Tag Archive: American Girl

A Halloween Story, Part 2: The Costume Party

The girls at A Doll’s Picnic have worked very hard on their costumes this week! It’s quite a project to find enough costumes to cover 20+ dolls, but they got creative and did their best. They’d like me to show them off to you, so here you go:

Category #1: Global Girls

Dolls dress up

From left to right, Augustine is dressed as a southern belle; Idina is dressed as a Chinese maiden; Rain is dressed as a Poynesian princess; and Jade and Tabitha are dressed as Scottish school girls.

Category #2: Storybook Characters

American Girl dolls dress up

Left to right, Fanny and Maribel are dressed up as Anne of Green Gables and her bosom friend Diana Barry; Melita is dressed as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; Megan is dressed as Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden; and Marie is dressed as Laura Ingalls from The Little House in the Big Woods.

Category #3: Vocations

American Girl dolls dress up 2

Left to right, Amy is dressed as an artist; Jane is dressed as Ginger Rogers, the professional dancer/singer in Follow the Fleet; Grania is dressed as a ballerina; and Bethy is dressed as a hobo.

Category #4: Fairytale and Fantasy

Dolls in costumes

Left to right, Amanda is dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood; Muirrean is dressed as a fairy; Sharon is dressed as a pirate; Matilda is dressed as a lady at a masquerade ball; and Phyllis is dressed as Jane Bennet of Pride and Prejudice.

Category #5: Miscellaneous

Dolls dress up 2

Left to right, Alejandra is showing off her pretty party dress; Natalie is sporting the American Girl “Spooky Fun” outfit with a homemade mask; Caoimhe says she is an acrobat with her performing kitty; and Tasha doesn’t have a costume but gets the prize for cutest pajamas. 🙂

And last, but not least, Category #6: Scary!

Schildkroet doll mummy costume 1

Gaby is a mummy! We’ve never seen one quite so cute…

Schildkroet doll mummy costume 2

…Or with such a lot of red hair!

As for the costume party, it was a success. After all their hard work, the girls were happy to relax and hang out together. Gaby went straight for the goodies. I guess it’s pretty demanding being a mummy.

Schildkroet doll with treats 1

Natalie went over to make sure Gaby didn’t take all the brownies. That’s Melita being gorgeous in the background, by the way.

Schildkroet doll Via E Alexis doll treats 2

Grania spotted the parrot.

My American Girl doll #45 parrot

She tried to get him to talk to her, but he was ignoring her.

A Girl For All Time Matilda ball gown 1

“Come on, Grania,” said Matilda. “Let’s go get some punch before it’s all gone.”

My American Girl doll #45 A Girl For All Time Matilda

Fanny, who longs to travel the world, asked Amanda all about Australia.

Australian Girl Amy American Girl Felicity 1

Bethy chatted with Marie about what life was like for girls in the old days.

“They didn’t even have heaters!” exclaimed Marie. “Can you imagine those long winters?”

“No,” said Bethy. “It would be bad enough hopping from freight to freight, never knowing when you’ll have your next meal.”

American Girl doll Kit dress up

Amy entertained her friends by imagining what she might do if the next American Girl of the Year is not a Person of Color.

American Girl dolls on bed

But what was that? It sounded like the doorbell. Who was there? The girls peeked outside and caught a glimpse of fluttering wings and sparkles.

Carpatina Erin fairy 1

Who could it be? They opened the door, and there stood a magnificent fairy!

Carpatina Erin fairy 3

“My name is Muirrean. May I join your party?”

The girls oohed and ahhed over Muirrean’s lovely costume.

Carpatina Erin fairy costume detail

The details were exquisite!

Carpatina Erin fairy costume detail 2

They adored the flower in her hair.

Carpatina Erin fairy costume detail 5

“Come on in!” They eagerly welcomed Muirrean into the party.

American Girl doll Felicity A Girl For All Time Matilda costumes

Fanny, considering herself to be the senior lady of A Doll’s Picnic, shook Muirrean’s hand and introduced her to everyone.

Carpatina Erin American Girl doll Felicity

Muirrean looked around. So many friendly faces!

dolls dress up

She knew she was going to feel right at home.

Dolls in costumes

Happy Halloween from A Doll’s Picnic!


Okay, group photos are not my forte! Please forgive the cluttered background and funky lighting. I hope you enjoyed my dolls and their costumes. No, this is not my entire doll collection. 🙂

 

A Halloween Story, Part 1: The Pumpkin Patch

It was a cool, partly cloudy October afternoon. With less than a week left before Halloween, the local pumpkin patch was full of girls looking for the last-minute pumpkin. There weren’t many left to choose among so late in the month!

Dolls in pumpkin patch 4

This makes the search easier, of course, but it still can seem overwhelming just at first. How to know which pumpkin is the right one?

Jade was wise. She knew that finding the right pumpkin is not so much a matter of finding the “perfect” one as letting a pumpkin call to her. She wandered around happily, enjoying the crinkly crunch of the dead vines underfoot, the sound of her friend’s voices carried on the breeze, and the cool whiffs of autumn in the air.

Dolls in pumpkin patch 2

Gaby walked slowly through the patch, her eyes catching every spot of orange among the green and brown leaves. She didn’t want to miss anything!

Dolls in pumpkin patch 3

But what was this?

Schildkroet red-head doll pumpkin patch

It looked like the perfect one! Gaby carefully picked up the pumpkin with both hands, not using the stem. She knew (as all good girls know) that a broken stem can leave a pumpkin homeless and unwanted.

Schildkroet red-head doll pumpkin

She examined it all over: no soft spots anywhere. It was nice and round and not too big. Perfect!

Schildkroet red-head doll pumpkin 3

Yep! This was it, she was sure!

Her other friends were still searching. Tabitha had caught sight of a pumpkin that just might be the right one: large and very round, just the way she liked. Perfect for carving!

Bonnie and Pearl doll pumpkin patch

But Jane took her time. She stood in one spot, raking the patch with her eyes. She took picking out a pumpkin pretty seriously. “It’s fate,” she had explained to her friends the night before. “Like falling in love. You can’t rush it. It’s important to feel sure.”

My American Girl doll #53 pumpkin patch

Finally, her eyes settled on a spot of orange in the corner. She called Gaby over.

My American Girl doll #53 Schildkroet doll

“It think this is my pumpkin. See, it was over here all by itself. Poor thing! It’s been waiting for me all this time!”

Meanwhile, Rain, Natalie and Jade had gathered together in the other corner of the patch.

My American Girl doll #11 Maplelea Jenna doll

“Look at this one!” said Rain. “It’s huge!”

“And what a beautiful color!” added Natalie.

“I love those bumpy ridges,” said Jade. “That’s my favorite kind of pumpkin.”

doll sized pumpkin

“It’s too big, though,” said Rain. “I don’t think we can pick it up.”

“Sure we can!” said Jade. “We just need more help!” Jade called Tabitha over.

Bonnie and Pearl doll in coat

“That is quite a pumpkin,” said Tabitha in her quiet Welsh accent.

“Will you help us carry it?” asked Natalie. “It would be perfect for our party!”

Maplelea Jenna doll and friends around pumpkin

Sure enough, the four girls were able to carry the pumpkin together. They brought it over to the scales at the edge of the patch.

“What’s this one?” asked Jade.

Via E Alexis doll Maplelea Jenna doll

“It’s my pumpkin,” said Natalie. “Isn’t it such a pretty color? Look, it has stripes!”

Tabitha and Jane compared their pumpkins. They had both chosen smooth round ones.

My American Girl doll #53 Bonnie Pearl doll

“It’s funny how pumpkins make us feel happy,” said Natalie, when everyone was gathered together. “Why do you think that is?”

American Girl dolls Via E Alexis doll

“Because they’re so nice and round,” said Tabitha promptly.

“Because they’re nice to hold,” said Gaby.

“Because they need us. Because we’re meant to be together.” said Jane.

“I think it’s because they’re orange! Orange is a happy color!” said Rain. She shivered. It was getting on toward dusk, and her favorite orange skirt wasn’t very warm.

My American Girl dolls #53 #11

“Let’s bring our pumpkins home and show Ali!” she said. “Then we can wash them and start setting up for our party!”

To be continued….


Photos were taken in our vegetable patch. Jade is a Maplelea Jenna doll; Gaby is a red-headed Schildkroet doll; Jane is a My American Girl #53 doll; Rain is an American Girl Just Like You #11 doll; Natalie is a Via E Alexis doll; Tabitha is a Bonnie and Pearl doll.

 

American Girl Beforever debut!

It's here!

It’s here!

Barely two weeks have passed since American Girl officially debuted its renovated historical line, and Beforever is firmly established as a phrase and a fact in the world of AG fandom. I have to admit that I didn’t much pay attention to the word or the coming alterations before August 27th. I love American Girl dolls, but I don’t feel deeply attached to Mattel or particular interest in their marketing moves. When I came home from a hard day of skating practice last Wednesday evening, however, and idly logged on to the American Girl Playthings website to pass the time until hubby got home, I couldn’t help getting caught up in the pre-release excitement as the clock ticked down to the big reveal on American Girl’s website (thank goodness it was 10 o’clock Pacific time!). I had some mixed feelings about what I saw when the moment finally came, but overall I was positively impressed with the changes and updates to the historical line. The bright colors and patterns, the new details (like the new character silhouettes above) and the overall presentation were very attractive and inviting. That weekend I had the opportunity to travel down to the Bay Area with my husband, and I found myself totally excited about getting to go see the debut in person at the American Girl Bay Area store! I was anxious to grab Rebecca’s new Meet outfit (if still available) and especially to see the Beforever Kits and Samanthas in person. Well, I went (3 visits: first to scope things out around noon on Sunday; second to go back that afternoon after picking up my sister in the City; and third a last visit with my husband before driving home Monday morning). One single Rebecca Meet outfit was waiting for me on the shelf (a minor miracle!); I had a blast looking through all the Samanthas with my sister and finally picking out the perfect one for me; and had another blast looking through all the Kits with my husband and picking her out too! Many other and better blogs have already shared pictures of all the Beforever newness and changes, so I just wanted to share a couple of the things I really like about how American Girl is presenting their renewed historical line: the new character silhouettes and mottos!

I always loved the original Pleasant Company character silhouettes (I guess I just like silhouettes, though it’s hard to spell), but I have to say, I ADORE the new ones! Each girl gets a unique tracing of her unique profile and hairdo decorated with swirls and stars and character-appropriate flowers. So artistic and pretty! I loved trying to choose which I liked best. But I also like how AG is giving each girl a “motto” too, a sort of sum-up of her driving motivation. These mottos are on each character’s page on the AG website, but in the store they’re even nicer. Please forgive the funky lighting; I was too excited to remember to set my camera on “flourescent.” So without further ado:

American Girl Josefina Beforever silhouette

Josefina!

Josefina is one of our favorite characters here at A Doll’s Picnic. Though I’ve never personally bonded with her as a doll, she is such an endearing character, and her stories are some of the finest written of all the characters. Josefina was actually my first doll when I got back into AG in 2006, and though Paulina Clementina (as I called her) was soon passed into my husband’s possession when I collected Addy and Felicity, she holds a special place in my heart. Hers is not my very favorite silhouette, but in my book her motto gets first prize:

American Girl Josefina Beforever motto

Yay! for kindness!

I love the book-shaped signs, and all the little flowery details. My only kick against the way things were presented in the Bay Area store is that some of the silhouettes were hidden in narrow gaps between displays, making them difficult to see much less photograph.

It took a long time for me to appreciate her (I wasn’t into the Victorian era when I was little, and though I admired the doll my grandma had, I was never interested in her collection until more recently), but Samantha is now one of my favorite AG characters. I particularly love her 1st and 3rd stories (now both included in the 1st volume of her chapter books). I now own my grandma’s Pleasant Company Samantha doll, named Megan Josephine, as well as a perfect new Beforever Samantha doll I’ve named Maribel. Of course I’m glad Samantha’s back (why did she ever leave in the first place?). As the current leading lady of Beforever, her silhouette is getting a lot of attention, but it deserves it because, as Hayley Mills would say, it’s gorgeous!

American Girl Samantha Beforever silhouette

Coming up roses!

I was also tickled because when I took the Beforever Quiz on the AG website last night, I was told twice that I was most like Samantha! (then Rebecca, then Kit, then Addy…). Her motto is my second favorite by only a smidge:

American Girl Samantha Beforever motto

Awwwww…… * sniff, sniff *

But I think my favorite silhouette must be Addy’s:

American Girl Addy Beforever silhouette

Tres elegant!

She looks so poised and elegant, proud and strong, and I love the bun!!! Addy was my second doll after getting back into AG, and though I eventually gave that doll to my younger sister, how I loved her! Then I got her again because I missed her, and loved her again, and then I gave that doll to my older sister! And now, at last I have the Addy I always wanted and remember avidly admiring in the catalogs when she was debuted by Pleasant Company: early this August I found a beautiful Pleasant Company Addy on Ebay and brought her home. I’ve named her Augustine. Though I like Addy’s new Beforever Meet dress, I have to say I am partial to her old striped pink dress. Her motto moves me less, but it is very nice:

American Girl Addy Beforever Motto

Though she isn’t one of my very favorite dolls (I’ve enjoyed her for a while and then passed her on), I do like her character and her books, and I love her fashions. I have to say that Rebecca’s silhouette is nearly a tie with Addy’s for me:

American Girl Rebecca Beforever silhouette

So pretty!

I just love her flowing hair and her strong nose and her thoughtful expression. Of all the silhouettes, hers looks the most like me. I’m not really into her motto, though. Not being even remotely the least bit of an actress, I have no desire whatever to put myself on a stage. However, if I translate it from acting to skating… then it makes more sense:

American Girl Rebecca Beforever motto

Okay, I’m really not into Julie’s collection, much (well, okay, I did have Julie for a while, and I did buy her floral jumpsuit, and I do now have Ivy), but I have to say, I love her silhouette too!

American Girl Julie Beforever silhouette

So pretty, pretty, pretty!

And her motto is very her:

American Girl Julie Beforever motto

Fighting for right, I can relate to that.

Then there’s good old Kit, such a great character, looking cuter than ever, and very boyish and frank:

American Girl Kit Beforever silhouette

Chic!

Although initially more drawn to Samantha (I can’t help it!) I was really pleased with Kit’s revised collection. Her bright patterns and colors aren’t ones I would necessarily wear myself, but they’re so adorable on her! I love my new Beforever Kit, possibly even more than Samantha (shhh… don’t tell!). I first purchased Kit in 2009 and though I have always admired her, I never bonded with that doll, so she moved into my hubby’s collection. My new Beforever Kit, Bethy, with her shorter, sleeker hair and sweeter expression, is much more the girl for me. I also love her new Photographer outfit, though I didn’t think much of it at first when I saw it on the website. Her Reporter outfit is growing on me too. And her new Meet is perfection! (though I always liked the old one). But poor Kit! I just realized in my excitement I never photographed her motto! Shame on me!

Here’s Kaya:

American Girl Kaya Beforever silhouette

Love the strong nose!

I’ve had Kaya (now moved to older sister’s collection), and though she isn’t a doll or a collection I particularly relate to right now, I’m glad she’s still in the lineup, and I liked her first story and her character. I hope AG gives her a little more love in the future. Her motto:

American Girl Kaya Beforever motto

“Iiiiiiiht… comes nat-churly!”

And at last, that brings us to Caroline. I had a Caroline doll for a while, traded her for a custom Caroline, and then sold her. Her staring blue eyes, blondness and long frizzable curls were a bit much for me. But I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and the Regency period, so I like her collection. I only hope that AG doesn’t do any more dresses like her new Party dress! American Girl, Caroline is not Elsa! Anyways, she got a very pretty silhouette:

American Girl Caroline Beforever silhouette

Very pretty, in fact, and I can pretend she isn’t blond!

And, I’m sorry to say it, but a very stupid motto:

American Girl Caroline Beforever motto

Uh.. can we rewrite this please?

Come on, AG. This sounds like Kiera Knightley sneering, “You like pain? Try wearing a corset.” No. Okay, maybe it’s just the phrase “pink dresses” that makes me itch.

Anyway, overall, I’m really pleased with where Beforever is going, and unless they do any more shiny blue (or shiny pink!) dresses, I’m looking forward to what AG offers historically speaking in the future. There were some changes/additions I wasn’t crazy about (bows on scrunchies, Kit’s canvas shoes, treats being stuck together) but it could have been worse. There are still several outfits I’d like to collect: Addy’s School dress, Samantha’s Holiday dress, Kit’s Reporter dress. There are new accessories I admire: Sam’s Nighttime Necessities, Sam’s bike, Caroline’s banquet, Sam’s ice cream parlor. And I’m especially pleased that Beforever now takes up more than half of the new AG catalogs! Change is inevitable, and I’m grateful to AG for making it less painful than expected.

So, let the fun begin, and Happy Beforever everyone!

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

Adventures with Alexis: Washington Trip, Part 1

Hi-ya friends!

I know I promised to tell you all about our trip through Washington as we went, and I really wanted to! But it turned out that we were so busy having adventures that I didn’t have time to stop and write. The good news is Ali took lots of pictures for me to share. She even bought me my own camera! It’s an old-fashioned disposable camera, the kind you just point and shoot, and when you’ve used up all the exposures, you send the whole camera in for the film to be developed. This is very old-fashioned now, but it’s a fun vacation-ish kind of thing to do, don’t you think? 🙂 I’ll share my pictures with you when we get them developed!

You remember our trip began with driving through the Willamette Valley where all the grasses were, and that we spent our first night in Woodburn, Oregon? Well, it was a really nice motel room, but us dolls were eager to leave the motel Saturday morning! We couldn’t wait to get to Washington! Paulina tried to see north from the motel window, but she couldn’t see much beyond the freeway:

American Girl Josefina doll looking out window

Finally we were packed up once more and on our way. We drove north through Portland, where we caught a glimpse of a volcano from the freeway. I think it was Mt. St. Helens, the one that erupted in 1980. Isn’t that kind of scary?

Mt. St. Helens from I-5, Portland

We didn’t stop in Portland but went right on over the magnificent Columbia river! It’s huge! Isn’t it amazing to think of all that water flowing hundreds and hundreds of miles to the ocean? And guess what? The state border between Oregon and Washington is halfway across! We were so excited when we saw this sign:

Entering Washinton sign

All us dolls let out a cheer! A little further up the highway we saw this:

Welcome to Washington sign

Hooray!

I think Washington is the greenest, most flowery state ever. It’s much greener than California, and even than Oregon. There were wildflowers everywhere! The daisies were growing like weeds, everywhere we went. Do you think it’s always like that, or it’s just still spring there?

I-5 Washinton

There were even daisies blooming along the center of the freeway!

Soon we headed west toward the coast. I’ve never seen so many trees in my life! It was such a perfect, blue day that it was hard to imagine all the rain that makes everything so green. It was just about the greenest place I can imagine, and there were daisies and foxglove and queen anne’s lace and other flowers growing in meadows and right along the roadside. The only thing I didn’t like was all the logging we saw. Timber is a really big industry in Washington, and they just mow down acres of the forest. It’s very strange to see the square clear cuts chopped right out of the hillsides. This made me feel sad, because I couldn’t help thinking about all the birds and animals who used to live there. It also makes the forest grown in funny patches, like a bad haircut. It sure makes me wish our world didn’t need to use so much wood. I hope all my friends use recycled paper products at home, like we do!

For a while we drove along the Columbia River, and I had a lovely time daydreaming about all the places the river had been before it reached the coast. Finally we turned up the coast, and this is what we saw: the ocean!

south Washington coastline 2

This part of the Pacific coast wasn’t anything like the beaches near San Clemente, California, where I come from, or like the Bodega Bay area, near where Ali grew up. It was really a huge bay, and with the tide out there were huge flats of mud. We kept on driving, and as we drove we saw signs that told us hundreds of acres of forest here had been destroyed by winds up to 120 miles per hour in 2007! That’s as strong as a hurricane! Can you imagine wind so strong that it knocks down whole forests of trees? I sure can’t. Don’t you think that must have been scary for the people that live here?

Soon we turned east away from the coast, and not long after that, we arrived at the little town where we were going to spend the night.

Willapa River, South Bend, WA

South Bend is a little town on the Willapa River. They call themselves “the oyster capital of the world,” but I’ll bet they got their name from the bend in the river. Everything was very green, and there were lots of lawns and gardens and hardly any fences. We got to stay at the cutest little motel, called The Seaquest.

Sea Quest Motel sign, South Bend, WA

It was really nice! We had a little room with our own porch, and a kitchen, and a study nook and a DVD player!

Sea Quest Motel, South Bend, WA

There were even baskets of geraniums hanging from every porch, and a pot of flowers on the back step:

flower pot

There are so many flowers in Washington! You even see them hanging in baskets from lamp posts! Ali and I both love to look at the flowers. Ali says it’s something to do with living in a desert with lots of deer.

geranium bud

Getting to each motel or inn where you’re going to spend the night is sort of like coming home. It’s a wonderful feeling to be at home-away-from-home, don’t you think?

Via E Alexis doll looking out window

It’s good to rest after a bustley day of driving and looking at everything. Paulina thought so too.

American Girl Josefina doll 1

We all enjoyed relaxing in our little study nook and talking about everything we had seen on the drive.

Via E Alexis doll, Maplelea Jenna and Taryn dolls

The next morning we had to leave South Bend and keep driving north toward the Puget Sound. But first, Ali and Dave took Jessie the Pug for a walk along the Willapa River.

Alders along Willapa River, WA

It was kind of a muggy morning and Jessie isn’t too fond of warm days, so she got pretty hot. But Ali says it was really nice. They saw more wildflowers, including this one:

wildflower by Willapa River, WA

We don’t know what it’s called, but they were growing in several places along the water. Isn’t it pretty?

After their walk, we drove north along the Hood Canal, which is on the west side of the Puget Sound. It was a very pretty drive, and we saw thousands more trees, and little towns along the water. When we got close to our destination, here’s what the highway looked like:

Washington Hwy 20

I’ll tell you all about where we went as soon as I can! For now, I’ve got to go get ready for a 4th of July picnic! Happy fireworks!

‘Till soon, your friend

Alexis


 

Alexis is an Alexis Christine O’Shay Dollfriend. Paulina is an American Girl Josefina doll. Sharon and Jade are Maplelea Taryn and Jenna dolls.

Adventures with Alexis: We’re Taking a Trip!

Hi Friends!

Guess what?! I’m on my first trip! You know I want to be a travel writer some day, right? Well, my mom-friend Ali and dad-friend Dave are taking a vacation to Washington, and I get to go along! I’m so excited to see new things and practice observing, and Ali said I can write here as often as I like! So I’m going to tell you all about my first trip ever and everything I see and do!

Maybe I’d better go back to the beginning: Ali and Dave are celebrating their anniversary this weekend, and they decided to take a trip to Washington to explore and relax and just have fun. Ali told me some of us dolls would get to go, and we were all so excited when we heard! We wanted to start packing right away:

Dolls packing for trip 1

I love packing: I always know just what I should bring. But some people feel overwhelmed when they’re faced with choices. That’s how my friend Asleigh felt when she heard she might get to go along:

American Girl Isabelle packing for trip

Ali says it might have something to do with being an artist, and that she’s the same way. Isn’t that funny? If so, I’m glad I’m a writer. I did my best to help Asheigh calm down, and we looked through all her pretty clothing together:

Via E Alexis and American Girl Isabelle 1

My friend Tabitha was excited when she heard that Ali and Dave were going to the Pacific Northwest, because she said the weather there is a lot like weather in England and Wales, which is where she’s from. She wanted to pick out a travel outfit just in case she got to go along:

Via E Alexis and Bonnie and Pearl doll 1

She has this super adorable green wool coat which is perfect for rainy or misty days:

Via E Alexis and Bonnie and Pearl doll 2

Isn’t it adorable? She also has a really cute teddy bear, which she says helps make her feel at home wherever she is.

My new friends Jade and Sharon were also really excited. They’re from Canada, and like me they love traveling!

Maplelea dolls packing for trip

Well, we spent most of the week getting ready and packing, and yesterday we finally were on our way! Yay! I was so excited I was just about bouncing up and down in my seat. I loved looking out the window and watching the scenery change. We drove north through Oregon for a long long way, but it didn’t seem like a long drive because there was so much to look at. Everything was very green, and there were so many trees of all different kinds. We saw flowers blooming: wild peas, Queen Anne’s lace, and thousands of white daisies nodding in the breeze! It was sooooo pretty!

Yesterday afternoon we passed through a town in Oregon that said it was “the grass seed capital of the world.” That’s when we realized the huge pastures we were passing were all different kinds of grasses. Some of the fences near the highway even had signs on them so you could find out what was growing! Here are the types of grasses we saw: Annual ryegrass, Perennial ryegrass, white clover, winter wheat, wheat, and fescue. The grasses were blooming and putting out seeds and they were so beautiful. I love how they stretched far away, all the same color and texture. I also love how the fields line up next to each other, like pieces of fabric on a quilt. My favorite grass was the winter wheat, because it was such a pretty golden-fawn color and all tufty with seeds. I also loved the white clover, because it was covered in little white flowers!

We spent last night in Woodburn, Oregon. We were so excited to be in our first motel!

Via E Alexis with friends

From left to right, my friends Paulina, (me, Alexis!), Sharon and Jade. We’re the lucky dolls that got to go along!

It’s a really nice room! We’re going to be on our way again soon, and today I’ll make sure that Ali takes lots of pictures so I can put them in my next post! We’re going to head north through Portland and cross over into Washington, and then head out to the coast! I get to see the ocean! Oh boy!

‘Till soon, have a great Saturday!

Love, your friend, Alexis


 

Alexis is a Via E Alexis Christine O’Shay Dollfriend. In this post she is wearing a Gotz dress with American Girl leggings. Jade and Sharon are Maplelea Jenna and Taryn dolls; Tabitha is a Bonnie and Pearl doll; Ashleigh is an American Girl Isabelle doll; Paulina is an American Girl Josefina doll.

Adventures with Alexis: Happy Memorial Day!

Hi Friends!

Guess what we did in honor of Memorial Day weekend! We had a pajama party! A pajama party is kind of like a slumber party, but instead of sleeping (dolls don’t really need to sleep, you know) you dress up in your favorite pajamas, and stay up late watching movies and reading stories. We read a chapter of The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit, and then we watched Pollyanna. Here’s a picture of how we looked this morning:

Doll collection in pajamas

That’s me in the front row between my new best friends Tabitha and Taryn. Tabitha is from Wales, and Taryn just arrived from Canada! I sure love having so many friends to play with!

We had a pajama contest just for fun, and here are the results:

American Girl Samantha and Felicity dolls in pajamas

Megan (left) won the award for “Most Beautiful Pajama Ensemble.” Fanny (right) won the award for “Most Old-fashioned.”

American Girl Gwen and JLY #24 dolls in pajamas

Jenny (left) won the award for “Prettiest Slippers,” and Emma (right) won the award for “Prettiest Color.”

Here’s a close-up of Jenny’s pretty slippers! Aren’t they cute?

Star flower pajama slippers

American Girl Isabelle and Kailey dolls in pajamas

Ashleigh and Ceilidh are really good friends, and I think they kind of look like each other (don’t you?). They tied for the “Softest Slippers” award. Here’s a close-up of their slippers. Aren’t they adorable???

Kanani's slippers

Isabelle's slippers

Bonnie & Pearl and Maru and Friends Jamie dolls in pajamas

Tabitha (left) and Tasha (right) tied for “Absolute Cutest Pajamas.” Which pajamas do you like best? I can’t decide.

American Girl GOT #1 and Bonnie & Pearl dolls in pajamas

Amy (left) and Tabitha (right) tied for “Most Adorable Teddy Bears.” I like Amy’s socks and robe, too!

And here I am with my new best friend, Taryn, who just arrived this weekend from Canada:

Maplelea Taryn and Via-E Alexis dolls in pajamas

Isn’t she sweet? She’s a lot of fun, and she likes a lot of the same things I like! Taryn won the award for “Cutest Graphics.” I love the little owl on her pajama top:

owl pajama detail

It really reminds me of this illustration in Mr. Magnolia by Quentin Blake!

Mr. Magnolia Quentin Blake illustration

A pajama party is a great way to celebrate any special day! Yay for pajamas!

‘Till soon, love, your friend,

Alexis


Alexis is a Via-E Alexis Christine O’Shay Dollfriend. Taryn is a Maplelea Taryn doll. Tabitha is a Bonnie & Pearl doll. Tasha is a Maru and Friends Jamie doll. Amy, Jenny, Ashleigh, Ceilidh, Emma, Megan and Fanny are American Girl dolls.

 

Play Dolls: Master List

I’ve been collecting play dolls since 2006, but for seven-and-a-half of the last eight years I stuck exclusively to American Girl. It’s hard to say why, now. I guess we tend to like what we’re familiar with, and I was convinced that American Girl dolls were the prettiest, cutest, and just all around “best” play dolls there were. Whenever I saw pictures of other brands of dolls I just couldn’t see the appeal or charm. But finally last year I began to get a little, well, bored. It wasn’t until just a few months ago, however, when I was given my first ever non-American Girl doll (A Girl For All Time Matilda) that I finally cracked open the door to the universe of play dolls beyond. Now exploring the diversity of alternatives to American Girl has become my newest passion in collecting. I still love my American Girl dolls, but I now feel like I’m loving them in a much larger context. I’m gradually reducing my collection of American Girl dolls, and my new goal is to gather a group of dolls that I love to play with and that reflect both who I am and the variety of dolls that are available. I am especially interested in contrasting American Girl dolls with similar brands, which I hope to share on A Doll’s Picnic as time permits.

I’ve compiled a master list of the major doll brands for my own information, and thought I’d share it here. My criteria for this list are: 1) the doll is intended for play, 2) the doll is at least 16 inches tall, 3) the doll is a quality toy made to last. Just when I think I am aware of all the brands offering dolls that fit this criteria, I discover a new company! I had no idea there were so many!

Here is my list so far. The asterisks denote the brands included in my own collection. If you know of a brand that isn’t on my list, please comment below, and I’ll look them up!

Brands of Play Dolls

A Girl For All Time, by Daughters of History *

American Girl *

Australian Girl

Bonnie & Pearl *

Carpatina

Classic Kidz, by Gotz

Favorite Friends, by Madame Alexander

Happy Kidz, by Gotz *

Hannah, by Gotz *

Harmony Club

Karito Kids (no longer in production), by Kids Give *

Kidz ‘n Cats, by Heart and Soul *

Journey Girls

Las Reinas, by Paola Reina *

Magic Attic Club (no longer in production)

Maplelea *

Maru and Friends *

My Twinn *

Our Generation

Pen Pal Girls

Precious Day, by Gotz

Schildkroet *

Sisterhood in Town

Soy Tu, by Paola Reina

Springfield

Starpath

Vanange, by Vannuzza

Via-E *

In your Easter bonnet…

“… With all the frills upon it/ You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade…”

Happy Easter from A Doll’s Picnic !

doll collection, Kidz 'n Cats dolls, Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll, American Girl dolls, Gotz Happy Kidz dolls, A Girl For All Time Matilda doll, Bitty Twin doll

Happy Easter!

As any collector knows, a collection is dynamic and ever-changing, not static. This is my current doll collection as of this moment on this particular day, but tomorrow it might be a little different. This is only a fraction of the dolls I have bought, given away and sold over the the course of the last several years. It is important to me to keep only the dolls I am most interested in and passionate about.

collection American Girl dolls

“…with all the frills upon it…”

Some pretty hats and faces:

American Girl Cecile, American Girl Caroline

Zelie (American Girl Cecile) and Henriette (American Girl Caroline with customized eyes).

American Girl Felicity doll

Fanny Rose, the matriarch of my collection (American Girl Felicity).

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Emily (Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll).

American Girl Felicity doll

Such a pretty Easter bonnet!

American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle

Ashleigh (American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle).

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

That’s a lovely face!

Pleasant Company Felicity doll

Melinda: a very special face (Pleasant Company Felicity).