JanSport Disney Lil Break Pouch

FAVORITE FINDS: OBJECTS

JanSport Disney Lil Break Pouch |  found at a campus bookstore

Yuna wearing a JanSport Disney Lil Break Pack

Ready for new adventures!

*shakes off dust and cobwebs* What year is it? ;D

I didn’t expect this summer to be quite as busy as it has been! I helped a former student get university backing for a prestigious scholarship, I found a local nursery that sells Disneyland roses and this one has been doing a thousand times better than the one I got from Jackson & Perkins last year (I do not recommend J&P whatsoever >:[ ), and we’ve been doing a lot of work on our condo – new front doors, new doorknobs, and some new decor in the front! So… that’s why I haven’t been blogging quite as often as I hoped I’d be. ^_^;;;

I do still update my doll-related Instagram (mini.mad.american.girl) and my everyday life Instagram (kissedawake) pretty frequently, so if you’re ever curious what I’m up to, check there first!

Thank you, Brenda Savage and The AG Homeschooler for nominating me for awards! I’ll be making those posts soon! 🙂

Today’s post is about a fun find I found in the place I least expected – at work! Or rather, at the bookstore on the campus where I work! I went in looking for something completely unrelated and was immediately drawn to the display of regular- and mini-sized JanSport Disney backpacks. I zeroed in on the mini ones, which are apparently meant for electronic accessories (earbuds, charging cords, etc.), but are absolutely PERFECT for 18″ dolls!

They had two types for sale – the “Disney Lil Break Pack” and the “Disney Right Pouch.” I’ve also since discovered that JanSport makes non-Disney versions of the Lil Break Pack and Right Pouch (and for slightly cheaper than their Disney counterparts – surprise, surprise). BUT… being the insatiable Disney fangirl that I am, and having a staff discount to utilize, you can guess what happened next…

Close Up of the JanSport Disney Lil Break Pack

Just Like the Real Thing!

These JanSport Disney Lil Break Packs are so realistic, people have accidentally bought them online thinking they’re regular-sized backpacks! I can’t say I really blame them – the only thing that really gives these packs away are the zipper pulls and the elastic straps.

JanSport Disney Lil Break Pack Inside

Inside – Mesh Pocket + Tags of Doom!

The pack has two pockets – a small zippered section on the front and a large zippered body. Inside the body of the pack, you’ll find a large mesh pocket… and a giant bundle of tags that put even American Girl to shame. Still, better inside than out.

Yuna wearing the backpack over one shoulder

It… Fits?

The pack has two elastic straps on the back that form an upside-down “V.” They’re large enough to accommodate one of the doll’s arms, but from the front, it looks slightly off. However, as you can see from the first picture, find the right angle and you’d never know! I didn’t want to attempt both straps at once (I think it’d be a tight/awkward fit) and I don’t have any Wellie Wishers to try it with, so I’m not sure if the size/fit would work well for them.

Yuna carrying JanSport Disney Lil Break Pack

Ready to Go!

I think I prefer her holding the backpack by the top handle. This way you get to see more of the pattern, too. 😉

Happy Summer to those of you still on break, and Happy New School Year to those of you starting back! I have a few more weeks until all of our students return to campus and the craziness resumes haha. ;DJenniferSig

Crafting Project: Yuna’s Earring

PROJECT: A doll-sized version of Yuna’s signature earring

TIME: About an hour (lots of tweaking)

MATERIALS: embroidery floss, beads, photo paper, paper party straw, tape, scissors, an AG earring dangle piece

There’s just one more thing Yuna needed to really be Yuna – her signature earring! She wears a long, beaded, multicolored earring in almost all of her appearances. I made a human-sized version years ago when my mom and I first made her costume, but it’s been a long time, so it took a little trial and error to make the doll-sized version.

Three versions of Yuna's earring

Third Time’s the Charm!

My original plan was to find beads that had the same colors as Yuna’s earring and make something with the same feel. Two stores later, I wasn’t finding anything I really liked, so, I decided to try making her earring the same way I’d made mine.

First, I drafted the design for the main piece of the earring in Photoshop. Yuna’s earring thankfully doesn’t have any elaborate elements – when you look closely, every piece is either a rectangle or a triangle. When I was happy with the look, I did a test print to see if the size was a good fit. My first attempt was way too big.

I tweaked the design a little, then printed out what I thought was going to be my final version on photo paper. After cutting out the design, I started rolling it around a piece of paper straw that had been cut to the same height. The photo paper was thicker than I wanted, so I peeled off the paper backing, then rolled the design around the straw and taped it.

I was a little worried the ink might come off, so I tried covering the earring with scotch tape (I was hoping it would give the earring a sort of “eggshell” finish). When I finished putting the whole thing together, I decided the earring was still a little too big and I didn’t really like the look of the scotch tape after all.

So, next I tried a smaller size, substituted clear packing tape for the scotch tape, and added a blue bead after the wooden bead. I’m happy with this version, except for the dangle piece. I used a spare hoop dangle and then bent the remaining portion forward. I might go back and add smaller beads around it to mimic the additional earrings she has, or I might swap it out for a different dangle.

Close Up of Yuna's Earring

Close Up of the Earring

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s not an exact replica, but I think the simplified version looks more to scale.

I should look for my old earring and compare the two. 😉JenniferSig

Meet Yuna!

Yuna Uematsu | Custom American Girl Doll (TrulyMe #64 doll with Beautifully Custom eyes and wig)

As I mentioned in the last post, I recently picked out a permapanty-free #64 from Toys”R”Us to turn into a custom that I’ve been wanting to make forever – Yuna from a game called Final Fantasy X! She’s my absolute favorite video game character and I feel like we have a lot of the same traits.

What makes this custom so special is she’s actually a 5 year wedding anniversary present from my husband! He gave me carte blanche to get everything I needed to make her a possibility – from the base doll to (eventually) her costume. And what really, really makes her special is she’s the character I was dressed as when my husband and I first met!

Yuna Almasy with tonberry and cactuar

Meet Yuna!

For those who don’t know, I met my husband at a local anime and video game convention about twelve years ago. One of the most popular things to do at this convention was to come in costume and get together with other people representing the same series to take group photos. My husband and I both came to the meet-up for people dressed as Final Fantasy characters – I was dressed as Yuna and he came dressed as Seifer Almasy from Final Fantasy VIII. Seifer is one of my favorite Final Fantasy guys, but he’s never been a popular choice for people to dress up as (people usually choose the main protagonist or a different game altogether). I was SO excited to see someone actually dressed as Seifer, I quickly asked to take a photo with him…

Seifer and Yuna

…Hehe, maybe I was a little too excited!

And here we are twelve years later, ready to celebrate five years of marriage. You never know where you’re going to meet the love of your life haha!

Anyway, getting back to Yuna – as you can see, her character design is pretty unique!

X and X-2 Yuna

Yuna as she appears in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2

Yuna’s overall appearance changes from game to game – sometimes she’s got longer hair and a long skirt, other times she has short hair and short shorts, and in one game she even appears as a fairy! The only thing that stays the same is her heterochromia – she has one green eye and one blue eye. It’s a pretty combination, but it did make creating her custom doll that much more complicated.

When I first thought about what I wanted a Yuna custom to look like, I couldn’t find a combination of American Girl eyes that I liked. Felicity’s laser green eyes wouldn’t really go with any of the blue pinwheel eyes, and #61’s green eyes were a little too dark. Then Beautifully Custom introduced their replacement eyes and “Emerald Green” and “Midnight Blue” were just what I was looking for!

Yuna close upBeautifully Custom Eyes

I thought about attempting the eyeswap myself, but a few tutorials later, I quickly discovered that the Jess mold is one of the most difficult to swap and shouldn’t really be attempted by a complete novice. Thankfully, the super-talented Cyn was able to do the swap for me, and it came out beautifully!

Next, Yuna needed a wig. I started with the Grace wig that once belonged to Marinette. I moved the part to the same side as Yuna’s and cut layers into the hair, but… it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. It wasn’t terrible, but it looked a little too choppy and uneven for my taste. I don’t think I’d ever attempt such a massive cut job again – it made a huge mess and I even somehow managed to get a splinter of hair stuck in my finger!

I kept searching online for a wig that would be short and easy to part on the same side as Yuna’s, but didn’t end up finding anything that I thought would work really well. I eventually settled on a Beautifully Custom Deluxe Glow wig in “chocolate chip.” It’s parted on the opposite side, but the color’s pretty spot on! Even better, the section of hair that eventually became her bangs was already hanging down in front, so I didn’t have to heat set it myself!

I slowly and very carefully trimmed her bangs, and now she’s basically got a slightly longer, reversed version of Yuna’s hairstyle.

Yuna

Let’s go save the world!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with her! Now she just needs her costume and she’ll be all set!

Yuna and #64

Yuna with TrulyMe #64

It’s amazing to see how different Yuna looks now from her original form, isn’t it? 🙂
JenniferSig

TrulyMe #64 and the Toys”R”Us Adventures

TrulyMe #64 | American Girl

Holy moly, it’s been a long time! A LOT has happened since I wrote last!

My mom and I finally visited the nearest Toys”R”Us selling American Girl dolls – a couple of times, actually! At first we were only mildly interested in going – we were curious to see the permanent underwear in person, but also thought it’d be nice to get any outfits and accessories we wanted without having to pay for shipping. Then we found out that most of the Toys”R”Us stores were carrying dolls with the old-style bodies – neck strings and all – and suddenly we had a new mission: find the dolls we had been wanting to get before they were switched to the new bodies!

And yes, while I agree that “permapanties” aren’t the absolute worst thing American Girl has ever done, after seeing them in person, they are a deal-breaker for me. For me, it’s a uniformity thing – neck strings vs zip ties don’t bother me, but having a body with a different structure (even if the major differences wouldn’t be visible at all times) would. And I’ve already managed to snag most of my dolls’ underwear – I can just imagine what the new body fabric would look like after awhile.

I really did try to keep an open mind before seeing the new bodies in person. I was hoping I’d see that the changes weren’t that noticeable…

NOPE. I think the new body actually photographs better than it looks in person. Not only is the fabric noticeably thinner in person, the ribbon serving as the “underwear band” looks especially stupid. It doesn’t really do much to create the illusion of underwear – to me, it just looked like random trim tacked around the doll’s two-tone waist. And it’s not even cute ribbon! Did they really need “AMERICAN GIRL AMERICAN GIRL HEY JUST SO YOU KNOW THIS IS AN AMERICAN GIRL DOLL” ribbon? I’ve seen people refer to it as “Calvin Klein” underwear and I agree!

Thankfully, the doll I was interested in getting, TrulyMe #64, had the old-style body. I found one with a really sweet expression and brought her home!

She was soon to become a custom that I’d been wanting to make since I first learned customizing American Girl dolls was even a possibility! But I’ll get into that in the next post. First, let’s take a look at #64!

TrulyMe 64

SO CUTE!!

TrulyMe #64 is such a beautiful doll! As much as I love the Jess mold, I really love it with the Ivy-style eyes. They’re the cherry on top to an already cute face! I was really thankful to be able to choose a #64 in person, because I did notice that a few of the dolls either had one eye socket that was smaller than the other or had an eye that was facing to the side slightly.

#64’s wig is very manageable – the length is a little longer than #62’s, making it a little easier to do pigtails or a ponytail, but with the same silkiness and thickness. I also like that it’s parted to one side (I’m not a big fan of middle parts).

Her dark brown eyes and her sweet expression really made it hard to turn #64 into a custom – even one I’d been wanting to make for years!  So… I ended up getting a second #64. I might change her wig, but overall she won’t change as drastically.

My mom ended up getting a #64 as well. She’s really too cute to resist!

It’s interesting to see how many people are trying to buy up dolls with the old style bodies. I really hope this sends a message to American Girl. I wasn’t looking to add multiple dolls to my collection this year – I have a finite amount of space to store anything, and I wanted to have room to add future dolls (especially if they ever made a doll from 1994 – we’d likely be the same age!). But I’d rather have the higher quality dolls and customize them to fit what I want than settle for their new standard.

I am really glad about one change though – I’m happy American Girl has started having dolls available in more local stores. It’s so nice to get to see the dolls, clothing, and accessories in person – and much easier to see how big some of these pieces are! Had I not been able to see the dolls in person before buying, I definitely wouldn’t have taken a chance on buying any online. The local store displays may not be as nice (or as tidy) as in American Girl stores, but the presentation doesn’t change the product for me (that is, as long as the product remains high quality).JenniferSig

Ready for Spring!

I am failing at decorating for the holidays this year! I missed New Year’s, barely did anything for Valentine’s Day, and didn’t do anything for St. Patrick’s Day… I can’t let another holiday go by without decorating!!

So, I’m starting early for Easter and getting my dolls ready for spring!

T A L I A

Talia looking Rapunzel-ish!Flower-filled Braids!

I saw these paper flowers on sale at Michael’s today and they instantly reminded me of the flowers Rapunzel wears in her braid when she spends a day in the village. Each of these blooms is connected to a thin wire, so it made it easy to weave them into her hair and adjust them.

Talia looking Rapunzel-ishLet’s go exploring!

I should take a picture of her like this with the Disneyland backdrop. She looks like she’s “Disneybounding” as Rapunzel. ;D

C É C I L E

Cécile looking spring-yReady for a nature walk

I love how Cécile can pull off casual clothes as well as she can fancier outfits. I haven’t found anything yet that doesn’t look amazing on her. I thought it’d be fun to dress her like she’s ready for a spring day out and about – maybe on a nature walk or visiting the zoo. I’m really happy the green belt from Lea’s Hiking Outfit isn’t attached to the capris. I like it better with the pair that come with Maryellen’s Play Outfit.

A R I S T A

Arista in Tenney's Picnic OutfitTenney who? 😉

I finally got to see Tenney and her collection at Kohl’s! It’s strange – in person, Tenney’s eyes didn’t seem as reddish as they often photograph. I did notice that some of the Tenney dolls had slightly off lips (like one side was painted taller than the other), but for the most part they looked good.

I was really tempted by a lot of Tenney’s items – her pjs, her dog, her guitar and banjo – but I ended up settling on her Picnic Outfit and Hat & Necklace.  I like the shorts, hat and necklace on Arista, but I’m not completely sold on the shirt. I think a tank top or loose sweatshirt would fit her style better. I want to try this set on Noelle next, but in the meantime…

N O E L L E

Noelle in Lea's DressLight and Airy

I really love how Noelle looks in this dress – I think I might even like it better on her than on Lea! The flower she’s wearing is originally from a Magic Attic Club set (Rose’s Island Outfit). It’s too bad Magic Attic outfits don’t fit American Girl dolls – I have a blue-green dress (also Rose’s) that would look amazing on Noelle!

Talia and NoelleLooking Good!

And now that everyone’s dressed, it’s time to bust out the chocolate bunnies and pink tulips from Kit’s and Samantha’s LE sets and make everything look Easter-y! 😀

Have a great weekend!JenniferSig

More of Talia

Talia Leighton | Custom American Girl Doll (Rebecca Rubin doll with added face paint and Beautifully Custom wig)

Since I took so many photos of Talia yesterday, I thought I’d make a quick post with some more of them…

Talia LeightonSO. MUCH. HAIR!

Talia LeightonOne of my favorite shots

Close up of TaliaI think I got a little bit of glue on her lips (hard to tell unless in a certain light)

Talia LeightonAs Rebecca, she sometimes had a hard time standing. As Talia, her hair is so long, it sometimes complicates matters as well.

Talia LeightonOnce she’s balanced, she stays standing (for awhile, anyway 🙂 )

My goal for today is to get my errands done, then maybe have enough time to start getting everyone dressed for Easter. Have a great Sunday!JenniferSig

Meet Talia!

Talia Leighton | Custom American Girl Doll (Rebecca Rubin doll with added face paint and Beautifully Custom wig)

Introducing my newest custom doll, Miss Talia Leighton!

Talia LeightonNow with 70% more hair!

What an adventure this new girl’s hair has been! As I mentioned in my last post, I lost her new wig somewhere (it STILL hasn’t shown up!), so I had to order a second one from Beautifully Custom.

I never actually got a chance to take the first one out of the bag, so I didn’t know just how amazing these Beautifully Custom wigs are until the second one arrived last week! I am so impressed!! It’s thick, super soft, and luxurious – it’s nicer than human-sized wigs I’ve owned! It’s easily the highest quality doll wig I’ve worked with.

That said, it was also probably the most difficult I’ve tried to glue on. The wig cap fits perfectly, but because it’s such a perfect fit, it’s also really snug. Even with my husband’s help, it was hard to position the wig for a side part and pull it into place (maybe we’re just not skilled enough lol). I didn’t get her hair part over as much as I wanted, but at this point, I’m just happy to have the wig glued at all.

Talia close upA hint of freckles!

After putting the wig on, I realized how much she reminded me of Rapunzel with her greenish eyes and long, blonde hair – which works for me, because Rapunzel is one of my absolute favorite Disney princesses! So, I decided to make her even more Rapunzel-y by adding a few tiny freckles across her nose. This time I used more fabric medium than paint, making the freckles turn out a little more varied and realistic, but unfortunately also making them a bit shiny. In a certain light, they almost look like sparkles haha… Oh well, she can just have magic freckles instead of magic hair!

Then she needed a name. I decided I didn’t want to make her a character doll like I did Marinette, so “Rapunzel” was out. I almost went with a flower name, like “Calla” or “Lily,” but wasn’t totally sold. Then I thought it might be nice to have a nod to another of my favorite fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty. One of my favorite “modern” retellings, A Kiss in Time, by Alex Flinn, has a green-eyed Sleeping Beauty, which I thought would be very fitting.

In Flinn’s version, Sleeping Beauty is named “Talia,” which is a nod to the earliest versions of the Sleeping Beauty tale. Like many fairy tales, the earliest version of Sleeping Beauty is pretty freaking terrible. Without going into too much detail, the charming prince we’re used to is actually a womanizing king who takes advantage of the young, sleeping maiden, and later kills his wife so he can be free to marry her. GOOD STUFF.

I debated using “Talia” because of its origins, but the modern story is one of my favorites, and I do really like the name, so I decided to go ahead and use it. And, as my husband pointed out, every name is going to have some kind of negative connotation to it. In this case, the crappy version is so antiquated, no one really knows about it (yay!).

Talia Full ViewLovely in lavender, pink, and aqua

For her last name, I thought about tying in another fairy tale reference, like using the last names of some of my favorite fairy tale authors, but nothing fit quite right. Then I thought about using a painter’s name (a nod back to Rapunzel) and I immediately thought of Edmund Blair Leighton, one of my absolute favorite artists. I first learned about him when I was in college. I used to hang out at the library before class (mostly reading their copy of 101 Stories of the Great Ballets), and one morning I came in and they had posters of his and a few other artists’ works on display. I saw The Accolade and fell head over heels. There’s still a giant poster of it hanging in my old room at my parents house.

I’m not sure what Talia’s backstory will be yet (as you can see, it took forever just to come up with her NAME!), but I might have her do something with painting or storytelling. Maybe I’ll rewatch Rapunzel or skim through A Kiss in Time to get a few ideas… 😉

Have a great weekend!JenniferSig