes you fix your pipe leak damage and your termite holes, and you complete a few of the major projects that have been kicking your butt at work, and then you decide IT IS TIME TO TREAT. YO. SELF.

And then you think of a great way to go about doing that. “I am finally going to get a McKenna!” you cry!

And once your eyeballs pop back into your head after seeing how much new-in-box McKenna’s are going for, you quickly add, “A cheaper, back-from-the-Doll-Hospital McKenna!”

And as luck would have it, the mix ‘n’ match shirt and shorts you recently ordered appear on the same day McKenna does, so she doesn’t have to wear her drafty hospital gown for very long!

(And to be honest, you never liked her meet outfit anyway.)

McKenna Brooks

McKenna Brooks

So yeah! I finally got a McKenna! She’s been on my wish list for a long time!

When I got Megan (Mia) last year, I was reminded just how good the quality of the old dolls had been. I realized that with the decreasing quality of the current dolls, the longer I waited to buy McKenna, the more likely I was going to be competing with many more people who were frustrated with the new dolls, and she was going to become even more expensive. So, I decided to take part of my tax return and see if I could find a good one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I didn’t really care about having her complete meet outfit or book, so I got a new-via-the-Doll-Hospital doll – new head, new body, no meet or book. She’s got a tiny shine mark on her nose, a little on her forehead, and a shiny streak on one of her fingers, but overall she’s in great shape.

McKenna and Kanani at Disneyland

Let’s go!

It’s really easy to see why everyone loves McKenna so much. Her caramel hair and blue eyes are a really pretty color combination, and she has such a sweet-looking face. Mine has a bit of a head tilt, which gives her a little more character, too.

I don’t think I’m going to keep my McKenna canon. While I think gymnastics is impressive to watch, I’ve never really been that drawn to it. I’ve already decided she’s going to be just as much of a Disney fanatic as Mia (I mean, all of my dolls are to a certain extent, but she and Mia can almost be over the top at times). Maybe one of her dreams is to visit every single Disney park in the world. Maybe she’s also really into travel and seeing new places. We’ll see how her character takes shape.

McKenna selfie

Selfie Time!

My phone is probably 50% McKenna photos at this point. She’s just so photogenic and cute!! I think now between Kanani, Cécile, Megan (Mia), and McKenna, I have all of the dolls I missed out on before I became a collector. Which is probably a good thing because I REALLY have no more room for dolls now. In fact, I need to figure out a better way to store anyone not in use…

I hope you all had a great weekend! It’s nice to see the #AGIG community in better spirits after a very sad and solemn couple of weeks. I know Bella would not want us to continue to be so sad. I think she’d be really proud to see how everyone has come together to support one another. I know I am. 🙂 ❤JenniferSig

OOTD – Easter Ballerina

Outfit of the Day – Lea

Eastery Lea

Easter Ballerina

Dress: Truly Me Celebration Dress

Accessories: Headband from Grace’s Baking Outfit, Lea’s pink logo earrings, flower from Isabelle’s Performance Set, purse from CYO Let’s Smile accessories set, Maryellen’s crinoline

Shoes: Shoes from Shimmer and Lace Party Dress

Sooo… things have been a little crazy here lately. Besides work still being super busy, we had another termite kickhole appear and one of the pipes burst and we had to have a bunch of drywall and insulation removed. So I haven’t really had time to decorate for Easter, but my place is extra hole-y for the season lol. ;p Luckily both issues should be taken care of soon.

Lea in her Easter outfitReady for Easter!

I did manage to get one of my dolls dressed for Easter! And I’m in the process of better organizing my doll clothes and accessories, so it didn’t take too long to put this outfit together!

I really love the celebration dress and knew it’d look just as good on Lea as it did on Mia. But by itself, the dress didn’t look that spring-y. I decided to try a bit of color with the shoes. When I tried these pink sandals, I thought to try Maryellen’s pink crinoline as well.

I didn’t want all of the color to be just at the bottom of the outfit, so I used the flower detail from one of Isabelle’s ballet outfits and it really helped to tie everything together.

Lea is such a beautiful doll. I really love her hair, too. She looks fantastic whether it’s up, down, tied back or loose. For this outfit, I went with a ponytail and then added the pink headband to add a little more color.

Lea and Megan ready for EasterHoppy Easter!

Pair spring-y outfits with some bunnies and flowers and voila! Ready for Sunday! Have a fun weekend, everyone!
JenniferSig

JanSport Disney Right Pouch

FAVORITE FINDS: OBJECTS

JanSport Disney Right Pouch |  found at a campus bookstore (then got for Christmas)

Megan with her Disney backpack

Good for Disney lovers of any size!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

*checks calendar…*

I mean, HAPPY ALMOST ST. PADDY’S DAY!

How is it MARCH already?! As I mentioned on Instagram, work has been pretty exhausting so far this year, so sometimes I don’t have the energy to do much more when I come home or on the weekends than just flop on the couch and chill. To make a long story short, when my department got elevated into its own division, I became the lead on a bunch of major projects, including a new website, new branding, and an overarching marketing plan. So 2018 has kind of been the year of coffee so far lol…

I’ve only changed TWO of my doll’s outfits since last year and I haven’t even gotten a chance to try on some of the stuff I got for Christmas or my birthday! Hopefully that’ll change soon!

One of the new doll items I have gotten to try out is another JanSport Disney backpack that I got from my mom-in-law for Christmas! I wrote about the first one I bought back in summer (staff member discount for the wiiiiin~!), and I was tempted to get this one at the same time, but figured one tiny, kind-of-expensive doll backpack was enough.

Megan with her Disney backpack.

Just Like the Real Thing!

This thing is so realistic! All three zippers actually work and it has a real suede bottom – just like its large (human-sized) counterpart! I think that’s what I love so much about these “packs” – they’re so close to the real thing! The only part they’re missing are the padded shoulder straps. Like the other mini backpack I have, the Right Pouch has the upside-down “V” of elastic at the back. The straps don’t really sit well on the doll’s shoulders, and I think that’s especially true of this one. The Right Pouch seems to be slightly larger than the Lil Break Pouch, and the additional mass makes it slip off more easily. An easy solution is to have the dolls hold their backpacks by the top loop.

Megan and Mia hold their Disney backpacks.

Ignore the rollerskates – I love them and can’t bring myself to take them off of Mia. XD

I really love these JanSport mini backpacks. The Disney ones can be a little on the pricey side, but you can sometimes find them on Amazon for slightly cheaper. JanSport also makes non-Disney packs that are equally as cute! This one would be PERFECT for Luciana!

I hope you’re all having a great week! I’m going to be part of an art show this weekend (my second time having artwork in a gallery show!), but I’m hoping I can take some more doll photos at some point soon – or at the very least change more of my dolls out of their winter wear! 😉JenniferSig

2017 MINI MAD Recap [Photo Heavy!]

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful year and that 2018 brings you joy, health, and prosperity!

This was definitely an unusual year for me! With all of the changes happening to the American Girl doll line, I added way more dolls to my collection than I ever anticipated! And now at the end of the year, with even more cost-cutting changes in quality coming to light, I am SO glad that I did. I think from now on I’ll likely be adding more clothes and accessories, but probably not dolls.

So before the year is out, here’s a quick look at everyone who joined my collection this year!

J A N U A R Y

Noelle Kealoha joined my doll crew! I was so happy to get Truly Me #62 from my parents for my birthday this year! She’s even more GORGEOUS in person!

Noelle with cupcake

F E B R U A R Y

I was finally able to add Cécile Rey to my collection! It was a bit of an adventure, too! She barely missed being delivered in a heavy rainstorm and her eyebrows were off, so she needed a little (nerve-wracking) paint touch up. I’m so glad I have her!

Cécile Rey

Not long after, word of “permapanties,” new body fabric, and squishy vinyl spread. Hoping to get an “older-style” doll without some of these issues for one more custom, I used a gift card I’d been saving to get a Rebecca.

M A R C H

Rebecca got a new wig and became Talia Leighton. She also makes a pretty good double for Rapunzel… 😉 (Honestly, I kinda wish I had just kept her hair in these braids and flowers even after Easter. She looked so cute in them!)

Talia looking Rapunzel-ish!

A P R I L

My mom and I went to check out a nearby Toys ‘R’ Us that had begun selling Truly Me dolls and accessories – just to take a look. Then we found out that most of these dolls were older stock with neck strings and old body fabric, and we decided if there was anyone else we wanted to add, now was the time to do it. That led to…

M A Y

…getting a Truly Me #64 as an early 5th wedding anniversary present from my husband and turning her into a custom I’ve been wanting to make since I first learned customization was even possible – Yuna (Uematsu), based on Yuna from FINAL FANTASY X!

Yuna Almasy with tonberry and cactuar

Truly Me #64 was so cute as is, I ended up getting a second one, but she didn’t get customized until a little later…

J U N E

I took Yuna with me to the American Girl store (which I was extremely nervous about doing), but the employees loved her! I was able to get her ears pierced, too, which I didn’t think would be possible since I customized her.

J U L Y

My second Truly Me #64 finally got her new wig and became Anne Mizukawa (though I didn’t finalize her story and introduce her here until September).

Anne Mizukawa

A U G U S T

The Create Your Own line was finally introduced! As part two of my anniversary present, I got to order a mini me that I hoped would be even closer than I had been able to create with Arista.

S E P T E M B E R

The wait was over! My mini-me arrived and she was pretty close to how I pictured she’d be! She had slightly off eyebrows, so I tweaked them with paint just as I’d done with Cécile’s. She has some slight imperfections, but overall I’m really happy with how she turned out. I named her Mia Heatherly.

Mia in the Celebration Dress

O C T O B E R

I started planning my next Create Your Own doll. I wanted to make an American Girl version of the first 18″ doll I’d had, Megan Ryder from the Magic Attic Club series.

N O V E M B E R

I decided to order Megan early to both beat the holiday rush and try to take advantage of a 20% off deal.

D E C E M B E R

Unfortunately, this second Create Your Own doll didn’t turn out as nicely as the first. Her eye sockets were two noticeably different sizes, her eyes pointed in opposite directions, and her vinyl was an almost orange color. I attempted to move her eyes into position, but they reverted to their wonky formation. I tried to see if I could send her to the Doll Hospital for a new head, but that wasn’t possible. So, I took the customer service rep’s advice and returned her.

Instead of re-ordering, I went on eBay and found a doll I’d been wanting to add for years – who finally had come down in price – Mia St.Claire, who will be my Megan Ryder.

Mia as Megan

And not really a doll addition, but more of a re-configuring – Sienna finally got a wig that suited her, but she looked so different, she needed a new name and backstory. She became Emma Petersen. I’m still working on her backstory, though.

New classic sweater 

Whew! I think that’s everyone!

So, as you can imagine, one of my first goals for next year is to update my About section with all of these new additions (I think I got up to Talia). And, like I said, because I added way more than I expected, I don’t think I’ll be adding any more dolls anytime soon – which might not be such a bad thing if the changes in quality continue as they have been. I’m very happy to have the dolls I do have, and I think next year I’m going to work on fleshing out all of their backstories.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a safe and fun start to the new year! See you in 2018!
JenniferSig

Truly Me Celebration Dress

Truly Me Celebration Dress | American Girl

When images of the Celebration Dress first appeared, my initial thought was, “GEE, THAT LOOKS KINDA FAMILIAR, AG *COUGH COUGH*.” …But then my second thought was, “Add to wish list. *click*”

(To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where I put the bodice I was working on two years ago – not to mention the tulle for the skirt…)

But anyway, back to the Celebration Dress! It’s definitely much nicer in person than it appears in stock photos. Online, the “belt” portion looked like it was made from long silver sequins, so I was very excited to find they were actually rhinestones!

Mia in the Celebration Dress

A ballerina-ish celebration princess

The gold and rhinestone tiara is a little tight, but I really like it. I’m happy it’s a headband instead of another tiara/comb combination (I never seem to get those to sit properly). The shoes are super cute – sparkly gold flats with cream-colored elastic ribbon loops that end with little bows at the back. I can see these getting a lot of use. The little pearl bracelet is nice addition, too.

The dress itself is part princess, part ballerina, and a hint of bridal. It reminds me of The Most Amazing Dress in the Universe (TM), a.k.a. the Elie Saab dress that I love so much:

Elie Saab dress

Even the shoes are kinda similar!

But it does have a couple of areas I think could have been executed a little better…

The bodice has a somewhat strange silhouette. It’s not really straight across, it’s not really scalloped… it’s slightly-scalloped? I think it would’ve looked nicer with a more intentional line – straight, scalloped, or otherwise.

The bodice is also pretty snug. I’ve only tried it on my Create Your Own doll so far, but it took a little effort to close the Velcro completely. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see some pulling just under her arms.

Mia in the Celebration Dress

So regal, it hurts

But finicky bodice aside, this dress is absolutely gorgeous and I think it’s one of AG’s better celebration/holiday dresses in recent years.

I think Mia’s pretty much claimed this dress – which is particularly fitting, because as my mini me, her birthday is in just under a week, too! She can celebrate by being a ballerina-ish birthday princess! XD

Mia and Noelle dance

Dancing in the New Year

Mia and Noelle are ready to ring in the new year! I can’t believe tomorrow is New Year’s Eve! This year went by fast! Are you and your dolls ready?
JenniferSig

Nanea’s School Outfit

Nanea’s School Outfit | American Girl

I have been drooling over Nanea’s School Outfit since it was first shown. I love the colors, I love the pattern, I love the shoes, I LOVE IT ALL! So you can imagine how excited I was to open it on Christmas Eve!

And Noelle was just as excited to be the first to try it on!

Noelle in Nanea's School Dress

Winter, shminter! I’m ready for some sun!

I really think this is my favorite of all of Nanea’s outfits. The flower print is a mix of teals and peachy pinks, and it really looks nice against Noelle’s medium-toned skin. The dress is made of cotton, but it’s not too thin. It has a bit of stiffness to it, so it can kind of hold it’s shape. The top is gathered nicely and the sleeves and skirt have just the right amount of gathering.

Close up of Noelle in Nanea's dress

Close up of the gathered top

The pattern on the shoes is so different from the organic print of the dress, it’s kind of surprising how well the two go together! From far away, the shoes almost look like they’re woven instead of fabric. I got lazy with the shoe ties and made lower bows than the ones in the stock photos. They still look pretty cute, though!

The remembrance “pin” is nicely made. I’m glad it’s not an actual pin – it just slides onto the fabric with a thin clip. I’m not sure if I’ll actually use it, but it’s still nice to have. The barrette is really cute. I kind of like that the “Nanea” etched into it isn’t too pronounced. I’m guessing that was done so your doll can wear it even if she’s not Nanea.

Noelle dancing

Twirling the day away!

Definitely an instant favorite outfit – especially on Noelle. I’m not sure I can bring myself to change her out of this one anytime soon, but somehow I don’t think she’ll mind. XD
JenniferSig