Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dollygirl Tagged Me

TAG! Your're It!

I got tagged by Dollygirl. I can't follow all of the requirements of the tagging, but I can answer the questions.

11 things about me!!!

1. I have 3 sisters
2. I have 2 brothers
3. My Granny is 92 and still one of my best friends!
4. Learning to use a sewing machine was terribly intimidating to me so I didn't learn to use one until I was 17. This may seem young, but in my family 10 and 12 year old girls routinely make their own dresses, blouses with buttonholes and even tailored wool suits. I was very late to take to the sewing machine, but once I got past my fear I fell in love with it and have been happily sewing ever since.
5. My top 5 favorite things to do are write, read, craft, cook and swim.
6. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19, when my husband taught me how to drive. Using the car pedals was similar to using the sewing machine pedal. I figured if I could "drive" my sewing machine that driving a car couldn't be too different. Turned out I was right.
7. I've been making doll clothes for over 35 years.
8. Besides Springfield dolls, I also collect A Life of Faith Dolls. They are my favorite dolls of all time.
9. My favorite fruit is grapefruit, my next favorite are red raspberries and sour cherries.
10. My favorite historical era is Edwardian or the Titanic era.
11. In my opinion, homemade is always best!

And now for my answers to Dollygirl's Questions.

1. Pink or purple?  Gotta have both!
2. Doll or stuffed animal?  One again, gotta have both!
3. What is your favorite AG doll ever made?   I change my mind about this one a lot. Right now, Molly or Kit, both live through hard times and make the best of things. My favorite, favorite is Elsie Dinsmore from "A Life of Faith" collection, which is now, sadly defunct. Elsie is a great doll and I have all 27 of her original books by Martha Finley in paperback form. They're also available online for free.
4. What color is your hair? Medium Brown with Red (and a few gray) highlights.
5. Dogs or cats? LOL, Once again, gotta have both.
6. Whats your favorite season? Easy, Spring & Fall. I like the transitional seasons because I like the excitement of change.
7. Queens or princesses?  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie--Princesses, they have more fun and fewer chores.
8. Favorite band/singer?  My uncle Jimmie Landry
9. Computer or TV?  Computer, but even better, a good book.
10. Reading or doing crafts?  Both, how can I choose between my two favorite activities?
11. Whats your favorite food?  Deep fried tofu nuggets with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, also asparagus in hollandaise sauce. Mmm!
Elsie Dinsmore Doll & Violet Travila Doll
Both are wearing dresses that I made myself.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday: Stacy's Lost Profile

Stacy was from the early 2000's

You may know her as Olivia, but before that she was Stacy, and before that she was Katie. Back in the early 2000's, way before the Springfield Style Club, the dolls each had a profile available on the Springfield Dolls website. I remember the first time I found the profiles, I wondered if anyone else was going ga-ga for them the way I was. I felt like I had discovered the wheel and wanted to share it with everyone I knew. Now Springfield Collection fans have an abundance of fun things to do online at the SF website and Style Club. Back then however, just reading about a favorite doll and seeing pictures of her in SF fashions was a real treat.

For nostalgic purposes, I plan to share all the girls' old profiles over the next few weeks. The first is . . .


Zodiac Sign: Leo

Birthstone: Ruby

Hair: Red

Eyes color: Green

Hometown: Springfield

Favorite color: Pink

Family: Older sister that left for College.

Pets: 2 stray dogs that her father found named Ruby and Bandit.

Best Day: When the team won the football championship, the whole cheerleading team and football team organized a party. Stacy got to dance with Scott!

Favorite Activities: Being a cheerleader at school for the football and basketball teams. Watching television on the weekend. Visiting her sister in Chicago at college because they always do fun stuff together like going to the amusement park!

Pet Peeves: Eating Lima beans, and being alone in the dark.

Dream: Going to college like her big sister.

Best Friends: Amanda, Madison, Niya, Lindsey, Gina

Favorite Outfits:

     Sporty: her new blue cheerleader outfit

     Hanging Out: Green Herringbone, brown corduroys, brown Mary Jane and purple sunglasses

* * *

Compare this old profile with Olivia's current profile. You might be surprised to see a few similarities.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Show and Tell Thursday: 2012 Dresses

Yesterday I commented about some of the new items in the 2012 Springfield Collection. It turns out that my local craft store (AC Moore) finally got in it's new stock of Springfield Collection Clothing. I had a coupon for $10 off a $30 order, so I got the 2 dresses and skirt & top for just over $20. I brought the items home and used some of my other Springfield Collection items to dress the up a bit.
For this outfit I added tights and white satin ribbon to the dropped waist. In this picture it looks prettier than it does in person. This is an attractive outfit and I can see how a 7 year old would really like it. For me, as a mom, a grandma and an adult, it misses the mark. In my opinion it would have been prettier if they had left off the white printed necklace and the gauzy overlay (which tends to get caught in the Velcro and develops pulls and snags). A simple, purple knit, dropped-waist dress would have been very pretty and easier to accessorize for mixy matchys . I would have liked it better if they had left off the printed necklace and the skirt overlay, leaving a plain dress.

Here is Gina, one of my personal favorite dolls, in one of my favorite Springfield Collection dresses. The top is velveteen, the skirt and sash are good quality satin. If you have a pearl bracelet that is people-sized, it would make a great necklace to go with this dress. I've paired this dress with white tights and red sparkly shoes. It would be equally pretty with black shoes or black tights. It would be appropriate for Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day.
I really like this outfit. Extra brownie points for the designer. He/She did a great job. The top is really cute, the ruffle really gives it an extra splash of pizazz. I paired it with pink capri-length leggings, silver shoes and a silver scarf that I think has now been discontinued. You can still find it however, at CR's Craft. It's a great accessory and really picks up the silver accent from the shoes. The silver purse would be the perfect go-with.

This dress is my absolute favorite this year! It's extremely versatile, as  I've tried to illustrate in the pictures above. This dress can go from casual sporty, to retro to formal chic to trendy modest. I also tried it with the full black skirt worn over it, so that only the top part shows, and it becomes a cute zebra cami. I especially like how cute this dress is when paired with a bright color like the pink top in the center. It really pops with the color combination. I hope the 2013 collection brings us some stylish, versatile pieces like this one, and some bright new colors too!

My Olivia doll looks especially beautiful in this photo shoot. She has had her bangs trimmed short and her hair was trimmed and then curled under with curlers and a traditional boiling water Barbie-perm. This doll is older, at least 5 years old, and she looks great!

NOTE: If you are a child, DO NOT cut your doll's hair or do anything with boiling water without adult supervision. Let the grown-ups manage any boiling water perms or hair cuts.

* * *

Quick Update on the Zebra dress, while it's still a fashion favorite, it has already begun to fall apart. The ribbon strap on the right side is ravelling and coming off at both the front and back, and the bow stitched to the shoulder on the left side is hanging on by a thread. This is just after me playing with it for 2 days, dressing and undressing the doll maybe a total of 8 times. I'm an adult, and I play with my dolls like an adult. I'm very gentle. The ribbon straps should be attached more firmly so they are able to withstand more stress, or a different type of strap, one that is less prone to raveling should be used. Something the strength of shoestrings would work better than the satin ribbon. I got out a needle and thread and firmly reattached the frayed ribbon and both shoulder bows so that they won't go anywhere. It's an easy matter for me to do this and took less than 5 minutes, but not everyone is handy with a needle and thread. I hate to think that in a year this marvelous dress will be languishing in storage bins across the country because the straps have broken off and no one is able to stitch them back on.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Award!

From Dollygirl's Treasures we picked up a new award!

It's a picture of Emma and it is as cute as a basket of kittens! Thank-you so much Dollygirl! I put it on the lower, right side of this blog. You did a great job with the artwork. What program did you use to create it?

What's New Wednesday: 2012 Fashions from Springfield Collection

In September Springfield came out with it's new 2012 Fashion Collection. I'm making up an order for Sunshine Crafts already because there are some really cute items here. I'm wondering if they have a new designer for this set because it has a more fashion forward use of color and shapes than the last collection. For this post I'm highlighting the dresses and a skirt ensemble because I wear dresses and skirts most often. As we all know some Dolly Mommies like their dolls to look and dress like them, so since I wear skirts and dresses, and my daughters wear skirts and dresses, my dollies do too. 
I really like the zebra print that was chosen for this dress. It's trendy, fashion-forward but since it's black and white, both neutrals, the dress can be matched with bright colors to give it a variety of looks. The way the dress is shaped, it can be worn as a sundress, or more modest dolly mommies can put a t-shirt and a pair of leggings or tights under it, or a pink or black hoodie or black bolero jacket over it. This is really versatile and the animal print gives it a big fashion impact. Since the print is so bold, the simple black flats are the ideal choice in footwear.
First I want to say, the stylist should have done better by Madison with her hair style. I know her hair is challenging to style, but with a little imagination it can look really great. Whoever was in charge of doll hair this day needs to try a little harder next time. Even pig tails would be cuter than this. As for the outfit, LOVE the gold sandals. They remind me of the Gladiator Sandals that were all the rage this summer. The top is cute with the asymmetrical neckline accented by the matching ruffle. It has a real 80's feel to it. The denim mini skirt with the ruffled hem was another classic 80's item and I think it will add a lot of new interest to Mixy Matchy outfits, besides looking great with the top it's paired with.
I have this dress already and it's beautiful! Perfect for the upcoming winter holidays, it will also work on Valentines Day, especially when paired with the red-sparkly shoes already available from Springfield. The fabric is like an acetate satin, very good quality. It really gives this dress a special feel to it. I've paired it with white tights and black tights and both look nice with either black slip-on's or the aforementioned red sparkly mary janes. Whoever designed this dress deserves a lot of credit. They did a great job.
First off, someone dropped the ball on Abby's hair. She needed a braid, or an updo, or something. Secondly, I'm leery of the printed pearls. They look cheap. The waistband, with the way the tulle is attached, already looks like it was rushed. When you add in the printed pearls, this dress just misses the mark. Now I don't own the dress yet, so I can't say for certain, but so far this one looks like a miss to me. Maybe I'll change my mind when I see it in person, but for now it's my least favorite of the new items. On the plus side,the purple bow-topped sneakers are the perfect shoe choice. Another plus is that it's a modest look, especially if paired with white tights, which would match the pearls. Maybe a white satin bow around the dropped waist would improve the look? I'll give it a try when I make my purchase and share the results.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You Tube Tuesday: Back to School Sleep Over

Tuesday is the day we share our favorite YouTube Videos. This week we share a Sleepover Video from Springfield mega-fan HardyGirl66 aka Sharry. Sharry's doll Julie is from the 1970's so this video includes elements that were ubiquitous to sleepovers back then. Some things are similar to the ways you do things today and some things are very different!

If you're planning a sleepover for your friends and their dolls anytime soon take a look at the official Springfield Style Club. They have some cool activities you can print out and share with your friends and their dolls at your own party. Try the Back to School Matching Game and Funny Fashion Doll Dress-Up or Zoo Trip Mad Libs with your friends. You're sure to have a blast!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Make It Yourself Monday: African Princess Dress Pattern

Madison says hello from Africa!
 To me dolls and books go together like peanut butter and jelly or tea and cakes. I remember making a nest in the hayloft of my grandmother's barn and settling in with a Nancy Drew novel, my favorite doll and a bar of chocolate. I would spend hours up there in the summertime, discovering what Nancy had done in her latest adventure and then acting it out with my younger sister and our dolls.

So one day I was browsing the interwebz and came across a site called Dolls Like Me. Unfortunately it is closed for reconstruction at the time of this post. At that site I found Springfield doll Madison dressed up as the character Precious Ramotswe from the book series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Ramotswe is a lady detective from the country of Botswana in Africa. She is very clever and very round and very funny. The series is so popular that HBO made a TV show based on the books.

Well, there was no way I could afford the beautiful African Princess gown worn by Madison at the Dolls Like Me website, so I began to think of a way to make my own African Princess gown for my Madison doll. This pattern is the fruit of my labor.


Free African Princess Dress Pattern

PDF file
African Princess Dress Front View

African Princess Dress Side View
African Princess Dress Back View
I looked at examples of traditional African dress patterns for people and noticed that many of them had very simple shapes. This was to my advantage because it made this pattern relatively simple to design. I was able to combine the sleeve and bodice into one pattern which eliminates the tricky step of attaching sleeves to bodice.

I originally planned to use white rick-rack as the decoration, but didn't have enough for the complete project. I found my bag of rick-rack and went through it and the only other option I had enough of was this sparkly gold, medium-width rick-rack that I had purchased for a Christmas project years ago. I went with gold simply because it was my best option and I feel it turned out much nicer with the gold than it would have with the white. The gold gives the dress a sparkly touch perfect for a royal princess.

I had intended to make the skirt all one fabric, but my scrap was 2-inches too short so I added a strip of the bodice fabric to the hem to make it longer. This look turned out very pretty, and allowed an extra place to decorate with the gold rick-rack. I may continue to make the skirt this way from now on, simply because the dress is so attractive and well balanced with the bodice fabric repeated on the hem of the skirt. I didn't have a scrap of the bodice or skirt fabric large enough to make the headwrap so I chose a completely different fabric that uses many of the same colors. This dress is a super way to use up fabric scraps that may be too small for other projects.

If you make this dress, consider sharing your experience and any pictures of your finished project with the rest of us.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Springfield Dolls Website

I'm a long time fan of Springfield Dolls. They've been around since about 1996 (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). They started off as a craft doll that had the arms, legs and head attached to a fabric body. The body had to be stuffed and then stitched up before it could be played with. After a few years the dolls were sold already stuffed, but wore no clothing. They were purchased naked. Eventually the dolls were each given a short, cute, sleeveless dress which they now wear when purchased. This gives them a lot more play value because they can be played with immediately, instead of having to wait for clothes to be sewn or purchased.

To learn more about the current line of Springfield dolls you can visit their official website. Their Meet The Girls page is a good way to get to know the dolls better.

If you ever find yourself with some extra time on your hands you might want to browse the Springfield Style Club.

This is a fun place where you can play with virtual Springfield dolls and print out activities like puzzles, pictures and crafty ideas. The virtual dolls allow you to play dress-up with the doll of your choice, choosing from all of the fashionable outfits available for the dolls from craft stores and their online store. The more you play, the more secret items you can unlock. These secret items can be used for dress-up or you can buy them at the Springfield Collection store. I've unlocked a few of them and they are really cute!