A Girl For All Time dolls

Discovering spring flowers

Doll and flowers, the perfect combination.

A doll among the daffodils.

While the eastern half of the United States has been having a long, cold, snowy winter of it, here in the mountains of Northern California it seems almost unfair to be having dry, unnaturally mild weather and a very early spring. It is over 75 degrees outside at the moment! The sun is shining, and we’ve had a March that is more like April or even May. Though I’d rather be getting rain and snow like the rest of the country, I don’t believe in complaining about the weather. A drought does make for ample doll photography opportunities, as well as inviting early spring tea parties out of doors. My girls have been taking advantage of the mild spring to explore our yard and discover early spring flowers.

American Girl Just Like You doll #4  with daffodil

A doll and a flower, the perfect combination!

One of my new dolls that I am most excited about is Umeko Patience, an American Girl Just Like You #4 doll that I rescued from eBay and restored. The #4 doll has a unique face sculpt that American Girl never used for another doll-character. Unfortunately she has been retired for a couple years, and is difficult to find second hand… you might say it takes patience! Umeko Patience has become a very dear doll-friend, and because she is a very springy sort of person, it was most natural to take her outside to see the daffodils. She says yellow is her favorite color!

She looks excellent in Kit's springy colors, too!

She looks excellent in Kit’s springy colors, too!

In the high desert, every flower is a treasure. I often find myself marveling over the miracle of a forsythia bush or a plum tree in blossom which people who live in a milder region might pass without remark. Patience loves the little forsythia we planted in our yard, and visited it when the flowers were first opening:

Yes, almost everything in our yard has a deer cage around it.

Yes, almost everything in our yard has a deer cage around it.

Have you ever looked at a small blossom up close? Patience has.

American Girl Just Like You #4 doll with forsythia

She checked back later in the week, too, when the flowers were more full:

Purple and yellow complement each other so beautifully!

Purple and yellow complement each other so beautifully!

Umeko is a Japanese name meaning “plum blossom child.” We don’t have a plum in our yard, but we do have a lovely little nanking cherry bush, which Patience was charmed by.

American Girl Just Like You doll #4  with cherry

Umeko Patience and flowers just go together!

Julia, my Carpatina doll, was also delighted by the delicate perfection of the cherry blossoms.

Carpatina Julia doll with cherry

This was a grey sky day, rare for us.

They formed a natural background for a portrait of this lovely girl:

Carpatina Julia doll portrait

Her delicate dress, also from Carpatina, suits the flowers.

Julia has such a sweet, compassionate, thoughtful face that I love taking pictures of her. She brings a beautiful diversity to my doll family.

Carpatina Julia doll with forsythia

What is she dreaming about?

Another new doll who is incredibly photogenic is Verity, my A Girl For All Time Lydia doll.

A Girl For All Time Lydia doll with daffodil

Verity showing just how poised and elegant a doll can be.

Her delicate features, winter coloring, and earnest expression make her a natural in front of the camera. She, too, was delighted by the daffodils.

A Girl For All Time Lydia doll with daffodil

How fun it would be to be sixteen inches tall, and see flowers as big as your head!

She loved the sweet fragrance.

A Girl For All Time Lydia doll with daffodil

Two beauties.

And speaking of sweet fragrances, our tiny hyacinths were a magnet for Verity. She particularly loved the white hyacinth.

A Girl For All Time Lydia doll with hyacinth

It matches her riding ensemble!

The pure white flowers captivated her, and she captivated me.

Verity

Verity

And just because she’s lovely, here’s a picture of Verity with the forsythia:

A Girl For All Time Lydia doll

Such an intelligent, earnest face.

A couple weekends ago, Umeko Patience and Violette took a drive up north with us to a college town to see the spring flowers there. It turned out to be one of our rare rainy days, so I didn’t get as many photographs as I had planned, but here it is wise to never complain about the rain! Before the clouds had quite dropped down, Patience discovered this cluster of daffodils:

American Girl Just Like You #4 doll with daffodils

And that’s American Girl of the Year Grace’s adorable travel coat, by the way, looking smashing on Patience.

I simply can’t get over how sprightly and charming this adorable doll is!

American Girl Just Like You #4 doll with daffodils

Maybe it’s because I restored her myself, but she is just brimming with personality!

But speaking of charming, Violette asked to climb a tree covered with catkins.

She's a good tree climber!

She’s a good tree climber!

She also found her namesake in the botanical gardens.

Schildkroet blond doll with violets

Violette’s favorite flower… and one of mine, too!

By then it was really beginning to rain, so I had to put the dolls away.

Dolls and spring flowers are two things that make my heart smile with gratitude. How about you?

The new dolls tea party

It was a lovely workday evening in early spring, and Ali was eager to take a break from chores. She asked the dolls if they would like to have a tea party on the back patio, and they happily agreed. Emily, one of the newest family members, was nominated by group consent as “Queen Mum,” both as a token of respect for her stature as the tallest doll in the family, and as a gentle pun on her identity as a Paola Reina “Las Reinas” (“queens”) doll. The dolls agreed that this party was to be attended by all the newest dolls in the collection, to help Ali get to know them better. The blankets were quickly spread, the tea was brewed, and the dolls arrived.

Dolls tea party

Emily poured out. She had arrived only a few days before, along with Beatrix. The other dolls were at first awed by her beauty and majestic stature and the fact that she came express all the way from the United Kingdom! Their awe was soon transformed to affection when they observed the extreme sweetness and graciousness of her manners. They all felt her English accent was charming.

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll, Pleasant Company Felicity doll

The conversation was diffuse as the girls sipped their hot tea (white peach!). With gentle poise, Emily offered gingersnaps and graham cookies, and then turned to Caoimhe. “May I refresh your cup?”

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

Caoimhe had a name everyone could pronounce (KEE-va) but hardly anyone could spell! She had arrived on St. Patrick’s day, so Ali had chosen a true Irish name for her. Heather the JellyCat pup sat patiently between Emily and Caoimhe, hoping for a cookie! When any of the dolls looked her way, her tail began wagging, but she stayed quietly seated.

Beatrix, the other brand new doll, sampled her gingersnap. She had made the trip with Emily from London, and she too spoke with an English accent.

Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie 2012 doll

“These gingersnaps are delicious!”

Beatrix loved gardening, and she was particularly excited to come live in a place so full of nature.

Meanwhile, Georgette tuned to Mary. “May I please pet your lamb?”

Kidz 'n Cats Tinka doll and Anne doll

“Of course!”

Georgette was so excited to touch the lamb’s soft wool, that she accidentally upset her tea cup. She surveyed the mess with distress.

Kidz 'n Cats Anne doll

She blushed. “I’ve spilled my tea!”

“Never mind,” said Emily kindly. “Here’s a napkin. Please pass her cup, Melinda, and I’ll pour her a new one.”

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll, Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

After passing the cup, Melinda turned to Matilda, who was rather quiet and a bit shy.

“Have you heard that two new dolls are on their way?”

A Girl For All Time Matilda doll and Pleasant Company Felicity doll

“Yes, indeed! I heard it from Ali. A Gotz doll and a Schildkroet doll, isn’t that right?”

“Yes! I’m so looking forward to meeting them both.” Melinda had recently retired from a career as a model  for a doll clothes retailer, and so was particularly happy to be living in a family with lots of sisters to visit with. “That’s such a pretty dress, Matilda,” Melinda added. “It suits you so well.”

“Thank you. It is handmade and came all the way from a dressmaker in Singapore!”

Caoimhe suddenly spoke up. “Do you see that tree over there?”

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

“Where?” they all asked together.

“Over there.”

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

“Isn’t it beautiful? I think it’s a plum.”

“I see it,” said Emily. “It is lovely.”

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

“Isn’t April the most beautiful month?” said Mary to Georgette. Mary was not very talkative, but perfectly friendly once you got to know her, and rather thoughtful. Meanwhile her lamb, feeling a little frisky, was trying to reach Mary’s cup of tea.

Kidz 'n Cats Mary doll and Anne doll

Melinda turned to Beatrix. “What a nice bag!”

Pleasant Company Felicity doll and Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll

“Thanks! It came with my outfit. It is nice, isn’t it?”

Dusk was coming on and all the dolls knew it was just about time to go in. They finished their tea and cookies and admired the evening light settling on the pines. Heather the pup was resting in Caoimhe’s lap.

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll and JellyCat Heather Blossom pup

“Time to clear up!” Emily said at last. “Let’s have another party when the new dolls arrive, shall we?”

“Definitely!” the girls agreed, and set to clearing up the cups and plates.

“There’s nothing quite as lovely as an afternoon tea party in spring,” said Mary to Matilda, who shared her interest in literature. “It reminds me of that beautiful passage in The Secret Garden when Mary and Dickon take Colin into the garden for the first time, and they have tea under the blossoming plum tree. I always love to imagine that scene.”


Emily is a Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll; Beatrix is a Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie 2012 doll; Melinda is a very special original Pleasant Company Felicity doll; Georgette is a Kidz ‘n Cats Anne doll; Mary is a Kidz ‘n Cats Tinka doll; Caoimhe is a Kidz ‘n Cats Rieke doll; Matilda is from the doll line A Girl For All Time; Heather is a JellyCat Heather Blossom pup. Matilda’s dress was made by Swish and Swirl, and purchased on Etsy.com.