|Merry Giftmas, AddyWalker!|
Normally, I don't do back to back day posts, hence my holiday series reviews going to carry into January. It's stressful on me, and I get tired and feel like I'm flooding you with too much data. I always worry I'm going on and on about shit no one cares about when I get into The Doll Zone. But today is Giftmas, and Giftmas is very important to my AG collecting. Because, if you haven't read the story before or spent any time on this blog, let me remind you. Christmas Morning, 2005 was when I got my first AG doll ever after wanting one since I was kinda around eight or nine and falling in love with Addy when I was thirteen: Aduke "Addy" FirstArrival Walker.1 I was 25 years old, and my mother- and father-in-law2 got me her, her meet accessories, her nightgown with her heartwarmer and slippers, the hair kit, her work dress, and her Tartan Plaid Dress. I cried, people. I fucking sobbed when I got her and I'm not ashamed. I immediately changed her into the dress and she was so pretty that I swear she glowed in my arms. I cuddled her all day and eventually started snuggling in the bed with her every single night. Every year, she gets into her dress for the holidays. Even last year, when some shit went down through my family--the December after I got laid off that March--and I thus had a miserable, shaken holiday season , I changed Addy into her dress because she just has to get dressed. It's as much a tradition now as fucking around on the internet and staying up ridiculous hours. Addy is the leader of my gang, she is bossy and she is brilliant and she is cocky and better than your blond and/or blue eyed moddies and she doesn't have to share her collection with anyone except maybe her bestie Sarah because fuck you, that's why.
Yes, that's right, I started with one doll and one holiday set, and eight years later I have twenty-six gang members and enough AG holiday stuff that it takes a calculated effort to do the holidays and some people have to change outfits twice. Aw yiss.
The Tartan Dress came out the same year Addy did in time for Holiday 1993, and originally cost $22 but has since been bumped up to $28 because gas ain't less than a dollar anymore. And at the time, she also had
- a holiday food craft set, the Sweet Potato Pudding Set for $16: cast iron spider, glazed mixing bowl, spoon, faux holly spring, and recipe
- a doll, Ida Bean, for $18 (originally $15)
- and a craft set, the Needlework Kit and Lamp. for $18: Plastic and metal oil lamp, plain apron, embroidery floss, needle book with needles, wooden hoop, and instructions.
Order is: Dress set, Ida Bean, Mini Addy, and Sweet Potato Pudding Kit. Of course I have the LE Mini Doll. She was the first I got, as soon as she was released. So this bonus? Is me showing some of my fancy cooking. I'm way too good to you.
|All dressed up for the holidays, every year.|
And now is the times of feels, so many that I have to break it with a line.
I don't know if AG was purposefully invoking the colors of the pan-African flag when they picked the colors, but they hit them on the mark perfectly. I tend to get irritated by some aspects of pan-Africanism, especially when invoked to cause misogynoir4 from black men and stereotypes from society. But when you boil me down, I am a proud black woman who was born to an ex-Black Panther who used to take me to the African World Festival in Houston every year and taught me to sing to and respect my ancestors and their struggles, and to a man so proud of being black that he joined the oldest Black Fraternity in this nation and never voluntary trimmed his afro in his sixty-two years on this side of the Haze. The colors of this dress speak to me on a deep, ancestral level with its colors and one that black women can and often bond over. That is why I'll all but cuss your ass the entire fuck out for putting this dress on anyone else and letting me see it or know it, but especially when it gets put on white girls. Cause in my eyes it fucking screams "Black Pride" and given the shit that she goes through canonically, Addy has every right to be the only one to wear a dress that embraces her black pride. And there is no justification anyone can ever give me to put this on other dolls. No, not even you over there. No, not even on your #26 Harrietts and your Céciles. And especially not on the white girls. No, not even the tan ones. No classic mold girls allowed. No one else is allowed, and every time anyone in this world does it the AG gods kill a Licorice kitten and then retire your favorite thing. You might as well try to slap shitty ass cornrows in #27's hair. But that's another AG complaint department, and I have details to detail.
|Yoke details are fine and delicate.|
|Buttons and sash brass. (There is no brass in the sash.)|
|Puffy pretty sleeves.|
|Ida Beans: Addy's dolly.|
Let's have some doll history. Black dolls were often not allowed to be owned by black children. White was right, and black children having dolls that looked like them was dangerous and subversive, because bigotry then and now led white people to think that black dolls for black children were a radical concept--and worse, defying white people's power to make sure black people didn't think they were worth shit. So mothers who gave their children black dolls had to many times hide this. In fact, this is the origin of the topsy-turvy doll. A double ended doll was made with a huge skirt, and one side was a black doll, and attached to the other end was a white doll. Black children could flip their dolls upside down to the white side when white people walked by so that their feefees didn't get hurt and they didn't give them shit, and they flipped back to the black side when they were gone. But Black people too sensitive about black dolls and I'm sleep though.
|Face the facts, Ida's black.|
She has silver loops for earrings sewn to the side of her head.
|My Ida Bean!|
|Ribbon sash, in small.|
|Sweet potato pudding y'all~|
Gonna change that.
|Bowl me over.|
|Lines in the bowl.|
|Sticker. Upside down.|
|Recipe, for all your food making needs.|
Ruth's recipe is written as such: Peel and grate three sweet potatoes, pour on them nearly a pint of cold water, add four large spoonfuls of brown sugar, one large spoonful of butter, season with ginger. Bake for about three hours. First of all, I read cold as "Odd" waters. Stupid cursive, this is why you're dying and I'm glad.7 This is a recipe without much cooking or details, and is likely done for three hours as the potatoes are not cooked beforehand. Also, old ovens would have variant temps depending on how the fire was stoked.
Ingredients:Delicious. I love sweet potato--pie, pudding, baked, and a boiled mashed style. Sweet potatoes~. Don't come up in here with no fucking pumpkin pie, and don't put no damn marshmallows on your sweet potatoes.
3 sweet potatoes or yams, boiled until tender
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
shortening to grease baking dish
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. When the boiled sweet potatoes are cool, peel them and put them in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork.
3. In another large mixing bowl, combine the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Beat until creamy.
4. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and stir until well mixed.
5. Slowly add the beaten egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed.
6. Sprinkle in the nutmeg and stir.
7. Grease the glass baking dish (12" x 8") and pour in the mixture.
8. Put the baking dish on the lower rack in the oven. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until set. Allow the pudding to cool before serving.
For the spider size, you'll only need to cook it for about twenty minutes at 350 or until set firm.
|Season your cast iron or you will fuck it up.|
|Stamped and sized.|
|Handle your pan.|
And now the fun part--my cooking! My husband and I don't often do big meals, but we do at Giftmas. I make awesome broccoli rice casserole, we have ham, and we eat well. And I decided that this year I'd use Addy's spider and recipe to make some sweet potato pudding. Part of this was inspired by the great post at A Peek in the Pantry--an AG blog dedicated to AG recipes and era-appropriate or inspired food run by Gwen. She made this with the same recipe, and I have followed in her footsteps. She shows all the steps, so I didn't. That and I put the egg in at the wrong step and y'all don't need to see my fuck ups.
|Mmm, ready to cook.|
|nom nom nom pudding|
|oh my god tiny dolly food.|
|Artsy food pics.|
Ah, the historical part. Good times. The dress is prominent on the cover of Addy's Surprise, along with Ida Bean. Even in the recovers, she's still in the dress, albeit from the knees up. I am biased to Melodye Rosales's illustrations over Dahl Taylor as all the impact and color variation was taken out, but Dahl Taylor repaired the shit job that Bradford Brown did, fuck those pictures. I've bitched about this before, and plan to bitch harder later.
In the book, Ruth works hard and late on the dress, knowing that the dress was going to a very particular fussy (and in the good illustrations, light skinned) client. Ms. Howell returns the dress to Mrs. Ford in a rage, claiming that Ruth did a horrible job at sewing it when the truth of the matter is that her chubby daughter Isabella busted out of the dress, and Mrs. Ford stands up for Ruth, takes the dress back, and tells her it's not because Ruth fucked it up. The dress is gifted to Addy from Mrs. Ford, since she'd helped so much over the holiday season, and Addy hems it herself. And then Poppa saw her in her fine, nice dress.
Addy's paper dolls--both versions--have her in the Tartan dress, and show the lamp, Ida Bean, and a scarf she made. I got Addy's paper dolls right after getting the books. So I've had them since I was..fourteen? Thereabouts. They also have the pudding set details, but I don't feel like scanning that page. Go buy a set. Books are easy to find. AG fandom tends to shit on the books and fawn over the stuff.
The girl sized dress--which had no special name, I don't think--was available for $95.
Speaking of the girl sized dress, this is the cover of the catalog I fell in love with. This was my first glimpse of Addy. Can you see why I fell in love? She was gorgeous. If I'd been small enough, I'd have worn that dress. As it is I'd love to make one for cosplay.
And Addy's patterns have the pattern for the dress as well. So, you know? If you want her style of dress for others? Then fucking make one and don't steal her shit.
The only image I don't have but can confirm the used of the dress in is from the play. In the Addy play Addy: An American Girl Story. Addy only gets two outfits from the books: her meet dress and her Christmas dress. She wears it on Christmas Day--the day of the Spelling Bee--and wins. Her dad, proud that his oldest girl can spell and read, shows up at the same time right after.9
ETA 12/30/13: And I found a picture, sourced to Seattle Children's Theatre:
Left to right: Addy, Sarah, Harriet, Mrs. Dunn (the actress for her played multiple roles in the play). Addy is in her Tartan Dress, which other than her meet clothes are her only change.
Overall Feel: This dress is beautiful, and there is no question about it. The fine little details show the work and richness of what was probably Addy's finest dress. Ida Bean is adorable, despite the little details that downgrade her. The sweet potato kit has so many wonderful components, especially the functional spider and bowl. Even if I can't use all the parts for cooking--mostly to keep them neat--I can display them with Addy. I did pay almost five times the original cost, but I got it complete and Addy gets so spoiled. And the food is good.
Cost Value: My dress is priceless, as a gift from my MiL and late FiL. The cost from AG is good, and if you have Addy you need this dress. And if you don't have Addy, get Addy and get the dress. No dress without Addy. Ida should ideally be gotten for no more than $25 dollars since retirement. You are not going to find the sweet potato set for retail--trust me, I tried since it was retired when I got Addy. So $60-75 is about worth it for a complete set. Not higher than $90-100, and then it should really have the box if you're a box kind of person--I'm not--and be in perfect condition with no rust, cracks, or missing components.
Authenticity: Very much, dress. It's got rich plaids, dropped shoulders, a wide sash, and fine feminine details. The kit is from the era when PC did real wood, earthenware, and iron. Nowadays this would be plastic and only for display, and likely not nearly as fun to own.
Appropriateness to Character: 100% Addy's. Her mother sewed the dress for weeks. Addy got it as a gift after Mrs. Ford redid the outfit for her. It's in Pan-African colors. It's hers. Everything about it is Addy's. She earned the fuck out of it. It goes on her. It doesn't go to anyone else. This is not up for your cute little debates. Ahem, As for the rest, very authentic--the recipe is updated for today's cooking, and it's good eats. And there are layers of meaning of Addy getting a black doll when white people shat themselves at black children having white dolls.
Final Grade: A+ for the Dress set. B+ for Ida Bean, A for mini Addy, and A for the Sweet Potato Pudding Set. A's all over for Addy!
Let's not lie. I'm hardly unbiased when it comes to Addy. She's my first, and you never forget your first.
Merry Giftmas, all!
P.S. This post is backdated to the time I started it. I do that sometimes.
1 That's her full name here.
2 My husband and I weren't legally married but we'd been together for pushing six years at that point. Mere technicalities.
3 Well, with the hinting exception that they may have tanked Marie-Grace and Cécile's sets. Sometimes I wonder about AG's methods of madness.
4 As defined by Gradient Lair, it's misogyny specifically directed towards black women, and has a lot of different aspects than overarching misogyny.
5 I've read 1984. I've read a lot of things. English Major.
6 The working end of the knife is the sliceity, and the working end of the fork is the stabbity. These are all also terms for the items themselves.
7 When I learned cursive, I struggled--being left handed--and was told by my elderly 4th grade teacher that I would have to have perfect my handwriting to write all my papers and work in formal business, as my handwriting would matter. Joke's on you, Mrs. Kay! My sixth grade teachers told me to print when they saw how bad my cursive was, I type everything on computers now, print what I don't, and sign my name with a swirling slashing. I only use cursive when doing character writing for my furry series.
8 I've spoken through 90s webtergroove, L33T, Lol Catz, Tumblr Lingo, and am now up to Doge. I keep my internet talk fresh.
9 Saw the play three times. It's not the same order as the book.