Monthly Archive: March 2015

Dresses for Spring: Part 1

With pear trees and daffodils blooming and Easter on its way, my girls have been begging me to share with you some new spring dresses that have made their way to A Doll’s Picnic from American Girl, The Dollies’ Dressmaker, and creative souls on Etsy. Spring seems to invite newness and change. The fact is, I’m often too occupied with collecting dolls to be able to fill out their wardrobes, so my girls are especially pleased with their fresh new fashions. First off this week, I’d like to share Roberta’s new frock from The Dollies’ Dressmaker:

American Girl Molly doll in plaid dress

The moment I saw this dress on her website, I knew it had to be in my collection. I love plaid, and I love square collars, and the moment I saw this dress I thought of the Anne of Green Gables films I watched growing up. Even though The Dollies’ Dressmaker made this as part of her Samantha collection, after holding it up to all my girls, it looked most stunning on Roberta, my new-used Molly doll from eBay. Roberta loves the soft grey-green-blue plaid, and the ruffly cream-colored collar as much as I do.

American Girl Molly doll in plaid dress

The difficult-to-define color of the light cotton fabric sets off her soft grey eyes, and the sprightly plaid fits her perkiness while hinting of her Scottish background. The collar adds contrast and softness as well as romance.

American Girl Molly doll in plaid dress

I can’t get over this exquisite collar! I love the square shape, which reminds me of nautical-style middy collars, and I adore the ruffles, which suit the simplicity and femininity of the dress design.

American Girl Molly doll in plaid dress

The dress closes neatly up the back with Velcro, which is not a problem for my girls.

American Girl Molly doll in plaid dress

The Dollies’ Dressmaker has been a favorite shop for doll fashions for my historical girls for years. Her dresses are all handmade by herself, and are tasteful and appropriate. The prices vary somewhat but I can often find something to fit my budget. Her work is always exquisitely neat and perfectly finished. Every time I’ve tried to make a dress of my own, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the neatness of her work–the squareness and straightness of her seam allowances and stitching, especially along the collars and back closures. This particular dress is my favorite purchase from her so far. It is simple, soft perfection, and comes to life on my Molly doll (though several of my other girls would also love to try it on!). I highly recommend her shop!

Happy Spring!

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?

A Sister for Gaby

These last few months my doll collection has gone through quite an overhaul, as I’ve let go of quite a few dolls I haven’t bonded with and found new girls to take their places. As a matter of fact, as those who know me will tell you, my collection is always a dynamic one, constantly changing with my latest interests. It’s been this way pretty much since the very beginning of my collecting, and I’m learning not to fight it. I often use the sale of dolls I’m no longer interested in as a means by which to purchase those I am. However, my goal is always the same: to have a group of dolls that is diverse enough to satisfy the collector in me, but personal enough to inspire my imagination. In short, I can’t help loving many different dolls, but I truly want to have only those dolls that not only make me admire them, but inspire me to play. I feel like this new year is off to a good start! I’m looking forward to sharing my latest doll-loves with you in the weeks ahead.

The first new member of our dolly-household that I’d like to introduce to you came kind of on impulse, when I found out that she, along with her two sisters, was being discontinued by the company. The jointed, 17-inch Schildkroet dolls have only been around since 2013, which means they’ve only just made their debut. Sadly, they are being dropped from the Schildkroet line (so if you want one, now is the time to nab her before they disappear!). I purchased my first Schildkroet doll, the perky red-head who I’ve named Gaby, from the wonderful UK doll shop My Doll Best Friend last spring; you can read the review I wrote about her here. I usually don’t respond to blond/blue-eyed dolls… but of her two sisters, it was the precious blond and not the lively brunette that called to me from across the seas. My Doll Best Friend was having an awesome deal where if you buy a Schildkroet doll with an outfit you receive a second outfit free, so… you know what happened, right? Gaby and I waited on pins and needles for her little sister to arrive. And one evening, when I got home from the rink, a box wrapped in pink was waiting for me! Joy! (Forgive us for the funky lighting in the pictures–it was after dark when we opened her, because we simply couldn’t wait ’till morning!). Without further ado, Gaby would like to share with you the excitement of greeting her new sister!

A box! And we recognize the pink wrapping, don’t we, Gaby?

What could possibly be in there, Gaby?

What could possibly be in there, Gaby?

Better read the label though, to be sure…

From London? Are you sure?

From London? Are you sure?

What’s that you say? Your sister? She’s here?!

Schildkroet doll with box

Hurry, get the knife! Let’s open her up!

Inside, we found the wonderful sturdy cardboard Schildkroet box with the little blue turtle logo design. (I always feel like a doll’s box does a lot to enhance the doll, and I just love these simple boxes! They seem to promise a sturdy, old-fashioned, heirloom treasure just waiting to be revealed!).

It looks just like my box did!

It looks just like my box did!

Open it, Gaby!

Schildkroet doll with box

We’re holding our breath…

(Maxine at My Doll Best Friend always does such a nice packing job. The outfits were carefully wrapped and everything was snuggly packed as efficiently as possible for overseas shipping).

Blond hair??? Really?

Blond hair??? Really?

We lifted off the tissue paper…

Schildkroet doll with box

And there she was!

Et voila!

Et voila!

Gaby was so excited!

I have a sister!!!

I have a sister!!!

She appeared to be sweetly sleeping, which is the best way to travel in a box overseas…

Dreaming...

Dreaming…

At first Gaby seemed reluctant to wake her up…

Wake her up, Gaby!

Wake her up, Gaby!

But finally we could wait any longer! It was a little awkward just at first, as Violette seemed a bit shy…

Schildkroet doll meets sister

It’s probably just the long journey, Gaby.

Gaby admired Violette’s puppy-dog toy.

That's a nice puppy, Violette.

That’s a nice puppy, Violette.

This helped thaw the momentary ice…

Look at those faces!

Well, hello there Violette! Welcome to A Doll’s Picnic!

She asked to hold the puppy…

He's so cute! May I hold him?

He’s so cute! May I hold him?

And so we soon found that Violette is very good at sharing!

Why, of course!

Why, of course!

Mutual interests secure affection…

Schildkroet doll meets sister

He’s so sweet!

And before we knew it, they were friends!

Friends already!

Friends already!

Now that Violette was feeling less shy and more at home, I could take a good look at her.

I must say, there is a strong family resemblance.

I must say, there is a strong family resemblance.

The result of my reverie? Need I say?

We're in love!

We’re in love!

These dolls are the dearest, sweetest, cutest, most adorable, most charming slim-bodied dolls ever. Period. Can’t you tell???

It's so good to meet you at last!

It’s so good to meet you at last!

Now I want all three.

Welcome home, sis!

Welcome home, sis!

I mean, if twins are this adorable, what would it be like with triplets?

Tell me all about yourself...

Tell me all about yourself…

Happy Spring, from A Doll’s Picnic!

Friends forever!

Friends forever!