Tag Archive: play dolls

Doll Review: Dolls From Heaven St. Therese

The stunning Dolls From Heaven St. Therese doll.

Hello Friends!

It’s May! Yay! All the dolls–and humans–at A Doll’s Picnic just love the month of May. It’s such a relief after a long, cold, brown-and-grey winter and a fickle and temperamental April. April gives us gorgeous glimpses of the year to come–and then pelts us with hail or frowns under chilly northern cold fronts. May, on the other hand, is truly the month of green: buds, new leaves, new growth, new grass. It also gives us abundant flowers, the first really warm days and nights, and most importantly of all–the first outdoor doll picnics! So once again, hurray for May! Ahem. (I really love May).

I have a treat for you today: a review of a truly unique, remarkable, and beautiful doll: Dolls From Heaven St. Therese. I found out about Dolls From Heaven around Easter (I honestly can’t remember how) and once I saw the St. Therese doll’s unique face and American Girl style construction, I knew she had to wing her way to A Doll’s Picnic. Dolls From Heaven is a Catholic family-run-and-owned doll company that hopes to inspire children to become modern-day saints. Their first two dolls are St. Therese and St. Joan of Arc, and their third doll (and first boy doll) is John Paul and is currently available for pre-order. All three dolls arrive with a chapter book that tells about their character. I am not Catholic and am totally unfamiliar with the concept of canonization. Yet despite my religious differences, I felt drawn towards this company because of their concern for the moral welfare of today’s children and their earnest, unpretentious approach to developing a totally unique line of character dolls. Their website is simple and neat, their blog is pleasant, and their dolls are simply stunning and represent fascinating characters, so I felt comfortable supporting this company. I ordered St. Therese and her extra outfit. St. Therese’s Accessories looked beautiful and fascinating, but I knew my Therese doll was not going to remain a nun so I decided to give them the pass.

As always with a non-American Girl doll, I felt excited but also trepidatious about her arrival. From the photographs on the Dolls From Heaven website and various reviews, I could see that she would be quite different from the other dolls in my collection. Would I like her? I was so curious to see her in person. From the moment I lifted her simple but beautiful box out of the shipping package, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Therese looked like a sleeping angel.

Asleep in her box.

She looked just as amazing and detailed as the photographs had shown her to be. As always, I first studied her inside her box. I was so struck by her detailed face.

Sleeping beauty.

Then too, her nun’s habit was amazing!

Awake!

When I stood the box upright, I just about gasped aloud. Two giant warm brown eyes stared gently back at me. The way Therese’s habit complimented her big brown eyes was truly divine.

What a face!

At this point, I couldn’t wait to take Therese out of her box.

Free at last.

I noticed several things about her right away. First, Therese is heavy–very solid and valuable feeling. Second, her outfit is incredible. There are so many pieces, and all are just beautifully designed and made.

Innocent and loving.

Her face captivated me right from the first. Therese’s face has several significant differences from an American Girl face, but there are also several similarities. Mostly I was struck with her loving and gentle expression–so earnest and innocent. I couldn’t wait to study her details more closely, but first I turned my attention to her ensemble.

Threads to be clipped?

When I turned her around, I found a large “x” of black thread pinning together the back of her veil. Assuming this was meant to be clipped, I did so, and her veil swung free.

Stitches cut.

I was so impressed by how neatly all the components of Therese’s ensemble fit together. I found them very simple to disassemble, and also very interesting in and of themselves.The veil attaches to the coif by means of a snap on either side and is very simple to remove.

Easy to disassemble.

As I removed each layer, I saw a little more of Therese’s unique spirit and beauty.

At this point I could see Therese’s hair and free it from the hair net.

Hair!

The Therese doll has gorgeous hair. It is such a unique color: a rich chestnut brown with strong red overtones–almost an auburn. Her hair is styled in layered, loose curls, with the top pulled back into a small ponytail. The fiber is very silky and fine and seems identical to the fiber used for Bonnie and Pearl dolls. Her hair is a wig.

Messy curls.

Aside from the stunning color, the first thing I noticed about Therese’s hair was how messy it was right out of the net. Her hair fiber is slick and fine, which is lovely, but the texture also allows it to frizz and tangle very easily. Normally this is no problem because a quick brushing will tidy up a case of box-hair in no time. But Therese arrived with a rather puzzling sheet of hair advice. The sheet recommends “a wire hair pick” or finger styling for maintaining Therese’s curls, and goes on to expostulate that  “Using a regular brush will comb out the curls and ruin the hair.” Now the word “ruin” puzzled me because Therese’s hair is by no means the densely-curled type of wig that can be ruined–or at least frizzed–by attacking it with a brush. Therese’s curls are exceedingly loose and free-form, as can be seen, and even with very gentle play the slick fiber will cause her curls to lose their clumped form on their own. As I took photos for this review, her curls became more and more tangled. With rougher play–such as I imagine an eight year old girl likely to administer–Therese’s curls could become a rat’s nest. Finally, after changing Therese’s outfit, I decided to ignore the instructions and treat Therese’s hair as I would any gently curled or wavy hair. I misted it with water and brushed it with a wire wig brush. This is how it looked when I was finished:

I don’t think I ruined her hair.

You can see that the clumpy curls have been brushed out into glossy waves, which I much prefer anyway because to me it looks more natural. In fact, Therese’s hair brushed beautifully. And it needs to be brushed often! Despite my extreme care, as I was changing Therese into the different outfits shown at the end of this review her hair quickly became messy. I think the long layers exaggerate the tangle-prone texture of her hair. Without brushing, Therese’s hair would quickly become unmanageable, so the instructions provided with the doll are simply impractical. Finally, it is easy to finger-curl her hair if I wish to make the curls look the way they did when she arrived. There are Youtube videos that show how to do this, but basically all it takes is separating her wig into layers and misting and finger-curling sections until all the hair has been curled. I reiterate that the nature of Therese’s hair fiber will resist holding a tightly curled shape.

Anyway, back to the doll. Here is the way she looks sans headpiece.

Therese has two loose (and messy) pin curls on her right and one on her left.

I am fascinated by Therese’s face. It is so much more realistic looking than the dolls I’m used to playing with. Her three-quarter view and profile are amazing!

My Therese doll does have eyes that are set just slightly off-center. At times this can give her a bit of a “doe in the headlights” look, but at most angles it’s not particularly noticeable. She also has some metal showing at the very edge of her eye sockets. The rest of the doll is such fabulous quality that I can overlook this.

Hand-painted mouth.

Therese’s eyelids and mouth (and maybe eyebrows?) appear to be hand painted, which is amazing. She has two front teeth showing, like an American Girl doll, but her lips are wider and more pronounced. Note the beautiful philtrum above her top lip. She has blushing applied to her cheeks, chin, and forehead, which gives her beautiful coloring in addition to her pleasant olive-y tan vinyl tone.

Top half.

Her eyebrows are long, light, and neatly painted. Her eyelashes are very similar to those of an American Girl doll. I love her nose! It isn’t pugged like the American Girl doll classic mold, but slopes gently downward. I especially love it in profile.

Larger ears.

Her ears are also larger and more realistic than an American Girl’s. Her hair is too silky and thick to tuck behind them, though.

I just could not get over her stunning and realistic face, especially at three-quarter view. Therese is extremely photogenic!

Therese has a basic copyright printed on the back of her neck. Also, her head is attached to her cloth torso with a zip tie. Now for the body and overall construction:

Skivvies.

As you can see, Therese’s construction is very similar to an American Girl doll’s (in this case, a Pleasant Company GOT #5 doll). Her shoulders are about as broad as the older Pleasant Company dolls, but her waist is narrower like the more recent dolls. Her muslin is a nice tan shade that matches her vinyl well. The major differences are subtle, such as the fact that Therese does not have as much freedom of movement in her joints, due to a difference in the way her limbs are designed. Also, her arms and legs are just a touch slimmer. Her vinyl has a hard, smooth, porcelain feel that reminds me of the vinyl used for Bonnie and Pearl dolls. The mold of her limbs and hands is not quite identical to American Girl’s design.

Hands.

Her hands are a touch smaller, with beautiful blushing on the back and real French manicure nails! Yay!

More hands.

Her feet seem very similar, but again she has real painted toenails! So fabulous. She also has blushing on the tops of her feet and knees. I love this extra attention to detail. It makes me feel so good about my purchase, and it makes the doll seem extra special. Wouldn’t it be nice if American Girl would do this?

Pretty knees and toes!

Like American Girl dolls, Therese has dimples on the backs of her knees and elbows.

Dimples.

Her elbows also received some blush.

And more blushing.

Finally, her cloth torso construction is identical to that of (the original) American Girl dolls.

Bum.

The cloth (muslin?) is extremely sturdy feeling and stuffed very firmly, which adds to Therese’s weight and substantial feel.

Let’s compare.

While we’re at it, let’s compare her face with the classic American Girl face mold charmingly modeled by Judy. You can see that Therese’s head is larger and oval in shape, with a much more pronounced chin. Her eyes are also larger and set proportionably farther apart. Her lips are more deeply molded and her nose turns under instead of being snubbed upward. Her forehead is higher. Overall, Therese’s face has a classic oval shape and very beautiful detailing which are very attractive.

Hair color comparison.

Also interesting to note is the similarity in the color of their hair. Judy’s hair is what American Girl originally sold as “red,” though it is really auburn. Therese’s hair is just a tad browner but has a very similar red tone (my camera did a really crummy job of capturing these subtleties). Therese’s hair could justly be called auburn.

One more note about Therese’s wig. It has a sprinkling of oddly spiky short hairs at the crown:

I’m not sure why they’re so visible, but they form frizzy bristles right on top of her head. If there was one change I could make to this doll, it would be to give her a center part. For me, this would make her wig more realistic and would do away with these weird short hairs. Fortunately they’re not really very noticeable.

Here are a few more pictures of Therese’s amazing face:

She has a natural, real-girl look to her.

Sometimes it looks as if she’s about to say what she’s thinking about.

I love her face. Sometimes, though, I notice something a little odd about it–something a little other worldly or elfin. I think it’s a combination of factors: the fact that her eyes are closer to the sides of her face, the dramatic slope of her jaw, and the difference between the flatter side view and the round front view of her face. Sometimes she seems just a little bit other. Always in a nice way, though.

Brunettes.

Here’s my Maplelea Taryn doll along with Therese and an American Girl #13 doll. This comparison brings out another important difference between Therese and her peers in the doll world: her chin. Therese’s head is taller, but her neck isn’t any longer to compensate. When posed with other dolls this can give her a bit of a neanderthal look at times. On her own, her proportions seem perfectly reasonable.

Now the dress I’ve been showing Therese in is the second outfit I purchased along with the doll, her “Sunday Best.” Whenever possible, I believe in purchasing an additional outfit with a doll. It gives her something special that’s all her own, as well as a much needed change of attire. In this case it was doubly important, since I didn’t want Therese to remain a nun if she didn’t feel like it. Therese’s outfit arrived in a simple but attractive box.

Pretty ribbon.

I really appreciate the attention to detail as shown by the ribbon decoration and sticker.

All boxed up.

The dress is Victorian in style, and made from a soft, satiny, stretchy fabric in the most beautiful rich blue hue with cream ruffle details.

It has cloth-covered buttons up the front, and comes with lovely matching boots, white tights, a hair bow, and an optional sash. It closes in the back with Velcro.

The whole outfit is gorgeous. It has a hand-crafted feeling, and the details are exquisite. The tights are actually a real legging material. The boots are one of my favorite pairs of doll shoes ever.

They have an ingenious flap closure that is lined with hook-and-loop tape which makes them very easy to take on and off. They are simple but beautiful. Speaking of shoes, I have to show you the sandals that Therese arrived wearing!

Sandals.

Again, they are simple but so pretty. I like that they can be worn equally well with her nun’s habit or with a secular sun dress or even shorts. I especially love the way they show off her pretty toenails!

Therese looks wonderful in her second outfit. Since my Therese doll is going to be freed from her sainthood (in fact, none of my dolls ever remain as their original characters), I tried her in a variety of historical dresses from American Girl and various Etsy artisans. I think she looks wonderful in most historical styles, especially Victorian and Edwardian era dresses. She is even comfortable going modern, as long as she’s not forced to wear anything too up-to-the-minute trendy. Here is a quick sampling of dresses that I thought looked especially nice on Therese:

This gorgeous dress was made by Lily Kay doll clothes.

Therese looked wonderful in Regency fashions.

She even surprised me by looking sweet in this American Girl Beforever Samantha dress.

Here she is in my favorite Pleasant Company Kirsten dress.

Another Beforever outfit, this time Rebecca’s.

I cooed when I put her in this Samantha tea gown!

She really liked Samantha’s wardrobe.

But I really liked her in Rebecca’s.

And just to prove that she can go modern….

Both of these last two outfits are older American Girl outfits. Therese likes them because they’re not too trendy.

“I’m in the garden!”

After modeling for me very patiently, Therese was excited to explore the garden. She looked so at home in the garden that she kept reminding me of Mary Lennox from A Secret Garden as I snapped pictures.

Why are they caged?

Therese wanted to know why the tulips were in cages. I told her that when she watches the deer leap the four-foot fence, she’ll understand.

At least the wire cages gave her something to climb up on so she could look at the flowers up close.

She was fascinated by their forms and colors.

I showed her the pansies and she was charmed by those as well.

Therese is so beautiful that she reminds me of a flower.

Finally she stopped in the middle of the garden and took a survey of all the new growth that May was calling forth.

She seemed happy and peaceful in her new home.

Yet she has such an inquisitive expression at times that I expect her to ask a question!

This is truly a special doll. I am so happy to have taken the plunge and supported this company. Now that I’ve seen how special the Therese doll is I’ve started wondering about Joan of Arc…. But for now I’m happily enjoying the company of my sweet, earnest, gentle new doll-friend. In her nun’s habit she reminds me of Ingrid Bergman’s character in The Bells of St. Mary’s. Out of it she is a thoughtful, charming, curious, and kind girl. I’ve named her Josette Dorothea, or Josie for short. She is an inspiring and wonderful spring-time companion, and I can imagine that for a Catholic child this doll might well provide inspiration for a lifetime.

Brown is Beautiful: American Girl Doll of the Year 2017 Gabriela McBride

Meet Gabby!

Hello there, Friends! A Doll’s Picnic is back! Today I’d like to share my thoughts about a very beautiful doll of color: American Girl of the Year 2017 Gabriela McBride! There are many wonderful reviews of Gabby already available, including some great Youtube reviews. So instead of a real, in-depth review, I just want to share some pictures and my opinion of this beautiful doll.

Gabby.

First, I want to apologize for the quality of the photos. I took them on a very stormy day when my camera wasn’t cooperating with me, so they’re not as clear and well-lit as I’d like. It’s a little frustrating because Gabriela has such a stunning face and lovely coloring. Hopefully I can get some better outdoor photos in the days ahead and share those with you sometime soon.

Now for the background: It took me a little longer than usual to bring this doll home because lately I’ve been feeling very annoyed with American Girl. The news that modern AG dolls are now being manufactured with permanent, sewn-on undies that are part of the doll body, as well as a gradual overall decrease in the quality of AG dolls at the same time that their prices have steadily been rising, has really disappointed me. Besides this, I am not happy about the way AG handled Gabriela’s collection and debut. Unfortunately these issues have affected my enthusiasm for one of my favorite lines, the American Girl of the Year.

However, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with myself unless I bought the Gabriela doll. As little as I want to support AG right now for their marketing decisions and product changes, I do want to show my support for them at last producing an African American Girl of the Year character. And all my issues with the company aside, I’m glad I bought Gabriela, because she is truly a stunning doll. My photographs simply do not do her justice. It’s not that she’s not photogenic, because she is–she’s just so much more beautiful in real life. Frankly I don’t think most of the stock images of Gabriela in the catalog or online do her justice–but then that’s not anything new.

So beautiful.

The Gabriela doll is a redressed re-release of the American Girl Truly Me #46 doll, who was retired specifically for this purpose last year. I’ve never had #46 before; the curly hair scared me and the Sonali face mold is not my favorite. So I knew Gabriela was going to be new to me, even if she was a major disappointment for many collectors. However, it upsets me that American Girl took the short-cut of pulling one of their modern dolls out of the line-up and redressing her to sell as a Girl of the Year character. Previously every single Girl of the Year has been carefully designed to be unique from her predecessors in some way. The #46 doll is no longer available in the Truly Me line, but Gabriela is identical to the #46s already existing (any slight differences of coloring, hair length, etc., are simply production batch differences). This gave her debut a half-hearted feeling, which comes across as incredibly disrespectful for the first-ever African American Girl of the Year character. When combined with her unorginal collection which merely recycles ideas already used in Marisol’s (2005), Saige’s (2013), and Isabelle’s (2014) stories and collections, it seems clear that AG simply did not care to put a lot of time, money, and effort into the development of this doll.

Furthermore, it seems apparent from the unoriginality of the doll and the skimpiness of her collection, as well as the debut of Tenney Grant only two months later, that Gabriela was not originally intended to be Girl of the Year 2017. It could just be a glaringly obvious marketing strategy that Tenney Grant was given the original story and features and all the big ticket accessories and fancy outfits. Did AG simply not want to put all their eggs in one basket with Gabriela? Or was Tenney originally designed to be the Girl of the Year 2017, and only demoted to “Contemporary Character” status when the customer outcry over the lack of diversity–and specifically the glaring lack of an African American character–became too loud for AG to ignore any longer? Either way, American Girl needs to know that their fan base has noticed. It doesn’t look good.

However, American Girl has finally managed to create an African American Girl of the Year character. Whatever the disappointments and shortcomings involved, I am able to separate the doll from these issues and appreciate her for what she is: a beautiful and enjoyable doll. Gabby’s character is a poet in addition to a dancer and artist, which is a new idea. I love poetry and the arts, so there’s no reason for me to not like her collection. I also have most of Isabelle’s outfits, so I was hoping Gabby might commandeer those in addition to her own (I have ordered one of Gabby’s outfits, which was on back order and has just shipped). There are currently only four outfits in Gabby’s collection, including the one she arrives in, so I do hope they release a few more outfits for her before year’s end. Right now I just have the doll and her Showtime Kit accessory set. I would normally have purchased the regular accessories, but I think Gabby’s accessories are pathetic and over-priced, so I skipped them.

I actually have had two Gabby dolls. The first was ordered online along with another doll. When the order arrived, though, there were two problems. First, Gabby’s lips were painted so crookedly that they were about a quarter of an inch askew. Secondly, I ordered Gabby with pierced ears but the other doll in the order arrived with pierced ears instead. That’s the first time I’ve had two problems like this in one order. Fortunately, we had to make a trip down to the Bay Area anyway, so we were able to go to the San Francisco store and exchange both dolls. That meant I was able to choose my Gabby doll in person! Yay! I looked at every single Gabriela doll in the store (there were probably thirty boxes or so out on display). I found several I liked, but I was a bit disappointed because none of them evoked a special response. The very last doll was tucked in an awkward corner under a display case facing the store windows. I picked her up, looked at her face, and spontaneously cried, “Ooooooh!” I knew she was the one. And here she is:

Gabby, fresh and shiny.

My Gabby has a breath-taking face. I think it’s a combination of her head-tilt and her sweet, peaceful, earnest, kind expression. I wish I could capture it better on film.

Her head was turned slightly to the left originally, which exaggerated her head tilt and sweet expression, but the store employee straightened it in order to pierce her ears.

You can see that my Gabby’s teeth are painted a bit crookedly, but this doesn’t bother me. I wish I had a picture of the first Gabby’s lips–they were painted about a quarter of an inch off her mouth to the right side.

I just love her expression and coloring, which was accentuated by her arrival outfit and the beautiful interior of her box. The Sonali-mold has large, deep eyes which make her seem extra thoughtful and sincere. Her coloring is rich and rosy. She has a serene quality about her.

Hair in the net.

Here’s a picture of her out of the box with her hair net still on. In the sunlight you can appreciate her rich, chocolate brown, and yet golden coloring. You might think that a doll with deep brown skin, dark brown eyes, and dark brown hair is a bit monotonous, but Gabby isn’t at all. Her hair has a golden glow (which my camera doesn’t capture very well) and her skin tone has almost a rosy hue.

Hair loose.

Here she is with her hair loose for the first time. A note about the hair: Gabby’s wig is exactly the same as that of Truly Me/ My AG / Just Like You #26 and #44. It is exactly the same as my brand-new #26 doll that I picked out at the same time: same length, same color, same curl style. Her hair is reasonably thick and short hairs cover the wig cap well.

From the back.

This wig style has evolved over the years and the curls are now much looser than the tight, perfect corkscrews it used to feature. It’s a bit longer and the curls droop lower on the dolls’ shoulders, and to me they look more natural. Honestly, I like this new wig much better than the original. For some reason I am less afraid to mess it up.

Pig-tails.

Many parents and collectors shy away from dolls with curly hair because they think it has lower play value: that it will be difficult to keep the hair looking nice or that it can be messed up more easily than some other hair styles. It is true that it is impossible to play with this kind of wig and keep it in pristine condition. As I have (gently!) changed Gabby’s outfits her hair has inevitably loosened up and frizzy fly-aways have appeared. But it is totally untrue that you can’t play with this type of hair. It can be put in all kinds of styles, including braids, and all it takes is some water or braid spray and finger curling to neaten it up again after play. It can even be brushed (gasp!), though you won’t want to unless you deliberately want to restyle the entire wig. What many parents and collectors don’t realize is that the hair on this wig wants to return to its original curl formation. I know because I once had a #26 doll whose hair was like-new but extremely dry. I brushed the entire wig out into a fluffy mass. It wasn’t a matted mess, like people will claim; it was actually soft and pretty. Then I used braid spray and my fingers to reform the curls. I was surprised to find the strands of hair jumping back into their original position. There are Youtube videos that will show you how to recurl hair of this kind. It isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming–and to reiterate, the hair when played with will never look exactly as it did when the doll was new. It is a mistake to let this wig keep you from buying or playing with your doll! Play dolls aren’t meant to be perfect.

So lovely.

I love Gabby’s arrival outfit–except the shoes.

Goofy shoes.

Um… do kids actually wear shoes like this?? Are they supposed to be dance shoes? I would have preferred a pair of Converse-style sneakers or even ballet flats.

But her outfit is gorgeous. I love the layers, I love the cool, jewel-like colors (they’re some of my favorites!), I love the “dream” logo, I love the stretchy fabrics.

Pretty shirts.

I love that either shirt can be used alone. The layers also give her outfit a little more value. According to AG the tee on top is a “sweatshirt,” but it is not made out of traditional sweatshirt material. It’s a nice sturdy fabric, though.

Under tank.

Oddly, the tank underneath doesn’t close with velcro–it has to be pulled off over the doll’s head. Which is fine, except that repeated changes can stretch out the shirt and will definitely mess up Gabby’s curls. I would have preferred the usual closure. It’s so pretty, though.

What a pretty girl.

Gabby looks fabulous in both the rich plum of the upper tee and the serene aquamarine of the tank top.

I do wish they had given her a decent hair accessory, though. The stretchy pink double-ribbon hair band she comes with doesn’t match her gorgeous outfit and is cheap. Come on, AG–this is the Girl of the Year! In some of the pictures here I’ve used the braided silver hairband that comes in her Showtime Kit accessory set to hold her hair back, and this is the kind of thing she should have come with. (And a bracelet! Tenney gets a bracelet–why not Gabby? Argh).

She should have come with this.

Anyway, to the earrings.

Musical notes–for a poet??

Here are the special earrings that Gabriela (and Tenney) get, if you want to have their ears pierced. But the musical theme of the earring set, which is the same set for both dolls, makes it clear it was intended originally for Tenney, not Gabby. I so wish they had seen fit to give Gabby her own special earring set–maybe with a little silver pen for a poet? Or paintbrush for an artist??

Songbirds–for a poet??

The final pair of earrings are small, pale aqua roses, which are beautiful, but also one of Tenney’s motifs. I couldn’t get my camera to take a good picture of them.

Gabby’s artistic box.

I haven’t talked about Gabby’s box yet. It is a new box style and initially I was not happy about this change. The traditional lift-top box has become to me almost a part of the AG doll–it has always been an important part of the doll-buying experience, anyway. It feels precious, it stores well, it’s easy to return the doll to, it’s nostalgic, and there aren’t many dolls on the market with that style of box. That being said, when I saw the new boxes in person I was surprised to find that I disliked them a lot less that I expected. The main thing I noticed is that the new boxes still present the dolls in a beautiful way. The only thing I really don’t like about them is the glaring product warning printed right on the front. Why couldn’t that have been printed on the side? Otherwise the boxes are sturdy, attractive, and well-designed. The dolls are held in securely and I like how the boxes are specially decorated for each character. It doesn’t take significantly more time to take a doll out of the new box style, although the wrist straps seem totally superfluous.

Artsy for an artist!

Anyway, I love the colors on the inside of Gabby’s box. They echo Gabby’s arrival outfit, and I especially love the mosaic motif. I think the interior of Gabby’s box is far more attractive than Tenney’s.

Gabby is such a beautiful, pleasing doll that I was hoping she would prove versatile as far as what kind of clothes she looked good in. I was particularly hoping that she would claim the Isabelle mix-and-match pieces I love, but which my other dolls don’t seem to like. I spread out a bunch of artsy separates on the floor.

Artsy doll clothes.

These are all modern–I wasn’t ready to try any historical styles yet.

More clothes.

Gabby quickly put together a string of outfits, which I’m happy to share with you:

Spiffy Gabby.

I found that she looks best in rich colors.

Sporty Gabby.

She seemed comfortable in a range of looks.

Snuggly Gabby.

Here are the Isabelle ensembles she created:

Creative Gabby.

I can’t get anyone else to wear those funky pants!

Peachy Gabby.

She especially glows in peaches, purples, and lavenders.

Dancy Gabby.

She looks best in more saturated colors, though–some of her choices seemed a bit too pale.

Lilac Gabby.

I found she never really strayed too far from the palette she arrived in.

Mix-and-match Gabby.

Gabby dressed up as Isabelle:

Dance-star Gabby!

But she prefers to be herself, rather than imitating someone else.

Sparkly Gabby.

Finally she settled on a casual pairing of an AGSF store tee and her own stretchy jeggings:

Cute Gabby.

A note about Gabby’s body fabric: Some collectors are up in arms over the change in AG’s body fabric. My Gabby does have the new fabric, which is slightly thinner and more shiny than the previous fabric. However, I want to point out that AG’s body fabric has changed several times over the years, and some of those changes weren’t for the better. From the white muslin of the original dolls, AG went to tan, and then to a horrid orangey-beige sometime during the mid-90’s. In the mid-2000’s they went with a fairly stretchy fabric, and then it changed back to a nice, sturdy muslin again. This latest change doesn’t seem particularly significant to me. I’m much more concerned about the squishy vinyl that’s been showing up in some of the dolls (my Gabby is normal). The perma-panties looming on the horizon, though–that’s a whole different thing.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures just in case you were still on the fence about Gabriela.

There is a special, intangible quality about her beauty.

She’s not just another pretty AG doll. She has soul.

Thanks for reading! Happy Spring from A Doll’s Picnic!

Favorite Pictures, Part 1

Hello Readers!

A Doll’s Picnic is back! It has been a long time since my last post, I know. Last fall I decided to return to school as an online student in order to finish my undergraduate degree, and I was accepted by Antioch University. I’m happy with my decision and the program so far. It seems to be the perfect way for me to return to school; I love my freedom and I’ve always struggled to accept the restrictions inherent in pursuing a traditional college education. As an online student I can set my own schedule and work at home, while still being able to pursue my skating and other important activities. However, the class load turned out to be much more intense than I expected! The full-time load was so time consuming, in fact (more than 40 hours a week!), that during my second term I had to drop a class and accept that a part-time course load works much more harmoniously with my life. In any case, that’s why my blog has been completely neglected for the last several months. I’m hoping to be a bit more active here now that I’ve become accustomed to the pace of being a part-time online student. This week I’m on break between terms, so we’ll see what I can do.

A few days ago I found myself going through my folders of hundreds of doll pictures here on my computer in order to revisit my favorite photographs. They were so fun to look at that I’ve decided to share my very favorites here. Because I have quite a few favorite pictures of my dolls, I’m going to share them in parts. This first group is composed of single portraits. Next, I hope to share some of the first photos I took of my first dolls (on real film!). Finally, I hope to share some of my favorite photographs of my dolls in groups. Of course, half the fun of having a doll blog in the first place is in sharing photographs of my dolls, and some of my favorites have already been posted here, so I’ll skip those. What follows is just a collage of photographs in no particular order.

I’m not sharing these because these are fabulous photos–I’m by no means an experienced photographer. These are just pictures that I simply love and make me happy. Sometimes I remember a photo because I captured something quintessential about how I felt about a particular doll; sometimes the picture really captured something of the individuality of the doll; sometimes I like the composition or the lighting; and sometimes they just make me happy without me knowing why. I hope they bring you joy as well–and most of all, I hope my pictures encourage you to go out and take pictures of your own dolls! What’s the point of having dolls if we don’t play with them? Taking pictures is one of the primary ways adult collectors play. 🙂

In the ten years that I have been collecting dolls, many dolls have passed through my home. Most of them have stayed with me for a while, been loved and enjoyed, and then have gone on to find homes with family members, charity recipients, or other collectors. For whatever reason, I don’t tend to hold onto most of my dolls for more than a few years, so many of the dolls in these pictures are now just loving memories. That’s part of the joy of revisiting these old pictures. They are reminders of special friends I spent time with, and I think I love them all the more for being so willing and able to let them go.

Pepper Robert, aka Maggie Amanda, aka Emma Jo

Emma Jo… aka Maggie Amanda… aka Pepper Roberta, aka “Kit.”

This is Emma Jo with Muir the Bear (I love dolls with bears!). Emma has had several name changes in the years she’s been in my/our collection. She was purchased in 2009 as an  anniversary gift, and I gave her the name Pepper Roberta. After hanging out in my collection for a couple of years she joined my husband’s collection where she was christened Maggie Amanda. Now she has once again joined my collection and I felt it was time for a new name in honor of discovering her all over again. This time I’m christening her Emma Josephine, or Emma Jo for short. Emma has always been a wonderful doll to photograph, and this is one of those very favorite pictures that just makes me happy.

Addy Walker times two. Left: Elinor, right, Abby.

Addy Walker, times two! Left: Elinor, right, Abby.

This picture is special to me for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is a wonderful portrait of two different Addy dolls whom I have loved. Second, it shows how different two individuals of the same type of doll can be. On the right is Abby, my first Addy doll. Abby was just my second American Girl doll as a collector! She joined my collection in 2006 and was originally named  Violet until she joined my sister’s collection later on. Abby was what I would call a mid-Mattel-era Addy doll. Compare her face to Elinor, on the left, and you will see how much the face mold evolved in just a few short years. Elinor was purchased in 2010, when I began missing Abby/Violet. She had a whole different look and expression. The dolls were also different heights, and even had slightly different skin tones. I find these differences fascinating!

Surf's up, Paulina and Kamea!

Surf’s up, Paulina and Kamea!

This picture just makes me giggle! We were hosting a tropical-themed party to welcome Kamea (American Girl of the Year 2011 Kanani). Paulina couldn’t help hamming it up! Though Kamea spent only a couple of years with us before continuing her dolly adventures elsewhere, Paulina is the doll who started my adult collecting. She’s actually my husband’s doll now, and she’s a permanent fixture in our household!

Marjorie Mae

Marjorie Mae

I’ve had several Molly dolls over the years, including this little Mattel sweetie. I just love the lighting in this picture, as well as Marjorie’s outfit and the way I did her hair.

Doll hugs.

Darling Melanie… and doll hugs.

This is a doll I’ve been missing lately: Melanie Roxanne, Just Like You/My American Girl #26. Melanie gave fabulous hugs. I loved her amber eyes and sweet expression, but I found her curls a little off-putting because they made me nervous (I was so afraid to mess them up). What a beautiful doll, though.

Umeko Patience and a daffodill.

Umeko Patience and daffodil.

Every now and then, a doll has come along who was just exactly what I needed at a certain time. I found Patience on eBay, after being inspired by the fabulous blog Lissie and Lilly to find a Just Like You #4 doll. I couldn’t really tell from the pictures what condition the doll was in, but when Patience arrived, it was clear that I had a fixer-upper project on my hands. This project gave me something to do during a very tough time. Patience’s sweetness, sympathy, and cheerfulness helped me through, and she and I are now best friends. By the way, her favorite color is yellow. 🙂

Harriet Eloise!

Harriet Eloise!

This is Harriet, another extra special doll. Harriet (American Girl of the Year 2008 Mia) came into my life just after I learned how to skate as an adult, and even traveled with me to my first competition where we performed together! Although she eventually continued on her way into the world, I have many fond memories of Harriet. This picture just makes me happy.

American Girl Kaya and Julie dolls by the lake

Ursie and Joannie at Lake Siskiyou

I don’t often take dolls with me to the lake as I’m afraid to leave them on the shore while I swim, but I guess on this particular day I was feeling just a bit bolder than usual.

Katrin in the snow

Katrin in the snow

Here, lovely Katrin was exploring one of our rare snowfalls. I just love the sunlight and her warm winter sweater!

Harriet and Hobbes

Harriet and Hobbes

Dolls like cats. Cats like dolls. 🙂

Amy Gratitude Octavine Taylor

Amy Gratitude Octavine Taylor

This is one of my very favorite doll portraits. Amy was so beautiful and confident and strong. She was a retired, MCM sale Just Like You #1 doll I found on eBay in new condition one Thanksgiving Day. She’s no longer in my collection, but this picture gives me fond recollections.

Guess where Melita is standing???

Guess where Melita is standing???

Right outside of American Girl San Francisco, that’s where! Melita (My American Girl #55) traveled down with me for the Beforever debut weekend; here she’s modeling Rebecca’s Beforever Meet outfit.

Taking outdoor pictures with dolls is so much fun!

Taking outdoor pictures with dolls is so much fun!

I loved walking with Melita (and my sister and her Kaya doll!) through the outdoor mall where the American Girl San Francisco store is situated. No one there seems too startled at seeing a grown-up lady with a doll under her arm, because everybody knows the AG store is right around the corner. They have such beautiful summer flowers in Palo Alto.

Melita loved flowers

Melita loved flowers

One last picture of Melita. Melita is an example of a doll that I ended up selling and then missing so much that I recently replaced her! That happens sometimes. 🙂

Melanie and Pooh Bear

Melanie and Pooh Bear

Okay, here is one of my more artsy shots. I just love this picture… and I do miss this doll!

Jane goes raspberry picking

Jane goes raspberry picking

Jane (My American Girl #53) was such a lovely and sweet doll. I didn’t end up keeping her for very long, but I sure had fun taking pictures of her sweet self. This picture makes me want her back again!

Emmie in the window

Emmie in the window

This doll was such a fun eBay find: a truly excellent condition Just Like You #2 doll. She didn’t end up fitting my collection, but she had such a perfect, mid-Mattel-era classic face. She always seemed so up for anything.

Grania--looking gorgeous

Grania: looking gorgeous

This is Rebecca Grania, a fabulously gorgeous doll I don’t think American Girl should have retired: My American Girl #45. I just loved everything about this beauty’s looks.

Patience and more daffodils

Patience and more daffodils

Patience loves the spring, and adventures, and traveling! Here she accompanied me to nearby Ashland, Oregon, to look for all the spring flowers. She looks awesome in Grace’s coat, too!

Ashleigh Carolina

Ashleigh Carolina

This is another doll I missed so much that I had to replace: Ashleigh, aka American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle. Everything about the Isabelle doll just looks so classic to me. Ashleigh was a very modern, artsy sort of person, and looked like a model.

Melanie in the morning

Melanie in the morning

One last picture of Melanie looking adorable in the morning light. Man, I miss this doll. Okay, eBay, here I come!

Melita Danielle... and Arthur bunny

Melita Danielle… and Arthur Bunny

And one last picture of lovely Melita with Arthur the Bunny! My American Girl/ Truly Me #55 is such a lovely and unique doll. If you’re on the fence about her… get her!

Katrin and the violets

Katrin and the violets

Katrin and her spaniel are keeping guard over the spring violets. Let’s hope her puppy chases away the deer!

Sylvie-Anne enjoying the fresh powder

Sylvie-Anne enjoying the fresh powder

Sylvie-Anne (American Girl of the Year 2015 Grace) was as excited as I was when we received an inch or two of fresh powder last December! (Clear elastics helped her hold the snowball for the picture).

Pleasant Company dolls are special

Melinda: Pleasant Company dolls are special

Melinda was a Pleasant Company Felicity doll who spent a while in our home. Melinda worked as a model for a doll-clothes store for the first twenty years of her life. I carefully restored her, enjoyed her for a while, and then sent her on her way. She had the loveliest, rosiest complexion I’ve ever seen on a doll, and the quintessential, sweet, old Pleasant Company face.

Dolls and roses go together

Dolls and roses go together

I didn’t keep this My American Girl #27 doll long, but I sure enjoyed taking pictures of her! She was just lovely, and was delighted by my modest little garden.

So photogenic!

So photogenic!

She wanted to look at every flower.

Especially the asters

Especially the asters

She seemed especially bewitched by the purple asters.

Dolls and bugs

Dolls and bugs

Okay, this is going to seem a bit random, but I just love this picture! Harriet skated with me at my first (and so far, my only) competition. We were taking a break outside the rink in the sunshine and we found this cool beetle on her tights. It’s kind of a ladybug, but not.

Beverly and the queen anne's lace

Beverly and the queen anne’s lace

I love this portrait… I have this thing about American Girl Gwen dolls. They are just so sweet and lovely, and I love the swoopy hair.

Molly modeling

Molly modeling

This lovely Molly doll was modeling a dress by The Dollies’ Dressmaker for a blog post last spring. I just love this shot from above.

Lydia--what a beauty

Lydia: what a beauty

All Josefina face mold dolls are gorgeous, and Lydia (American Girl Felicity’s best friend Elizabeth) was no exception. She just came alive out of doors among the spring bulbs.

Regency regal

Regency regal

She also looked fabulous modeling this Etsy Regency ensemble. I don’t tend to bond well with blue-eyed blondes, so Lydia continued on her way, but she was a gorgeous doll and very fun to photograph.

Marie Faith... a quiet beauty

Marie Faith… a quiet beauty

Sometimes I sell a doll and later I think: why did I do that? That’s part of the adventure of collecting, I guess. Marie, My American Girl #34, is one of those dolls. This is a fairly rare doll, as she was only around a few years, and she had a unique color of dark auburn hair. I miss her.

Elinor

Elinor

But then, in a way, I miss all the dolls I’ve had, including lovely Addy (in this case, Elinor).

Sophie--a rare sweetie!

Sophie: a rare sweetie!

Here’s a truly rare sweetie-pie I was delighted to find on eBay: Girl of Today #6. She is one of the original 20 Girls of Today, and was only available for a couple of years before she was replaced by the blonde haired-green eyed girl. Sophie didn’t end up fitting my collection, but I had fun restoring and photographing her.

Beverly in the garden

Beverly in the garden

One last picture of lovely Beverly in the garden. I hope to share more favorite doll photos soon. Until then, enjoy your dolls, play, take pictures, be yourself, and enjoy March!

Much love,

from your friends at A Doll’s Picnic.

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!

 

A January Day…

It was a dull, overcast day in early January, and the girls had been inside all morning. Darcy was feeling restless, so she persuaded the sisters Ashleigh and Esther to go outside with her. At first the clean, piney air seemed cold. Esther and Ashleigh shivered together near a tree, while Darcy scoped things out. A light misty rain had fallen the day before, and there were still drops clinging to the pine needles. The ground was damp, but underneath the shelter of the trees, the rocks were still dry.

American Girl of the Year dolls Mia Isabelle Grace

“Look, you guys,” called Darcy. “These rocks are great for climbing!”

American Girl of the Year Grace doll

The sisters watched as Darcy quickly scrambled to the top.

American Girl of the Year Grace doll

“Be careful…” Ashleigh couldn’t help cautioning, but to herself she thought, why bother? It’s like telling a mountain goat to be careful!

“Look, there’s a bench!” called Darcy. She jumped down from the rock and all three quickly climbed up.

American Girl of the Year dolls Grace Isabelle Mia

“I wish it would snow,” sighed Darcy. “Then we could build a snowman.”

“Do you wanna build a snowman…?” sang Ashleigh, and they both laughed.

American Girl of the Year dolls Isabelle Grace

“I mean if it’s going to be grey and cold,” continued Darcy, “it might as well be snowing.”

“I don’t know,” said Esther. “I love the snow, but I think it’s nice this way too. Listen to how quiet the forest is today. It’s like the clouds are muffling everything.”

American Girl of the Year Mia doll

All three girls listened. The forest was quiet; all they could hear was a squirrel climbing a tree in a nearby yard.

“Look at the twigs on that bush,” said Ashleigh. She jumped down and went to examine them. “Aren’t they pretty? All spindly and delicate. I’d like to–”

“–draw them?” finished Darcy, and she and Esther laughed. Ashleigh was always saying that whenever she admired something.

American Girl of the Year Isabelle doll

“It’s true!” Ashleigh protested. “I can’t help it, I do!”

“You should!” said Darcy quickly. “I wish I wanted to draw stuff, but I don’t. I’d rather ride a bike, or go roller skating.”

American Girl of the Year dolls Mia Isabelle

“I think looking at the world through an artist’s eyes makes it even nicer,” explained Ashleigh. “It helps me see things fresh. It’s like how Esther is always thinking of words for things. It’s fun… and kind of exciting, in a way.”

“What are you making up now, Esther?” asked Darcy. Esther had scrambled up a low boulder and was perched on top, staring off into the forest.

American Girl of the Year Mia doll

“Nothing much,” said Esther. “I just like the way the day looks, today. It’s soft, and clean, and fresh. All the colors are soft. And there are so many textures too. It’s like a great big winter quilt.”

“What about the way trees smell?” Darcy said. “I’ve read that some pine trees smell like pineapple or vanilla.” She put her nose to the tree trunk.

American Girl of the Year doll Grace

“This one just smells like bark.”

“Let me see,” said Ashleigh.

American Girl of the Year dolls Isabelle Grace

“You’re right–damp bark. Maybe it’s the wrong kind. Or maybe it doesn’t smell because it’s too cold. Trees are nice, though, even when they don’t smell like pineapple.”

“Yep,” said Darcy. “They’re so big and solid.” The two girls stood with their backs against the pine trunk.

American Girl of the Year dolls Grace Isabelle

“What should we do?” sighed Darcy. “It’s too cold for a picnic.”

“Let’s go back inside,” said Ashleigh. “We can make hot cocoa and draw…”

“…And listen to music,” added Darcy.

“…And watch movies!” chimed in Esther.

“And play board games,” said Darcy.

“And read,” said Esther.

“And COLOR!” shouted all three girls together. They laughed, and turned back toward the house.

“Look,” said Ashleigh. “The pine needles are the same color as Esther’s hair.”

American Girl of the Year Mia doll

Esther looked down. The needles were springy under her feet. “Look!” she said. She lay down and closed her eyes.

American Girl of the Year doll Mia

“It’s a forest bed! If I was a deer, this is where I’d sleep.” The girls laughed.

Just then the forest brightened; the clouds had lifted while the girls were playing, and the now the sun peeked out for the first time. The three girls looked around: everywhere, tiny drops were sparkling.

American Girl of the Year dolls Mia Grace

“Wow,” breathed Darcy. “It’s like the grass is covered with diamonds.”

Sparkling grass

The End.


 

Darcy is the American Girl of the Year 2015 Grace doll; Ashleigh is the American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle doll; and Esther is the American Girl of the Year 2008 Mia doll.

Brown is Beautiful: The Wonderful Faces of Addy

American Girl dolls with Addy face mold

One of my favorite American Girl face sculpts of all time.

Happy 2015! It’s a new season, a new month, and a new year. Weeks have passed since my last post, bringing the solstice, the lovely simplicity of winter and the fleeting sparkle of the holidays. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, since a new year begins every moment (it’s now been a year since this moment last year, right?), but I do love the idea of starting fresh, and I do set goals for myself as a way to organize and channel the creative process. One of my goals is to post here on A Doll’s Picnic much more frequently. I have lots of dolls to share with you via overdue reviews, and the dolls themselves are clamoring for me to step out of the way and let them tell their own stories sometimes. I’ll do my best to let 2015 be a year of writing, sharing, and creativity–and dolls of course (but that goes without saying)!

To start things off, welcome to a new feature called Brown is Beautiful. In this series of posts I plan to showcase and celebrate the lovely dolls of color in my collection–as well as the occasional Caucasian doll with brown eyes. The point? To help spread the word that dolls with brown eyes, brown (or black) hair, and/or brown skin are just as desirable, just as lovable, and just as interesting as their lighter counterparts. American Girl dolls are my first love, after all, and the need for diversity and representation in the American Girl line of products is well established. The debut of the fourth Caucasian girl (with light eyes!) in a row in the American Girl of the Year line has brought the simmering discontent among many fans to a boiling point and sparked a new social media campaign. You can read about the motivation and manifesto of the #AGDoCGoTY social media protest movement at Nethilia’s blog, American Girl Outsider, here. While I don’t use social media (encroaches too much on my creative time), I’d like to support the cause by doing a better job here at A Doll’s Picnic in a couple of ways: 1) make sure my own collection is diverse, and 2) make sure I share dolls of color at least as often as I do Caucasian dolls.

A little background about myself and my collection is called for here: My impetuous and changeable method of collecting–varying with my latest interest or whim–means my doll collection is always evolving. From the very beginning of my collecting I’ve only been interested in actually keeping girls (as I call them) in my collection with whom I feel a strong bond, because I love simplicity and can’t bear to have dolls sitting around neglected when they ought to be getting love. Thus it is that many dolls, including most of the named American Girl character dolls, have passed through my collection, been appreciated and enjoyed for a time, and then passed on to new homes (including charitable causes, homes with family members, and more recently eBay). These have included several dolls of color like Addy–whom I’ve actually had in my collection 3 times–Cecile, Josefina–owned her twice–Kaya, Sonali, Kanani, #26, #28, #4 and #30, a Jess look-a-like. I mention this because looking at my doll bios a casual observer might not realize what a big fan I am of the dolls of non-Caucasion backgrounds that AG has offered. Josefina and Addy were my first two 18 inch dolls as an adult because I remembered how much I had admired them when they debuted in the original Pleasant Company catalogs. Since I change the names and stories of all my dolls when I get them, the question of permanently bonding with a doll or not has little to do with that doll’s ethnicity, but much more with how my imagination interprets her character. My doll collecting seems to be a process of getting closer and closer to who I really am and what I really like, which of course is always changing. I am glad to be able to say that some of my current favorite dolls–including #1, #45, #2, and Marisol–are dolls of color, and that my collection now includes a much larger percentage of dolls of color than it did at this time last year. (I also have several dolls of color on my wishlist, including #15 and #58). I can’t wait to share these beautiful girls with you!

And now, for our first Brown is Beautiful focus: the wonderful, adorable, and unique Addy face sculpt!

American Girl Addy doll portrait 1

Glorious Addy.

Addy Walker was introduced by Pleasant Company in 1993, and featured the first–and for 15 years the only–African American face sculpt in the American Girl line of dolls. She was the fifth historical character in the American Girl line. I would have loved having this doll as a child. I remember how excited I was when she came out: pouring over the catalog pictures with my sister, minutely admiring all her tiny perfect accessories and gorgeous outfits, and rendered practically speechless by her luxuriously long hair. At that time, hair was the most important feature for me in a doll, and I remember being awestruck by the catalog pictures which showed Addy’s tresses reaching past her knees (very realistic for her time period).

Addy was my second 18 inch doll as an adult, and I just adored her soft, round face and poofy hair. I always found her hair incredibly forgiving and easy to style–often needing nothing more than finger-combing to keep it looking its best. My first Addy had a penchant for dressing up in Victorian-esque fashions pinched from Samantha’s collection, and I loved how I could make her hair up into lady-like buns and up-dos. Although I gave my first Addy away to a sister when I felt she was falling behind a bit in my collection, I kept my interest in her, and after a few years I missed her enough to purchase Addy a second time. This second girl enjoyed staying in mid-1800’s fashions. After about a year my second Addy found a home with my other sister. She was followed by Melanie, a #26 doll. I loved Melanie’s medium-toned skin and gorgeous light-brown eyes, which reflected so much light that they almost looked real. And though Melanie eventually found a new home via eBay (I wasn’t crazy about her hair), I still kept my affection for the Addy face sculpt. Last fall I found my third Addy doll on eBay. She’s a 1997 Pleasant Company Addy, and very sweet. I’ve restrung her, but haven’t yet had the nerve to take her hair out of its original braid.

On Thanksgiving evening 2013, zooting around on eBay while hubby was preparing our vegan feast, I found a #1 doll in new condition being sold for an outrageously reasonable price. It took me about two minutes to look her up on AGPlaythings, find out she was retired (why, oh why?), fall in love, and buy her. Introducing Amy Gratitude Octavine Taylor, named after Thanksgiving and one of my great-grandmothers, with initials that spell out AGOT (or American Girl of Today, my favorite AG line):

American Girl of Today just like you #1

I love this doll. Oh, how I love this doll.

Amy is very much a modern Addy–in fact, she loves to say of herself that she’s what Addy Walker would be if Addy were transported into the 21st century.

American Girl Addy Walker just like you #1 doll

Addy meets herself 150 years in the future.

Her hair is identical in color and texture to Addy’s, and the style only differs in the following points: 1) Amy has no part, while Addy has a center part, and 2) Amy’s hair has a unique wig with two sections of hair at slightly different lengths. These sections are the front or top area and the back area. This wig style has received complaints from some collectors, but I think it is awesome! I love how easy it is to gather her hair into a half-pony or half-pony-braid. I love how poofy it is on top. In fact, I think Amy is wonderful in every single way and I wouldn’t change her one bit. The only thing ornery about my Amy is that she will not under any circumstances be historical. I once dressed her in Cecile’s adorable yellow summer dress outfit (one of my favorite historical ensembles). Amy looked perfect, but she gazed at me with a frozen smile that clearly said: If you do not remove this ridiculous outfit this instant I will happily kill you. I took it off. Amy is a modern girl, won’t be anything but. After all, her initials, as I’m happy to remind you, do spell out A…G…O….T. Let that be understood.

My Amy and Addy dolls have different skin tones, which I’d like to share with you here. Variations in lighting and my camera’s limits make it hard to see in pictures, but I’ll do my best:

American Girl Addy Walker Just like you #1 doll

My Addy has a lovely, rosy deep-brown skin tone, while Amy’s is a little yellower and perhaps not quite as dark. Some people might say Amy’s tone is a little grayer.

American Girl Addy Walker Just like you #1 doll

My Amy is a wonderful person: funny, strong, thoughtful, sensitive, bold, courageous, independent, authentic. She hates wearing anything too trendy; in fact, she simply won’t wear anything that doesn’t express her care-free, independent attitude. She is a civil-and-women’s-rights activist. She is a writer. And she’s not afraid to speak her mind, while still being very tolerant and open towards everyone, provided they don’t oppress her or anyone else. (By the way, she’s best friends with my Isabelle doll, Ashleigh–their choice, not mine. Amy’s the writer and Ashleigh’s the artist, and although they’re totally different they just seem to get along great!).

Last fall I found my third Addy face-sculpt dearie (well, fourth really, counting Melanie), also on eBay. Introducing the incredible, gorgeous Rebecca Grania:

American Girl just like you #45 doll

Oh. My. Goodness. Best. Doll. Ever.

Grania is one of those extra-special dolls I was always meant to have. I could tell this the moment Amy and I opened her box.

American Girl just like you #45 doll #1

Hiya, sis! It’s love!

She is Just Like You/My American Girl #45. She was apparently only available for two brief years between 2009 and 2011 before she was retired. I was so disappointed when I discovered she had been retired (serves me right for not buying her when I could), and so thrilled when I found her new on eBay. I. Adore. This. Doll. Why? Because she’s perfect, period. Seriously, I love everything about #45. I adore her hair. It is lighter brown than both Addy’s and Amy’s, but still a rich, dark brown. It has a straightened-but-still-textured feeling, which I love. It just feels great to my fingers. It is shiny and glossy. It is thick. It has short hairs generously planted over the wig cap. It is layered. It looks great in every single style. And it has a fringe! Look at all that beautiful BROWN!

Loose and easy-breezy.

Loose and easy-breezy.

Ballet-style bun (thanks to Isabelle's hairstyling accessories).

Ballet-style bun (thanks to Isabelle’s hairstyling accessories).

Twin french braids.

Twin french braids. Her hair isn’t really this dark–this picture was taken in the shade.

Grania is much more girly than independent Amy. She loves artsy, feminine outfits, and unlike Amy, Grania is happy to dress in historical outfits, looking wonderful in practically everything I’ve put on her (including Rebecca’s BeForever Meet outfit, Samantha’s Play Dress, and an Anne of Green Gables outfit I bought on Etsy). She promptly clued me in to the fact that she–not Isabelle–is the dancer.

American Girl just like you #45 doll

I think she looks amazing in Isabelle’s mix-and-match ensembles.

American Girl just like you #45 doll

The bright colors just pop against her rich brown skin.

American Girl just like you #45 doll

So much so that she easily convinced me that this is the Isabelle doll AG should have produced, but didn’t.

American Girl just like you #45 doll

Oh man, I love that hair.

Here’s Grania with her sisters Addy and Amy:

American Girl Addy just like you #45 #1 doll

A beautiful bouquet of brown.

Besides the difference in their wigs, Grania’s skin tone is also a bit different. She is a touch lighter than both Addy and Amy and has a beautiful golden glow. Her lips and cheeks are also just a bit rosier. As far as eye color goes, I think they’re all the same, but sometimes it seems to me that Amy’s eyes are darker. It’s difficult for me to visually isolate the exact color of the brown eyes from the overall complexion, so set me right about this if I’m wrong.

Amy and Grania.

Amy’s eyes appear darker.

American Girl Addy just like you #45 doll

Here Addy’s eyes look darker. Maybe Addy’s and Amy’s are the same and Grania’s are lighter?

And finally the last member of my Addy face-sculpt quartet: Elodie Rain!

American Girl just like you #11 doll

Rain is a Just Like You #11 doll. Like #45 and #1, she is now retired from American Girl’s modern line, and like them this is a terrible shame. It is particularly unfortunate in the case of #11 as she is arguably one of the most ethnically diverse and interesting dolls AG has ever created. With her medium brown skin tone, dark brown eyes and truly black (not black-brown, but really black) hair, Rain can represent a wide variety of ethnicities, including but not limited to: Native American, Native American/black mixed-ancestry, Native Canadian or Alaskan, Native Australian, Filipino, and South Sea Islander. My interest in #11 came about through my sister, who always thought of her as Maori (Native New Zealander). Like her sisters Amy and Grania, I found Rain new on eBay. I haven’t yet developed a strong sense of her character, but she seems quieter and calmer than her Addy face-sculpt sisters. I also like to think she’s a rain charm, because immediately after she arrived it rained in Northern California for the first time in months (and yes, I had already named her Rain).

Elodie Rain

Elodie Rain

Rain is the second of my Addy face-sculpt dolls (after Melanie, the #26 I didn’t keep) to have medium-brown skin instead of dark-brown skin. My favorite feature is her jet black, super-glossy hair. From what I can tell, she has the same exact wig as #4, which was really exciting to me, as these two dolls are the only ones I know of in the whole of American Girl’s history to have truly black hair–that is, hair that doesn’t have any brown highlights in full sun. It has almost a blue cast to it in direct light. It is a very thick wig, but has been criticized by collectors because it lacks the short hairs to cover the wig cap when her hair is parted into pig tails or twin braids. It isn’t a perfect wig, but the color and ultra-sleek texture as well as the flip at the ends make up for this shortcoming as far as I’m concerned. Here you can see the variations in color and texture between the wigs of my four Addy face-sculpt dolls:

Addy face sculpt mold doll wigs

Top: Rain, #11. Bottom: Grania, #45. Left: Amy, #1. Right: Addy.

And again, here:

American Girl just like you #11 #1 #45 Addy doll

Top left, Addy, top right, #45. Bottom left, #1, bottom right #11.

 

Conclusion? The Addy face-sculpt is one of my very very favorite American Girl faces ever. I believe it has been used a total of nine times–once in the historical line for Addy herself, and eight times in the Girl of Today/Just Like You/My American Girl line–exclusively for dolls of color. It is cheery, intelligent, sweet, round and loveable. And it is very VERY much needed in the American Girl of the Year line. With such wonderful possibilities, how can American Girl resist?

American Girl just like you #45 #11 doll

American Girl just like you #1 #45 doll

Here’s to a year of doll of color love! Until next time, celebrate the beauty of brown!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Here at A Doll’s Picnic, the girls gave thanks for having a warm home full of sisters and changes of outfits, and for having doll-crazy human friends who love to have picnics and play!

I managed to capture a rare shot of all my girls together in one place:

My current doll collection.

Here we are: the girls of A Doll’s Picnic!

And here are all the dolls currently on our shelves, including my husband’s collection of seven in front:

All the dolls at A Doll's Picnic

That’s a total of 39 dolls (gulp)! Little did I imagine when I started collecting back in 2006 that it would get to this point!

The story of my husband’s collection is simple: six of his seven dolls were once mine. When I no longer wanted these girls in my collection, he liked them too well to allow me to either give them away or sell them. His collection began pretty early on when I decided not to keep Paulina Clementina (front center), the Josefina doll that began my doll collecting, and has gradually expanded from there over the years. The only exception is Catherine (in the blue dress, third from left), who was purchased for him as an anniversary present at the American Girl Store in Seattle this summer.

Our dolls had a special treat last week when both my sisters and my two nieces came to visit, bringing with them all of their doll friends! That made a total of 50 dolls in our house for three days! Here’s a picture of our joint collection, including all my own girls, my husband’s collection, and my sisters’ and neices’ dolls!

My family's doll collection

My nieces’ dolls are seated in the front row. From left to right, that’s Ella (My Twinn), Butterfly, Karis (My Twinn), Polly, and Emma (Our Generation). My sisters’ dolls are standing in the row behind them. Aren’t they beautiful? (Averill has the light full in her face, poor dear). My girls were so excited to have all their cousins over to visit and play!

Happy Thanksgiving from A Doll’s Picnic!

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.