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Sunday, June 22, 2014

What I have been working on

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was so I would have a place to show off my creations for my 18” dolls. This is going to be one of those posts.

Most of what I have been making lately for the dolls falls into two categories either clothing (some underwear for a sew-along for a group I belong to) or some props to use in the Allison's Journal posts. I think I have a different mindset when it comes to making accessories for the dolls because of my background in dollhouse miniatures. If you were to shrink yourself down and wander through the dollhouses of most of the adult collectors I know you would be right at home. Most of us even fill up the drawers in the dollhouse. I have silverware and pots and pans and food (well, it looks like food- mostly polymer clay and printies- the dolls really don't eat much so they don't mind) in the kitchen cabinets and drawers. There's even clothes in the dressers. So when I fell in love with the larger 18” dolls I brought this madness with me. Slowly I will be making enough props to use in the posts that if the dolls were to come to life they would be able to just move in and enjoy the house.

I decided long ago that for the most part the kids are about 12 or 13 years old. I got to thinking what do girls that age have. Well, when was the last time you saw a pre-teen that didn't have a cell phone and all the girls that age I know have a purse to keep them in. Then I didn't want to the boys to be left out, I started to think about how to make a boy's wallet (they have money and debit cards too you know)

I worked out the pattern to make the first boy's wallet and I think it turned out really well. I also made a debit card and a school ID card to go in it along with some printable money I got online. I think it turned out pretty well. I did take a moment to trim the extra threads that show up in the photos. In truth I didn't even notice them until I was editing the photos to post them for some friends to see. 

Jeremy is very proud of his new wallet.

He wanted you to take a closer look. I promise I did clip those loose threads.

Here is his school ID card and his debit card- he likes to be prepared

a better look at the cards and some of his cash

I did make some cell phones for the kids before I did the first of the Allison's Journal posts way back in December (or was it November?? I'm too lazy to look as I write this LOL) but I was never completely happy with them. So I am re-working those this week too. I will try to remember to post some photos of those when I get the details worked out.

I dug through some of the doll stuff I had previously made to see how many purses I already had made so now I can start on some more purses this week. Of course the girls will each need a wallet to go in their purse too, so more planning and pattern drawing for that. And when was the last time you saw any girl that just had a wallet and cellphone in her bag. I am going to have to do some thinking about what else should go in them.......

Now onto that underwear, like I said earlier I belong to a doll sewing group and we have a monthly sew-along. For that the theme/ pattern is posted at the beginning of the month and then throughout the month as each person that is taking part gets done they post photos of what was made. It is a lot of fun and there are some very talented and creative folks on there. Here are the things I made for this month's sew along.

Allison and Molly went to Allison's room to try on theirs

closer look at Allison

and Molly
Jazmin loves hers

And the boys couldn't be left out

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been up to with the dolls. I have a couple of more blog posts planned for the near future so keep your eyes open for those. I got a new pattern book and doll sewing DVD that I want to review and I have a bunch more of the Paper Minis done to show you too.  If you follow/subscribe to the blog you will be more apt to see the posts when they come up.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Meet Kati

A page from Allison's Journal

Kati just moved in next door, She is going to be living with her grandparents from now on. Since school is already out for the summer I decided it would be nice to invite my friends over for the afternoon so she could meet everyone.

Mom made some chocolate chip cookies and picked up some soda for us.

Jazmin arrived first- she is always ready to excited to meet new people. Her mom had made some of her famous lemon bars so she let Jazmin bring some of them. YUMMMMM It was so hard to not eat them all before everyone got here.

Jennifer was next to arrive. She had met Kati a couple of years ago when Kati had spent the summer at her grandparents house. Molly was late but she texted me so we wouldn't get worried about her. 

When she got here she had big news! There are new people moving into the house next door to her and they have 2 girls our age. She invited them to come today but they said they really needed to help with the unpacking.

Molly also got to meet their new baby brother! He is only about a month old and she said he is soooooo cute! 

Micheal and Jeremy showed up about then. They wanted to get a snack to take with them. They decided that since the weather is so nice today that they wanted to go on a hike. After they said hi to everyone they grabbed some snacks and took off for a nice long hike. 


Us girls decided to hang out in my room and play some games for a couple of hours. 

I think we are going to have a lot of fun this summer. Just think 3 new girls in the neighborhood and mom said the house at the end of our road just went up for sale too. I wonder if another new friend might move in there???

Friday, June 6, 2014

Another New Doll

Boy I have been buying dolls a lot lately it seems. It all started a couple of weeks ago when American Girl announced they are retiring Ivy. That announcement reminded me that I have been wanting to add an Asian doll to my collection. Ivy does fit that but I have never been in love with Ivy. With the price of American Girl dolls I really feel like I have to love a doll to buy one of theirs. I have two of the AM dolls: Alison (My American Girl #53) and recently retired Molly. I really do love both of those dolls. There is another My American Girl doll that I am hoping to get in the near future but we will wait until that time comes to talk about her.

Since I don't “love” Ivy I set out to find a doll that I did love to fill that spot in my collection. I have found her but she is not what this article is about. You see that doll is not available yet, hopefully by the end of summer (according to the last word from the makers of the doll)

In the meantime all this doll shopping opened my eyes up to a couple of dolls that I did decide I wanted to add to the collection. I talked about the 2 Our Generation dolls I got at the Target sale a while back in another blog post. I still need to work on their hair and if I do solve the hair issue I will do another post about them.

I was at Walmart the other day and of course I had to take a trip down the doll aisle. I came across the display for the My Life dolls that Walmart is currently selling. I had not really looked carefully at them before. In my looking at them this time I ran across one doll that I found appealing. I decided that she should join the rest of the collection.

Kati in her meet outfit

As far as I can tell she didn't actually have a name, she is referred to as “outdoorsy girl” on the box. I find it kind of funny the way I name dolls, sometimes anyway, they just seem to tell me what their name should be. As soon as I had her out of the box I just knew her name should be Kati. This same thing has happened with a couple of the dolls, I just knew when I saw them what their name should be.

One thing I found interesting about the packaging of this doll, in place of all those wire twist tie things I am used to seeing holding dolls in the box this doll was tied in with what appears to be a paper twine. I saved it, I am hoping to figure out a craft project with it.

paper twine from packaging

The first thing I did notice when I got Kati out of the box was the odd odor she has about her. It was very strong at first but dissipated after about a day to being just a bit noticeable. I am hoping with time it will go away entirely. If not I have a solution to try and if it works I will share it on the blog later.

My biggest concern about this doll was the hair especially after the hair disaster that I am dealing with on the Our Generation dolls. I brushed out Kati's hair with my regular doll hair brush (actually it began its life as a dog brush at Dollar Tree I bought it to use with the dolls and labeled it as such) After a brushing her hair looks great, it is soft and shiny. Not the superior quality of dolls like the American Girl but still nicer than some other dolls at her price point. The thing about her hair I don't like is that when you touch it, it feels dirty. I can't think of another description for it. If I had picked this doll up at a thrift store I would assume that it felt this way because it was really dirty but this doll is new out of the package. I will leave it as is for now but I may have to resort to washing it to see if I can get it to feel nicer to the touch.

Her hair-do is a very straight to just below the waist with a cute braid on each side. For now I am going to leave the braids as is since I like the look. I may take them out later if they interfere with styling. The back of her hair is not cut straight however so that will need to be dealt with soon. It bothers me every time I look at her from the back but I wanted to leave it for pictures for this blog post. A quick trim should fix that though.

Back of hair needs some work

One of the things that drives me nuts on some of the dolls on the market is the color the manufacturers use on the lips. I was so happy that this doll has fairly natural looking lip color. That is actually a thing that will stop me from buying a doll once in a while. As for the rest of Kati's face, she is a really pretty little girl. Her face is not “made-up” so she looks clean and fresh, like a little girl should. Looking at her face it is almost heart shaped which I find very appealing, I think it gives her a more innocent look. She has beautiful brown eyes that open and close- they seem to work perfectly- along with nice lashes that seem in proportion to her eye size. 

She has a pretty face

She is made by the Madame Alexander company so we do expect a certain degree of quality and I think it is there.

This is a doll with a plastic neck/chest area. As I stated in my post on doll measurements I am torn about which body style I prefer. The advantage of the plastic neck/chest like Kati's is that necklines on clothing look a bit nicer. There is the downside of a weird caved in area where the cloth body meets the plastic part. At least on Kati that is not too noticeable.

The outfit she came in is really nothing to be excited about. She is wearing a butterfly printed tee-shirt that velcros up the back. It is not very well made and the facing on the neckline shows (it did on all the dolls in stock at the store) She also has blue shorts made of a denim looking fabric. These are also not well made and I don't think they would stand up to a child playing with them. Her bright pink high top shoes are surprisingly cute even though they are made of plastic.

cute shoe

One of the “selling” points of these dolls is that they are poseable, as far as I can figure out the only extra moving parts are the knees. The problem is the leg flattens out in a very strange way when you bend the knee. I also worry about the plastic on the legs not holding up to the bending. I think I will probably just pose her like the other dolls in my collection and skip this “feature”

Other than having slightly longer legs than my American Girl dolls she is the same size as they are. This will make dressing her much easier than some of the other dolls I have.

Because of the way I use my doll collection, primarily I want to have dolls to use as a story telling medium for my blog posts. I need to be able to fit them into the story of my dolls in order to justify buying them. In other words if I can't come up with a reason they are in the group they don't belong. Kati will be showing up in future blog posts and I am sure her story will come out over time. In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed the photos I took of her and got some helpful information from this post.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Doll Measurement Comparison

One the questions I see the most often when we are discussing the various 18” dolls is “do you know if she is the same size as ***”

Just like when we get a group of 10 or 12 year old girls together these 18” dolls vary in size and shape a lot. I like that though and as I have stated on other posts on my blog I like variety. I think that having dolls from different sources makes the group look more interesting. This can however be a problem when I go to dress them. Just like that group of real girls these girls wear slightly different sizes.

Since I have recently added 3 new girls to my little family I decided it was time to sit down and actually measure all of them. (I didn't include the boys in this little adventure although I probably should measure them too)

I chose one doll from each manufacturer/ line of dolls to compare. I left out one one my American Girl dolls and one of the Our Generation dolls I got the other day.

Included in this little adventure were:

Jazmin (she had another name but I could never remember it) who is a Journey Girl (available at Toys R Us)
Ashley-Rose- from the Our Generation collection (available at Target)- made by the Battat company
Molly – retired American Girl
Jennifer- made by the Madame Alexander company
Kati- from the My Life collection (available at Walmart) made by the Madame Alexander company

I had intended to take more pictures as I did the measuring but my camera battery was almost dead so I got the ones I could.

First I lined all the girls up next to each other in their clothes so we could get an idea of how they look together. 

From left to right: Ashley-Rose, Jennifer, Jazmin, Kati, Molly

Next I fastened my tape measure to my backdrop so I could measure heights of the dolls. They do vary a bit as we could see when they were lined up together. It isn't a lot but in scale it does make the group look nice together. The shortest of these dolls was either Molly or Ashley-Rose; they are very close to 18” even. Tallest at first appeared to be Jazmin but I think that is mostly her hair, I do believe Kati is actually a bit taller if we don't include the puffy hair. 



Next I took off all their clothes so we could see body shape and construction. There is a mix of styles of construction with 3 of the 5 having plastic chests. I haven't decided which of these styles I like better. I do like the finished look of the chest area on these girls when there is a dropped neckline. On the other hand you almost always see the ridge where the cloth body meets the plastic part and on some of the dolls it appears to cave in a bit there.

The body measurements I took were the following:
chest (around the body just under the arms)

waist (around the body approximately half way down- this was where most of them had a tag sewn on)

hip (around the body where the body and legs come together- I tried to make sure I hit the fullest part of the tush.

 thigh (if there was a fuller area that is where I tried to measure)

 inseam (from where the leg attached to the body to the bottom of the foot- on the inside of the leg


 wrist (just like it sounds)

I tried to get these as close as I could without squeezing the soft bodies. Also I only went to the nearest ¼” on these measurements.

For the foot I measured the length from the tip of the toe to the heel. The width across just below where the toes should be or the widest point of the foot. These I measured to the nearest 1/8”.
(Sorry at this point my camera battery was completely dead)

Jazmin (Journey Girl)
    chest 10”
    waist 10”
    hip 10 ½”
    thigh 5 ¼”
    inseam 7”
    wrist 3”
    foot length- 2 ½”
    width 1 1/8”

Ashley-Rose (Our Generation)
    chest 10 ¾”
    waist 11 ¾”
    hip 11 ¼”
    thigh 5 ½”
    inseam 6 ½”
    wrist 3 ¾”
    foot length- 2 ½”
    width 1 3/8”

Molly (American Girl)
    chest 11”
    waist 11”
    hip 12”
    thigh 6”
    inseam 6 ¾”
    wrist 3 ½”
    foot length- 2 ½”
    width 1 3/8”

Jennifer (Madame Alexander)
    chest 10”
    waist 10”
    hip 11”
    thigh 6”
    inseam 7”
    wrist 3 ¼”
    foot length- 2 5/8”
    width 1 3/8”

Kati (My Life)
    chest 11”
    waist 11”
    hip 12”
    thigh 6”
    inseam 7”
    wrist 3 ½”
    foot length- 2 ¾”
    width 1 ¼”

At first glance these measurements don't seem all that different but we have to look at it in scale. In our size an inch one way or the other is not such a big deal. When we are looking at doll size it can get huge. In the scale of these 18” dolls it would be about the same as 3” or 4" on us. A waist that is 3” or 4" too big or too small would certainly look bad on a real person.

I am hoping that you will find this information helpful either in sewing for dolls or if you are looking to pick out a new doll.

Are there more measurements I should have included? Let me know and I could do another post with additional measurements.