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

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~