Monthly Archive: August 2014

Natalie’s Notebook: Washington Trip, Part 3… the AG Store, Seattle!

Hi Friends!

I’m back! I get to tell you all about where we went and what we did on our Washington trip when we got to Seattle! Well, I gave you a hint last week… and here’s where we went first!

American Girl Store Seattle

Yay! You know what’s inside, right???

Oh boy! Not only did my mom and dad go to the American Girl Store first thing after we arrived on the east side of the Puget Sound, but they took me along! I actually got to go inside! Oh boy! I was just about jumping out of the bag Ali carried me in! I’ve heard all about how exciting and fun the American Girl stores are from Ali and from some of my doll-friends who have been there (Zelie, Ashleigh, Amy and Marie). Well, everything they said was completely true! It’s the most fun place I can imagine! We spent a couple of hours looking at every single thing in the store. I loved it all. I can’t even decide which I liked better: the historical displays or the modern ones. The historical ones are really interesting, because you can learn about what girls dressed like and what kinds of things they had in their homes a long time ago. But the modern displays are so bright and fun, and they make me want to play! And guess what? We even got to choose new friends to bring home with us! Ali adopted Ivy, because she is being discontinued (how sad!) and Paulina was on a special lookout for a friend of her own: My AG #23.

American Girl doll Josefina looking at #23

It was hard to choose, because every doll is so special, but Paulina finally settled on just the right #23 for us! Yay! I love new friends, don’t you?

This was my favorite store display: the beach cabana!

Via E Alexis doll at American Girl Store Seattle 2

Oi! (That’s Portugese for “Hello!”)

It made me feel so happy and summery. All the doll-models in the store are really nice, and they’re not shy at all! It was so much fun looking around and choosing friends that we kind of forgot to take pictures to share with you! Well, eventually we had to go, so we could have a New Doll Opening Party in our motel room. But guess what? Ali made a reservation for us to have lunch in the American Girl Bistro the next day!

Back at the motel, we had a great time welcoming our new doll-friends.

New American Girl dolls in box

Paulina introduced Catherine Anne Sophia to our family and told her all about where we had been on our trip so far.

American Girl doll Josefina and #23 2

Catherine’s hair came out of the hair-net a bit wild, so we all decided she would enjoy a visit to the American Girl Doll Salon the next day while we had lunch.

American Girl doll Josefina and My AG #23

We all admired Idina Lee. She’s so pretty and cute and perky! She’s really funny too, and I could tell right away we were going to be good friends.

American Girl Ivy doll in box

Of course I couldn’t wait for our special lunch at the Bistro the next day! Paulina, Idina and I got to sit at the table with Ali and Dave in special doll-chairs, while Catherine had her hair fixed at the Salon. It was so much fun!

Via E Alexis doll at American Girl bistro with friends

The room was full of little girls with their dolls, having parties and talking and laughing. But there were some grown-ups too! I was glad I changed into my prettiest dress for the occasion. The waitress even gave us our own doll-sized tea cups!

Via E Alexis doll at American Girl Bistro 1

Ali and Dave had a nummy lunch, and then we picked up Catherine at the Salon and went out to do some local sightseeing. We drove to the Seattle Center, which is this really big park near downtown Seattle, where there are all sorts of interesting things to do and see. There are gardens, theatres, museums, art exhibits, sculptures, and even a giant water fountain where children were splashing around and playing.

Fountain, Seattle Center, WA

It’s kind of like a county fair! In fact, the World’s Fair was held here in 1962. That’s what the Space Needle was built for:

Seattle Space Needle

It’s a really tall tower (605 feet!) with an observation deck and even a restaurant near the top! I think it looks like a UFO. Don’t you think it would be fun to eat there someday? Ali and Dave couldn’t go up this time because they had Jessie the Pug with them. But they did take the historic Monorail to downtown Seattle and back!

Seattle Center Monorail sign

Even in downtown Seattle there are baskets of flowers hanging from the lamp posts:

Seattle flower baskets 1

These flowers were hanging right outside the monorail station:

Seattle flower baskets 2

Aren’t they amazing? One of my favorite things at the Seattle Center was the poem garden. Pieces of poems were actually engraved right on large granite stones:

Poem on stone

After exploring the Seattle Center for a while, we headed over to the world famous Pike Street market. Unfortunately, by the time we found parking, the market was closing up! But Ali and Dave did get to look around another neat yarn store. Then it was time to head back to our motel after another busy day!

The next day was Thursday, and we had to leave the Seattle area and drive south to see more of the Puget Sound area. Before we did, guess where we went one last time??? That’s right! Back to the AG Store! We just couldn’t leave without stopping there one last time. And we’re so glad we did, because guess what we discovered had been put out that very morning?

American Girl doll My AG #61 2

A new doll! Ali was so excited because My AG #61 actually has red hair! So she just had to bring her along with us!

American Girl doll My AG #61 1

That meant we got to have yet another Doll Opening Party that night when we got to our motel room in Tacoma! But first, we stopped along the way to see the beach.

Bracket's Landing, Edmonds, WA 2

The beach we visited is called Bracket’s Landing, and it’s the site of an underwater park–a protected underwater area where divers can explore interpreted paths and see kelp forests. Isn’t that cool? We even saw two divers walk right into the water and disappear. I wish I could go diving and see all the amazing creatures under the water. But it was beautiful above the waves too.

Bracket's Landing, Edmonds, WA 1

Ali and Dave had a picnic lunch and enjoyed the cool summer air and breeze, watching the ferry boats load cars at the dock.

Bracket's Landing, Edmonds, WA 3

There was a sign that told all about the dangers that are hurting the Puget Sound:

Puget Sound sign

I’m really interested in conservation! Did you know that rainwater runoff is one of the biggest pollutants to the Puget Sound? The rain water runs off the streets and parking lots and carries pollutants with it into the ocean. Did you know that planting a “rain garden” is one way you can help stop the pollution? I like the sound of a rain garden. Here at home we have deer-proof desert gardens!

When we finally got to Tacoma, we were excited to welcome our newest doll-friend. But first we had to carry the bags all the way up to the 7th floor of the motel. This was the view from our window:

View from 7th floor, La Quinta, Tacoma, WA

It kind of made my knees feel funny looking down so far! Zinnia was so happy to come out of her box and join us dolls:

American girl dolls on motel bed 1

Yay! There’s nothing I like better than just hanging out with my friends!

Doll collection on chair

Here we all are! From left to right, in the back row that’s Idina Lee, Sharon Lilyanne, me (Natalie Alexis), Jade Sabrina Dianne, and Zinnia! In the front are Paulina Clementina, Kisa Violetta, and Catherine Anne Sophia. Ali says the car was much more crowded on our way home from Seattle than on our way there!

We saw lots more interesting things when we explored the Kitsap Penninsula on Friday. I’ll have to tell you all about them next time! Until then, love and hugs, your friend

Natalie Alexis

“About the dolls” update: Photos added!

my doll collection on shelves

My (almost) current doll collection on the shelves.

Hello Friends!

Do you ever get so busy that you sort of forget about the things you love? You know, the things that express your creativity and make you sparkle? It’s been that way around here for the last month or so, as I’ve been working to balance my skating practice with all my other duties and interests. But Natalie Alexis kept nudging me to get back to work on A Doll’s Picnic, and finally with her inspiration I’ve jumped back in, and I’m so glad. This afternoon I’ve had so much fun photographing several of my dolls and adding portraits to the doll bios on the “About the Dolls” page. Please feel welcome to take a look and see all their adorable faces! Every doll in my current collection now has a photo up on A Doll’s Picnic. Eventually I plan to post pictures of my teddy bears and soft toys too, but that’s a project for another day. I’ll continue to add to their likes and interests in the weeks and months ahead. 🙂

It was so fun to spend time in the garden with my camera, remembering how special these precious and delightful imagination-friends are. I especially enjoyed photographing Tasha, my Maru and Friends Jamie doll, and Alejandra, my Karito Kids Pita doll. They were each so photogenic, and their taller height and elegant proportions harmonized so beautifully with the garden (wild and unkempt as it is).

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rose 1Jamie enchanted me with her ability to lean forward and grasp a rose bud. Her hip joints make her very poseable, and even with her small feet, she balances pretty well on uneven surfaces.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rose 2Her dress is so adorable and gardeny, too. 🙂

But I was especially astonished by the beauty of Alejandra! She poses so naturally that it is like taking pictures of a real girl.

Karito Kids Pita doll with sweet peaShe found a volunteer sweet pea that came up from last year’s seeds among the strawberries and wild dill. I love how she can hold flower stems in her beautiful hands.

Karito Kids Pita doll next to sage flowers 1She was also excited about the sage that has flourished in an old wine-barrel, within the protection of the fenced vegetable garden. She said it reminds her of Mexico! She reminded me of a beautiful Aztec or Native American princess!

Karito Kids Pita doll next to sage flowers 2Wow.

Karito Kids Pita doll next to sage flowers 3I love how her tilting head joint and lovely neck and shoulder area help her pose so naturally.

Karito Kids Pita doll next to sage flowers 4What an incredible doll. I am so glad I found her on Ebay brand-new in box, at her original price! I wish these dolls had never been discontinued.

Every time I make time to slow down and play quietly with my dolls, I fall in love with them all over again. Thanks for your patience during my break from blogging, and I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Natalie’s Notebook: Summer Adventures and Washington Trip, Part 2 (updated!)

Alexis in sunglasses

It’s summertime!

Hello Friends! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I’m so sorry! I’ve been so busy enjoying summertime, and Ali’s been so busy with her skating practice, that we haven’t had time to work on A Doll’s Picnic in a long time. But we plan to do a lot more writing in the weeks to come, I promise! First of all, I never finished telling you about our trip to Washington! But before I do, I have some news! Guess what?! I have a new name! Here it is: Natalie Alexis Christine. Do you like it? You can call me Nattie for short, as long as you promise not to call me “Tallie” (it sounds too much like Ali). I love my new name, and I love Ali for giving it to me. She says besides just being a pretty name, Natalie is also the name of a writer she admires: Natalie Goldberg. How cool is that? Anyway, here are some summer pictures of me at Lake Siskiyou at the beginning of July. Alexis at the lake 1 Alexis at the lake 2 Alexis at the lake 3 Alexis at the lake 4 I had a great time exploring an old weathered tree stump that was on the shore and looking out at the lake. I didn’t go swimming that day though… it was pretty late in the afternoon and Ali said the water was awfully cold! I did get to go swimming for the first time last weekend though! The lake water was still cold but very refreshing on a hot afternoon, and I enjoyed floating on my back and playing with my new beach ball. I have a new bathing suit, too! I don’t have any pictures yet, but next time we go I’ll be sure to take some, okay? It was really fun to get in the water with Ali and Dave. Ali made sure to dry me off very thoroughly afterwards, and the next morning she washed and conditioned my hair. I felt like I was in a salon! So, back to Washington! I still have so many pictures and adventures to share! Remember we drove north along the Puget Sound after leaving South Bend? Well, we arrived that afternoon in a beautiful little town called Port Townsend, which is on the very northeastern tip of the Olympic Penninsula. I thought it was such a lovely place! We got to stay for two nights in a gorgeous bed and breakfast called The Old Consulate Inn, which is a beautiful Victorian house built in 1890!

Old Consulate Inn Sign, Port Townsend, WA

What a great view!

Here’s what it looked like on the outside: Old Consulate Inn Bed & Breakfast, Port Townsend, WA It is on the top of a hill just across from the old county courthouse. Washington has the most amazing historical courthouses! They’re really grand. Anyway, we could hear the clock bell ringing every quarter hour. County Courthouse, Port Townsend, WA The Old Consulate Inn has three stories and a wrap-around porch! We had a room on the second floor called “The Rose Room.” We could just see the harbor from one of the windows:

View from window

This old Victorian house was next door. That spikey metal railing on top is called a “widow’s peak” (it kind of gives me chills).

There was also a claw-foot bathtub, beautiful old-fashioned furniture, and a cozy study nook: Rose Room in Old Consulate Inn Us dolls felt at home right away!

Via E Alexis doll with friends 2

Home sweet home.

I loved the wood staircase, and all the old Victorian decorations. I especially loved that there were books on the bedside table and a whole library downstairs! The proprietors must love to read, just like me!

We enjoyed exploring Port Townsend that evening and the next day. There are a lot of old houses and buildings there, like this one in the downtown: Victorian building, Port Townsend, WA It’s a really pretty and interesting downtown. There are tons of art galleries, restaurants, several bookstores, an art-supply store, a toy store, and even a yarn store! I saw this pretty sweater on a tree in front of the yarn store: yarn bomb tree Ali says this is called “yarn bombing.” Isn’t that funny?

We saw lots more flowers! I love how people plant them in baskets or window boxes right outside the shops and along the sidewalks. I think Washington has more flowers than anywhere else in the world!

pink fuchsias

These fuchsias are also called “dancing ladies”!

But I think what I loved best of all was the beautiful harbor and the view of the Puget Sound. Port Townsend, WA wharf

Port Townsend, WA

This is what downtown Port Townsend looks like from the dock.

sail boat anchored at Port Townsend, WA

Doesn’t this look like a painting?

There’s way more to explore in Port Townsend and the Olympic penninsula than we could see in only one and a half days, but we saw enough to know it’s a beautiful place we’d like to go back to sometime. It was a little sad to have to leave so soon, but on Tuesday morning we were eager to take the ferry across the Puget Sound to the Seattle side for more adventures. Us dolls were super excited about the ferry ride, because these boats aren’t just for people, they’re for cars too! They’re like big, floating parking lots: you drive your car right onto them, and they take you right across the water to wherever you need to go!

Ferry dock

At the ferry dock the road goes right into the water!

We watched eagerly as our ferry approached the dock. Ferry boat 3 It docked right in front of the road, and we watched the load of cars and trucks drive off.

Ferry boat 1

See the truck? That’s a big boat!

Then, finally, we got to drive on! We were so excited! It felt really weird to park on a boat!

Via E Alexis doll, Maplelea doll Jenna, Vestida De Azul doll Paulina

Jade and Kisa were as excited as I was!

The ferry ride was really smooth and comfortable. Except for the slight tippy feeling, you would hardly know you were in the middle of the water. We actually got to take two ferries: the first one took us across to Whidbey Island, which is located right in the middle of the Puget Sound, and is the largest island in Washington. Whidbey Island sign, WA I liked it a lot. There were lots of tall evergreen forests and open grasslands and meadows. We stopped to see a really cute little town called Coupeville, where Ali and Dave took a little walk along the shore and saw these flowers: White flowers Whidbey Island Then we drove south down the island to the next ferry terminal, which took us across to the mainland. We checked into our motel room in Everett, which is just 25 miles north of Seattle. After all the excitement and traveling, we were glad to have a little relaxing time in our room. And then… guess where we went that evening??? I’ll give you a hint:

American Girl Store, Seattle, WA sign

Oh boy, oh boy!

That’s all for now! I’ll tell you all about it next time! Love, your friend Natalie Alexis