Cécile Rey – 1853

Cécile Rey, 1853 | American Girl

EEEEEE! I am SO EXCITED to make this post! 😄

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, after selling Isabelle, I’d finally saved up enough money to buy Cécile! She arrived a few days ago and is absolutely GORGEOUS!!

Cécile Rey

Bonjour, Cécile!

Her arrival has been a little more exciting than I expected!

She was scheduled to arrive right in the middle of a huge rainstorm! The day of, I kept checking the tracking non-stop. At one point, it changed from “out for delivery” to “pending,” with no other explanation – which definitely had me a little worried. She finally came at night, right before the rain was set to pick up again.

Cécile Rey

New in box, but something’s a little off…

The first thing I noticed about Cécile was just how absolutely beautiful she was in person! I was thankful mine had such a pretty face – straight eyes, good paint color, perfect hair line… but then I saw it – her eyebrows weren’t aligned. It was a bit more pronounced in person, but you can kind of see it in the photo above. It’s easier to tell if you imagine a straight line connecting the inner edges of her eyebrows to the inner edges of her eyes. The right eyebrow lines up with the right eye, but her left eyebrow is slightly above and to the left.

Most people probably wouldn’t mind – and I really tried not to mind, too – but 80% of what I do for a living involves graphic design, and a lot of that involves making sure things are aligned correctly, so her uneven eyebrows really stood out for me.

I had two choices – I could either send her in for a new head and take care of her eyebrows and her dry wig (and maybe get her limbs tightened) at the same time, or I could try to fix her eyebrows myself with paint. The rest of her face was so pretty, I didn’t want to chance it, so I decided to try repainting her eyebrows myself.

Cécile Rey

“Best patient ever, right?”

OMG. I always, ALWAYS forget how nerve-wracking painting a doll is for me. I removed the left end of her left eyebrow (internally screaming the whole time), repainted it lower, then added some additional hairs to the right side of her left brow. Then I added some hairs to the right brow to balance the two out. The result isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it.

Cécile Rey

Cécile’s New ‘Do

I redid Cécile’s hair, too. I like her original hairstyle, but I really like how she looks with both sides pulled back. I also wanted something a little more modern since I plan to make Cécile modern like the rest of my dolls.

And since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided she needed something for the occasion. The Merry Magenta Dress looks amazing on Cécile – and it’s currently on sale for $14!

Cécile Rey

Ready for Valentine’s Day!

Cécile really is such a beautiful doll – I don’t know what American Girl was thinking retiring her! Definitely not one of their best decisions IMHO.

Then again, American Girl hasn’t really been making very good decisions in general lately. I haven’t liked how they’ve handled a lot of things – from Gabby’s thrown-together release to “Pantygate.” American Girl isn’t starting off 2017 very well. I hope they’ll remember that good customer service is an important part of business, too. Their callous responses and even banning of some of their most ardent fans is really disheartening. It’s made a lot of people – myself included – decide to be a little more thoughtful with spending money at American Girl.JenniferSig

Blogger Recognition Award!

Blogger Recognition Award

Meg of Canadian Doll Notebook (https://canadiandollnotebook.com/) nominated MINI MAD for a Blogger Recognition Award! Thank you, Meg!! 🙂

Award recipients have to follow these six rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Write a post to show your award
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  5. Select 15 other bloggers for this award
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created.

Here are my answers!

How MINI MAD Started

Saige - Girl of the Year 2013

photo: American Girl (archived)

Backstory time! I’ve always loved collecting small, cute things – from Barbies and their accessories, to Japanese toys like Nendoroids and Re-Ment sets, to 18″ dolls. When I was younger, I had a couple outfits from American Girl, but it wasn’t until late 2013 when I really started to get into the American Girl collecting fandom. My mom had mentioned wanting a Saige doll for Christmas, and while my husband and I were in the process of getting one for her, I started reading American Girl collector forums and collectors’ blogs. Before I knew it, I was hooked and debating which doll to get as my very first American Girl doll! Not long after that, I started MINI MAD as a place to house photos and stories of my collections and any projects relating to them. I originally planned to have a variety of things, but over time I realized I was having more fun showcasing American Girl-related items than anything else, so it became an American Girl-centric blog.

Advice to New Bloggers

1. Think “fun first” – don’t worry about how often you post or whether or not you think the content will get you a lot of views/likes/etc. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I need to post something or I’ll lose followers!” or “Everyone else is commenting about this – I should, too!” Post when you have something you want to blog about. Don’t let it start to feel like work – blogs should be about sharing how you like to have fun with your collection!

2. Try to use natural light as much as possible when taking photos for your blog. This isn’t always easy – for myself, I work during peak-photo-taking-light hours, so I usually have to wait until the weekend to take photos for my blog. It’s worth it, though! Natural light often produces nicer photos than using flash.

Your Turn!

I’m going to bend the rules slightly here and invite anyone who would like to participate!

Thanks again for nominating me, Meg! 🙂JenniferSig

OOTD – Layered Looks

Outfits of the Day – Noelle and Arista

Let me start by saying THANK YOU to Meg from Canadian Doll Notebook for nominating MINI MAD for a Blogger Recognition Award! I’ll be making my post soon! 🙂

Man! It’s only been two weeks since I last posted, but I feel like a lot has happened in those two weeks!

I’ve made some changes to my doll collection. After a lot of thought, I decided to sell my Isabelle doll. I really struggled with the decision because she was my very first American Girl doll. But at the same time, I’ve realized that I was drawn to her more for her collection (and probably the excitement of the Girl of the Year) than the doll itself. I mean, even going back and re-reading the entry where I talked about getting her, I can tell that’s the case. Anyway, I’d been feeling bad that I hadn’t really used her in a display or a photoshoot in months, and I thought this would be a good solution. I was able to put the money from selling her, as well as some other money I’d saved up, towards another doll – one that I’ve been wanting to get for awhile now – Cecile! I can’t wait until she gets here!

I’ve also been attempting to take more photos of my dolls outside of the display case – which also means figuring out how to setup and photograph my dolls while a certain needy kitten is demanding my undivided attention lol. I think Darcy gets a little jealous! But then I turn my camera on him and he suddenly has other things to do. 😉

Anyway, I managed to get a few shots of Arista and Noelle this past Sunday – my brown-eyed girls!

Arista and Noelle

Selfie time in our Layered Looks!

Tops: Arista – Truly Me Lilac Dress; Noelle – Grace’s Meet Shirt, Truly Me Denim Jacket

Bottoms: Arista – Playful Print Skirt with pink tights; Noelle – Skirt from the Love to Layer Accessories set, Grace’s black shorts

Shoes: Arista – Truly Me turquoise ballet flats; Noelle – Grace’s silver bow sandals

Accessories: Arista – Kanani’s flower hair clip, poodle necklace from Magic Attic Club, Brownie Ombre GlassesNoelle – headband from Grace’s baking outfit


Perfect for Twirling!

I know I already had Noelle in this outfit in the previous post, but I absolutely LOVE how she looks in it! Magenta and indigo look so good with her medium skin tone, and I like pairing such a sporty-looking jacket with a girly skirt. It’s amazing how photogenic #62 is, too! I’m so happy I have her!


Blooms and Bows

For Arista’s outfit, I actually started with her glasses. They’re so subtle, I wanted to make sure they didn’t get lost by anything too bold. I knew I wanted to use the print skirt, but couldn’t find anything that really went with it… until I tried Noelle’s Truly Me dress! The colors work together perfectly!

I’m hoping this weekend I can put together a better photo setup. I bought a foam tri-fold poster last weekend (yay for 60% off coupons at Michael’s!). It’ll either become a better den or maybe even a kitchen! 😄

Denim and Desserts!

Hooded Denim Jacket, Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set for Dolls | American Girl

I got some more birthday presents this weekend! My mom-in-law surprised me with the Brownie Ombre Glasses (not pictured), Hooded Denim Jacket for dolls, and the Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set for dolls!

Noelle with Presents

Noelle says “I’ll model ’em!”

And since Noelle was also a birthday present, it’s only fitting that she show them off!

Noelle modeling the jacket

Rockin’ the denim jacket

love this denim jacket! There’s something about it that reminds me of the American Girl outfits from the late ’90’s/early ’00’s. I also love how well it pairs with so many of the casual pieces I already have.

Noelle Kealoha

Ready for her closeup!

Look how cute these little details are! And those buttons aren’t just decorative – they really work! I do wish the button threads were a little neater, but they’re not too noticeable in photos.

Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set

Just like the real thing!

And speaking of cute details… the Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set has tons! The offset spatula and cupcake tray look just like their human-sized counterparts, and I like that the designers thought to make the liners separate. The cookbook feels a little thin compared so some of AG’s other mini books, but it’s still a nice addition to the set.

Noelle with cupcake

Want one?

These cupcakes look good enough to eat! I can’t wait to use them in a baking scene! Maybe for Valentine’s Day… ❤

Noelle Kealoha – Truly Me #62

Noelle Kealoha, Truly Me #62 | American Girl

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2017 bring us all joy, health, and prosperity! Already, 2017 is starting out much better than 2016 ended for me – I spent my entire winter break sick! But not only am I well again now, my birthday just passed and my family made sure it was a fantastic one! I had a great day at Disneyland with my husband, our families came over to celebrate with me, and I got some amazing presents, including…

Noelle Kealoha

Truly Me #62!

My parents surprised me with a Truly Me #62! I’ve wanted one ever since I saw her in person at a pop up shop last year! I thought she was gorgeous in photos, but she was even prettier in person! And now one year later, I have my very own!

Noelle Kealoha

My first Sonali mold!

I actually found out I was getting #62 before my birthday, because my mom – who is also a collector – gets way too excited about AG things to keep them a secret for long. 😉 So, I tried to take my mind off of being sick by coming up with my new doll’s name and backstory.

Noelle Kealoha

It’s story time!

I’ve seen people develop their #62’s backstory in a variety of ways, but for mine, I was somewhat inspired by Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet’s daughter, Lola Iolani Momoa. My #62 is Louisiana Creole on her mom’s side, Hawaiian on her dad’s side, and named Noelle Kealoha.

I’m still working out the details of her backstory, but so far I’m thinking her parents meet at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Noelle’s mom wanted to study abroad, but her parents didn’t want her that far away, so this was a compromise). The two hit it off after working on a project together, then later, they both become professors at the university, get married, and have Noelle. I see both as being fun-loving with a silly side – like when they wake up Noelle by singing (loudly and off-key), “IF YOUR NAME IS NOELLE, IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO SHOWER, YOUR BUS WILL BE HERE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR!”

Maybe Noelle’s maternal grandmother also lives with them – a recent development after the passing of Noelle’s grandfather. I see her as having become close with her son-in-law’s parents and the three of them spending time together talking, cooking, and arguing about whose methods of cooking are best.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want Noelle to be interested in. So far, I’m thinking she might be interested in the science of cooking – both finding better ways to cook things (think Cook’s Country or Alton Brown) and learning about alternatives for people with food allergies. Maybe she is just starting to develop allergies to nuts (like I did at her age) and wants to find a way she and others like her can still enjoy certain foods.

Noelle Kealoha

Aloha, Noelle!

As you can see, I have a lot of ideas, but not many set in stone yet. Whatever her story ends up being, I’m so happy to have her in my collection! If you’re on the fence about getting #62, do it! She’s SO pretty in person!JenniferSig

Let’s Get Decorating!

‘Tis the Season!

Christmas Decor

Thanksgiving is over… Time to start decorating!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Wasn’t it just Halloween two seconds ago!?  I hope everyone celebrating had a great time with family and friends this weekend! My husband and I got together with our loved ones, ate WAY too much good food, and started decorating for Christmas! We’ve quickly discovered that we don’t have as many cat-proof decorations as we’d hoped… so it’s a little sparse in here, but starting to look festive! And since we couldn’t get a tree this year, my dolls have one, instead. The scale is a little off, but it works for now.

Chat with Christmas Cookies

Cookies ‘n’ Milk

I’d still like to find more small decorations for my dolls’ den – it’s the only spot in the house that I can safely decorate without having to worry about Darcy. 😄

Darcy the cat

Darcy in his tree

Speaking of Darcy, it’s officially been one month since we adopted him from our local animal care center! He’s quite a quirky little guy! He loves playing fetch with feathered balls and will actually bring them to us to get us to play. He also loves his crinkle bunny toy, which was the first toy we bought him when we brought him home. I named it “Mr. Bingley” because he spends as much time grooming it and dragging it around as he does fighting with it. It’s his little BFF haha. Darcy is currently curled up in the chair next to me, worn out from meeting a bunch of our family and friends this weekend.

Have a relaxing rest of the weekend, everyone!JenniferSig

Halloween Treats!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Ready for a spooktacularly fun weekend!

Happy Halloween weekend! I didn’t get to decorate quite as much as I’d hoped this year, but at least my dolls’ “den” looks festive! I put this mini banner together using a garland kit and decorative letters from Michael’s, and some of the Halloween treats were originally 3D stickers.

Halloween setup

Treats Galore!

I had the popcorn, nachos, and hot wings, and paired those with the stickers for a huge spread of sweet and spicy treats. The light-up pumpkin came from my mom (I’m not sure where she originally found it), and it adds a festive glow to the scene. I had wanted to change the TV image to a screen-capture of The Halloween that Almost Wasn’t (a.k.a. The Night Dracula Saved Halloween), but my printer ran out of ink and I haven’t gotten a chance to get more yet. Partially because…

Darcy the Cat

Darcy, our new 6 month old American Shorthair (a.k.a. miniature panther)

…we adopted a kitten last weekend and we’ve been slowly trying to get him acclimated. I think it’s going well. 😉

Honestly, I went to the local animal shelter last weekend just to see the cute animals my husband sometimes goes to visit during his lunch break (his work is just down the street). At the time we entered the “kitten room,” there was a woman blocking the corner cages, and if I hadn’t insisted on going back to the room before we left, we might’ve missed this silly little guy entirely. As we approached, he came up to the cage purring loudly, rubbing against the cage and kneading. I’ve never seen a cat do that to complete strangers before! We left the shelter that day thinking “he’s probably going to be adopted by an awesome family, who can probably afford to spend even more time with him that we can.” But then we started coming up with names for him… y’know, on the off chance that we would adopt him. And then at some point that night, we decided on “Darcy” (like the tall, dark, and handsome character from Pride and Prejudice), and that we’d go back the next day and if he was still there, maybe we were meant to adopt him.

And so the next morning, he came home with us (along with a tree-shaped cat tree) and has been steadily feeling more at home ever since. 🙂 And demanding belly rubs, which is why he’s upside down in that picture. 😄

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!JenniferSig