American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Mix and Match Outfit and Accessories (1995)

Michi's taking it back to the Original AGoT Meet Outfit.
Lemme take you back. Way back. When the internet was just a few meager computer connections and AOL was the wave of the future. When cellphones were huge and hideous. When I was just starting high school and already had breasts. When Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, and Fresh Prince of Bellaire was on the air waves, and I was rocking out to TLC, Jodeci, and En Vogue. Back into time to 1995.

American Girl (still being called Pleasant Company at the time), after massive success with Felicity, Addy, Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly--and the shifting from Our New Baby to Bitty Baby--decided to launch a new line: The American Girl of Today. Billed as "You're a Part of History Too!" it threw out the idea that girls could want to write and create their own Historicals of today--even going so far as to include writing books in the six book style series--and tell their own stories. It was a success in tons of ways, and has lasted ever since. While the modern line has changed names numerous times, shifted to a more "companion" style focus, and it has since taken over AG in many ways, the modern line had very humble beginnings. 

And of course, the brand new American Girl of Today came in clothes contemporary for the style. The first Meet Outfit was called the Mix and Match Set, and naturally was never available as a separate set because if you were buying an AGT, she was coming in this: a t-shirt, overshirt, vest, leggings, panties, scrunchie, and black flats. So if you want to kind of guesstimate the cost, it's probably have been about 30 bucks. The Accessories--purse, hat, lunch ticket, money, library card, and mini magazine--were $20. Michi is displaying this set for me--partially because she likes the old school sets and partially because she came in one of the older sets. (Not this one though. What she came in is next.) This outfit lasted from 1995 until 1996, so not very long. 

Consider this the first of a multi-part series on AGT Meet Sets. Because through many channels, I have managed to get the main outfits of every Meet Outfit they've had, and a lot of the complimentary accessories. So first the accessories I have, and then the outfit itself.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Makeover: Meet Gwenni Damico

Meet Gwenivere Ruth Damico.
So in my last post I mentioned that I was doing a makeover. Well, she's all cleaned up and ready to debut. Meet Gwenivere Ruth Damico. Not bad, huh?

Picture heavy under the cut. Hold on to your hats.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

AG Complaint Department: Some Children Are Too Young for AG Dolls

The American Girl company was initially created--so the story goes--to fill that empty niche at the time between the baby doll and the fashion doll. A companion that wasn't either focused on mommying or on dressing up. And with some history in the process, to get your learn on. Sure, we had Skipper among the fashion dolls, but she was a teen (and also small of waist). There was no doll the same age, generally, of that 8-12 year age range with an 8-12 year old body shape. I have to admit that Pleasant Company was hella successful in that task, seeing as now there's tons of 18" Companion girl dolls all over the market and new markets tend to pop up all over the place to try and challenge AG. (Some have even folded; Life of Faith is one of the bigger companies to fall.)

However, when American Girl was created, there's no getting around that they were intended for the 8+ crowd. Hence the whole books and encouragement of studying history and craftwork and stuff, and the focus around a girl of the era turning ten at some point in their series. They still stick to that, even. And society does, in many ways, encourage kids to skip past childhood--or, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis1, try to rush girls to get to a certain age and then expect them to dawdle there as long as possible. The fact that someone tried to come up with the term "pretween" says some shit right there. Don't get me started on a store called "Forever 21" or I'll get completely off topic. So with this age skewing, the span for dolls seems to be from age 1 to age 8, and after about third grade you're just too old for dolls. Which is another rant altogether.

So yes, the age for doll play seems squashed in our society. Still. There should be a lower limit for getting a doll for a child--especially an expensive, high cost doll like AG--and that's because they don't treat things right.

"Gently played with" my black ass.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crafting Creatively: Avoiding the GeneriDress

Welcome to Crafting Creatively: the column where I--the woman who has been sewing since she was four, crocheting since she was seven, and knitting since she was twelve, along with other craft skills that keep scaling up--show others the good, the bad, and the ugly of doll crafting. There will be tips, techniques, and snippy commentary (because well, that's I roll) as well as displays of my own crafts.

But a lot of this will be What Not To Do. Because we all have to start somewhere, but not everything we start with needs to be displayed online or sold, and we can always improve on our crafting technique. Trust me on this. I'm still learning new things.

Today's column will be on that plague that runs not just through AG, but through way too many doll crafting communities--what I like to call the GeneriDress.

Meet the GeneriDress.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Casual Fridays: Beth Cady, A Historical American Girl

Beth Cady: An American Girl!
Another Friday, another Casual Friday. So as not to swamp the blog, I'm aiming for every other Friday or so being my Casuals. This Friday, we're going to meet a girl I consider as much a part of my Historical gang as any of the others.

Meet Beth Cady: An American Girl.

Beth Cady's full name is Elizabeth Cady--or, when she grew up and got married and became all historical, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Yes, the feminist. But I don't call her that because she's "13" around here. (By the full name. She's still very much a feminist, because woo feminism.) She was made as a limited edition collectable by Götz1 for the state of New York in 2000, and only 5000 were made. She was gifted to me by an ex-friend (long ugly story; I don't talk about it), and I've had her since August 2006. She was the fifth member of the AGGiB2, and goes by Beth Cady both to separate her from Felicity's Elizabeth and because Beth Cady is a damn adorable name.

More details about her below the cut.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Lanie's Butterfly Outfit (2010)

Sonali, taking the place of a lesser GotY.
Yes, it's another review! What can I say, I have a lot of clothes to go through. I promise to break these up with rants and advice. Anyways, on to the review.

In 2010, American Girl released Lanie Holland as the 2010 Girl of the Year, a rather average white girl whose entire theme was the great outdoors and/or saving the planet. (I still haven't read her books, to be honest. I tried but as a homebody kind of person some children's book lamenting that I don't go out and poke at plants, animals, and dirt enough is a touch annoying.) I really did not like her, but the Butterfly Outfit was appealing.

Still, I never ordered it because $28 bucks felt a touch high, and I was still obligated to ship things instead of straight picking them up bar my yearly trip to Dallas. Decided to check it off my "merf, whatever" list. (Since then, I get the one or two things I like, though Kanani is the only girl I've honestly wanted.) Then the AG Fates much have felt nice to me because it was up as Purchase with Purchase1 soon after AG Seattle opened, and that's when I bought it.

The set consists of a orange cardigan, a vermillion sleeveless eyelet dress, sandals, and a butterfly hair clip. A quick skim of the books shows that this outfit's nowhere in them. As mine was a PwP, it didn't come with the craft card, but I think I can live without.

Since I don't have (and never want) Lanie, Sonali is modeling this set for you. Because Sonali is awesome.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Braid Spray and the Ingratitude of the AG Fandom

Tara and Abbi know damn straight how braid spray can make a girl look good.
As a woman with 25 AG gang members--and many other dolls and ponies and other things with silky hair that can go rogue--I tend to invest time into their hair care regiment. And one of the centerpieces of my hair care is a big old bottle of braid spray. Not that the AG community at large really appreciates that I introduced this into the fandom. So this post is part basic care, part backstory, and part bitchiness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Plaid Skirt and Sweater (1999)

Tara in the Plaid Skirt and Sweater Set. Preppy-tacular.
Another clothes review. You can never have too many clothes reviews that aren't on a message board that, if you piss off the mods, results in banning for taking down your own reviews. (But I shall bitch about that shit later.) Especially when you have so many outfits, like I do. (Eleven moddies, fourteen historicals.)

Today we're covering the Plaid Skirt and Sweater Set, a nifty little set up released in 1999. It was also called the Perfectly Plaid Outfit, because there was a span where AG's names for things always had two names;. I'm sure this was just to confuse the shit out of me now when I'm trying to code up wiki pages. Our model today is Tara Johnson.1 The outfit had several components: a sage green sweater, a sleeveless undershirt, plaid skirt, knee socks, black loafers, and a star necklace. Retail cost was $24; that's the current running value on eBay. I got it several years ago as a birthday present to me from eBay for the cheap sum of $14.25. (The necklace, I believe, came in another bundle of clothes and things.) Damn, what a bargain!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

AG Identifications: Leggings

Naomi puts up with the 90s. She thinks they're bitchin'.

If there is one thing AG has been doing a lot of lately, it's leggings. While they did them in the past with some of the 90s stuff, lately they've been slapping them under every skirt they can find. I apparently own more than seven different outfits that have come with a form of stretch knit pseudopants. Gods help us all the day they do a 90s doll. Baby doll dresses and leggings everywhere.

Hey, they can go back into their own catalog. I slay me.

Six sets of leggings. And that's not all there can be!
Now, some people store their outfits precisely by outfit, in zip lock bags on hanger. I don't have time for that. I have a semi-job, don'tcha know. So I tend to store all my clothes in plastic drawers, and then dig them out and mix all the matching. So I forget what's what. Consider this a brief little article: how to tell apart some of the leggings that have been offered from AG.

Well, almost all of them. I don't bother with Bitty Baby/Bitty Twin shit.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clothes Reviews: AG Exclusives (Part 1) and the White Tank and Brief Set (2010)

Kaya shall join us on this excursion into exclusives.
American Girl has several boutiques and physical stores where people can buy AG stuff and clothes, other than ordering online or through mail order (do people still do that?). It's the only way to get some hands on touchy feels for AG things before you buy 'em. While it's marketed as an "experience", I tend to go to mine often enough that it's like any other mall trip. In that I go maybe once a month--two times a month if something comes up. Anyways, they have exclusives--clothes, accessories, and shit one can only get at an AG store.  This has been true since the first AG place opened up in Chicago in 1999. Thanks to the magic of the eBay Resale Shop and Orphanarium, AG place visits (I might have fell all over AG Dallas the first time possible, and I plan to stalk the fuck out of AG Houston), and buddies who know what will make me happy as a souvenir when they're near a store, I have a lot of exclusives. This is Part One of who knows how many.

Oh, Kaya? Yeah, around here we don't keep our Native people stuck in the Braids Beads and Buckskins life. She's 90% moddie in that she wears the old shit, but she loves the new shit.

A few of the things we'll be reviewing today.
Today we shall go with reviews of the LA exclusive Red Starburst Tee, the current Star Cargo pants, the Summer Accents and the second issued Doll-Sized Tote. Also a bonus underwear review. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Casual Fridays: R.U.B.Y. and Sapphire

R.U.B.Y. and Sapphire.
While AG dolls are a big part of my doll collecting--and the major focus of this blog--I collect more than them as a doll collector. I collect a lot of dolls. One of my favorite types of dolls are Asian styled ball jointed dolls, which allow for unique customizations and personalization. I'm not going into the definitions of ball jointed dolls--hereafter called BJD--because there's tons of definitions. For my collecting purposes, if they have jointed limbs (cord-strung or otherwise), can be customized extensively, and are most likely from Asian countries, they're a BJD.

I only have a few--mostly because a lot of them, after a certain point, cost out the nose. That and I'm a brown doll fan and a lot of them aren't brown. I tend to like the smaller, portable ones. For example, Hujoo dolls.

These are my two completed Hujoo, R.U.B.Y. and Sapphire. Hujoo dolls are a Korean small BJD that range in height; these two are only about 10 inches tall at 24 CM. They're made of ABS plastic, not resin, so it makes them hella cheaper than resin ones. R.U.B.Y (which stands for Robotic Ultimate Beauty Youth--anime all over this) was purchased all customized like she was. I got Sapphire from Junky Spot, which is awesome in that they keep their stuff in stock so what they have on the site can ship ASAP. And yes, that's a Pokémon thing I've got going, with those two.

Naked dolls under the cut. You've been warned.