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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In Which Neth is Terrified about Everything For A While.

What do we do, now?
I was going to start working on review posts, for outfits. Posts about creativity. Posts about the fandom. Posts about money management, about my Chicago Store Trip, about new items I have pics of. I have a backlog here like you would not believe.

Then this evening, the election happened. I would like to know what I did to piss November off, because first my father three years ago and now this.

I was shown a lot, in a few hours. I was shown that not only does American Girl choose not to properly represent me, and not only does a large part of the mainstream fandom not care about me or other collectors that are minorities of any kind--gender, religious, racial, class, what have you--as long as they can have their squee without "politics"....

I was also shown that millions of people hate me, and hate everything I fight for, enough to vote against their own best interests to hold on for a little longer to themselves on top of everyone. Tonight, I saw that when Hope is given to a people, hope and change that shows that that maybe we are moving forward as a people, that White people will snatch it away from us all and replace it with Hate. That White, Christian, male supremacy has won yet again in history, and will hold on and squash us all down to have white power on top of the heap.

That I truly am an outsider.

Many of you know Addy's story, if you have read her books and short stories. You will know she was so happy after the end of the Civil War, happy enough she chose the day for her birthday. Then a week later Abraham Lincoln was murdered and she was terrified of what might come next.

That is me right now. I am Addy in the wake of Lincoln's Death.

I am motherfucking terrified, and so are so many of my friends, and we don't know what the fuck is coming next. All we know is that we could lose everything--gay rights, womens rights, PoC rights, and some of us will lose our very lives.

The rest of my thirties is going to be horrible in so many ways.

I've voluntarily ended two friendships in this fandom in the span of less than 24 hours. I may lose more. I don't care. At this point, I have nearly nothing left to lose.  

I'm still gonna do all I can to fight, mind you. This blog isn't going anywhere. I am a bard, and a bard sings even when the enemy is at your gates.

I just can't do it right now. All I can do is hold my first girl, my Addy FirstArrival Walker, and pray to Yemaya Herself to Watch Over one of her very scared children.

I'll be back in December, once the month is done. I'm going to be concentrating on Nano, because that is a world where I have some control.

I just can't do anything right now but be scared.
If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.
--frequently attributed to Lyndon Bates Johnson.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pajama Jammy Jams: Sleepover Set (Costco Holiday 2016 Exclusive)

Now with skinned polar bears and --oh hey someone's new.
Blog more than once a goddamn month, Neth, the people and my brains say. Say it to my Seasonal Affective Disorder and chronic depression Brain Weasels, I snap back, before sitting down and opening up le Blogger.

It's been a challenging month, especially on my birthday weekend. Dear Oya of the Winds, my birthday weekend. I had birthday plans. My age is a square now,1 and I was going to AG Seattle and enjoying dinner with two of my fellow AG collectors. And then the PNW Windstorm had the mall close hours early. I was able to duck up there just to get my birthday presents and then came home, cranky and the opposite of pleased with the events of the day. Still, better safe that crushed by a tree.2 I really should have listened to my Astrological Forecast for October, it said right there that the 14th (my father's birthday) and 15th (mine) would be challenging. Le cry, le sigh, le unhappy bi.

But I do have new stuff to review, and I was able to take pictures soon after getting my goodies. At the start of the month, the Bae and I went to Costco to stock up on apple juice and toilet paper, like yah do, and I came across AG Costco Holiday Goodies. Ever since I first moved up here and could get the old school story collections at Costco, I've been getting AG stuff from there, and once they started doing things like exclusive book bundles and pet sets, I've been rather on it. It's how I got my BeForever Addy book set, my Pomeranian before they came out widespread, and both Lea's and Grace's book sets with extra stuff.3 

This, however, is a major first: a Costco Exclusive outfit bundle. Leaks were seen before the Holiday Moddie release of a blue PJ top and shorts with blue slippers, but they didn't come with that. A few weeks later, out came the Costco Sleepover Set and that's where the aforementioned PJs were, along with a lot of accessories to make the pack worth the $39.99 it cost. Along with the blue pajamas and slippers, the set comes with a white fur pillow and sleeping bag, two drink glasses, a bowl of popcorn, a book and AG magazine, and a miniature version of Junior Apples to Apples. So basically it's a new outfit and sleeping bag with a tweaked version of the Sleepover Accessories from 2011.

All Boxed up.
The set comes in a box bundle, with all the bits visible and encased in various plastic. I did not keep the box. I have enough boxes around here without keeping AG boxes for no damn reason. How long will this be in Costco? I have no idea. Costco flips stock on the regular, and it'll probably cost more on eBay once it's not there anymore.

After I got it, I got out one of my gang members and got her all dressed up in it for both Wiki-shots and this review, as seen above. But Neth, that's not a new girl, that's just Addy without her earrings. Nope! First of all, Addy here can barely be talked into a yukata; she'd try to throttle me if I put her in something this modern. Secondly, Addy's earrings don't come out.

Jamiya "Miya/Mimi" Bissett, y'all.
So who is she? This is Jamiya Bissett, who goes by Miya (or sometimes Mimi). She's an #1--aka the doll that I tell everyone to get when they ask which doll to get and I honestly can't be assed to care. One of the first Moddies to come out in 1995--textured dark hair, darker brown eyes, no bangs, and dark skin--she was around until 2009, when she was retired. I found her for a good cost on eBay with some rough hair, and after some braid spray and scrub down, she is a cutie pie. Miya is from inner city Houston, hood as they come and don't give a fuck, speaks fluent AAVE, and likes her baby hair with baby hair and afros. Between her and Mellie, I have a mini-me.

And she's making her debut in pajamas. Cause that's how we roll.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Why I'm An Outsider: Part Eight: Summer Chaos in AG > 18 and Persona Non Grata, or How I Got Banned (Temporarily) From A Goddamn Community I Started

Felicity in a flower garden. I need all the floofy pictures for this one.
Good lord it's almost October. Where did my month go? Oh, right. Seasonal Affected Depression. Or something like that. Fall comes on and I get moody and sad like a punk. Pbbbth. Well, that should be the best time to pull this painful tooth of my time in the AG fandom in the late 2000s, right? Right.

I've been trying to do my posts in chronological order, which is why this one has been hard to get to. Which is probably why I've been putting it off forever, even though I wrote about it once before. But not in a huge public format like this. But I can't get to the garbage that happened to me on AGPT if I don't get through the garbage that happened to me by my then-best friend in the fandom. I honestly thought it had happened after my AGPT shit, but when I started to dig through the archeological mess that is my recordings, I found out that no, this happened first. Fun. Welp, can't have my arsenic til I have my strychnine.

So, the setup, for those new to the Outsider Series who will later go back and read the other seven posts.1 By summer 2007, there were two major American Girl groups to participate in, not including flittering  message boards which were the way tweens and teens begged for fandom attention before bokeh pictures with song lyrics on Instagram. The first major gathering of AG fans--called, appropriately enough, AG Fans MB--was slowly dying after restricting everyone from the group that didn't fit into their doorways, because you can't live when you close your communities to a small faction. But I was beyond them for the most part. I was part of two major AG fandom communities. AG Playthings was the big, open forum gathering, like the main hallways of a high school. AG >18, which had been started in summer 2006, was the back woods near the school where we smoked, drank, talked shit, and shipped queerly. They worked in balance with each other: AGPT was the public place found when searching for American Girl collectors,2 and AG >18 was sort of an open secret place where you could talk some shit and not get hit. I'd started it with my then best friend, PNG, whose name--online or otherwise--I don't use. AG > 18 was doing pretty good at that time. That April, we'd installed two new mods: Bean and Colette. This took the modship of AG >18 to a grand total of four, including me and PNG. We were a self-running community, so we didn't need huge amounts of moderating. At most we were just semi-public figures, who if some one needed some business taken care of beyond public work, we did it. But we were all friends of varying levels, and PNG was my closest friend. To the point she had my address and even my phone number. She complimented my sewing. She praised my Fel-Beth shipping--I was even writing fic.

So that's why it hurt like a motherfucker when, in the summer of 2007, she stabbed me in the motherfucking back.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18
Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation
Part Five: The AG Fans Revamp: No Pagans Allowed 
Part Six: The Great Mass Banning of Aught-Six
Part Seven: The Rise of AG Playthings  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Sing a Song of Civil Rights: Meet Melody Ellison of the 1960s (PS: Some Other New Things)

Come See About Melody!

Logical Side: Neth, that can't be the opening to your blog post, you have to be articulate and poised and--

Me: *Shoves Logic Side into a wall and beelines for the front door of AG* you're not my momma you can't tell me what to do! I've been itching for since 2015 when AG made a one line Facebook post about a black historical for next year and then her books came out and I've been hyped since last December or longer so if I want the entire opening to be nothing but me screaming my head off like an idiot and singing every early Motown song that ever came out, then I can do that--

Logic Side: ...Neth, there's more that came out than Melody. Also you have to bitch about things for a short point.

Me: ...Damn you, logic side. *kicks dirt*

Well, you heard my Logic Side. As much as I'd like my entire opening to be me screaming so loud about DeeDee that they hear me in Hawaii before the cut, I gotta talk about stuff a little properly. So. On the 25th of August in the Year of our Documentation Twenty-Sixteen, the culmination of books and designs and items and Black history and work came together finally to manifest and release as the cutest American Girl historical released in the last four years,1 Melody "DeeDee" Ellison. Sorry Ellie, I love you so much--but you knew DeeDee was going to bump you when she got here and you understood that. We major? We major.

It's not like y'all didn't expect this of me, I've been hype for DeeDee ever since they showed her first book cover. I snapped up all her books as they came out, on February I declared my entire wallet dead in lieu of seeing her and Edith realized she was queer, and as soon as I could preorder her I did that without regrets.2 And on Friday the 26th, my close AG friend and I went to the store midday to go to Melody's Block Party so we could get tiny doll shirts, poke tiny doll things, talk shit about people there and back cause that's hella fun, actually run into people from IG out of nowhere who recognized us, and buy dolly stuffs as soon as possible. I might have had DeeDee in the gang since the 14th, but I still had to go squeal and dance over her stuff. Melody means a million things to me, as a child of black children who grew up in the 1960s, and who represents me and my history. When AG launched, the grandparents were of the World War II generation3 and about ten when there were victory gardens and rationing and Damn War. But those kids grew up, several had kids in the 60s, and that's the new throwback for grandparents.

Why didn't I write about things sooner, even though I was there Friday midday? Saturday I was exhausted--I'm an ambivert, so sometimes social interaction can be draining for people like me. So I slept until the evening and then pissed around on the internet, making sure all the articles were on the AG Wiki. On Sunday I went out on errands, and Monday I had to go to the dentist because gotta keep my teeth their prettiest. Once again, some of the new stuff wasn't there and others I missed in the walkthrough, because there were a lot of people there to see about DeeDee and her stuff. (The Lea section was being half abandoned. I may have had the schadenfreude.) So I'll have to use the Wiki images until I can go back and take shots, which might be in a few weeks into September. And I'm taking a break from redoing my braids to get my squeal out, because squeal! Not only was there stuff for DeeDee, but some bursts for other Historicals, the Moddie End of Year Release, and a bit of WellieWishers Stuff.

But with DeeDee already, there's a not at all small contingent of people who are out there that are already being racist shitwads. Y'all out there showing your pale chicken cutlet asses and it hasn't even been a month. Y'all think it's okay to take DeeDee's things for your white stank 60s girls from England, disregard her love of Motown4 and the rich sounds thereof to have her like only the boring ass Beatles because you're scared of the "race" music like it's the 1920s and the loud Jazz might give you accidental melanin and teach you to spice your food, talk shit about her hair being too rough because you fucking can't get over the idea of silky White Hair being better and you have European Dominance Poisoning and are going to try to straighten already straightened hair and end up with tangled rat nests that even braid spray can't save the soul of, and continue to barf all over Instagram and other locations that her clothes aren't part of Black History (Black folk didn't dress 100% like the whitebread faves) so you want to feel justified in slapping them on your stupid wonderbread brats and then try to come at me like I won't hex your dry overcooked chicken-with-cheese-as-seasoning ass.

I hope y'all get booty rash you can't scratch in public that runs all the way up to your shoulders, the elastic in your dolls breaks at the most inopportune time with restringing nowhere near convenient, your fave customs get unexpected ink stains on their face, you get a bad haircut you have to let grow out for six months, you realize your wallet isn't in your purse after you've already made a custom order at Starbucks that the barista didn't wanna make anyways, and a cat leaves dead things in your house you can't find and suck up with the vacuum attachments. Play me if you want. I'm Too Witches to be challenged.5 I will hurt all your little feelings and even some you didn't know you had til I hurt them.

Ahem. *brushes that dirt off her shoulders*

Also two bits of Historical news. First of all, Addy was out of her display box, cut down to almost nothing at the store and a lot of the stuff being online only. I suspect soon they will announce her retirement, which means I need to get one for my mom along with some of her stuff, and her new bed, for me. How do I feel about this? That Addy's had a good long run and that, while it's hella problematic to remove her and only leave one Black Historical again when there's so many white dolls in the historical line that are out and about oh my god Samantha go back in the damn vault already, she is the oldest one out other than Second Release Samantha so it is her turn to go into the Vault and take a break. (Also, maybe now people can stop bitch-barfing in badly written articles that the only black doll is a slave!!1!11!!)

Ah, yes, the Vault. Let's touch on that, because it's come out recently that there's three BeForever books due out in early 2017:  A Stand for Independence, Love and Loyalty, and Gunpowder and Tea Cakes. I don't know about y'all but that sounds like Revolutionary Revolutions to me. So is Felicity coming back out? This is a strong hint. They're at least rereleasing her stories, which means I have to buy yet another copy of them. What can I say, I'm a book crazy kid, and I like having AG books of all my faves. I already have four versions of Sam's books.

Me: *looks at Logic side* Have I said enough proper talk now? Are you pleased?

Logical Side: ...g'won. I can't stop you any longer.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

MCM: The Biggest AG Discount Sale That Happens Once a Year

AG Dolls at Rock Bottom prices!
S'up, y'all? I'm back home--have been for like two weeks--and have been watching the Olympics with rapt attention.1 At the same time, I've been prepping for AG's best upcoming release this year - One Melody Elizabeth Ellison, of Detroit, Michigan. Thanks to your generous donations and utter love, I'm ready to buy DeeDee's entire wardrobe!

But not DeeDee. Why not DeeDee?


Lemme rewind and catch y'all up. AG now has a rewards program - aptly named AG Rewards - and I signed up because hey, rewards for blowing cash on what I already blow all my little funds on, that sounds like a good thing. And, if you signed up before around the end of July or so, AG offered a preorder of DeeDee: Her, her dog Bo, her accessories, and her Floral Dress and hairset. Not much of a discount, but with free shipping and delivery on or before the 18th? I had to do it I had to. So that ate all my little gift cards that my Bae got for me for DeeDee purchases, which was what it was supposed to do anyways. I bought her the night I was back in Seattle and she shipped out on the 9th. And, after cussing out the post office for messing up the damn tracking, I got her Sunday! There's a whole photostory on my Instagram on her getting out and her and Edith already being crushy cute on each other - with a bonus "fucking hell can y'all not put her clothes on all your little white and light/Asian dolls the moment you got her I swear to fuck." She's the best. We are in love with DeeDee in the gang, Edith has her "Elizabeth," and hey mama welcome to the 60s! I'm still going to the launch party and taking lots of pictures with all my opinions on them. Also because I have to get all her clothes. Like all of them. All of them. I know there's stuff for others, thank you Pintrest leak, but August 26th - 28th is The Weekend of Melody and I will blog hella about her.

Speaking of weekends. Let's go back a month about.

So, if you've kept up with me on my social media some - that is, IG cause that's all my bitch ass does - you will know that last month, I went to Milwaukee to visit my mom and relatives. I was born in Milwaukee and a lot of my folk still live there, and my mom moved back both to help take care of family and to give my younger sister a stable place to deal with her life. This meant seeing my grandma, visiting my uncles (I only have two living uncles), lots of cousins...and being close enough to go to the Madison Children's Museum American Girl Sale. When I proposed the idea to my mom, she said sure - my mom enjoys new experiences, and she says that I'm probably her main child that takes her to new places she's never expected on the basis of "let's go to this!" So, after ordering tickets at the start of May and getting them, I headed out to Wisconsin, and my first weekend in town we loaded into the van and headed to MCM. This was my first time ever going to this, and I'd got pros and cons of the trip.

Before we talk about my experiences, though, let's go into the backdata on what MCM is and why it's a thing in the AG community. Under the cut for the history, useless pics, and some of what I got for me and the Mommish.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vacation Bits and Bobbles.

Meet Cinnamon Peschel, an American Girl!
Greetings from the Cheese State of Wisconsin! 

Ladies and gentlemen and both and neither and other, I have had what folk call "a busy vacation." I came out mid July to visit my mom and grandma in Milwaukee--the last time I was here, I was here for my father's funeral. I had planned some reviews, posts, and other talky bits on dolls but to be honest I've been enjoying myself with family and trips, so I haven't really had the hours I do at home to sit and blog. I had brought stuff out to take pictures and blog about, but yeah--so busy, between my mom's place and my grandma Goose and festivals and trips to Chicago, IL and Madison, WI. But I will get on that as soon as I'm home, likely. I have been busy as shit on AGC and my Instagram account. Great ways to check to make sure I'm still about.

Til then, have a gander at my newest gang member: I got my Cinnamon! Her full name is Cinnamon  "Cinna" Demaree Peschel, after a drama teacher I had in middle school I loved and a street name I adored in high school. She's from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and she loves acting, music, and craftwork, including designing her own clothes, and if she had to pick an era to play around in it would be pretty much any and all of them! She's Black with some white and Native in her background, but most of it is black, and that's how she IDs.

So just a note to say I've got plans and haven't forgotten all you beautiful people. Some of the many talky topics after I'm back in the PNW that I'll do, not necessarily in this order:

* MCM: The Biggest AG Discount Sale That Happens Once a Year
* My First Trip to AG Chicago: The Flagship Mecca of AG Buying and the Truly Me Design Studio
* Girls of Many Lands: Isabel of 1592 Tudor England
* Dolling on a Budget: Collecting AG without EOYBA (yes I have been working on that post for a year, my bad)
* Reviews of several sets for my gang members, including both of Addy's School Sets and Nightgowns
* Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Sing a Song of Civil Rights: Meet Melody Ellison of the 1960s
* #StopAGIGRacism: The Racism in AG Communities and The Reasons We (and You!) Should Fight Against It

And for all those that love my Outsider Series, the next part: "Summer Chaos in AG > 18, or How I got Banned from A Goddamn Community I Started."

As Kat Blaque says and I adore: Always remember and never forget that you are beautiful, and you are loved.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Wishes and Wellies, DeeDee Books, and Mix and Match Moddie Musings

--help they're super cute i like them--
"Nethilia! Where have you been for a month, woman!" my blog readers go, hands on hips, staring at the post about Sam's birthday and wondering when I'd effing update because they need more regular snarkitude in their lives.

"See what had happened was," I start. See, what had happened was, indeed. In order: Went to work A-Kon, yo that was stressy. Got home, because the visit to my mom is changed with her not living in Texas anymore. Promptly got my ass handed to me by Con Slime, which completely fucked up my sleeping schedule. Like, completely. So for about two--two?--weeks, I literally was falling asleep in the middle of my days every day, and couldn't get anything done that wasn't laying in the bed or falling backwards in my chair and passing out asleep over and over out of nowhere.1 But it's fixed, I'm awake and bright eyed and bushy tailed, and there's really cool new things! Also old things I need to review or at least take pictures of so I can review them better. Let's get this show on the road.

June 23rd was when we'd all hope we'd have a lot more Melody in our lives. Well, we didn't. She's not out til late August, which will be post my Milwaukee trip. Boo. Silver lining, at least that means more saving up for her and some of her stuffs. But there still was a huge release. A really huge one.

Laddies and Gentlewim and others, AG has released an actual all-new line! Which hasn't been done since I started blogging, and really hasn't been done since I really started collecting now that I think about it.2 And damn it's a cute line. As I said before and will continue to say, full sized 18" dolls aren't always appropriate for small girls. Not only are the books advanced and now generally pictureless, the dolls can get super messed up by children too young to understand how they should take care of them. Even the clothes might be too big to dress like the doll. There was also a gap between the toddler and preschool focuses of Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins, and the eight and up of the main AGs. This gap had been attempted before by the Hopscotch Hill School, but this petered out and became no more. AG's new shot at aiming for the five and up crowd is five girls in delightful colorful wellies, ready for puddle time and good feels--the WellieWishers.3 And fuck me but they're cute. Super cute. "One came home with me without question" cute. No prizes to guess who it is, especially if you follow me on AGC or my Instagram. There's also some good moddie stuff that came out as well, shiny and new and actually useful.

...but I should address the twin elephants in the room. Or, more accurately, the twin elephants no longer in the room. A new line in meant a new line going out, much like Historical removal. And the line thrown out to let the Wellies in was the Bitty Twins. The twins--not much of a diff from the Bitty Babies, same loosey bodies and though more of a preschool feel, wasn't enough to keep them about. We sort of saw the writing on the wall with them not getting anything for a year. So they have been put out to pasture. Bye-bye, babies.4 Now when I complain about not paying attention to Bitty Shit, it's just Bitty Baby. Who got two things with this release but lol Bitty shit.

To the new stuff!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Blather Book Reviews: Happy Birthday Samantha!

Choo-choo, Sam, it's your muthafuckin' birthday.1
So there I was, with a large pile of fabric to put together into doll clothes for pattern testing and a small pile of Megabloks to assemble for a review here.2 And then I said to hell with that at present and decided that we're going to do another book review. Because it's Samantha's birthday in a week or so and thematically appropriate to discuss her birthday shenanigans. So let's do that, as I ignore morons that be stealing my dolly pictures and trying to pass Marisol, Otters, and Naomi off as their own. Seriously, if you're going to steal pictures--and you shouldn't you little shits, what the entire fuck are you--you should probably not steal a picture with one of my first customs. And with  Otters--pentacle prominent as hell--from around 2007 or so. and with my backdrop of my apartment I'm still in. I took that picture before I got married. Get the entire hell out, children, no one has time for your mouthy bullshit. Moving on.

After the launch of the First Three Girls in 1986, the second sets of things and books came out in 1987--around the spring, setting the odd ways of releasing for a while where only half a collection came out to start and the second half came post holiday. Because reasons. So in early 1987, out came Happy Birthday, Samantha! Complete with exclamation point. Are you excite? You'd better be, every birthday book until Kaya has an exclamation point. Pleasant Company (well, Ms. Rowland), having gotten rid of Susan Alder post book two for all that subversive class discussion and capitalism hate and only using Maxine Rose Schur for Samantha's Surprise, needed to get a new author to cover the last three books. So they pulled in Valerie Tripp, who had written the Molly books, and had her do the last three books.

Valerie Tripp is probably the author who has written the most books for American Girl in, like, ever.  She's going to come up over and over again on these book blathers, because she wrote a lot of the books. In fact, I'm not sure if she's written anything major other than AG books.3 Her AG series include all of the Central Series for Felicity, Josefina, Molly, Kit, Maryellen, and--as it's coming up now--the second end of Samantha. Plus all the Hopscotch Hill Books and the upcoming WellieWishers series. Her writing is hit and miss for me a lot--some of it tends to be very formulaic, which is likely due to AG requirements. And I've been known to harp on the way she writes for AG. She's not my fave of the AG authors by any means,4 but in ways she is a fairly decent author.  I'll be nice. First internal illustrations by Nancy Niles, second by Dan Andreasen. In the Beforever Volumes, this is Chapters 1-5. I will continue using the old numbering system until I get to Ellie's books, whereupon I will still break them up into "books."5

Just like Samantha Learns a Lesson, this is one of those books that gets overhyped when people don't actually go back and read the books and instead are going off Childhood AG Nostalgia. Into the book, and I shall pop the childhood bubble you've been carrying around for some time. Cause AG was never as radical as you want to think it was.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Late April Mini-Mod and TropiKenna Burst of Sunshine

Hanging out at the AG Store with my girl.
First of May, First of May! Outdoor humping starts today!1 Okay it's the Second. Look, it's close enough.

April I had ambition, man. And then my body said "fuck you in particular heaux" and my mind jumped in to join the beatdown. Chronic illness! It fucking blows. Also one of my damn favorite artists, Prince, died2 and Drama happened and the build up of things all coalesced into a storm that rained me out and I ran out of everything. To the point of tremors. It took me two days to restock the shelves with new Can. But I'm trying every day. I'm working on one major project for my Etsy which is actually fun to do, sorting out another to start later on, trying to clean more, and lining things up hopefully. Saving up for DeeDee is going successfully, I would like to take good pics of the MegaBloks sets I purchased and put them together nicely, and Lemonade is freshly squeezed and good. (And I don't mean the drink I mean the Beyoncé album.) Also my garden is growing well, I went to the Tulip Festival up north, and I'm working on a quilt. So y'know, the good and the bad.

Also New Gang Member Alert! Up there is Li-Yue "Lorelei" Soo. She sometimes goes by Lori, is Chinese-American, originally from California, and loves musicals, crafts, and the 1950s aesthetic so she and Ellie have become the closest of friends. Her idol is Phillipa Soo (no relation) who rocks the role of Eliza Schuyler in the Hamilton musical and she will soon be reviewing the outfit she's wearing, the Jumper and Boots Set, and displaying some awesomely designed outfits.

That being said, let's talk about new things; this Thursday was a small release for AG. No BeForever goodies, two Bitty Things, and mostly small others. Notably, there's nothing for the Bitty Twins for the fourth time. They haven't got anything at all since last June; that's almost a year without anything at all. I suspect--but don't hold me to it--that they are on their way out to make room for a new AG line named Wellie Wishers, a set of all vinyl dolls with wellies (rain boots) that are more of the 5-8 range that AG is sorely lacking in covering since the retirement of Hopscotch Hill. Will I bother to get one of the Twins? Likely nah. They're not my thing. The black Wellie Wisher, though, has a chance. Let's see the price point.

To the new things.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Crafting Creatively: Things I've Made: Kit’s Lavender Scallop-Edged Dress

Everyone looks good in lavender. Everyone.
I like to sew. 

I get bored and sew things. I get angry and I sew things. I get excited and I sew things. I get depressed and I sew things to feel better. I get sleepy and I don't sew things because I would rather not sew through my fingers, but I dream about sewing things. It's a cool ass hobby that, when I'm done, has something to show for it. My mom started me sewing when I was four years old at the basics, I started putting together doll clothes when I was five or six with my own scrap bags and children's books on dolls, and I've never stopped. I would sew more outfits for myself but I have yet to obtain either a dressmakers double or the space to set one up. I plan to do some things like casual lounge pants--a t-shirt and lounge pants are my home uniform--but pretty historical simulated outfits are a lot more work. Also sewing for me takes like, five or six yards of fabric and laying things out and lots of lace and lining and invisible zippers and buttonholes and modifying nearly every single top or dress pattern to fit around my huge rack o' tatas1 and oh my gods. I'm going to need more space for that.

But doll clothes sewing? Super easy and satisfying for me. It takes a yard or two--and that's more because I overpurchase; if the pattern calls for 3/4 a yard I buy a yard and a quarter to give me space to layout. The trims are generally on the smaller side, and I need fewer of them. And rather than having to set in zippers or, Athene Save Me, make buttonholes, I can mostly get away with velcro and the occasional snaps. Plus, if I want to do a historical look, I have so many people to model my creations. I have stacks of doll clothes and doll craft books in my house (some of which are older than me in both the technical and actual sense) and a whole comic book storage box of just AG sized patterns alone--and that doesn't count the ones I've purchased digitally.

I've got a lot of AG patterns, is what I'm saying, and I like to and want use them. The most recent use has Kit in a new outfit that's very springtime.

Kit’s Lavender Scallop-Edged Dress

Kit is not a flouncy girl, but dresses were de rigueur in the 1930s. So it helps that this dress suits her tastes just right. The light lavender print is complimented by scalloped short sleeves which are mimicked at the overbodice and the plain white collar has double topstitching and a neat button flower accent. She also has a matching button-flower hairclip to pull her hair aside.

Double the dresses, double the fun!
Also, if you've seen this dress on one of Gwen's girls from A Peek Into the Pantry, that's not because she broke into my place and swiped my dress after I finished it. I made two and sent one to her. Just because I like to sew and I like to sew for others and send them gifts when they're my friends. =3

Under the cut for crafting deets.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessory Reviews: Samantha's BeForever Meet Outfit and Accessories

Nellie: Pretty in all that pink.
I continue to gush and gush about how much I like the BeForever revamp, in great contrast to a great many older AG collectors who grew up with the original looks. There's some bits I don't care for--there's not much that has my undying love without at least one thing to complain about1--but overall, it's been a good thing. And when AG went for the relaunch, they relied on their regular fall back for all-new historical product launches and first tries. Yep, that's right. They reached back into the Historical Character vault, pulled Samantha out, shook her off and gave her an all new look. Same brown hair and brown eyes, but nothing from her prior collection came with her, not even her meet outfit and accessories.

And for that I'm glad. I never liked her original meet outfit or accessories. Oh, the underwear and black stockings had their usefulness, but the dress was mediocre at best and blech at worse and helped highlight the idea of turn-of-the-century sepianess and dull colors. And don't get me started on those pitiful ass plastic ugly shoes2 or the high neckline that had to cover up that poor ugly white body the first three started out with. It wasn't even shown in the illustrations until the 1998 redraw. Away with it. Now Samantha comes to you in a much more pink set: a pink lace and dotted swiss dress, bloomers, white tights, black Mary Janes, and a velvet ribbon on a ponytail holder that that I don't have. Cause while all the new BeForever outfits come separately for about $36, they don't come with any of the hair decs. Either buy a new doll, clip your own ribbons, or see if you can obtain replacements for the hair clips. The accessories also transmogrified: a headband, velvet purse, and "locket" necklace for the standard accessory cost of $24. This was sold out the day of the BeForever launch--and also, I was getting all the Addy I could get--but later trips to AG got me a set to put on gang members such as Marisol and Nellie. So far there's no reason to touch eBay to get a set--even when it's not sold separately anymore, there's always the possibility of stripping a Samantha to get the hook up, though of course that's the more expensive option. There's also a matching sundress and headband. If you're like Zagat Editor Molly Moker you can fit in the set. I am plush and fat and can't do that.

With Nellie around, she can help share the Edwardian reviews with Marisol. She does an excellent job.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why I'm An Outsider: Part Seven: The Rise of AG Playthings

And then there were six--at least, until that spring. 
The next chapter of my time in the mid-Aughties of the American Girl Fandom--circa 2006--follows the last chapter of my connections (for the most part) with any and all membership at AG Fans. They had pulled a Charles Lee/John Adams and shat the bed. A whole mess of people from AG > 18 had just been banned from their prohost boards in the wake of the moderating staff overreacting to the idea that there were people in the fandom--nay, in the world herself--that were not 100% Christian, straight, or monogamous, that they were doing their own thing and being happy about it, that we were looking at them or participating in their community, and/or and that some of them, someone, somewhere, might be talking about them behind their backs in an unflattering way. And then tried to feed us some lines about trolling.

In the wake of the Great Banning of Aught-Six, the new hub of American Girl fandom became AG Playthings. As people left AG Fans and their madness to wither like a neglected avocado plant in the harsh winters of Alaska, they went to the open doors of AG Playthings.1 And you know, for a good long while, AG Playthings was pretty okay to be at. With AG Fans locking down, AG Playthings was the place for news, sports, and weather Buy/Sell/Trade in the American Girl Fandom. It had its nasty aspects, and I plan to talk about them in depth in this and future posts. But they at least didn't start that way. They started as an open, accepting AG community that allowed dissident opinions, complaints, and even calling the mods out on their shit without the fear of being throw out on your ass to bounce down the road.2

Brief discussion of the Gang Situation. The AGGiR--for we were still living in Redmond--was now one member larger by that Giftmas, with the addition of Felicity Merriman, with all her pretty tribadism and her missing her Elizabeth--and not wanting the blonde one. She was best friends with Naomi, close to Addy as another Historical even though Addy had to school her on why her grandfather's plantation was an issue and Owning Slaves Was A Bad Idea, and had a crush on Marisol that Marisol didn't even get a whiff of. Yes, Lissie liked Brunettes, and a whole photostory was made about how she did and how the gang didn't judge her one bit for being queer. As Otters said outright: "I'm not going to give up my faith because of what other people think I should be. I'm a pagan, and I'm proud of it. Being a lesbian--a tribade--is part of who you are. Do your own thing and screw the haters." It was 69 pictures of dolls,3 full of the F word and blatant paganism, and out of respect for some of the members of AG Playthings, I did not post it there or even a link to it. But I did post it at AG > 18, and I did post Otters Teaches Paganism Part Four: Yule on AG Playthings with warm reception.

So what did I have to complain about? A lot. As 2006 became 2007 and Nicki replaced Jess, I continued to post on AG Playthings comfortably and be a content participant, work at Nintendo, and make good friends in the AG fandom. And things happened, for good and for ill. These are going to be in the order I took remembering notes in, because it was around six to seven months of AG Playthings participation mixed with AG > 18 participation.4 Also I have no access to anything AGPT anymore, obviously, so I can only go on my notes I've had.

None of these were big sweeping things like the Banning of Aught-Six or what would later be The Final And Complete Bannination of One, Nethilia from AGPT. But they were things that happened in, on, and around the fandom.

This one might be on the long side. Let's go. [/Alexander Hamilton]

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18
Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation
Part Five: The AG Fans Revamp: No Pagans Allowed 
Part Six: The Great Mass Banning of Aught-Six

Monday, February 29, 2016

Crafting Creatively: Things I've Made: Cécile’s Turkey Red Dress, Fawn Jacket, and Trimmed Cottage Bonnet

Two sets at once!
Mwahah, Leap Day! I just have to make a blog post today. C'mon, it only comes once every four years, and I'll have to wait another four years to do anything on that day again. Gods bless St. Tib's Day and celebrate Eris, Goddess of Discord and Order!1

The 2016 Secret Snarker is wrapping up, and my gift has arrived to me and will be documented on Instagram later. And mine has gotten to and been the recipient--one of the two sets I made. As I explained when I made "Samantha's" Pink Dress and Pinafore, I generally when making a gift go ahead and make two sets of things. This in part helps me craft better--not only do I make them simultaneously and thus can figure out the steps all together, I make sure to give the better put together set to my giftee. This time I was gifting kaleb92 and she has among her gang members Colette, who is Cécile with a name change. Guess which Historical Gang Member didn't have a Miss Nethie's Original Outfit? Okay, more than one. I've have the brain issues. But Cécile was the one that matched a member of her gang, and it was a chance for me to design something sweet for her Colette and my Cécile.

I even wrote a description like the old catalogs did. (I actually did for the dress and pinafore, which I've retroactively put in.)

Cécile’s Turkey Red Dress, Fawn Jacket, and Trimmed Cottage Bonnet

Cécile is ready for a bright spring day in her new ensemble. Her turkey red vine print dress has short sleeves, a faux vest with a bow accent, and a scalloped overskirt—all edged with cotton lace trim. (Turkey red is a highly fashionable, colorfast red—and is so named from the method of dying, not the bird!) The fawn colored jacket is fully lined with six smart buttons down the front and a flared shape, and the matching cottage bonnet has runched ribbon trim, a flower accent, and gathered lace trim on the lining. With her full ensemble—including matching hair bows--she’ll look her best!

There's only one major difference between my set and the set I sent, which I'll point out. Hop under the cut for details of the sets.

Also--because this doesn't need a whole post--I've released my first cross stitch pattern in my Etsy shop, which I've restarted. It's to make a 1900's Style Cross Stitch Sampler, with bonus instructions to turn said sampler into a pillow. Take a gander. I hope to get more cross stitch patterns out over the month, once I've crafted them into something. It's always a task to know what to do with a cross stitch once you've finished it sometimes.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Historical Clothes Reviews: Addy's Sunday Best and 30th Anniversary Mini Doll

Addy with Mini Addy is the cutest thing you've ever seen and you know it.
Let's get the news out of the way first. Yes, I have seen Melody Ellison. I stayed up well past 6 am Monday morning1 to watch the CBS This Morning video off their YouTube site. I read the article with the pictures. I saved the pictures to my hard drive. I squealed so fucking loud I was worried for a hot second that I might wake up the Bae.

I have seen Melody Ellison, our 1960s BeForever Girl, and she is absolutely goddamn fucking gorgeous and no one can tell me otherwise. She has the flipped pressed textured hair, she has the cutie-patootie Sonali Mold--which I adore just as much as the Addy mold--she has an awesome plaid dress and yes I will be inspecting my DeeDees for the best dress with matching plaids, and she has big brown eyes that I could get lost in. She has a March in '63 pin2  and a kickass hat and bright blue pajamas and a recording studio. Between her and the HamilTome that's coming out this summer, I just will have to remain on the broke side of money outside of my bills. The funeral for my wallet was held Monday night. In lieu of flowers which die too fast, send funds to the Melody Ellison Day One Fund. Thank you.

I keep waving at her and calling her pretty girl, and the gang here is super excited to have her. Addy can't wait to have another member of the Black Historical Club. Ellie is excite to meet her and share science and stuff. Otters thinks she's going to have awesome clothes, Shanna wants to know as much about the music as she can.3 Dorothy is eager to meet more black kids. And Edith? Edith just realized she is like Felicity and Melody is her Elizabeth.4 Their relationship will be so Radical. I didn't expect a new face mold--AG tried that with Marie-Grace and while there is nothing wrong with the MG mold, the circumstances of the situation has likely made AG gun shy on pulling for another mold. Her without dimples is fine. Her hair is straight because in the 60s girls didn't wear naturals--they pressed their hair all the live long day. If you had read the book you'd know that her mom sorta has a mini-shock when her oldest daughter wears her hair in a fro. It wasn't the style--Black and Proud was still working its way into the system.

And if you're whining mewling and puking that Melody looks too much like Cécile because they have the same face mold, you can get smacked by the same picture I put up on my IG: #AGIG Racist Logic. The first three girls all has the same face--first four when you include Felicity--and the Classic Mold has more dolls than any other mold released. There's more blond haired blue eyed Classic Mold Dolls about in the moddie line than there are black historical characters ever released. If you have more than two Classic Mold white dolls in your collection but you think Melody looks too much like Cécile to have around, then you need to enema the racism out of your brain and go cleanse your soul and wash your ass. Same if you're whining about her textured hair as being too fuzzy or frizzy. I will harbor no quarter. No County for Old and Young Racists.

So that's the Melody news, and it's got me bouncing off the walls. I'm itching for her so much. The last time I wanted something this badly I french kissed a girl. (We both liked it.)

To today's review because I can't review any Melody stuff til she's out.5 Today we're covering one of my most liked outfits for Addy FirstArrival Walker. Back in the far-flung era of 2008, I had been kicked from two, count em two boards and been stabbed in the back by the person that had been my best friend. So I wasn't in the best of contentment in the AG fandom. I still had AG > 18 though, and so when some new shit hit that September, I still got news on it. Among the plethora of things were Kit's New School set, Ruthie's Super Fug Holiday Dress, Felicity's even more Fug Fuckawful Gala Dress, Sam's Velvet Dress that would only last a few months before AG flipped the script and put her in the vault, the Moddie Meet Outfit change to the Star Hoodie set...

...and a set for Addy which I geeked about because Addy hadn't had new clothes since that damned African Dance Outfit. Addy's Sunday Best had a black felt decorated hat and purple print dress and I got it as part of a fall order a couple months later after getting what I wanted from Sam's then-retiring collection. The set was $24 when I ordered it but had eked up to $28 by the time it was coded into the Wiki in 2009, where it has stayed. This year, it even got a mini form in representation in AG's 30 year anniversary mini dolls--sans hat, and with the new shoes Addy wears nowadays. Advertisements originally had this as made by Ruth Walker for her daughter to look cute on Sundays, and I can dig it because Ruth Walker is that kinda momma. The outfit originally had no story ties at all, but with the BeForever recovers, the outfit is seen on the cover of Volume Two of Addy's central stores/Classic Volumes, A Heart Full of Hope. Which is tons better than having the cover of her birthday book have her Stilting Outfit in the revamp, an LE set that was hard as burnt buns to get. Seriously AG, what were you thinking?

Outfit, then mini. Addy's wearing her Classic Meet shoes and stockings because that is how we started and that is where we're staying.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: The Mid-February 2016 Moddie Quick Release

A Book and Doll Show.
On February 11, AG released a tiny amount of things for the moddies, and a bunch of Bitty Shit that I didn't even bother photographing because let's be honest, Bitty Shit is not my jam. I was too busy getting my teeth cleaned on the day of proper--that and I only go places on weekends. So I went on the 13th. Given the small amount of items released, this will be a short bloggy, and the only reason it wasn't done two days ago is because I spent President's Day watching Hamilton win a Grammy for Best Musical Recording.1 Then I started listening to the Weeknd and haven't stopped. I especially like the song about the vampire.2

Anyway, that's enough about my music life. To the AG Stuff.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Off Brand Reviews: Carpatina's Vintage Pink Party Dress and Sophia's Ankle Strap Dress Shoes

Ellie: Pretty in Pink.
So here we are in February, and I'm both in a great mood about some things, "seriously? seriously?" about others, and in a "at this rate I will burn it down and leave no trace" about others. The stitches are out of my knee, but the other day I tumbled over a chair and bruised my upper arm on a table and can't really lay on that side when sleeping--which happens to be the side I want to sleep on. So we're at neutral. I made a cute quick fleece blanket and some AG clothes for the gang, and plan to cut out and make more and try to sew more often. AGC's Secret Snarker is underway, and I've finished mine for my giftee--I hope they1 adore it. There was a short release on Thursday the 11th. I'll try to get it tomorrow, likely--it's a very short release. All Moddie and Bitty Shit, and y'all know how I feel about Bitty Shit. There's some good dates on when Melody will be out, and I'm still saving up for her and her stuff in my tip jar. So excited!

But first, a quickish review.

This likely isn't news to most people, but not everything in my AG collection is by American Girl, LLC. There's some people who are strict AG purists and won't buy anything that doesn't have an AG tag in it, but I ain't ever been one of those people and I ain't ever gonna be. If I can find cute things for my gang--or even new members of the Gang--outside of American Girl proper, I'm going to go for it if I think it can work with them. Hell, a lot of people do. Etsy thrives on it. I've been working on a blogger post about saving money when collecting AG with tips on what I've been doing. Alas, it's been something of a plod. I will finish it sometime, but even without finishing it I can start to talk about some of the other companies with good stuff.

One of those is Sophia's Doll Clothes, a manufacturer of quite a few AG basics--shoes, socks, generic outfits, tights, the like--and various outfits and furniture components. I don't order from them directly so much as I order off of Amazon. They sell both directly to consumers and to wholesalers, so you can likely find someone selling their items on places like eBay, or with handmade outfits as extras. I've got some pieces here and there--mostly shoes, and notably a very nice doll hairbrush.

Another company--and one I simply adore and could gush about forever if I wanted--is Carpatina. Carpatina is probably my favorite outright non-AG seller of fine American Girl and Other Gang Member clothing. The company and brand has been around since 1998, and started to offer dolls in 2002, designed by some of the designers that helped make Stardust Classics.2 Not only do they sell clothes for AG sized dolls under their Girlfriends Collection, they also sell clothes sized for their 18" Slim dolls--sizes such as Magic Attic, of which I have a few--and have recently branched into offering patterns in both sizes. While I've yet to buy a doll from them specifically (Julia is my most likely bet when I do pull the trigger, unless they come out with a beautiful dark skinned doll) I have gotten some outfits from them, and I plan to go back.

This December, Boom and I were doing what we do best--chattering about doll stuffs between Hamilton squee--when she got super squee over Carpatina's Vintage Pink Party Dress.3 This was as an alternative to Ellie's birthday dress, which we have both declared Too Hideous to Get. Look, authentic or not, it looks like a tulle nightmare and I won't fucking do it, even if it's in the books. Ellie, when she almost doesn't get to wear the Green Nightmare at her birthday performance, almost wears one of her older sister's pink prom dresses in is place. And well, this is a pink party dress. So it's even slightly canon. After picking out some nice shoes--namely, the Sophia's Ankle Strap Dress Shoes in pink to match--we both ordered sets and I got mine as a post-New Years gift on Amazon. Well, it arrived on the 31st, but my office was closed and the package delivery guy decided that dropping my package at my door was clearly dumb, and making me wait two days was the smart thing to do. Because Reasons. Anyways. The dress was $12.95 and the shoes $6.95, for a total of 19.90 plus tax.4 Good deal, considering most AG Direct sets go for $25+ nowadays.

Ellie gets two reviews in a row. It happens. I wanted to do something pink for Valentine's Day. I also didn't do a second body shot of the dress. Alas, it happens.

Also, congrats American Girl Collectors on two years of successful boarding! The members there have in many ways restored my lost faith in AG collecting communities. Love y'all~

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pajama Jammy Jams and Historical Clothes Reviews/Historical Accessories Reviews: Maryellen's Pajamas and Hairstyling Set

Jamming for bed, the 1950s way.
Don't you love it when things conspire to make sure you get fuck all done? I sure don't. So there I was on this past Friday, planning to take some shots of Addy in her Sunday Best Set and Maryellen in her meet set, after getting the mail. Addy so I could compare her to the tiny LE mini, and Ellie to show her in something before her PJs. This was planned after getting my package from the office.

...And then I had a random encounter with a curb. I rolled for dexterity to save my balance, hit a two out of twenty, tripped hard, fell even harder, and both scraped my palm and felt shooting pain in my leg. I caught my breath, got my package and went back home, and inspected the damage. And wow that was a lot of blood and a wide ass cut. A temp patch up and a painkiller later, I waited for the Bae to get home from work and hoped it maybe wasn't as bad as I thought it was. I was wrong. He took one look at the cut and put me in the car and made me go to the urgent care center. This is where the doctors looked at my cut and made faces at it before injecting me and poking and flushing things out with others and three hours of my Friday evening was spent in the urgent care center, including a book reading. All that is to say that there are probably six to twelve stitches in my left knee,1 it hurts like a son of a motherfucker to walk anywhere or flex my leg too much, and I'm not going to be doing any kneeling for pictures for at least two weeks. Fuck you too, gravity, you whore.

But I did have some older pictures I took beforehand, even if I wasn't planning this review to be Ellie's debut. So Ellie will just have to accept that her debut on the blog is going to be her in her pajamas. She's cool with this, considering she came with me to the Urgent Care center. If anyone understands healthcare needs, it's Ellie.

Ellie--Maryellen Larkin, but around here she much prefers to go by her nickname--wasn't initially going to be a Historical Character I cared for. The 1950s are the most overhyped nostalgia era ever for obnoxious white Baby Boomers, who want to remember the time of their childhood as a wholesome, perfect era of American Greatness when people didn't think about segregation, sexism, racism, or oppression and they didn't have to think about others at all. The Fifties get overly wrought down to the surface aesthetics: poodle skirts, records, jukeboxes, bobby soxers, roller skating diners, television spread, drive in movies, ponytails, white rock and roll, families with father knowing best and mother in pearls and heels, etc. Basically all the fluffy feel-good times with none of the understanding or discussion about the sociopolitial issues that plagued the time. But like Caroline and Kit before her,2 Ellie's stories endeared her to me--she likes comics, science, does art, and supports vaccinations (having been disabled by polio). I basically went through a set of Five Stages with her:

1.) Denial: "Damn the 50s! And damn her! She's hazel eyed, she's white, she's got the classic mold, her name is meh--there is nothing special about her. I'm not getting her."
2.) Bargaining. "That outfit's nice. And that one. I'll just get a few of her things for Edith. Edith can wear her clothes. Dorothy too. I don't need Maryellen."
3.) Anger: "I've read the books and why is she such a charming character?"
4.) Sadness. "eeeen I wasn't supposed to like you eeenn i am cry eeeeen"
5.) Acceptance. "Come on, Ellie-jelly. You're the newest member of the Gang. Meet Edith and Dorothy and be friends."

So I ended up getting her as my 35th birthday gift to myself along with some of her clothes, making her the fastest from "I hate you" to "let us snuggle and be friends" since Kit. This included her Pajamas at the standard cost of $24: a top, bottoms, and flat style slippers. A later trip I picked up her Hairstyling Set for $20: a set of twelve rollers, instruction card, storage bag, and sleeping bonnet. The eBay costs are not even being considered on this post. Go to AG, Go Directly to AG, do not pass eBay, do not spend $50. Seriously, it's been five months. Girls' variations on the pajamas exist for those that can fit into them; I am not one of those people.

Hairstyling set first because Ellie had her bonnet on and I took her curls down as I was taking the pictures.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Crafting Creatively: $15 PVC Photo Background Stand for Dolls

Tara's getting her picture taken. But she's not the topic.
Ladies, gentlemen, both and neither, you probably wonder where I take such plain backdrop shots of my girls. Well, it was my photo corner, which was basically three storage drawers with green non-pill fleece hanging from them. But that is a bit of a mess right now, hence a lack of reviews. Plus, I couldn't really move it around. Pictures had to be taken there, or they were taken nowhere. Okay, occasionally outside, but not with my green fleece. Well, that has changed. This pic of Tara--with Grace Brand clothing and earrings--was taken outside on my new PVC backdrop stand.

I've been spinning yarn, and one of the things I found a design plan for online was a niddy noddy--it's a way to wrap yarn to see how much you have--out of basic PVC pipes. I got it put together with all the sizes I'd want, and it's worked great and allows me to take it apart and store it as needed. So why not do the same with a backdrop stand? 

I can't take 100% credit for it, since I found a similar design on Dandelions on the Wall, for a $20 PVC backdrop stand. But I did--with the Bae's help because I can't measure for butts--work out the math for a short doll one. When put together it's a little over three feet tall. And well, this is something that I would like to share with other doll photographers. So as long as you point back here to show where you got the design, that would be sweet. Also don't make these to see on Etsy or eBay. This isn't for profit, it's for assistance.1

Below the cut for instructionables!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: 2016 TropiKenna Sadness, Modern Dribbles, and How Melody Ellison is Practically Perfect In Every Way

New Adventures. Same Old Bullshit.
Welcome to 2016, my happy campers! That is, if you're into camping. I'm not. The wild can stay there. Still, it's a whole new year and a whole new region! But we still gotta document them all. 2015 was one draining crappy year, and if all the issues that plagued me and mine in that year could stay on that side of the arbitrary time division, that would be cool as shit. Still, 2015 did have some good things.1 We got Maryellen Larkin, and while I was prepped to be against her in every way, she eventually captured my love to the point that I got her for my 35th, birthday present. She and Amelia were the only actual AG members I added to the gang this year; no other new girls joined, and Amelia still needs new outfits. But my sewing machine is cleared up again and so maybe I can get back to goals of sewing something new once a month to use these hundreds of patterns I owe, and blogging like I want to. My audience likes me, after all, and I like you unless I don't. And you know if I don't like you. I tend to make that very known.

This Sunday, I went to AG Seattle with my closest in proximity AG buddy, who I hadn't seen since my birthday because she was busy traveling during the Giftmas season. We caught up and chatted and we looked at all the new shit together like we enjoy. Some of the new stuff wasn't there, for reasons, so I'll have to use the wiki images until I can go back and take shots. I did that with both Ellie's TV and Addy's new bedtime stuff, which I still need to snap up soon enough.

And we both fell in love with Melody, and are counting down the days to her ultimate release. I will talk more about her at the end. First, I have to take the medicine that is this year's Girl of the Year and all her folderol. I didn't get the clearest pictures because there were quite a few small children running around, so we've got what we've got. If you'd like some clearer pics, take a gander over to AGC's Ace Reporter on all things AG, Lissie and Lilly. Then come back here and see me yell.

To the cut and the complaints. And a very long, very needed historical ending tied to Melody.