Tag Archive: Maplelea

The Night Picnic

Dolls around campfire 2

Who are those figures gathered around a campfire?

One mild September evening, moonlight shines on the quiet waters of a hidden lake. Out of the darkness cloaking hundreds of miles of woods and craggy hills, a speck of light gleams unevenly. As we move a little nearer, we see it is a campfire, built on the rocky shore of the moonlit lake. The flames flicker and leap, throwing eerie shadows across the trees and water. It almost looks as though figures are stirring in the half-light around the fire. Let’s slip a little closer and see….

The water laps gently in the moonlight and the flames crackle...

The water laps gently in the moonlight and the flames crackle…

Yes, now that we’re nearer, we realize we recognize these figures. Why, they’re some of our friends from A Doll’s Picnic! But what are they doing here on a balmy mountain night, instead of snuggling up in bed at home? It looks… yes, it looks as if they’re roasting marshmallows! A perfectly natural thing to do around a campfire, after all. Hmmm… we don’t see a tent; they can’t be camping. Ohhh, of course. It’s a picnic. A night picnic. Picnics don’t always have to be in the day time! Maybe if we settle down here behind this big rock we can watch them without being seen and hear what they’re saying….

“I just heard a fish jump,” announces Jade, glancing toward the water. She’s deftly roasting a marshmallow with one hand and cradling a cup of cocoa with the other.

Maplelea Jenna doll by campfire

“I heard it too,” agrees Sophie, turning her hot dog. “Do you think the fish can see our camp fire through the water?”

American Girl of Today doll #6 Schildkroet doll blonde

“If they do, maybe they think it’s a star that’s fallen and landed on the shore,” suggests Betsy, her hazel eyes twinkling with fun in the firelight.

American Girl doll #55 with marshmallow

“But maybe they can hear us talking,” says Emma. “Stars don’t talk.”

American Girl doll #27 #55 with marshmallows

“Maybe the fish think they do, though,” says Betsy. “What do fish know about stars, anyway?”

Schildkroet doll blonde

“If stars did talk, I wonder what they’d talk about,” muses Amy, sipping her cocoa and carefully turning her marshmallow. “Do they talk about each other? Like, ‘Hi friend! How are things going in your solar system?’ ‘Not so good, pal, I’m getting sucked into a black hole.'” Everyone laughs.

“Paulina, you hang out with astronomers. What constellations are up right now?” asks Merida from the hammock, where she’s hugging a teddy bear and gazing at the sky.

Dolls in firelight

“Well, it’s a bit hard to see the fainter ones when our eyes are dazzled by firelight, but that’s the Big Dipper,” says, Paulina, pointing.

American Girl Josefina doll

“And if you follow the trajectory of the handle over to there, that’s Arcturus. And there’s the North Star.”

Maru and Friends Savannah doll

“The skies are so clear and so dark at night here,” says Merida. “Even with the moon up you can see the Milky Way. I’m grateful to live someplace with such clear skies.”

The other dolls agree, and take a break from staring into the flames to gaze up into the sky at the brilliant first quarter moon and the glittering stars appearing more thickly as the darkness deepens. After a pause, the fire snaps and hisses and everyone jumps and checks their marshmallows to make sure they’re not scorching.

“Your marshmallow is almost ready, Paulina,” says Emma. She’s been roasting two marshmallows, one for herself and one for a friend.

American Girl doll #27 with marshmallows

Paulina thanks her, and then Emma turns to Sharon and Poinsettia, who are talking about famous Canadian astronomers and scientists. “Are you sure you guys don’t want one? I can make another.”

Maplelea dolls Taryn Alexi in moonlight

“No thanks,” smiles Sharon. “We’re fine with the ginger cakes and brownies and sandwiches and apples and oranges.” Everyone laughs again.

American Girl doll #4 with marshmallow

“Why do you think food tastes so good at night?” asks Patience, getting ready to slide her marshmallow off the stick. “I think I like picnics even better after dark than in the afternoon.”

American Girl doll #4 Maryellen in firelight

“Maybe it’s all the energy it takes to build a fire and fend off the night-time monsters,” laughs Millie, sipping her soda.

American Girl Today doll #6 in firelight

“Or all the energy it takes to stay warm,” agrees Sophie. “Though it’s not cold tonight–it’s perfect. It’s practically warm enough for a swim.” Her dark eyes sparkle with daring.

Schildkroet doll blonde with marshmallow

“Oooh, not me,” shivers Paulina. “I’d be certain a lake monster was going to come up and swallow me.”

Schildkroet doll blone with mug

“Me too,”adds Amy, giving her marshmallow one last turn. “I’m glad Ali won’t let us get wet.”

Dolls in firelight

“Speaking of monsters,” suggests Jade mischievously, “does anyone know a good story?”

“One dark night, by a little lake, far from civilization, a group of friends sat roasting marshmallows around a campfire…” begins Betsy, in a mysterious whisper.

The dolls giggle and huddle closer to the fire, listening to the lake water slapping against the rocks in the dark.

Doll camp fire

Happy Autumnal Equinox, from A Doll’s Picnic!

Plum blossoms and Etsy goodness for Mei-mei

Maplelea KMF10 friend doll

Meet Mei-mei (Maplelea Friend KMF10)

Happy Monday from A Doll’s Picnic! I’d like you to meet Mei-mei, my newest Maplelea doll! Mei-mei loves all things spring-time, from the earliest crocuses pushing their way through the snow, to long, late-spring afternoons and ducklings swimming in ponds. She especially loves cherry and plum blossoms, which is what she’s named after (to the best of my knowledge, Mei can mean both “beautiful” and “plum” in Chinese). I hope to officially review Mei-mei sometime later in the spring, because she’s a truly gorgeous and unique doll. But I have several other doll reviews to write first, so meantime I’d like to share one of the spring outfits I found on Etsy recently, purchased with Mei-mei in mind.

Mei-mei has a lovely light latte-colored skin tone which contrasts strongly with her dark eyes and nearly black hair. To me her coloring really comes alive in cool spring tones and strong contrasts. Frustrated with the limitations of my doll family’s wardrobe (mostly modern and historical American Girl gear), and wanting to find something that would suit Mei-mei’s sweet, feminine, springtime spirit, I turned to Etsy. I was especially hoping to find outfits or dresses that featured a plum or cherry blossom print or motif. I was beyond excited when I discovered this adorable ensemble made by Jazzy Doll Duds! Not only does it feature a plum blossom print, it was an affordable price! Maybe it’s because I’ve been looking at American Girl catalogs too long, but Etsy prices are a breath of pure spring air. Yay!

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

Simple, feminine, chic.

This ensemble features a tunic-length short-sleeved blouse in crisp cotton, a matching headband, and ivory knit leggings/pants. I added the Maplelea sandals, and Jean, the lovely Jazzy Doll Duds shop owner, added the cute bracelet and necklace as an unexpected surprise (thank you Jean!).

Plum blossom print and gathered waist.

Plum blossom print and gathered low waist.

The print and colors on this blouse are fabulous. I love the pink buds and pale, nearly-white blossoms. The flowers are edged in glittering gold, which sparkles in the sunlight. The rich maroon or damson background looks beautiful on Mei-mei’s winter/spring complexion.

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

The gold details match the fun doll jewelry!

I also love the style of the blouse. The gathered elastic low waist forms a soft, feminine silhouette, which is echoed by the gathered neckline and sleeves. The waist can be pulled down lower over the doll’s hips or pushed up a bit to create a blouson look.

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

Stopping to smell the hyacinths.

The sleeves can also be adjusted into longer or shorter puffs, which is fun:

Short and scrunched up...

Short and scrunched up…

... or slightly straighter.

… or slightly straighter.

The headband is beautiful, and looks lovely holding back Mei-mei’s sleek bob.

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

I hear a goldfinch singing….

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

The leggings are not skin-tight like the ones American Girl is making these days, so they are a little more like casual pants. I think they look very elegant with the darker toned tunic (the ivory coordinates with the color of the blossoms).

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

Capri-length on a Maplelea doll.

This outfit fits both American Girl and Maplelea dolls (though so far Mei-mei has kept it all to herself). The leggings will look just a tad longer on an American Girl doll, but the stretchy waist of both the blouse and the leggings will work fine on either type of doll (American Girl dolls and Maplelea dolls have similar torso measurements).

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

A classy outfit for a beautiful girl.

Mei-mei is as thrilled as I am with this elegant and classy spring outfit, and says it is just the sort of thing for a spring outing in a park or garden. 🙂

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

Stopping to smell the daffodils, too….

I love how the print is both striking and delicate, with an eastern aesthetic that harmonizes with Mei-mei’s ethnic background.

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

I am so excited to have discovered the trove of handmade doll outfits on Etsy! I’m looking forward to sharing more Etsy treasures here on A Doll’s Picnic in the future.

Maplelea Friend KMF10 doll

Mei-mei says to soak up some spring sun!

Have a happy and creative start to your week!

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.

 

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

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.